29.7.06

UN panel slams US rights practices in wide-ranging report

JURIST - Paper Chase: UN panel slams US rights practices in wide-ranging report:

The UN Human Rights Committee slammed current US rights practices in a report released Friday, saying among other things that the US needs to close all alleged secret detention facilities and allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees held at the alleged prisons. The committee noted that it has information that the secret detention centers have existed for a long time, and added that it would not accept the United States' argument that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) does not apply to people outside the US borders. The Covenant addresses basic individual rights, including equality before the law, protection against torture and arbitrary arrest. The Committee wrote it was:

...concerned by credible and uncontested information that the State party has seen fit to engage in the practice of detaining people secretly and in secret places for months and years on end, without even keeping the International Committee of the Red Cross informed. In such cases, the rights of the families of the detained persons have also been violated. It is further concerned that, even when such persons may have their detention acknowledged, they and others have been held for months or years in prolonged incommunicado detention...The State party should immediately abolish all secret detention and secret detention facilities. It should also grant prompt access by the International Committee of the Red Cross to any person detained in connection with armed conflict. It should only detain persons in places in which they can enjoy the full protection of the law.

Gonzales seeking to 'shield' US soldiers from US war crimes legislation

JURIST - Paper Chase: Gonzales seeking to 'shield' US soldiers from US war crimes legislation:

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pressed Republican lawmakers last week for a bill that would 'shield' US soldiers from potential prosecution in US federal courts over violations of the 1996 War Crimes Act , according to a report in Friday's Washington Post. The War Crimes Act authorizes life sentences for US soldiers who breach the war crimes provisions of Common Article 3 or Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions or any other international treaty, and authorizes the death penalty if a detainee dies while held in such detention.

Gonzales wants a bill that would prevent detainees held by the US from bringing lawsuits under the 1996 statute, leaving the prosecution of alleged crimes to federal prosecutors, and that would clarify that the US government's interpretation of what the Geneva Conventions require trumps any other interpretation. According to Department of Justice lawyers, the proposed legislation would protect US soldiers who acted under the authority of a 2002 presidential order that declared the Geneva Conventions inapplicable to terrorist detainees, an order that was revoked after the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [text] declared that the Conventions applied.

US soldier says other troops murdered Iraqi detainees, orchestrated cover-up

JURIST - Paper Chase: US soldier says other troops murdered Iraqi detainees, orchestrated cover-up:

A US Army soldier has said that the deaths of three Iraqi detainees in Samarra on May 9 were deliberate murders covered-up by his squad of the Third Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division , according to Friday's New York Times. The Times obtained a sworn statement by Sgt. Lemuel Lemus given June 15, in which he admitted failing to stop his comrades from killing the detainees because he feared his fellow soldiers would label him a coward. Four men - Sergeant Raymond Girouard, Specialist William Hunsaker, Pfc. Corey Clagett and Specialist Juston Graber - have now been charged with premeditated murder in relation to the May 9 deaths, and await an Article 32 hearing next week.

28.7.06

American-Israeli Barbarism

Dar Al Hayat:

America has supplied Israel with fuel for its military aircraft to the value of $ 210 million immediately after the Israeli air force destroyed Beirut International Airport. It then provided it with high-explosive bombs to pound buildings, bridges, roads and infrastructure, including telephone and TV transmission stations. The reason is not difficult to fathom. The US, along with Israel and a number of its allies, prepared for this fierce military campaign in Palestine and Lebanon to create a so-called New Middle East where it is assumed that no one would dare to go against the will of the Zionists and the Americans. Moreover, the fuel and bombs are a very small part of the latest munitions the US has stored in Israel and has placed at the disposal of the Israeli army.

Once again, we see the double standards of the West. Resolution 242 demanding Israel's withdrawal from the Arab territories it occupied in 1967 and passed unanimously by the Security Council has not been applied to date. But the resolutions primarily directed against Arab interests must immediately be put into effect. Even the Road Map, which was basically US sponsored and supposed to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian State has been impaired by Israel's too many conditions, and can no longer be applied.

