Report: US exerting pressure on ICC not to open war crimes probe against Israel
The Guardian’ quotes lawyers and former court officials as saying that western pressure has influenced decision not to open probe.
International criminal court Photo: REUTERS
The US and other western powers have exerted pressure on the International Criminal Court at the Hague to prevent a war crimes probe of Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip, TheGuardian reported on MONDAY, quoting former court officials.
During Operation Protective Edge, the Palestinian Authority has threatened to request that the court look into allegations that the civilian deaths in Gaza during the IDF’s operation constitute a war crime.
According to the report, the issue is among the matters being discussed at cease-fire talks in Cairo.
Palestinians requested that the court probe Israel for war crimes in 2009 , following Operation Cast Lead, however that request came before the Palestinians were recognized as a non-member observer state at the United Nations in 2012.
The ICC itself is divided on whether or not it has jurisdiction to probe the matter based on the 2009 request, or whether a new request would have to be submitted, according to TheGuardian. The Palestinian factions would have to agree on submitting a new request, a difficult task, as Hamas would also be opening itself up to a war crimes inquiry.
The Guardian reported that western pressure has prevented the ICC from taking the view that the 2009 request gives the court jurisdiction to open a war crimes investigation into Israel’s actions.
Both current ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and Luis Moreno Ocampo,who was prosecutor at the time of the 2009 Palestinian declaration, argue that a new Palestinian request would have to be made to allow the court to open an investigation. However, TheGuardian quoted another former official of the court as saying, “They are trying to hide behind legal jargon to disguise what is a political decision, to rule out competence and not get involved.”
The French lawyer representing the Palestinians, Gilles Devers, was quoted by The Guardian as saying that “there is enormous pressure not to proceed with an investigation. This pressure has been exerted on Fatah and Hamas, but also on the office of the prosecutor.
“In both cases, it takes the form of threats to the financial subsidies, to Palestine and to the International Criminal Court,” he added.
Security Council adopts resolution 2144 (2014), which authorizes Mandate-year long
Extension for Support Mission in Libya UN
The Security Council today renewed the mandate of the Mission to Support the United Nations in Libya (UNSMIL) until March 13, 2015.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2144 (2014), the 15-member body of the Mission’s mandate to support Libya’s transition to democracy “as an immediate priority” to help a single, transparent and inclusive national dialogue, as well as elections and the drafting of a new Constitution. UNSMIL also forced to control arms and related materiel unsecured in the country, and to counter their proliferation.
The Council also decided to extend the mandate of the Expert Group to help its Sanctions Committee on Libya until April 13, 2015. By other terms of the resolution, the Council requested the Libyan Government to promote and protect human rights – including those of women, children and persons belonging to vulnerable groups -., and fulfill their obligations under international law The text calls on those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including sexual violence and violations and abuses against children, they are accountable.
Also by the text, the Council urged all Member States to cooperate closely with the efforts of the Libyan government to end impunity States. urged the Government to further improve the monitoring of related weapons or materials supplied, sold or transferred to Libya.
