Sunday, July 31, 2005
Coverage from outside the US mainstream media
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says if the veracity of leaked emails that claim the prosecutions of Guantanamo Bay detainees are rigged is proven, the Government will pursue the matter.
The emails have been written by two prosecutors in the Office of Military Commissions, who have subsequently left their posts.
The prosecutors claim the commissions are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.
The emails were sent to the men's supervisors in March last year, just three months before Australian inmate David Hicks was charged.
The above was sent in by Skip, "Guantanamo claims will be 'pursued if proven'" (Australia's ABC). It's hopping to the top of this entry which was about to be posted. Hence the pull quote above of another (equally important) article (in case anyone's confused).
A United Nations report on the prosecution of serious crimes committed in East Timor in 1999 has made several recommendations to ensure those responsible are held to account, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.
New Zealand had argued there should be credible justice for crimes committed in East Timor in 1999 and had supported the work of the UN Commission of Experts, Mr Goff said. "I encourage Indonesia and East Timor to respond positively to the full range of recommendations in the report," he said.
The above is from NPZA's "UN recommends prosecutions for East Timor crimes" in The New Zealand Herald and Trina e-mailed to draw our attention to it. This is our what's being reported outside the US mainstream media. Alabama e-mailed to offer praise to me on this feature. As I replied, I have nothing to do with it other than assembling what members find and e-mail on. This is very much the work of the community and that's who deserves the credit for it. As Ava noted over The Third Estate Sunday Review, e-mails do need to contain something more than "I found the most important story on what's going on in Afghanistan." That was a week or two (three?) back. And Ava and I both looked through everything we could think of to find what could have caught the member's eye. (And e-mails to the member didn't result in a reply until Monday evening.) So if you find something, please note where you found it. Best of all is to offer the pull quote you want, the source, the byline and the link. I don't mind hunting around but I can't guarantee that I'll find what you've seen without at least knowing the source (periodical) you saw it at. Point, all I'm doing is assembling, this is the work of members.
Billie e-mails to note Jenifer Johnston's "Niger: How could this happen?" (Scotland's Sunday Herald):
Last month, hundreds of thousands of people wore white wristbands to support the Make Poverty History campaign. The G8 summit and Live8 concerts triggered mass public support for Africa's problems, until the terrorist attacks on London took over the headlines.
In Niger, where 3.3 million people, including 800,000 children, are facing starvation, wristbands are now also being distributed.
At feeding centres across the country, mothers who get blue bands are allowed to return for more food in a month. Yellow means being "moderately" malnourished and receiving flour and oil at the camp.
The children with pink bands around their tiny limbs are suffering acute malnutrition and are immediately given enriched milk for five days. Many of these babies and toddlers are so underweight the bands have to be looped round and around just to keep them on.
"These people are just dirt poor," says Chris Endean of the World Food Programme. "There was no war in Niger, no floods, no mass migration of people to get away from conflict or disease. They are just so poor they cannot feed themselves."
Since late last year, crops in Niger and the countries surrounding it have been decimated by a plague of locusts. Compounded by a "modest" drought, this forced communities to leave their lands in search of food.
Many people are now asking why – at a time when all eyes were on Africa's problems – Niger was allowed to slip unseen and unheard into starvation under the radar of the world's politicians and media.
Portland e-mails to note Jim Heintz's "Bird Flu Strain Can Infect Humans" (Associated Press story in The Moscow Times):
Investigators have determined that a strain of bird flu virus infecting fowl in Siberia is the type that can infect humans, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday.
The virus caused the deaths of hundreds of birds in the Novosibirsk region this month, but no human infections have been reported.
In a brief statement, the ministry identified the virus as avian flu type A H5N1. "That raises the need for undertaking quarantine measures of the widest scope," the statement said.
Ministry officials could not immediately be reached for elaboration.
Strains of bird flu have been hitting flocks throughout Asia, and some fatal human cases have been reported there.
Since 2003, bird flu has killed at least 57 people in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, which reported its first three human deaths this month.