Again, with America's barbaric conduct in three wars waged simultaneously on Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon, we see and hear angry condemnations by people with conscience in various parts of the world, but the American-Israeli arrogance goes on.

In her lightning visit to Beirut, the US Secretary of State turned into a messenger, relaying Israel's conditions for ending the war, conditions that the Speaker of the Lebanese parliament rejected. Ahead of her tour in the region and during it, Rice repeated the talk of 'a new Middle East'. What she did not say was that the Arabs would be completely subjected to Israel and this was likely to happen.

27.7.06

Rome: Extension of the War

Dar Al Hayat:

After the United States undermined the bid for a ceasefire through the UN Security Council, it aborted it again at the Rome Conference. Even the idea of the international force was met yesterday with a bloody warning, not from Hezbollah, which is the party that would be most harmed by this idea, but from what Kofi Anan has called Israel's 'deliberate' shelling.

The international community, which is still reasonable to some extent, told Condoleezza Rice yesterday that they could not discuss political solutions to the crisis unless the US-Israel duet was ready for a ceasefire. But the Secretary of State understood in Israel, before she came to Rome, that the Israeli military needed more time to complete its mission.

But what mission? 'Condi' herself does not know, perhaps because the goal of striking Hezbollah out of the equation is no longer as easy as the 'rabbi' planners the rabbis in Washington and Tel Aviv had portrayed.

The Rome Conference was just a waste of time and gave Israel a new lease to continue with its killings and destruction. This conference came as bad news for the Lebanese, especially the civilians. It means that the Americans and Israelis are still determined to target their homes, shelters and even the parks to which they fled to spend the nights in the open.

The war and its subsequent crisis have become open, with no time limit. Considering past experiences, they can spin out of control. Those who had once spoken of 'weeks' are now expecting the war to take 'months', added the time required for the return of the displaced and their retrieval of the minimal level of their normal life in their villages, cities and towns.

But George W. Bush and his clique care for neither time nor the suffering of civilians and their pains. Israel promised the US president that the war would eradicate a 'terrorist group' and that it would be the first battle in the war he seeks to wage against Iran before he steps down from office.

26.7.06

A Call to All and Every Arab

Dar Al Hayat:

I hereby declare that I am withdrawing my recognition of Israel.

It is not a state. It is a criminal enterprise, more dangerous than any known mafia. A mafia family may bribe one judge. Israel has bought the whole (American) system, which has installed itself as judge to the world.

Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East, as it is touted. It is institutionalized state terrorism. Figures don't lie and they tell us that Israel killed five times more Palestinian civilians than it lost since 29/09/2001. And in the latest outbreak of fighting with Hizbullah it has killed ten times more Lebanese civilians than it has lost, a Nazi ratio. There is terrorism on both sides, but the numbers show us that Israel is five times more terrorists than all the Palestinian and Lebanese groups put together. Any person who rejects the so-called 'moral equivalency' is a neo-Nazi terrorist.

This is YOUR democratic leadership

Associated Press Pop-up Link:

Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean on Wednesday called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an 'anti-Semite' for failing to denounce Hezbollah for its attacks against Israel.

Al-Maliki has condemned Israel's offensive, prompting several Democrats to boycott his address to a joint meeting of Congress and others to criticize him. Dean's comments were the strongest to date.

"The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite," the Democratic leader told a gathering of business leaders in Florida. "We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah."

Bush's War on Lebanon

Dar Al Hayat:

Given Washington's rejection of a ceasefire, it can no longer claim that it helps its Arab friends in the region. How can the Arab leaders convince their peoples that real benefits may accrue from the continued killing and devastation in Lebanon? Is there a policy that underlies the death and destruction? Of course not. Killing and devastation may be considered the whim of the world's sole great power in George Bush's times. Even in the world of cowboys, there is the man and the monster; and there is the wise person and the wicked one.

Bush sleeps in peace because the killing is going on in Lebanon. Moreover, John Bolton, the US envoy to the UN, has degenerated from a crude Zionist to the most obnoxious level of Zionist racism. In his opinion, the killing of Lebanese civilians should not be considered the same as the deaths of civilians in Israel. He believes that Israeli civilians who are killed are the victims of terror, while Lebanese civilians are killed in 'military operations dictated by the principle of self defense'. Bolton, once honored by some Lebanese who thought he had become sane, should be admitted into a mental hospital. But he managed to stay out of it, and qualified as Bush's envoy to the UN.

