JFP 6/11: Karzai: US broke deal with air strike that killed civilians; GI suicides spike

Just Foreign Policy News, June 11, 2012
Karzai: US broke deal with air strike that killed civilians; GI suicides spike


Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy
Your support helps us to educate Americans about U.S. foreign policy and create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a foreign policy that is more just. Help us press for an end to the war in Afghanistan and spread opposition to a new war with Iran,
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

Go Straight to the News Summary

I) Actions and Featured Articles

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network: Act now for Mahmoud Sarsak on 84th day of hunger strike; Palestinian soccer star at risk of death
As European soccer stars compete in the European Championship, the eyes of the world must turn to a soccer star at urgent risk of death: Palestinian national team member Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has been imprisoned under Israel's "Unlawful Combatants Law" – the only prisoner so held – without charge or trial – for three years.
http://samidoun.ca/2012/06/urgent-act-now-for-mahmoud-sarsak-on-84th-day-of-hunger-strike-palestinian-soccer-star-at-risk-of-death/

Kucinich/Conyers: Ensure Transparency and Accountability In The U.S. Combat Drone Program
Twenty-five 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.
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, Yvette Clarke, Peter DeFazio, Peter Welch, Donna Edwards, Jerrold Nadler, Keith Ellison.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1219

Post and share Just Foreign Policy's 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

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Afghan president Karzai said the US failed to consult Afghan forces when it called in an airstrike that killed 18 civilians, and warned that his government will consider such actions in the future to be in violation of the country's pact with Washington, AP reports. The incident occurred during a night raid. Karzai has long objected to such raids, saying they put civilians at risk of injury or death. The U.S. and Afghanistan signed an agreement in April that put the Afghan government in charge of most such "special operations."

2) The senior allied commander in Afghanistan has ordered new restrictions on airstrikes against Taliban fighters who hide in residential homes, the New York Times reports. Aides to Karzai released a statement saying that General Allen had pledged to halt attacks altogether on residential areas and homes. But US officials said General Allen's order did not go that far and NATO would continue to conduct operations against insurgents who use civilian dwellings for shelter. "When there is concern over the presence of civilians, air-delivered munitions will not be employed while other means are available," said a senior US official. Human rights advocates expressed wariness about whether General Allen's orders would have an immediate impact.

3) French President François Hollande says France will begin to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan next month, the CBC reports. Hollande restated his plan to withdraw all French combat troops from the country by the end of the year. He spoke of the pullout after four French troops were killed and five others injured in a suicide bomb attack. There are roughly 3,400 French troops in Afghanistan.

4) The suicide rate among the nation's active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times reports. Suicide rates of military personnel and combat veterans have risen sharply since 2005, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified. Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, cited a survey the group conducted this year among its 160,000 members that found that 37 percent knew someone who had committed suicide.

5) The Obama administration has unleashed the CIA to resume an aggressive campaign of drone strikes in Pakistani territory over the last few weeks, approving strikes that might have been vetoed in the past for fear of angering the Pakistani government, McClatchy reports. Pakistanis view the drone strikes as an attempt to intimidate their civilian and military leaders into giving in to U.S. demands, McClatchy says. If that's the strategy, it won't work, said experts and analysts in Islamabad.

"They are trying to send a message: 'If you don't come around, we will continue with our plan, the way we want to do it,'" said Javed Ashraf Qazi, a retired Pakistani intelligence chief and former senator. It's "superpower arrogance being shown to a smaller state.... But this will only increase the feeling among Pakistanis that the Americans are bent on having their way through force and not negotiation."

6) Senator McCain has called out the Obama Administration for vigorous prosecution of Bradley Manning and other whistleblowers while officials who leak classified information for political gain go unpunished, notes Glenn Greenwald in Salon.

7) Drone strikes and cyberattacks raise pressing legal, moral and strategic questions that deserve serious public scrutiny, writes Scott Shane at the New York Times. Because of classification rules, however, neither has been the subject of open debate in Congress, even as the Obama administration has moved aggressively ahead with both programs.

