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Legal Loopholes Allow European Companies To Trade In 'Tools Of Torture'

Legal loopholes allow European companies to trade in 'tools of torture' | Press Release

European companies are participating in the global trade in types of equipment widely used in torture or other ill-treatment, according to evidence presented in a new report by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation.

Fixed wall restraints, metal "thumb-cuffs", and electroshock "sleeves" and "cuffs" that deliver 50,000V shocks to detained prisoners are amongst the "tools of torture" highlighted in the report, From Words to Deeds.

Such activities have continued despite the 2006 introduction of a Europe-wide law banning the international trade of policing and security equipment designed for torture and ill-treatment. Read more.

Blair's fight to keep his oil cash secret

Former PM's deals are revealed as his earnings since 2007 reach £20million
By JASON GROVES

Tony Blair waged an extraordinary two-year battle to keep secret a lucrative deal with a multinational oil giant which has extensive interests in Iraq.

The former Prime Minister tried to keep the public in the dark over his dealings with South Korean oil firm UI Energy Corporation.

Mr Blair - who has made at least £20 million since leaving Downing Street in June 2007 - also went to great efforts to keep hidden a £1 million deal advising the ruling royal family in Iraq's neighbour Kuwait.

In an unprecedented move, he persuaded the committee which vets the jobs of former ministers to keep details of both deals from the public for 20 months, claiming it was commercially sensitive. The deals emerged yesterday when the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments finally lost patience with Mr Blair and decided to ignore his objections and publish the details.

Georgia: Simulating War Or Provoking It?

Georgia: Simulating War Or Provoking It?
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

On the evening of March 13 Georgia's Imedi television channel ran a 30-minute prime time "simulated" newscast about a Russian invasion of the South Caucasus nation complete with a report that the country's mercurial and (if not megalomaniacal) president - Mikheil Saakashvili - had been assassinated.

The show was aired "by the Imedi TV's weekly program Special Report, which started just a couple of minutes before 8pm - the time when Imedi TV runs its usual news bulletin Kronika." {Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from Civil Georgia reports of March 14, 2010.)

The Special Report's regular news anchor, Natia Koberidze, opened the program with the words: "Have you ever thought about the end of Georgian statehood? Probably yes, because we have already seen this threat in the summer of 2008."

The reference was to the five-day war fought between Georgia and Russia after the first launched an all-out assault on neighboring South Ossetia on August 8, killing hundreds of civilians and scores of Russian soldiers stationed there.

Baha Mousa inquiry: Eight or more civilians died in British custody

Legal chief tells of killings and torture in early days of invasion
By Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian.co.uk

Eight or more civilians died in the custody of British troops in the weeks after the invasion of Iraq, despite frequent warnings by the army's most senior legal adviser there about unlawful treatment of detainees, an inquiry has heard.

In devastating evidence to an official inquiry, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer described the way Iraqi detainees were intimidated and hooded by British soldiers as "repulsive". He said that 10 days after the invasion in March 2003 he saw 20 or 30 detainees lined up with sandbags on their heads.

READ THE REST.

UK: The Anti-War Majority Ignored By Politicians

THE ANTI-WAR MAJORITY IGNORED BY POLITICIANS

As Seumas Milne reported last week in The Guardian, "the gulf between people and politicians could scarcely be wider" on the issue of the war in Afghanistan.

The British Army is taking casualties at a level not seen since the 1950s, with six British soldiers killed in as many days earlier this month. The United Nations reported recently that Afghan civilian deaths doubled in 2009.

The UK costs of the war are spiralling: the current estimate for 2009/2010 is £3.7 billion, up from £2.5 billion last year.

Two thirds of the British public believe the war is unwinnable and all the troops should be brought home by Christmas.

And yet, despite the imminent general election, as Seumas Milne points out, "the political class seems determined to cling to Nato and its US patron, rather than represent the now settled will of the voters". And it does so supported by much of the media.

In the coming weeks, Stop the War aims to campaign as widely as possible to make the war in Afghanistan a central issue in the election, reflecting the view of the vast majority of electors.

We are encouraging local Stop the War groups to organise debates, meetings, days of action, lobbying of MPs in their constituencies, hustings etc. We need to take every opportunity to raise the profile of the anti-war voice in an election in which all three main political parties are united in supporting the government's war policies.

Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons

Rasmussen In Poland: Expeditionary NATO, Missile Shield And Nuclear Weapons
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

"[W]e must develop an effective missile defence. In the coming years, we will probably face many more countries – and possibly even some non-state actors - armed with long-range missiles and nuclear capabilities. Therefore, I believe that NATO’s deterrent posture should include missile defence.

