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MADRID — Baltasar Garzón, a high-profile Spanish judge who garnered international renown by pursuing political leaders, including Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile, was himself on trial on Tuesday over accusations that he had abused his powers to investigate atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War.
The case is one of three trials focusing on Judge Garzón, who had spearheaded Spain’s fight against political corruption and against terrorism by ETA, the Basque separatist group.
Last week, a separate trial began over whether Judge Garzón had ordered illegal eavesdropping as part of a corruption investigation. The case that opened on Tuesday follows Judge Garzón’s indictment by a fellow judge in early 2010 on charges that he overreached his authority in pursuit of civil war abuses.
The case, which on Tuesday focused on procedural issues, has drawn international resonance and criticism. Amnesty International has called the proceeding against the judge “a threat to human rights and judicial independence.”
March 30 - April 2, 2012, Brussels, Belgium: NATO Game Over: Non-violent Humanitarian Intervention into NATO Headquarters
From 20 till 21 May 2012, the next NATO Summit will be held in Chicago. High on the agenda will be NATO's role as an instrument for military interventions all over the world, and the outcome of the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review (DDPR) currently being conducted within the alliance, defining the role of NATO's nuclear weapons.
A unified European action is needed well in advance, with a clear message to all European governments:
- NATO's tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are anachronistic, useless, illegal according to International Humanitarian Law, and counterproductive to the non-proliferation process.
- Military threats and interventions aggravate conflicts rather than resolve them.
Therefore, the Belgian peace organisations Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix will organise a European non-violent direct action day on 1 April at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
More info and registration: http://warstartshere.eu/action/natogameover2012
U.S. and Spanish Authorities Attempted to Stop Cases Seeking Accountability of U.S. Officials for Torture and Unlawful Killing
January 19, 2012, Madrid, New York, Berlin – Today, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), filed a formal complaint to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mrs. Gabriela Knaul. The groups submitted evidence from U.S.-Madrid embassy cables obtained through WikiLeaks that show that senior U.S. and Spanish officials sought to interfere with the Spanish judicial process in order to shield Americans from criminal prosecution for torture and unlawful killing.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
Following Friday’s shooting, one of the most deadly for French forces over the past decade in Afghanistan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy suspended his country’s combat operations and threatened to pull out early.
“The French army stands side by side with its allies but we can't accept that a single one of our soldiers be killed by our allies,” said Mr. Sarkozy according to Radio France Internationale. “If the conditions for security are not clearly established, the question of an early withdrawal of the French army will arise.”
Today Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, along with eight other human rights organizations, released a joint statement regarding the upcoming trial against Judge Baltasar Garzón in Spain for criminal malfeasance.
In May 2010, Judge Garzón was suspended by the Supreme Court as a result of an investigation into the charge of criminal malfeasance. Malfeasance concerns misconduct in the administration of justice and sanctions judges for making unjust judicial decisions. Judge Garzón is the only judge to have challenged the lack of accountability relating to the crimes committed during the Spanish Civil war and the subsequent Franco Regime. In October 2008, he applied the principle that crimes against humanity cannot be subject to statutes of limitation or amnesty and authorized the investigation into the alleged disappearance, torture and execution of 114,266 persons, identified as victims, between 17 July 1936 and December 1951. The joint statement, which is available in English and Spanish, comes as the court prepares to hear what has been termed the ‘historic memory’ case against Judge Garzón next week. The signatory organizations stress the need for any criminal offence, such as that against malfeasance by judicial officers, to be applied cautiously so as not to undermine the independence of the judiciary and or to sanction a judge for following an accepted interpretation of international law. The statement calls on the Spanish Supreme Court to act in accordance with the duty to guarantee the constitutional and international laws that defines its jurisdictional function with regard to the international obligations taken on by Spain.
MADRID - A Spanish judge says he is proceeding with a probe into human rights abuses at the U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, after Washington failed to respond to requests for information.