"The U.S. is embarked on ambitious and consequential moves that will shape the security environment for years to come, whether they succeed or fail," said Steven Aftergood, who studies government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "Secrecy cloaks not only the operations, but their justification and rationale, which are legitimate subjects of public interest."

Mr. Aftergood said drones and cyberattacks were "extreme examples of programs that are widely known and yet officially classified." That, he said, has prevented informed public discussion of some critical questions. Should the United States be inaugurating a new era of cyberattacks? What are the actual levels of civilian casualties caused by the drone attacks, and what are the implications for national sovereignty?

Recently, responding to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by The Times and the ACLU, Justice Department lawyers sought a delay, saying that secrecy rules about targeted killings were under discussion "at the highest level" of government. The government must say by June 20 what it will make public.

8) Of the 169 prisoners still held at Guantánamo, over half were cleared for release by President Obama's interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force, writes Andy Worthington at Truthout. Almost a quarter of the prisoners still held at Guantánamo were cleared for release more than four years ago.

Israel/Palestine
9) Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, Israel's only bi-national village, was hit by a "price tag" settler attack, Mondoweiss reports. In the village parking lot, vandals slit tires on 14 cars and graffiti painted "revenge," "death to Arabs," and "regards from Ulpana."

Mexico
10) The top three contenders for Mexico's presidency have all promised a major shift in the country's drug war strategy, placing a higher priority on reducing the violence in Mexico than on using arrests and seizures to block the flow of drugs to the U.S., the New York Times reports. US officials have been careful not to publicly weigh in on the race or the prospect of a changed strategy, for fear of being accused of meddling, the Times says. But a senior administration official said PRI frontrunner Peña Nieto's demand the U.S. respect Mexican priorities "is a sound bite he is using for obvious political purposes." In private meetings, the official said, "what we basically get is that he fully appreciates and understands that if/when he wins, he is going to keep working with us."

Contents:
U.S./Top News

1) Karzai: U.S. failed to consult Afghans on airstrike
Heidi Vogt and Rahim Faiez, AP, June 9
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/karzai-us-failed-to-consult-afghans-on-airstrike/2012/06/09/gJQAW0SGRV_story.html

Kabul - Afghanistan's president said Saturday that the United States failed to consult Afghan forces when it called in an airstrike that killed 18 civilians, and he warned that his government will consider such actions in the future to be in violation of the country's pact with Washington.
[...]
Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said President Hamid Karzai met with investigators earlier in the day and concluded that U.S. troops called in Wednesday's strike without coordinating with Afghan units.

The incident occurred during a nighttime raid on militants taking cover in a house in a village in Logar province. Karzai has long objected to such raids, saying they put civilians at risk of injury or death. Military officials say they are key to capturing and killing Taliban leaders.

The United States and Afghanistan signed an agreement in April that put the Afghan government in charge of most such "special operations," a move designed to resolve some of the long-standing tensions.

Faizi said investigators told Karzai that Afghan forces surrounded the house in question but that the U.S. troops decided not to wait for them to try to flush out the militants, calling in aircraft instead. They discovered later that there had also been women, children and elderly men inside.

"This airstrike was a one-sided decision," Faizi said, adding that Karzai and his advisers decided after hearing the report that they would consider such actions in the future as a breach of the special-operations pact.

According to a separate statement issued by the president's office, Karzai met with the top U.S. military commander in the country and the U.S. ambassador and told them that there had been multiple incidents since the signing of the broad long-term partnership last month in which international airstrikes had killed or injured civilians.

The U.S. commander in Afghanistan apologized Friday for the civilian deaths in Logar, and a NATO investigation ruled that the coalition forces were responsible for the unintended deaths of civilians.

A spokesman for NATO forces in Afghanistan declined to comment on the Afghan findings but said the country's forces had approved the larger Logar operation.

"This was an Afghan/coalition operation," Col. Gary Kolb said. Kolb and U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall declined to comment on whether the special-operations pact had been violated in the Logar incident.
[...]