The meeting began at 3:08 pm and ended at 3:10 pm
The full text of resolution 2144 (2014) reads as follows:
” The Security Council ,
” Recalling its resolutions 1970 (2011) of 26 February 2011, 1973 (2011) of 17 March 2011, 2009 (2011) of 16 September 2011, 2016 (2011) of 27 October 2011, 2017 ( 2011) of 31 October 2011, 2022 (2011) of 2 December 2011, of 12 March 2040 (2012), and of 14 March 2095 (2013), and the statement of its President (S / PRST / 2013/21) of 16 December 2013,
” Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya,
” Reaffirming its resolutions 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006) and 1894 (2009) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), 2068 (2012) and 2143 (2014) on children and armed conflict, and 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013) and 2122 (2013) on women, peace and security,
” Looking forward to a future for Libya based on national reconciliation, justice, respect for human rights and the rule of law,
” Emphasizingthe importance of promoting the equal and full participation of all sectors of Libyan society, including women, youth and minorities in the political process,
“Stressingthe importance of agreement on the immediate next steps for democratic transition in Libya and, in this regard, reaffirming the centrality of credible elections, a process of inclusive and transparent constitutional drafting, and the establishment of a single, inclusive and transparent national dialogue,
” Welcoming the efforts of the United Nations Mission of Support in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to facilitate a national dialogue between Libya and led significant and strongly encourages further steps forward in this direction, and reaffirming that the United Nations should lead the coordination of efforts of the international community in support, in accordance with the principles of national ownership and national responsibility, the Libyan transitional header and institution-building process aimed at establishing a peaceful, democratic Libya independent and united
“Welcoming the holding of the elections of February 20, 2014 of the Constitutional Drafting Assembly and urging political leaders to complete the formation of the assembly and working with minority communities to ensure their adequate representation in the drafting process of the Constitution,
“Expressing its deep concern at the deteriorating security and political divisions in Libya, including kidnappings, assassinations and violent clashes between armed groups, particularly in eastern Libya and its southern borders, which threaten to undermine the transition democracy that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people,
” Expressing support for the efforts of the Libyan government to resolve peacefully interruptions energy exports from Libya and reiterated that the control of all facilities should be transferred back to the proper authorities,
” Recalling its decision in resolution 1970 (2011) to refer to the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and the importance of cooperation to ensure that those responsible for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including attacks against civilians, accountability,
” Expressing its deep concern at the lack of judicial process for conflict-related detainees,including children, many of whom continue to be held outside the authority of the State, and allegations of violations and abuses of human rights, including torture and sexual and gender-based violence in detention centers, and, in this regard,stresses that all parties in Libya should cooperate fully with UNSMIL in all matters relating to the promotion and protection of human rights,
” Welcoming the actions of the Libyan government to address human rights issues, including the enactment of a law on transitional justice, December 8, 2013, the law against torture and discrimination on April 9, 2013 and decree to correct the situation of victims of rape and violence adopted on 19 February 2014
” Reaffirming that voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and IDPs is an important peacebuilding in Libya factor,
“Expressing concern about the threat posed by unsecured arms and ammunition and their proliferation in Libya, which poses a risk to stability in Libya and the region, including through transfer to terrorist groups and violent extremists and stressing the importance of coordinated for Libya and the region to address these problems international support,
” Recognizing this regard the important contribution that the arms embargo imposed by the Council can do to help Libya to combat the illicit transfer of small arms and light weapons, and support for building peace after conflict, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and security sector reform,
” Remembering all Member States of the obligations contained in its resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), modified in its subsequent resolutions, in particular the obligations in relation to arms and related materiel of all types,
” Support to the Libyan government intends to strengthen regional security, welcomes , in this regard, the ongoing commitment to the countries of the region and the November 14, 2013 Rabat conference and its recommendations to address problems border security, including the implementation of the Action Plan of Tripoli, and supporting Libya’s efforts to strengthen EUBAM border management Libya
” Welcoming the coordination of the international community to support Libya’s transition conference in Rome on March 6, 2014, monitoring of the Paris Conference on 12 February 2013,supporting the priorities and recommendations adopted at these meetings, and support for rapid application
” Taking note of the Secretary-General on UNSMIL (S/2014/131), including the recommendation for 12-month extension of the mandate UNSMIL,
” Taking note of the final report of the Panel of Experts submitted pursuant to paragraph 14 (d) of resolution 2095 (2013) and the conclusions and recommendations contained therein,