The outbreak in the Novosibirsk region apparently started about two weeks ago when large numbers of chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys began dying. Officials say that all dead or infected birds were incinerated. But it is unclear whether that would effectively stop the virus from spreading.
Also from The Moscow Times, we'll note Nabi Abdullaev and Andrew McChesney's "Russia Fumes Over Basayev on ABC:"
The Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. Embassy's top official and politicians expressed outrage after a U.S. television network broadcast an interview with Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who has a $10 million bounty on his head and has claimed responsibility for the Beslan school hostage-taking and other terrorist attacks.
Basayev acknowledged in the interview that he was a terrorist and repeated his earlier statements that he might order more Beslan-style attacks. But he softened his rhetoric by noticeably avoiding loaded words such as "jihad" and "infidels."
The taped interview was broadcast on ABC television's "Nightline" late Thursday night and was conducted by Andrei Babitsky, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist who has complained about Russian harassment over previous reports about Chechnya.
Moscow is very sensitive to domestic and foreign media giving a voice to Chechen rebels, whom it equates with international terrorists, and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday that he was barring military personnel from contact with ABC.
The Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the U.S. Embassy's deputy chief of mission, Daniel Russell, to convey "our views over the broadcast of an interview with a terrorist," ministry spokesman Boris Malakhov said.
"The network has shown outrageous neglect of the standards of responsible journalism and general human values," he said in a statement on the ministry's web site.
The embassy confirmed that Russell had been summoned but declined further comment. Russell is the top U.S. official in Russia after Ambassador Alexander Vershbow left in mid-July. The next ambassador has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
ABC, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, stood by its decision to air the interview on Sunday. "ABC News will continue to report fully on news from Russia and that important region," it said in an e-mailed statement.
ABC also said it had offered the Russian government an opportunity to participate in "Nightline" or a future broadcast and the offer was declined.
Host Ted Koppel said on "Nightline" that viewers had the right to hear the viewpoint of any newsmaker. "Then we can reject or accept it, condemn it or embrace it," he said, according to a transcript of the program. "No one should have the authority to make that decision for us. Not our own government, and certainly not somebody else's.''
Dominick e-mails to note Harry McGee's "DUP under pressure to deal with Sinn Féin:"
NEGOTIATIONS involving all Northern parties will begin next month amid clear signs that Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party will come under intense pressure to engage with Sinn Féin. Northern secretary Peter Hain yesterday confirmed that he will commence discussions with the parties in September, to restore devolved government as quickly as possible.
While Mr Hain would not be drawn on a timescale, he did say that the IRA statement had created a context that would allow dramatic progress. Specifically referring to the upcoming talks, he told RTÉ: "That is going to be a crunch point, a make-your-mind-up time."
In an indication of the pressure that will be exerted on the DUP, he said that all parties would have "to live up to their responsibilities".
Veronica e-mails to note "Chopper carrying Sudan's vice-president goes missing" (Canada's CBC):
Searchers have turned up no sign of Sudan's vice-president, ex-rebel leader John Garang, whose helicopter went missing more than 24 hours ago, Ugandan officials said early Monday.
Uganda launched the search early Sunday in the Kidepo area near the Sudanese border after it lost contact with Garang's helicopter, which was taking him to Sudan following talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
The New Zealand Herald reports (via Reuters story) "Sudan Vice President Garang dead - UN official:"
Sudan's former rebel leader, First Vice-President John Garang, has died, apparently in a helicopter accident while flying back from Uganda to Sudan, a UN official said on Monday.
Rudi Muller, head of the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in southern Sudan, said he had been told of Garang's death by the governor of the Lake State in southern Sudan.
"It was the governor of the Lake State who told us in a meeting at 3.30 am that Doctor Garang has been killed in an accident and they would like to brief us in a meeting at 7.30 am," he said. The governor, Pagan Amum, had no further details. Amum is also a senior official in Garang's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Veronica also notes "Iran arrests lawyer for Kazemi family" (Canada's CBC):
Iranian authorities have arrested the lawyer for the family of slain Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, accusing him of leaking classified information on Iran's nuclear espionage.