2) Allies Restrict Airstrikes on Taliban in Civilian Homes
Eric Schmitt, New York Times, June 10, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/world/asia/allies-restrict-airstrikes-against-taliban-in-homes.html

Washington - The senior allied commander in Afghanistan has ordered new restrictions on airstrikes against Taliban fighters who hide in residential homes, coalition officials said Sunday, a move in response to a NATO attack in the eastern part of the country last week that Afghan officials say killed 18 civilians.
[...]
Officials said the directive from Gen. John R. Allen, the commander for international and United States forces in Afghanistan, underscores NATO's existing commitment to protecting civilians. It also marks a triumph for President Hamid Karzai, who has repeatedly stressed that civilian casualties undermine relations between the countries. Mr. Karzai has frequently pushed for a less confrontational approach in dealing with the Taliban.

After a meeting on Saturday between Mr. Karzai, General Allen and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker of the United States to discuss the issue, aides to Mr. Karzai released a statement saying that General Allen had pledged to halt attacks altogether on residential areas and homes.

On Sunday, however, American officials said General Allen's order did not necessarily go that far and sought to describe it in more nuanced terms, saying that NATO would continue to conduct operations against insurgents who use civilian dwellings for shelter.

"When there is concern over the presence of civilians, air-delivered munitions will not be employed while other means are available," said a senior United States defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the policy deliberations.

Militants often hide in civilian homes, so a complete ban on airstrikes could hinder the ability of American forces to pursue the Taliban. General Allen's order does not affect ground operations against insurgents. An agreement between the two countries in April gave lead authority for night raids to the Afghans, although missions are to be conducted jointly and targets selected by consensus. Allied officials still retain control over dropping bombs in these operations, and Afghan officials say they were not involved in the decision to carry out the fatal airstrike last week.
[...]
General Allen's directive comes nearly two years after Gen. David H. Petraeus, upon assuming command of international forces in Afghanistan, issued new guidelines on the use of force in Afghanistan that expanded restrictions on artillery strikes and aerial bombardment, but clarified that troops had the right to self-defense.

Troops widely complained that restrictions put in place by General Petraeus's predecessor, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, exposed them to excessive risk by tying their hands when they sought to attack people suspected of being militants or destroy buildings used to harbor insurgents.

But General McChrystal's rules were popular with Afghan officials, including President Karzai, and human rights advocates, who said the restrictions had significantly reduced Afghan civilian deaths.

On Sunday, human rights advocates expressed wariness about whether General Allen's orders would have an immediate impact. "We've seen improvements in detention-related abuses and excessive force at checkpoints, but when it comes to civilian casualties, we're still seeing tragic incidents, even today," said John Sifton, Human Rights Watch's advocacy director for Asia.

3) France to begin Afghan pullout in July
CBC, Sun, 10 Jun, 2012
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/france-begin-afghan-pullout-july-140016682.html

France will begin to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan next month, French President François Hollande says.

He spoke of the pullout after four French troops were killed and five others injured in a suicide bomb attack Saturday in Afghanistan's mountainous Kapisa province, which borders Pakistan.
[...]
Hollande restated his plan to withdraw all French combat troops from the country by the end of the year. His timetable for a pullout is a year earlier than his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, had planned and two years before other NATO combat troops.
[...]
There are roughly 3,400 French troops in Afghanistan. Until Saturday's incident, 83 French soldiers had been killed in the country since the U.S.-led military mission began in 2001. That's the fourth-highest number of military deaths by country, behind the United States, Britain and Canada.

4) Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops
Timothy Williams, New York Times, June 8, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/us/suicides-eclipse-war-deaths-for-us-troops.html

The suicide rate among the nation's active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.

Suicides have increased even as the United States military has withdrawn from Iraq and stepped up efforts to provide mental health, drug and alcohol, and financial counseling services.

