It is claimed that the raid on the Bin Laden home in Abbottabad also caught a huge amount of data from computer storage devices allegedly found there.
Because no one else has this alleged data, the administration can use it as cover to claim anything about anyone. As I half jokingly wrote:
I am told that the huge amount of data found on DVD disks and memory sticks during the alleged assassination of Osama bin Laden contains proof of a railway plot and also reveals that:
a. Iran will have nuclear weapons within three years,
b. Iran’s president Ahmedinejad uses sorcery,
c. Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei has a chronic flatulence problem,
d. Iran has special trucks in which Khamenei produces those deadly islamist bio-weapons which makes him the world’s greatest threat.
Other great, top secret facts from the found data will be revaled by the administration whenever it will fit its agenda.
We have already seen how this alleged data is used to defame Bin Laden by claiming, without any proof, that the data contained pornography.
Now the U.S. is using the threat to find something culpable in the secret data against Pakistan. As top NYT administration stenographer David Sanger sets out in a preview of Senator Kerry’s current pressure mission in Pakistan:
A senior administration official said Saturday that the United States would try to use the threat of Congressional cuts to the $3 billion in annual American aid to Pakistan as leverage. Any evidence of Pakistan’s complicity in sheltering Bin Laden — culled from the hundreds of computer flash drives and documents recovered in the raid — could also be used, the official said. So far, no such evidence has been found.
Mr. Kerry’s main piece of negotiating leverage is Pakistan’s uncertainty about what officials are finding in the trove of computer data — which Mr. Donilon has compared to “a small college library” — about Pakistani complicity hiding the Qaeda leader.
This is pure blackmail: “We might have some evidence against you and publish it, but if you do what we want, then we might not have any.”
Having secret data from Bin Laden will allow all kinds of such threats against many nations and people. Beware of believing any of it.
Meanwhile where is Obama holding Osama’s son Hamza?
That didn’t take long!
His allies are suggesting this is politically motivated….
A “conspiracy.” A word that has morphed into a buzz word used for derision & dismissal.
This arrest works out well for Sarkozy. Notice how quickly the IMF names a replacement?
I.M.F. Names Replacement as Chief Awaits Arraignment Strauss- Kahn, has not even been arraigned and he is out!
John Lipsky is in.
Mr. Lipsky, the I.M.F.’s first deputy managing director, is a former U.S. Treasury executive and onetime banker at JP Morgan. William Murray, an I.M.F. spokesman, said that Mr. Lipsky, who has been overseeing the logistics of the bailout of the Greek economy, would meet with members of the I.M.F. board in Washington later in the day, according to Reuters.
A JP Morgan man at the head of the IMF.
Wow! JP Morgan’s reach just got a whole lot longer. More on Mr Lipsky
Was this politically motivated?
Dominique Strauss-Kahn is victim of trap, minister suggests
A French government minister said Sunday he could not rule out that IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest for alleged sexual assault was the result of a set-up with political motives. “We cannot rule out the thought of a trap,” Henri de Raincourt, minister for overseas co-operation in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, said in a broadcast interview.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on sexual assault charges removes the toughest rival to French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the 2012 presidential race, bumping up his chances of re-election to a second term.
Had Kahn conducted himself in this fashion previously and got away with it?
Perhaps this time he miscalculated his political opponents?
The Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) disaster presents a chance to reinvigorate the stalled momentum for a Turko-Armenian rapprochement. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear melt-down which devastated Japan may have world-wide repercussions. One of these could be the creation of confidence-building measures over the similarly risky status of the only NPP in Armenia: Metsamor. Metsamor NPP was built in 1979 and was closed after a 1988 earthquake in Armenia. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, and following the Azeri-Armenian War over Nagorno-Karabakh, it was re-commissioned by Yerevan in 1995 to meet increasing energy demand. Metsamor NPP uses first generation technology, and is distinguished for being “the oldest and the least secure” of the existing NPPs, according to the European Union (EU). It is located some 20 kilometres from the Turko-Armenian border and faces serious financial problems, even in re-fuelling. Under such conditions, it is difficult to convince Armenia to take the necessary security measures; there is a vital risk for the whole region, a risk to match a Chernobyl-like disaster. At this very point, this unlucky and risky situation of Metsamor provides Turks and Armenians with a timely opportunity. At present, the security of NPPs has been forced onto the world’s energy security agenda. Ankara should use this momentum smartly and take one step toward Yerevan. A deal on Metsamor’s security can enable parties to deepen the dialogue; both parties stand to gain from this cooperation.
Firstly, Turkey can help Armenia in finding loans and forming a consortium to shoulder the burden mutually, for the sake of regional security and stability. According to a prediction, a new NPP will cost approximately $5 billion. It is totally inconceivable for Armenia, which only possesses approximately $2 billion in national revenue as of 2010, to make such a large investment. Perhaps Turkey can play a primary role in forming a tripartite or quadripartite enterprise in which Armenia, Turkey, the EU and the US have shares, to make investment and generate electricity for the Armenian economy by using reliable, sustainable, cleaner and less dangerous resources. Russia can be enticed to join the new project to maintain the regional balance too. Thus, all the major actors (Washington, Brussels and Moscow) will be included in the investment with regional parties Yerevan and Ankara. The Minsk Group, which mainly consists of France, Russia and the US, can also be the institutional roof under which negotiations occur. Under the consortium (or the Minsk Group), profits can be re-invested to the region and this can develop the necessary infrastructure for re-opening the common Turko-Armenian border.
Secondly, the establishment of a consortium (or at least developing a plan for the future of Metsamor mutually) may cause much-needed political and social linkages across both countries. What is needed in Turko-Armenian relations is mutual understanding and confidence. During the negotiations, an interaction between the parties is inevitable; this will be the key for better understanding. If the parties can build confidence during the technical and economic negotiations, this may spill over into other areas from the issues being agreed on. Because the main obstacle for the Turkish government and its Armenian counterpart is public opposition to any agreement made with the opposite side, this obstacle can be eliminated through political and social rapprochement. Plus, as peculiar to Turkey, Azerbaijan’s opposition is significant; but, even Azerbaijan which has a cease-fire with Armenia, not a permanent peace, may support a solution to the risky situation of Metsamor. Within the framework of good neighbourhood and mutual understanding, parties may take one step further. This programme could proceed under the label “Atoms For Confidence”, like US president Eisenhower’s famous “Atoms For Peace” speech. There is real hope and possibility for this to succeed.
Even if the parties cannot build confidence and move discussions to other fields—like debates over the events of 1915 or the future demarcation of their common border—there will remain one, concrete achievement: the removal of a regional nuclear disaster risk. The momentum now exists. All nuclear-powered countries are debating the risks of nuclear energy, and some countries have already decided to suspend their investments. For example, Germany has just decided to speed up its abandonment of nuclear energy. Public opposition to nuclear energy could play a part in raising more awareness about the topic. This may enable the Turkish and Armenian governments to take steps towards each other much more easily, by exploiting the dangerous situation of Metsamor, without facing harsh public opposition. There is nothing to lose for either party; the chances are that they both stand to gain mutually from the deal. The international community would appreciate this positive development, too. In brief, the destructive tsunami which wreaked untold devastation upon Japan can serve as a cautionary tale for the South Caucasus, by forcing regional actors to engage in confidence-building measures and to remove the common danger of nuclear disaster.
Serhan Ünal is a student at the department of International Relations at Bilkent University – Ankara, Turkey.
The United States, France and Britain invaded Libya with cruise missiles, stealth bombers, fighter jets and attack jets. Although NATO has taken over the military operation, U.S. President Barack Obama has been bombing Libya with Hellfire missiles from unmanned Predator drones. The number of civilians these foreign forces have killed remains unknown. This military campaign was ostensibly launched to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 in order to protect civilians in Libya.
