Wednesday, June 29, 2005

WTI, Reparations, Italy Renditions, Tell Afar, Rambo III, Ferries, Souter, Abstinence

1) These are the findings of the World Tribunal on Iraq, which took place last weekend in Istanbul:

Tribunal on Iraq Findings
World Tribunal on Iraq

Monday 27 June 2005

The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all - The Jury of Conscience

Istanbul, 27 June, 2005 - With a Jury of Conscience from 10 different countries hearing the testimonies of 54 members of the Panel of Advocates who came from across the world, including Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom, this global civil initiative came to an end with a press conference at the Hotel Armada where the chair of the Jury of Conscience, Arundathi Roy, announced the Jury's conclusions.

The Jury defined this war as one of the most unjust in history: 'The Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.'

On the basis of the preceding findings and recalling the Charter of the United Nations and other legal documents, the jury has established the following charges against the Governments of the US and the UK:

Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.

Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure

Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems

Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and during the occupation period thereafter

Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors
Imposing punishments without charge or trial, including collective punishment

Subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment

Re-writing the laws of a country that has been illegally invaded and occupied

Willfully devastating the environment

Actively creating conditions under which the status of Iraqi women has seriously been degraded

Failing to protect humanity's rich archaeological and cultural heritage in Iraq.

Obstructing the right to information, including the censoring of Iraqi media.

Redefining torture in violation of international
law, to allow use of torture and illegal detentions.

The Jury also established charges against the Security Council of United Nations for failing to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity among other failures, against the Governments of the Coalition of the Willing for collaborating in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, against the Governments of Other Countries for allowing the use of military bases and air space and providing other logistical support, against Private Corporations for profiting from the war, against the Major Corporate Media for disseminating deliberate falsehoods and failing to report atrocities.

The Jury also provided a number of recommendations that include recognising the right of the Iraqi people to resist the illegal occupation of their country and to develop independent institutions, and affirming that the right to resist the occupation is the right to wage a struggle for self-determination, freedom, and independence as derived from the Charter of the United Nations, we the Jury of Conscience declare our solidarity with the people of Iraq and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces from Iraq.

The Istanbul session of the WTI lasted three days and presented testimony on the illegality and criminal violations in the U.S. pretexts for and conduct of this war. The expert opinion, witness testimony, video and image evidence addressed the impact of war on civilians, the torture of prisoners, the unlawful imprisonment of Iraqis without charges or legal defence, the use of depleted uranium weapons, the effects of the war on Iraq's infrastructure, the destruction of Iraqi cultural institutions and the liability of the invaders in international law for failing to protect these treasures of humanity.

The session in Istanbul was the culminating session of commissions of inquiry and hearings held around the world over the past two years. Sessions on different topics related to the war on Iraq were held in London, Mumbai, Copenhagen, Brussels, New York, Japan, Stockholm, South Korea, Rome, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon and Spain.

They have compiled a definitive historical record of evidence on the illegality of the invasion and occupation that will be recorded in a forthcoming book.

Preliminary Declaration of the Jury of Conscience World Tribunal on Iraq

27th June 2005, Istanbul

In February 2003, weeks before war was declared on Iraq, millions of people protested in the streets of the world. That call went unheeded. No international institution had the courage or conscience to stand up to the aggression of the US and UK governments. No one could stop them. It is two years later now. Iraq has been invaded, occupied, and devastated. The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all. We the people of conscience decided to stand up. We formed the World Tribunal on Iraq, to demand justice and a peaceful future.

The legitimacy of the World Tribunal on Iraq is located in the collective conscience of humanity. This, the Istanbul session, was the culmination of a series of 20 hearings held in different cities of the world focusing on the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We the Jury of Conscience, from 10 different countries, met in Istanbul. We heard 54 testimonies from a panel of advocates and witnesses who came from across the world, including from Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The World Tribunal on Iraq met in Istanbul from 24-26th of June 2005. The principal objective of the WTI is to tell the truth about the Iraq war as clearly as possible, and to draw conclusions that underscore the accountability of those responsible and underline the significance of justice for the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein's crimes against his people are not the focus of this Tribunal. We believe it is up to the Iraqi people to investigate these crimes in an independent and free trial.