The military said Friday that there had been 154 suicides among active-duty troops through Thursday, a rate of nearly one each day this year. The figures were first reported this week by The Associated Press.

That number represents an 18 percent increase over the 130 active-duty military suicides for the same period in 2011. There were 123 suicides from January to early June in 2010, and 133 during that period in 2009, the Pentagon said.

By contrast, there were 124 American military fatalities in Afghanistan as of June 1 this year, according to the Pentagon.

Suicide rates of military personnel and combat veterans have risen sharply since 2005, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified.
[...]
But veterans' groups said Friday that the Pentagon had not done enough to moderate the tremendous stress under which combat troops live, including coping with multiple deployments.

"It is clear that the military, at the level of the platoon, the company and the battalion, that these things are not being addressed on a compassionate and understanding basis," said Bruce Parry, chairman of the Coalition of Veterans Organizations, a group based in Illinois. "They need to understand on a much deeper level the trauma the troops are facing."

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called suicides among active-duty military personnel "the tip of the iceberg." He cited a survey the group conducted this year among its 160,000 members that found that 37 percent knew someone who had committed suicide.
[...]

5) CIA gets nod to step up Pakistan drone strikes
David S. Cloud and Alex Rodriguez, McClatchy, Fri, Jun. 08, 2012
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/06/08/151627/cia-gets-nod-to-step-up-pakistan.html

Kabul - Expressing public and private frustration with Pakistan, the Obama administration has unleashed the CIA to resume an aggressive campaign of drone strikes in Pakistani territory over the last few weeks, approving strikes that might have been vetoed in the past for fear of angering Islamabad.

Now, said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in discussing sensitive issues, the administration's attitude is, "What do we have to lose?"
[...]
The CIA has launched eight Predator drone attacks since Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, was invited to attend the May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago but refused to make a deal to reopen crucial routes used to supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as the White House had hoped.

The CIA had logged 14 remotely piloted strikes on targets in Pakistan's rugged tribal belt in the previous 5 1/2 months, according to the New America Foundation, a U.S. think tank that tracks reported attacks.

"Obviously, something changed after Chicago," said a senior congressional aide in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity in discussing a classified program. "I am only getting the official story, but even within the official story there is an acknowledgment that something has changed."
[...]
Pakistanis view the drone strikes as an attempt to intimidate their civilian and military leaders into giving in to U.S. demands. If that's the strategy, it won't work, said experts and analysts in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

"They are trying to send a message: 'If you don't come around, we will continue with our plan, the way we want to do it,'" said Javed Ashraf Qazi, a retired Pakistani intelligence chief and former senator. It's "superpower arrogance being shown to a smaller state.... But this will only increase the feeling among Pakistanis that the Americans are bent on having their way through force and not negotiation."
[...]
Pakistan has blocked truck convoys hauling North Atlantic Treaty Organization war supplies from the port city of Karachi since a clash near the Afghan border in November led to errors and U.S. military helicopters accidentally killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

As part of the fallout, Pakistan ordered the U.S. to leave an air base in the country's southwest that the CIA had used to launch drones bound for targets in the tribal areas. Since then, the aircraft reportedly have flown from across the border in Afghanistan.

The U.S. initially halted all drone strikes for two months to ease Pakistani sensitivities, and the attacks resumed only sporadically after mid-January. By May, Pakistani officials were signaling a willingness to reopen the supply route to resurrect relations.

But talks deadlocked over Pakistan's demands for sharply higher transit fees just before the NATO conference, and President Barack Obama appeared to give Zardari a cold shoulder in Chicago. Pentagon officials will visit Islamabad this week for a new round of talks.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, Pakistan allowed NATO supplies to be transported through its territory at no charge. It later levied a token $250 charge per truck. Islamabad now wants more than $5,000 per truck to reopen the road, a toll U.S. officials refuse to pay.
[...]

