November 27, 2009

American suspect in Mumbai attack claimed CIA links


Aangarifan Reports - November 21, 2009

FBI officials have alleged that an American called David Coleman Headley was involved in the 26/11 hotel attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

David headley's mother is an American called Serril Headley. (David Coleman Headley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Serril was a well known night spot owner in Philadelphia.

Serril got custody of David in 1977.

In 1997 David headley was jailed for 15 months for heroin smuggling. (David Coleman Headley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Later he went to Pakistan to conduct undercover surveillance operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Around this time he may have been taken over by the CIA?

David Headley is suspected of traveling to India to scout locations for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

He reportedly posed as a Jew to scout the Nariman House synagogue.

He made multiple visits to India before and after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

David Headley was born Daood Gilani.

His father was a prominent Pakistani diplomat.

David Headley is accused of reporting to Ilyas Kashmiri, a former Pakistani military officer associated with Al Qaeda (the CIA) (David Coleman Headley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

David Headley is described by the New York Times as An Accused Plotter With Feet in East and West

According to the New York Times:

David Headley was born in Washington.

David Headley, at the age of 17, went to live with his American mother, a former socialite who ran a bar.

Today, David Headley's wife and children live in Chicago.

Mumbai - Indian Newspaper: American Suspect Eyed In Chabad House Attack, Might Be A CIA Double Agent

Voz Iz Neias
November 26, 2009

During his interactions in India, Headley frequently introduced himself as a CIA agent. [...]

A recent profile in the New York Times said that in 1998, Headley (then known as Daood Gilani) was convicted of conspiring to smuggle heroin into US from Pakistan. ``Court records show that after his arrest, he provided so much information about his own involvement with drug trafficking which stretched back more than a decade and about his Pakistani suppliers that he was sentenced to less than two years in jail and later went to Pakistan to conduct undercover surveillance operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)," the NYT report said.

This suggests that Headley had a deal with authorities in the US who allowed him to get away with mild punishment in exchange for a promise of cooperation.

To many here, that also implies that he was a known entity to the counter-terror and drug enforcement authorities in the US. After 9/11, the walls between these agencies had come down because of the links between drugs and terrorism, particularly in the context of Pakistan-Afghanistan where there is a huge overlap between the functions of the DEA and CIA. Surprisingly, the FBI affidavit against Headley doesn't mention his tryst with the DEA.


Headley, by his own confession, joined Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2006 and received training in one of the terror camps run by the jihadi outfit.

... US agencies were perhaps aware that last year, Headley was in India to recce [sic] targets for a Lashkar attack that it had originally planned for September -- as confirmed by Ajbal Kasab in his testimony -- and which was finally carried out on 26/11. Rather, they also suspect that Headley might have been the source of information that helped Americans warn of the attack planned for September last year.

In their warning, which was passed on to Maharashtra government by Intelligence Bureau, the Americans had said that prominent installations in Mumbai were on the jihadis' target. As a matter of fact, the FBI alert made a specific mention of Taj and other hotels -- Marriott, Land's End and Sea Rock.


Suspicions are getting stronger as Americans delay giving Indian investigators access to Headley.

... during interactions on the issue, FBI has been unusually cagey about discussing Headley in detail ...

Bundesbank fears relapse as German banks face €90bn fresh losses

The Bundesbank has told German banks to take advantage of renewed confidence while they can to prepare for likely losses of €90bn (£81bn) over the next year, warning that the delayed shock waves of the economic crisis still pose a major threat to global recovery and bank finance.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
The Telegraph
November 25, 2009

The venerable bank said in its Stability Report that the world had narrowly averted a "virtually uncontrollable" collapse in the late summer of 2008. While the credit system has partly stabilised, the underlying problems "are still far from being overcome" and money markets are not yet functioning properly.

"It is already clear that the financial system will be severely tested going forward. Downside risks remain pre-dominant," said the report.

The danger is that a long phase of stagnation and rising job loses in the West sets off "spiralling loan losses in both industry and in the residential and commercial real estate markets. In such an unfavourable scenario, negative feedback between the real economy and the financial system could gain added momentum."