I. Overview

1. The reasons given by the US and UK governments for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003 have proven to be false. The real motive was to control and dominate the Middle East. Establishing hegemony over the Middle East serves the goal of controlling the world's largest reserves of oil and strengthening the position of the US's strategic ally Israel.

2. Blatant falsehoods about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a link between Al Qaeda terrorism and the Saddam Hussein régime were manufactured in order to create public support for a "preemptive" assault upon a sovereign independent nation.

3. Iraq has been under siege for years. The imposition of severe inhuman economic sanctions at the end of the first Gulf war in 1991; the establishment of no-fly zones in the Northern and Southern parts of Iraq; and the concomitant bombing of the country were all aimed at degrading and weakening Iraq's human and material resources and capacities in order to facilitate its subsequent invasion and occupation. In this enterprise the US and British leaderships had the endorsement of a complicit UN Security Council.

4. In pursuit of their agenda of empire, the Bush and Blair blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history.

5. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.

6. The occupation has intentionally exacerbated ethnic and confessionnal divisions in Iraqi society, with the aim of undermining Iraq's identity and integrity as a nation. This is in keeping with the fam liar imperial policy of divide and rule.

7. The imposition of the UN sanctions in 1991 caused untold suffering and thousands of deaths. The situation has worsened after the occupation. At least 100,000 civilians have been killed; 60,000 are being held in US custody in inhuman conditions, without charges; thousands have disappeared; and torture has become virtually routine.

8. The privatization, deregulation, and liberalization of the Iraqi economy has transformed the country into a client economy that serves the Washington Consensus. The occupying forces have also accomplished their primary goal of acquired control over the nation's oil.

9. Any law or institution created under the aegis of occupation is devoid of both legal and moral authority. The recently concluded election, the Constituent Assembly, the current government, and the drafting committee for the Constitution are therefore all illegitimate.

10. There is widespread opposition to the occupation. Political, social, and civil resistance through peaceful means is subjected to repression by the occupying forces. It is the brutality of the occupation that has provoked a strong armed resistance and certain acts of desperation. By the principles embodied in the UN Charter and in international law, the popular national resistance to the occupation is legitimate and justified. It deserves the support of people everywhere who care for justice and freedom.

II. Findings and Charges

On the basis of the preceding findings and recalling the Charter of the United Nations and other legal documents quoted in the appendix, the jury has established the following charges.

A. Against the Governments of the US and the UK

1. Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.
Evidence for this can be found in the leaked Downing Street Memo of 23rd July, 2002 in which it was revealed that: "military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy." Intelligence was manufactured to willfully deceive the people of the US, the UK, and their elected representatives.

2. Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure, by intentionally directing attacks upon civilians and hospitals, medical centers, residential neighborhoods, electricity stations, and water purification facilities in violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR"), Articles 7(1)(a), 8(2)(a)(i), and 8(2)(b)(i). The complete destruction of the city of Falluja in itself constitutes a glaring example of such crimes.

3. Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems, such as cluster munitions, incendiary bombs, depleted uranium (DU), and chemical weapons. Detailed evidence was presented to the Tribunal by expert witnesses that leukemia had risen sharply in children under the age of five residing in those areas which had been targeted by DU weapons.

4. Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and during the occupation period thereafter, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 13 and 27, and the ICC Statute, Articles 7 (1)(a) and 8(2)(a)(i). This is evidenced, for example, by "shock and awe" bombing techniques and the conduct of occupying forces at checkpoints.

5. Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors, beginning with, among others, the April 2003 killing of more than a dozen peaceful protestors in Falluja.

6. Imposing punishments without charge or trial, including collective punishment, on the people of Iraq, in violation of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Geneva Conventions, and customary international law requiring due process. Repeated testimonies pointed to "snatch and grab" operations, disappearances, and assassinations.

7. Subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the ICCPR, other treaties and covenants, and customary international law. Degrading treatment includes subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to acts of racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination, as well as denying Iraqi soldiers Prisoner of War status as required by the Geneva Convention. Abundant testimony was provided of unlawful arrests and detentions, without due process of law. Well known and egregious examples occurred in Abu Ghraib prison as well as in Mosul, Camp Bucca, and Basra. The employment of mercenaries and private contractors to carry out torture has served to undermine accountability.