"That’s why deterrence and defence need to go together. And why we have the obligation to look into missile defence options."

The civilian chief of the world's only, and history's first self-proclaimed global, military bloc is having a busy month.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered an address in Washington, DC on February 23 on the military alliance's new 21st century Strategic Concept along with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her predecessor twice-removed Madeleine Albright and National Security Adviser James Jones, the last-named a former Marine Corps general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander. [1]

At the seminar and on the preceding evening at Georgetown University in what is arguably NATO's true capital, Rasmussen sounded familiar themes: Highlighting the need to prevail in Afghanistan, NATO's first ground war and first armed conflict outside of Europe. Applauding the work of the bloc's new cyber warfare center in Estonia, ostensibly to protect the comparatively new member state against attacks emanating from Russia. Identifying Iran and North Korea for particular scrutiny.

He also spoke of "deepening our partnerships with countries from across the globe" and affirmed "NATO is a permanent Alliance...." [2]

The bloc's chief announced the creation of "a new division at NATO Headquarters to deal with new threats and challenges." [3]

UK PM Brown Makes Surprise Visit To Afghanistan


UK PM Brown makes surprise visit to Afghanistan | CNN

On the invasion of Iraq itself and the British role in it, Brown said Friday the decision to go to war "was the right decision and it was for the right reasons."

The inquiry, which began last year, is expected to be the most thorough investigation yet into decisions that led up to the war and governed Britain's involvement, analysts have said.

It is not a court of law, so the inquiry cannot find anyone criminally responsible or even apportion blame. But inquiry members will be able to judge the legality of the conflict.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid a surprise visit to British troops in Afghanistan on Saturday, his office said.

He went to Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand province, as well as a police training college and a British forward operating base, or outpost, according to 10 Downing Street.

Brown's office told news outlets of his visit to Afghanistan while he was in the country but asked that it not be reported until he left. CNN complied with the request. Read more.

Germany's Left Party Expelled From Bundestag

Germany's Left Party expelled from Bundestag
By Derek Scally | Irish Times | February 27, 2010

Germany's Left Party was expelled from the Bundestag yesterday after its members held up signs bearing the names of Afghan civilians killed in a German-ordered airstrike last September.

The protest came in the middle of a parliamentary debate on extending Germany’s nine-year military mission to Afghanistan by a further year.

Some 429 MPs voted for and 111 against the new mandate – 16 fewer votes in favour than last time – allowing troop numbers to be increased by 850 to 5,350.

The opposition Green Party abstained and, after being re-admitted, the Left Party MPs contributed to the 111 votes against the mandate.

“This was no routine vote, we reject the war in Afghanistan,” said Gesine Lötzsch, the Left Party’s designate co-leader, after MPs held up about 70 signs with names of victims. One read: “Ali Mohammad, farmer, 35 years old, nine children.

“This was a dignified way of remembering individual people with names and biographies who have died, deaths that have brought calamity on their families.”

The expulsion of the entire 76-member Left parliamentary party, a first for the Bundestag, underlined the controversy that still surrounds Germany’s first post-war military deployment outside Europe. The revised mandate will increase by five to 1,400 the number of Germans training Afghan soldiers. Read more.

Torture and The Shame of MI5: Top Judge Says Security Service Is Dubious and Untruthful

Torture and The Shame of MI5: Top Judge Says Security Service Is Dubious and Untruthful
By James Slack | Daily Mail Online

Britain's top three judges plunged MI5 into crisis yesterday by releasing a devastating finding that its officers have a 'dubious record when it comes to human rights and coercive techniques'.

In issuing the judgment by Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, the Appeal Court faced down an unprecedented 'bullying' campaign by the Home and Foreign Secretaries demanding that the allegation be withdrawn.

Alan Johnson and David Miliband had dismissed as 'ludicrous lies' suggestions that MI5 had a 'culture of suppression' over torture.

Two weeks ago, they persuaded the Appeal Court to change a contentious draft paragraph written by Lord Neuberger which made that allegation in relation to the treatment of ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed.

But yesterday, despite overwhelming pressure from Whitehall and MI5, the judges decided to release in full the original paragraph, known as 168. Read more.

21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO

21st Century Strategy: Militarized Europe, Globalized NATO
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

With the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms expiring last December 5 and its successor held up almost three months in large part because of U.S. missile shield provocations in recent weeks, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is forging ahead with the formulation and implementation of a new Strategic Concept.

