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Photo: Afif Sarhan/IRIN: Rayhan Nasir, 24, is losing hope after two years spent searching for his father (file photo)
27 April 2011 (IRIN) - The government has set up a committee to trace thousands of Iraqis missing since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, says an official.
“Our definition of missing people are those who disappeared in military operations, terrorist attacks or those who are reported kidnapped but have not appeared yet,” Maj. Farouk Al-Araji, office manager of the Chief Commander of Iraq’s Military Command, told a news conference in Baghdad on 25 April.
They should take a poll as to our, the U.S., standing now in this world stage and it wouldn't have even needed Wikileaks to be mentioned, Especially as we've made no move to dig out the accountability!!
Apr 26, 2011 - A 24-country poll found that most people believe WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is not a criminal and should not be charged by the U.S. government for releasing thousands of secret U.S. documents.
The poll by Ipsos found 79 percent of people were aware of WikiLeaks and two-thirds of those believed Assange should not be charged and three-quarters supported the group's bid to make public secret government or corporate documents.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, in a stunning smack at the U.S. Supreme Court, has issued a ruling upholding its earlier decision backing a new sentencing hearing in the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted killer of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
The latest ruling, issued on Tuesday April 26, 2011, upholds a ruling the Third Circuit issued over two years ago siding with a federal district court judge who, back in 2001, had set aside Abu-Jamal’s death penalty after determining that death penalty instructions provided to the jury, and a flawed jury ballot document used during Abu-Jamal’s 1982 trial, had been unclear.
The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered the Third Circuit to re-examine its 2009 ruling upholding the lifting of Abu-Jamal’s death sentence.
The “Bradley Manning Exception to the Bill of Rights” Devastates the Credibility of the Military Justice System
By Kevin Zeese
The credibility of the military justice system is being undermined by the prosecution of Bradley Manning. His abusive punishment without trial violates his due process rights; his harsh treatment in solitary confinement-torture conditions violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; and now the commander-in-chief has announced his guilt before trial making a fair trial impossible. A Bradley Manning exception to the Bill of Rights is developing as the Obama administration seeks Manning’s punished no matter what constitutional protections they violate.
2010 State Department Human Rights Report on Haiti - by Stephen Lendman
Haiti's human rights history is long and abusive, alleviated only during Jean-Bertrand Aristide's tenure. Besides achieving impressive social, economic and political gains, he respected and promoted justice and human rights initiatives.
For the first time ever, those arrested had formal hearings before a judge in two days. In 1995, a school for magistrates was opened. Courthouses and police stations were constructed and refurbished. Protecting children became paramount, including laws prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment.
President Bashar Assad co-operated with the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in its anti-Al Qaeda operations. As a result of this co-operation, Syria allegedly became a favourite rendition centre of the CIA where Al Qaeda suspects were brought for interrogation by Syrian interrogators who had no qualms over the use of torture.
This week on War news Radio First, we learn about the Raymond Davis case and the implications of Islamic and secular law.
Then, we hear about Shepherds of Helmand, a recently released documentary about the war in Afghanistan.
These stories, plus this week's news.
2010 State Department Human Rights Report on Egypt - by Stephen Lendman
In her book, "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," Marjorie Cohn quoted a former CIA agent saying:
"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear....you send them to Egypt."
In fact, Egypt under Mubarak and current military leadership is proficient in all of the above. These practices go on daily but unmentioned in US media reports, claiming September elections promise democracy, when, in fact, everything changed but stayed the same.
Each year, the State Department publishes human rights reports on over 190 countries. Its complete one on Egypt can be accessed through the following link:
April 20, 2011 - L. Tammy Duckworth came to Hartford on Monday and told a sad story.
Duckworth was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in 2004 when she lost both legs and the partial use of one arm in combat. Now, she's assistant secretary of veterans affairs in D.C., and recently, she was in Vermont talking to a man who was staying with his family at a homeless shelter.
