3.6.06

‘Bad behaviour’ holding US troops back from conquering Kabul

Daily Times - Site Edition:

It is not just US troops that point their guns at drivers and pedestrians, and yell down to let them pass. But the Americans are regarded as the most aggressive

It is an average afternoon in a suburb of Kabul – a convoy of US military trucks belts down the road. From atop a Humvee, a helmeted and heavily armed soldier gestures aggressively at a civilian driver, who can do nothing but meekly pull over and let them pass.

Many Kabulis find their behaviour arrogant and disrespectful – even though Afghan drivers could themselves learn some lessons about road etiquette. “I don’t like Americans. They are arrogant, they are selfish and they act in a manner quite opposite to our traditions,” said Matin Rahimi, an employee of the national airline Ariana.

“Whoever says they are here to help us, I don’t believe them,” he said.

Iraq denounces outcome of US Ishaqi probe, plans own investigation

JURIST - Paper Chase: Iraq denounces outcome of US Ishaqi probe, plans own investigation:

Adnan al-Kazimi, an aide to new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki , said Saturday that the Iraqi government would open its own investigation into the deaths of Iraq civilians in Ishaqi after an official statement by a US military spokesman Saturday cleared US troops from all wrongdoing in the deaths. Kazimi told Reuters, 'We have from more than one source that the Ishaqi killings were carried out under questionable circumstances. More than one child was killed. This report was not fair for the Iraqi people and the children who were killed.' Kazimi also said the Iraqi government would demand an apology from the US and would seek compensation for the victims' families in several cases of alleged civilian murders by US troops, including the deaths of 24 unarmed Iraqi citizens in Haditha last year. Iraqi Human Rights Minister Wijdan Michael said a commission would be sent to Ishaqi to investigate the deaths in the next few days.

2.6.06

The Haditha Scandal: "I Hope the Investigation Goes up the Food Chain"

The Haditha Scandal: "I Hope the Investigation Goes up the Food Chain" - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Michael Sallah -- who won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting on war crimes in Vietnam -- discuss the parallels between the massacres at Haditha and My Lai.


SPIEGEL: The US military has a tendency to deny first, give as little reaction as possible and then to convict as few people as it can. We saw that with My Lai -- will we see it happen with Haditha?

Sallah: Haditha was covered up, they lied about it initially and it was Time magazine and its persistence in getting out the truth that brought this out and got an official investigation. Still, you shouldn't blame these young men -- you should blame the commanders, the leaders. Where were the brakes? I go up the food chain, not down it.

SPIEGEL: In the wake of Abu Ghraib, they certainly didn't go up the food chain. They prosecuted soldiers and low-ranking officers.

Sallah: That's the problem -- it was the same thing with Calley in My Lai. We tend to isolate the guys in the field when clearing the investigations. But instead prosecutors should be going after the command level. Those are the people you hold responsible for dereliction of duty and other war crimes. They are the ones who clearly didn't put on the brakes and didn't acknowledge in the beginning what actually happened. Instead, they covered it up. I don't think this was just a spur of the moment thing. I think it was part of a longer standing pattern that now exists in Iraq, where some of our troops are losing control. I blame the commanders for not pulling them out of battle. I hope this investigation goes up the food chain. Judging by history though, the chances of that happening aren't very good.

Marines Held in the Slaying of Iraqi Man

Marines Held in the Slaying of Iraqi Man:

This is not Haditha nor is it Ishraqi...
Several Marines are being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton and several more are restricted to the base pending an investigation in the slaying of a civilian in Iraq and a possible attempt to make him appear to have been an insurgent, Marine Corps officials said.

The inquiry in the April 26 killing in Hamandiya is separate from the investigation of the Nov. 19 slaying of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

But both cases involve the moral, legal and tactical issues of how to treat noncombatants in western Iraq, a complex and chaotic battleground patrolled by Marines.

'Like the commandant of the Marine Corps, Marines aboard Camp Pendleton are concerned regarding allegations emanating from Iraq,' Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, which is based at Camp Pendleton, said in a statement Saturday.