” Welcoming the efforts made by the Secretariat to expand and improve the roster of the Council Subsidiary Organs Branch Security, taking into account the guidance provided by the Chairman’s Note S/2006/997,
” Mindful of its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations
” Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations
“1. Supporting s the timely establishment of a single, transparent and inclusive national dialogue in Libya and a process of inclusive and transparent constitutional drafting, and reiterates the need for the transitional period to be underpinned by a commitment to the processes and democratic institutions, good governance, rule of law, national reconciliation and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people in Libya;
“2. Urges the Libyan Government to promote and protect human rights, including women, children and persons belonging to vulnerable groups, and to comply with its obligations under international law, including human rights standards, and calls for those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and the law of human rights, including sexual violence and violations and abuses against children accountable in accordance with international standards, and calls upon all Member States to cooperate closely with the Libyan government in its efforts to end impunity for such violations;
. “3 Urges the Libyan Government to continue to cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the International Criminal Court and the Prosecutor as required by resolution 1970 (2011) ;
“4. condemns cases of torture and ill-treatment and deaths from torture in detention centers in Libya, urged the Libyan government to take all necessary measures to accelerate the judicial process, the transfer of detainees to state authority and prevent and investigate violations and abuses of human rights, calls all Libyan parties to cooperate with the efforts of the Libyan government in this regard,requests the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained or imprisoned in Libya, including foreign nationals and underscore primary responsibility of the Libyan government to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Libya, including African migrants and other foreign nationals;
“5. Encourages Libya and neighboring States to continue efforts to promote regional cooperation for the stabilization of the situation in Libya and to prevent elements of the former Libyan regime and violent extremist groups using the territories of Libya or such States plan, finance or carry out illegal acts of violence or other destabilizing Libya or States in the region, noting that such cooperation would benefit regional stability;
Mandate of the United Nations
“6. Decides to extend the mandate of the Mission to Support the United Nations in Libya (UNSMIL) until March 13, 2015, under the leadership of a Special Representative of the Secretary General, and decides further that the mandate of UNSMIL as a political mission Special built-in full conformity with the principles of national ownership, will be to support the efforts of the Libyan government to:
(A) As an immediate priority, ensure the transition to democracy, in particular through the promotion, facilitation and provision of advice and technical assistance to a single, transparent and inclusive national dialogue, elections for Libya and for the process preparation, development and adoption of a new constitution for Libya, promote empowerment and political participation by all sectors of Libyan society, in particular women, youth and minorities, and through the provision of good offices to support an inclusive political solution in Libya and political environment for promoting the integration of former combatants into the national security forces of Libya and their demobilization and reintegration into civilian life;
(B) To promote the rule of law and to monitor and protect human rights in accordance with international legal obligations of Libya, particularly those of women, children and persons belonging to vulnerable groups, such as minorities and immigrants, including through support to the Libyan government to ensure the humane treatment of and due process of detainees, including children, and to fully implement its transitional justice legislation and the reform and construction of an independent judiciary and compliance transparent and accountable law and correctional systems;
(C) the control of arms and related materiel unsecured in Libya and counter proliferation, working to organize access, ensure proper management, secure storage and, where appropriate, the effective delivery of arms and related materiel to support associated coherent efforts in this regard, including the coordination and facilitation of international assistance, and to strengthen border security, the development of institutions capable of Libya and effective coordination of national security;
(D) Strengthen the capacity of government, as part of a coordinated international effort and taking advantage of the comparative advantage of the UN team in the country by supporting ministries, the national legislature and local governments, with the aim of improve service delivery, transparency and coordination across government;
“7. Stresses that the Member States to notify the Commission in accordance with paragraph 13 (a) of resolution 2009 (2011), as amended by paragraph 10 of resolution 2095 (2013) the supply, sale or transfer to Libya arms and related material, including ammunition and spare parts, ensure that such notifications contain all relevant information,
“8. Stresses that arms and related materiel, including ammunition and spare parts, supplied, sold or transferred as security or disarmament assistance to the Libyan government in accordance with paragraph 13 (a) of resolution 2009 (2011), as amended by paragraph 10 of resolution 2095 (2013) should not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by other than the end user designated persons;