The Bundesbank said the next wave of bank write-downs will come from loan book losses as the default rate on lower-tier companies tops 14pc in the US and 12pc in Europe. German banks alone will have to write down €50bn to €70bn of loans over the next year.

Losses from sub-prime securities are mostly in the open already. Further write-down from collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) - mostly tranches of mortgage debt packaged as securities - are likely to be €10bn to €15bn.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, told Le Figaro on Wednesday that banks worldwide have so far admitted to just half of the $3.5 trillion (£2.1 trillion) of likely damage.

"There are still large hidden losses: perhaps 50pc tucked away in balance sheets. The proportion is higher in Europe than in America. The history of banking crisis, notably in Japan, shows that there won't be healthy growth again until the banks have been cleaned up completely," he said.

The Bundesbank report came a day after Berlin agreed to inject up to €4bn to rescue WestLB, the country's third largest state bank. Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank, and Bayern LB have all run into trouble, requiring large bail-outs that have angered German taxpayers. The state Landesbanken emerged as the most reckless, building large liabilities `off-books' through Irish-based investment vehicles.

Paradoxically, Europe's bank problems help explain why the euro has risen to a 15-month high of $1.51 against the dollar. Hans Redeker from BNP Paribas said distressed banks are having to sell assets overseas and repatriate the money to shore up their capital base, pushing the euro towards the pain barrier for many European exporters.

Book review: Post-September 11 "Homeland Insecurity"

Barbara Aswad, The Electronic Intifada, 26 November 2009

After the 11 September 2001 attacks there have been many books and articles regarding the misuse of justice and harsh treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims in the United States. Louise Cainkar's extensive research and excellent analysis is the most complete published so far. Homeland Insecurity is an ethnography which took three years to complete and benefits from more than a hundred interviews. Cainkar conducted 80 percent of the interviews personally and participated in local events in Chicago's Arab-American community. This rich source base allows her to examine the effects of national, global and local events on individuals and communities that are viewed as a potential threat to the security of the US.

Cainkar argues convincingly that the anti-Arab, and Anti-Muslim attitudes were not created solely by an 11 September backlash, but that instead the images of the Arabs and Muslims as an "other" were present much earlier. Although Orientalist tropes about Arabs and Muslims were present in the US prior to the Second World War, they were more common in Europe, which had a longer history of interaction with the "East." Thus the fear, xenophobia, nativism and suspicion in the wake of the attacks was accompanied and reinforced by government attempts to implement and enforce policies of racial and ethnic profiling, expulsion and arrest.

In Cainkar's review of the history of Arab immigration to and racial formation in the US, she finds that their social status changed by mid-century. In the early part of the 20th century, Arab immigrants were largely comprised of Christians from present-day Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Egypt and were generally viewed as "marginal" whites which provided them with a degree of belonging to American society. Arab-American political organizations and associations were formed from 1915 to 1951. They opposed the partition of Syria into Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan by Britain and France, the partition of Palestine and US support for the creation of Israel.

However, integrating into American society was not as easy for Muslims. The establishment of Israel in 1948 and the erasure of Palestine and the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War were major consciousness raisers for Arab-Americans, and significant Arab-American organizations were formed. The "brain drain" immigrants in the 1960s were active in these organizations. Meanwhile, Hollywood consistently portrayed Arabs and Muslims as villains. Thus began the social and political exclusion as their official classification as white was overridden by a racial narrative of them being basically different

Cainkar reports that there has been a dramatic growth in Muslim American communities over the past half-century. By some estimates there were toughly two to three million Muslims residing in the US by 1987, the majority of whom were not members of a mosque. By 2005, this estimate is between six to seven million, although there are figures much lower and much higher. About a third are African-American, another third of South Asian descent, and a quarter of Arab descent. Cainkar discusses how this demographic growth was accompanied by an increase in Muslim organizations and schools. However, when the 11 September attacks occurred, Arabs and Muslims experienced increased marginalization, discrimination and hostility and Cainkar argues that it began to change to a characterization of "social pariah and political outcast" (p. 72).