NSA wiretapping case to proceed despite DOJ 'state secrets' dismissal bid

JURIST - Paper Chase: NSA wiretapping case to proceed despite DOJ 'state secrets' dismissal bid:

A federal judge in Michigan has ordered the National Security Agency to respond to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the legality of the NSA's domestic surveillance program.

US District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor denied the NSA's motion to stay consideration of the ACLU's motion for partial summary judgment, saying that the government's attempt to dismiss the case on the basis of state secrecy will not be heard until after an earlier ACLU motion for summary judgment. The hearing on the ACLU's motion is scheduled for June 12.

U.S. serviceman gets life sentence for murdering Japanese woman

People's Daily Online -- U.S. serviceman gets life sentence for murdering Japanese woman:

A U.S. serviceman was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday for murdering a Japanese woman in January in a port city south of Tokyo, Kyodo News reported.

William Reese, a 22-year-old crew member of the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk based at Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture, admitted to beating 56-year-old Japanese woman Yoshie Sato to death, but said he did not intend to kill her.

Prosecutors accused Reese at the Yokohama District court of fatally beating Sato after failing to grab the woman's bag in Yokosuka on the morning of January 3. They also alleged that the sailor had stolen 15,000 yen (134 U.S. dollars) afterwards and then fled the scene. Reese was arrested by the Japanese police four days later.

Under the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, the U.S. side can hold the suspects until the law suit is brought forward. However, following an atrocity by U.S. Marines against a Japanese girl in 1995, Washington agreed to give 'sympathetic consideration ' to pre-indictment handover involving allegations of serious crimes such as murder and rape.

Reese's case marked the first time the United States has agreed to a pre-indictment handover over a murder case since then.

US war-crimes in Iraq: A brief list

April 28, 2003 - Troops of the 82nd Airborne Division open fire as 100 or so demonstrators surround their base in the Sunni town of Falluja. Officers said they returned fire against two men with rifles and said up to 10 people were killed. The local hospital put the casualty toll at 13 dead and 75 wounded.

Jan. 3, 2004 - Zaidoun Faleh Hassoun believed drowned after U.S. soldiers pushed two men into the Tigris river at Samarra. Two soldiers were sentenced to up to six months for assault.

April 28 - U.S. television broadcasts photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing detainees in 2003 at Abu Ghraib prison. Several military police, the most senior a sergeant, were jailed or disciplined. Some cases go on. Commanders deny ordering torture.

May 19 - About 40 people killed in U.S. air strike on desert encampment at Mogr al-Deeb in western Iraq. Denying local accounts, including video footage, that the dead were innocently celebrating a wedding, U.S. military insists most were foreign Arab militants: "Bad people have parties too," a spokesman said.

Sept. 12 - Two U.S. helicopters fire rockets, killing at least five people among a crowd around a crippled U.S. armoured vehicle on central Baghdad's Haifa Street. Among the dead was journalist Mazen Tomeizi, hit while speaking to his camera. At first, the military said the pilots fired to destroy the Bradley vehicle. Later they said they were responding to gunshots.

Nov. 13 - Unnamed corporal from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment filmed shooting apparently unarmed and wounded man in a mosque. Commanders ruled he could have "reasonably believed" the man and two others he shot in the mosque were hostile.

March 4, 2005 - U.S. soldiers at checkpoint kill Italian agent Nicola Calipari as he escorts freed hostage Italian journalist to Baghdad airport. Troops cleared of any wrongdoing.

June 25 - Mohammed al-Sumaidaie, 21, shot dead at home near Haditha. His cousin Samir al-Sumaidaie, now Iraqi ambassador in Washington, accuses Marines of "cold-blooded murder" but says the military ruled that they acted in self-defence.

Oct. 16 - Iraqi officials in the restive Sunni city of Ramadi say about 20 civilians, including children, killed in air strike near wreck of U.S. vehicle. Military says 20 militants killed when F-15 bombs group of men burying explosives in road.