“9. Urges the Libyan government to further improve the control arms or related materiel supplied, sold or transferred to Libya in accordance with 9 (c) of paragraph of resolution 1970 (2011) or paragraph 13 (a ) of resolution 2009 (2011), as amended by paragraph 10 of resolution 2095 (2013), in particular through the use of end-user certificates, and urges Member States and regional organizations to assist the Libyan government to strengthen the infrastructure and mechanisms currently in place to do so;
“10. Condemns the continuing allegations of violations of the measures contained in resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), as amended in subsequent resolutions, and recalls the Committee’s mandate, as defined in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011), to consider and take appropriate action in reporting violations or alleged breach of those measures;
Freezing of assets
“11. Directs the Committee in consultation with the Libyan government to continuously review the rest of the measures imposed by resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), as amended by resolution 2009 (2011), with respect to the Authority Libyan Investment (LIA) and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio (PILA), and reaffirms its decision that the Committee, in consultation with the Libyan government, lift the designation of these entities as soon as possible to ensure that the goods are made provision and benefit the people of Libya;
“12. supports the efforts of the Libyan authorities to recover funds misappropriated under the Gaddafi regime, and in this regard, urges the Libyan authorities and the Member States that have frozen the assets in accordance with the resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), as amended by resolution 2009 (2011) to consult with each other regarding claims of misappropriated funds and property issues;
Panel of experts
“13. Decides to extend until 13 April 2015 the mandate of the Panel of Experts established by paragraph 24 of resolution 1973 (2011) and modified by resolution 2040 (2012), expresses its intention to review the mandate and take appropriate regard to the further extension of not more than twelve months from the adoption of this resolution, and measures decided that the group will perform the following tasks:
(A) assist the Commission in carrying out its mandate as specified in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011);
(B) Gather, examine and analyze information from States, relevant United Nations bodies, regional organizations and other stakeholders on the implementation of the measures imposed by resolution 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) and modified in resolutions 2009 (2011), 2040 (2012), 2095 (2013) and this resolution, in particular incidents of non-compliance;
(C) Make recommendations on actions the Council, the Commission, the Government of Libya or any State, may consider to improve implementation of the relevant measures;
(D) Provide to the Council an interim report on its work no later than 180 days after the Panel’s appointment, and a final report to the Council, after consulting the Commission, no later than March 10, 2015, its findings and recommendations;
“14. Urges all States, relevant United Nations bodies, including UNSMIL and other interested parties, to cooperate fully with the Committee and the Panel, in particular by supplying any information at their disposal on the implementation of the measures imposed by resolution 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), and amended by resolutions 2009 (2011) and 2040 (2012), 2095 (2013) and this resolution, in particular incidents of non-compliance;
“15. encourages the Panel to continue and accelerate its research on sanctions for non-compliance, including illicit transfers of arms and related materiel to and from Libya and the assets of persons subject to the asset freeze provisions resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), and amended by resolutions 2009 (2011), 2040 (2012), 2095 (2013) and this resolution, and encourages UNSMIL and the Libyan government to support the work of research panel inside Libya, including through the exchange of information, facilitating transit and granting access to the weapons storage facilities, as appropriate;
“16. encourages the Panel to submit to regular updates of the commissions, including identifying information, with supporting documentation, to the persons and entities subject to the measures imposed by paragraph 15 of resolution 1970 (2011 ) and / or paragraph 17 of resolution 1970 (2011) or paragraph 19 of resolution 1973 (2011), including, where appropriate, their activities, movements and location as well as any information related to possible imprisonment or death of the individual named;
Reporting and review
“17. Expresses its intention to review the mandate of the Commission in the event that the measures imposed by resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), and amended by resolutions 2009 (2011), 2040 (2012), 2095 ( 2013) and this resolution must be lifted by a future decision of the Security Council;
. “18 Requests the Secretary General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution, including all elements of the mandate of UNSMIL every 90 days;
“19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter. “
Now, it appears to analysts as though the disaster afflicting Libya — brought about in large part by the Obama administration and its allies in Europe and among Islamic autocracies — may be on the verge of being replicated in Syria. Of course, the countries and the wars are different in some respects, but the parallels between what is going on in Syria and what happened in Libya are undeniable. And those links are raising alarm bells — especially considering the sizeable Syrian Christian population and the current state of affairs in Libya,which continues to deteriorate.