8. Re-writing the laws of a country that has been illegally invaded and occupied, in violation of international covenants on the responsibilities of occupying powers, in order to amass illegal profits (through such measures as Order 39, signed by L. Paul Bremer III for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which allows foreign investors to buy and takeover Iraq's state-owned enterprises and to repatriate 100 percent of their profits and assets at any point) and to control Iraq's oil. Evidence listed a number of corporations that had profited from such transactions.

9. Willfully devastating the environment, contaminating it by depleted uranium (DU) weapons, combined with the plumes from burning oil wells, as well as huge oil spills, and destroying agricultural lands. Deliberately disrupting the water and waste removal systems, in a manner verging on biological-chemical warfare. Failing to prevent the looting and dispersal of radioactive material from nuclear sites. Extensive documentation is available on air, water pollution, land degradation, and radiological pollution.

10. Actively creating conditions under which the status of Iraqi women has seriously been degraded contrary, to the repeated claims of the leaders of the coalition forces. Women's freedom of movement has been severely limited, restricting their access to education, livelihood, and social engagement. Testimony was provided that sexual violence and sex trafficking have increased since the occupation of Iraq began.

11. Failing to protect humanity's rich archaeological and cultural heritage in Iraq, by allowing the looting of museums and established historical sites and positioning military bases in culturally and archeologically sensitive locations. This took place despite prior warnings from UNESCO and Iraqi museum officials.

12. Obstructing the right to information, including the censoring of Iraqi media, such as newspapers (e.g., al-Hawza, al-Mashriq, and al-Mustaqila) and radio stations (Baghdad Radio), targeting international journalists, imprisoning and killing academics, intellectuals and scientists.

13. Redefining torture in violation of international law, to allow use of torture and illegal detentions, including holding more than 500 people at Guantánamo Bay without charging them or allowing them any access to legal protection, and using "extraordinary renditions" to send people to torture in other countries known to commit human rights abuses and torture prisoners.

B. Against the Security Council of United Nations

1. Failing to protect Iraq against a crime of aggression.

2. Imposing harsh economic sanctions on Iraq, despite knowledge that sanctions were directly contributing to the massive loss of civilian lives and harming innocent civilians.

3. Allowing the United States and United Kingdom to carry out illegal bombings in the no-fly zones, using false pretense of enforcing UN resolutions, and at no point allowing discussion in the Security Council of this violation, and thereby being complicit and responsible for loss of civilian life and destruction of Iraqi infrastructure.

4. Allowing the United States to dominate the United Nations and hold itself above any accountability by other member nations.

5. Failure to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United States and its coalition partners in Iraq.

6. Failure to hold the United States and its coalition partners accountable for violations of international law during the occupation, and giving official recognition to the occupation, thereby legitimizing an illegal invasion and becoming a collaborator in an illegal occupation.

C. Against the Governments of the Coalition of the Willing
Collaborating in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

D. Against the Governments of Other Countries
Allowing the use of military bases and air space, and providing other logistical support, for the invasion and occupation.

E. Against Private Corporations
Profiting from the war with complicity in the crimes described above, of invasion and occupation.

F. Against the Major Corporate Media

1. Disseminating the deliberate falsehoods spread by the governments of the US and the UK and failing to adequately investigate this misinformation. This even in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary. Among the corporate media houses that bear special responsibility for promoting the lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, we name the New York Times, in particular their reporter Judith Miller, whose main source was on the payroll of the CIA. We also name Fox News, CNN and the BBC.

2. Failing to report the atrocities being committed against Iraqi people by the occupying forces.

III. Recommendations

Recognising the right of the Iraqi people to resist the illegal occupation of their country and to develop independent institutions, and affirming that the right to resist the occupation is the right to wage a struggle for self-determination, freedom, and independence as derived from the Charter of the United Nations, we the Jury of Conscience declare our solidarity with the people of Iraq.

