Report: Gitmo prosecutor quits, alleging evidence withheld from detainee

Gitmo protest

Gitmo protest

A military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay has resigned because his office withheld exculpatory evidence against an Afghan detainee, the prisoner’s lawyers say.

The attorneys for Mohammed Jawad say the prosecutor, Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, backs their bid to get charged dismissed against Jawad, who is accused of throwing a grenade that injured two U.S. soldiers. Vandeveld could not be reached.

Michael Berrigan, the tribunals’ deputy chief defense counsel, said today that Vandeveld told them the prosecutor’s office was refusing to hand over the evidence.

full article: www.insight-info.com

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Gravel: Take Bush to The Hague

 

Former Democratic candidate Mike Gravel says President George W. Bushshould be taken to The Hague for war crimes rather than being impeached.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel

 

In a Monday video conference with Press TV, the former Alaska senator said President Bush does not ‘deserve’ to be impeached for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, which has resulted in the loss of ‘millions of lives’.

“An Impeachment just means you would only take away his (Bush’s) presidency. Well, he is almost done (with) his presidency. What really needs to happen is that these people have to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed,” the 78-year-old Democrat said referring to the US president and Vice President Dick Cheney.

“If you impeach president and vice president, Nancy Pelosi is going to become president; that is not going happen,” Gravel added.

Gravel is an outspoken advocate of impeaching Bush and Cheney over the disinformation campaign they have led in support of their go-to-war policies.

“There is a lot of very good news that makes me tremendously hopeful that we as a nation are starting to wake up and insist our congressional representatives act to make impeachment happen now,” he had said in a statement in January after congressman Dennis Kucinich announced plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush.

MD/AA 

A hot but happy summer

America’s goal was to seek revenge from Hizbollah for its victory in the 33-Day-War and establishing a government completely dependent on it in Lebanon. But, this scenario was destroyed with the strategical error of Fuad Siniora’s cabinet deciding to take away Hizbollah’s telecommunication capabilities.

 About six months ago, David Walsh, an undersecretary for the Department of State, in a travel to Saudi Arabia talked about a hot and difficult summer for Lebanon. Soon after these remarks American politicians and military started changing their actions in the region. Washington, with the excuse of strengthening the Lebanese military and helping the government in Beirut, armed the 14th of March Political Party and prepared them for a hot and difficult summer with many weapons. A few months ago over 3000 armed personnel were ready to play their role carrying out American orders. In this framework, George Bush labeled Hizbollah a terrorist organization and his readiness to destroy it. The general that was the head in Afghanistan and Iraq was deployed to Beirut to announce the readiness of the paramilitary wing of the 14th of March Political Party for this hot and difficult summer. The last link to this scenario was the deployment of the American Battleship Cole to the Mediterranean and its entrance to the Lebanese shore.

 Everything was ready for Walsh’s hot summer until America, with the excuse of a Lebanese civil war and the effects of it in the region and well as world peace and with a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the direct presence of its military in Lebanon.

Full article: www.insight-info.com

Depleted Uranium has Destroyed the Genetic Future of Iraq

Markthshark, Daily Kos

May 30, 2008

It’s not just the U.S. military, and it’s not just Iraq. The U.K. has also used depleted uranium in both Iraq and Afghanistan; NATO forces have used it in Kosovo, and Israel allegedly used it in Lebanon and on the Palestinians.

The use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the U.S. military may lead to a death toll far higher than that from the nuclear bombs dropped at the end of World War II.

A waste product from the enrichment of uranium, DU, contains nearly one-third the radioactive isotopes of uranium that occurs naturally. DU is generally used in armor-piercing ammunition; despite its classification as a weapon of mass destruction, and subsequent banning by the United Nations.

Incidental inhalation or ingestion of DU particles is very toxic and can remain so forever. To give you an idea of just how toxic: at the end of the first Gulf War, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority estimated that 50 tons remained in Iraq, and that amount could be responsible for 500,000 cancer deaths by the year 2000. Now, it’s not clear whether that prediction came true or not, but to date, an estimated 2,000 tons of DU dust have been generated in the Middle East in general.

In contrast, approximately 250,000 lives were claimed by the explosions and subsequent radiation released by the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Natural News.com has the story:

“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing [of nuclear bombs] has been released from DU weaponry since 1991,” said Leuren Moret, a U.S. nuclear scientist. “The genetic future of the Iraqi people, for the most part, is destroyed. The environment now is completely radioactive.”

Because DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, the Middle East will, for all practical purposes, be radioactive forever.

The two U.S. wars in Iraq “have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people, particularly children, are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity,” said anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott. 

Since George H.W. Bush’s first Gulf War, birth defects and childhood cancer rates have increased seven fold in Iraq. And, our troops have paid a heavy price as well. More than 35 percent (251,000) of U.S. Gulf War veterans are dead or on permanent medical disability, compared with only 400 who were killed during the conflict.