6) Probing Obama's secrecy games
Will high-level Obama officials who leak for political gain be punished on equal terms with actual whistleblowers?
Glenn Greenwald, Salon, Thursday, Jun 7, 2012
http://www.salon.com/2012/06/07/probing_obamas_secrecy_games/singleton/

Over the past several months, including just last week, I've written numerous times about the two glaring contradictions that drive the Obama administration's manipulative game-playing with its secrecy powers: (1) at the very same time that they wage an unprecedented war on whistleblowers, they themselves continuously leak national security secrets exclusively designed to glorify Obama purely for political gain; and (2) at the very same time they insist to federal courts that these programs are too secret even to confirm or deny their existence (thereby shielding them from judicial review or basic disclosure), they run around publicly boasting about their actions. Just over the past month alone, they have done precisely this by leaking key details about Obama's commanding role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, drone attacks that have killed allegedly key Al Qaeda figures, sophisticated cyber-attacks on Iran's nuclear program, and the selection of targets for Obama "kill list": all programs that are classified and which the White House has insisted cannot be subjected to judicial review or any form of public scrutiny.

Official Washington is now noticing this systematic abuse, and they are at least making noises that they intend to do something about it. The two top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Democrat Carl Levin and Republican John McCain, announced Senate hearings to investigate these high-level leaks. Democrat Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, pronounced herself "deeply disturbed by the continuing leaks," (somewhat ironically) described a "classified letter" she sent Obama objecting to classified disclosures, and said she spoke to Levin "about the possibility of a joint hearing to investigate these leaks." McCain accused the administration, with good reason, of leaking with the intent to "enhance President Obama's image as a tough guy for the elections" and said the high-level leaks are a concerted "attempt to further the president's political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of our national security"; McCain also called for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, making this important argument:

"He noted the 'unacceptable' incongruity of prosecuting lower-level personnel such as Bradley Manning, Jeffrey Sterling or John Kiriakou for allegedly leaking classified information while holding senior officials blameless for what appear to be comparable offenses. 'The fact that this administration would aggressively pursue leaks perpetrated by a 22-year-old Army private in the Wikileaks matter and former CIA employees in other leaks cases but apparently sanction leaks made by senior administration officials for political purposes is simply unacceptable,' Sen. McCain said."
[...]

7) U.S. Attacks, Online and From the Air, Fuel Secrecy Debate
Scott Shane, New York Times, June 6, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/world/americas/drones-and-cyberattacks-renew-debate-over-security.html

Washington - In recent years, the United States has pioneered the use of two innovative weapons, drones and cyberattacks, that by many accounts have devastated Al Qaeda and set back Iran's nuclear effort.

Now those programs are at the heart of a bipartisan dispute over secrecy, with Congressional Republicans accusing the Obama administration of leaking classified information for political advantage and Democrats lodging their own protests about high-level disclosures.

Prompted in part by recent articles in The New York Times on the use of drones to carry out targeted killings and the deployment of the Stuxnet computer worm against the Iranian nuclear program, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees issued a joint statement on Wednesday urging the administration "to fully, fairly and impartially investigate" the recent disclosures and vowing new legislation to crack down on leaks.
[...]
The protest focused on the dangers of leaks that the Congressional leaders said would alert adversaries to American military and intelligence tactics. But secrecy, too, has a cost - one that is particularly striking in the case of drones and cyberattacks. Both weapons raise pressing legal, moral and strategic questions of the kind that, in a democracy, appear to deserve serious public scrutiny. Because of classification rules, however, neither has been the subject of open debate in Congress, even as the Obama administration has moved aggressively ahead with both programs.

"The U.S. is embarked on ambitious and consequential moves that will shape the security environment for years to come, whether they succeed or fail," said Steven Aftergood, who studies government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "Secrecy cloaks not only the operations, but their justification and rationale, which are legitimate subjects of public interest."

Mr. Aftergood said drones and cyberattacks were "extreme examples of programs that are widely known and yet officially classified." That, he said, has prevented informed public discussion of some critical questions. Should the United States be inaugurating a new era of cyberattacks? What are the actual levels of civilian casualties caused by the drone attacks, and what are the implications for national sovereignty?