We recommend:

1. The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces from Iraq;

2. That coalition governments make war reparations and pay compensation to Iraq for the humanitarian, economic, ecological, and cultural devastation they have caused by their illegal invasion and occupation;

3. That all laws, contracts, treaties, and institutions established under occupation which the Iraqi people deem inimical to their interests, should be considered null and void;

4. That the Guantanamo Bay prison and all other offshore US military prisons be closed immediately; that the names of the prisoners be disclosed, that they receive POW status, and receive due process;

5. That there be an exhaustive investigation of those responsible for crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity in Iraq, beginning with George W. Bush, President of the United States of America; Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and other government officials from the coalition of the willing;

6. That we initiate a process of accountability to hold those morally and personally responsible for their participation in this illegal war, such as journalists who deliberately lied, corporate media outlets that promoted racial, ethnic and religious hatred, and CEOs of multinational corporations that profited from this war;

7. That people throughout the world launch actions against US and UK corporations that directly profit from this war. Examples of such corporations include Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle, CACI Inc., Titan Corporation, Kellog, Brown and Root (subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, Boeing, ExxonMobil, Texaco, British Petroleum. The following companies have sued Iraq and received "reparation awards": Toys R Us, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shell, Nestlé, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Sheraton, Mobil. Such actions may take the form of direct actions such as shutting down their offices, consumer boycotts, and pressure on shareholders to divest.

8. That soldiers exercise conscience and refuse to enlist and participate in an illegal war. Also that countries provide conscientious objectors political asylum.

9. That the international campaign for dismantling all US military bases abroad be reinforced.

10. That people around the world resist and reject any effort by any of their governments to provide material, logistical, or moral support to the occupation of Iraq.

We, the Jury of Conscience, hope that the specificity of these recommendations will lay the groundwork required for a world where the international institutions will be shaped and reshaped by the will of people and not fear and self-interest, where journalists and intellectuals will not remain mute, where the will of the people of the world will be central, and human security will prevail over state security and corporate profits.

Appendix: List of Legal Documents
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
The Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952)
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959)
The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1963)
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)
The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998)
The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950)
The American Convention on Human Rights (1969)
The Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of the United States of America (1963)


2) The Iraqi government has politely asked the UN and Kuwait to end the UN scheme for compensating Kuwait for the 1990 invasion. Iraqi compensation to Kuwait made sense until March 2003, when Kuwait allowed its territory to be used by US/UK forces to invade Iraq without cause or legal justification. Since that event, Kuwait owes Iraq compensation -- far more compensation than the 32 Billion USD cited in this article as outstanding on Iraq's part for the 1990 invasion. Kuwait had best concede these payments -- or the next time Iraq invades Kuwait there won't be a building, well, or living being left alive in Kuwait when they're done:

Iraq wants to end to U.N. war compensation scheme
28 Jun 2005 16:20:10 GMT

Source: Reuters
By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, June 28 (Reuters) - Iraq called on Tuesday for
an end to a United Nations-run programme that diverts
part of its oil earnings to pay compensation for
damage caused by its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the
1991 Gulf War.

However, it said it was ready to negotiate claims on a
bilateral basis with individual countries, notably

Iraq still owes $32.9 billion in awards approved by
the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC), whose
Governing Council is this week considering a further
$50 billion in demands for environmental damage. Five
percent of Iraqi oil revenues goes to finance the

"We suggest we stop the payments of five percent from
oil is too much for us," Iraqi Deputy
Foreign Minister Mohammed Hamud Bidan told Reuters.

"We think it is time now to stop and leave Iraq to
negotiate directly with the states concerned," he
added before addressing a council meeting.

These states should heed the example of the Paris Club
of Western countries and Russia which agreed last
November to slash 80 percent of Iraq's debt to it, he

Like Iraq's former foes Kuwait and Iran, ordinary
Iraqis were also "victims of the Saddam Hussein
regime", and the country needed funds for its own
reconstruction, he said.

However, in a speech to the closed-door talks obtained
by Reuters, Kuwait called for "political
ensure uninterrupted payments" to all successful

It is the last session of the council, composed of the
same 15 member states as the U.N. Security Council, to
approve further payouts. Those already authorised will
take decades to complete at the current payout rate of
$200 million per quarter.

The commission has received $354 billion in claims
from individuals, corporations and governments and has
approved $52.1 billion since beginning work in 1991.

It has paid out $19.2 billion. The bulk of the
"backlog" of $32.9 billion is owed to Kuwait, UNCC
officials said.

U.N. internal auditors, in reports made public last
January, alleged that the Geneva-based body overpaid
up to $5 billion to claimants -- charges that the UNCC
strongly denies.

Final mega-claims are still on the table. Demands for
$50 billion in compensation for damage to the
environment are being sought by six of Iraq's
neighbours -- Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan,
Syria and Turkey -- at the three-day session.