The probe stems from torture complaints filed by four Muslims who are either citizens or residents of Spain and were once held at the prison.
The probe had been on hold while Judge Pablo Ruz awaited a response from the United States. Ruz said Friday he had received no answer from the U.S. and had thus decided to continue the case.
The judge asked prosecutors to report back to him with the names of U.S. officials who should be targeted in the probe.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1230 4 January 2012 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) HANDS OFF IRAN AND SYRIA - NO NEW WARS 2) TROOPS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN - PROTEST AT 400th UK DEATH 3) GUANTANAMO PROTEST SATURDAY 7 JANUARY 4) STOP THE WAR NATIONAL CONFERENCE 5) VIDEO OF THE WEEK: IF ARMED CHINESE TROOPS WERE IN TEXAS ************ 1) HANDS OFF IRAN AND SYRIA - NO NEW WARS PROTEST RALLY: SATURDAY 28 JANUARY, 2-4PM
It's hard to hear messages from the past. They may pre-date any notion of environmentalism, of equal rights for women, or of morality without religion. Their goals may seem small precisely because those goals have already been achieved. But sometimes it can be useful to us to look back at long-gone hopes and plans that were later fulfilled, so that we can move on to the next step.
In 1849, peace activists gathered in Paris, and Victor Hugo welcomed them as follows. Years later he would prematurely lose patience with his long-term vision and stray from the cause. But in this moment he said something very valuable about city states making peace and the possibility of Europe making peace. With Europe now at peace internally, we can take our turn to dream of a world at peace.
But first, enjoy the ringing in of the new year and listen to this:
"Gentlemen: Many of you have come from the most distant points of the globe, your hearts full of holy and religious feelings. You count in your ranks men of letters, philosophers, ministers of the Christian religion, writers of eminence, and public men justly popular for their talents. You, gentlemen, have wished to adopt Paris as the centre of this meeting, whose sympathies, full of gravity and conviction, do not merely apply to one nation, but to the whole world. You come to add another principle of a still superior—of a more august kind—to those that now direct statesmen, rulers, and legislators. You turn over, as it were, the last page of the Gospel—that page which imposes peace on the children of the same God; and in this capital, which has as yet only decreed fraternity amongst citizens, you are about to proclaim the brotherhood of mankind.
"Gentlemen, we bid you a hearty welcome! In the presence of such a thought and such an act, there can be no room for the expression of personal thanks. Permit me, then, in the first words which I pronounce in your hearing, to raise my thoughts higher than myself, and, as it were, to omit all mention of the great honour which you have just conferred upon me, in order that I may think of nothing else than the great thing which we have met to do.
"Gentlemen, this sacred idea, universal peace, all nations bound together in a common bond, the Gospel for their supreme law, mediation substituted for war—this holy sentiment, I ask you, is it practicable? Can it be realized? Many practical men, many public men grown old in the management of affairs, answer in the negative. But I answer with you, and I answer without hesitation, Yes! and I shall shortly try to prove it to you. I go still further. I do not merely say it is capable of being put into practice, but I add that it is inevitable, and that its execution is only a question of time, and may be hastened or retarded. The law which rules the world is not, cannot be different from the law of God. But the divine law is not one of war—it is peace. Men commenced by conflict, as the creation did by chaos. Whence are they coming? From wars—that is evident. But whither are they going? To peace—that is equally evident.
"When you enunciate those sublime truths, it is not to be wondered at that your assertion should be met by a negative; it is easy to understand that your faith will be encountered by incredulity; it is evident that in this period of trouble and of dissension the idea of universal peace must surprise and shock, almost like the apparition of something impossible and ideal; it is quite clear that all will call it utopian; but for me, who am but an obscure labourer in this great work of the nineteenth century, I accept this opposition without being astonished or discouraged by it. Is it possible that you can do otherwise than turn aside your head and shut your eyes, as if in bewilderment, when in the midst of the darkness which still envelopes you, you suddenly open the door that lets in the light of the future?