Homeland Insecurity opens with five oral histories, and demonstrates the complexity of and differing affects of the 11 September attacks on members of Chicago's Arab-American community. This is an important introduction to the subject, since it provides context and demonstrates diversity in the treatment and fears experienced by members of the community. While there may be demographic variables in other US communities, Cainkar asserts that it is fair to say most Arab-Americans experienced similar anxieties. She states that substituting the words "Arab and Muslim men" for the word "terrorist" in a statement by former US Attorney General John Ashcroft provides a proximate rendering of the US government's anti-terrorism policies in the aftermath of the attacks and reflects the way those policies were perceived especially by Arab and Muslim men (p. 114). Ashcroft warned of using every available statute and prosecutorial advantage on terrorists, stating that "If you overstay your visa -- even by one day -- we will arrest you" (p. 114).

Cainkar extensively and clearly discusses the laws passed in the wake of 11 September and their consequences. Hate crimes and emotions of victims are discussed extensively, and provide an inventory of the damage done to individuals. She chronicles how the USA Patriot Act expanded the power of the federal government, including: the use surveillance and wiretapping without probable cause, permitted secret searches and access to private records, detention of immigrants on alleged suspicions and denial of admission to the US based on speech, FBI interviews, a special registration program for persons mainly from Muslim countries, and deportations. It also inspired the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

Cainkar calls this enhanced power "the security spotlight" and she contends that it greatly affected the conduct of everyday life. It helped to dehumanize individuals and groups, divesting them of human values and feelings shared by other groups. They are "not like us," do not enjoy weddings, holding children or show affection. Of those interviewed, 53 percent said they experienced discrimination, and the largest proportion spoke of workforce discrimination. Schools were also an area of confrontation and although her interviewees were more than 19 years of age, these scenes were recounted by parents. The fact that most Americans did not attack them did not reduce the effect of fear when other persons or mosques were attacked. They said they felt most safe in Arab communities or in the mosques. An additional result of these fears is that many innocent members of families left the US if they felt a member of their family had violated a visa requirement. Other families left because they feared discrimination and harassment for themselves and their children. However, a very important conclusion of Cainkar's study is found in her statement, "This study shows that when weighed against each other, the American people provoked much less fear among Arab and Muslim Americans than did the federal government -- the Bush administration" (p. 8).

One of the most interesting discussions is that of gendered nativism, whereby men are threatened the most by laws, but that women, especially those wearing the hijab (headscarf), are perceived as a cultural threat to everything "American." Cainkar argues that although no Arab or Muslim citizens of the US were implicated or convicted of supporting the 11 September attacks, the hijab was a convenient way of demonizing and further marginalizing the population.

Barbara Aswad, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Wayne State University.

November 26, 2009

Palestinian village of Lifta threatened with total destruction

November 26, 2009


Lifta, a most picturesque Palestinian village, lies on the slopes of West Jerusalem below the highway linking it to Tel-Aviv. It has been abandoned since the invading Hagana underground forces backed by the Stern Gang drove the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948 during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

It was the one single event which changed the nature of the place and the whole region. Although dozens of houses were destroyed, many of them still remain poised on the landscape.

Lifta is considered by many as a rare and fine example of Palestinian rural architecture with narrow streets aligned with the slopes of the mountains around it. Its cubist forms are a wonderful manifestation of the mastery of the Palestinian stone masons who were the indigenous owners and builders of these houses.

Today Lifta is more or less a ghost town suspended in space and remains deserted despite the fact that most of its original Palestinian inhabitants live in the surrounding communities. The Israeli authorities refuse to allow them to return.

Now the Jerusalem Municipality has produced plans to turn Lifta into a luxurious and exclusive Jewish development – reinventing its history in the process.

