Friday! Miller’s Crossing

I can’t tell you how often this happens to me, I can’t even get house insurance anymore.

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Sit Rep- Windy

HAL smallWindy, voice line gone.

Just lost voice calls so the interwebs might go soon too as it is windy and that can = comms failure. So if all goes quiet here, that’s why.

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Dirty War Scumbag To Face Trial

Spain has agreed to extradite a former Argentine navy officer accused of torturing and killing thousands of dissidents during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War. Ricardo Miguel Cavallo was arrested in Mexico in 2000 and extradited to Spain in 2003 on genocide and terrorism charges.

Now then Cavallo, what a lovely man he is, let’s count the ways-

The former naval officer was known as “Serpico” (for his resemblance to Al Pacino) when he worked at the Navy Mechanics School–often called the “Argentine Auschwitz” or the “Harvard of Death” — where he was famous both for executing and teaching the art of torture.

According to the indictment issued by the Spanish Court, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, also known by the pseudonyms “Miguel Angel Cavallo,” “Serpico,” or “Marcelo,” was part of ESMA’s Task Group 3.3.2. The procedures used by ESMA Task Group 3.3.2 included, among others, kidnapping specific targets, torture, murder, disappearances, servitude, and selection of prisoners for “recovery,” a practice designed to recruit persons thought to have betrayed their former friends. These recruits were intended to form the base of a political party to launch Admiral Massera’s political ambitions. Cavallo served in the intelligence sector of ESMA from 1976 until early 1979, when he became responsible for kidnapped people who were in the process of “recovery.” According to the indictment and survivors, Cavallo was a “Capitan de Corbeta,” a relatively high-ranking position in ESMA, ultimately under Massera’s command. Cavallo, in addition to committing torture himself, made operational decisions such as identifying targets for torture. He also contributed to the decisions of his superiors regarding the final disposition of the victims.

According to Judge Garzón, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo is accused of having participated in 227 kidnappings and acts of torture concerning 110 people, as well as in the kidnapping of 16 babies who had been removed from their mothers who were in prison. The Judge’s investigation also mentions the cases of 248 individuals who had been arrested, detained and finally freed.

Now then about that Al Pacino thing:-

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Um, not seeing it myself, maybe when he was younger he was not such a pasty, pig-eyed, sack of -torturing- shit. And in case you forget let Chalmers Johnson remind you of US involvement and support of the torture regimes.

It is said that dead men tell no tales, but in Latin America they are speaking with exceptional clarity– revealing the sordid details of U.S. Cold War foreign policy toward the area. In 1992, in AsunciÑn, Paraguay, a survivor of the regime of former dictator Gen. Alfredo Stroessner stumbled on five tons of reports and photographs left over from Operation Condor. This was the cooperative effort from 1975 on among military and police officials of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia to identify, torture, and kill as many representatives of workers and advocates of democracy as they could find.

The “methods” that the CIA contends are too delicate to reveal to the American public are its routine practice of turning over the names of people it wants executed to military and police authorities that it has trained and helped put in power. It can then pretend that it had nothing to do with their subsequent deaths, even expressing shock and disappointment at the excesses of its former pupils. This was the pattern of American operations in Indonesia from Gen. Suharto’s rise to power in 1965 to the American refusal in the autumn of 1999 to get involved in rescuing the victims of Indonesian army terror in East Timor.34 The CIA employed these same methods in bringing Pinochet to power and in its relations with Operation Condor.

‘Laptop Of Death’ Came From Mossad?

And not PC World where most horrible Windows based atrocities emanate from, ahem, some excerpts (and check out the Shah’s family happy to help out in the ‘intelligence’)-

(IPS) – The George W. Bush administration has long pushed the “laptop documents” — 1,000 pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian laptop — as hard evidence of Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Now charges based on those documents pose the only remaining obstacles to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declaring that Iran has resolved all unanswered questions about its nuclear programme.

But those documents have long been regarded with great suspicion by U.S. and foreign analysts. German officials have identified the source of the laptop documents in November 2004 as the Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK), which along with its political arm, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organisation.

There are some indications, moreover, that the MEK obtained the documents not from an Iranian source but from Israel’s Mossad.