"Gentlemen, if four centuries ago, at the period when war was made by one district against the other, between cities, and between provinces—if, I say, some one had dared to predict to Lorraine, to Picardy, to Normandy, to Brittany, to Auvergne, to Provence, to Dauphiny, to Burgundy,— 'A day shall come when you will no longer make wars—a day shall come when you will no longer arm men one against the other—a day shall come when it will no longer be said that the Normans are attacking the Picards, or that the people of Lorraine are repulsing the Burgundians —you will still have many disputes to settle, interests to contend for, difficulties to resolve; but do you know what you will substitute instead of armed men, instead of cavalry and infantry, of cannon, of falconets, lances, pikes and swords— you will select, instead of all this destructive array, a small box of wood, which you will term a ballot-box, and from which shall issue—what?—an assembly—an assembly in which you shall all live—an assembly which shall be, as it were, the soul of all—a supreme and popular council, which shall decide, judge, resolve everything—which shall make the sword fall from every hand, and excite the love of justice in every heart—which shall say to each, 'Here terminates your right, there commences your duty: lay down your arms! Live in peace!' And in that day you will all have one common thought, common interests, a common destiny; you will embrace each other, and recognise each other as children of the same blood, and of the same race; that day you will no longer be hostile tribes,—you will be a people; you will no longer be Burgundy, Normandy, Brittany, or Provence,—you will be France! You will no longer make appeals to war—you will do so to civilization.' If, at the period I speak of, some one had uttered these words, all men of a serious and positive character, all prudent and cautious men, all the great politicians of the period, would have cried out, 'What a dreamer! what a fantastic dream! How little this pretended prophet is acquainted with the human heart! What ridiculous folly! what an absurd chimera!'
"Yet, gentlemen, time has gone on and on, and we find that this dream, this folly, this absurdity, has been realized! And I insist upon this, that the man who would have dared to utter so sublime a prophecy, would have been pronounced a madman for having dared to pry into the designs of the Deity. Well, then, you at this moment say—and I say it with you—we who are assembled here, say to France, to England, to Prussia, to Austria, to Spain, to Italy, to Russia—we say to them, "A day will come when from your hands also the arms you have grasped will fall. A day will come when war will appear as absurd, and be as impossible, between Paris and London, between St. Petersburg and Berlin, between Vienna and Turin, as it would be now between Rouen and Amiens, between Boston and Philadelphia. A day will come when you, France—you, Russia—you, Italy—you, England—you, Germany—all of you, nations of the Continent, will, without losing your distinctive qualities and your glorious individuality, be blended into a superior unity, and constitute an European fraternity, just as Normandy, Britanny, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, have been blended into France. A day will come when the only battle-field will be the market open to commerce and the mind opening to new ideas. A day will come when bullets and bomb-shells will be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of nations, by the venerable arbitration of a great Sovereign Senate, which will be to Europe what the Parliament is to England, what the Diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France. A day will come when a cannon will be exhibited in public museums, just as an instrument of torture is now, and people will be astonished how such a thing could have been."
Sandy Davies tells me, regarding the WWI Christmas truce on Christmas Day:
"When I was growing up, my godmother had a German helmet that was given to her father by a German officer after a soccer match in no-man's land that day. I also knew a South African former soldier who was on the front line in the desert near Cairo in 1942. He and his buddies became good friends with the Germans in the line across from them and used to pick up booze, hashish and other goodies for them whenever they went into Cairo. There was a sort of truce for a few months at that point, so they weren't shooting at each other. When a British Spitfire flew over and did start shooting at the Germans, Tony claimed it was the South Africans who shot it down!"
Does anybody know about this or have similar stories?
19 December 2011 - Almost two-thirds of countries asked by human rights groups about their involvement in extraordinary rendition flights have failed to comply with freedom of information requests – with European nations in particular accused of withholding evidence of the controversial CIA programme.