In Libya, as The New Americandocumented extensively, the Obama administration decided to openly side with leaders of al-Qaedaand other jihadist groups — many of which boasted publicly during the conflict that they had recently been fighting against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. DictatorMoammar Gadhafi, who served as a key U.S. government ally in its terror war until falling out of favor, was eventually brutalized and summarily executed after his regime was pounded into the ground by Obama-backed jihadist rebels and overwhelming American air power.
“Absolutely there are parallels,” explained John Rosenthal, a Europe-based journalist and author of The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. In his book, Rosenthal documents in great detail how, in the Libyan conflict, the Obama administration literally switched sides in the “war on terror,” joining with self-styled al-Qaeda leaders against a former terror-war allywho was hard at work battling the very same Islamic extremists that the U.S. government had supposedly been pursuing for a decade.
Rosenthal told The New American that the Obama administration’s Syria policy “is a continuation of its Libya policy”: siding with Islamists against secular regimes that helped the U.S. government in the terror war. The international conditions, however, are different this time, he added, primarily because the Russian government has refused to cooperate with pro-regime change forces in the United Nations Security Council under the so-called responsibility to protect doctrine.
Assad may not have been as helpful toU.S. authorities in the terror war as Gadhafi, whose “apostate” regime had also become a primary target of Islamic extremists; however, The New American’s Michael Tennant showed last year that the brutal Syrian despot was indeed a U.S. ally — helping torture and extract information from terror suspects handed over by American officials, for example. “There’s a different leader in Syria now,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in early 2011. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” Indeed, Syria was one of the “most common” destinations for rendered U.S. terror-war suspects, according to multiple reports.
“During the time of the U.S. presence in Iraq, the Syrians were often accused of not doing enough to stem the flowof al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters into the country,” Rosenthal continued. “But the very nature of the criticism shows that vis-à-vis al-Qaeda, the U.S. and Syria were at the time fundamentally on the same side.In the meanwhile, this is not the case, because we changed sides.”
As far as the Syrian rebels, countless sources — even including the establishment media during the latest conflict — have documented their jihadist credentials. The Obama administration officially designated the Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization — an al-Qaeda-linked group that analysts say is among the most effective fighting forces in Syria. For Rosenthal, however, the designation “represents a sort of sleight of hand in this regard,” he explained.
“When the listing was made public, many of the other Syrian rebel brigades responded by vociferously protesting under the motto ‘we are all Jabhat al-Nusra’,” said Rosenthal, who documented the Libyan rebels’ deep connections to global jihad,using official sources, court records, police reports, and European news reports. “And they are right. It is simply not possible to support the rebellion and not be providing de facto support for Jabhat al-Nusra, which is not only an integral part of the rebellion, but arguably its vanguard.”
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry continued to claim that less than one-fourth of rebel forces are “extremists,” an estimate widely dismissed by experts and even U.S. officials. Rosenthal called it “ridiculously low.” Instead, “100 percent would be closer to the truth,” he explained, citing the names of rebel brigades and publicly available evidence. “One need only look at the videos posted by the rebel formations themselves, which regularly show them displaying the black flags of jihad and brutally executing detainees — both soldiers and civilians — in the style made famous by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
Indeed, as The New Americanreported yesterday, the supposed “estimates” by the administration claiming such a low percentage of “extremists” are calculated by assuming that rebels not fighting directly for al-Qaeda are “moderates.” The Free Syrian Army, though considered the primary “moderate” fighting force worthy of U.S. taxpayer support, is actually dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other hardcore Islamists. The pro-rebel Al Jazeera even reported that the FSA has been selling foreign-provided weaponsto al-Qaeda leaders in Syria.
“Talk of ‘moderate’ rebels on the part of people like John Kerry or Elizabeth O’Bagy is merely a matter of moving the goalposts,” Rosenthal explained, echoing widely expressed sentiments among analysts following the conflict. “In the sense of the term that was usual, say, just a year or two ago, they are virtually all Islamic extremists. For the great bulk of the rebels, the war undoubtedly does represent a holy war against an ‘apostate’ Arab leader, as was the case in Libya.”