On February 5 Russia unveiled its new military doctrine, which identified further NATO expansion eastward to its frontier and American and NATO interceptor missile deployments on and near its borders as the "main external threats of war." [1]

On February 23 NATO held its fourth seminar on the new - 21st century - Strategic Concept decided upon at the sixtieth anniversary summit in April of 2009 in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany. After previous meetings in Luxembourg, Slovenia and Norway, the final - and far most important - meeting was held in Washington, DC. Entitled Strategic Concept Seminar on Transformation and Capabilities, it was conducted at the National Defense University in the nation's capital.

The Strategic Concept endorses expansion of the bloc deeper into the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, broadening global partnerships outside the Euro-Atlantic zone and consolidating an interceptor missile system to cover all of Europe as a joint U.S. and NATO project.

Russian concerns and NATO designs are at complete loggerheads, which accounts for among other problems a new START agreement remaining in limbo. And for Russia's new military doctrine.

Look Who Loves French Health Care


Look Who Loves French Health Care
By Jonathan Cohn | The New Republic | December 14, 2009

It's Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of the very libertarian Reason magazine:

To put it plainly, when free marketers warn that Democratic health care initiatives will make us more “like France,” a big part of me says, “I wish.” It’s not that I think it’s either feasible or advisable for the United States to adopt a single-payer, government-dominated system. But it’s instructive to confront the comparative advantages of one socialist system abroad to sharpen the arguments for more capitalism at home.

For a dozen years now I’ve led a dual life, spending more than 90 percent of my time and money in the U.S. while receiving 90 percent of my health care in my wife’s native France. On a personal level the comparison is no contest: I’ll take the French experience any day. ObamaCare opponents often warn that a new system will lead to long waiting times, mountains of paperwork, and less choice among doctors. Yet on all three of those counts the French system is significantly better, not worse, than what the U.S. has now. ...

In France, you are covered, period. It doesn’t depend on your job, it doesn’t depend on a health maintenance organization, and it doesn’t depend on whether you filled out the paperwork right. Those who (like me) oppose ObamaCare, need to understand (also like me, unfortunately) what it’s like to be serially rejected by insurance companies even though you’re perfectly healthy. It’s an enraging, anxiety-inducing, indelible experience, one that both softens the intellectual ground for increased government intervention and produces active resentment toward anyone who argues that the U.S. has “the best health care in the world.” Read more.

South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict With Argentina

South Atlantic: Britain May Provoke New Conflict With Argentina
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

On February 22 two major developments occurred in the Americas south of the Rio Grande. The two-day Rio Group summit opened in Mexico and Great Britain started drilling for oil 60 miles north of the Falklands Islands, known as Las Malvinas to Argentina.

The meeting in Mexico was identified as a Unity Summit because for the first time the 24 members of the Rio Group (minus Honduras, not invited because of the illegitimacy of its post-coup regime) - Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela - were joined by the fifteen members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. (Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname are members of both organizations.)

Ahead of the summit the Financial Times wrote, "The Mexican-led initiative, a clear sign of Latin America’s growing confidence as a region, will exclude both the US and Canada. Some observers believe it could even eventually rival the 35-member Organisation of American States (OAS), which includes the US and Canada and has been the principal forum for hemispheric issues during the past half century." [1]

In fact on the first day of the summit Bolivian President Evo Morales called for a "a new US-free OAS," [2] stressing Washington's centuries-long history of perpetrating military coups, blackmail, looting of natural resources and, over the past generation, the scourge of neo-liberalism in the Americas.

Election Watchdog Group Supports Call For Independent Investigation Into Ukraine Election Results

Yanukovich Campaign Team Tied To Election Rigging Allegations In United States

Washington, DC: Ukrainian presidential candidate and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko last week alleged that over one million votes were stolen by opposition candidate Viktor Yanukovich in the February 7th presidential run off election. http://japantoday.com/category/world/view/tymoshenko-calls-ukraine-vote-... She has filed over 60 complaints with the Central Election Commission and has called the irregularities “shocking.”

In 2004, Mr. Yanukovich’s campaign was caught rigging the election after members of his election team were recorded discussing how to destroy evidence that showed tampering with the tabulation results. That revelation led to massive protests in the street, the Orange Revolution and a new vote which resulted in the election of Viktor Yushchenko.