"He has revealed information on nuclear spies both inside and outside Iran as well as to families of the suspects," judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad said Sunday.
Adolfattah Soltani was arrested on Saturday, according to his lawyer, Mohammad Dadkhah.
Dadkhah said he suspects the real reason for Soltani's arrest was his work investigating the case of Kazemi, who died in an Iranian jail in July 2003 after allegedly being tortured and beaten.
Gareth e-mails to note Patrick Jenkins and Martin Arnold's "Former ECB chief Duisenberg found dead" (Financial Times):
Wim Duisenberg, former president of the European Central Bank, was found dead on Sunday at his villa in the south of France.
The 70-year-old's death was being treated as accidental by French police. He was found late on Sunday morning in the villa's swimming pool, where he had drowned. Firemen were called to the scene in the Provençal village of Faucon but attempts to resuscitate Mr Duisenberg were unsuccessful.
A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry said that there would be an inquiry into his death, as is commonplace in such incidents, but no foul play was suspected.
"He died from drowning following cardiac problems," said Jean-François Sampieri, state prosecutor in Carpentras. "The criminal hypothesis has been totally ruled out."
Mr Duisenberg, who celebrated his 70th birthday last month, was the first president of the European bank and as such, oversaw the introduction of the euro in 1999 and euro notes and coins in 2002.
Krista e-mails to note "something you'll not see in the New York Times." From Ireland's BreakingNews.ie, "Police attacked during search on loyalists:"
Police came under attack in North Belfast tonight as they carried out searches in a loyalist area in connection with an investigation into serious crime.
[. . .]
Police would not be drawn on whether they were specifically connected to the paramilitary feud between the Ulster Volunteer Force and its rival the Loyalist Volunteer Force.
Stephen Paul became the third victim of the dispute last night when he was gunned down in a red van outside a house in Wheatfield Crescent.
Krista: See, they make it real easy for Lavery - "Ulster Volunteer Force" and "Loyalist Volunteer Force." No "three letter alphabets" that he's find so vexing.
Krista also notes "Taoiseach welcomes Pope’s comments on IRA statement" (Ireland's BreakingNews.ie):
Bertie Ahern said that Pope Benedict's comments are a reminder of the major contribution made by clergy of all traditions to the peace process.
Mr Ahern recalled the words of the Pope's predecessor to the IRA . . . [and] said it was a matter of regret that John Paul II did not live to see, what he called "this potentially historic response to his appeal".
Rob e-mails to note "Palestinian elections delayed" (Aljazeera):
The Palestinian parliamentary elections, originally set for the summer, will be held in January.
Speaking on Sunday, the Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would issue a decree on 7 August setting the date. They expect the date to be around 20 January. Shaath said that, during the week, Palestinian factions would meet to agree on the exact date.
Abbas postponed the election after three rounds of local balloting resulted in significant gains for the Islamic Hamas, which is contesting the parliamentary elections for the first time.
Kara e-mails to note Ushani Agalawatta "Gaza Will Be 'Vacated But Still Occupied'" (IPS):
A growing number of Palestinians are beginning to believe that Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip will not mean the end of occupation.
"The Gaza Strip will still be occupied territory under international law," says Renad Qubbaj of the Palestinian NGO Network based in Ramallah in the West Bank. "After implementation of the disengagement plan, the Israeli army will remain in effective control of all border crossings." The lives of about 1.4 million Palestinians living in the Gaza strip hang in the balance as Israel moves ahead with plans for disengagement.
The Gaza strip of land lies to the west of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea. Officials on both sides have expressed the hope that the disengagement plan will move Palestinian and Israeli people closer to peace.
Israel is due to withdraw its settlements from the Gaza Strip Aug. 17. The disengagement plan calls for the evacuation of all Israeli towns and villages and military forces within the Gaza Strip. Israel says there will be no more grounds then for Palestinians and the international community to claim that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory.
But Jaber Wishah, deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is not optimistic.
"Up till now we don't know the main features of the plan to pull out of Gaza," he told IPS. "Our analysis shows that the plan is not built on international law or international humanitarian law, and as such there will be no change in Gaza."