In addition, the United Nations and France have been bombing the Ivory Coast to protect civilians against violence by Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to cede power to the newly elected president after a disputed election. UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon insists that the United Nations is “not a party to the conflict.” France, former colonial ruler of Ivory Coast, has over 1,500 troops stationed there. Ivory Coast is the world’s second largest coffee grower and biggest producer of cocoa. The bombing of Ivory Coast is being undertaken to enforce Security Council Resolution 1975 to protect civilians there.
The UN Charter does not permit the use of military force for humanitarian interventions. The military invasions of Libya and Ivory Coast have been justified by reference to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.
The Responsibility to Protect is contained in the General Assembly’s Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit. It is not enshrined in an international treaty nor has it ripened into a norm of customary international law. Paragraph 138 of that document says each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Paragraph 139 adds that the international community, through the United Nations, also has “the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
Chapter VI of the Charter requires parties to a dispute likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security to “first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.” Chapter VIII governs “regional arrangements,” such as NATO, the Arab League, and the African Union. The chapter specifies that regional arrangements “shall make every effort to achieve pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements . . .”
It is only when peaceful means have been tried and proved inadequate that the Security Council can authorize action under Chapter VII of the Charter. That action includes boycotts, embargoes, severance of diplomatic relations, and even blockades or operations by air, sea or land.
The Responsibility to Protect doctrine grew out of frustration with the failure to take action to prevent the genocide in Rwanda, where a few hundred troops could have saved myriad lives. But the doctrine was not implemented to stop Israel from bombing Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, which resulted in a loss of 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
Security Council Resolution 1973 begins with the call for “the immediate establishment of a ceasefire.” It reiterates “the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan population” and reaffirms that “parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians. The resolution authorizes UN Member States “to take all necessary measures . . . to protect civilians and civilian populated areas” of Libya.
But instead of pursuing an immediate ceasefire, immediate military action was taken instead. The military force exceeds the bounds of the “all necessary measures” authorization. “All necessary measures” should first have been peaceful measures to settle the conflict. Yet peaceful means were not exhausted before the military invasion began. A high level international team – consisting of representatives from the Arab League, the African Union, and the UN Secretary General – should have been dispatched to Tripoli to attempt to negotiate a real cease-fire, and set up a mechanism for elections and for protecting civilians. Moreover, after the passage of the resolution, Libya immediately offered to accept international monitors and Qadaffi offered to step down and leave Libya. These offers were immediately rejected by the opposition.
Security Council Resolution 1975 regarding Ivory Coast is similar to resolution 1973 regarding Libya. The former authorizes the use of “all necessary means to . . . protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence” in Ivory Coast. It reaffirms “the primary responsibility of each State to protect civilians” and reiterates that “parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians.”
The UN Charter commands that all Members settle their international disputes by peaceful means, to maintain international peace, security, and justice. Members must also refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United
Only when a State acts in self-defense, in response to an armed attack by one country against another, can it militarily attack another State under the UN Charter. The need for self-defense must be overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation. Neither Libya nor Ivory Coast had attacked another country. The United States, France and Britain in Libya, and France and the UN in Ivory Coast, are not acting in self-defense. Humanitarian concerns do not constitute self-defense.
There is a double standard in the use of military force to protect civilians. Obama has not attacked Bahrain where lethal force is being used to quell anti-government protests because that is where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed. In fact, the Asia Times reported that before the invasion of Libya, the United States made a deal with Saudi Arabia, whereby the Saudis would invade Bahrain to help put down the anti-democracy protestors and Saudi Arabia would enlist the support of the Arab League for a no-fly-zone over Libya.
