JFP 6/6: Ex-CIA official: drone strikes expanding terrorist havens; 19 sign Kucinich-Conyers letter

Just Foreign Policy News, June 6, 2012
Ex-CIA official: drone strikes expanding terrorist havens; 19 sign Kucinich-Conyers letter


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Go Straight to the News Summary

I) Actions and Featured Articles

*Action: Urge your Representative to sign the Kucinich-Conyers letter on drone strikes
Nineteen Members of Congress are pressing the Administration to come clean with Congress and the American people about civilian deaths resulting from drone strikes and about so-called "signature strikes" that target unknown people. Urge your Representative to join them. If you've already written please call your Rep. and ask them to sign: 202-225-3121.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/kucinich-conyers-drone-letter

Kucinich/Conyers: Ensure Transparency and Accountability In The U.S. Combat Drone Program
Current signers of the Congressional letter include: Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers, Rush Holt, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Maurice Hinchey, Charlie Rangel, Pete Stark, Mike Honda, Raul Grijalva, Bob Filner, Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, Lynn Woolsey, Hank Johnson, Luis Gutierrez, Ron Paul, John Lewis, George Miller, Jim McDermott.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1219

Yes, Virginia, We Can Do Something About the Drone Strikes
It may well be true that drone strikes to kill "high value terrorists" who are known to be planning attacks on Americans are wildly popular. But here's what's not wildly popular: killing innocent civilians. Nineteen Members of Congress are raising their voices. Others should join them.
http://truth-out.org/news/item/9572-yes-virginia-we-can-do-something-about-the-drone-strikes

CIVIC, Amnesty International Challenge Admin on Signature Drone Strikes and Civilian Casualties
The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict initiated a letter to the Administration challenging it to be more transparent about its drone strike policy, particularly regarding "signature strikes" and civilian casualties. The letter was joined by Amnesty International and others.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1242

Just Foreign Policy challenges UN to take responsibility on Haiti cholera crisis
Post and share the Haiti cholera counter:
Tracks deaths, cases, and the number of days that have passed since the UN brought cholera to Haiti.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/haiti-cholera-counter

Urge your Representative to sign the Congressional letter to Ambassador Rice
Rep. John Conyers' office is circulating a letter to Ambassador Rice urging UN authorities to play a central role in addressing the cholera crisis in Haiti.
Current signers: Conyers, Cohen, Clarke (NY), Moran, Towns, Grijalva, Rush, Lee, Kucinich, Edwards, Stark, Rangel, Brown, Maloney, Schakowsky, Clarke (MI), Waters, Honda, Clay, Lewis (GA), McCollum, Wilson (FL), Capuano, Blumenauer, McDermott, Ellison, Johnson (GA), Gutierrez, Jackson, Deutch, Olver, Moran, Alcee Hastings, Filner, McGovern, Keating, Norton, Farr, Cummings, Woolsey, Fattah, Bass, Sires, Tierney, Hirono, Richardson, Larsen, Hinchey, Welch, Thompson (MS), Hahn, Moore.
Ask your Rep to sign.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/conyers-letter-cholera

Sign the petition urging the UN to take responsibility
The petition urges the UN to make an official apology, compensate victims, and take a leadership role in addressing the resulting public health crisis by ensuring implementation of efficient treatment and prevention of the epidemic and by helping Haiti acquire adequate water and sanitation infrastructure to prevent the spread of cholera.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/un-responsibility-haiti

II) Summary:

U.S./Top News
1) Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA's counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, says the U.S. drone strike program is targeted too broadly, the Guardian reports. Grenier said the use of drones was a valuable tool in tackling terrorism but only when used against specific identified targets, who have been tracked and monitored to a place where a strike is feasible. Recent media revelations about Obama's program have revealed a more widespread use of the strike capability, including the categorizing of all military-age males in a strike zone of a target as militants.

"We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan," Grenier said. Grenier said the drone strikes in Yemen were too indiscriminate and causing outrage among the civilian population in the country, lending support to Islamists and seeing a growth in anti-US sentiment.

"That brings you to a place where young men, who are typically armed, are in the same area and may hold these militants in a certain form of high regard. If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger. They have tribes and clans and large families. Now all of a sudden you have a big problem … I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen," Grenier said.