I wrote at the time that the invasion of Iraq would be worse than a crime: it would be the Mother of All Blunders. I told Tony Blair – outside the men's lavatory in the library corridor of the House of Commons, to be precise – that the fall of Baghdad would be not the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. And that the Iraqis would fight them, with their teeth if necessary, until they had driven them from their land. I told Blair that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq, but that if he and Bush were to invade there would be thousands of them.
But two things, as George Bush would put it, I "mis-underestimated". First, that when the tower of lies on which the case for the Iraq war had been constructed was exposed, the credibility of the political systems of the two main liars would collapse under the weight. And second, that the example of the Iraqi resistance would trigger seismic changes in the Arabian landscape from Marrakesh to Bahrain.
Almost nobody in Britain or America any longer believes a word their politicians say. This profound change is not wholly the result of the Iraq war, but it moved into top gear following the war and the militarised mendacity that paved the way to it. In America this malaise has fuelled both the Tea Party phenomenon and the Occupy movement alike, even if the word Iraq seldom crosses their lips. And from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf the plates are moving still ...
WASHINGTON (AP) — In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, is a secret the Romanian government has long tried to protect.
For years, the CIA used a government building — codenamed "Bright Light" — as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees. There it held al-Qaida operatives Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and others in a basement prison before they were ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006, according to former U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the location and inner workings of the prison.
The existence of a CIA prison in Romania has been widely reported, but its location has never been made public. The Associated Press and German public television ARD located the former prison and learned details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were used. ARD's program on the CIA prison is set to air Thursday.
»Occupy« Declaration against War – Demand to stop preparations for war against Iran and Syria!
- by Occupy Berlin
Starting from Tunisia and Egypt, spreading to Spain, Greece and other European countries and finally to the USA in 2011 protest movements developed that work towards a profound political, social and economic change in the system.
We are globally networked people who feel inspired by these international events and who are motivated to join together in order to be politically active.
Our main demands are »real democracy« – that is real participation – and thus social justice and peace on Earth!
This includes the disbandment of international operating private banks, the disempowerment of the multinational corporations and the military industrial complex, because these three factors largely influence and determine all political decisions in the existing system.
Once again the future of Afghanistan is on the agenda. Ten years ago in Bonn, the issue was the deployment of NATO troops and the toppling of the Taliban. This time around, the summit on Monday is set to discuss the withdrawal of international forces by the end of 2014.
For German peace activists this is not fast enough. They are calling for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. To underscore their demand protesters took to the streets of the former West German capital on Saturday under the motto, "They talk peace, but wage war."
The gathering attracted peace groups, anti-globalization organizations, like Attac, the German Green Party and Left Party, and the German trade union, Verdi.
Doubts about the will to withdraw
Malalai Joya said she doubts the willingness to withdraw Demonstrators expressed their doubts whether the goal of the Afghanistan conference was really the end of the foreign troop deployment.
But even Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked that some troops remain, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as recently as last Friday that German troops may stay beyond the planned exit date to help train local Afghan forces.
At the demonstration rally in downtown Bonn, Afghan politician Malalai Joya, however, described as a "lie" the announcement that NATO troops would leave the country by the end of 2014.
Joya called for the immediate withdrawal of international forces, saying the foreign armies were, among other things, working with warlords. Joya said the presence of foreign troops was actually making the democratization process more difficult.
In Joya's view, the international community should, instead, support the democratic forces in Afghanistan. "Please, strengthen my people by promoting education," she said in her speech. "Education is the key to strengthening emancipation," she added. Joya and other activists are hoping for a kind of "Arab Spring" in Afghanistan.