The League’s support for a no-fly-zone effectively neutralized opposition from Russia and China to Security Council Resolution 1973. Moreover, the military action by the U.S., France and Britain has gone far beyond a no-fly-zone. Indeed, Obama, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David Cameron penned an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune that said the NATO force will fight in Libya until President Muammar Qaddafi is gone, even though the Resolution does not sanction forcible regime change.
When Obama defended his military actions in Libya, he said “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.” Two weeks later, the Arab League asked the Security Council to consider imposing a no-fly-zone over the Gaza Strip in order to protect civilians from Israeli air strikes. But the United States, an uncritical ally of Israel, will never allow the passage of such a resolution, regardless of the number of Palestinian civilians Israel kills. This is a double standard.
The military actions in Libya and Ivory Coast set a dangerous precedent of attacking countries where the leadership does not favor the pro-U.S. or pro-European Union countries. What will prevent the United States from stage-managing some protests, magnifying them in the corporate media as mass actions, and then bombing or attacking Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, or North Korea? Recall that during the Bush administration, Washington leveled baseless allegations to justify an illegal invasion of Iraq.
During a discussion of the Responsibility to Protect in the General Assembly on July 23, 2009, the Cuban government raised some provocative questions that should give those who support this notion pause: “Who is to decide if there is an urgent need for an intervention in a given State, according to what criteria, in what framework, and on the basis of what conditions? Who decides it is evident the authorities of a State do not protect their people, and how is it decided? Who determines peaceful means are not adequate in a certain situation, and on what criteria? Do small States have also the right and the actual prospect of interfering in the affairs of larger States? Would any developed country allow, either in principle or in practice, humanitarian intervention in its own territory? How and where do we draw the line between an intervention under the Responsibility to Protect and an intervention for political or strategic purposes, and when do political considerations prevail over humanitarian concerns?”
The Responsibility to Protect doctrine violates the basic premise of the UN Charter. Last year, the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee declined funding for the office of the new Special Advisor on Responsibility to Protect. Some member States argued that the Responsibility to Protect had not been agreed to as a norm at the World Summit. The debate will continue. But for many States, this is a slippery slope that should be viewed with extreme caution.
Copyright Marjorie Cohn
“The old will die and the young will forget.” This was the prediction of the first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. 63 years later, I still wonder what made him think so. Would the Jewish masses – or indeed any of the other groups of people – that suffered the Holocaust ever forget?
As far as I know, having lived in a refugee camp for most of my life, there has always been much space in the tiny alleys of the camp for the collective memory of Israeli massacres, systematic displacement and ethnic cleansing. These images have been printed in the minds of Palestinian refugees both young and old.
I never forget that 2003 Spring when my grandmother and I “went back” to our destroyed village Beit Jibrin. We managed to get there despite the checkpoints and high level of security. It isn’t easy although the actual distance that separates my refugee camp from the village is less than an hour’s drive. I’d been there a few times before but never with her. This was the first time. I walked behind her climbing up a hill in the village. She seemed much stronger and able to walk faster than I remembered. She knew where exactly we were going as if she was there yesterday.
Under a fig tree we sat and my grandmother smiled and remembered when she used to play with her friends, decades ago. She said, “It’s the same tree, a little bit different now; it’s been more than 50 years after all. Nonetheless, it is the same tree.”
My head was saturated with thoughts; she must have whispered some of her childhood secrets to the old tree. She didn’t say much but the sadness in her eyes said it all. We smiled and kept seated, listening to birds singing and breathing as much of the village’s fresh air as possible as if we had never drawn breath before. This is, after all, the village I have been raised to understand is mine.
Her memories dated back to 1948. She was nearly 10 years old. Despite her young age, she remembered. She remembered her school, the lovely summer evenings she spent with her family in the village. She remembered the harvest time and travelling to Haifa and Yafa with her dad to sell their produce. She also remembered the nights when the peaceful village was first attacked. “We never saw a fighter jet before”, she said. Maybe they had, I thought, but I’m sure it wasn’t the same sight as the one that was now spreading death and fear into people’s hearts in 1948. This was the same year that witnessed over 750,000 of the native Palestinian population expelled from their homes and villages. So far, to this day, they have never been able to return.
