Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Updates on Bagram // Aafia Siddiqui documents - released February & Just the Facts

Following is the most recent article with excerpts from another in this series of collected recent items on Bagram GO here

Broken Justice at Bagram — for Afghans, and for Foreign Prisoners Held by the US
4.4.11

So what’s happening at Bagram, the main US prison in Afghanistan, which has been wracked by scandals, including a number of murders, and allegations of torture and abuse and since it opened in December 2001?

Unrecognizable since those early days, the prison at Bagram — once housed in a Soviet-era machine shop — is now in an entirely new building, known as the Detention Facility in Parwan. This, according to the Pentagon, is part of a larger Afghan Justice Center in Parwan, which “will become Afghanistan’s central location for the pre-trial detention, prosecution and post-trial incarceration of national security suspects.”

Bagram only occasionally attracts media attention, but in February the prison — in its new location — was officially relaunched as part of America’s revised approach to detention in the Afghan warzone, with more focus on rehabiitation, and less on punishment and isolation. At the time, I was too busy to write about or to cross-post reports by journalists who visited the facility for this relaunch — whose reports were published in the Huffington Post, Stars and Stripes and McClatchy Newspapers — so I thought I’d gather them together here, for anyone else who missed them, as part of my special coverage of Bagram this week. This coverage includes an update to the definitive Bagram prisoner list (the updated prisoner list is here), and “Voices from Bagram,” a three-part series drawing on the Detainee Review Boards at Bagram, and featuring rare examples of the testimony of prisoners.

I was planning to do a clever edit of these three articles, but instead I’m going to content myself with cross-posting them in their entirety, as they all have something to offer. First up is an article in the Huffington Post on February 13 by Daphne Eviatar of Human Rights First, looking primarily at the problems with clearing foreign prisoners for release, but then continuing to hold them (something that also has echoes at Guantánamo). This is based on a useful analysis of the work of the Detainee Review Boards, introduced by President Obama in September 2009, which are used to formalize detention at Parwan/Bagram, in a form that is an improvement on the Bush years, but is still problematical, not only because they are not leading to the release of foreign prisoners, thereby undermining their credibility, as Daphne explains, but also because they still bear no resemblance to the Geneva Conventions, which were throughly sidelined by the Bush administration, and are stlll, it seems, missing in action under President Obama.

This article is followed by a McClatchy Newspapers article from February 25, looking primarily at the success of the new, more humane regime at Parwan, but also touching on problems with abuse at the point of capture, and the prisoners’ difficulties when it comes to mounting meaningul challenges to the evidence against them in their Detainee Review Boards, where they do not have access to lawyers, or, in any adequate sense, to the outside world as a whole, where witnesses might be located who would be able to help them.

The concluding article, published in Stars and Stripes on February 21, examines the difficulties of establishing the guilt or innocence of prisoners, again revisiting important questions that need to be raised about the Detainee Review Boards, and about the type of screening that needs to take place in wartime, by focusing on one particular story — that of former Bagram prisoner Ghullam Sarwar Jamili. This is an excellent case study, juggling the many different elements of detention in Afghanistan — in particular, how the Afghans’ hopes of “build[ing] a law-based state, where due process in a courtroom is the basis for incarceration,” clashes with the US approach.

Defending their use of open-ended detention and review boards — despite the fact that they constitute a unilateral abrogation from the Geneva Conventions — US officials appear to be unconcerned that Afghan prosecutors are complaining that they receive nothng more than “vague case files” from intelligence officials at Bagram, provoking doubts that “the right people are landing behind bars” because “the detentions are based more on confidential intelligence than on releasable evidence.”

US officials also appear unconcerned by complaints from “human rights groups, along with the Bagram detainees themselves,” who say that “their inability to adequately refute the claims against them breeds bitter contempt against the Americans.”

As the articles reveal, the physical conditions at Bagram may have improved for the majority of the prisoners held, but complaints remain that America is still operating under an assumption that it can make up rules as it goes along, and that no one is listening when critics — either Afghan officials, or the priosners, or human rights groups — complain that these innovations have not led to fairness, and to success in the crucial arena of winning Afghan hearts and minds, but have, instead, often led to more confusion, resentment and bitterness, and a belief that Bagram and justice are incompatible.

From another article:

Justice Remains Elusive for Many at U.S. Prison in Afghanistan
By Daphne Eviatar, Huffington Post, February 13, 2011
In the summer of 2008, the United States military captured a 16-year-old Pakistani boy and imprisoned him at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. According to his lawyers, for over a year his family had no idea where he was. When he was finally allowed to speak to relatives nearly two years later due to intervention by the Red Cross, Hamidullah Khan told his brother that he had had a hearing in the U.S. prison. The U.S. military judges had admitted lacking any evidence against him and recommended he be returned home to his family in Pakistan. Months later, he remains imprisoned at the U.S. detention facility in Afghanistan...


...U.S. officials say they have no choice but to hold suspected Afghan militants like Jamili without formal charges. In a time of war, they say, it’s the only way to keep dangerous enemy fighters off the battlefield.

But Afghan government officials looking to the Americans to help them build a law-based state, where due process in a courtroom is the basis for incarceration, are instead being presented with a very different, extra-judicial example based on the laws of armed conflict.

For Afghan prosecutors, who receive vague case files from U.S. officials at Bagram, there is skepticism that the right people are landing behind bars because the detentions are based more on confidential intelligence than on releasable evidence.

Meanwhile, human rights groups, along with the Bagram detainees themselves, say their inability to adequately refute the claims against them breeds bitter contempt against the Americans.

“Once you are in Bagram, it doesn’t matter what country you came from or how you got there,” said Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network that represents dozens of Bagram detainees, though it has never had access to them. “You are in a black hole. You have no legal recourse anywhere in the world.”

Human rights groups complained for years that detainees at Bagram languished with little or no knowledge of the accusations against them, no rights to challenge their detentions and no legal representation. In the early years of the war, two detainees were killed in Bagram and several U.S. soldiers were convicted of or pleaded guilty to abusing inmates.

More recently, conditions have improved. In the past year, the U.S. replaced the old facility with a pristine new complex dubbed the Detention Facility in Parwan and moved the detainees there. It has roomier housing, space for family visitations and, most importantly, new detainee review boards that allow detainees to receive some information regarding the suspicions against them. Suspects can also rebut those accusations and call witnesses to appear on their behalf.

The facility, which many still refer to as Bagram prison, also opened its gates to visits by human rights groups and journalists, who are permitted to attend hearings.

“Part of the goal of our command was to increase transparency,” said Michael Gottlieb, a State Department attorney who advises the year-old Task Force 435 that runs the complex. “Stories of people disappearing and families not knowing where there their relatives were, especially in the 2004 to 2007 period, were a common gripe.”

Nevertheless, rights groups say that the system remains fundamentally flawed. Detainees still don’t have lawyers, and there is no threshhold of proof to keep them indefinitely behind bars. Information gathered through intelligence remains secret. And a determination that a detainee poses a threat is enough to extend his detention.

“They might have improved buildings, they might have made it prettier, they might have improved their own internal proceedings,” Foster said. “But nothing has changed regarding the rights of these people.”

See International Justice Network for the most recent newer releases at here where you can find the following:

The report, Aafia Siddiqui: Just the Facts, reveals shocking new evidence that contradicts official statements from governments of both Pakistan and the United States that Dr. Siddiqui was not detained in their custody prior to her arrest in 2008. IJN has obtained a secret audio recording of a senior Pakistani police official who admits he was personally involved in the arrest of Dr. Siddiqui and her children eight years ago. This account is corroborated by substantial documentary evidence and witness testimony, which all points to the same conclusion—that Dr. Siddiqui and her three children were initially arrested in March 2003 with the knowledge and cooperation of local authorities in Karachi, Pakistan, and subsequently interrogated by Pakistani military intelligence (ISI) as well as U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

This shameful new revelation will not only establish a stage for holding specific political actors accountable for the grave injustice done to Dr. Siddiqui and her family, but should serve as a keystone for repairing the severed diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the United States. In a letter to Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, last week, IJN Executive Director, Tina M. Foster, urged the government of Pakistan to take immediate action to demand Dr. Siddiqui's repatriation, while the U.S. government is seeking the return of the Lahore shooter. In it, Ms. Foster stated:

"The safety and security of all Pakistani citizens is compromised when U.S. government agents can kill civilians on Pakistani soil with impunity, while the daughter of the nation (who has never caused harm or injury to anyone) languishes in a Texas prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Justice demands that Raymond Davis not be repatriated to the United States without securing the return of Dr. Siddiqui to Pakistan. The path is now clear. The only question that remains is whether the government of Pakistan is willing to take it."

To access report documents, GO here or try back another time

FIND plenty of other important items on this case from years ago up until now. Here are just a few:

This one is from one of the best American reporters who's book "The Best Terrorists We Could Find" is due out soon (Nation Books) - This report won an investigative reporting award and was written before either of the two older children were returned. The third child is considered killed or disappeared. GO here

Here's another classic/much-visited article by another skilled American woman from 2006 here

Check Back and be sure to go to the official Aafia Siddiqui family site: freeaafia.org

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

GLOBAL CONVERSATIONS with Women (from Pakistan, Gaza, Egypt, Iraq)



FIND original posting here

Discover for yourself what is unfolding in the Middle East in a special Global Room for Women teleconference series that will touch you deeply and give you courage, insight and resolve to live your own dignity. Sign-up for our Series of 9 interactive calls with four engaging women building peace from Gaza, Pakistan, Egypt, and Iraq. Or, choose the calls most interesting to you!