Cartoonist likens Olmert to Nazi


Cartoonist likens Olmert to Nazi | Jerusalem Post:

In the cartoon, Olmert is likened to SS Major Amon Goeth, the infamous commandant of the Plaszow death camp outside of Krakow, Poland, who was convicted of mass murder in 1946 and hanged for his crimes.

While in charge of Plaszow, Goeth would go out to the balcony on his villa, and engage in target practice by aiming his telescopic rifle and firing at random at Jews imprisoned there, often killing them.

The scene was famously depicted by director Steven Spielberg in his 1993 film, Schindler's List..

25.7.06

Old-fashioned diplomacy remains the only route to peace

New Statesman - Old-fashioned diplomacy remains the only route to peace:

The neo-cons - depleted but still kicking - are seizing on the crisis as a vindication of their view that diplomacy is appeasement by other means. It is these people who call themselves the radical wing of Israel's Likud party. It was Vice-President Dick Cheney who previously undermined visits to Israel by Colin Powell, then US secretary of state, by advising Sharon beforehand of a tough line to take against him.

Things are not so different now. Bush stands cynically by, allowing the Israelis an extra few days or weeks to inflict more damage before urging them to call it off when it suits them. As ever, his hapless friend Tony Blair nods in unison.

The biggest of all the failures of Bush and Blair, however, is to have undermined the credibility and art of international diplomacy. The tragedy of the events in Lebanon and beyond is that they have made its revival all the more urgent.

Iran warns the west: ignore us at your peril

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Iran warns the west: ignore us at your peril:

Hamid Reza Asefi, the foreign ministry spokesman in Tehran, said: 'They should have invited all the countries of the region, including Syria and Iran, if they want peace. How can you tackle these important issues without having representatives of all countries in the region?'

The Rome conference is to be attended by the US, Canada, Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, as well as the UN and the World Bank. It is due to publish a statement setting out the broad outlines of a possible deal, including the injection of a muscular international stabilisation force which Hizbullah rejected yesterday. But the mood in Rome was soured last night when an Israeli air strike hit a UN monitoring post in south Lebanon, killing four UN peacekeepers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, immediately demanded that Israel investigate the direct hit that he said was 'apparently deliberate'.

'This coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked UN post ... occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,' Mr Annan said. Israel expressed regret, and promised an investigation, but denied it had targeted the post.

Fears that the conflict could spread across the region intensified yesterday. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a normally placid US ally, warned that 'if the option of peace fails as a result of Israeli arrogance, then the only option remaining will be war, and God alone knows what the region would witness in a conflict that would spare no one'.

24.7.06

Israel uses chemical weapons against Lebanese civilians

JURIST - Paper Chase: Lebanon president claims Israel using illegal phosphorous bombs:

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud accused Israel Monday of using incendiary phosphorous bombs against Lebanese civilians in violation of international standards, and urged the United Nations to call for an immediate ceasefire.

23.7.06

Cheney Unleashes The Dogs of War

Khilafah.com - Cheney Unleashes The Dogs of War:

Vice President Dick Cheney has ignited a new Middle East war that threatens to spread from Israel and Lebanon, to Syria and Iran. As EIR recently exposed, (EIR June 30, "Cheney and Netanyahu Conspiring for War"), this latest war was planned at a secret meeting between Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, during a conference organized by the American Enterprise Institute in June at Beaver Creek, Colorado.

'The 'kidnapped' Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago. In addition to removing our democratically elected government, Israel wants to sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious leadership rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively. The Palestinian leadership is firmly embedded in the concept of Islamic shura, or mutual consultation; suffice it to say that while we may have differing opinions, we are united in mutual respect and focused on the goal of serving our people....

