Archive for October, 2011

Wikileaks & Free Speech

October 31, 2011

By Gideon Polya, MWC News,  Oct 29, 2011
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Untruth must be repudiated, not punished

Freedom of expression, freedom of speech is vital for democracy, for unimpaired scholarly research and for rational risk management that keeps society safe. But what about hate speech, racial vilification or speech likely to cause dangerous public disorder? The need for democracy, scholarship and risk management means that freedom of speech must be sacrosanct but there is a place for a formal, transparent, expertly-informed judicial process that would make findings on free speech excesses but the only punishment of, for example, holocaust or genocide deniers would simply be the shame and ignominy of public exposure by such a process.

Abuses of freedom of speech can involve lying by commission and lying by omission. A good example involving lying by commission is given by the story of the shepherd boy who repeatedly cried wolf when there was no wolf but when a wolf did come nobody listened to his cries with dire consequences for the boy. This fable is acutely relevant to today. Thus the US Center for Public Integrity has reported that in 2 years after the 9-11 atrocity the Bush Administration told a total of 935 lies about Iraq. Failure of the System to expose Bush Administration lying led to the Iraq War and the utter devastation of that country.

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Indonesia: Independent Investigation Needed Into Papua Violence

October 31, 2011

Ensure Proper Treatment of Detainees

Human Rights Watch, October 28, 2011
  • Police arrest attendees of the Third Papuan People Congress in Jayapura, Indonesia’s Papua province on October 19, 2011.
    © 2011 Reuters
  • Armed security forces atop one of several armored personnel carriers surrounding Zaccheus field in Abepura on the morning of October 19, 2011.
    © 2011 Oktovianus Pogau/Pantau Foundation
Papuans peacefully calling for independence does not justify a deadly crackdown. President Yudhoyono has an opportunity to show Papuans that he’s concerned about their rights by seriously investigating these deaths.
Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono should immediately establish an independent investigation into the deaths of at least three protesters and the ongoing violence in Papua, Human Rights Watch said today.

On October 19, 2011, Indonesian police and the army fired warning shots to disperse approximately 1,000 Papuans gathered for a peaceful pro-independence demonstration in the Papua provincial capital, Jayapura, after one of the leaders read out the 1961 Papua Declaration of Independence. In an ensuing crackdown by the security forces on the demonstrators, at least three people were killed and dozens were injured. Witnesses said several had gunshot wounds.

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Massive Rally in Lahore: Imran Khan Leads Calls for Pakistan to End US Alliance

October 31, 2011
by Jason Ditz,, October 30, 2011

A popular but largely powerless politician for years, former cricket star and Tehreek-e Insaf leader Imran Khan has parlayed his long-standing opposition to US drone strikes into a massive rally today on the streets of Lahore, where some 100,000 demonstrators marched to condemn the current US alliance and the Zardari government.

“Our leaders owned this war on terror for the sake of dollars,” Khan declared, “let me curse you. You sold out the blood of innocent people.” The ruling Pakistani Peoples Party (PPP) condemned Khan, saying it made “no sense” to call for public protests and civil disobedience when the country’s “democratic institutions are functioning independently.”

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Richard Falk: Libya After Muammar el-Qaddafi’s Execution

October 31, 2011

by Richard Falk, Foreign Policy Journal, October 31, 2011

The death of the despised despot who ruled Libya for forty-two years naturally produced celebrations throughout the country. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s end was bloody and vindictive, but we should remember that his rants against his own people—and his violent repression of what was initially a peaceful uprising—invited a harsh popular response. Recalling W.H. Auden’s famous line, “Those to whom evil is done/do evil in return,” it is almost inevitable in the absence of strong moral and political discipline, which was not present, that when a leader refers to his opponents as “rats” and pledges to hunt them down house by house, the stage is set for the unacceptable kind of retribution that played out recently in Sirte where NATO air strikes leveled the city and anti-Qaddafi forces executed at least 53 Qaddafi loyalists. It is an ominous warning sign for the future that this massacre at Sirte, along with the execution and burial of Qaddafi, should have exhibited such vengeful and undisciplined behavior, raising renewed doubts about the character and approach of Transitional National Council leadership, although there still exist possibilities for redeeming this loss of confidence.

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AI: Saif Gaddafi must be transferred safely to ICC

October 30, 2011

Amnesty International, Oct 28, 2011

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi has reportedly taken refuge among Sahara nomads in NigerSaif Al-Islam Gaddafi has reportedly taken refuge among Sahara nomads in Niger

© AP GraphicsBank

The NTC has a responsibility to prevent harm coming to Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi so they can face justice for their alleged crimes

Amnesty International’s Marek Marczynski, Oct 28, 2011

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi must be allowed to surrender to the International Criminal Court to face investigation for crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said today amid reports that the fugitive son of Colonel al-Gaddafi is willing to turn himself in.