Nov. 19 - Twenty-four Iraqis shot dead at Haditha. Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment first say 15 civilians killed by roadside bomb that killed a Marine and that they shot eight guerrillas. U.S. investigators now say 24 men, women and children were shot and seem ready to agree with locals that Marines on a rampage killed them in three houses and a car.

March 15, 2006 - Police say six adults and five children shot dead in U.S. raid on home in Ishaqi, north of Baghdad. The 101st Airborne Division says two women and a child died during arrest of al Qaeda militant. Investigation was announced but U.S. spokesmen were this week unable to say who conducting it.

March 18 - Iraqi police say U.S. soldiers shot dead a 13-year-old boy and his parents in their home in the Sunni town of Dhuluiya, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, saying they were among eight people killed after a U.S. patrol was ambushed. The 101st Airborne says troops killed seven "attacking terrorists".

April 26 - Iraqi man killed at Hamandiya, western Iraq. U.S. military says investigating. U.S. media reports say Marines were questioned about whether they took man from home and shot him.

May 4 - 101st Airborne Division says troops kill two men and a woman after being fired on from house in Samarra, adding the dead were involved in attack. Police name two dead women aged 60 and 20 and a mentally handicapped man and say they were unarmed. Relatives tell Reuters troops fired on them in a room.

May 30 - U.S. forces shoot dead two women in a car near Samarra. Troops say driver ignored signs to stop. Relatives and police say one of dead women was pregnant and going to hospital.


Source: Reuters AlterNet

Somali Muslims vow death to US, warlord alliance

Somali Muslims vow death to US, warlord alliance : Mail & Guardian Online:

Thousands of angry Somali Muslims on Friday denounced the United States and a US-backed warlord alliance fighting Islamic militia in the lawless capital, Mogadishu, vowing to destroy their opponents.

Chanting anti-US slogans and comparing President George Bush to a Nazi, about 5 000 Muslims gathered in southern Mogadishu and pledged to fight to the death against the alliance as fierce fighting raged north of the city.

Surrounded by heavily armed Islamist militiamen, the throng cheered as clerics accused Washington of financing a 'genocide' in Somalia by bankrolling the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism (ARPCT).

'The US is wrongfully supporting the warlords by funding them in this war,' said Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Hamad, chairperson of the coalition of Mogadishu's 11 Islamic courts.

'The US actions are contrary to international law and against the will of the Somali people,' he told the crowd, which assembled after Friday prayers.

'We will fight and die for Somalia and Islam,' said Sheikh Mohamoud Sheik Ibrahim...

1.6.06

Bush's Lie

Bush's Lie:

One could also argue that it was just an innocent lie, intended simply to temporarily cloak an ongoing personnel matter -- or a justified lie, intended to avoid market disruption.

But the fact remains that Bush and his aides inevitably anticipated a question about Snow would come up. So his response was not an accident.

In other words, here is proof that when Bush feels it is justified, for one reason or another, he is more than capable of lying in response to a direct question, rather than just ducking it.

The obvious follow up question for the White House: When else is lying justified? In times of war, for instance, the commander in chief actually has a responsibility not to divulge secrets that would aid the enemy. But how widely does Bush envision that responsibility? Does it extend to lying, rather than just being discreet? What assurance can Bush give that he's not lying about all sorts of other things?

This is not an incident in a vacuum.

Iraqi Premier Accuses U.S. of Attacking Civilians as a 'Daily Phenomenon'

Premier Accuses U.S. of Attacking Civilians in Iraq - New York Times:

As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.

In his comments, Mr. Maliki said violence against civilians had become a 'daily phenomenon' by many troops in the American-led coalition who 'do not respect the Iraqi people.'

'They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion,' he said. 'This is completely unacceptable.' Attacks on civilians will play a role in future decisions on how long to ask American forces to remain in Iraq, the prime minister added.

Marines to Face Charges in Iraqi's Death

Marines to Face Charges in Iraqi's Death:

yet ANOTHER non-Haditha civilian murder by americans:

Military prosecutors plan to file murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi man in April, a defense lawyer said Thursday.

The eight men are being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base north of San Diego, said Jeremiah Sullivan III, who represents one of the men.

...