2) CIA drones are reportedly reviving the use of highly-controversial tactics that target rescuers and funeral-goers, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports. On Monday US drones attacked rescuers in Waziristan in western Pakistan minutes after an initial strike, killing 16 people in total according to the BBC. On Sunday, a CIA drone strike targeted people gathered for funeral prayers of militant victims killed in an earlier attack. The intended Taliban targets appear to have survived, although up to ten people died.

A Pakistani think tank accused the U.S. of escalating drone strikes to punish Pakistan for prosecuting a doctor who helped the CIA and for refusing to reopen NATO supply routes.

3) ABC's Jake Tapper pressed White House spokesman Jay Carney on press reports that the Administration was counting any military age male killed by a US drone strike as a "combatant," and whether that was the basis of Administration claims that few civilians were being killed. But Carney refused to answer the question.

4) Americans visiting Israel are facing demands to open their email accounts for inspection, AP reports. Targeting mainly Muslims or Arabs, the practice appears to be aimed at rooting out visitors who have histories of pro-Palestinian activism, and in recent weeks, has led to the expulsion of at least three American women. Emanuel Gross, a law professor at Haifa University, said such a practice would seem to be illegal in Israel.

5) The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city's top prosecutors endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving a lift to an effort by Gov. Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested as a result of police stops, the New York Times reports. Under Cuomo's proposal, the state would downgrade the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in public view from a misdemeanor to a violation, with a maximum fine of $100 for first-time drug offenders. [Thus, at the same time that the US is pushing back against calls in Latin America for experimentation with decriminalization measures, New York is implementing just the sort of measures that Latin American leaders are calling for - JFP.]

6) A report spearheaded by two Nobel laureates found that increased militarization in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala has created more insecurity, especially for women, CNN reports. "The war on drugs ... has become a war on women," Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchu wrote in the report. In Honduras the homicide rate for women has been increasing four times faster than that of men. The report found that femicides increased by 257% in Honduras from 2002 to 2010, a period that saw a doubling of U.S. money for military and police. The report says femicides in Mexico rose 40% since 2006. In Guatemala, 685 women were killed in 2010, compared with 213 in 2000, the report states. In that time, security aid to Guatemala increased threefold, the report found.

7) The US government is still refusing to disclose to Bradley Manning's defense documents concerning government assessments of purported harm caused by the WikiLeaks disclosures, the Guardian reports. Manning's lawyer says the government's behavior threatens his client's ability to have a fair trial.

Iran
8) Nuclear-security analysts say Iran's decision to convert a third of its higher-enriched uranium into metal plates will make it more difficult for Iran to assemble a nuclear weapon, if it tried to do so, Bloomberg reports. UN inspectors have verified that Iran converted about 33 percent of its 20 percent-enriched uranium stockpile. "There is some good news overlooked," said Robert Kelley, the IAEA's former top inspector for Iraq. "This makes the material much less of a danger for further enrichment." "The facts on the ground in Iran seem to support Iran's assertion that it has been systematically working on developing a fuel-fabrication capability," said Mark Hibbs, an analyst at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Iran has "used its additional output of uranium enriched to 20 percent for fabricating fuel plates for its Tehran Research Reactor, which effectively leaves its current 20-percent stockpile relatively unchanged," Arms Control Association Director Daryl Kimball said.

Israel/Palestine
9) Israel must release all Palestinians held under long-standing administrative detention laws or charge and try them promptly and fairly, Amnesty International said. The report calls on Israel to stop using administrative detention to suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

"Despite many media reports suggesting that the Israeli authorities had agreed as part of the deal to release administrative detainees at the end of their current orders 'unless significant new information was received', our information is that it is business as usual when it comes to detention without charge or trial," said Ann Harrison of Amnesty. "We believe that Israel has renewed at least 30 administrative detention orders and issued at least three new ones since this deal was struck, and family visits for Gazan prisoners have still not started."

Colombia
10) Human rights groups have requested that key Colombian officials be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court for their participation in the "false positives" scandal, writes Dan Kovalik at Huffington Post. Human rights groups have noted that reports of extrajudicial executions continued into 2011. U.S. military aid has encouraged high body counts, Kovalik argues. Classified U.S. documents show that "[t]he CIA and senior U.S. diplomats were aware as early as 1994 that U.S.-backed Colombian security forces engaged in 'death squad tactics,' cooperated with drug-running paramilitary groups, and encouraged a 'body count syndrome,'" but U.S. military aid increased.