As we watch what is unfolding in the Middle East it is clear we are living in times that are full of great potential – when outdated systems are falling away making way for peaceful ones. But what does peace actually look like in the lives of the women building it? And what can we learn from them about how to move through turbulent times with grace and dignity?

These dynamic teleconferences focus on sharing our personal stories, knowledge and engaging with women from different cultures who are breaking down barriers for women and girls – an investment in peace. Plus, you will have the opportunity to dialogue directly with our global guests who are galvanized by the chance to have their voices heard. Plan on joining us for an experience of a lifetime. It's easy! By cell phone or landline — no Internet or computer is required.

CODEPINK was instrumental in referring the special guests featured in this series.

Wednesday, March 30 at 5:00pm PST/8:00pm EST
"Introduction to Engaging in Global Conversations:
How We Learn Together in the Global Room for Women"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mona Elfarra, Gaza
Saturday, April 2nd at 11:00am PST/ 2:00pm EST
"How Art, Music and Storytelling Soothes Children in Gaza"
Leveraging her training as a physician, Dr. Elfarra is spearheading numerous grassroots programs throughout Gaza to provide for the psychological needs of over 100,000 children with programs promoting participation in art, dance, music, story-telling, theatre and puppetry.

Saturday, April 9th at 11:00am PST/2:00pm EST
"Who is the Incredible Woman Giving Gaza’s Kids the Right to be Children?”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Samina Sundas, Pakistan/US
Wednesday, April 13th at 5:00pm PST/8:00pm EST
“An American Reinvention as a Peacebuilder”
Forever changed by September 11, 2001, Samina, a Sunni Muslim woman originally from Pakistan, became an outsider in the United States, her home for decades where she had worked and raised a family. By opening her home and her heart to all ethnicities and faith groups, she has dispelled mis-perceptions and created bridge-building conversations between many who thought it impossible.

Wednesday, April 20th at 5:00pm PST/8:00pm EST
“A conversation with Samina, the American Muslim Voice Building Global Bridges”
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Ahdaf Soueif, Egypt
Saturday, April 30th at 11:00 am PST/2:00 pm EST
“Beloved Egyptian Novelist Shares How the Revolution has Captured the Imagination”
Renowned Egyptian novelist, Ahdaf, passionately shares her areas of concern – Egypt, British literature and the representation of the Arab world by the West. Short listed for the prestigious Booker Prize for "Map of Love," she takes us on a journey of breaking free of labels to live in a culture that is interdependent. Her experiences of demonstrating within Cairo's Tahrir Square during Egypt's recent revolution is a riveting story filled with renewed hope.

Saturday, May 7th at 11:00am PST/2:00 pm EST
“Insights from the Egyptian Voice of Romance, Burning Truth, and Justice”

---------
Rashad Zaydan, Iraq
Saturday, May 14th at 11:00am PST/2:00pm EST
“One Woman’s Journey Toward Peace in Iraq”
A native of Baghdad, Dr. Zaydan shares how her world suddenly changed from her life as a pharmacist, wife and mother of four to creating a make-shift emergency clinic in her garage responding to the Iraq war just outside her door. Share in Dr. Zaydan’s experience and journey to discernment and how she provides hope to others on a daily basis.

Saturday, May 21st at 11:00am PST/2:00pm EST
“In-Depth Personal Conversation Dr. Zaydan, the Extraordinary Woman EMT”

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rumi on War and Conflict (& the joys of sunlight & song)


Sizdah Bedar

Dear Friends:

Here is some much needed 800 hundred year old balm for aching if not bleeding souls everywhere...Over to Mevlana...

Move beyond any attachment to names.
Every war and every conflict
between human beings
has happened because of some disagreement
about names.
It’s such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there’s a long table of companionship,
set and waiting for us to sit down.
What is praised is one, so the praise is
one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge
basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and
vanity.
Sunlight looks slightly different on this
wall than it does on that wall.
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still one light.
We have borrowed these clothes,
these time-and-space personalities,
from a light,
and when we praise,
we pour them back in.

I found this translation on Faisal Sheikh's site today here and you may find other similar reflections at my site:
oneheartforpeace (easy to find on search engine or GO here

Photo above is a glorious outdoor picnic celebration occuring the 13th day of the new year -Nowrūz (or Persian New Year also "New Light"). The picnic is called "Sizdah Bedar". People will leave their homes to go to the parks or local plains for a festive picnic. It is a must to spend Sizdah Bedar in nature - the most popular day of the holidays among children because they get to play a lot! Also in this day, people throw the Sabze away, they believe Sabze should not stay in the house after "Sizdah Bedar"- that by going into the fields and parks they avoid misfortunes. It is also believed that unwed girls can wish for a husband by going into the fields and tying a knot between green shoots, symbolizing a marital bond.
(How lovely to see how we share the joy of picnics and the New Year worldwide and to appreciate the similarities as well as the delicious differences.)

Nowrūz itself is a celebration which has spread far and wide including parts of South and Central Asia. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox - when the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day.

The photo and some of this information was found at Iran Chamber dot com

UPDATE - Tuesday/earlier: Libya reports & Other Peace Actions / Events Suggested

This came in to my emails and I don't know if I yet have permission to post with names so I will post in kind of a paraphrase of the notes to Amy Goodman's recent work:

During every war of occupation soldiers rape the population. It is part of imperialist domination — rape, plunder, and subjugation. After Kosovo, NATO personnel profited and still profit through the sex slave trade. But in the words of Stephen Crane: Do Not Weep Maiden, For War Is Kind." (meant as irony of course)

Sent: Tue, March 29, 2011 10:25:29 AM
Subject: Are US Soldiers using rape, murder, & bombing of children as Weapons of War???

See Amy Goodman's take on one reported rape case in Tripoli, Libya: " Pro-Gaddafi Forces Accused of Using Rape as War Strategy" (DemNow Headlines, 3/28/11) (Who seems to be taking a middle of the road view on this story... until more facts come in...which is what you'd expect, no? (Connie, blogger here's comments)

"Some doctors in Libya have accused pro-Gaddafi fighters of using rape as a weapon of war. On Sunday, five men were arrested for raping and torturing a Libyan woman. The international press learned of the incident when the woman, Eman al-Obeidi, burst into a hotel full of foreign journalists in Tripoli. She was quickly detained by Libyan security officers."

...the woman allegedly pulled empty incubators behind her...claiming Gaddafi forces had broken into the hospital maternity ward, pulled babies out of the incubators and thrown them on the ground, and stamped them to death...couldn't have been more dramatic of course...

Yet is this being used by our Congress to justify another grossly destructive invasion and slaughter of thousands by US air power in the Middle East?

(If so, why don't we address all that we in the US have allowed as well to ask if we have the moral integrity to be trying to set things right elsewhere without addressing the same in US policies thus far? Connie)

The doctors commenting on this single incident in Tripoli were no doubt the same romantic, pure and idealistic, pro-democracy “rebels” adored by DemocracyNow in their overtly sympathetic interviews with these courageous, US armed, financed, and supported fighters - who may have extremists and violent backgrounds themselves - including CIA operatives backgrounds?....but why should we care who they are or where they come from or how they are armed? Is not Democracy Now doing serious questioning on this issue?

(That was the jist of the question on the email...yet I don't know enough to fault DemocracyNow! Just to say here, that we all must question our own values to see if they stand no matter the chaos or the emotion-tugging scenes and stories facing all of us? And we need to ask if we aren't about to be the usual Big Bulls in the dish closet and make a worse mess of everything over the long haul?)

Here's the rest of that email:

"With the reports of rape of women by US troops in Iraq (not to mention the alarmingly high rate of rape of women soldiers within the US military); the bombing of civilian wedding parties, children at play, and innocent villagers in their homes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, why is it that Amy has not headlined that "Murder And Rape Are Being Used By Obama And US Soldiers As Weapons of War"? (And who arrested those accused Libyan soldiers in Tripoli so quickly? It takes forever to get charges brought against American troops and contractors accused of rape, torture and murder in US occupied countries; and even then they most often go free.)...

"If you find my commentary more offensive than Democracy Now's lack of responsible, investigative journalism and Amy's blatantly biased propaganda regarding Libya, that may be indicative of just of how little integrity is left in the so-called American Left." ending of this email...

And I would add, let's get beyond Left and Right and Center and really seek out the facts, act responsibly with our OWN reporting and do OUR OWN careful work...

==========

Leaving these easy to cut/past/send ( and add to these American Friends Service Committee and Peace Action )

WarIsACrime.org is staying up to date on actions related to Libya and other peace/justice events. Here's his latest sent Friday:

Not One Dime for War on Libya!

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost over $3 trillion, with no end in sight.

And every single penny was charged to our uncontrolled national debt, even as Republicans endlessly denounced the immorality of that debt.

At a time when tyrants are murdering civilians in numerous countries, why are we bombing Libya?

Is it just because John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman went on TV to demand it? Why do three TV Senator s get to demand wars?

The Constitution requires majorities of both houses of Congress to authorize wars. Tea Party Republicans insisted they would strictly follow the Constitution. So why didn't they hold a vote?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will introduce an amendment to upcoming bills to block any funds for attacking Libya.

Every "progressive," "fiscal conservative," and "Constitutional defender" who opposes this amendment will be exposed as an utter fraud and should be defeated next November.

