Archive for August, 2011

Syria crackdown horror catalogued in Amnesty deaths in detention report

August 31, 2011

Majority of 88 detainees who have died since start of uprising against regime said to have been tortured

Syrian forces

An image from a YouTube video apparently showing Syrian forces beating up detainees near Homs. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

At least 88 people, including 10 children, have died in detention in Syria since the uprising against the regime began in March in what amounts to “systematic persecution on a vast scale”, according to Amnesty International.

The majority of victims were tortured or ill-treated, with injuries ranging from beatings, burns and blunt-force traumas to whipping marks, electrocution, slashes and mutilated genitals.

Amnesty documented the names, dates and places of arrest of victims, while independent forensic pathologists have established possible causes of death in some cases by examining film of the bodies.

Amnesty’s report was released as at least seven people were killed when thousands protested outside mosques following prayers to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Continues >>

Advertisements

Saudi Arabia – human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism

August 30, 2011
Saudi special forces outside the hotel where the Counter Terrorism International Conference. Riyadh, February 2005.

Saudi special forces outside the hotel where the Counter Terrorism International Conference. Riyadh, February 2005.

© AP/PA Photo/Hasan Jamali

Amnesty International, 22 July 2009

We were afraid that something bad might have happened to him, that he might have been tortured. We called the prison but they would respond: “Be patient, the investigation is not finished.” I cried: “Let me just hear my husband’s voice”. His disappearance was so sudden…me and my family kept asking ourselves: why is it happening?

Wife of Khalil ‘Abdul Rahman ‘Abdul Karim al-Janahi who was arrested at Riyadh airport in April 2007.

The Saudi Arabian authorities have launched a sustained assault on human rights under the façade of countering terrorism, Amnesty International said in a new report on Wednesday.

Thousands of people have been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy, while others have been killed in uncertain circumstances. Hundreds more people face secret and summary trials and possible execution. Many are reported to have been tortured in order to extract confessions or as punishment after conviction.

Continues >>

Ai Weiwei breaks gagging order in scathing attack on China’s human rights

August 30, 2011

Dissident artist speaks out after weeks of muted criticism

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing, The Independent, Aug. 30, 2011

Reuters

“Beijing’s slaves squat in illegal structures, which Beijing destroys as it keeps expanding. Who owns houses? Those who belong to the government, the coal bosses, the heads of big enterprises… Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare.”

 

China’s best-known dissident, the artist Ai Weiwei, delivered a calculated and outspoken attack about repression in Beijing, in an apparent rebuke to the regime that had sought to secure his silence by detaining him for nearly three months.

Mr Ai criticised the police, judiciary and the unfairness of Chinese society despite controls imposed on his release on bail in June that were designed to minimise his ability to embarrass the leadership.

In a commentary for Newsweek magazine’s website, Mr Ai – best known for designing the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing – called the capital a “city of violence” where nobody could speak out because they were denied basic human rights. He also damned the legacy of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which has been trumpeted as a victory of Communist Party organisation and source of national pride.

Continues >>

It’s business as usual for merchants of death

August 30, 2011
Morning Star Online, Monday 29 August 2011
by Paddy McGuffin, Home Affairs Reporter

A huge surge in British arms exports to the Middle East and north Africa shows that for all its talk it is “business as usual” for the government, campaigners said today.

The Foreign Office has pledged to revoke export licences to regimes where they may have been used to suppress democratic protest during the “Arab spring” uprisings.

But the most recent figures show that arms exports between February and June increased by almost 30 per cent on the same period the previous year.

And while the Foreign Office revoked an estimated 160 armaments export licences in February, around 600 remain in place – including licences to sell shotguns and ammunition to Bahrain where the monarchy has brutally suppressed peaceful protests.

Continues >>

Blair and Bush planned Iraq war without second UN vote, letter shows

August 30, 2011

Five months before invasion, pair agreed to go ahead if weapons breach was revealed, according to newly released letter

George Bush and Tony Blair

George Bush and Tony Blair in April 2003. A letter shows they had agreed five months before to invade Iraq without a second UN resolution. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Britain and the US were planning to take action against Saddam Hussein without a second UN resolution five months before the invasion of Iraq, a newly released letter from Tony Blair‘s office shows.