On December 5th more than 1000 delegates from 90 countries, including 65 foreign ministers, are expected in Bonn, Germany for the "Bonn II" or Petersberg II Conference to plan the future of Afghanistan after troop withdrawal in 2014. Yet parallel to Bonn II, the US is negotiating a US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement that will allow US troops, special forces units, and air power to remain in Afghanistan until 2024 and joint military bases beyond 2024 -- even though all of Afghanistan's neighboring countries are opposed to a long-term US military presence in the region. NATO members such as Germany have announced that they will also keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
We, the 99% on both sides of the Atlantic, also suffer from this seemingly endless war and occupation. 63% of the US people and more than 70% in Germany oppose the war in Afghanistan. In a time of economic hardship, the military costs of NATO’s Afghanistan intervention have already passed $1 trillion, with the US spending $525 billion, the EU $400 billion, and other ISAF partners $100 billion. Meanwhile, 14 million are unemployed in the US, yet the government has no adequarte jobs plan; instead, teachers are laid off, schools and libraries are closed, our infrastructure is crumbling, and nothing is done about looming environmental disaster,
The U.S. Senate bowed to popular sentiment and called for accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on November 30, passing the Merkely amendment to the 2012 Defense Authorization bill which requires the President to present a new withdrawal plan to Congress within 90 days.
Here in the US, UFPJ will join with the Network for a NATO-Free World: Global Peace and Justice in sponsoring a counter-summit conference in Chicago, May 18-19, 2012, when both NATO and the G8 will be meeting in Chicago. The counter-summit will call for complete withdrawal of all US and NATO troops from Afghanistan among other demands: http://www.inesglobal.com/NATO-call.phtml
The Bonn demonstrations are called by more than 170 German organizations and numerous individuals: http://www.afghanistanprotest.de/aufruf/liste-der-unterzeichnungen.html. They will be joined by Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, author Tariq Ali and MP Jeremy Corbyn of the UK, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Maguire of Ireland, and Alyn Ware of New Zealand. Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee, a founding member of UFPJ, will also address the Bonn rally.
We stand in solidarity with those protesting in Bonn this weekend and join with them to demand an immediate ceasefire, an end to the war in Afghanistan, withdrawal of all US-NATO troops and military facilities, and devotion of significant resources to help rebuild Afghanistan for the benefit of the Afghan people.
- UFPJ Afghanistan Working Group, December 2, 2011
United for Peace & Justice
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1227 2 December 2011 Email email@example.com Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) STOP THE BUILD UP TO WAR ON IRAN 2) NEARLY 400 DEAD... BRING THE TROOPS HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN 3) A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF STOP THE WAR TEN YEARS ON 4) NO TO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA *********** 1) STOP THE BUILD UP TO WAR ON IRAN The western powers seem to be doing everything possible to increase tension with Iran. Yesterday EU ministers imposed new sanctions on top of those agreed
BERLIN—Germany has approved the sale of another Dolphin-type military submarine to Israel and will pay for about a third of its cost, a senior German official said Wednesday.
Dolphin-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles, even though there is no evidence that Israel has armed them with such weapons.
Germany's parliament has set aside a maximum euro135 million ($180 million) in next year's budget to pay for its share of the submarine's cost, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Israel already has three Dolphin submarines from Germany -- one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin, and two more are currently under construction.
The official said the latest submarine, which brings the total to six, results from a 2005 agreement between the two nations that included an option for another subsidized sub. That option was now activated at Israel's request.
The contract for the submarine will be between the German and Israeli Defense Ministry and the manufacturer, with Germany starting to pay out its share of the cost next year, he said.
Israel is widely believed to possess a nuclear arsenal. It neither confirms nor denies foreign reports that it has nuclear arms.
By Linn Washington Jr.
London -- Standing on a picket line in front of her work place at a world renowned heart-lung hospital in London wasn’t Jeanette Anderson’s first choice for how to spend her day.
STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY is the story of Britain's biggest ever mass movement. The remarkable legacy of Stop The War is here in pictures for the first time: the unifying of countless individual tales of courage, passion, anger and creativity into a protest movement of true democracy. STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY is a limited edition, full colour publication. It is lavishly produced in A4 size, with 208 pages and includes over 300 images recording the history of Stop the War Coalition, with contributions from many leading artists, such as Ralph Steadman, Banksy and Steve Bell. The book also includes a graphical timeline, illustrating in chronological order all the key events over the past ten years. For more details go to: http://bit.ly/rGtUy1 To see a selection of pages from the book, go to: http://bit.ly/urIyzE STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY costs £20 and is being offered with free postage to all our members and supporters. It is a strictly limited edition, so buying early is advisable. TO BUY: * Buy online: http://bit.ly/rGtUy1 * Credit/debit card: Phone 020 7801 2768 ********************************* STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY BOOK LAUNCH FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER 6.30–8.00PM At Housmans Bookshop 5 Caledonian Road London N1 9DX With Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair of Stop the War Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War and Kate Hudson,General Secretary of CND If you would like to come to the book launch, please RSVP to: Francis Boutle Publishers: firstname.lastname@example.org
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:
Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.
Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. But only after much pain.
Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR)
Brussels/London – November 18, 2011
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) prepares to leave for Gaza with its largest international delegation yet. Delegates include renowned politicians from countries in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe; as well as, two outspoken Members of European Parliament – Ms. Marisa Matias and Mr. Paul Murphy.
On 4 November 2011, Mr. Paul Murphy was detained onboard the Irish boat, MV Saorise, by Israeli authorities in international waters. Along with other activists, he himself was detained for a week for having tried to help break the Gaza blockade.
Retired United States Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright will accompany the delegation. She visited Gaza three times in 2009 and was on the 2010 and 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotillas.
Gerhard Frey has created a petition to the German parliament, the Bundestag, to add an article to the German constitution identical to Article 5 of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador which reads:
"Article 5. Ecuador is a territory of peace. The establishment of foreign military bases or foreign facilities for military purposes shall not be allowed. It is forbidden to transfer national military bases to foreign armed or security forces."
By MARK LANDLER
IT may seem strange in an era of cyberwarfare and drone attacks, but the newest front in the rivalry between the United States and China is a tropical sea, where the drive to tap rich offshore oil and gas reserves has set off a conflict akin to the gunboat diplomacy of the 19th century.
The Obama administration first waded into the treacherous waters of the South China Sea last year when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared, at a tense meeting of Asian countries in Hanoi, that the United States would join Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries in resisting Beijing’s efforts to dominate the sea. China, predictably, was enraged by what it viewed as American meddling.
For all its echoes of the 1800s, not to mention the cold war, the showdown in the South China Sea augurs a new type of maritime conflict — one that is playing out from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arctic Ocean, where fuel-hungry economic powers, newly accessible undersea energy riches and even changes in the earth’s climate are conspiring to create a 21st-century contest for the seas.
The international public has so far been oblivious to the so-called “KCK operations” carried out in Turkey by Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party for the past two years. Under the guise of “fighting terrorism,” the Erdogan government has been using the judiciary, the police, and the media to penalize all civic activism in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The “KCK operations” in particular have been deployed to spread fear amongst activists, to silence public dissent, and to normalize the arbitrary arrest of citizens. Ironically, the Erdogan government’s suppression of dissent and of democratic politics has visibly intensified at a time when “Turkish democracy” is being hailed as a model for the Arab world.
Since 2009, as many as 7748 people have been taken under custody on the alleged grounds that they are associated with the KCK—an organization claimed to be the urban branch of the armed organization known as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party)—while 3895 people have been arrested and imprisoned without even the prospect of a trial in the foreseeable future. Elected mayors, public intellectuals, members of civic associations, journalists, university students, researchers, academics, and activists have all been undergoing this heavy-handed treatment.
