White House Maintain Their Side Of The Cover Up

A spokesman for President Barack Obama acknowledged that the UK remained a key partner in the fight against terrorism. He added: “We shared this information in confidence and with certain expectations.

“As we warned, the court’s judgment will complicate the confidentiality of our intelligence-sharing relationship with the UK, and it will have to factor into our decision-making going forward.”

In a defeat for the British government, the Court of Appeal on Wednesday ruled that a seven paragraph account of the alleged torture of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national, in Pakistan in 2002 should be published.

David Miliband, foreign secretary, opposed publication of the information, because he said it would make it harder for the US intelligence agencies to work with their British counterparts. Mr Miliband told MPs that he had spoken to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the judgment. “It has been followed carefully at the highest levels in the US system with a great deal of concern,” he said. “We will work carefully with the US in the weeks ahead to discuss the judgment and its implications.”

Posted in Human Rights, Torture, War Criminals, War on Terror Scam. Tags: . Comments Off on White House Maintain Their Side Of The Cover Up

22 Bahman (11th of February 2010)

Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations, including by those opposed to the current government, on 11 February, the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Various officials from the police and the judiciary have warned in recent days that anti-government demonstrations will be not be tolerated.

Amnesty International fears that the comments made by officials, and the wave of arrests, unfair trials and executions illustrated below presage renewed violence on the part of the state, should people heed the calls made by unsuccessful presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to take to the streets to peacefully voice their opinions.

Amnesty International fully recognizes the Iranian authorities’ duty and responsibility to safeguard the public and maintain order but this does not justify the suppression of peaceful protests, as has happened repeatedly over recent months, nor violence by state forces against peaceful demonstrators. All policing must be conducted in accordance with internationally recognized standards relating to policing and the use of force, and should be conducted by appropriately-trained law enforcement personnel – not the politically-partisan volunteer Basij militia, which has a record of committing serious human rights violations and is neither trained nor equipped for proper police work. No one should be subjected to assault and strong-arm treatment by the security forces and any persons accused of violent acts, such as stone-throwing or criminal damage, should be charged and tried fairly in full conformity with Iran’s obligations under international law.

Naj reports early stories of the locking down of the capital and of dissenters. An interview with Mousavi last week, carried on the website Kalameh-

Mr. Mousavi, referring to himself as an ordinary man among tens of millions, emphasized that the Green Movement belongs to all strands of the Iranian nation and invited people from all walks of life to march peacefully on the 22nd of Bahman 2010 (11th of February 2010). He also asked all Iranians including the security services, police, Basij, and Sepah and all Iranians to respect each other and to refrain from violence as the international community is closely watching the development in Iran. Mr. Mousavi further stated that he had no representative abroad; however, he also added that, “The resilience of being in the Green Movement is that everyone is expressing their views in an atmosphere of contemplation and calm wherein I also express my views in our shared destiny.”

Twitter #22Bahman has reports of opposition supporters shouting Allahu Akbar across the rooftops of Tehran. Even as our governments continue to create theatrical events to discredit Iran, the key is people not government, I wish Iranians well and to those who seek to harm them within and without, we are sick of your power games. A small but interesting poll, that you can also vote in.

Posted in Iran. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Operation Moshtarak Propaganda

Back in Afghanistan, McClatchy’s Saeed Shah reports that only about 1200 residents have fled the Afghan city of Marjah in Nad Ali district, ahead of a major NATO/ Afghan invasion planned for later this week. The city of 80,000 is controlled by some 2000 Taliban fighters and there are many heroin labs, the profits of which help to support the Taliban.

The lucrative poppy crops grown in this region are all that is left of a 1950s & 1960s US irrigation scheme that went bad, and Marjah and environs were nicknamed “Little America.”

The refusal of locals to leave in any large numbers may be what prompted US commanders to begin telling the people of Marjah to ‘stay inside their homes’ and stay out of the way of the fighting. This message is a 180 degree reversal of the earlier message, that locals should leave.

CBS News reports embedded with the US Marines outside Marjah, to the southwest of the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah. This report gives the impression that substantial numbers of civilians have left or are leaving, but this assertion appears not to be true.

The NATO / Kabul plan is to chase the Taliban out of Marjah, win local hearts and minds, and garrison it with Afghan army troops in the aftermath to ensure that the Taliban do not return. This plan requires that the operation not do so much damage to the city and kill so many locals that they are alienated in the long term.