According to Rosenthal and his research on global Islamic extremism, Hosni Mubarak, Gadhafi, and the Assad dynasty have long been identified in al-Qaeda literature as “tawaghit.” The term is often translated as “tyrants,” he explained, but it actually means “false idols,” with the implication being that the rule of the relevant despots “usurps the legislative role that, per Islamists, is reserved for Allah (whose laws are, of course, embodied in the Quran).”
But what about Libya today?Has it achieved “democracy” and “human rights,” as proponents of “regime change” argued it would? Rosenthal’s book offers extensive documentation about what really happened during and after the UN-backed “regime change” operation led by the Obama administration. The New American also did a major report about the entire fiasco, explaining, among other elements, how the U.S. government sided with al-Qaeda and its affiliates to bring down the regime, and what that meant for the future of Libya.
More recently, the U.K. Independent published a special report this month looking at the shattered nation today.“Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters,” noted the report, adding that the nation went from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. “As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago.”
According to Independent reporter Patrick Cockburn, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated central government is witnessing a disintegration of its authority “in all parts of the country.” That reality on the ground, he continued, casts doubts on claims by American, British, and French politicians that NATO’s 2011 “military action” in Libya was a “successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.”
“Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law.Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire,”the Independent reported, citing dozens of deaths at a recent protest. “Foreigners have mostly fled Benghazi since the American ambassador, Chris Stevens, was murdered in the US consulate by jihadi militiamen last September. Violence has worsened since thenwith Libya’s military prosecutor Colonel Yussef Ali al-Asseifar, in charge of investigating assassinations of politicians, soldiers and journalists, himself assassinated by a bomb in his car on 29 August. Rule by local militias is also spreading anarchy around the capital.” Meanwhile, Libya’s new rulers announced an “integration” plan with Sudan’s genocidal Islamist dictator, too.
Instead of helping to create yet another bloody disaster in the Middle East, Congress should step in and restrain Obama, ensuring that the U.S. government remains neutral in the ongoing war between Syria’s ruthless dictator and the largely jihadist “rebels.” Christians are already under mortal threat there after having been protected by the Assad-family regime for decades,and if the Obama-backed “rebels” succeed,as in Libya, Christians’ futures will become even more imperiled. There are no good outcomes in Syria at this point, but having American taxpayers turn that nation into yet another Libya — or worse — is a terrible planfor more than a few reasons.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ronald Reagan called them “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.”He characterized Contra killers the same way.
Bin Laden, al-Liby, and many other Al Qaeda fighters were used strategically as both allies and enemies. Most recently,al-Liby was an anti-Gaddafi “freedom fighter.”
In 2000, he was indicted for his alleged role in bombing US Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies in 1998.
He was one of the FBI’s most wanted. He had a $5 million bounty on his head. Washington abducted him lawlessly. It did so on Libyan territory.
US policy is out-of-control. Obama authorizes whatever he wants anywhere worldwide. Rogue leaders operate that way.
On October 8, AP headlined ”Did Obama Swap ‘Black’ Detention sites for ships?”
He ordered alleged “terrorists (interrogated) for as long as it takes aboard US naval vessels.” Al-Libi is held on the USS San Antonio. It’s an amphibious warship.
Throughout his tenure, Obama continued the worst of odious Bush administration practices. The Clinton administration began them. Guilt or innocence doesn’t matter. Suspects are lawlessly abducted.
They’re denied all rights. They’re held secretly at US black sites. Confessions are extracted through torture. Detainees say anything to stop pain.
Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg. Dozens of US torture prisons operate globally. Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and many other complicit US allies host them.
They permit indefinite detention, interrogations, torture and other forms of abuse.
They assist in capturing and transporting detainees. They allow use of their domestic airspace. They provide intelligence information.
America is by far the world’s leading human rights abuser.No nation in history matches its ruthlessness. It’s out-of-control. It’s unaccountable. It’s waging war on humanity. It’s doing it globally.