Contents:
U.S./Top News

1) Drone attacks create terrorist safe havens, warns former CIA official
Indiscriminate use of drones in Middle East causes too many civilian casualties, warns former CIA counterterrorism head
Paul Harris, Guardian, Tuesday 5 June 2012 15.56 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/05/al-qaida-drone-attacks-too-broad

New York - A former top terrorism official at the CIA has warned that President Barack Obama's controversial drone programme is far too indiscriminate in hitting targets and could lead to such political instability that it creates terrorist safe havens.

Obama's increased use of drones to attack suspected Islamic militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen has become one of the most controversial aspects of his national security policy. He has launched at least 275 strikes in Pakistan alone; a rate of attack that is far higher than his predecessor George W Bush.

Defenders of the policy say it provides a way of hitting high-profile targets, such as al-Qaida number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi. But critics say the definition of militant is used far too broadly and there are too many civilian casualties. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 830 civilians, including many women and children, might have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan, 138 in Yemen and 57 in Somalia. Hundreds more have been injured.

Now Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA's counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has told the Guardian that the drone programme is targeted too broadly. "It [the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences," Grenier said in an interview.

Grenier emphasised that the use of drones was a valuable tool in tackling terrorism but only when used against specific identified targets, who have been tracked and monitored to a place where a strike is feasible. However, recent media revelations about Obama's programme have revealed a more widespread use of the strike capability, including the categorising of all military-age males in a strike zone of a target as militants. That sort of broad definition and the greater use of drones has outraged human rights organisations.

The BIJ has reported that drone strikes in Pakistan over the weekend hit a funeral gathering for a militant slain in a previous strike and also may have accidentally hit a mosque. That sort of action adds credence to the claims that the drone campaign is likely to cause more damage by creating anger at the US than it does in eliminating terrorist threats.

"We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said.

Grenier said he had particular concerns about Yemen, where al-Qaida linked groups have launched an insurgency and captured swathes of territory from the over-stretched local army. US drones have been active in the country, striking at targets that have included killing US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son.

The BIJ estimates that there have been up to 41 confirmed US drone strikes in Yemen since 2002 and possibly up a 55 unconfirmed ones. Grenier said the strikes were too indiscriminate and causing outrage among the civilian population in the country, lending support to Islamists and seeing a growth in anti-US sentiment.

"That brings you to a place where young men, who are typically armed, are in the same area and may hold these militants in a certain form of high regard. If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger. They have tribes and clans and large families. Now all of a sudden you have a big problem … I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen," Grenier said.
[...]

2) CIA 'revives attacks on rescuers' in Pakistan
Chris Woods, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, June 4th, 2012
http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/06/04/cia-revives-attacks-on-rescuers-in-pakistan/

CIA drones are reportedly reviving the use of highly-controversial tactics that target rescuers and funeral-goers.

On Monday US drones attacked rescuers in Waziristan in western Pakistan minutes after an initial strike, killing 16 people in total according to the BBC. On May 28, drones were also reported to have returned to the attack in Khassokhel near Mir Ali.

And on Sunday, a CIA drone strike targeted people gathered for funeral prayers of militant victims killed in an earlier attack. The intended Taliban targets appear to have survived, although up to ten people died. A mosque was also struck last week – possibly accidentally – killing at least three civilian worshippers.

The tactics may not be confined to Pakistan. In the Yemeni city of Jaar on May 15, a possible return US drone strike killed between 8 and 26 civilians, according to a USA Today report.

The deliberate targeting of rescuers and mourners by CIA drones was first exposed by the Bureau in February 2012, in a major joint investigation with the Sunday Times. On more than a dozen occasions between 2009 and June 2011, the CIA attacked rescuers as they tried to retrieve the dead and injured. Although Taliban members were killed on almost every occasion, so too were civilians – many of whom the Bureau's field investigators were able to name. The investigation also reported that on at least three occasions the CIA had struck funeral-goers.

The UN Special Rapporteur called for an investigation into the Bureau's findings at the time, with some international lawyers questioning the legality of the tactics.
[...]
The US had recently eased off on its drone strikes in Pakistan, as the two countries negotiated the possible resumption of NATO supply deliveries to Afghanistan via Pakistan territory.

However, the absence of a deal – and public US anger at a Pakistan court's imprisonment of Shakil Afridi, a doctor who aided the CIA's killing of Osama bin Laden – has seen a shift in strategy.