"Keeping these programs secret may have a value," said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor and Bush administration Justice Department official who writes about national security and the press. "But there's another value that has to be considered, too - the benefit of transparency, accountability and public discussion."
[...]
Nor has any party held a monopoly on the complications of managing secrecy. During the Bush administration, a leak investigation led to a perjury conviction for a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, an outspoken defender of government secrets.

Even so, contradictory behavior on the secrecy front has been especially striking under the Obama administration.

Mr. Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 by denouncing his predecessor's secret prisons and brutal interrogations, which were public knowledge only because of leaks of classified information to the news media. He began his term by pledging the most transparent administration in history.

In office, however, he has outdone all previous presidents in mounting criminal prosecutions over such leaks, overseeing six such cases to date, compared with three under all previous administrations combined.
[...]
The administration's inconsistency, however, has been particularly evident on the drone program. Officials routinely give reporters limited information on strikes, usually on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Obama spoke explicitly about the strikes in Pakistan in an online appearance in January, arguing that they were precisely aimed at Al Qaeda.

Yet the drone attacks in Pakistan are part of a C.I.A. covert action program designed to be "deniable" by American leaders; by law they are in the most carefully protected category of secrets that the government keeps. In court, the administration has taken the position that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such operations.

"There's something wrong with aggressive leaking and winking and nodding about the drone program, but saying in response to Freedom of Information requests that they can't comment because the program is covert," Mr. Goldsmith said.

Recently, responding to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union, Justice Department lawyers sought a delay, saying that secrecy rules about targeted killings were under discussion "at the highest level" of government. The government must say by June 20 what it will make public.
Behind closed doors, administration officials have long discussed the disadvantages of official secrecy for a program that by definition is no secret from its Al Qaeda targets. Colleagues say that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has often complained that secrecy rules make it hard to rebut exaggerated claims of civilian casualties from drone attacks in Pakistan.
[...]

8) Guantanamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held, but Cleared for Release at Least Five Years Ago
Andy Worthington, Truthout, Friday, 08 June 2012 09:31
http://truth-out.org/news/item/9668-guantanamo-scandal-the-forty-prisoners-still-held-but-cleared-for-release-at-least-five-years-ago

One of the greatest injustices at Guantánamo is that, of the 169 prisoners still held, over half - 87 in total - were cleared for release by President Obama's interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force. The Task Force involved around 60 career officials from various government departments and the intelligence agencies, who spent the first year of the Obama Presidency reviewing the cases of all the remaining prisoners in Guantánamo, to decide whether they should be tried, released, or, in some cases, held indefinitely without charge or trial.
[...]
Exactly who these 87 men are is a closely held secret on the part of the administration, which is unfortunate for those of us working towards the closure of Guantánamo, as it prevents us from campaigning as effectively as we would like for the majority of these men, given that we are not entirely sure of their status. Attorneys for the prisoners have been told about their clients' status, but that information - as with so much involving Guantánamo - is classified.

However, through recent research - into the classified military files about the Guantánamo prisoners, compiled by the Joint Task Force at the prison, which were released last year by WikiLeaks, as well as documents made available by the Bush administration, along with some additional information from the years of the Obama administration - I have been able to establish the identities of 40 men - 23 Yemenis, and 17 from other countries - who, between 2004 and 2009, were cleared for release by the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo, by military review boards under the Bush administration, or by President Obama's Task Force, and to identify the official documents in which these decisions were noted.