Tell Congress!
http://www.democrats.com/not-one-dime-for-libya

UPCOMING EVENTS:

3/25/11 Charlottesville, Va., Sudan Benefit Concert, DETAILS

3/29/11 Charlottesville, Va., Johan Galtung, 5:00 to 6:30 in the South Lawn Complex, Nau Auditorium, UVA

4/1/11 Washington, D.C., Power Shift DETAILS

4/2/11 Charlottesville, Va., Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) 3-Legged Race at 10 a.m. at Downtown Mall, DETAILS

4/4/2011 Washington, D.C., School of America's Watch DETAILS

4/8/11 Washington, D.C., Disarmageddon DETAILS

4/8/11 Washington, D.C., Education and Strategy Conference on US Militarism DETAILS

4/9/11 New York City and San Francisco, Peace Demonstrations DETAILS

4/9/11 Asheville, NC, Speaking Truth to Power DETAILS

4/12/11 Global Day of Action on Military Spending DETAILS

4/15-18/11 Washington, D.C., Power Shift, DETAILS

4/16 Arlington, VA, Event for Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, DETAILS

4/30-5/1/11 Los Angeles, Cal., David Swanson with "War Is A Lie" at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

5/1/11 May Day

5/14/11 Athens, Ga., David Swanson with "War Is A Lie" at Athens Human Rights Festival, DETAILS

5/21-24/11 Washington, D.C., Move Over AIPAC, DETAILS

5/26 Washington, D.C., Bill Moyers at Busboys and Poets

6/11/11 London, UK, Conference on Afghanistan and the War of Terror, DETAILS

6/17-19/11 North Andover, Mass., Keep Space for Peace DETAILS

9/17-18/11 Charlottesville, Va., Military Industrial Complex at 50 Conference

FULL LIST OF EVENTS:
http://warisacrime.org/content/upcoming-events

Support Justice and Peace:
Donate through Paypal.

Please help us inform you of activities in your town by logging in at
http://afterdowningstreet.org

“The No-Fly Zone Has Always Been a Recipe for Disaster”: Jeremy Scahill Says

Libyan Strategy Has No Endgame. The U.S. and allied air strikes on Libya have entered their fourth day as part of an international effort to enforce a no-fly zone. While the United States is denying it is attempting to assassinate Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi, allied forces bombed his compound for the second night in a row. “In Iraq, [the no-fly zone] resulted in a strengthening of Saddam Hussein’s regime… I think that it could end up backfiring in a tremendous way and keeping Gaddafi in power even longer,” says Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent and independent journalist.

Find a number of videos on these concerns and with Scahill here and here and see the post just below for more on Libya and interventions.

Kucinich Calls War on Libya Impeachable

Submitted by davidswanson on Mon, 2011-03-21 02:29 Congress Impeachment Libya
From Politico:

A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Kucinich, who wanted to bring impeachment articles against both former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq — only to be blocked by his own leadership — asked why the U.S. missile strikes aren’t impeachable offenses.

Kucinich also questioned why Democratic leaders didn’t object when President Barack Obama told them of his plan for American participation in enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone during a White House Situation Room meeting on Friday, sources told POLITICO.

And liberals fumed that Congress hadn’t been formally consulted before the attack and expressed concern that it would lead to a third U.S. war in the Muslim world.

Find related items at:

warisacrime.org

Seeing Libya's Future In Darfur's Past - Countercurrents.org
Mar 22, 2011 ... Kosovo in the 90s holds a particularly direct relationship with the current Libya situation, and such parallels have already been analyzed ...
www.countercurrents.org/pr220311.htm or CLICK here

Also watch Information Clearing House:

A Contrarian View on Libya : Information Clearing House: ICH
A Contrarian View on Libya By Sam Hamod March 18, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- It's clear now, since the black ops and US and UK military advisors ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27722.htm or CLICK here

Libya, Hypocrisy and Betrayal by the United Nations : Information ...
March 19, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The bombing of Libya will begin on or nearly to the day, of the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27727.htm or CLICK here

Hypocrisy - Washington and the Civilians of Libya By Professor Lawrence Davidson
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27728.htm or CLICK here

IS The NATO Plan to Occupy Libya : ICH
Feb 23, 2011 When our Revolution arose, Algeria, Libya and Egypt were not yet oil producers and a great part of the abundant reserves of Saudi Arabia, ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27553.htm or CLICK here

Libya: Another War We Shouldn't Believe In
March 22, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- U.S. forces fired 110 cruise missiles at Libya on the first day of the war. Each one cost $755000 to build; ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27742.htm or CLICK here

Unverified Misreporting on Libya By Stephen Lendman March 01, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- America's media, Britain's state-controlled BBC, ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27595.htm or CLICK here

U.S.:Neo-Con Hawks Take Flight over Libya : Information Clearing ...
Feb 27, 2011 ... Warning that Libya stood "on the threshold of a moral and humanitarian catastrophe", the letter, which was addressed to President Barack ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27572.htm

Obama's Serbia-Solution for Libya; "Split the country and steal ...
March 20, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The Obama administration never would have launched a war on Libya if they didn't have a puppet-in-waiting ...
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27733.htm
US-Libya War Next?

ONGOING: Raymond Davis Updates: until Wed March 31st

Watch for more updates here which were/will be originally posted by end of March


Dawn.com here Punjab government had not played any role in the release of Davis through payment of blood money: Rana Sanaullah.—Online photo

The first following article update is from onlinenews.com.pk 27 March (and be sure to see one just added which many of us following this case missed earlier. I just found this on Tuesday March 30th at one of the best blogsites (a well-known and highly respected Pakistani Dentist is the blogger here at "Teeth Maestro" and posted this one below on March 24th.)

Davis enjoyed no diplomatic immunity: senate committee

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Ministry (FM) has once again showed inability to provide to parliament details about the activities of CIA operative Raymond Davis in Pakistan.

Senate standing committee on foreign affairs had acknowledged Raymond Davis enjoyed no diplomatic immunity.

Committee met here Saturday under Salim Saifullah in parliament house.

Media men were expelled from committee and then briefing was given to the committee.

A member of the committee told all the officers of foreign ministry including foreign secretary Suleman Bashir were still very cautious over Raymond Davis matter.

On one occasion foreign secretary said “don’t you know the nature of relations we have with US. Due to arrest of Raymond Davis Pak-US ties have been affected as we have been pursuing the stance from the very beginning that Davis is not diplomat and he enjoys no diplomatic immunity. Aiwan-e-Sadr, Prime Minister secretariat, army and all other institutions were aware of this fact. Davis was issued visa on the recommendations of interior ministry and US embassy had stated that official business was motive behind Davis visit to Pakistan.

As per sources foreign office officials told they were facing pressure from various circles including Americans that it should confirm Davis was enjoying diplomatic immunity but they remained stuck to their stance. As far as the activities of Davis are concerned its record will be available with interior ministry and intelligence agencies and they have no such record, they said. This was sensitive issue and release of Davis was secured through judicial process after making payment of diyat to the legal heirs of victims and foreign ministry had played no role in this connection.

During the questions from members of committee, foreign office officials remained silent. However they acknowledged that there were several other such people in Pakistan who could be involved in negative activities on such passports. The responsibility lies with interior ministry that it should apprise us of people who were involved in such activities, which were incompatible with their duties.

Later talking to media men, Salim Saifullah acknowledged that report about Raymond Davis had not been provided to committee despite his repeated directives and foreign ministry kept on preventing him from convening committee meeting terming the issue sensitive.

He (said) Raymond Davis was not (a) diplomat at all and lack of coordination seemed to be existing between interior ministry and ministry of foreign affairs on the matter of issuance of visas to these people.

He told committee had reservations about activities of US operatives in Pakistan and details in this respect would be sought from interior ministry.

===========
I found the following on "Teeth Maestro" blogsite - posted March 24th:

Talkhaba interviews Robert Anderson a CIA operative who operated in Vietnam some 60 years back recently he wrote an article on CounterPunch on what the undercover work CIA did back then and the similarities with CIA now in terms of running operative like Raymond Davis working in Pakistan

Robert Anderson teaches economics and political science at a U.S. community college. He served in the U.S. Air Force (like Bruce Gagnon) and saw combat during the 1967-68 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Later, he helped form the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He traveled to Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973 to support the indigenous struggles for sovereignty. In 2006 he was arrested and banned from the University of New Mexico for pointing out it was wrong for the university to be supporting the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) without public comment. He is now co-director of Stop the War Machine which has organized major demonstrations opposing Star Wars and the Iraqi war. Bob can be called the Raymond Davis of 60s – Raymond Davis to us Pakistanis is synonymous to CIA Killer Machine. His recent article in Counterpunch (February 28th) titled “I Had Ray Davis’s Job, in Laos 30 Years Ago; Same Cover, Same Lies” led us contact him for an interview for Karachi based newspaper. He sent us his reaction over Raymond Davis release. Please read on:

The release of Davis in my opinion is just a green light for more killings and assassinations by the US government and the CIA in your country. The pillage and slaughter of Pakistani will increase most likely in the quest of the US for imperial power over your country and region.

The question of justice has been replaced by money. This is the typical way the US works, kill and buy people off.

Pakistan, in my opinion, missed a historic opportunity with Ray Davis to affirm its sovereignty and now has basically returned to its former colonial status, only under the U.S. rather than the British.

Talkhaba: Since you have been undercover CIA official during Vietnam War, you were a witness to the events during an important part of history. How do you relate the history . . . the working of covert agents of your time to present CIA espionage tactics?