The Bureau's data shows that since May 23 the US has launched eight CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, which have killed at least 48 people. Civilians have been reported killed in a number of those strikes.
[...]
The Islamabad-based think tank the Conflict Monitoring Center has accused the United States of 'a bid to punish Pakistan for its conviction of Dr. Afridi as well as its reluctance to reopen NATO supply routes.'
[...]

3) Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 5/29/12
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/29/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-52912

[...]
Q [Jake Tapper, ABC] And there was a New York Times story today by Jo Becker and Scott Shane about the way that President Obama conducts some of the counterterrorism operations. One of the things that I think was most interesting was the fact that one of the ways that the administration has been able to assert that there have been so few civilian casualties in any of these drone attacks is because the presumption is that if you are in these locations you are guilty of terrorism. And there's almost a guilty-until-proven-innocent quality. I'm wondering how on Earth the administration can square that with the President's past language on human rights and avoiding civilian casualties.

MR. CARNEY: I think your description of the policy is not quite exact. I would refer you to John Brennan's speech not long along on these matters, in which he was very explicit and transparent about methods that are used in our counterterrorism operations and the care that is taken to avoid civilian casualties. We have at our disposal tools that make avoidance of civilian casualties much easier, and tools that make precision targeting possible in ways that have never existed in the past.

And I think that this administration's commitment, this President's commitment to, A, go after those who would do harm to the United States and do harm to our allies is clear. This President's first and primary -- this President's first priority is the protection of the United States, protection of the citizens of this country, and he takes that responsibility enormously seriously. And that is why he has pursued the fight against al Qaeda in the very direct way that he has.

But he also believes very strongly in the need to avoid civilian casualties in the pursuit of that objective, in the pursuit of al Qaeda, and goes to extraordinary measures in order to achieve that, and again, has at his disposal -- this administration does -- tools that allow for the kind of precision that in the past was not available.

Q I mean, it's pretty to think so, but I just don't know --

MR. CARNEY: It's a fact, Jake.

Q It's a fact that he has tools to avoid civilian casualties?

MR. CARNEY: Yes.

Q So are you disputing The New York Times story or the excerpt in The Daily Beast today that there have been civilian casualties?

MR. CARNEY: I'm not -- I don't have the assessments of civilian casualties. I'm certainly not saying that we live in a world where the effort in a fight against al Qaeda, against people who would without compunction murder tens of thousands, if not millions, of innocents --

Q No, I'm talking about the innocent people that the United States killed.

MR. CARNEY: -- that we don't live in a world where it is possible to achieve no civilian casualties. What I'm saying is that we are able to -- this administration is able to, our military and our broader national security team is able to pursue al Qaeda in a way that significantly reduces the potential for and the fact of civilian casualties.

Q Right. With the assumption -- and here's the question -- with the assumption that if you are with a terrorist when a terrorist gets killed, the assumption is that you are a terrorist as well, and even if we don't even know who you are, right? Isn't that part of the reason you're able to make these assertions?

MR. CARNEY: I don't have -- I am not going to get into the specifics of the process by which these decisions are made. What you know is that there are -- the care taken here is significant and the tools that are at our disposal are unique and effective in terms of limiting civilian casualties. But beyond that, I can't really go into great detail.
[...]

4) Israel asks Arab visitors to open emails to search
Diaa Hadid, Associated Press, June 5, 2012
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hEfwmMlSSvtcv-knG79K-X06h-Xg

Jerusalem - When Sandra Tamari arrived at Israel's international airport, she received an unusual request: A security agent pushed a computer screen in front of her, connected to Gmail and told her to "log in."

The agent, suspecting Tamari was involved in pro-Palestinian activism, wanted to inspect her private email account for incriminating evidence. The 42-year-old American of Palestinian descent refused and was swiftly expelled from the country.

Tamari's experience is not unique. In a cyber-age twist on Israel's vaunted history of airport security, the country has begun to force incoming travelers deemed suspicious to open personal email accounts for inspection, visitors say.

Targeting mainly Muslims or Arabs, the practice appears to be aimed at rooting out visitors who have histories of pro-Palestinian activism, and in recent weeks, has led to the expulsion of at least three American women.
[...]
Israel has a long history of using ethnic profiling, calling it a necessary evil resulting from its bitter experience with terrorist attacks. Arab travelers and anyone else seen as a risk are often subjected to intense questioning and invasive inspections, including strip searches.