Ireland: The Arrest of Pat O'Donnell

By David Rovics

In a country with the kind of tumultuous history that Ireland has it's not surprising that a man being arrested and jailed for seven months would escape the notice of the media, at least outside of Ireland. What should hopefully pique some interest is that this is a man with a long history of being bullied, intimidated, arrested and treated roughly by the authorities for his nonviolent resistance against Shell Oil's construction of a gas pipeline, and now the judge is calling him a bully and jailing him for seven months on the extremely dubious charge of intimidating an officer.

To be sure, this is not Nigeria, where Shell regularly massacres those opposed to the oil drilling which is destroying the environment and the livelihoods of so much of the population. Shell doesn't run Ireland in the way it controls Nigeria. But at the same time, much like my own country, the Irish government has proven itself to be far from free of corruption.

Human chain blocks neo-Nazi rally


Thousands of people stand at the start of the human chain with a banner reading "Against violence and hostility to foreigners".

Thousands of people stand at the start of the human chain with a banner reading "Against violence and hostility to foreigners". (AFP)

Thousands of people have gathered in Dresden to block an annual neo-Nazi march commemorating the allied bombing of the German city during World War II.

The neo-Nazis gathered outside the Neustadt railway station to mark the anniversary of devastating bombing raids.

They planned to stage a "funeral march" after listening to a series of speeches but more than 15,000 counter-protestors blocked the rally.

"We have for the first time succeeded in preventing the biggest neo-Nazi march in Europe," Lena Roth, of the Dresden Without Nazis alliance, said.

Police reported "a few incidents" including attacks on officers by "violent demonstrators" who were not identified. But they later said the neo-Nazis were not able to stage the march.

READ THE REST

Europe's Five "Undeclared Nuclear Weapons States"

Are Turkey, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy Nuclear Powers?

Top Judge: Binyam Mohamed Case Shows MI5 To Be Devious, Dishonest And Complicit In Torture

Top judge: Binyam Mohamed case shows MI5 to be devious, dishonest and complicit in torture
Legal defeat plunges Security Service into crisis over torture evidence, and it is revealed that judge removed damning verdict after Foreign Office QC's plea
By Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Cobain | Guardian.co.UK

The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, wrote to the court after the Sumption letter came to light on Monday night. He said today: "It is good news that – after a challenge from the Guardian and other news organisations – the courts have finally ordered the government to reveal evidence of MI5 complicity in torture. This is a watershed in open justice in an area in which it is notoriously difficult to shine a light. But it was extremely disturbing that the government's lawyers made a successful last-ditch attempt to get the master of the rolls to rewrite his judgment."

MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis tonight after one of the country's most senior judges found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct.

The condemnation, by Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls, was drafted shortly before the foreign secretary, David Miliband, lost his long legal battle to suppress a seven-paragraph court document showing that MI5 officers were involved in the ill-treatment of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed.

Amid mounting calls for an independent inquiry into the affair, three of the country's most senior judges – Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Lord Neuberger – disclosed evidence of MI5's complicity in Mohamed's torture and unlawful interrogation by the US.

So severe were Neuberger's criticisms of MI5 that the government's leading lawyer in the case, Jonathan Sumption QC, privately wrote to the court asking him to reconsider his draft judgment before it was handed down.

The judges agreed but Sumption's letter, which refers to Neuberger's original comments, was made public after lawyers for Mohamed and media organisations, including the Guardian, intervened. Read more.

EU Parliament Rejects Interim SWIFT Deal


EU Parliament Rejects Interim SWIFT Deal
By emptywheel | FireDogLake

The EU Parliament voted today–by big margins–to end the temporary deal allowing the US access to data from SWIFT.

The European Parliament on Thursday broadly rejected an agreement with the United States on sharing information on bank transfers that was aimed at tracking suspected terrorists through their finances.The vote in Strasbourg, France, underlined differences between the United States and the European Union over how to balance guarantees of personal privacy with concerns about national and international security.

A resolution to reject the deal passed 378-196, with 31 abstentions. The vote means that the agreement, which provisionally went into force at the beginning of February, cannot be used as planned.

The agreement would have freed the United States from having to seek bank data on a country-by-country basis. But Washington still could press for access to the data through such avenues.

Remember, this deal would have given European citizens more protections than Americans currently get from their banks (because it would have allowed them to check whether their data had been accessed). Read more.

Government loses torture appeal

By the BBC

The foreign secretary has lost an Appeal Court bid to stop the disclosure of secret information relating to the alleged torture of a UK resident.

Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed says UK authorities knew he was tortured at the behest of US authorities during seven years of captivity.

Judges ruled redacted paragraphs, which say his treatment was "cruel, inhuman and degrading", should be released.

David Miliband said the ruling was "not evidence that the system is broken".

The judgement was delivered by the three most senior Court of Appeal judges in England and Wales.

Commenting on the case, the prime minister's spokesman said the government stood firmly against torture and cruel and inhumane treatment.

National security

Tony Blair’s Great Game: Toying with the Chilcot Investigation

By Charlotte Dennett

One of the most remarkable things about England’s ongoing “Iraq War Inquiry” is how little has been written about it in the U.S. Though many Britons believe the so-called Chilcot inquiry is a whitewash, there are important facts to glean from the testimony of high level officials who led Great Britain to the war in Iraq, facts which reveal contradictions in their official stories and bear comparison with the U.S. government’s version of what happened.

The Open And Shut Case Against Tony Blair

The open and shut case against Tony Blair
If Blair cannot give satisfactory answers to the questions below, there is only one conclusion: he should stand trial for war crimes.
By By Philippe Sands QC, Professor of law, University College, London | Stop the War

Here are the key questions to think about in assessing Mr Blair's performance, and that of the inquiry:

The case for war – "regime change"

Early on Mr Blair was told that military action for regime change would be illegal under international law. The inquiry has heard that he therefore justified action as disarmament and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). However, Alastair Campbell's diary entry for 2 April 2002 confirms that participants at one meeting "discussed whether the central aim was WMD or regime change" and that "TB felt it was regime change". So was regime change one of your aims?

"Solidly with the president"

Mr Blair claims no decision on war was taken until after parliament had voted on 18 March 2003. Yet evidence shows he communicated his unconditional support for regime change much earlier, in spring 2002. In January 2003 Mr Blair met President Bush at the White House. Sir David Manning, his foreign policy adviser, records the president telling Mr Blair that military action would be taken with or without a second Security Council resolution and the bombing would begin in mid-March 2003. The note records the reaction: "The prime minister said he was solidly with the president." Why didn't you tell the Cabinet or parliament that you were "solidly with the president" about military action with or without a second UN Resolution, when you reported on your meeting with President Bush on 3 February 2002?

WMD

In September 2002 the government published a dossier. Mr Blair's foreword said the intelligence established "beyond doubt" that Saddam was producing WMD and continuing efforts to develop nuclear weapons; we now know doubts were expressed. On 24 September 2002 Mr Blair told parliament that the intelligence was "extensive, detailed and authoritative"; we now know the intelligence was patchy and old. He also told parliament that Saddam night acquire a usable nuclear weapon in "a year or two"; no substantive intelligence supported that claim. How do you account for these misleading statements?

Legality Read more

50 Italians Chain Themselves to Cranes to Stop US Base Construction

This is the resistance to our empire that is sweeping the globe, unbeknownst to most of us in the United States:

This is footage from today in Vicenza, Italy, where 50 women and men entered the construction site of the proposed mammoth new US military base in a location called "Dal Molin".  They chained themselves to cranes and other machines.

Background: http://afterdowningstreet.org/vicenza

The campaign we need to support: http://www.nodalmolin.it

What Americans can do: http://peaceoftheaction.org

Hillary Clinton's Prescription: Make The World A NATO Protectorate

Hillary Clinton's Prescription: Make The World A NATO Protectorate
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

"European security is, not only to the individual nations, but to the world. It is, after all, more than a collection of countries linked by history and geography. It is a model for the transformative power of reconciliation, cooperation, and community"....However, "much important work remains unfinished. The transition to democracy is incomplete in parts of Europe and Eurasia."...

To elite trans-Atlantic policy makers the above paragraphs' meaning is indisputable: The use of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military bloc - the true foundation of the "transatlantic partnership" - in waging war in and effectively colonizing the Balkans and in expanding into Eastern Europe, incorporating twelve new nations including former Warsaw Pact members and Soviet republics, is the worldwide paradigm for the West in the 21st century.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was busy in London and Paris last week advancing the new Euro-Atlantic agenda for the world.

As the top foreign policy official of what her commander-in-chief Barack Obama touted as being the world's sole military superpower on December 10, she is no ordinary foreign minister. Her position is rather some composite of several ones from previous historical epochs: Viceroy, proconsul, imperial nuncio.

When a U.S. secretary of state speaks the world pays heed. Any nation that doesn't will suffer the consequences of that inattention, that disrespect toward the imperatrix mundi.