Robert: I tried to paint in my article a picture of the scope of how this is done by various agencies of the US government. I was not an official of the CIA but a regular military man put on loan to the CIA for covert work. It is extensive and way beyond my scope to detail. It involves thousands and thousands of people. There is a lot of literature around on this by others too, especially some ex-CIA agents and people like John Perkins. (Courageous "Economic Hit-man" who reveals how he did many similar type work - pretending to help other nations in guise of US Corporate blessing and did the opposite - See his book synopsis online this parenthetical note from blogger here, Connie)

Talkhaba: You are the Raymond Davis of the past; your period extends over years. What sorts of tactics were adopted during that period? Were these upgraded with time? If yes, then would you share some details with us?

Robert: You could read up on the Phoenix Program and COINTEL programs and get a good idea of what went on in the 60s. Read of the murder of Fred Hampton, for instance. Ward Churchill has some good books on this too as it relates to Native Americans. I would imagine the tactics have changed some but still also rather simple, assassinations where bribery and threats do not work. The torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning by our military is a good example.

Talkhaba: According to your knowledge how many undercover agents were working in Vietnam? How many agents may be working in Pakistan?

Robert: In Laos and other areas, the reports are: a large number. I have no idea as there is a fuzzy line between the official military people and the covert forces. They are all out for the same goal, to destabilize and corrupt and overthrow governments. Sometimes it is done directly with the military sometimes it is done with covert acts. You must know well the coup in Iran in 1953 by the CIA. That is the model that all the rest of this flows from.

No idea of how many of them must be there in Pakistan but I would think the number is quite big given the key position Pakistan occupies in the U.S. plan for the conquest of Eurasia.

Talkhaba: John Perkin has informed his readers of a special tactic. According to him, they had been using women as a blackmailing tool as well as a source of top secret information. Are similar tactics being used by CIA and FBI? How do you see the use of this tactic in Pakistan?

Robert: I have no such information on the ground knowledge of events in Pakistan but it would not surprise me if this tactic was being used there too.

Talkhaba: How do you see American demand for blanket immunity for Raymond Davis, the CIA operative and killer of two Pakistanis?

Robert: Typical. Deny; cry that he is a victim of the folks who don’t understand the greatness and goodness of US intentions. Just some people don’t get the word they say. It is entirely up to Pakistan to decide what to do.

Talkhaba: Given the capability of Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan, some defense analysts assert that terrorist attacks in Pakistan can’t be carried out by Taliban; instead these are planned and perpetrated by CIA? In the light of your experience in Laos, can you endorse and substantiate this assertion?

Robert: It is possible but I don’t know any details. This is done a lot; it is called False Flag operations. The CIA has had plans to kill Americans to get its plans going here too.

Talkhaba: John Perkin in his book “The Secret History of the American Empire” has exposed the World Bank and other monitory organizations as tools of American Imperialism. Do you think CIA, FBI and US secret agencies are working for the same cause on other fronts?

Robert: Of course. They all think the US has a manifest destiny to rule the world, or as some say it, to be the world’s policeman. But what they are after are the resources of other nations.

Talkhaba: Blackwater/Xe Worldwide has been working as CIA’s operative in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prior to the advent of these mercenaries, CIA had been doing all this work by itself. What made CIA to out source its work to various operatives like Xe? Are these operatives crueler up to the requirements?

Robert: I suppose to try to hide it from the American and other people. But anyone with awareness knows what is going on.

Talkhaba: CIA has its network in nearly all countries. Are they freely working in all countries alike or, unlike Pakistan, it will be difficult for it to work in the countries having severe relationship with US or relationship based on the principle of equality and respect for each other’s sovereignty?

Robert: From what I can tell they do this to everyone, friend and foe alike.

Talkhaba: How do you see the America’s “War on Terror”? How far is it tarnishing the very image and interest of USA inside and outside?

Robert: It is corrupting our political system from top to bottom.

Talkhaba: Your article published in “Counterpunch” gives the impression that American masses remain ignorant of truth. It’s also believed worldwide that Americans top the list of nations blindly following their rulers. Has your educational system any relevance with this phenomenon or some other causes compose this highly “educated” blind nation?

Robert: Patriotism and religious self-righteousness is what blinds many people here. The educational system is not teaching the truth, mostly myths and lies.

Talkhaba: What is your experience says about 9/11 tragedy. Do you believe it was done by some Muslim Groups? What is our assessment of Al-Quaida and Taliban?

Robert: Seems to be. They don’t like U.S. intervention in their countries.

Talkhaba: Can you give some advice to Pakistan how to get rid of current terrorism?

Robert: More education of the public and help in understanding that the U.S. can be as terroristic, and a problem, as any other group. Stand up strong and don’t let things like Ray Davis go away.

Talkhaba: Is there anything which I haven’t asked and you want to share with our readers?

Robert: No, you have done well. Keep working for truth and justice.

=========

One Response to “Pakistan gives CIA license to kill Pakistani – asserts ex-CIA Undercover Operative” (On Teeth Maestro)
1 Dr.Jawwad Khan says:
March 24, 2011 at 10:54 am
Talkh Aaba is one of the finest reporter in Pakistan and I am sure he has a great future in this field. His investigative journalistic capabilities are quite evident from this interview.He is well informed and hard working.
Great job Talkh Aaba…

=============

For a few other general background references from early to end of the horrible saga, go to posts below on this site and also see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Allen_Davis_incident

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Events for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

http://www.justiceforaafia.org/Latest Events:

Wed Mar 30 @17:00 - 08:30PM Black Wednesday: Aafia Siddiqui Britain

Wed Mar 30 @19:00 -NY: Solitary Confinement and Isolation in Federal Prisons: Cruel and Inhuman or Necessary?

Sat Apr 09 @10:00 -Fort Worth, Texas: The April 9th Mobilization

For more information go to above site or CLICK here

and also the official family site:
freeaafia.org

Monday, March 21, 2011

GITMO Updates: March

News Digest for March 24-28, 2011

Find all these below at nomoregitmos.org/news

03/28 / U.S. District Judge James Robertson / Washington Post / Letter: Playing politics with Guantanamo

03/28 / Monika Scislowska / Associated Press / Polish investigators of alleged CIA prison ask US to question Guantanamo detainees

03/27 / Charlie Savage / New York Times / F.B.I. Casts Wide Net Under Relaxed Rules for Terror Inquiries, Data Show

03/27 / Andy Worthington / “A Story About Lost and Broken Things”: Mohammed Jawad, A Child in Guantánamo, and the Lawyer Who Fought for Him

03/27 / Jonathan Turley / FavStocks / Brennan Slams Congress for Encroaching on Obama’s Authority

03/27 / Editorial / Keene Sentinel (New Hampshire) / President Obama and the prosecution of terrorist suspects

03/26 / Michael Ratner / Global Research (Canada) / The Case against George W. Bush under Torture Law

03/26 / Glenn Greenwald / Salon / Top Bush-era GITMO and Abu Ghraib Psychologist is White House's Newest Appointment

03/26 / Marjorie Cohn / Common Dreams / Bradley Manning Treatment Reveals Continued Government Complicity in Torture

03/25 / Andrew K.Y. Cheng / Digital Journal / Wikileaks: India opposed Gitmo resolution in hopes to impress US

03/25 / Carol Rosenberg / Miami Herald / Seminole leader wants Obama apology for ‘racist, revisionist history’

03/25 / Amy Davidson / The New Yorker / Andrew Jackson Goes to Guantánamo

03/24 / Michelle Lindo McCluer / National Institute of Military Justice / Paging Joseph Heller: the 9/11 Defense Counsel

03/24 / Editorial / Washington Post / Another attempt to craft rules for detainee cases

03/24 / Evan Perez / Wall Street Journal / Rights Are Curtailed for Terror Suspects

03/24 / Paul Heroux / Taunton Gazette (Massachusetts) / Was George W. Bush right all along?

03/24 / Carol Rosenberg / Miami Herald / War court filing comparing Seminoles to al Qaeda stirs protest

03/23 / Steven Aftergood / Secrecy News (Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy) / Review of CIA Interrogation Program Still Unfinished

More news at http://www.nogitmos.org/news or GO here

Earlier items to be added...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deciphering the attacks on Pakistani Nationals in Bahrain

Posted by Teeth Maestro (blog) March 18, 2011 here

CPR - A Bahrain ID Card which has the nationality clearly mentioned
After posting the two write-ups on the blog here & here about the threats on Pakistanis living in Bahrain, its important to share my own analysis over this issue that I have gained over the past two days thanks to a number of friends in Bahrain and around the world.

There is a large population of Pakistanis living in Bahrain, many settled for years, many knowing only the Kingdom of Bahrain as their birth place, are now suddenly feeling threatened and fear their own personal security. The population which has lived together as a community for many years has recently been divided drastically in terms of Shia and Sunni religious sects, predominantly the Arab rulers are Sunni while a large influx of expatriates have flowed into the country namely Pakistan & other south Asian regions [sunni] and a large section from Iran [shiite]. Mostly the ruling family has recruited Pakistanis [and other south Asians] into the police force because of their natural preference to having a “trusted” dominated force.
Over time many people in Bahrain eyed Pakistanis as the golden-eye favorites of the rulers and were seen with a certain degree of resentment. With the hub of the revolution starting from the GCC roundabout the issue initially was reported as a pro-democracy protest, but over the past few days the “pro-democracy” protesters have become Anti Government rioters taking a startling turn.

Peaceful Pakistanis being a blue-eyed favorite of the rulers have been blanket labeled as pro-government and have become fair game to protestors to identify and inhumanely brutalize them at will. Prime target has been the multi-national police force of who have been at the receiving end of the most inhumane, racial treatment by the protestors and abundant videos are circulating to support this.