The security procedures appear to be getting stricter: Recent searches of journalists at official events have been invasive enough to create a series of mini-uproars and walkouts - a situation that has dovetailed with increasing concerns that the government is trying to stifle dissent.

Diana Butto, a former legal adviser to the Palestinian Authority and a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said the policy of email checks, once used sporadically, appears to have become more widespread over the past year.

Butto said she has led three tour groups to the region over the past year, and in each case, at least one member of the group was asked to open their email. She said Muslims, Arabs and Indians were typically targeted, and in most cases, were denied entry.


Butto said agents typically want to see people's itineraries, articles they have written or Facebook status updates. "The problem is there's no way to honestly say you're coming to visit the West Bank without falling into some type of security trap," she said. "Either you lie and risk being caught in a lie, or you tell the truth ... and it's not clear whether you'll be allowed in."

Tamari, who is from St. Louis, said she arrived in Israel on May 21 to participate in an interfaith conference. She described herself as a Quaker peace activist and acknowledged taking part in campaigns calling for boycotts and divestment from Israel.

Given her activism, Tamari said she expected some security delays. But she was caught off guard by the order to open her email account. She said the agents discovered her address while rifling through her personal papers. "That's when they turned their (computer) screens around to me and said, 'Log in," she said. When she refused, an interrogator said, "'Well you must be a terrorist. You are hiding something.'"

Tamari said she was searched, placed in a holding cell and flown back to the U.S. the following day. "The idea that somebody my age, a Quaker, on a peace delegation with folks from the U.S., would be denied entry - that never crossed my mind," she said.

Najwa Doughman, a 25-year-old Palestinian American from New York City, said she underwent a similar experience when she arrived for a one-week vacation on May 26.
A female interrogator ordered Doughman to open her Gmail account, threatening she would be deported if she didn't. "She typed in gmail.com and she turned the keyboard toward me and said, 'Log in. Log in now,'" Doughman recounted. "I asked, 'Is this legal?' She said, 'Log in.'"

She said the agent searched for keywords like "West Bank" and "Palestine" and made fun of a chat in which Doughman talked of reading graffiti on Israel's West Bank separation barrier. "After she read a bunch of stuff, humiliating and mocking me, I said, 'I think you've read enough,'" Doughman said, adding that agents jotted down names and emails of her friends as they inspected her chat history.

Doughman's traveling companion, Sasha Al-Sarabi, said agents pulled her aside and checked out her Facebook page. Both women said they were approached because of their Arab family names, and were repeatedly asked about the nature of their visit, and whether they planned to go to the West Bank and participate in anti-Israel demonstrations.

While acknowledging she belonged to Palestinian activist groups when she was in college, Doughman said she insisted the one-week visit was purely for a vacation. "The interrogator asked me, 'Do you feel more Arab or more American? ... Surely you must feel more Arab," Doughman said. "I told her I was born in the U.S. and studied there, but she didn't like my answer."

After hours of questioning, both women were told they would not be allowed in. They said they were subjected to strip searches, placed in a detention center and sent back to the U.S. the following day. Doughman said they weren't allowed to call the U.S. Embassy
[...]
Emanuel Gross, a law professor at Haifa University, said such a practice would seem to be illegal in Israel. "In Israel, you need a search warrant to go into somebody's computer," he said. "I'm skeptical that the security guards asked a judge first for a warrant and I'm skeptical that a judge would give it."

5) Bloomberg Backs Plan to Limit Arrests for Marijuana
Thomas Kaplan, New York Times, June 4, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/nyregion/mayor-supports-plan-to-change-marijuana-arrest-policy.html

Albany - The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city's top prosecutors on Monday endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving an unexpected lift to an effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested as a result of police stops.
[...]
Under Mr. Cuomo's proposal, the state would downgrade the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in public view from a misdemeanor to a violation, with a maximum fine of $100 for first-time drug offenders. It is already a violation to possess that amount without putting it into public view.

In September, facing growing pressure over the marijuana arrests, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly issued a memorandum clarifying that the police were not to arrest people who take small amounts of marijuana out of their pockets after being stopped. A city spokesman said that low-level marijuana arrests had fallen by nearly a quarter since then.
[...]