63 years since, and in spite of the number of UN resolutions and world condemnations, Israel’s impunity still prevails. No justice has been achieved as Palestinian refugees are yet to see the implementation of the United Nation’s Resolution 242 that clearly affirms “a just settlement of the refugee problem” as well as Resolution 149 which states that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date”.
As much as these resolutions have been alive in my grandmother’s memory, they are also imprinted in refugees’ consciousness whether they are acquainted with international law or not. Every Palestinian refugee resolutely believes in the right to live in the town or village from where they originate, and indeed where they and their families have been uprooted from by force.
Photo taken by Makbula Nassar- Al Jazeera documentary 2009
My grandmother passed away last March 2010 in the refugee camp. However, her dream of returning to Beit Jibrin is still alive and I deeply believe that she is in a place where borders do not exist. Her soul is finally free of the shackles of ethnic division, and she is able to hover over Palestine and our beloved village, our home, Beit Jibrin. She might be whispering secrets to the fig and olive trees there right now. Her dreams of return are still alive. As I will never forget her nor will I forget her passion when talking abut the village, I will always make sure I pass her dreams and aspirations to the coming generations. This, I believe is a promise that each refugee has taken unintentionally until the return and the full realisation of rights.
We will never forget my village and all the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages as the memory remains in the heart and soul of all Palestinians. For us, the old may well die, but the young will never forget.
At 11 AM on al-Nakba remembrance day, 500 residents from the West Bank village of al-Wallajeh and international supporters marched towards the Israeli Apartheid Wall. The Wall was built to separate the villagers from their original land from which they were expelled in 1948. The demonstration was violently attacked by the Israeli military with rubber coated steal bullets, tear gas and protesters were beaten with batons and rifles. One youth was hospitalized after being injured by a rubber coated steal bullet.
Eight Palestinians including twins aged 11 and 6 internationals (American, Dutch, German and Canadian nationals) were arrested. The army proceeded to raid the village and invade each house, searching for people who had participated in the demonstrations. The raids as well as confrontations between the army and the village youth are ongoing.
The Arrested Palestinans are:
Basel Al Araj
Ahmed Al Araj
Mohammad Al Araj
Allah And Mohammed Abu Tin 11 year old twins
Tarek Abu Tin
Adel Abu Tin
Al-Walaja is an agrarian village of about 2,000 people, located south of Jerusalem and West of Bethlehem. Following the 1967 Occupation of the West Bank and the redrawing of the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, roughly half the village was annexed by Israel and included in the Jerusalem municipal area. The village’s residents, however did not receive Israeli residency or citizenship, and are considered illegal in their own homes.
Once completed, the path of the Wall is designed to encircle the village’s built-up area entirely, separating the residents from Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and almost all their lands – roughly 5,000 dunams. Previously, Israeli authorities have already confiscated approximately half of the village’s lands for the building of the Har Gilo and Gilo settlements, and closed off areas to the south and west of it. The town’s inhabitants have also experienced the cutting down of fruit orchards and house demolition due to the absence of building permits in Area C.
According to a military confiscation order handed to the villagers, the path of the Wall will stretch over 4890 meters between Beit Jala and al-Walaja, affecting 35 families, whose homes may be slated for demolition.
President of Bahrain’s Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab says the Bahraini regime has dismissed people from their jobs for sending information of the government’s harsh crackdown on protesters via social networks.
An interview with President of Bahrain’s Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab
As the Palestinians prepare the mark the Nakba Day on Sunday, the Israeli authorities decided to place the West Bank under a 24-hour siege under direct orders issued by Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak.
The Israeli Radio reported that Israel will be deploying nearly 10.000 policemen and soldiers in East Jerusalem, and in Arab towns in the 1948 Territories.