That's sad enough, but the man was excited. A member of the Vermont National Guard, he was getting ready to deploy, and his family had received permission to stay in the shelter for the duration of his tour overseas.
Imagine. Excitement that your family could stay in a homeless shelter.
Displaced families head out of the conflict-hit Orakzai Agency in Afghanistan
21 April 2011 (IRIN) - One irony of the current security situation in Afghanistan is that foreign forces, whose ostensible aim is to protect civilians while fighting the Taliban, may be responsible - directly or indirectly - for the bulk of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, whose number is rising.
About 400 individuals were displaced each day in 2006-2010 - 730,000 in total - mostly due to military operations by US/NATO forces, according to the Oslo-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), an affiliate of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Under the command of the Rockefeller family, the National Guard fires at strikers and their families to suppress a strike of twelve thousand workers
Continued Prosecution of Manning Will Embarrass U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment
By Kevin Zeese
After months of pressure, the Obama administration is finally transferring PFC Bradley Manning to a military prison appropriately designed for pre-trial detention in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. While the transfer of Manning away from the abusive Quantico Marine Corps Brig may be a positive step, the U.S. government remains trapped in a Manning Quagmire. If they proceed their embarrassment will continue to grow as the truth about U.S. foreign policy is reviewed under a microscope.
By John Grant
“The Americans have not been honest about this, even among themselves.”
That’s how Mullah Attullah Lodin, deputy chairman of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan sees our nation and its government as it relates to the question of permanent bases in Afghanistan and to his specific portfolio, the establishment of peace in Afghanistan.
Lodin is a former Hizb-e Islami militia commander (they fought the Russians), and he's now in the Karzai government. Some might suggest he has an agenda, which generally means he's not in synch with US policy. Americans don't have "agendas." The presumption is Afghans are backward and corrupt and somehow not as worthy of trust as a westerner or an American. And he's all for talking peace with the Taliban, which makes him radioactive.
Striking miners and their families being evicted from company houses
April 18 1912 - Members of the United Mine Workers of America on Paint Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia, demanded wages equal to those of other area mines. The operators rejected the wage increase and miners walked off the job. Miners along nearby Cabin Creek, having previously lost their union, joined the Paint Creek strikers and demanded:
• the right to organize
• recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly
• an end to blacklisting union organizers
• alternatives to company stores
• an end to the practice of using mine guards
• prohibition of cribbing
• installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal
• unions be allowed to hire their own checkweighmen to make sure the companies' checkweighmen were not cheating the miners.
(This article is the first of seven pieces dedicated to the Cuban revolution and its defeat of the US imperialist invasion 50 years ago, April 17-19, 1961, and embraces my half-century struggle.)
I. Sharing Che’s Activism
Che’s penetrating eyes stare at me seriously as I write about him. It is strange that I have never written about him before, other than to quote him. Perhaps it is because Che has been too large a figure for me to tackle? I don’t know. This writing, though, is a commemoration of Che and of my 50 years in our common struggle.
Ernesto Guevara was my greatest personal inspiration and Cuba’s revolution was my greatest collective inspiration—along with the Vietnamese resistance fighters. Nicknamed Che, an Argentine expression, he lived and died as he preached. Che’s internationalist ideals, his consequent actions, his integrity and charm, have influenced my life all these decades.
A new generation of war poets is providing powerful insight into ongoing conflicts by putting their vivid impressions into words. Sean Rayment and Michael Howie report.
17 April 2011 - For centuries, soldiers have used poetry to describe the horrors of war. The celebrated First World War poets – Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke – memorably used cathartic verse to illustrate the futility of a conflict that saw a generation of young men perish.
Yet war poetry offers much to the reader, too.
April 15th, 2011 - This week on War News Radio, we investigate media coverage of the protests in Afghanistan,
Next, we learn about communications in the Libyan conflict.
Finally, we hear from a journalist who was kidnapped in Afghanistan.
All this, and the week's news.
Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by UN Torture Investigator, Hundreds of Legal Academics and Hundreds of Thousands
Retired Colonel: “Obama could end torture with one phone call."
Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by Leading Law Professors & UN Torture Investigator
Hundreds of Thousands Write Obama Urging End to Manning Abuse
Retired Colonel: “Obama Could End Torture of Manning
With One Phone Call”
By Dave Lindorff
There was a truly bizarre and telling paragraph at the end of a Wall Street Journal news report today on Pakistan’s demand that the US bring home hundreds of CIA and Special Forces personnel operating undercover in that country, and that it halt the drone strikes in the border regions abutting Afghanistan, which have been killing countless civilian men, women and children.
Reporters Adam Entous and Matthew Rosenberg, with no sense of irony, wrote:
The US hasn’t committed to adjusting the drone program in response to Pakistan’s request. The CIA operates covertly, meaning the program doesn’t require Islamabad’s support, under US law. Some officials say the CIA operates with relative autonomy in the tribal areas. They played down the level of support they now receive from Pakistan.
Evidence of Quid Pro Quo with Guerrilla, Paramilitary Groups Contradicts 2007 Plea Deal
Colombian Military Officials Encouraged, Facilitated Company's Payments to Death Squads
More than 5,500 Pages of Chiquita Records Published Online by National Security Archive
March 2000 notes of Chiquita Senior Counsel Robert Thomas indicate awareness that payments were for security services.
Anybody know of a state, or national mega, that has a lottery, playing mostly to the lower income citizen, dedicated to prison spending, me neither!
A new report from the NAACP shows states are devoting increasingly larger portions of their budgets to prisons, while education gets smaller and smaller portions. Judy Woodruff discusses the report with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Transcript
Indiscriminate warfare, as opposed to deliberate killing, was undoubtedly Israel's state policy
Right to Peaceably Assemble to Redress Grievances Undermined by Quantico Marine Command that Violates Soldier’s Oath
By Kevin Zeese
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
On March 20th, Americans, in a vet led assembly, gathered to support PFC Bradley Manning who is accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks and who has been held in solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Base for 7 months. We worked successfully with the Prince William County Police for a safe and peaceful event, but one aspect of the event was in dispute – a veteran led flower laying ceremony.
By Linn Washington Jr.
Herman Garner doesn’t dispute the drug charge that slammed him in prison for nine years.
Garner does dispute the damning circumstance that doing the time for his crime still leaves him penalized despite his having ended his sentence in the penal system.
Garner carries the “former felon” stain.
That status slams employment doors shut in his face despite his having a MBA Degree and two years of law school.
“I’ve applied for jobs at thousands of places in person and on the internet, but I’m unable to get a job,” said Garner, a Cleveland, Ohio resident who recently published a book about his prison/life experiences titled Wavering Between Extremes.
Recently Garner joined hundreds of people attending a day-long conference at Princeton University entitled “Imprisonment Of A Race,” that featured presentations by scholars and experts on the devastating, multi-faceted impact of mass incarceration across America.
April 1, 2011 - Dennis Edney, the Canadian lawyer for Omar Khadr, gave a powerful talk on Mar. 21 at the University of Ottawa, where he presented the case that Khadr has been pushed through a sham legal system devoid of any real justice.
The event was sponsored by Amnesty International UO and a number of other campus groups, including the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.
KAPISA PROVINCE - Mar 31, 2011 - Alasay district in this province northeast of the Afghan capital Kabul, is the scene of an unusual arrangement where local government officials and the Taliban turn a blind eye to one another.
Recognizing that neither side can defeat the other, the two have effectively decided to coexist as peaceably as conditions will allow.
Taliban guerrillas and government policemen, both armed, wander around the open-air market in the district center without bothering one another. They have even been known to attend each other's weddings and funerals.
To ease relations further and remove any embarrassment, a decision was taken recently to have the insurgents do their shopping in the morning and the security forces theirs in the afternoon.