'We want what Americans enjoy—democratic rights, economic sovereignty and justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the Arab world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead, our new government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared sabotage by the White House. Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million civilians living in the world's largest prison camps. America's complacency in the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical 'green light': 'Israel has a right to defend itself.' Was Israel defending itself when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month, or three members of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to believe that such inhumanity sits well with the American public.'

Spirit of resistance flourishing

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

According to Lebanon's NTV, a protestor said the demonstration is held for supporting Lebanon's Hezbollah and the resistance movement in Palestine urging more support from the Arab and Islamic governments.

Another protestor said, 'Despite the diversity of people in Lebanon, Hezbollah and the Lebanese nation are united against the Zionist enemy,' adding that aggression, murder, distruction and massacre are part of the Zionist thought.

A member of Jordan's Writers Association said, 'We have gathered one million signatures to ask Arab countries to cancel their bilateral agreements with Israel and expel Israeli ambassadors from their countries.'

President: Zionist Extinction Triggered by Invasion of Lebanon

Fars News Agency :: President: Zionist Extinction Triggered by Invasion of Lebanon:

'The Zionists made their worst decision and triggered their extinction by attacking Lebanon,' President Ahmadinejad said, while addressing the 23rd nationwide meeting of the heads of educational bureaus.

He further stressed that Britain and the United States are accomplices of the Zionists since the first one has assisted with the creation of the Zionist state and the latter one has been rendering non-stop support to the usurper regime of Israel.

'They are even lying to the misfortunate people whom they have imported into the occupied Palestine and are using them as a shield to achieve their own goals,' the chief executive official stressed.

He said, 'The Zionist regime's attack on Lebanon was a pre-planned scheme to save the regime. The usurper Zionists thought attack on Lebanon would create a new atmosphere for them in the region, but they (the Zionists) have committed a big mistake.'

Ahmadinejad warned that the war Israelis have started against Lebanon will no doubt set the Zionists themselves ablaze.

Veteran Reporter for British Paper, Based in Beirut, Recounts Chilling Episode

Veteran Reporter for British Paper, Based in Beirut, Recounts Chilling Episode:

And the Israelis did come back some hours later and bombed the barracks of these soldiers, which were members of a logistics unit. Their job was to repair bridges and electrical lines. They weren't combat soldiers. And they killed ten Lebanese soldiers, including the three young men who had protected me the previous day. This was outrageous, because the Israelis know what each individual Lebanese army unit is doing. They know if it's a combat unit, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, whatever.

And they picked on this sole barracks to destroy those men, to exterminate them, because, of course, their job was to keep Beirut alive, to keep the power systems running, to repair the bridges which were being destroyed -- 46 bridges now, according to Minister of Finance, who told me this a few hours ago, have been destroyed in Lebanon. This is the inheritance, of course, of former prime minister, assassinated prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was murdered on the 14th of February last year. He rebuilt this country. He rebuilt the city of Beirut.

Now, bit by bit the bridges, the lighthouse, the international airport are being destroyed.

UN humanitarian chief touring Beirut says excessive force violates international law

JURIST - Paper Chase: UN humanitarian chief touring Beirut says excessive force violates international law:

Touring south Beirut Sunday, United Nations relief coordinator Jan Egeland said the damage to civilian areas caused by Israeli airstrikes was worse than he had anticipated and reemphasized that attacking civilians was illegal under intrenational norms. 'It is horrific. I did not know it was block after block of houses... It seems to be an excessive use of force in an area with so many civilians,' said Egeland, described by reporters as 'visibly shocked.' 'It makes it a violation of humanitarian law.' He acknowledged, however, that he did not have all the information he might want: 'What we do not know, for humanitarians, what was between these buildings, what military targets? But it seems excessive.'

Israel set war plan more than a year ago / Strategy was put in motion as Hezbollah began gaining military strength in Lebanon

Israel set war plan more than a year ago / Strategy was put in motion as Hezbollah began gaining military strength in Lebanon:

More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign: The first week concentrated on destroying Hezbollah's heavier long-range missiles, bombing its command-and-control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries. In the second week, the focus shifted to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores. In the third week, ground forces in large numbers would be introduced, but only in order to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions as the campaign unfolded. There was no plan, according to this scenario, to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.