Despite the fact that it was listed as a terrorist organisation, the MEK was a favourite of neoconservatives in the Pentagon, who were proposing in 2003-2004 to use it as part of a policy to destabilise Iran. The United States is known to have used intelligence from the MEK on Iranian military questions for years. It was considered a credible source of intelligence on the Iranian nuclear programme after 2002, mainly because of its identification of the facility in Natanz as a nuclear site.

The German source said he did not know whether the documents were authentic or not. However, CIA analysts, and European and IAEA officials who were given access to the laptop documents in 2005 were very sceptical about their authenticity.

Scott Ritter, the former U.S. military intelligence officer who was chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, noted in an interview that the CIA has the capability test the authenticity of laptop documents through forensic tests that would reveal when different versions of different documents were created. The fact that the agency could not rule out the possibility of fabrication, according to Ritter, indicates that it had either chosen not to do such tests or that the tests had revealed fraud.

In her February 2006 report on the laptop documents, the Post’s Linzer said CIA analysts had originally speculated that a “third country, such as Israel, had fabricated the evidence”. They eventually “discounted that theory”, she wrote, without explaining why.

Since 2002, new information has emerged indicating that the MEK did not obtain the 2002 data on Natanz itself but received it from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Yossi Melman and Meier Javadanfar, who co-authored a book on the Iranian nuclear programme last year, write that they were told by “very senior Israeli Intelligence officials” in late 2006 that Israeli intelligence had known about Natanz for a full year before the Iranian group’s press conference. They explained that they had chosen not to reveal it to the public “because of safety concerns for the sources that provided the information”.

Shahriar Ahy, an adviser to monarchist leader Reza Pahlavi, told journalist Connie Bruck that the detailed information on Natanz had not come from MEK but from “a friendly government, and it had come to more than one opposition group, not only the mujahideen.”

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Israeli Minister Threatens Holocaust Against Gazans

As reported in lots of places-

“The more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” Vilnai told Army Radio. 

It appears the Israeli government is preparing for a major attack on Gaza-

Israel would not launch a ground offensive in the next week or two, partly because the military would prefer to wait for better weather, defence sources said. But the army had completed its preparations and was awaiting the government’s order to move, officials said.

There were further indications that Israel was preparing for an offensive by sending confidential messages to world leaders, including the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who plans to visit the region next week.

“Israel is not keen on, and rushing for, an offensive, but Hamas is leaving us no choice,” the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, told the senior figures, according to Israel’s mass circulation daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.

Security sources were quoted by both Israel Radio and army radio as saying a big operation was being prepared but was not imminent.

They are most likely watching this-Egypt is working on a plan with the Palestinians to supply all the besieged Gaza Strip’s electricity needs and wean it off its reliance on Israel for power– they will not want to attack a fully powered Gaza. This could be averted if genuine talks occurred that included Hamas, or… expect a slaughter as the circle is closed and the abused becomes the abuser. America won’t stop it nor are they a credible broker, internal opposition is the only hope the extremists will be stopped. Israel stops the siege & attacks, Hamas stops the rocket attacks. Pause, talks.

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UK Court Gags Ben Griffin, SAS Torture Whistleblower

Ben Griffin who made this speech, excerpted here on the 27th has been silenced by the British establishment-

A former SAS soldier was served with a high court order yesterday preventing him from making fresh disclosures about how hundreds of Iraqis and Afghans captured by British and American special forces were rendered to prisons where they faced torture.

Ben Griffin could be jailed if he makes further disclosures about how people seized by special forces were allegedly mistreated and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. Griffin, 29, left the British army in 2005 after three months in Baghdad, saying he disagreed with the “illegal” tactics of US troops.

This is disgraceful but not unsurprising for an administration guilty of war crimes and subservient to the Bush regime. I include below the full text of his statement and urge others to copy and paste the text as well-

This statement was prepared and read by Ben Griffin, ex-SAS soldier, at a press conference on Monday 25 February 2008.