The ICC prosecutors said today the Court is in indirect contact with Saif al-Islam over his possible surrender. Former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is also wanted for crimes against humanity by the ICC, is also reportedly prepared to face justice in The Hague.

“If reports are correct that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi are willing to hand themselves over to the International Criminal Court, they must be allowed to do so and their safety and rights must be guaranteed,” said Marek Marczynski from Amnesty International’s International Justice Team.

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US Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq

October 30, 2011
Sunday 30 October 2011
by: Thom Shanker and Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times News Service | Report

United States soldiers performed a closing ceremony on Oct. 20 for a base in Tikrit, now under the control of Iraqi forces. (Photo: Andrea Bruce / The New York Times)

MacDill Air Force Base, FL – The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

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USA: Police raid Occupy San Diego, make 51 arrests

October 30, 2011

By our reporters,,  29 October 2011

San Diego police carried out a raid early Friday morning, making 51 arrests and clearing out Occupy San Diego protesters who had been maintaining their encampment for three weeks.

At about 2 a.m. Friday, dozens of police officers and San Diego County sheriff’s deputies surrounded Civic Center Plaza and Children’s Park, closing in on protesters at both locations. Police were armed with batons, billy clubs; a few reportedly had guns of some sort.

The press claims there were no injuries immediately reported, but 51 were arrested and all tents, tables and other belongings of protesters were confiscated. This is but one raid in a wave of brutal police repression that has occurred over the past week.

The first location to be hit by the police raid was Children’s Park, the logistical headquarters of the San Diego occupation. Cheryl, a demonstrator who was present during the raid, stated that police moved quickly and quietly, giving no warning of their presence.

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CNN: Ex-Guantanamo guard tells of violence against detainees

October 30, 2011
By Jenifer Fenton for CNN, October 28, 2011
Brandon Neely: Guantanamo is
Brandon Neely: Guantanamo is “a significant black eye on the Unites States.”

  • Former U.S. military police officer Brandon Neely was deployed to Guantanamo Bay’s Camp X-Ray detention facitily
  • Neely says he feels ashamed of his treatment of detainees and unease about the facility’s purpose
  • He describes prisoners being subjected to violence by fellow guards

Editor’s note: Nearly three years after President Obama declared the Guantanamo prison for terrorist suspects would be closed, the camp in Cuba remains open. Of the more than 750 inmates that were once held there, fewer than 200 remain now. CNN contributor Jenifer Fenton interviewed some of the former inmates, and one of the guards.

(CNN) — “We were told that they were all guilty … that these were the worst of the worst,” Brandon Neely said about the detainees who were arriving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We were told that these guys, all of them, had either helped plan 9/11 or were caught red handed on the battlefield, weapon in hand, fighting American soldiers … These are the people that would kill you in a heartbeat if you turn your back on them.”

In June 2000, Specialist Neely, now 31, enlisted for five years as a military police officer. He left later that summer for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for training and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas upon graduating. In early January 2002, Neely boarded a plane to Guantanamo Bay, where he would be stationed for the next six months. He had volunteered for the deployment not knowing what it was or where it would take him.

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PAKISTAN: Imran Khan condemns NGOs’ ‘criminal silence’ over Pak civilian killings in US drone attacks

October 30, 2011

By News Desk, Truth Drive, Oct 29, 2011

Islamabad, Oct 29(ANI): Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has condemned what he called the “criminal silence” of non-government organisations (NGOs) that claim to be champions of human rights, over the killings of civilians in US drone attacks in the country’s tribal areas.

The cricketer-turned-politician made these comments while addressing a protest rally in front of Parliament House in Islamabad.

He said that civilian casualties due to drones were increasing with each passing day, and asked the government to quit if it could not take action in this regard.

Imran categorically rebutted the US opinion that no civilian casualties were taking place as a result of targeted strikes against high profile terrorists in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the Dawn reports.

He demanded the implementation of the resolution adopted in recently held All Parties Conference (APC).

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US sows discord in South Asia

October 30, 2011

By M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times, Oct 28, 2011

Two templates in regional politics are seriously debilitating the United States’s campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees in the Afghan endgame. One is that Delhi has distanced itself from the US campaign and pursues an independent policy toward Islamabad.

The second factor frustrating US policies to isolate Pakistan is the South Asian nation’s bonhomie with Iran. Pakistan would have been pretty much isolated had there been an acute rivalry with

Iran over the Afghan endgame. The current level of cordiality in the relationship enables Islamabad to focus on the rift with the US and even draw encouragement from Tehran.

It’s baloney
A recent statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on the US-Pakistan rift underscored that India doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the US approach. (See US puts the squeeze on Pakistan, Asia Times, October 22). It was carefully timed to signal to Washington (and Islamabad) that Delhi strongly disfavored any form of US military action against Pakistan.

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