The anger has spilled over to Pakistani civilians living in Bahrain, it is now every Pakistani is seen to be as a pro-government supporter and is being targeted under the context of a revolution. The Anti-Government protesters have been marking homes of “naturalized” Bahrainis’(of Asian decent), Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis to attack at any time they have an entry to do so.

My personal telephonic discussions in the past two days with a few Pakistanis settled in Bahrain have revealed some horrifying stories of their families under the threat of being targeted for merely walking on the street, many cases have emerged where mob has stopped people and asked them to show their CPR (Bahrain ID Card). If the card has Pakistani flag then immediately they are subjected to sever beating & nearby killing them. Some of them are no more with us.

Pakistanis are fearful of going to work or school for the fear they may come across a mob who might identify and target them. They are also not sure if the person stopping them is among the good guys or the bad guys.

My concern as a Pakistani is the sole protection of my brethren in Bahrain, I am not commenting on the pro-government or anti-government status of the revolution undergoing on in Bahrain, as I do not consider myself any expert to comment on the intricacies of their political associations or their sectarian problems but to only focus on the safety of Pakistanis living there and to support them in any which way possible.

We would like our powerful media who are covering every aspect of every (kind) of News, to cover the ground reality of this problem. They should be talking to people on the streets who are actually facing this problem rather than copying footage from other channels which in most cases is one side story.

The Pakistani Embassy is ill staffed to handle this emergency and drastic measures need to be employed for the safe extradition of any Pakistani who may be under threat.

The Pakistan Embassy has given safe harbor to 40 families in the Pakistan Club but that is insufficient. A major appeal across Pakistan media and government entities needs to be raised to launch an effort to help these expatriate Pakistanis in this crisis. Our simple goal is the safety of Pakistanis.

NOTE: I, would like to thank Abdulaziz Khattak, Fahd M. Akhtar and Reem, based in Bahrain in helping me verify the contents of this writeup helping me to present the true picture of current situation in Bahrain

Court releases detailed judgment in Davis case

Raymond Davis, who shot and killed two Pakistani men, was released from Pakistan prison Wednesday, March 16, 2011 and left Pakistan after more than $2 million was paid to his victims' families, defusing a dispute that threatened an alliance vital to defeating al-Qaida and ending the Afghan war.

LAHORE: A court on Saturday released the detailed judgment in Raymond Davis case.

The text of the judgment states:

“The case is fixed for framing of charge as copies of all the documents stand delivered to the accused on 25.02.2011 and remaining copies of the documents at the request of the accused were delivered to him on 08.03.2011 both in English as well as Urdu.

“It has been argued by the learned defence counsel that honourable Lahore High Court has remanded the matter at the question of immunity of the accused being Foreign Diplomats to be decided by this court but no such order of the Honourable Lahore High court, Lahore, has been placed on the file through which the accused may have been allowed the immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of this court and on the other hand, Mr Abdul Samad, learned Additional Prosecutor General, has placed on the file a copy of written reply made by Federal Government to the Honourable Lahore High Court, Lahore on 14.03.2011.

“It showed that accused has not been declared immune from the criminal jurisdiction of this court by the Honourable Lahore High court, Lahore, or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, and as such the trial against the accused as held earlier vide order dated 03.03.2011 is to commence.

“There is sufficient material on the file to proceed against the accused with the trial of the case u/s 302 PPC. He does not plead guilty but claim to be tried and charge against him u/s 302 PPC is accordingly separately framed.

“Two separate petitions have been made by the complainant Imran Haider while present in the court through his learned counsel Raja Muhammad Irshad Advocate Supreme Court assisted by Sardar Shabbir Hussain Advocate, at which the complainant has been summoned who is present in the court and he acknowledges both the petitions made for compromise and accordingly superintendent Jail Mr Mushtaq Ahmad is directed to summon the legal heirs of the deceased who were reported to be present outside the jail. Be put up after ten minutes.

“Legal heirs of the deceased Faizan Haider namely Mst. Parveen Akhtar, Zahara Shahzad, Imran Haider, Usman Haider, Salman Haider, Mst Nazia Bibi, Mst Asia, Mst Zil-e-Humma, Mst Shazia, Mst Saima have appeared and made statements that they have received their respective shares from amount of Badl-e-Sulah total amount of Rs Ten Crore on behalf of accused Raymond Allen Davis and they waive their right of Qisas against the accused and have no objection if the accused is acquitted of the charge. Their affidavits are Mark-A to Mark-K/2 respectively. They further stated that they have made the statements without influence, duress, coercion and pressure or any threat.

“Similarly, legal heirs of deceased Faheem Shamshad namely Shahshad Ali, Mst Haleema Begum, Muhammad Saleem Shamshad, Muhammad Waseem Shamshad, Muhammad Jamshed, Muhammad Akram Mst Nazia and Mst Mumtaz have also appeared with their affidavits Mark-A to Mark-H respectively and voluntarily have stated that they have received their respective shares from total amount under Badl-e-Sulah, Rs Ten Crore on behalf of accused Raymond Allen Davis and they waive their right of Qisas against the accused and have no objection if the accused is acquitted of the charge. Their affidavits are Mark-A to mark-H respectively. They further stated that they have made the statements without influence, duress, coercion and pressure of any threat.

“Accused Raymond Allen Davis was charge-sheeted u/s 302 PPC at the murders of Faizan Haider and Muhammad Faheem Shamshad and after framing of charge, legal heirs of both the deceased have put their appearance and got recorded their separate statements and stated by unequivocal terms that they have received amount of Badl-e-Sulah as per their shares and waive their right of Qisas and compounded the offence with the accused and have no objection if he is acquitted of the charge. They made their statements voluntarily, without duress or influence from any corner and each family of the deceased included the legal heirs have received an amount of rupees Ten Crore as Badl-e-Sulah much in excess to the amount of Diyat which hardly was rupees Twenty Nine Lac for each deceased. The court is satisfied that the legal heirs have made their statements voluntarily and without coercion.

“There is no evidence on the file u/s 311 PPC against the accused. Even the report u/s 173 Cr.P.C. is silent as to attract the provision of section 311 PPC regarding commission of Fasad-fil-Arz as the past conduct and previous conviction of the accused does not stand mentioned and even there is no mention in the report u/s 173 Cr.P.C. that the accused can be considered a potential danger to the community. There are some photographs of some sensitive places but the recovery of the same is not proved by any independent evidence.

“The offence u/s 302 PPC is compoundable as enshrined by the injunction of Islam and law of the land. As per compounding statements of the legal heirs of both the deceased having waived their right of Qisas and compounded the offence in lieu of payment of amount of Badl-e-Sulah of rupees Ten Crore by each family have no option but to accept the application made the complainant of the case who happened to be also one of the legal heirs of the deceased Faizan Haider and I acquit the accused of the charge against him u/s 302 PPC while proceeding u/s 345 Cr.P.C read with section 310 PPC, subject to depositing of amount of Diyat Rs. 395,375/- to be payable to the legal heirs of Mst Shumaila Faheem (since expired during pendency of the case). He is in jail, be released, if not required in any other case. File be consigned to the record room after completion.”Muhammad Yousaf Aujla Addl. Sessions Judge Camp at central Jail, Lahore.—APP

Beware of diplomats, they have license to kill we are told

Find original posting here Daily News Sri Lanka's National Newspaper since 1918

Here's a tragic comment on US "officials" abroad from this article - given that many Americans are yearning to be totally removed from this label of "Ugly American":
"...Better safe than sorry, they say. I would be wary of attending any function where anyone working for any embassy is present, especially those working for the US mission and those of Uncle Sam’s allies. Thank you, no."

Beware of diplomats, they have license to kill we are told

Raymond Davis is not an uncommon name in countries where English is spoken by the majority. The name got some notoriety courtesy of the man who shot two Pakistani men in the back on January 29, 2011. That Raymond Davis, is a confirmed CIA operative who operated in Pakistan with the vaguest of links with the US Embassy in that country and certainly nothing that warranted the description ‘diplomat’.

Those for whom the names ‘Raymond’ and ‘Davis’ sound familiar are unlikely to know of any Faizan or Faheem, the names of the two young men Davis shot to death. Neither would they know of an Ibadur-Rehman, the name of a biker who was crushed to death by an employee of the US Embassy who had raced along the wrong side of the road in a land cruiser, in an attempt to rescue the murderer.


Barack Obama

Raymond Davis
The families of the two murdered men have been forced to take ‘Blood Money,’ which according to Sharia Law includes ‘forgiving murderer’ and therefore acquittal. Ibadur-Rehman has since been forgotten. This ‘diplomat’ is to be tried in US courts, but that’s no consolation to the murdered or their subsequently arm-twisted families. One notes, also, that the US criminal justice system is notorious for its racism and summary acquittal of officers charged with racism and murder. Those who are interested could google ‘Amadou Diallo’ or ‘Rodney King’, two of the more prominent cases which were too in-your-face for the mainstream media to ignore or fudge, as it has in the case of the January 29 shooting.

Undiplomatic material
While books can be written about the Raymond Davis case, I thought it would be good to talk about the ‘diplomatic’ element.

Barack Obama, a man who has given the green light to torture and cover-up in cases involving detainees in Guantanamo Bay and other off-shore torture chambers run by the US military (including those in Iraq and Afghanistan) and has chosen to fudge the human rights issues pertaining to the incarceration of Bradley Manning (including humiliation, absence of due process), calls this murderer, Raymond Davis, ‘our diplomat’.