Our government would have us believe that our involvement in the process known as Extraordinary Rendition is limited to two occasions on which planes carrying detainees landed to refuel on the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia. David Miliband has stated that the British Government expects the Government of the United States to “seek permission to render detainees via UK territory and airspace, including Overseas Territories; that we will grant that permission only if we are satisfied that the rendition would accord with UK law and our international obligations; and how we understand our obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture¹.” (Taken from a statement given to the House of Commons by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Thursday 21 February 2008)

The use of British Territory and airspace pales into insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British soldiers detaining the victims of Extraordinary Rendition in the first place. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 UKSF has operated within a joint US/UK Task Force. This Task Force has been responsible for the detention of hundreds if not thousands of individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Individuals detained by British soldiers within this Task force have ended up in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Bagram Theatre Internment Facility, Balad Special Forces Base, Camp Nama BIAP and Abu Ghraib Prison.

Whilst the government has stated its desire that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp be closed, it has remained silent over these other secretive prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. These secretive prisons are part of a global network in which individuals face torture and are held indefinately without charge. All of this is in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions, International Law and the UN Convention Against Torture.

Early involvement of UKSF in the process of Extraordinary Rendition centres around operations carried out in Afghanistan in late 2001. Of note is an incident at the Qalai Janghi fortress, near Mazar-i-Sharif. UKSF fought alongside their US counterparts to put down a bloody revolt by captured Taliban fighters. The surviving Taliban fighters were then rendered to Guantanamo Bay.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 this joint US/UK task force appeared. Its primary mission was to kill or capture high value targets. Individuals detained by this Task Force often included non-combatants caught up in the search for high value targets. The use of secret detention centres within Iraq has negated the need to use Guantanamo Bay whilst allowing similar practice to go unnoticed.

I have here an account taken from an interpreter interviewed by the organisation Human Rights Watch (http://hrw.org/reports/2006/us0706/2.htm). He was based at the detention and interrogation facility within Camp Nama at Baghdad International Airport during 2004. This facility was used to interrogate individuals captured by the joint US/UK Task Force. In it are the details of numerous breaches of the Geneva Convention and accounts of torture. These breaches were not the actions of rogue elements the abuse was systematic and sanctioned through the chain of command. This account is corroborated by an investigation carried out by NYT reporters into Camp Nama and the US/UK Task Force, which appeared in the New York Times on March 19 2006. Throughout my time in Iraq I was in no doubt that individuals detained by UKSF and handed over to our American colleagues would be tortured. During my time as member of the US/UK Task Force, three soldiers recounted to me an incident in which they had witnessed the brutal interrogation of two detainees. Partial drowning and an electric cattle prod were used during this interrogation and this amounted to torture. It was the widely held assumption that this would be the fate of any individuals handed over to our America colleagues. My commanding officer at the time expressed his concern to the whole squadron that we were becoming “the secret police of Baghdad”.

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

During the many operations conducted to apprehend high value targets numerous non-combatants were detained and interrogated in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of civilians in occupied territories. I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.

The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five years they must know that British soldiers have been operating within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed on the actions of this unit.

As the occupiers of Iraq we have a duty to uphold the law, to abide by the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention Against Torture. We are also responsible for securing the borders of Iraq on all counts we have failed. The British Army once had a reputation for playing by the rules. That reputation has been tarnished over the last seven years. We have accepted illegality as the norm. I have no doubt that over the coming months and years increasing amounts of information concerning the actions of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will be become public.

Whilst the majority of British Forces have been withdrawn from Iraq, UKSF remain within the US/UK Task Force.

¹Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.”

Ben Griffin
25 February 2008

www.stopwar.org.uk

Rich Thieving Scum Whine

London is losing its status as the world’s leading financial centre and being overtaken by New York, according to a global survey of finance professionals.The collapse of Northern Rock and the proposed tax crackdown on non-domiciled residents are making the UK less attractive to overseas businesses, according to the City of London Corporation, which commissioned the survey.

A separate survey, also commissioned by the City, said the UK tax system had lost its competitive edge over other financial centres. The UK had become increasingly unpredictable and uncertain, complex and unnecessarily aggressive in its approach to taxpayers, it found.

So basically a shot across the bows by kleptocrats unlimited. Also via Mask of Anarchy (and see Exxon using UK courts to attack Venezuela) we see Tesco is weighing up suing the Guardian over blowing its Enron scams-

“Tesco is, apparently, considering suing The Guardian newspaper over a story alleging widespread offshore tax avoidance by the Grocer That Ate Middle England. This could give rise to a little friction between the rest of the Tesco board and one of its non-executives. In her day job, Carolyn McCall is chief executive of Guardian Media Group.”

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