Gunboat Diplomacy

Signaling impatience with Syria, the United States has sent its USS Cole warship off the coast of Lebanon in a show of support amid Beirut’s political crisis, U.S. officials said on Thursday.Lebanon’s Western-backed governing coalition and its Syrian and Iranian backed opposition have failed to reach a deal to end the country’s political conflict. A U.S. defense official said the Cole left Malta on Tuesday and was headed toward Lebanon, adding it would not be within visible range of Lebanon but “well over the horizon.”

The USS Cole was attacked off the coast of Yemen in October 2000 by al Qaeda militants. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed.

Update:

Another military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because full details about the ship movements are not yet public, said a Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Cole, was headed for patrol in the eastern Mediterranean and that the USS Nassau, an amphibious warship, would be joining it shortly. The officer said a third ship would go later, but he did not identify it by type or name. 

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Royal Tradition Of Killing Poor Foreigners Continues

I know it will be used in the US as a stick to beat the feckless Bush regime and the lack of any of them or their family serving, but it’s colonialism not heroism and anyway a Royal family? Are we living in a Shrek movie? For fuck’s sake.

Another Journalist Swallowed Into The Gulag

Jawed Ahmad. A journalist for a Canadian TV network who has been held for four months without being charged has been designated an unlawful enemy combatant, the U.S. military said Wednesday.Ahmad, 22, who is also known as Jojo Yazemi, was detained Oct. 26 at a NATO air base in the southern city of Kandahar, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group. He was later transferred to a detention center at the U.S. military base in Bagram, north of Kabul.

“CTV news continues to be deeply concerned about Jojo Yazemi’s well-being and we are continuing to work all diplomatic channels available to find out additional information and get Jojo his due process,” Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, said in a statement.

PJ, which said Tuesday that it received a letter from the Pentagon on Feb. 22 about Ahmad being held as an enemy combatant, demanded that U.S. authorities disclose evidence and specify charges against him.

“Although the Pentagon has made a very serious assertion, it has yet to disclose any supporting evidence. And despite holding Jawed Ahmad for four months, authorities have yet to charge him with a crime,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We urge military officials to either charge Jawed Ahmad with a recognizable criminal offense or, if they have no intention of doing so, to release him immediately.”

One moment he was a human being with rights, now he is an”unlawful enemy combatant” some mysterious undefined state of unbeing the Empire uses to turn human beings into…what exactly? Puppets for the rack? Gulag livestock? What stops them from doing it to us?

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War Criminal Loses Job

After this

“I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process,” Davis continued. “At which point, [Haynes’s] eyes got wide and he said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.’

Scumbag war criminal Haynes got the boot-

Having thoroughly exposed the preconceived notion of guilt in the Commissions, which infects the whole of the administration’s post-9/11 detention policies (in the tribunals at Guantánamo, for example, condemned by former insiders for being designed to rubberstamp the detainees’ designation as “enemy combatants” without testing the “evidence”), Col. Davis’ next trick was to declare, the day after, that he would appear as a defense witness for Salim Hamdan at his next pre-trial hearing in April. “I expect to be called as a witness,” he explained, adding, “I’m more than happy to testify,” and describing his decision, ominously for the administration, as “an opportunity to tell the truth.”

The final blow to the Commissions — for now, at least — came yesterday, when, without even attempting to address Col. Davis’ allegations, the Pentagon abruptly announced that William Haynes was resigning as Chief Counsel, “to return to private life.” A spokeswoman said that he had discussed leaving the administration “some months ago” and had “decided to accept an offer to work in the private sector.”

I don’t think because he was revealed to be an evil man, but because his exposure revealed the evil of a lot of other criminals.

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US Backed Regime Refusing To Withdraw From Occupied Territories

I bet you thought I meant Israel-

Horn of Africa neighbors Ethiopia and Eritrea insist they will not resume a war that killed an estimated 70,000 people. But both have moved tens of thousands of troops to the border because of the dispute over the 620-mile (1,000-km) frontier. Ethiopia has called for talks on border demarcation and normalization of relations before it will pull back from areas assigned to Eritrea by the boundary commission. But Eritrea’s U.N. Ambassador Araya Desta ruled out any talks with Addis Ababa until Ethiopia withdrew.

“When (the Ethiopians) have gone out of the sovereign territories of Eritrea, then the question of normalization will come later,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview. He also called on the Security Council to put pressure — including possible sanctions — on Ethiopia to withdraw.

Most of the U.N. peacekeepers on Eritrea’s border with Ethiopia have moved to Eritrea’s capital Asmara…The peacekeepers have been stationed in a 15.5-mile (25-km) buffer zone inside Eritrea. But Asmara turned against the mission because of U.N. inability to enforce rulings by an independent commission awarding chunks of Ethiopian-held territory, including the town of Badme, to Eritrea. The United Nations ordered the force last week to start moving to Asmara, saying Eritrea had cut off fuel and food supplies and prevented it moving to the Ethiopian side of the border. Eritrea denied it had done so.

So standby for the reports of an eveeel Eritrea housing terrorists and abusing the UN. Looks like the long set up is coming to fruition for the empire.

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3 Weeks Until The Blogswarm

blogswm6.jpg

146 blogs have already signed up to the 5th Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq Blogswarm including veterans & parents of soldiers. Three weeks today will be that anniversary, already right wing sites have attacked, eager to demonstrate their witless buffoonery and lack of access to mental health professionals. The fact is a broad and hugely varied majority of people want an end to the war, now we must make the elite rulers of our nations aware of our resolve and stop this supreme, ongoing crime.

Join the March 19 Blogswarm Against the Iraq War

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Ex SAS Soldier Reveals Extent Of Torture

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”.

Via Lenin. Here are excerpts of the statement 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.

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.

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.