"A modest amount will be approved," a UNCC source

The Iraqi delegation held 30-minute talks with Khaled
Ahmad Al-Mudhaf, chairman of Kuwait's Public Authority
for Assessment of Compensation for Damages Resulting
from Iraqi Aggression.

"Their reaction now was positive but we need to speak
about details case by case. Maybe they will accept to
speak about government compensation but not
individuals," Bidan said.

However, the Kuwaiti delegation appeared surprised by
the move, which came ahead of a donors' meeting
scheduled for mid-July in Amman to discuss aid to

"We do not agree to dropping compensation
completely...The issue of compensation is in the hands
of the U.N.," Al-Mudhaf told Reuters.

3) I'd like to see someone publish the 13 names of the CIA operatives indicted for extradition here -- in case any of us have run across any of those folks at any time in our travels:,1280,-5104854,00.html

Italy Wants to Extradite 13 CIA Officials

Tuesday June 28, 2005 8:46 PM

ROME (AP) - Italian prosecutors want to extradite 13
CIA officials accused of kidnapping a radical Muslim
cleric and transporting him to Egypt where he
reportedly was tortured, and they've asked Interpol to
help track down the Americans, a court official said

A man identified as the former CIA station chief in
Milan is among the 13, according to a report by the
judge who issued the arrest warrants. The American was
traced by cell phone records to Egypt in the days
after the abduction when the cleric was ``likely
undergoing the first'' rounds of torture, according to
the report obtained by The Associated Press.

The Egyptian preacher was snatched in 2003,
purportedly as part of the CIA's ``extraordinary
rendition'' program in which terror suspects are
transferred to third countries without court approval,
subjecting them to possible ill treatment.

The order for the arrests in the transfer of the
cleric - made public last Friday - was a rare public
objection to the practice by a close American ally in
its war on terrorism.

The leftist opposition said Premier Silvio
Berlusconi's government will respond in parliament
Thursday to their demands to know whether Italian
officials were involved.

``It appears to be the most serious violation of
national sovereignty in the history of the republic,''
said opposition deputy Marco Minniti.

Court officials said they had no evidence of Italian
involvement, but Vince Cannistraro, a former leading
counterterrorism official in the CIA, said he doubted
the U.S. government would launch such an operation in
an allied country without coordinating first with the

``No question,'' he told AP in Washington, adding the
government may look the other way, as happened in
Sweden when two suspected Islamic terrorists were
handed over to Americans.

Prosecutors have asked the help of Interpol in tracing
the suspects, all identified as U.S. citizens, said
the court official who asked that his name not be used
because the investigation is still under way. The
Milan prosecutor's office, in announcing the arrests
last week, also said it would ask for American and
Egyptian assistance in the case.

The judge's 213-page order explaining the need for the
arrests said the suspects' links to ``foreign
intelligence services'' gave them the particular
ability to destroy evidence and disrupt the

The 13 are accused of seizing Osama Moustafa Hassan
Nasr, known as Abu Omar, on a Milan street on Feb. 17,
2003, and sending him to Egypt, Milan prosecutor
Manlio Claudio Minale said. He was taken to Aviano, a
joint U.S.-Italian air base north of Venice, flown to
Ramstein, another U.S. base in Germany, and then on to
Egypt, according to the prosecutor's report.

One of the suspects played a key role, according to
the judge's order, which identifies him as the former
Milan CIA station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, 51. It
said he had been listed as a diplomat, but was retired
and living near Turin.

The report by Judge Chiara Nobili said there was
``serious circumstantial evidence'' against the former
station chief based on his cell phone contacts with
other alleged members of the CIA group, including
calls putting him in Egypt in the days following the

In the report, Nobili said the cell phone records show
Lady was in Egypt from Feb. 22 to March 15, and those
were likely the first days Nasr was being tortured
during interrogations.

Attempts by AP to reach Lady for comment were
unsuccessful. His whereabouts were not known. Italian
police raided his house Thursday, but he was not
there, Italian newspapers reported.

Some of the 13 names listed in the order might be
aliases because that is often a practice of such
operatives overseas. Several gave U.S. post office
boxes as their addresses.

The U.S. Embassy in Rome, the CIA and Egyptian
officials declined to comment.