The Plan, numbered 6036, was designed by two architectural offices: G. Kartas – S. Grueg and S. Ahronson, as part of the “local space planning of Jerusalem”. The plan was submitted on June 28, 2004, and according to its title refers to “The Spring of National”. The plan, submitted to the Jerusalem Municipality Planning Committee in 2004, was approved by a regional committee.

In 2005, objections to the Plan were raised by several groups, including Bimkom (alternative center for Israeli planning) and the representatives of the regional committee of the organization and construction for the Al Quds-Jerusalem area.

Main Issues:

• The original Palestinian inhabitants of Lifta, their memories of the village, their exile and longing to return to Lifta are not mentioned, or even considered by the Municipality Master Plan.

• Lifta captures the moment of destruction of Palestinian life in 1948. Its 3,000 original inhabitants fled – mostly to East Jerusalem and to the Ramallah area. However, unlike many of the 530 Palestinian villages and towns conquered and bulldozed during the war of 1947/48, a few of Lifta’s houses remain almost intact, yet deserted and declared ‘officially’ resettled.

• These set of circumstances have placed Lifta in a unique position: its original inhabitants are still around, living in the OPT and the Chicago area with a desire that the injustices done in 1948 be acknowledged and repaired.

• In Israel, renovation projects are frequently used to build a national narrative, ignoring the deep contradictions between planning and human rights that inevitably arise out of such initiatives.

• With Lifta, we have a place where a new national transformation results in the erasure of another’ people’s memory as evidenced in the new Masterplan.

• Lifta is a tangible embodiment of the larger context of events in the region during 1947/48. Lifta can be a vital place for contemplating and understanding the concept of historical continuity.

• Lifta’s heritage is a story of a multicultural society, embracing a strong sense of an ethnically and religiously diverse community of Muslims, Jews and Christians which encapsulated a healthy civil equality amongst its inhabitants and the neighbouring communities. If Lifta were to be rejuvenated with due care to preserving its memory, it could offer a unique opportunity for the start of a new dialogue towards a conciliatory outcome.

Petition’s Aim:

This petition aims to save Lifta through the World Monuments Fund , amongst others, and to draw attention to this site which has been threatened by neglect, vandalism and forced occupation by extremist settlers.

Sign the petition

Please also visit the sponsor:


Thanksgiving Day Celebrates a Massacre

Research compiled, October 19, 1990
by Johyn Westcott and Paul Apidaca

William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. "Thanksgiving Day" was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance...Thanksgiving Day to the, "in their own house", Newell stated.

"Gathered in this place of meeting, they were attacked by mercenaries and English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth were shot down, The rest were burned alive in the building ----- The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day..... For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thinking God that the battle had been won."

In June 1637 John Underhill slaughtered a pequot village in just the manner described above. Narranganset Indians were used as the mercenaries. Governor John Endicott of the Massachusetts Bay Colony proclaimed the pequot war. A pequot chief of sachem named sassacus warred against the Dutch in 1633 over the death of his father. The pequot made no distinction between the Dutch and the English. The Underhill massacre was witnessed and documented by William Branford and an engraving was made illustration the massacre.

The Jamestown Colony may be the source for the tradition of Indians under the leadership of Powhaton joining with early settlers for a dinner and helping those settlers through the winter. There were no pilgrims or puritans at Jamestown, however. The present Thanksgiving may therefore be a mixture of the tradition of the Jamestown dinner and the commemoration of the Pequot massacre.

The celebration of Thanksgiving as an official holiday possibly roots in the Pequot massacre, while the imagery is of Jamestown with pilgrims, images misused.

Source: André Cramblit, Operations Director, (NCIDC)

Copyright © 1990 Westcott/Apidaca
All Rights Reserved

Israeli military confiscates electricity pylons

Palestinians prohibited from improving quality of life

At the crossing of Israeli settler highway 317 and the road into At-Tuwani, Israeli police and military oversee removal of electrical pylons recently installed to connect At-Tuwani to the Palestinian electrical grid.

Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove

25 November 2009

At-Tuwani, South Hebron hills – On Wednesday, 25 November, the Israeli military and police removed and confiscated two standing electricity pylons from the village of At-Tuwani. The electricity pylons had been installed by the villagers of At-Tuwani in an effort to connect to the electrical grid in Yatta, a Palestinian city to the north. The Israeli military declared the area around the pylons a closed military zone in an attempt to prevent Palestinians and international activists from obstructing or documenting the confiscation. Nonetheless, dozens of villagers came out in protest, and barricaded a police jeep from entering the village.

Despite a recent visit by Tony Blair, the Quartet’s special Middle East envoy, in which Blair assured villagers of At-Tuwani that the Israeli authorities gave oral permission to carry out the electrical construction work, the community has faced repeated interruptions as it struggles to bring electricity to the area. (see CPTnet release:“At-Tuwani hosts former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to address Israeli occupation and violence in the southern West Bank”)

On Friday, 30 October, the Israeli military forcibly stopped the village’s electrical work. Officers from the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO), detained Mohammed Awayesa, a Palestinian worker from Ad-Dhahiriya and confiscated items including a truck, a mechanized lift and a large spool of electrical cable. No written orders were produced for the detention, confiscations or work stoppage. (see CPTnet release: Israeli military stops work to bring electricity to At-Tuwani; confiscates building materials)

On 28 July, 2009, the DCO issued a demolition order for six newly constructed electricity pylons in At-Tuwani.

On 25 May, 2009, the DCO entered the village and ordered residents to halt construction work on the electricity pylons. No written orders were delivered. (See URGENT ACTION: Demand that Israeli occupying forces allow At-Tuwani to bring electricity into their village).


China State Construction nets $100m US subway deal

By Liu Yiyu
China Daily

China State Construction Engineering Corp, the largest contractor in China, has bagged a subway ventilation project worth about $100 million in New York's Manhattan area, marking the construction giant's third order in the United States' infrastructure space this year.

The contract was given to China Construction American Co, a subsidiary, the Wall Street Journal quoted a source as saying.

"The new project, along with the $410-million Hamilton Bridge project and a $1.7-billion entertainment project it won earlier this year, signals China State Construction's ambition to tap the American construction market," said Li Zhirui, an industry analyst at First Capital Securities.

Li, however, said the order came as no surprise as the US government is spending massively on infrastructure projects.

The three orders only account for about 4 percent of the value of its total orders this year, Li added.

In the first three quarters of this year, the Chinese construction giant signed more than $2 billion worth of contracts in the US market. China State Construction was also the contractor for a high school, a railway station and the Chinese embassy in the US.

Despite the progress made in the US market, the Middle East, Asia and Africa remain the State builder's key markets. The value of its contracts in Algeria this year increased 32 percent year-on-year, exceeding $800 million, and the value of its contracts in the Middle East surged 62 percent year on year, also exceeding $800 million.

The domestic market is still the largest contributor to China State Construction's revenue, mainly due to strong property sales and infrastructure sector projects.

China State Construction said it reaped 41 billion yuan in revenue from the property sector in the first 10 months of this year, up 83.2 percent over the same period last year. Orders from the infrastructure construction business were boosted by 90 percent largely due to the fiscal stimulus allocated to China's infrastructure sector.

Citing the company's recent performance, Shenyin & Wanguo Securities has given China State Construction a "buy" rating for the first time.

According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Commerce, China's overseas project contracts have increased 22.7 percent to $100.15 billion in the first 10 months of this year.

The reality behind the swine flu conspiracy

By Irina Galushko
November 26, 2009

The message is clear – we are all going to die from swine flu. It spreads fast, it is dangerous, and it must be feared – says the World Health Organization.

But worry not – there is a way to save yourself. Just get a flu shot – and purchase a remedy for the deadly virus. Those are the instructions from the WHO.

Read more

However, the WHO may find itself coughing up explanations, as more and more scientists and health researchers, and even journalists, are starting to question the organization’s motives behind raising the alert so quickly.