6) Nobel laureates highlight violence against women in Mexico, Central America
Mariano Castillo, CNN, Tue June 5, 2012, 7:39 PM EDT
http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/05/world/americas/mexico-violence-women/index.html

Increased militarization in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala has created more insecurity, especially for women, a report spearheaded by two Nobel laureates found.

"The war on drugs ... has become a war on women," Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchu wrote in the report, based on a 10-day fact-finding mission. "Efforts to improve 'security' have only led to greater militarization, rampant corruption and abuse within police forces and an erosion of rule of law."

After consulting with presidents, high-ranking officials, human rights activists and others, the team compiled statistics to illustrate the problem.

In Honduras, for instance, the homicide rate for women has been increasing four times faster than that of men, said Gilda Rivera, of the Center for Women's Rights in that country.
[...]
Most are familiar with Mexico's case, in which nearly 50,000 have been killed in drug cartel-related violence since 2006. More recently, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina was elected in part because of his promises of a strong response to the violence.
The report argues that instead of providing safety, the additional troops and police on the streets are having the opposite effect: committing abuses and stirring up more violence.
"Increasing militarization and police repression under the guise of the war on drugs has led to more violence overall and more frequent attacks on women, who lead efforts to protect their communities against threats to their lands and natural resources, and protest military and police abuses," the report states.

A segment of the militarized approach, the report notes, comes from U.S. aid.
The report found that femicides increased by 257% in Honduras from 2002 to 2010, a period that saw a doubling of U.S. money for military and police.

Using the start of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's term as a benchmark, the report says femicides there rose 40% since 2006.

In Guatemala, 685 women were killed in 2010, compared with 213 in 2000, the report states. In that time, security aid to Guatemala increased threefold, the report found.
[...]
The authors highlighted the May 11 case of four civilians killed by Honduran police on a helicopter who mistook them them for drug traffickers. Two of the victims were pregnant women. The DEA was aiding the police, though the agency says it did so only in a supporting role."I am horrified, but the truth is, this happens over and over again to women in the region," Williams said.
[...]

7) Bradley Manning lawyer in struggle to have government documents released
Bradley Manning lawyer in struggle to have government documents released
US government withholding 250,000 pages of damage assessment reports relating to WikiLeaks transmission
Ed Pilkington, Guardian, Sunday 3 June 2012 16.10 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/03/bradley-manning-lawyer-government-documents

New York - The US government is in possession of 250,000 pages of documents relating to the transmission of state secrets to whistleblower website WikiLeaks, which it is refusing to disclose to defence lawyers representing the alleged source of the leaks, Bradley Manning.

Manning's civilian lawyer, David Coombs, has lodged a motion with the military court that is hearing the court-martial of the US soldier. Coombs writes in the motion that the government has revealed to him in a throwaway footnote that there are 250,000 pages in its possession that relate to Manning, WikiLeaks and secret official assessments of the damage that the massive leak caused to US interests around the world.

Yet none of these pages have been made available to the defence. "If so, this is very disconcerting to the defence," Coombs says.
[...]
In the motion, published in redacted form on his website, Coombs renews his long-standing efforts to compel the US government to hand over information that could prove crucial in preparing Manning's defence.

He accuses the army of continuing to resist its legal obligations to disclose anything that could help Manning prove his innocence or achieve a lighter sentence.
[...]
In recent motions, the lawyer has accused the US government of preventing Manning from having a fair trial.

Coombs paints an almost Kafkaesque world in which the military authorities play word games in order to keep deflecting his requests for disclosure.

Sometimes the government says that the defense is being "too narrow" in its requests, at other times "too broad".

Coombs comments sarcastically: "The defence believes that no defence discovery request would ever be 'just right' to satisfy Goldilocks."

When the defence asked to see "damage assessments" or "investigations" that the government had carried out into the likely impact of WikiLeaks, he was told none existed.

After much effort was expended, Coombs managed to get the government to admit that what he should have asked for – according to its vocabulary – was "working papers".

"By morphing, distorting and constantly changing definitions, the government is trying to 'define' itself out of producing relevant discovery," Coombs complains. "It cannot be permitted to do this."
[...]

Iran
8) Iranian Decision to Convert 20% Uranium May Be Good News,
Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg, Jun 5, 2012 10:10 AM CT
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-05/iranian-decision-to-convert-20-uranium-may-be-good-news.html

Iran's decision to convert a third of its higher-enriched uranium into metal plates will make it more difficult for the Persian Gulf country to assemble an atomic weapon if it decides to to so, nuclear-security analysts say.