The judge's report details how investigators followed
a trail of credit card information and U.S. addresses
the operatives gave to five-star hotels in Milan
around the time of Nasr's alleged abduction. The
report also said two pairs of agents took a Venice
holiday after delivering the Egyptian at Aviano,
noting that only the CIA would have such access to the

It said the group had a ``particular operational
capacity, economic means and technology.''

Nasr, 42, spoke of his alleged torture in Egypt during
an intercepted cell-phone call to his wife. He
reportedly was hung upside down and subjected to
extreme temperatures and noise that damaged his

U.S. officials have defended the practice of
``extraordinary rendition,'' saying they receive
assurances that terror suspects handed over to foreign
governments won't be tortured. They have acknowledged,
though, that once a transfer occurs, the United States
has little control.

The Milan prosecutor's office has called the imam's
disappearance a blow to Italy's terrorism
investigation. Nasr was believed to have fought in
Afghanistan and Bosnia, and prosecutors were seeking
evidence against him before his disappearance,
according to a report in La Repubblica newspaper last
year, which cited intelligence officials.

4) Tal Afar analysis. Here is the kind of analysis we really need to hear more of, but don't. It's the kind of analysis that real government bureaucrats read, and don't bother to share with the rest of is. It's the kind of analysis adults consider, not the shingles that Bush keeps throwing out there about "terrorism", etc. It's from an anonymous source (probably military intelligence) posted on Juan Cole's website:

Tel Afar and the North

We have not heard much lately about the US campaign in the northern, largely Turkmen city of Tel Afar. The city has been a perennial security problem. There is evidence of local Turkmen guerrilla groups cooperating with Arab guerrillas, and the city seems to be part of an underground railway for the infiltration of foreign jihadis from Syria. An informed observer with experience in Iraq explains the dynamics of ethnic and religious disputes in the Iraqi north, especially among the Turkmen:

"Quick clarification on your June 16th post regarding Tel Afar. The US and the Iraqi forces are having such a hard time because the Turkmen in Tel Afar are actually Sunni, not Shia'. They are nearly all Ottoman-era Sunni migrants, rather than Shia' descendants of the Akqoyunlu and Karaqoyunlu tribes who make up a majority of Turkmen in Kirkuk.

While the Ba'ath used tribal proxies everywhere, they generally recruited "direct hires" in the security services from a much narrower base in specific communities. Nearly all Turkmen who had significant positions in Ba'ath security were from Tel Afar. Tel Afar had land conflicts with the Kurdish Mirani tribe - who were allies of Mustafa Barzani - and backed the government in the Kurdish wars of the 60's and 70's. Saddam subsequently recruited heavily in Tel Afar for Maktab al-Amin positions because many of them speak Kurdish. Tel Afar will remain an insurgent stronghold because it is historically as much a Ba'athist city as any city of the same size in al-Anbar.

The Turkmen-Kurdish conflict in Kirkuk is a little different. Unlike in Tel Afar, Turkmen in Kirkuk are unlikely to join the present insurgency because they really dislike both the Ba'athists and the Sunni jihadist types. The Turkmen in Kirkuk are a minor impediment to Kurdish control over the oil but the Kurds are more likely to repress them out of a fear of Turkish government influence. A Turkish special forces team attempted to assassinate the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk in July 2003, in coordination with Turkmen in the city. I'm convinced Kurdish abduction, torture and abuse of Turkmen is intended to intimidate alleged collaborators with Turkey rather than the insurgency. Make no mistake - the Kurds fully intend to be independent, even if it takes another decade. The Kurdish policy in Kirkuk is to control Turkish intrigue long enough for demographics to shift in their favor, without provoking Turkey to the point that they close the border. That occurred when the US accidentally arrested that Turkish hit squad.

. . . I have no doubt that the Kurds are abducting Turkmen, but I also have some suspicions about the objectivity of the [State Department memo] and the scale of the problem. Kurdish abduction and torture of Sunni Arabs is a much more serious problem, but neither the US nor Turkey are likely to protest too strongly. This conflict seems to be on an inevitable and tragic path towards a shadow war in which pesh mergha and the Badr Brigade - maybe wearing Iraqi uniforms, maybe not - start going after the insurgents using their own methods and tactics. Both the U.S. and Turkey have an incentive to draw the line if Turkmen are the victims . . .