It doesn’t have to be like this. We can’t change the past but we can fight to end the use of inhuman weapons in immoral wars of aggression. I believe Barack Obama said it best… (paraphrased)

We not only need to end the war; we need to end the mindset of war.

Those are powerful words and something I’ve never heard before from an American leader… ever.

 

 

US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships

· Report says 17 boats used

· MPs seek details of UK role

· Europe attacks 42-day plan

 Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor

 The Guardian,

 Monday June 2 2008

 

The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as “floating prisons” since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.

Reprieve will raise particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.

At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were “disappeared” to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.

Reprieve believes prisoners may have also been held for interrogation on the USS Ashland and other ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time.

The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate’s story of detention on an amphibious assault ship. “One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo … he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo.”

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s legal director, said: “They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.

“By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them.”

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, called for the US and UK governments to come clean over the holding of detainees.

“Little by little, the truth is coming out on extraordinary rendition. The rest will come, in time. Better for governments to be candid now, rather than later. Greater transparency will provide increased confidence that President Bush’s departure from justice and the rule of law in the aftermath of September 11 is being reversed, and can help to win back the confidence of moderate Muslim communities, whose support is crucial in tackling dangerous extremism.”

The Liberal Democrat’s foreign affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, said: “If the Bush administration is using British territories to aid and abet illegal state abduction, it would amount to a huge breach of trust with the British government. Ministers must make absolutely clear that they would not support such illegal activity, either directly or indirectly.”

A US navy spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, told the Guardian: “There are no detention facilities on US navy ships.” However, he added that it was a matter of public record that some individuals had been put on ships “for a few days” during what he called the initial days of detention. He declined to comment on reports that US naval vessels stationed in or near Diego Garcia had been used as “prison ships”.

The Foreign Office referred to David Miliband’s statement last February admitting to MPs that, despite previous assurances to the contrary, US rendition flights had twice landed on Diego Garcia. He said he had asked his officials to compile a list of all flights on which rendition had been alleged.

CIA “black sites” are also believed to have operated in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.

In addition, numerous prisoners have been “extraordinarily rendered” to US allies and are alleged to have been tortured in secret prisons in countries such as Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.

Sheikh Qassim: Hizbollah is calling for peace on the basis of Justice.

The Vice General Secretary of Hizbollah, his eminence sheikh Naem Qassim, received a visit from the American Association operating for the promotion of peace and human rights under the leadership of the retired American consul, Richard Vince, accompanied by the ambassador of the international organisation for human rights and the chairman of the Lebanese Assembly For the detainees and the liberated.

hizbollah flag

Sheikh Qassim said: “Hizbollah is calling for peace on the basis of justice and the principle of returning the rights to their rightful owners. The party of God has always taken a defensive stand towards the land, sovereignty and the freedom of decisionand the rejection of guardianship and occupation. It has dealt with those who differ in opinion and political stance in a political manner. Its resistance against Israel was a clear matter to the world for the sake of freedom and defence.

 

And he said: America today with its haughty management is the cause of allcrises and problems in our region. It has not engaged in any affair without aggravating its problems and complicating the means to its resolution. America is successful in finding crises and thorny affairs, and it is failure in resolution. And it is the cause of the great tension in the region, whether it be in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine or with Lebanon, Syria or Iran even in Pakistan and other regions from the Arab and the Islamic world.

Full article: www.insight-info.com

Bush’s Middle East foreign policy creates moral tragedies

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, recently called the United States “a hegemonic power that has lost the high moral ground.” Our politicians have ruined not only our economy but also our image and integrity. President George W. Bush didn’t practice what he preached of a “humble foreign policy” but applied instead the attitude of “might is right.”

imam mohammad ali elahi and imam khomeini

 

Our country, once a beacon of hope and freedom for the world, has squandered our prosperity to create conflicts and instigate civil wars among other nations by funding one group against another. This is a moral tragedy.

The successful presidential election in Lebanon indicates the failure of the Bush foreign policy. The people of the region are searching for reconciliation. The United States should get on the right side of the struggle and be part of the triumph of peace. The president said he gave up golfing “in solidarity” with the families of soldiers in Iraq. I hope the president resumes his golfing soon. A more constructive display of solidarity would be to stop these wars, fix the mess in Iraq and Afghanistan and don’t start yet another war in the Persian Gulf.

There is no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons. United Nations atomic watchdog chief, Mohamed El-Baradei, accused the Bush administration of adding “fuel to the fire” with bellicose rhetoric. The national intelligence estimate in November 2007 confirmed that Iran’s nuclear program has no military aspect — it is not pursuing nuclear weapons. Under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran, just like any other country, has the right to produce peaceful nuclear technology.

full article by Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

Iran mosque blast plotters admit Israeli, US links: report

Iran’s chief prosecutor said bombers who caused a deadly blast at a mosque in Shiraz had confessed of links to Israel and the United States, the ISNA student news agency reported on
Friday.

iranian emblem

“Those responsible for the attack against the Shiraz mosque have confessed to having links to worldwide oppression, in particular the United States and Israel,” Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi was quoted by the agency as saying.