Separately, another group of five Marines in Kilo Company, including a lieutenant who commanded the platoon, are under investigation for injuring a suspect in their custody, according to a defense attorney who has been contacted by the family of one of the Marines. He spoke Thursday only on condition of anonymity because he has not taken on the case.

The Iraqi man was killed west of Baghdad on April 26. His death was unrelated to the shootings of as many as two dozen civilians in the western Iraqi city of Haditha. The Pentagon is investigating troops from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment in that case.

Blix condemns 'militaristic' US

Aljazeera.Net - Blix condemns 'militaristic' US

The following is a relevant excerpt from the full report linked to in the article
Some of the current setbacks in treaty-based arms control and disarmament can be traced to a pattern in US policy that is sometimes called ‘selective multilateralism’ – an increased US scepticism regarding the effectiveness of international institutions and instruments, coupled with a drive for freedom of action to maintain an absolute global superiority in weaponry and means of their delivery.

The US is clearly less interested in global approaches and treaty making than it was in the Cold War era. In the case of Iraq, the US chose in 2003 to rely on its own national intelligence and to disregard the results of international verification, even though the latter turned out to be more accurate.

More importantly, the US has been looking to what is called ‘counter-proliferation’ – a policy envisaging the unilateral use of force – as a chief means to deal with perceived nuclear or other WMD threats. As seen in the war to eliminate WMD in Iraq, and in official statements regarding North Korea and Iran, the US has claimed a right to take armed action if necessary to remove what it perceives as growing threats, even without the authorization of the UN Security Council.


The overwhelming majority of states reject the claims by the US or any other state to such a wide licence on the use of force. While they recognize the right for states under Article 51 of the UN Charter to take armed action in self-defence against an imminent threat, they share the view expressed in 2004 by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change that, in cases where the threat is not imminent, there is an obligation – and time – to turn to the Security Council to ask for authorization for the use of armed force. On this matter, the Commission notes the fundamental difference between what may be termed the ‘unilateralist’ approach of the current US Administration and the ‘multilateralist’ approach of most of the rest of the world. The vast majority of states still give their primary support to cooperative

Germany admits rendition gaffe

Aljazeera.Net - Germany admits rendition gaffe:

The office of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said in a statement it 'regretted' that the information had not previously come to light and would pass it on to prosecutors in Munich who are investigating Masri's alleged abduction.
'We are clearly in a rather embarrassing situation now... It is highly regrettable but it can't be changed'

BND spokesman

The BND said its employee had heard about Masri during a conversation in the canteen of a Macedonian security agency in early January 2004.

A BND statement said: 'A person he did not know casually told him that a German citizen called el-Masri had been arrested at Skopje airport because he was on a wanted list. El-Masri had been handed over to the Americans.'

New 'Iraq massacre' tape emerges: This one shows 11 Iraqi civilians

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | New 'Iraq massacre' tape emerges:

FUCK BUSH has this on 3.15.06

The BBC has uncovered new video evidence that US forces may have been responsible for the deliberate killing of 11 innocent Iraqi civilians.The video appears to challenge the US military's account of events that took place in the town of Ishaqi in March.The US said at the time four people died during a military operation, but Iraqi police claimed that US troops had deliberately shot the 11 people.

31.5.06

U.S. Troops Kill Pregnant Woman in Iraq

U.S. Troops Kill Pregnant Woman in Iraq - New York Times:
U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women -- one of them about to give birth -- when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday. Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.

Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses.

...

Jassim's brother, who was wounded by broken glass, said he did not see any warnings as he sped his sister to the hospital. Her husband was waiting for her there.

''I was driving my car at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans. It was not until they shot the two bullets that killed my sister and cousin that I stopped,'' he said. ''God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here. They have no regard for our lives.''

U.S. to Investigate Deadly Afghan Crash

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | U.S. to Investigate Deadly Afghan Crash:

More dead civilians' blood on the US...
Parliament demanded prosecution of U.S. soldiers involved in a deadly road crash that sparked Kabul's worst unrest since the Taliban's downfall, and President Bush spoke Wednesday with the Afghan leader and pledged a full investigation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Taliban militants overran a police district headquarters - the latest sign that the Afghan government has only shaky control of the countryside.