I don't support a "shadow war" in which the Kurds and the Shia' political parties start fighting fire with fire. I think there needs to be pressure on them to prevent abuses, and I think there needs to be rigorous monitoring. But I hope I don't give the impression of moral equivalence between the pesh mergha and Shia' parties on the one side, and the former Ba'athist/jihadists on the other. The former are more responsive to public and international opinion and there's a certain degree of internal self-control that usually places some limits on their behavior. Not to mention Sistani, who . . . deserves the Nobel Prize. The Ba'athists and jihadists are another matter . . .

Interesting history... Too bad the US doesn't understand it."

5) Rambo III:

Hostile Fire May Have Downed U.S. Copter
Wednesday June 29, 2005 10:16 AM


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A U.S. Chinook helicopter that crashed in eastern Afghanistan was likely shot down by hostile fire, and the fate of 17 American servicemembers aboard was unclear, the U.S. military said Wednesday. The Taliban claimed to have attacked the aircraft.

The troops were on a mission against al-Qaida fighters when the helicopter went down Tuesday in a mountainous region near Asadabad, in Kunar province.

``The helicopter was transporting forces into the area as part of Operation Red Wing, which is part of the enduring fight to defeat al-Qaida militants,'' a military statement said. ``Initial reports indicate the crash may have been caused by hostile fire. The status of the service members is unknown at this time.''....

6) This is the link to a petition in Turkish to save Istanbul's ferries, against a plan by the municipality to phase them out in favor of hydrofoils purchased from Norway by 2009. The hydrofoils are closed vehicles, and the Istanbul ferry is one of the grand traditions in this town. Please sign, and pass it on -- comments in English by internationals would help the cause tremendously. So far, it's all been local signatures and Turkish comments. As the entire petition is in Turkish, find below some instructions on how to fill it out:

Hit "destek olun" in the upper left hand corner, then:
Ad (First Name) Soyad (Last Name)
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7) How bout a little good news for a change:

Eminent domain ruling being used to try to seize
Justice Souter's house

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on
the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H.
Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court
which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself
might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use
this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New
London" decision allows city governments to take land
from one private owner and give it to another if the
government will generate greater tax revenue or other
economic benefits when the land is developed by the
new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a
request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of
the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the
application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley
Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr.
Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that
the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax
revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34
Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty
Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and
include a museum, open to the public, featuring a
permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America.
Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a
free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on
this particular piece of land because it is a unique
site being the home of someone largely responsible for
destroying property rights for all Americans.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of
Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If
three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain
to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our
hotel development."

Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from
wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up
architectural plans. These plans would then be used to
raise investment capital for the project. Clements
hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and
participants in the Free State Project among others.

8) Monbiot right on the mark, as usual (article a little old now, but still good):,9828,1214047,00.html

Joy of sex education

America's virgin soldiers are on their way - ignoring the dangers of abstinence for teenagers

George Monbiot
Tuesday May 11, 2004
The Guardian

The flame of sexual liberation may soon have to be kept alive by us geriatric delinquents. A US evangelical group has announced that next month it will be recruiting British teenagers to its campaign against sex before marriage. In the States, more than a million have taken the pledge. "Great Britain," the organiser insists, "is fascinated with the idea of sexual abstinence." In my day such a fellow would have been horsewhipped. Yet young people are flocking to him. Is there no end to the depravity of today's youth? Not if the US government can help it. The abstinence campaign that hopes to corrupt the morals of our once proud nation - a group called the Silver Ring Thing - has so far received $700,000 from George Bush, as part of his campaign to replace sex education with Victorian values. This year he doubled the federal budget for virginity training, to $270m. In terms of participation, his programme is working. In every other respect it's a catastrophe.

No one could dispute that thousands of teenagers in Britain and the United States are suffering as a result of sex before marriage. Teenage pregnancies are overwhelmingly concentrated at the bottom of the social scale: the teenage daughters of unskilled manual labourers are 10 times as likely to become pregnant as middle-class girls. According to the United Nations agency Unicef, women born into poverty are twice as likely to stay that way if they have their children too soon. They are more likely to be unemployed, to suffer from depression and to become dependent on alcohol or drugs.