The US Government left no stone unturned to get their ‘diplomat’ released, even threatening Pakistan with ‘dire consequences’ if they did not accede to this ‘request’. This ‘diplomat’ was, let me repeat, a CIA operative and it has been discovered that he was in possession of a lot of undiplomatic material. He carried a gun. He claims he shot in self-defence. It is strange that the victims, who according to him were about to shoot him, had their backs turned to the murderer. It is strange that ‘diplomats’ have to carry guns. It is strange that ‘private security officers’ are called ‘diplomats’. Next we will hear, I suppose, that janitors in embassies are also ‘diplomats’ and have the same right to kill and get away with it as Davis apparently has.

Raymond Davis method

What all this means is that diplomats have double-o privileges, ie ‘the license of kill’ a la James Bond. It means that every Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, Patricia and Kathy in every embassy in every country, from ambassador to his/her toe-nail clipping maid has the right to carry arms and shoot anyone and put it all down to ‘self-defense’. The relevant paragraphs pertaining to diplomatic immunity will be quoted, the murderer acquitted and duly sent to ‘trial’ back home, branded ‘hero’ (most likely) and packed to another embassy in another country. This might be called the Raymond Davis method of getting away with murder.

We are living in a world where James Bond gadgets are available in the real arms market and are regularly used by real-life secret agents. Here’s some information from the Internet:

‘True-life secret agents usually favour small-calibre handguns because they are easy to conceal. However, in situations where greater firepower, range or accuracy is needed, special rifles or machine guns can be made to fold down or disassemble into smaller components that are easy to hide. During World War II, the British Sten submachine gun was provided to French resistance operatives and other Allied spies - it could be collapsed into three pieces for hiding. Spies have used very Bond -like concealed, single-shot weapons disguised as common objects. A tiny pistol that can fit into a belt buckle, a cigarette that could fire a single 22 calibre round when the operative pulled a string with his teeth, a single-shot pen gun and a wrist-holster that could fire with a single arm movement were all actually used. Guns were also concealed in flashlights, gloves, pipes, pencils, tubes of toothpaste and rolled up newspaper.

Double-standards
Obama’s ‘Our Diplomat’ has created a precedent. One can safely assume that all US diplomats carry guns and engage in spying. One can assume that they are willing and able to shoot to kill. We know that the US is right at the top when it comes to manufacturing and using sophisticated, deadly and concealable weaponry. We know that the Uncle Sam is the mother of double-standards. We know that what’s sauce for the any goose is not sauce for the US gander. We would not be faulted for saying that everyone who comes within firing range of any US diplomat is a potential dead-duck, for these are trigger-happy two-tongued terrorists, nothing less. That’s Obama speaking, friends.

No one will check Patricia Butenis’ handbag or her make-up case when she attends some function. Who knows, her right incisor might be a gun which can be activated with flick of tongue and shot when she speaks the words ‘human rights’.

The victim would not know what hit him/her and if anyone noticed or somehow it was found that she was the murderer, all she needs to do is call one of her security-guard-diplomats to rush to her aid, killing half a dozen people and make enough ‘news’ so that Barack Obama will scream the words ‘diplomatic immunity’ and threaten Sri Lanka with ‘dire consequences’.

Not saying it would happen, but it might. Better safe than sorry, they say. I would be wary of attending any function where anyone working for any embassy is present, especially those working for the US mission and those of Uncle Sam’s allies. Thank you, no.

msenevira@gmail.com

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Actions for Peace and Justice in North Carolina

March 25-26, Toward a Moral Consensus Against Torture —Duke University (Raleigh area, North Carolina USA) Hosted by Duke Divinity School, and co-sponsored by the Duke Center for Human Rights, the North Carolina Council of Churches and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, this event aims to equip participants to understand the arguments against torture and to enable them to act within their own communities, trusting that the greatest protection against our government's use of torture is a shared understanding that torture is always wrong. Speakers and panelists will include leaders representing diverse faith traditions.

March 25 - April 15 Windows and Mirrors
a traveling exhibit that provides an opportunity to see ourselves in depictions of the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of artists and children. The exhibit includes 45 unique 4-foot by 6-foot panels created by artists memorializing Afghan civilian casualties, alongside images about living with war collected from Afghan schoolchildren. Opening Reception: Friday, March 25th, 2011, 7 PM, Carnegie Room Guilford College Library. Sponsored by American Friends Service Committee. Various programs throughout the 3 weeks.

APR 17-22 Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace, “Living our Faith”, Statewide walk to protect immigrants’ rights, reform trade policies, call for justice for all workers. Will visit: Goldsboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro & Graham, Cary, Raleigh. Led by Witness for Peace SE, 919-856-9568, witnessforpeaceSE2@gmail.com

US-Pakistan After Raymond Davis

Protestors gather in Karachi on March 19, 2011, against the release of a CIA contractor Raymond Davis. PHOTO: AFP

US-Pakistan relations after Raymond Davis
By Editorial

Published: March 20, 2011

If you connect all the dots, Pakistan and America are going to clash in the near future. The bilateral equation is virtually at an end, and a ‘revolution’ is going to unfold in Pakistan with popular acclaim, most probably with al Qaeda heading the religious militants of our madrassa network. After the release of Raymond Davis, Washington should have been grateful for another anti-US pantomime with a good ending, but the party (read CIA) that unleashed the Raymond Davis crisis decided to unleash another with a drone attack killing 45 of a peaceful jirga in North Waziristan, including the local police (khasadars).

The Pakistan Army, increasingly bothered about what the people of Pakistan think — or what the TV channels care to project — has decided to challenge the US more directly on the drones. Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has earned the admiration of the mostly-religious protesters in the streets of Pakistan by putting the Pakistan Air Force on alert after cancelling the leave of its entire staff and denouncing the drone attack as a counterproductive action. The tribal chiefs in the affected area have given a call for jihad against the US, and they don’t have to go far to join the war unfolding in Pakistan under the leadership of Osama bin Laden and his loyalist Taliban. The war against terrorism, which Pakistan joined under General Musharraf, may be reaching its endgame by Pakistan changing sides.

So far it was the exercise of joining the dots. But behind these recent developments there is the bulwark of US-Pakistan relations that has endured many storms in the past and seems to have survived after every dip in the graph of bilateral warmth. Who is challenging whom to break out of it? Who is leaning on brinkmanship to get the other to show his hand and retreat? Behind the current anti-American wave in Pakistan stand a variety of analysts and doomsayers. There is one class which believes Pakistan should not break out of the pro-US stance but tighten the screw on Washington to make it behave. Then there is a group of ‘realist’ experts who say that the US-Pakistan relationship is ‘transactional’ but, in this equation, America clearly needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the US. The third group comprises the passionate TV anchor and the fulminating clergy on the roads who want a clean cut-off with America and expect Pakistan’s fortunes to change after that in the shape of some miracle they can’t describe just yet.

If you read the statements issuing from the US State Department — especially words spoken by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — the GHQ in Pakistan may be right in thinking that America’s policy in the region cannot bear fruit without Pakistani help. But General Petraeus, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, seems oblivious of the latest drone outrage when he asks Pakistan to attack North Waziristan. It seems that, when it comes to the crunch, Pakistan will have to forget its honour-driven passions and take a good look at its collapsing economy. Any suspension of American aid will not hurt Pakistan greatly, but if the US uses its clout with the international financial institutions and multilateral development assistance agencies to roll back their aid too, then the pain will be unbearable and will unleash a ‘revolution’ in Pakistan by the end of 2011. The GHQ may be thinking that the nuisance of its India-driven ‘rebellion’ may still be outweighed by the part Pakistan plays in the war against terrorism. In October 2010, a checkpost attack by US troops allowed Pakistan to demonstrate who was boss in US-Pakistan relations by making Washington apologise abjectly. Will this be repeated in March 2011? Keep in mind that public opinion in the US about Pakistan is at its most negative and that Pakistan is completely isolated internationally on what it is getting ready to do.

Pakistan’s internal situation is perilous. The economy is gradually coming to a halt and the tsunami of the unemployed, formed by Pakistan’s energy crisis and general bankruptcy of state institutions, is looming on the horizon. This is not a revolution that will set things right. This looks like chaos presided over by al Qaeda, whose faith-driven blueprint focuses on war (and booty), not on economic survival.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2011.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't take Pakistan for granted: US told



National Don't treat Pakistan as client state: US told Updated at 430 PST Friday, March 18, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakisatn on Friday gave a strong reaction to Thursday's drone strike in its tribal area, in which around 44 persons were killed, telling the United States (US) not to take it for granted or treat it as a client state.

Pakistan termed the attack on a gathering of tribal elders in Datta Khel region of North Waziristan on March 17 as "unacceptable" and "a flagrant violation of humanitarian norms and law."

"Pakistan should not be taken for granted nor treated as a client state," the US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter was told by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office said that Ambassador Munter was informed in categorical terms that with the incident it was evident that "the fundamentals of our relations need to be revisited."

"It was for the White House and the State Department to hold back those who have been trying to veer Pakistan-US relationship away from the track," the statement said.

The US Ambassador was summoned in pursuance of the directives of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Ambassador Munter was categorically conveyed that such strikes were not only "unacceptable" but also constituted "a flagrant violation of humanitarian norms and law".

The US Ambassador was also conveyed that under the current circumstances, Pakistan would not be able to participate in the trilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, proposed by the US in Brussels on March 26.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar was initially expected to participate in the trilateral meeting.