United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have verified that Iran converted about 33 percent of its 20 percent-enriched uranium stockpile, according to two senior international officials. Iran used about 49 kilograms (108 pounds) of the 145 kilogram stockpile to make fuel in the form of metal plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, they said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.

"There is some good news overlooked," Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and the IAEA's former top inspector for Iraq, said today in an interview. "This makes the material much less of a danger for further enrichment, and once it has been irradiated it is of even less concern."

Iran's growing stockpile of 20 percent-enriched uranium tops the list of concerns among world nuclear powers negotiating with the Islamic republic. The heavy metal purified to 20 percent can make medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer. Only a small technical step is required to enrich uranium to the weapons-grade 90 percent level.

"The facts on the ground in Iran seem to support Iran's assertion that it has been systematically working on developing a fuel-fabrication capability," Mark Hibbs, an analyst at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said today in an interview in Vienna. "This should provide the six powers more confidence that Iran has a narrative to explain its interest in 20 percent-enriched uranium fuel."

Diplomats from China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. meet their Iranian counterparts in Moscow on June 18-19.
[...]
Peter Jenkins, a partner at ADRgAmbassadors LLP who hosted Iran discussions as the U.K.'s former IAEA envoy, said it's "significant" that Iran has begun to transform its stock of 20 percent into metal. "It demonstrates that the 20 percent program is indeed about producing fuel for the TRR and not, as critics have alleged, about moving closer to building nuclear weapons," he wrote in an e-mailed reply to questions.

Negotiators should focus on helping Iran to convert more of its 20-percent stockpile into metal rather than asking the country to export the uranium in exchange for manufactured reactor fuel, he said.

"It has used its additional output of uranium enriched to 20 percent for fabricating fuel plates for its Tehran Research Reactor, which effectively leaves its current 20-percent stockpile relatively unchanged," Arms Control Association Director Daryl Kimball wrote on June 2 in an e-mailed response to questions. "This means there is still time and an opportunity for a win-win deal at the Moscow round of P5+1 talks with Iran that leads to a halt of 20 percent enrichment."
[...]
Converting the 20 percent uranium into fuel makes it more difficult to use the material for weapons, if Iran ever chose to do so, according to Kelly. Scientists would need to develop chemical processes over a period of months to re-convert the uranium into a form suitable for enrichment.
[...]

Israel/Palestine
9) Israel: The injustice and secrecy surrounding administrative detention
Amnesty International, 6 June 2012
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israel-injustice-and-secrecy-surrounding-administrative-detention-2012-06-01

Israel must release all Palestinians held under long-standing administrative detention laws or charge and try them promptly and fairly, Amnesty International said in a new report.

'Starved of justice: Palestinians detained without trial by Israel' documents human rights violations associated with administrative detention – a relic of British control of the area that permits detention without charge or trial on indefinitely renewable military orders.

The report also calls on Israel to stop using these measures to suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

It urges the immediate and unconditional release prisoners of conscience held just for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Administrative detainees – like many other Palestinian prisoners – have been subjected to violations such as the use of torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation, as well as cruel and degrading treatment during their detention, sometimes as punishment for hunger strikes or other protests.

In addition, administrative detainees and their families must live with the uncertainty of not knowing how long they will be deprived of their liberty and the injustice of not knowing exactly why they are being detained.

Like other Palestinian prisoners, they have also faced bans on family visits, forcible transfer or deportation and solitary confinement.

These practices contravene Israel's obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Israel has a duty to uphold due process and fair trial rights, and to take effective action to end torture and other ill-treatment of detainees.

Israel must also allow family visits for all Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and end forcible transfer and deportation. And Israel is obligated to investigate violations, bring perpetrators to justice, and provide reparations to victims.

"For decades, Amnesty International has urged Israel to end the practice of administrative detention and to release detainees or charge them with an internationally recognizable criminal offence and try them according to international standards," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

As of the end of April there were at least 308 Palestinian administrative detainees, among them 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including its Speaker, Aziz Dweik. Human rights defenders such as Walid Hanatsheh and at least four journalists, in addition to university students and academic staff, were also among those behind bars.

The prolonged hunger strikes of administrative detainees such as Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi put the issue of administrative detention under the international spotlight earlier this year.

Their non-violent protest was followed by a mass hunger strike which began on 17 April 2012 and included an estimated 2,000 other Palestinians in Israeli prisons, many of whom are either serving prison sentences or awaiting trial.