The prevalence of both teenage pregnancy and venereal disease in this country and the US is generally blamed on lax morals and a permissive welfare state. Teenagers are in trouble today, the conservatives who dominate this debate insist, because of the sexual liberation of the 60s and 70s and the willingness of the state to support single mothers. On Sunday, Ann Widdecombe maintained that sex education has "failed": those who promote it should now "shut up" and leave the welfare of our teenagers to the virginity campaigners. Denny Pattyn, the founder of the Silver Ring Thing, calls this "the cesspool generation - suffering the catastrophic effects of the sexual revolution". These people have some explaining to do.

Were we to accept the conservatives' version, we would expect the nations in which sex education and access to contraception are most widespread to be those that suffer most from teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The truth is the other way around.

The two western countries at the top of the disaster league, the United States and the United Kingdom, are those in which conservative campaigns are among the strongest and sex education and access to contraception are among the weakest. The US, the UN Population Fund's figures show, is the only rich nation stuck in the middle of the third world block, with 53 births per 1,000 teenagers - a record worse than those of India, the Philippines and Rwanda. The UK comes next with 20. The nations the conservatives would place at the top of the list are clumped at the bottom. Germany and Norway produce 11 babies per 1,000 teenagers, Finland eight, Sweden and Denmark seven and the Netherlands five.

Unicef's explanation is pretty unequivocal. Sweden, for example, radically changed its sex education policies in 1975. "Recommendations of abstinence and sex only within marriage were dropped, contraceptive education was made explicit, and a nationwide network of youth clinics was established specifically to provide confidential contraceptive advice and free contraceptives ... Over the next two decades, Sweden saw its teenage birth rate fall by 80 per cent." Sexually transmitted diseases, in contrast to the rising rates in the UK and the US, declined by 40% in the 1990s.

"Studies of the Dutch experience," Unicef continues, "have concluded that the underlying reason for success has been the combination of a relatively inclusive society with more open attitudes towards sex and sex education, including contraception." Requests for contraceptives there "are not associated with shame or embarrassment", and "the media is willing to carry explicit messages" about them that are "designed for young people". This teeming cesspool has among the lowest abortion and teenage birth rates on earth.

America and the UK, by contrast, are "less inclusive societies" where "contraceptive advice and services may be formally available, but in a 'closed' atmosphere of embarrassment and secrecy". The UK has a higher teenage pregnancy rate not because there is more sex or abortion, but because of "lower rates of contraceptive use".

The catastrophe afflicting so many teenagers in Britain and America, in other words, has been caused not by liberal teachers, liberated parents and Marie Stopes International, but by those who campaign against early sex education, discourage access to contraceptives and agitate against the social inclusion (income equality, the welfare state) that offers young women better prospects than getting knocked up. Abstinence campaigns such as the Silver Ring Thing do delay sexual activity, but when their victims are sucked into the cesspool (nearly all eventually are), they are, according to a study at Columbia University, around one-third less likely to use contraceptives, as they are not "prepared for an experience that they have promised to forgo". The result, a paper published in the British Medical Journal shows, is that abstinence programmes are "associated with an increase in the number of pregnancies among partners of young male participants". You read that right: abstinence training increases the rate of teenage pregnancy.

If all this were widely known, the conservatives and evangelicals would never dare to make the claims they do. So they must ensure that we don't find out. In January, the Sunday Telegraph claimed that Europeans "look on in envy" at the US record on teenage pregnancies. It supported this extraordinary statement by deliberately fudging the figures: running the teenage birth rate per 1,000 in the US against the total teenage birthrate in the UK, so leaving its readers with no means of comparison.

Breathtaking as this deception is, it's not half as bad as what Bush has been up to. When his cherished abstinence programmes failed to reduce the rate of teenage births, he instructed the US Centres for Disease Control to stop gathering data. He also forced them to drop their project identifying the sex education programmes that work, after they found that none of the successful ones were "abstinence only". Bush should also hope that we don't look too closely at his record as governor of Texas. He spent $10m on abstinence campaigns there, with the result that Texas has the fourth-highest rate of HIV infection in the union, and the slowest decline of any state in the birth rate among 15- to 17-year-olds.

So when this bunch of johnny-come-lately foreigners arrives next month with their newfangled talk of "virginity" and "abstinence", I urge you chaps to lock up your daughters and send them on their way. It's up to the older generation to keep our young whippersnappers off the straight and narrow.

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