According to the Danish Daily Information newspaper, the WHO and pharmaceutical companies are suffering from the profit bug. Or, to put it simply, the chief health care organization in the world has teamed up with the drug makers to create a phantom monster – and to rake in cash by selling a remedy for it.

Plastered all over the front pages and headlines news, swine flu made its triumphant entrance into limelight, heralded as the next “in” virus, which threatened to bring an end to humanity as we know it.

Let's stop right there and talk numbers for a little bit.

So far, more than 3.5 million people have been reported to be infected with swine flu worldwide. More than 9,000 deaths have been confirmed.

In comparison: every year, up to one billion people get infected with seasonal flu, with up to 500 million deaths. These numbers come from the World Health Organization, but they never make headline news for some reason.

On June 11 of this year, the WHO declared swine flu a pandemic. But few know that, right before doing that, the Organization changed its definition, taking out the word “deadly” from it.

Aleksander Saversky, the chair of the Patient's Rights Protection League, was one of those who did pay attention. He says it is clear that the WHO dramatized the situation around the H1N1 virus. In an interview to RT, Saversky speculated that it is due to the WHO's close ties with the world's major pharmaceutical companies.

And recently, Danish journalists conducted their own research, which resulted in accusations that the WHO, and scientists who appear to be independent are, in fact, on pharmaceutical companies' payroll.

Saversky points out that the WHO declared the status of pandemic when only a few thousand people were infected with it – something that is highly illogical, he says, considering the hundred thousand more cases of seasonal flu never gets paid such high attention.

The virus was reported to be extremely deadly. Parallels were drawn to the Spanish Flu, which killed roughly 50 million people worldwide in the span of six months.

As panic spread, people rushed to clinics for Tamiflu – $145 a pop and by prescription only in the US – and for vaccinations, which range anywhere from $10 to $50. And despite the fact that many have lost their jobs in the financial crisis, and were left without health insurance, vaccinations and pharmaceutical sales skyrocketed. Nobody wants to die a grisly death from the supposedly new virus.

Aleksander Saversky warns the hullaballoo over swine flu is akin to the fable of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” He says that, because of this hype, the next time a truly dangerous virus comes about, no one will take any precautions. Fooled once already by swine flu, people will ignore the warnings and fall prey to a more dangerous – and deadly virus.

In fact, vaccinating people from swine flu during the seasonal flu outbreak, in Saversky’s opinion, is criminal. People end up having to battle two viruses at the same time, which puts an enormous strain on the immune system.

Saversky puts the blame on capitalism – pharmaceutical companies make billions on people's fears, combined with asymmetrical information dispersal (meaning that most people know very little substantial information about the virus, whereas the WHO, pharmaceutical companies and researchers know a lot more).

So, what's to be done to conquer the virus – and stop the WHO?

Saversky says there is one solution – for governments worldwide to step in and take matters into their own hands, by controlling healthcare and pharmaceutical production.

Until that happens, however, remember to check for all common flu symptoms. And should a general disinclination to work of any kind be among them, rest assured – it is most probably a run-of-the-mill case of the Monday Blues.

Groups Denounce Obama Rejection of Landmine Treaty

By Jim Lobe, November 26, 2009

Human rights and disarmament activists reacted bitterly Wednesday to the decision by the administration of President Barack Obama, who will receive the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize next month, not to sign the 10-year-old treaty banning anti-personnel landmines.

The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL), a coalition of scores of activist groups, called the administration’s decision "shocking," while Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of the Campaign’s most influential members, described it as "reprehensible."

"President Obama’s decision to cling to anti-personnel mines keeps the U.S. on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of humanity," said Steve Goose, the director of HRW’s Arms Division, who also noted that Washington stood alone among its NATO allies in refusing to sign the treaty.

"This decision lacks vision, compassion, and basic common sense, and contradicts the Obama administration’s professed emphasis on multilateralism, disarmament, and humanitarian affairs," he added.

A leading Democratic lawmaker, who spearheaded the drive in the early 1990s to ban Washington’s export of the weapon to other countries, also decried the decision, which was announced by State Department spokesman Ian Kelly Tuesday.