The Task Force recommended 126 prisoners for release, including 29 Yemenis, and created a category of "conditional detention" for 30 more Yemenis, claiming that they could be held until the security situation in Yemen improved. However, as a result of the hysteria that greeted the news that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian citizen who tried and failed to detonate a bomb in his underwear on a flight into the US on Christmas Day 2009, had been recruited in Yemen, President Obama issued a moratorium on releasing any Yemenis from Guantánamo in January 2010. This is still in place nearly two and a half years later, even though no connection has been made between the Yemenis cleared for release from Guantánamo, and the al-Qaeda offshoot in Yemen - al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - that apparently recruited Abdulmutallab.
Of the 156 prisoners cleared for release by President Obama's Task Force, 69 have been released since President Obama took office.
[...]
What this analysis makes clear is that almost a quarter of the prisoners still held at Guantánamo - men that the US government acknowledges it does not want to continue holding, or to put on trial - have been waiting for their freedom for between four and eight years, a statistic that ought to shock anyone concerned with fairness and justice. It is a profound disgrace that these men are still held, and three courses of action need to be implemented as soon as possible:

- Dropping the moratorium of January 2010 and releasing the 28 Yemenis cleared for immediate release by the Guantánamo Review Task Force in 2009;

- Urgently resuming the search for new homes in other countries for other cleared prisoners who cannot be safely repatriated; and

- If this is not feasible, releasing those who cannot be repatriated into the United States, to resume their lives in the country that has been responsible for continuing to hold them, even when cleared for release.
[...]

Israel/Palestine
9) Latest 'price-tag' attack targets coexistence village
Allison Deger, Mondoweiss, June 9, 2012
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/latest-price-tag-attack-targets-coexistence-village.html

Following a Jerusalem demonstration at which hundreds of settlers picketed a government decision to evict the illegal outpost of Ulpana, on Thursday night an enraged rightist lashed out with "price tag" attacks on Israel's only bi-national village. The rightist slashed tires and painted graffiti in Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, and left cryptic messages to residents.

In the village parking lot, vandals slit tires on 14 cars and graffiti painted "revenge," "death to Arabs," and "regards from Ulpana," according to Ynet News. Haaretz also reported the extremist defaced cars with the tag "[Meir] Kahane was right."

Vandals also left threats on the town's elementary school, marking the School for Peace with "revenge" and "regards from Havat Gilad," the name of an illegal settlement. The School for Peace is one of the few educational institutions in Israel that offers a bi-national curriculum and teaches Palestinian history to all of its students. The school's website boasts the community is comprised of "Palestinians and Jews, citizens of Israel, who have chosen to create a shared community to challenge the existing structure of relations between Arabs and Jews and to seek more egalitarian models that can break down the inbuilt asymmetry in Israeli society as it is now."

Mexico
10) Candidates in Mexico Signal a New Tack in the Drug War
Randal C. Archibold and Damien Cave, New York Times, June 10, 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/world/americas/us-braces-for-mexican-shift-in-drug-war-focus.html

Mexico City - The top three contenders for Mexico's presidency have all promised a major shift in the country's drug war strategy, placing a higher priority on reducing the violence in Mexico than on using arrests and seizures to block the flow of drugs to the United States.

The candidates, while vowing to continue to fight drug trafficking, say they intend to eventually withdraw the Mexican Army from the drug fight. They are concerned that it has proved unfit for police work and has contributed to the high death toll, which has exceeded 50,000 since the departing president, Felipe Calderón, made the military a cornerstone of his battle against drug traffickers more than five years ago.

The front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto, does not emphasize stopping drug shipments or capturing drug kingpins as he enters the final weeks of campaigning for the July 1 election. Lately he has suggested that while Mexico should continue to work with the United States government against organized crime, it should not "subordinate to the strategies of other countries."

"The task of the state, what should be its priority from my point of view, and what I have called for in this campaign, is to reduce the levels of violence," he said in an interview.

United States officials have been careful not to publicly weigh in on the race or the prospect of a changed strategy, for fear of being accused of meddling. One senior Obama administration official said on Friday that Mr. Peña Nieto's demand that the United States respect Mexican priorities "is a sound bite he is using for obvious political purposes." In private meetings, the official said, "what we basically get is that he fully appreciates and understands that if/when he wins, he is going to keep working with us."