They also admitted carrying out “one or two minor operations,” the agency said, without providing further details except to say the group launched military operations a year ago.

The April 12 blast in the southern city left 13 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Authorities subsequently announced the arrest of 15 people.

Earlier Friday, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami said people had also plotted attacks in the holy city of Qom, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Tehran, and at a book fair held in the capital.

Iran has already accused Britain and the United States of training and financing those behind the bombing. In the past it has also blamed US and British agents based in neighbouring Iraq and
Afghanistan for launching attacks on border provinces with significant ethnic minority populations.
The strike in Shiraz was the first in decades in Iran’s Persian heartland. The normally placid city is not in a border zone, nor is it home to any significant ethnic or religious minority population.

U.S. veterans struggle with war stress

The latest and most comprehensive study of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has concluded that nearly 1 in every 5 veterans is suffering from depression or stress disorders and that
many are not getting adequate care.

war veteran

The study shows that mental disorders are more prevalent and lasting than previously known, surfacing belatedly and lingering after troops have been discharged.

Rand Study: Nearly one in five of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer depression or stress

An estimated 300,000 veterans among the nearly 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are battling depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of these people,
according to the study conducted by the Rand Corp., are slipping through the cracks in the bureaucratic system, going without necessary treatment.

The Rand study underscores one of the lessons of modern counterinsurgency conflicts: Such wars may kill fewer troops than traditional fighting but can leave deeper psychological scars.

Screening techniques for stress disorders are vastly improved from previous wars, making comparisons with Vietnam, Korea or World War II difficult. But a chief difference is that in Iraq and Afghanistan all service members, not just combat infantry, are exposed to roadside bombs and civilian deaths. That distinction subjects a much wider swath of military personnel to the stresses of war.

“We call it ‘360-365’ combat,” said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. “What that means is veterans are completely surrounded by combat for one year. Nearly all of our
soldiers are under fire, or being subjected to mortar rounds or roadside bombs, or witnessing the deaths of civilians or fellow soldiers.”

Military officials praised the Rand study, saying that its findings were consistent with their own studies, and said it would reinforce efforts to try to improve mental health care. Veterans Affairs
officials, while questioning the study’s methodology, said their department had intensified efforts to find discharged service members suffering from mental disorders.

The Rand Study was undertaken for the California Community Foundation, which also has funded other programs for returning veterans. Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, said the study would help draw the nation’s attention.

“They are making this a national debate,” Schoomaker said.

The Army previously has said that an estimated 1 in 6 service members suffered from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a slightly lower rate than the Rand study found. In addition to current PTSD rates, the Rand study found that 19.5% of people who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury during their combat tour, a number similar to Army estimates.

Taken together, the study shows that 31% of those who have served in combat have suffered from brain injury, stress disorder, or both.

Combat-related mental ailments and stress can lead to suicide, homelessness and physical health problems. But more mundane disorders can have long-term social consequences.

Full article

Challenging Ignorance on Islam

I have faith in the American people – I know they can come out of this ignorance and know Islam for what it really is.

 

crescent star

 

 

* “We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
Columnist Ann Coulter,
National Review Online, Sept. 13, 2001

* “Just turn [the sheriff] loose and have him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line.”
Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA),
chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland security and Senate candidate, to Georgia law officers, November 2001

* “Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith where God sent his Son to die for you.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft,
interview on Cal Thomas radio, November 2001

* “(Islam) is a very evil and wicked religion wicked, violent and not of the same god (as Christianity).”
Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, November 2001.

* “Islam is Evil,Christ is King.”
Allegedly written in marker by law enforcement agents on a Muslim prayer calendar in the home of a Muslim being investigated by police in Dearborn, Michigan, July 2002.
___________________

People with power and influence in the U.S. have been saying some very stupid things about Islam and about Muslims since September 11.

Some of it is rooted in conscious malice, and ethnic prejudice that spills over into religious bigotry. But some is rooted in sheer historical and geographical ignorance. This is a country, after all, in which only a small minority of high school students can readily locate Afghanistan on the map, or are aware that Iranians and Pakistanis are not Arabs. As an educator, in Asian Studies, at a fairly elite university, I am painfully aware of this ignorance. But I realize it serves a purpose. It is highly useful to a power
structure that banks on knee-jerk popular support whenever it embarks on a new military venture, at some far-off venue, on false pretexts immediately discernable to the better educated, but lost on the
general public.

The generally malleable mainstream press takes care of the rest.

When offered the honor of becoming President of Israel, Albert Einstien replied, “No thanks, I’d rather win the Nobel Peace prize, I have no interest in Israel.”

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
— Mark Twain

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
–George W. Bush

source

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