Amnesty International's report also documents measures taken by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) against prisoners and detainees who went on hunger strike, with detainees describing ill-treatment by medically-trained IPS staff.

Following a deal brokered by Egypt, the mass hunger strike was suspended on 14 May 2012. However, Palestinian footballer Mahmoud al-Sarsak from Gaza is now more than 70 days into his hunger strike which he began in March.

His protest is against his continuing detention without charge or trial for almost three years. His life is currently in grave danger as he remains held at the IPS medical centre which cannot offer the specialized medical treatment required by patients in such critical condition.

Under the 14 May deal, Israel agreed to end solitary confinement for 19 prisoners – held in isolation for up to 10 years – and lift a ban on family visits for prisoners from the Gaza Strip, among other things.

"Despite many media reports suggesting that the Israeli authorities had agreed as part of the deal to release administrative detainees at the end of their current orders 'unless significant new information was received', our information is that it is business as usual when it comes to detention without charge or trial," said Ann Harrison.

"We believe that Israel has renewed at least 30 administrative detention orders and issued at least three new ones since this deal was struck, and family visits for Gazan prisoners have still not started."
[...]

Colombia
10) U.S.-Sponsored Crimes In Colombia Referred to International Criminal Court.
Dan Kovalik, Huffington Post, 06/04/2012 12:30 pm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-kovalik/colombia-international-criminal-court_b_1562748.html

This week, international human rights groups went to The Hague to request that key Colombian officials be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their participation in what has come to be known as the "false positive" (in Spanish, "falsos positivos") scandal. As the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) explains in its press release and extensive report on this subject, this scandal involved the extra-judicial killing of 3,345 civilians, during the period 2002-2008, by the official Colombian military which then passed these victims off falsely as guerillas killed in combat. The FIDH emphasized that this was done with the knowledge and even urging of "army officials at the highest level" which actually gave incentives to army personnel for such killings.
[...]
Again, while this report focuses on events during the 2002-2008 period, the report makes it clear that this phenomenon is not a thing of the past. Thus, the FIDH explains, "it is important to note that in its most recent annual study of the human rights crisis in Colombia (2011 study), the Office of the Human Rights Commission observed that the practice of these extrajudicial executions have not been totally eradicated: that is, these violations continue to occur in Arauca, Bogota, Cauca, and Cesar."

The most salient aspect of the "false positive" scandal for Americans, however, is what is not explained in this report -- that is, that the Colombian military has been encouraging the high body count in order to justify continued military aid from the United States which has given that military around $8 billion, and counting, since 2000 to wage its counter-insurgency war. In other words, it is the United States which is truly behind the "body count syndrome" at the heart of the "false positive scandal." And, it cannot be said that the U.S. has somehow been encouraging body counts unwittingly, for it has been very aware of this phenomenon for many years.

Thus, the U.S. has been aware that the Colombian military has been engaged in such "crimes against humanity," as the foregoing report describes them, since well before even 2000. As an illuminating account by Michael Evans at The National Security Archive explains, classified U.S. documents show that "[t]he CIA and senior U.S. diplomats were aware as early as 1994 that U.S.-backed Colombian security forces engaged in 'death squad tactics,' cooperated with drug-running paramilitary groups, and encouraged a 'body count syndrome...'" Yet, despite this long-standing knowledge of such crimes, the U.S. not only continued, but indeed massively increased its military aid to Colombia under the 2000 program known as Plan Colombia -- a program of military aid which continues to this day and which continues to incentivize the murder of civilians.
[...]
Finally, while the U.S. justifies its crimes in Colombia on its alleged desire to eradicate drugs, there are two irrefutable truths about this: (1) since the U.S. began its "war on drugs" in Colombia, there has been no decrease in cocaine exported from that country to the U.S.; and (2) as The Guardian of London just reported, the entire Western financial system has itself become addicted to the drug trade, is being propped up by it with billions of dollars of capital and Western governments are doing nothing to police this. Therefore, while innocents die in countries like Colombia, Mexico and Honduras by the thousands in our so-called "war on drugs," the Western banks are allowed to profit from drugs. I can think of no greater injustice.

---
Just Foreign Policy is a membership organization devoted to reforming US foreign policy so it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans. The archive of the Just Foreign Policy News is here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/blog/dailynews



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