Reprieve is UK-based. It promotes rule of law accountability. It works to “secure each person’s right to a fair trial.” It tries to “save lives.”
In June 2008, it saidAmerica “may have used as many as 17 ships as floating prisons.”
“About 26,000 people are being (lawlessly) held by the US in secret prisons – a figure that includes land-based detention centers.”
“(I)nformation suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001.”
So have thousands more under Obama.
Former Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Jeffrey Gordon liedearlier, saying:
“We do not operate detention facilities on board Navy ships.” They’re in “Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.”
They’re in at least 54 complicit countries.According to Reprieve:
“Prison ships have been used by the US to hold terror suspects illegally since the days of President Clinton.”
“US government sources have confirmed that both the USS Bataan and the USS Peleliu have been used to hold prisoners.”
“Reprieve investigations suggest that a further 15 ships have been used to hold prisoners beyond the rule of law since 2001.”
They’re “interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations.”
Reprieve legal director Clive Stafford later said:
“(W)e’ve identified thirty-two prison ships, sort of prison hulks you used to read about in Victorian England, which have been converted to hold prisoners, and we’ve got pictures of them in Lisbon Harbor, for example.”
“And these are holding prisoners around the world, as well. And there’s a bunch of proxy prisons – (in) Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and other countries – where this stuff is going on.”
“And this is a huge concern, because the world focus is on Guantanamo Bay, which really is a diversionary tactic in the whole war of terror or war on terror, whatever you’d like to call it.”
“And actually, most of these people who have been severed from their legal rights are in these other secret prisons around the world.”
According to a former detainee:
“One of my fellow prisoners in Guantanamo was at sea on an American ship before coming to Guantanamo.”
“He was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other prisoners on the ship.”
“They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV.”
“The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantanamo.”
Reprieve calls the USS Bataan one of America’s “most infamous ‘floating prisons.’ ”
John Walker Lindh was sent there. So was Australian David Hicks. Lindh was maliciously called the “American Taliban.”
Hicks was sold to US forces for bounty. Both men were lawlessly held. They were brutally tortured. Thousands of others have been treated the same way.
Obama promised to end lawless Bush administration practices. They continue out-of-control.
America’s war on terror authorizes anything goes. On September 18, 2001, Congress passed a joint House-Senate Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) for “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”
On October 26, Patriot Act lawlessness followed. On November 13, Military Order Number 1 authorized the president to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens anywhere in the world for any reason.
US citizens are now vulnerable. Anyone can be arrested or abducted. They can be held indefinitely without charge, evidence, due process, trial, or other judicial fairness protections.
Torture is official US policy. Bush established it. On September 17, 2001, he signed a secret finding.
It authorized the CIA to “Capture, Kill, or Interrogate Al-Queda Leaders.”
It mandated establishing secret global facilities to detain and interrogate them. Doing so without guidelines on proper treatment was OK’d.
Detainees were declared “unlawful enemy combatants.” Obama calls them “unprivileged enemy belligerents.”
He authorized their murder or capture and indefinite detention. Torture remains official US policy.The worst of Bush administration practices continue.
International, constitutional and US statute laws no longer apply. Diktat power replaced them. Today’s America reflects out-of-control lawlessness.
A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1
So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?
Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
The Arab League has not publicly endorsed supportof US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the warand the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.
So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!
Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO!– refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10
Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.
United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)
The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.
Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
El Salvador 1980s
Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
Bosnia 1994, 1995
Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
Afghanistan 2001 to present
Pakistan 2007 to present
Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists;also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations;all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.
A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12
Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examplesof which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began,and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after.Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.
“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley)13
Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecutethose under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders.Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own goodin their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious?That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch,Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.”14
But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?”15He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16
We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?
America’s love affair with Guns
Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.
On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol.This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17
I sent Kokesh the following email:
“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”
I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.
Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.
The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
On A Constitutionalist Note....“The time is now near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves.” Father of Our Country - George Washington 1776..............................................................................In Memoriam: "War" - Andrew Breitbart - Father of Our New Media (1969-2012)
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