Ambassador Munter said that he understood clearly that this was not a pro demarche. He would rush to Washington to convey Pakistan's message to the US Administration at the highest levels.

SEE/MAKE comments and original posting here

US celebrates Davis release by killing 41 & related 18-19 March 2011

Malik Mumtaz Khan & Mushtaq Yusufzai
MIRAMSHAH/PESHAWAR: Forty-one people, majority of them civilians, including children, were killed and several others sustained injuries in one of the bloodiest attacks by the US drones in the remote Dattakhel area in North Waziristan The News Jang dot com dot pk here

here

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pakistani Army Chief Furious with US over Drone Killings


The attacks have escalated in the region since US President Barack Obama took office. More than 100 raids were reported in the area last year.

British Broadcasting Corporation

South Asia

17 March 2011 Last updated at 14:31 ET

Pakistan army chief Kayani in US drone outburst
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani warned that drone strikes undermined the militant fight
Pakistan's army chief has condemned the latest raid by US unmanned drones as "intolerable and unjustified".

In a strongly worded statement, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the attack, which killed about 40 people, was "in complete violation of human rights".

Most of the victims were believed to be civilians attending a tribal meeting near North Waziristan's regional capital, Miranshah.

Tension has been growing in recent weeks between the US and Pakistan.

The US drone attacks are a long-running source of bad feeling, but the acquittal of CIA contractor Raymond Davis of murder has sparked protests across Pakistan.

The Pakistani military often makes statements regretting the loss of life in such incidents, but rarely criticises the attacks themselves.

Gen Kayani, however, said such "acts of violence" make it harder to fight terrorism.

"It is highly regrettable that a jirga [meeting] of peaceful citizens including elders of the area was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life," he said.

"It has been highlighted clearly that such aggression against people of Pakistan is unjustified and intolerable under any circumstances."

Pakistan's intelligence agency is often accused of complicity in the raids, either by supporting them or allowing them to happen.

Militants targeted

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says Thursday's drone strike is the deadliest such attack since 2006.

Officials say two drones were involved in the latest attack, in the Datta Khel area 40km (25 miles) west of Miranshah.

One missile was fired at a car carrying suspected militants. Local tribesmen say the drones then fired another three missiles at their open-air meeting, or jirga.

Our correspondent says the car was moving close to the jirga, and the missiles hit the vehicle as well as the jirga.

According to the tribesmen, the meeting was being held to discuss a local land dispute over the ownership of chromite deposits in the area. They say that no militants were present at the time.

Officials said the drones were targeting militants linked to Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur. One of his commanders, identified as Sharabat Khan, was in the vehicle hit in the attack and was killed, one local official told the BBC.

The US military and the CIA do not routinely confirm that they have launched drone operations, and Gen Kayani did not specifically name the US or mention drones.

But analysts say only American forces could deploy such aircraft in the region.

The attacks have escalated in the region since US President Barack Obama took office. More than 100 raids were reported in the area last year.


Army Chief Gen Kayani says such "acts of violence" make it harder to fight terrorism.

Pakistani anger over release of CIA killer Raymond Davis

Key Excerpts:

...Faizan Haider, a lawyer representing the family of one of those killed, told the BBC on Wednesday that the "blood money" deal was done without his knowledge and that he was in detention when it was made.

...Critics of the deal point out that as recently as four days ago, the relatives said that they wanted justice not compensation.

...Public anger intensified in the case earlier this year after unnamed US officials said that Mr Davis had been secretly working for the CIA at the time of the killing.

...'Saudi money'

Meanwhile, more details have emerged of the financial compensation paid to the families of the dead men.

Siddiqul Farooq - a spokesman for the PML-N party that leads the coalition in Punjab province - said relatives performed a pilgrimage to Mecca earlier this month and collected the money before returning to Pakistan.

The whereabouts of the families is still not known after the Pakistani media reported on Wednesday that they received 200 million rupees ($2.34m, £1.1m).

The decision to release Mr Davis was made during a hearing at a prison in Lahore.

...The relatives confirmed to the judge overseeing the case that they had received "blood money" in return for pardoning him.

Under Pakistani Sharia law, relatives of a murder victim can pardon the killer.

Original article 17 March 2011 Last updated at 04:53 ET Pakistan anger over release of CIA killer Raymond Davis here

Pakistanis are also quite angry over the continual killing of civilians by US drones
here

UPDATED: ? Million in Blood Money (Pakistani Blog: Teeth Maestro)

After this report posted to Teeth Maestro (award-winning Pakistan blog) go below for yet another version...

From Teeth Maestro:

As expected the Americans finally had their way, the CIA operative who had shot dead two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore in January was released by the an additional session (with) Judge Yousuf Ojla in Kot Lakpath Jail.

He initially found Raymond Davis guilty of the double murder but immediately the lawyers presented the families of the victims who absolved the case against Raymond claiming to have been paid blood money in exchange for the pardon. Having no case - the judge was more or less forced to withdraw all charges against the American.

The documents presented to the courts show that over 18 family members of the two victims were distributed cash in exchange for the pardon tuning to over $ 2.34 MIllion. Immediately after the release it is reported that Raymond - along with the family members - were flown out of Pakistan to an undisclosed location.

Later a spokesperson for the white house in a press conference denied that the payment was made by the US Government and also made no comment (whether or not) the family members were given passports or were being rehabilitated in the US in lieu of their pardon

What surprises me is that it was almost public knowledge that the Americans were applying pressure on the family but our government did nothing to assert its force to protect its people from foreign pressures on our own land. They have sold out the the Pakistani nation and it must be noted fact that all the leaders were in cahoots with this negations. On 18th Feb a report published by The Friday Times now makes erring sense as to why Fahim’s wife suddenly committed suicide. Fahim's mother is documented now to have taken over Rs. 33,333,333

The Friday Times – Offers accepted
Ever wondered why there’s not a squeak out of the family of that poor boy Ibadurrahman, who was run over and killed by the speeding American Consulate vehicle that was chasing after Raymond Davis that fateful day in Lahore? Well, we have it from the horse’s mouth that Ibad’s family have been given four American passports and Rs 1 crore in compensation and that they have accepted both the passports and the money. They’ve signed on the dotted line and agreed to keep quiet. They will be leaving Lahore for the US shortly. An important personage of the Punjab Government went and personally made the offer to Ibad’s family and saw it through, notwithstanding the government’s pious denials to all and sundry that “the law would take its own course”. Something similar also happened to the late Fahim’s family (Fahim being one of the men shot dead by Raymond Davis), except that they fell out with each other. Apparently, Fahim’s mother was reluctant to share some of the spoils with his widow, who in a fit of desperation killed herself. Since then, the same mother and other relatives of Fahim have accepted the American offer.

There is no news about the murderer who took refuge in the US Consulate in Lahore after running over a pedestrian Ibadur Rehaman, and that family still awaits any form of justice.

Locally I believe now we can't do much to argue about Raymond Davis, he has skipped out and at best is absolved of his murder, but ... Pakistanis must exert tremendous pressure on the government to hold them accountable - including the Govt of Punjab. (For) Nawaz Sharif & Shahbaz Sharif to suddenly skip off to London claiming health reasons is a definite ploy to avoid getting mixed up in Lahore. All these lunatic politicians who are selling this country off need to be thrown into the gallows - they all are unfit to rule this country now or ever.

Its a very sad day for Pakistan, such blatant misuse of our country definitely does little to help the confidence-building measures by the Americans in trying to solve the War on Terror – I can assure that this move will inspire more hatred against America, and more support for terroristic activities against America, little should be of concern for the Talibans holed up in NWFP, America will now have to contend with an angered Pakistani nation as a whole.

To see the original posting and comments GO here

===============
Another version published around the same time:

False version of Raymond Davis story posted on CNN
March 17, 2011
I had heard the term “the world of CNN” once but I was not very clear what it actually meant. Just recently, I came across a story headlined as “Records: ‘Blood money’ paid to kin of Pakistanis killed by U.S. man” on CNN and it made me understand what the term actually meant.

It meant that CNN can and does publishes stories the way they want to tell the story, ignoring real facts and other important figures.
For instance; in Raymond Davis story the Big news agency did not mention what the lawyer of the killed persons had to say. The lawyer said that they did not asked for the blood money and in fact his candidates were forced to sign the blood money papers or they will face serious consequences.

Secondly, the CNN forget to mention that US govt including Obama administration pressurized Pakistan like anything to release this murderer. This pressure also resulted in removal of Pakistan’s ministers from there jobs. Fauzia Wahab was a minister and her comments against Raymond Davis got her lose job.

Third, the family of the murdered men by Raymond Davis has stated that they were forced and blackmailed to sign the bloodmoney documents.

Fourth, the US govt and Raymond Davis was previously insisting that he had the rights of a diplomat in Pakistan but later he could not prove them and thus the US used this method to release Raymond (the made up the blood money story).

Fifth, if the family had to forgive Raymond Davis then why one of the murdered men’s wife committed suicide in search of justice. One can find the last words of that women on utube.

The wife of the murdered man Fahim is saying that “I have came to know that he is having support to get released therefore I took this step because I want Justice. I want him dead the way he killed my Husband. The way he killed my husband with bullets, I want bullets in his body the same way.”
Then how can they say that the family forgave him and took blood money.

I can put man other points here but due to some reservations, im not doing so.

Anyway, I hope now you understand what the world of CNN means.
Please let us know what you have to say bout this story in comments section below.

============
And here's yet one more related item posted around the same time...