Still, the potential shift, reflecting the thinking of a growing number of crime researchers, has raised concern among some American policy makers. "Will there be a situation where the next president just turns a blind eye to the cartels, ceding Mexico to the cartels, or will they be a willing partner with the United States to combat them?" Representative Ben Quayle, an Arizona Republican, asked at a hearing this month in Phoenix. "I hope it's the latter."

The two other principal candidates, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who narrowly lost the race in 2006 and is gaining in polls, and Josefina Vázquez Mota of the incumbent National Action Party, have joined Mr. Peña Nieto in promising to make it their priority to reduce the body count, which has spiraled out of control during Mr. Calderón's six-year tenure.

"Results will be measured not by how many criminals are captured, but by how stable and secure the communities are," Ms. Vázquez Mota wrote on her campaign Web site.

Mr. López Obrador - whose security strategy is called "Abrazos, no balazos," or "Hugs, not bullets" - has criticized how United States officials have approached securing Mexico. "They should send us cheap credit, not military helicopters," he said.

Mr. Calderón, who is constitutionally limited to one term, used the army more aggressively in fighting drugs than any previous Mexican leader, overshadowing his attempts to improve Mexican institutions. All three candidates vow on the stump to devote more attention to programs that address the social inequality that leads young people to join criminal groups.

The candidates promise to continue fortifying the federal police, and Mr. Peña Nieto has called for adding a "gendarmerie" paramilitary unit for the most violent, rural areas where policing is especially lacking. But they eschew Mr. Calderón's talk of dismantling the cartels and promising big seizures, and only when pressed in an interview did Mr. Peña Nieto suggest that capturing the most-wanted kingpin, Joaquín Guzmán, known as El Chapo, would be a goal.
[...]
Mexican analysts say the candidates are responding to growing public frustration with the current antidrug approach. Mr. Calderón has long portrayed the violence, much of it cartel infighting, as a sign that traffickers are on their heels, an idea that has lost resonance with the public.

Although drug consumption is rising in Mexico, drug production and trafficking are seen primarily as American problems that matter less than the crime they spawn. "You go ask the majority of people about a drug lab in the city, they are going to say, 'As long as they don't kill or rob me, it doesn't matter,' " said Jorge Chabat, a foreign-affairs professor at CIDE, a research institution here.

To shift the drug war toward combating violence, the next president faces a costly and exceedingly difficult job of cleansing and rebuilding poorly trained police agencies and judicial institutions rife with corruption, a job Mr. Calderón began.

The focus on arresting top traffickers and extraditing them to the United States has weakened several organizations, the Mexican and American authorities have insisted, but the bloodshed caused by newly emergent and splintering groups has overwhelmed the local and state authorities and left the impression that the antidrug forces are losing ground.

"They can get some of the guys at the top, but now you've got all these other guys running around doing whatever they want, and the state and local police can't handle it," said an American official who requested anonymity because of the political sensitivities.
[...]

---
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

Tags:

Electric and gas remote controlled motor cars possess some breathing space for filling this flatulence on them as well as body weight karen millen sale in comparison with planet will be more. To now don't mastered electric cars. Planet currently have countless numbers of fashion since have got to e book a limited open area there to fix typically the energy this location are often karen millen sale any karen millen outlet where contained in the automobile it truly is within the car karen millen dresses sale or higher your suv or perhaps a in the dust or.

Hi! ALL viagra online viagra online without prescription viagra online discount viagra cheap viagra cheap viagra viagra price viagra sales viagra cheap viagra,cialis,cialis,cialis online,generic cialis,cialis generic,buy cialis,cialis 20mg,cialis online,cheap cialis,cialis professional rtybtybtybu64

Very good post. I figure out that one learns something new everyday. Informative website by the way. Keep up the good work.

diana
www.avemariagp.org

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often..

rachelle madrigal
www.imarksweb.org

So happy to be given a privilege to post a comment here. You have a wonderful site. Thank you for the effort to publish this.

www.gofastek.com

I like your post a lot! You should write some more on this!Great job coming with such terrific post!

alchemist
www.inspgift.com

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • No HTML tags allowed
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.