Sen. Patrick Leahy said the decision constituted a "default of U.S. leadership" and charged that it appeared to be based on a review that "can only be described as cursory and half-hearted."


Like Leahy, the USCBL, which is part of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), said it was especially disappointed by the way the administration’s review of the treaty was carried out.

"While we were told to expect a landmine policy review… we were taken by surprise that it had already been concluded behind closed doors without the consultation of non-governmental aid workers, legislators, and important U.S. NATO allies who are all States Parties to the treaty," said Zach Hudson, the group’s coordinator.

"We also have been offered no official reasons as to why the U.S. would continue on this present course – other than that nothing has changed since Bush reviewed the policy in 2004," he added. "President Obama should explain these actions to the international community, which held such high hopes for a different kind of U.S. engagement."

"It’s painful that President Obama has chosen to reject the Mine Ban Treaty just weeks before he joins the ranks of Nobel peace laureates, including the ICBL," Goose added.

(Inter Press Service)

Afghan detainee handling concerned Red Cross

CBC News
November 25, 2009

A prisoner leans against an entrance to the wing where political prisoners are kept at Sarposa prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
A prisoner leans against an entrance to the wing where political prisoners are kept at Sarposa prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
(Dene Moore/Canadian Press)

The International Committee of the Red Cross had serious concerns about Canada's handling of Afghan detainees, according to reports Richard Colvin sent to the office of former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay in 2006, CBC News has learned.

"According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured, for the interrogators in Kandahar, it was standard operating procedure," Colvin, a former senior diplomat with Canada's mission in Afghanistan, told a parliamentary committee on Nov. 18.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay denies seeing any of Richard Colvin's reports when he was foreign affairs minister.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay denies seeing any of Richard Colvin's reports when he was foreign affairs minister.

CBC News has details of the contents of Colvin's first two reports, which describe a series of meetings he had in 2006 with officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the organization that monitors the condition of prisoners of war and detainees.

Colvin reported the Red Cross had concerns about Canada's detainee handling. "Kandahar ICRC losing track of some detainees," Colvin's report said.

The Red Cross blamed this on shoddy record-keeping in the Canadian Forces. Colvin's report said the Red Cross was "angry" and "frustrated," that the Canadian Forces wouldn't notify its monitors of detainee transfers for between two and eight days.

"In other words, in the critical days after a detainee was first transferred to the Afghan intelligence service, nobody was able to monitor them," Colvin told the parliamentary committee last week.

The second of Colvin's memos said that Canada's Dutch allies were so concerned about the conditions in Afghan jails, they wanted to build their own prison, with help from Canada and the United Kingdom. The note also described new meetings with the Red Cross.

Some of Canada's Afghan detainees were being held in "unsatisfactory conditions," the Red Cross warned. There was a lack of safeguards, and it was frequently unclear which Afghan security agency was actually holding a detainee.

"He says all kinds of things are going on," Colvin reported. "He says Canada's responsibility for detainees does not cease because they have been transferred over to Afghan authorities."

Colvin deemed his warnings of "serious and alarming" problems in the treatment of Afghan detainees to be so important that he sent two reports directly to MacKay's office — the first on May 26, 2006, and the second just a few days later.

MacKay, now defence minister, denies seeing any of Colvin's reports when he was foreign affairs minister. He said the first report he saw from Colvin was in June 2007, and it was nothing serious.

MacKay said Colvin's reports were based on groundless allegations made by Taliban prisoners. "Mr. Speaker no courts in the law would take the evidence of one individual based on reports, second and third-hand information and information from the Taliban," MacKay told the House of Commons Wednesday.

Colvin wrote several more reports, which were sent to at least 80 addresses in Afghanistan and Ottawa through a secure email system used to send diplomatic reports.

Among those recipients was an address used by the office of the minister of foreign affairs. In its response to Colvin, the government expressed surprise at the tone of his report, and his allegations that the Canadian Forces were not co-operating, CBC News has learned.