The National Assembly, or lower house, passed a nonbinding motion Tuesday, one day after anti-foreigner riots that paralyzed the capital. The unrest was sparked by the accident in which a U.S. truck plowed into a line of cars, killing up to five Afghans.

Rampaging mobs looted stores and burned some government buildings and offices of international organizations. Up to 20 Afghans were killed and more than 160 wounded, mostly from gunshots. The situation has since calmed, but Kabul remains under a night curfew.

``Those responsible for the accident on Monday should be handed over to Afghan legal authorities,'' Saleh Mohammed Saljuqi, an assistant to the parliamentary speaker, cited the motion as saying.

ECJ: Americans cannot be trusted with passenger data

Privacy row puts flights to US at risk - World - Times Online:

PASSENGERS flying across the Atlantic face chaos after Europe’s supreme court yesterday threw out an agreement to hand over passenger details to US counter-terrorism authorities before take-off.

Airlines said that unless an immediate solution was found they would be plunged into a legal limbo, banned by Europe’s data protection laws from handing the details to the US and banned from landing in the US unless they have handed over the data.

The European Court of Justice judgment caused outrage among anti-terrorism policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic, prompting claims that it is fuelled by anti-Americanism and shows that Europe is soft on terrorism. However, it was hailed as a triumph by EU parliamentarians, who started the legal action, claiming that American agencies could not be trusted with passenger data.

30.5.06

Iraq launches inquiry into 'massacre by marines'

Telegraph | News | Iraq launches inquiry into 'massacre by marines':

The new Iraqi prime minister yesterday demanded that the soldiers allegedly responsible for the massacre of civilians at Haditha be held to account as speculation mounted that American marines could face murder charges.

An investigation in Washington into the deaths of 15 civilians and eight insurgents who died after a bomb killed a marine in Haditha last November will now be joined by Iraq's own investigation into civilian casualties, Nuri al-Maliki said.

Cheney aide is screening legislation

Cheney aide is screening legislation - The Boston Globe:

Knowing that Addington was likely to review the bills, other White House and Justice Department lawyers began vetting legislation with Addington's and Cheney's views in mind, according to another former lawyer in the Bush White House.

All these lawyers, he said, were extremely careful to flag any provision that placed limits on presidential power.

``You didn't want to miss something,' said the second former White House lawyer, who also asked not to be named.

Cheney and Addington have a long history. Addington was a Republican staff member on the congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s, while Cheney was the ranking GOP House member. When Cheney became defense secretary under President George H. W. Bush , he hired Addington as Pentagon counsel.

After Cheney became vice president in 2001, he again hired Addington as counsel. Addington played a major role in shaping the administration's legal policies in the war on terrorism, including a 2002 memo arguing that Bush could authorize interrogators to bypass anti torture laws. In October, when Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis ``Scooter' Libby , was indicted for perjury and resigned, Cheney replaced Libby with Addington.

A spokeswoman for Cheney's office, asked to comment on Addington's role in reviewing legislation, said, ``We do not comment on internal deliberations.'

28.5.06

'L.A. Times' Probes Another Killing of Iraq Civilian

'L.A. Times' Probes Another Killing of Iraq Civilian:

Several Marines have been brought back from Iraq and placed in the brig at this Southern California base awaiting the outcome of an investigation into the death of an Iraqi civilian, a military official said Sunday.

No charges have been filed in the April 26 death at Hamandiyah, west of Baghdad.

Several Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, were placed in pretrial confinement and several are under pretrial base restrictions, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Lt. Lawton King, said in a statement.

King would not say how many Marines were brought back from Iraq. The rest of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, remains on duty in Iraq, he said.

Details of the Hamandiyah incident have not been released. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that investigators were trying to determine whether an Iraqi civilian was taken from his home and shot to death.

The newspaper, citing the Marines, said troops may have planted an AK-47 and shovel near the body to make it appear the man was an insurgent placing an improvised explosive device.