Baha Mousa & The Rotten Barrel

Baha Mousa was tortured to death by British troops. There is little need to wonder about whether our forces were given the green light to torture,they were-

[June 2007] The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is facing accusations that he told the Army its soldiers were not bound by the Human Rights Act when arresting, detaining and interrogating Iraqi prisoners.

Such were the concerns of legal advisers on the ground over the Attorney General’s views that the MoD arranged for the senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Gavin Hood, to visit Permanent Joint Headquarters to settle any worries. Crucially, the emails make clear Lord Goldsmith’s legal opinion was not shared by Colonel Mercer, who contacted his superiors in London to ask for guidance after he had witnessed the hooding of 40 Iraqis at a British PoW camp in March. The men were all forced to kneel in the sun and had their hands cuffed behind their backs. Worried this could leave the soldiers vulnerable to prosecutions, he told the MoD that in his view soldiers should behave in accordance with the “higher standard” of the Human Rights Act.

But the response from the military’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in Qatar was that Lord Goldsmith had told the MoD the human rights law did not apply and soldiers should simply observe the Geneva Conventions.

When Colonel Mercer said he disagreed with the Government’s most senior law officer he was told that “perhaps you should put yourself up as the next Attorney General”. Colonel Mercer also asked for a British judge to be flown out to oversee the procedures for the detention of Iraqi prisoners, but this also was blocked at a high level.

Furthermore Ben Griffin is still gagged from speaking publicly on UK forces role in torture and their knowledge of US torture.

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Zelaya Is In Honduras

Al Jazeera reports-

The ousted president of Honduras says he has returned to his home country, nearly three months after he was forced from power and into exile by a military-backed coup. “I am here in Tegucigalpa [the Honduran capital] I am here for the restoration of democracy, to call for dialogue,” Manuel Zelaya told Honduras’ Canal 36 television network on Monday. Monica Villamizar, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Washington DC, said she had confirmation that Zelaya was in Honduras.

Scores of Zelaya supporters celbreated (sic) outside the UN office in the Honduran capital after hearing of the deposed leader’s apparent return. A spokeswoman for the Honduran embassy in Nicaragua, where Zelaya had been exiled, also said that Zelaya was in Tegucigalpa. “He is in Honduras and calling the resistance to gather in front of the United Nations and protect the constitutional president of Honduras,” Elizabeth Sierra said.

Update: Liveblogging Al Giordano@ Narconews (ht2 BoRev)

For US citizens click here to send a message to your Reps to support the Delahunt-Serano-McGovern Resolution which calls for the return to democracy and the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya.

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Hollywood & Progressive Except for Palestine

I have been following the brouhaha over the Toronto film festival and its part in promoting Brand Israel, it is notable that opponents of the Toronto declaration misrepresent what it says and attack it with strawmen arguments. It is doubly disappointing that a raft of Hollywood notables then signed up to protest the protest, again repeating the fictional claim of a blacklist. It is a triumph of marketing and an abject failure of those signing the protest against protest to engage with the actual Toronto Declaration and not its fictionalised bogeyman. One could play similar games (although with arguably more credibility), one could say the celebrities protesting the protest are supporting apartheid, that historically this makes them similar to those who supported the apartheid regime of South Africa and ensured Nelson Mandela remained imprisoned. It’s not really helpful to go for that kind of hyperbole even though what I have just written is more truthful that the pro-Israel PR attack on the Toronto Declaration. That is why it is disappointing when clearly intelligent and talented creative people lend their support to an effort to sink the debate to that disingenuous level. The reason for lowering the issues to fictional mud slinging is because in the sharp light of day it is evident Israel enacts polices more extreme than the Bush/Cheney reign and the Toronto Film Festival worked with the Israeli government to put a shiny spin on it. As for issues of career in lining up to sign the protest against the protest, well we all make our choices and have to live with them, I’m sure readily available drugs help with that, as ever.

The world is shifting and unthinking US elite support of the Israeli regime is making them a laughing stock and for some a pariah. It is perhaps predictable for an empire entering its bloody decline that its corporate mass media is also similarly uninformed and irrelevant to global citizens. No wonder a film about evolution was not bought for the US market. (But hey I’m not proud, I’m thinking instead … Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens in Adam & Eve- Creation Musical! That’s all kinds of retarded Awesome-all the way to the bank! Or Miley Cyrus & Seth Rogen in Samson & Delilah, Smackdown!)

NB. Some of those signing the blacklist advertisement are conservatives, so I expect little of them as they have their own problems, it is the notionally progressive signers who are bewildering in their (wilful?) blind spot when it comes to Israeli policies, human rights and Palestine. It is also noticeable that the signers of the Toronto Declaration are more diverse and less wealthy than the signers of the ‘We don’t need another blacklist’ advertisement, so it goes.

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Journalist Elena Rodriguez Attacked

On the night of Wednesday September 16th, the TV journalist Elena Rodriguez was attacked by three armed men, beaten, pistol whipped and left in the streets of Quito, Ecuador. A stencilled death threat was left on the windscreen of her car that make it clear the attack was politically motivated and said she wouldn’t be so lucky next time. Her injuries were not life-threatening but the pistol-whip knocked her cold and drew blood and the punches left her bruised all over and confined to bed on medical orders for 72 hours.

I pass this on because as Otto says the attack was on a journalist who worked for Telesur, so far little or no English reports have been made about the attack. Recently Ecuador said goodbye to the US military base there, I think we can be reasonably assured that if a US or UK journalist was attacked for political reasons our media would be very swift in reporting it.