This would require a good deal more care than the US led forces have taken so far, so I expect the in/em -bed reporters of corporate news will be again working overtime to portray a favourable spin to mass civilian deaths. Expect stories of tragic yet heroic soldiers killed by eveel swarthy hordes and maybe in a throwaway last line ‘and 400 Afghans killed today’. The BBC is going with- Afghan villages abandoned before Nato-led operation Hundreds of villagers living in a Taliban-controlled area of southern Afghanistan are leaving before a major Nato-led offensive gets under way. -While carefully avoiding mention of the vast majority, the thousands who are still there except in a little fact box that is entitled ‘MARJAH: ‘TALIBAN STRONGHOLD’ see how that works? So while the on the ground assault is called Operation Moshtarak, is that also the name for the media warfare operation that is clearly already being deployed?

Posted in Afghanistan, Media. Tags: . Comments Off on Operation Moshtarak Propaganda

Andy Worthington On Amnesty, Gita Sahgal & Moazzam Begg

I think this can reasonably be called expert opinion and is required reading to anyone interested in this issue (and not just because he references one of my previous posts, although clearly he displays consummate good taste there!). He very perceptively notes how this is being used as a vehicle by some figures with pre-existing agendas that are in fact at odds with human rights. This is the wider context that I think those immediately rushing to seeing this in stark terms are crucially lacking. There is also this transcript made by Earwicga of Gita Sahgal’s short interview on the Today programme (and oh dear is that Justin ‘Dim but Dim’ Webb interviewing her, oh Today, poor wee programme). He also has had much time to talk and debate with Moazzam Begg, something Sahgal hasn’t which is why I think she should spend some time talking with him rather than journalists looking to stir things.

Binyam Mohamed Torture Cover Up Defeated

This is great news, seemingly the govt tried up until the last minute to fiddle the courts -Legal principle established in 1637 banned secret talks between lawyers and courts. It was broken by the government–  and more is to come, and -a lawyer’s letter detailing how the Master of the Rolls condemned MI5 for withholding intelligence from the foreign secretary and the courts over complicity in torture

Amnesty International has today welcomed the disclosure of information detailing the torture of UK resident Binyam Mohamed while in US custody.

The Court of Appeal this morning ordered that seven previously redacted paragraphs concerning Binyam Mohamed’s detention by the US be made public despite the UK government’s opposition to this move.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“This disclosure of information is welcome. Instead of blocking the release of information that may implicate UK officials in acts of torture, the UK authorities should be trying to get to the bottom of this affair.

“Today represents another step toward accountability and transparency but it shouldn’t be left to individual court cases and prolonged litigation resisted at each stage by the UK government to establish the nature of the UK’s possible role in human rights abuses during the ‘war on terror’.

“In March last year it was announced that the police would begin an investigation into the allegations of possible criminal wrongdoing by agents of the intelligence services, and the outcome of the investigation is still awaited.

“The fact that Binyam Mohamed was tortured triggers the UK’s human rights obligation, under domestic and international law, to investigate allegations of UK complicity in his abuse.

“We renew our call for an in independent and wide-ranging inquiry into all aspects of the UK’s alleged involvement in human rights abuses like rendition, secret detention and torture.”

PS. The redacted passages-

The following is quoted from the first judgment of the Divisional Court in the Binyam Mohamed case on 21 August 2008. We have alerted the Court to a typographic error.

“The following seven paragraphs have been redacted
[It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2001 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.

v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.

vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and “disappearing” were played upon.

vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews

viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the inter views were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities]”

Posted in Human Rights, Torture. Tags: . Comments Off on Binyam Mohamed Torture Cover Up Defeated

TomDispatch- Nick Turse: America’s Shadowy Base World

Nearly a decade after the Bush administration launched its invasion of Afghanistan, TomDispatch offers the first actual count of American, NATO, and other coalition bases there, as well as facilities used by the Afghan security forces.  Such bases range from relatively small sites like Shinwar to mega-bases that resemble small American towns.  Today, according to official sources, approximately 700 bases of every size dot the Afghan countryside, and more, like the one in Shinwar, are under construction or soon will be as part of a base-building boom that began last year.

MORE

Posted in Afghanistan, War on Terror Scam. Tags: . Comments Off on TomDispatch- Nick Turse: America’s Shadowy Base World

The Horror of Bureaucracy

SERCO, which runs Yarl’s Wood, says it needs to look at the lunch records to see how many detainees have refused food before it can confirm how many women remain on hunger strike’

Posted in Human Rights, Migrant Rights. Tags: . Comments Off on The Horror of Bureaucracy