The Israeli government said that it will be arresting any person who marks the Nabka in “Israel”, and also deployed hundreds of policemen in cities have have Arab and Jewish inhabitants.
The extensive police presence in Jerusalem, and other areas, is expected to remain in effect for several days especially after a settler shot and killed a youth, identified as Milad Ayyash in Silwan town, in East Jerusalem.
Ayyash was seriously wounded on Friday and died of his wounds at a Jerusalem hospital on Saturday morning. He was shot by a Dumdum illegal round fired by a settler from the illegal “Yonatan” outpost in East Jerusalem. The police also kidnapped two residents in Silwan neighborhood.
Furthermore, hundreds of residents held a massive protest in Jaffa marking the Palestinian Nakba, no clashes were reported.
The Ofer military court sentenced Hajj, 45, to six months in administrative detention a week after he was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Jenin.
He has been detained seven times in Israeli prisons over the past two decades, with prison time exceeding 13 years. He was released about a year ago after he was placed in administrative detention for three years. He was later arrested as the Palestinians began to reconcile.
Israel has also transferred prisoner Rami Esam Suleiman, 32, from Marda near Salfit to serve six months in administrative detention. That was after he had already served four years in prison, Tadhamon researcher Ahmed al-Beitawi added.
The Israeli army arrested Suleiman 18 May 2007 and placed him in administrative detention before he was sentenced to four years in prison. After he completed the term, he was switched to administrative detention. He was said to have been arrested three times spending more than nine years in Israeli prisons.
Beitawi said that the policy of placing prisoners in administrative detention after they serve their terms is a regular policy that Israel has taken against its Palestinian captives.
An estimated four people were killed Sunday on the Syria-Israel border, five killed on the Lebanon-Israel border, 52 injured in Gaza, and at least 24 injured in the West Bank as Israeli forces attacked Palestinian refugees trying to re-enter their former homes in what is now Israel. The day of protests was a commemoration of the ‘Nakba’ or ‘Catastrophe’, the day when Israel was created on Palestinian land 63 years ago.
The Israeli military confirmed firing at protesters on the Israel-Syrian border, as thousands of refugees tried to cross into the Golan Heights – a territory that was traditionally Palestinian, but is now a disputed territory claimed by both Israel and Syria. Many Palestinians who lived in the area found their towns and families split in half by the border.
Initial reports indicate that four people were killed by Israeli gunfire on the Syrian border, and dozens were wounded, as Palestinians crossed dangerous unmapped minefields to cross into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
Thousands of Palestinian refugees in southern Lebanon also tried to cross the border with Israel Sunday morning, and were met with gunfire from Israeli troops stationed at the border. Local sources report that at least five people were killed, and ten wounded by Israeli gunfire in the Maroun al-Ras area.
In Gaza, according to local sources, around 1,000 Palestinian refugees and supporters from the Gaza Strip marched on the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, where they were fired on by Israeli troops, injuring at least 52 people.
Palestinian refugees from the West Bank also marched to the Qalandia checkpoint established by Israeli forces as the main border crossing between the West Bank and what is now Israel, although Qalandia’s location is far east of the internationally-agreed armistice line of 1967, and indicates a possible land grab by Israel if established as an actual border.
At least five Palestinian youth were injured when Israeli forces fired live rounds at a group of youth throwing stones during the largely peaceful demonstration of several thousand people at Qalandia. Dozens more were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation.
In Issawiya, in east Jerusalem, Israeli forces fired on a group of youth throwing stones during a march held in that neighborhood. Four people were detained.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, students from Bir Zeit university, near Ramallah, set tires on fire as some youth threw stones at Israeli soldiers at the Atara checkpoint.
In al-Walaja village, a site known for non-violent anti-Wall protests, several hundred Palestinians, internationals and Israelis marched to the site of Wall construction in the center of the village – at least five were detained – three internationals and two Palestinians.
At least 63 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli forces at protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem since Friday.