One of the latest victims of the Erdogan government’s assault on public dissent is Professor Busra Ersanli of Marmara University, a highly respected academic. Her only apparent “crime” is to have played an active role within BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), which has been struggling for the rights of Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The members of this party have been systematically targeted by counterterrorism units’ arbitrary arrests, even as the party currently holds seats in the parliament. Professor Ersanli was to attend a conference on “Controversial Issues in the History of the Turkish Republic” at Istanbul Bilgi University on 29 October 2011, but she was taken under custody on 28 October. On the same day, Ragıp Zarakolu—a founding member of the Human Rights Association and the former chair of the “Writers in Prison Committee” of the International PEN organization in Turkey—was also taken under custody within the framework of the “KCK operations.”
Earlier in October 2011, Ayse Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu)—a renowned translator, researcher, and global peace and justice activist—was taken by the police from her home in Istanbul five o’clock in the morning and subsequently arrested. She still remains imprisoned for the foreseeable future. Professor Busra Ersanli, Ragip Zarakolu, and Ayse Berktay are among thousands of people who have been imprisoned and silenced in the last two years.
Under such political conditions that are only getting worse, it has become an urgent task to unmask the arbitrary and authoritarian character of the Turkish government's handling of the Kurdish issue. We are calling on friends abroad to spread the news and to build international pressure, which has become especially crucial and urgent at this time when any citizen of Turkey could be targeted by the Erdogan government, the judiciary, and the police for engaging in political acts of solidarity with those detained under the “KCK operations.”
Peace can never be achieved under the current conditions of public fear, paranoia, and authoritarian politics. Please sign the petition below to put pressure on the Turkish government to immediately release all those who have been taken under custody as part of the “KCK operations” and to demand that Prime Minister Erdogan’s government make a sincere commitment to ending its suppression of civic efforts in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey.
By William Fisher, The Public Record
Turns out that after all the investigations in a raft of countries, a virtual treasure trove of never-seen-before documents has reached the major European legal charity, Reprieve.
As a result, Reprieve is calling on Lithuanian authorities to re-open their investigation into CIA renditions and secret prisons on their own soil, and to focus on a newly-discovered web of new documents exposing well-disguised CIA flights through Europe that demonstrate the European Union’s complicity in the CIA’s secret prisons program.
Reprieve charges that “data focusing on Lithuania, but linked to suspected CIA activity in a raft of other countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa, has been identified by Reprieve investigators and passed to the Lithuanian prosecutor.”
In a letter to Lithuania’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Darius Raulušaitis, Reprieve’s Director, Clive Stafford Smith said: “Compelling new information that has now come to light about the landings of CIA-connected planes in Lithuania makes a rigorous and wide-ranging investigation all the more urgent. It is now clear that previous efforts to chart the extent of the CIA’s rendition operations in Europe revealed ONLY the tip of the iceberg.”
Reprieve claims that the new documents show that:
- Lithuania’s attempts to establish what the CIA did in the country between 2004-06 have been oddly unsuccessful, failing to identify key clues to several potential rendition flights;
- Two flights entered Lithuania from Morocco and Bucharest – known secret prison sites – in February 2005, around the time that ‘High Value Detainee’ Abu Zubaydah was transferred to a CIA black site in Lithuania;
- A crucial plane identified by the previous Lithuanian inquiry (registered as N787WH) tried to disguise its true destination (Lithuania) by filing a route plan to Gothenburg, Sweden;
- Many other European countries now linked to the CIA’s rendition flight program have questions to answer, including Austria, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Jordan, Portugal, Romania and the USA;
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1225 11 November 2011 Email email@example.com Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) MAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY A DAY TO END WARS 2) DON'T ATTACK IRAN 3) STOP THE WAR FUNDRAISING DINNER 4) STOP DRONE WARFARE ***************** 1) MAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY A DAY TO END WARS Anti war campaigners will be joining Remembrance Day ceremonies in towns and cities across the country and laying white poppy wreaths this weekend. After
As the numerologists note our arrival at 11/11/11, our attention is better focused on this day as the anniversary of the end of the useless, worthless, horrifying war that turned so much of 20th Century into a twisted, violent mess. And on how we must prevent the same from happening to our shiny new millennium.