Is Raymond Davis a More Superior Being Than Aafia Siddiqui?
Author: adnan khalid

Published: March 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm
Share17 On February 3, 2010, a Pakistani - Aafia Siddiqui - was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder, armed assault, using and carrying a firearm, and three counts of assault on U.S. officers and employees. Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison (effectively a life sentence) by the federal judge Berman in Manhattan on September 23, 2010. She is a Ph.D and an MIT graduate. She was reported as being a polite, not unusually religious, non-assertive woman by her fellows at MIT. Pakistan's government had no power and control over the U.S. in Aaafia's case and hence could do nothing to get her released.

Raymond Davis is a staff member of the U.S. consulate in Lahore. He shot dead two Pakistani men on Thursday the 27th of January 2011, in a crowded part of Lahore (Mozang Chowk.) A vehicle of the U.S. consulate rushed to Mr Davis’ ‘rescue’ ran over a third person, who also died. A murder case was registered against Raymond Davis, who was handed into police custody. Raymond Davis was released by Punjab officials on 16th March 2011 after a reported deal was negotiated with the families of the two men he was accused of murdering. Davis was scheduled to be indicted for murder charges on the same date.

Pakistani Security forces picked up the victims' families last night. A payment estimated at $2 million was made to secure the release. The families are still in police custody. Davis is now at an undisclosed location, rumored to be Bagram Air Force Base in Kabul. "Blood money" was given to the families who now have denied that they had agreed to the deal. One of the family members told the media in Pakistan; "Family members were told they were being taken to the police station to make statements. Instead, they were taken to a secret location and held in isolation and told that unless they signed a letter pardoning Davis, 'you will never see daylight'."

Continued on the next page --
Read more here

Article Author: adnan khalid
I am a Movie Reviewer, poet, a bookseller and a teacher. But I take pride in being a human being.

Post Comment by Majid Nasim Ahmad

Today, the Foreign Office of Pakistan gave a piece of its own mind to America concerning the drone attack that occurred in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan that killed 44 innocent people. The army and the political leaders all are angry with America and Pakistan has decided not to attend the meeting between America, Pakistan and Afghanistan in Brussels on 26th March. This was the perfect time to show the Pakistanis' anger against America for Aafia Siddiqui's continued illegal detention in Carswell Prison in the US, but the Foreign Office wasted this valuable opportunity and didn't mention anything to Cameron Munter that Pakistan wants its "daughter of the nation", Aafia Siddiqui, back. Please, government of Pakistan, do something for Aafia Siddiqui, before it's too late. Altaf Hussain said that he and the Pakistani people are willing to pay the same amount of diyat to America to secure Aafia Siddiqui's release that was paid to free Raymond Davis, even though she is innocent and he was guilty. So, why doesn't the government of Pakistan take up this issue with the US?

===============================
Unrelated yet also just posted on the same blogsite, Teeth Maestro mentioned above. This is a terribly sad post and photo...showing how violence in protests are self-defeating. Not just Shia to other groups but ANY group to another. We've seen plenty of Sunni violence to Shia groups as well - Iraq and other places. And of course, topping many events as among the worst in generating and continuing violence is sadly my own nation, the US.

How can we find alternatives to violence? We must do so to provide another legacy for our children.

By the way, the blogger at Teeth Maestro later said that he'd received various versions of the Bahrain violence toward Pakistanis as well. Sounds like various groups of Pakistanis are being attacked at random IN BAHRAIN regardless of whether Shia or Sunni or another background.

here

Pakistani begging for mercy before being executed

Latest Noam Chomsky interview from 8 March 2011 (Video MIT)

here Noam Chomsky and Jeremy Paxman's interview in full Tues 8 March 2011 at MIT

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sami El-Haj (seven and a half years in US prisons - six in Gitmo) M. Begg Interview


Former Guantanamo prisoners meeting in Paris, January 2011. From left: Khaled ben Mustafa (France, released 2005), Moazzam Begg (UK, released 2005), Saber Lahmar (Bosnia/Algeria, released 2010), Sami El Haj (Sudan, released 2007), Redouane Khalid (France, released 2005).

Sami El-Haj is a cameraman of Sudanese origin who was working for Al Jazeera in late 2001 when he was captured and handed over to the American Forces. He spent nearly seven and a half years in American prisons, six of which were in Guantanamo.

Read the Moazzam Begg Interview at Cage Prisoners dot com as well as other interviews by Begg and see the article he wrote on the Raymond Davis affair.

Since his return he has become a well-known face on the Arabic Al-Jazeera television channel as a result of his tireless efforts - particualry in the Arab world - in trying to draw attention to the plight of the remaining prisoners in Guantanamo and helping in resettlement efforts for those released.

Cageprisoners Director Moazzam Begg met up with him in Paris to mark the ninth anniversary since the opening of the Guantanamo prison and conducted the following interview:

here

Humanitarian and Human Rights Sites to Watch

ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent) here

Free Aafia dot org (Family Site) here

Marjorie Cohn (President of the National Lawyers Guild) Author of recent thorough book on US and Torture here

The author of the Guantanamo Files and MUCH more on Gitmo/related here

No More Gitmos here

World Can't Wait here

Also check out Talking Points Memo -- especially Ondelette,
Readers Supported Media; David Swanson's War is a Crime; Common Dreams, Counter Currents, Stephen Lendman and Stephen Soldz' Psychoanalysts Against the War

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Habeas Corpus/McKeon Bill Would Exclude Holder From Detainee Decisions


find this article at Talking Points Memo here

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are teaming up with Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to write legislation that would take decisions about trying detainees out of the attorney general's hands and hand that power to the secretary of defense.

In the wake of the White House's new executive order allowing Guantanamo detainees to be held indefinitely, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) unveiled legislation that would, among other things, affirm the military's right to detain, hold and interrogate detainees at its discretion without Department of Justice or Attorney General Eric Holder involvement.

McKeon said he was working with McCain and Graham to craft a bill that would try to gain traction in both chambers.

Such legislation could attract significant Democratic support, considering Democrats' willingness to buck Obama's attempts to shutter Guantanamo Bay and Holder's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in civilian court in New York City, a decision that was later reversed after prominent Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vigorously opposed the move.

In a striking move late last year when Democrats still controlled the House majority, they attached a provision to a $1.1 trillion resolution to keep the government funded next year that would prevent Obama from spending any funds to try terrorism suspects in civilian court instead of military commissions.

"Our military, not the Department of Justice, should be leading on law of war issues," Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), a reservist in the Army's Judge Advocate General program who serves on the Armed Services panel, told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The bill also would formally authorize use of military force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and affiliated terrorist networks; create certain restrictions which would make it tougher for detainees to return to the battlefield or share information with other terrorists or malign actors; and would permanently block funding for the creation or renovation of any facility in the continental United States to house detainees currently held at Guantanamo.

The House GOP move comes just as the Obama administration is preparing to open military-commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the accused mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in 2000. Al-Nashiri's trial would be the first new military trial of a suspected terrorist in more than two years, National Journal reports.

Although McKeon said he was working on the bill with the Armed Services Committee's ranking member, Adam Smith (D-WA), and had talked to him about it, one Democratic aide said the minority was not consulted about the bill's unveiling and was surprised by the one-sided approach.

McKeon said he expected broad Democratic support for the legislation.

"We think there will be a huge number of Democrats supporting the bill," he told reporters.

The proposal faces higher hurdles in the Senate but could attract some Democratic support there.

===========

Related Items:

Obama Approves Life Imprisonment Without Trial for Gitmo Prisoners here

Clive Stafford Smith on Prisoners Legal Limbo GO to Cage Prisoners dot com or CLICK here

Notice this one is from Fox News...so you know how to handle - still important occasionally to see what is over the air for such a great percentage of our US public. Obama's Gitmo Bay Course Reversal here

Find the following at No More Gitmos: News Digest for March 9, 2011 here
03/09 / Editorial / Washington Post / Mr. Obama's Gitmo order is a half step in the right direction

03/09 / Editorial / New York Times / The Prison That Won’t Go Away

03/09 / Richard A. Serrano and David G. Savage / Los Angeles Times / Cole bombing suspect to face military tribunal at Guantanamo

03/09 / Adam Serwer / Washington Post / Conservatives claiming "vindication" for Bush on Gitmo are wrong

03/09 / KHTS News (California) / McKeon And Arms Committee Announces New Legislation Aimed At Guantanamo

03/09 / Dennis Wagner / The Arizona Republic / Phoenix lawyer aids Gitmo suspect - for free. Attorney: 'We cannot lose our moral anchors'

03/09 / Dal LaMagna / Huffington Post / Thank You Republicans For Guantanamo

03/09 / Editorial / Los Angeles Times / Mired in Guantanamo

03/08 / Mara Liasson / NPR / Obama's Order Ends Difficult Chapter On Guantanamo

03/08 / Editorial / Wall Street Journal / Obama Ratifies Bush. The Administration embraces military tribunals at Gitmo.

03/08 / Associated Press / Republicans push for tougher Guantánamo limits

03/08 / Daphne Eviatar / Huffington Post / New Obama Admin Procedures Import Troubling Aspects of Afghanistan Detention Review to Gitmo

03/08 / Laura E. Lee / Southern Maryland Online / Guantanamo Military Tribunals Differ from U.S. Trials

03/08 / Jeffrey Kaye / Firedoglake / Isolation: “The Ideal Way Of ‘Breaking Down’ A Prisoner”

03/08 / Glenn Greenwald / Salon / Obama's new executive order on Guantanamo

These and other items at No Gitmos dot org here