On January 27 she was in London for a conference on Yemen and the following day she attended the International Conference on Afghanistan in the same city.

Also on the 28th she and two-thirds of her NATO quad counterparts, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (along with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton), pronounced a joint verdict on the state of democracy in Nigeria, Britain's former colonial possession.

Afterwards she crossed the English channel and delivered an address called Remarks on the Future of European Security at L'Ecole Militaire in Paris on January 29. That presentation was the most substantive component of her three-day European junket and the only one that dealt mainly with the continent itself, her previous comments relating to what are viewed by the United States and its Western European NATO partners as backwards, "ungovernable" international badlands. That is, the rest of the world.

Russia Will Not Just Watch Patriot Missiles Deployed

Russia will not just watch Patriot missiles deployed | The News.PL

Russia's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, warned on Friday that his country will not passively watch the deployment of a U.S. Patriot missile battery in Poland.

The US will supply the Patriots and 100 troops in Poland this year, to be stationed not far from the Russian Kaliningrad border.

"Do they really think that we will calmly watch the location of a rocket system, at a distance of 60 km from Kaliningrad?", the Russian diplomat said Friday.

Rogozin refused to clarify what the response of the Russian side would be to the deployment. "It is a matter for the military," is all he would say. Read more.

US Threatens Venezuela: Netherlands Has Granted US Military Use Of Its Islands In The Caribbean

US Threatens Venezuela: Netherlands Has Granted US Military Use Of Its Islands In The Caribbean
by Vonk Netherlands and Hands off Venezuela | Global Research | Map

The government of the Netherlands recently granted the US military use of its islands in the Caribbean, with the excuse that this is to help in the “war against drugs”. In reality, this is a direct threat to the Chavez government in Venezuela.

In the Dutch media articles have appeared about the “war-mongering” president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, who is “preparing a war against Colombia”. Now Chávez has accused the Netherlands of supporting aggression against Venezuela, because the Netherlands has given permission to the American armed forces to use the military bases on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curaçao[1].

In the media Hugo Chávez, as always, has been presented like some “crazy populist”, and of course the “civilised Netherlands” are presented as being totally innocent.

Later Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, said the American military were on Aruba and Curaçao, as part of the “war against drugs”. He remains silent about what is really happening on Aruba and Curaçao.

Authors such as Noam Chomsky and Eva Golinger have pointed out in different articles that the so-called “war against drugs” has nothing to do with any battle against drug smuggling, but has been used for other causes such as fighting against guerrilla movements and the spying of other countries. Since the start of the “war against drugs” there has only been more smuggling and consumption of drugs.

The fact that the Netherlands are participating in this is quite normal, because the Dutch government has a tradition of supporting American imperialism. After Britain the Netherlands are the biggest ally of the U.S. in Western Europe. The cabinet of Prime Minister Balkenende gave political support to the invasion of Iraq that was based completely on lies. Now the Netherlands have troops in Afghanistan, officially to rebuild the country, but in practice to prop up the corrupt regime of Karzai.

The bases on Aruba and Curaçao

In 1999 the Netherlands and the U.S. signed an agreement for the establishment of Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). This meant that the American military could use air force bases on Aruba and Curaçao. While the bases were originally used for operations against drug smuggling and the Colombian guerrilla movement FARC, this changed with the election of George Bush. Venezuela was seen as a threat by then, because it was a beacon of hope for the poor and working people of Latin America. In 2002 there was a CIA-backed coup attempt against the democratically elected Hugo Chávez. Since then there have only been more intrigues against Venezuela. Read more.

Spanish judge to probe Guantanamo torture claims

By AFP

MADRID — Spain's top investigating judge Baltasar Garzon is to probe suspected torture and ill-treatment of inmates at the US prison of Guantanamo Bay, a judical source said Saturday.

The judge will be acting on complaints lodged by a number of associations, focussing on one prisoner, Ahmed Abderraman Hamed, who has Spanish nationality, the source added, confirming a report published in daily El Pais

Three other detainees, Moroccan Lahcen Ikasrrien, Palestinian Jamiel Abdulatif al-Banna and Libyan Omar Deghayes would also be concerned as they had links with Spain.

In 2005 Spain declared itself competent to investigate any crime committed abroad, but after diplomatic problems the scope of the inquiries was reduced in 2009.

Spanish courts can now deal only with cases that have a clear link with Spain, or cases that are not being investigated in countries where the offences are alleged to have been committed.

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