A letter from Blair’s private secretary reveals that “we and the US would take action” without a new resolution by the UN security council if UN weapons inspectors showed Saddam had clearly breached an earlier resolution. In that case, he “would not have a second chance”.

That was the only way Britain could persuade the Bush administration to agree to a role for the UN and continuing work by UN weapons inspectors, the letter says.

Continues >>

INDIA: Response to SHRC’s report on unknown and unmarked graves of Kashmir

August 29, 2011
AHRC, August 29, 2011

A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir and The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

We welcome the report of the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir (SHRC) on unmarked graves in the north of the Indian-administered Kashmir (dated July 2011 and recently released), taking suo moto cognizance of the matter, and appreciate the courage and labour that this work signifies.

SHRC’s report acknowledges and corroborates the research documented in the report, BURIED EVIDENCE, released by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPTK) in December 2009.

SHRC investigated unmarked graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Handwara districts across 38 graveyards and verified 2156 unidentified bodies in unidentified graves.

Continues >>

Republicans Attack Obama as No Friend of Israel; Will Obama Promise to Do Better?

August 29, 2011

by Ira Glunts, Dissident Voice,  August 29th, 2011

Twenty years ago, the influence of the pro-Israel lobby was greater among Democrats than Republicans. It was greater in Congress than in the White House. Today, the Republicans, with their Christian Zionist wing at the forefront, have taken the lead in obeisance to Israel’s right-wing government. The Democrats are as supportive as ever, and are uneasy in their role of defending their President who has alienated Israel and its U.S. lobby. The pro-Israel forces are presently attempting to wield the kind of influence on the executive branch as it has enjoyed with members of Congress. This trend can only serve to strengthen the lobby’s ability to distort U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Continues >>

The West Wants to take Control of Libya’s Oil Wealth

August 29, 2011
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Axis of Logic
Global Research
Sunday, Aug 28, 2011

Editorial comment: Seeing the headline, we might think, at first sight, ‘Well, what else is new?’ but in this interview Professor Chossudovsky makes it very clear who the rebels really are. It goes far beyond explaining that it’s the oil the allies are out to get.  – SON

Interview with Michel Chossudovsky, Director of Centre for Research on Globalization.

While Libyan revolutionaries have not yet won the war in the oil-rich country, Western powers are already discussing the post-Gaddafi period on such issues as how the interim government there needs to honor its oil contracts.

In case of internal fighting in the Libyan crisis, will the US and its coalition NATO allies deploy boots on the ground to protect their oil interests?

In a Press TV interview, Michel Chossudovsky, Director of Center for Research on Globalization, shed more light into the development. The following is a rush transcription of the interview:

Continues >>

How Israel takes its revenge on boys who throw stones

August 29, 2011

Video seen by Catrina Stewart reveals the brutal interrogation of young Palestinians

The  Independent, Friday, 26 August 2011

Boys throw stones at Israeli soldiers
AFP

Boys throw stones at Israeli soldiers

The boy, small and frail, is struggling to stay awake. His head lolls to the side, at one point slumping on to his chest. “Lift up your head! Lift it up!” shouts one of his interrogators, slapping him. But the boy by now is past caring, for he has been awake for at least 12 hours since he was separated at gunpoint from his parents at two that morning. “I wish you’d let me go,” the boy whimpers, “just so I can get some sleep.”

During the nearly six-hour video, 14-year-old Palestinian Islam Tamimi, exhausted and scared, is steadily broken to the point where he starts to incriminate men from his village and weave fantastic tales that he believes his tormentors want to hear.

Continues >>

INDIA: Response to SHRC’s report on unknown and unmarked graves of Kashmir

August 29, 2011
AHRC, August 29, 2011

A Joint Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir and The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons

We welcome the report of the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu and Kashmir (SHRC) on unmarked graves in the north of the Indian-administered Kashmir (dated July 2011 and recently released), taking suo moto cognizance of the matter, and appreciate the courage and labour that this work signifies.

SHRC’s report acknowledges and corroborates the research documented in the report, BURIED EVIDENCE, released by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPTK) in December 2009.

SHRC investigated unmarked graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Handwara districts across 38 graveyards and verified 2156 unidentified bodies in unidentified graves.

Continues >>