A paper released by the Palestinian NGO network says "the disengagement plan is a trade-off meant to legitimise the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including in and around Jerusalem, which are currently under expansion, as well as the separation and annexation wall which is being erected in violation of international law."
[. . .]
But Qubbaj told IPS that "Palestinians in Gaza will have no control over airports, sea ports or natural resources such as water or gas." Seventeen Gaza settlements and four West Bank settlements are to be evacuated by force if necessary in the coming month.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) reports that about 8,000 Israeli settlers will be evacuated, plus an additional 700 or so new settlers that have moved into the area to reinforce existing settlements and set up roadblocks for the disengagement plan.
Marcia e-mails to note Aluf Benn's "New U.S. ambassador Richard Jones to enter office in Sept." (Israel's Haaretz):
The new American ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, will begin his tour of duty during the first half of September.Jones will replace Dan Kurtzer, who has served for more than four years and asked to remain in office until after disengagement.
Jones, a career diplomat who currently serves as a special advisor on Iraq to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was ambassador to Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Lebanon, where he served during Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996, when Israel bombarded Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon and blockaded Beirut, Tyre and Sidon. Previously, he had been head of the State Department's Egyptian Desk.
[. . .]
At his confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Jones said, "The special relationship between the United States and Israel is strong, perhaps stronger now than at any time in the past," because of the shared determination of the two countries to fight terror and violence on the part of extremists.
Eli e-mails to note Paul Arthur's "The end of the IRA's 'long war'" (openDemocracy):
The terror attacks in London, and the wider climate induced by al-Qaida’s global campaign, make the IRA keen to distance itself from the "international network of terrorism". In this respect, 9/11 was a boon for the peace faction inside republicanism, accelerating the quest for a political alternative. There was no role for continuing internal conflict in the western world in a climate of ethnic cleansing and talk of a "clash of civilisations". Republicans sought sanctuary in the strategy pioneered by Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein’s president since as far back as 1983 – of moving from a culture of resistance to a culture of change.
Adams and his closest colleagues had been insisting from the 1980s that the most underdeveloped aspect of the republican struggle was its politics. He represents the success of the new wave that has moved from ideological rectitude to the electoral imperative. This has enabled Sinn Fein to become the second largest party in Northern Ireland and to make steady gains in the Republic of Ireland. It is the only party to have representation in the European parliament on both sides of the border; and it is the only party with the potential to be in government in Dublin and Belfast. The peace embodied in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 delivered a rich dividend. But it presented immense challenges as well, and was always vulnerable in face of unintended consequences.
Trevor e-mails to note Sergio Aguayo Quezada's "America’s protean left: José Miguel Insulza and the OAS" (also openDemorcay):
Latin America is politically painting itself in shades of red, and part of the reason is the relationship between homegrown leftist groups and those in the United States.
A life illustrating this history-in-the-making is that of José Miguel Insulza, the former Chilean foreign secretary who was elected secretary-general of the Organisation of American States in May 2005.
For decades after 1945, the political geometry in Latin America was a simple equation: the right’s interests made it blindly loyal to the anti-communist United States, while the left repudiated Yankee imperialism. This hatred, justified by the history of outrages carried out by the superpower, prevented the Latin American left from trying to understand the US, a country with its own leftist political and social forces that might in other circumstances have been seen as natural allies.
In the 1960s and especially the 1970s, the Latin American left had started to break the monopoly that rightwing oligarchies and dictators had maintained with Washington, and itself established alliances with their counterparts in the US.
One of the most prominent arenas for such cooperation was Chile, whose democratic "road to socialism" triggered by the election of Salvador Allende as president in June 1970 generated passionate enthusiasm – and hostility – across the Americas.
The Chilean road came to an abrupt halt with the coup d'état of 11 September 1973, led by the army general Augusto Pinochet and orchestrated with leading figures in the Richard Nixon administration in Washington, most prominently secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Both men armed themselves with the doctrine of "national security" to justify military rule and state repression – whose repercussions are still felt in Latin America.
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