Front and center in the debate over the Afghan War these days are General Stanley “Stan” McChrystal, Afghan war commander, whose “classified, pre-decisional” and devastating report — almost eight years and at least $220 billion later, the war is a complete disaster — was conveniently, not to say suspiciously,leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post by we-know-not-who at a particularly embarrassing moment for Barack Obama; Admiral Michael “Mike” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has been increasingly vocal about a “deteriorating” war and the need for more American boots on the ground; and the president himself, who blitzed every TV show in sight last Sunday and Monday for his health reform program, but spent significant time expressing doubts about sending more American troops to Afghanistan. (“I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan… or sending a message that America is here for the duration.”)
By Roane Carey, The Nation The Goldstone report has been denounced in Israeli and ignored by the U.S. press, unless you count the NY Daily News, which called it a “blood libel against Israel.” The recently released UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the December-January Gaza conflict, released on the eve of Barack Obama’s attempt to jump-start comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, was but the latest in a series of investigations, most of them by human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Like its predecessors, the so-called Goldstone report, named after chief investigator Richard Goldstone, is devastating in its critique of Israeli actions: indiscriminate use of firepower; deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian structures, including hospitals, schools, mosques, water and sewage plants, and rescue vehicles; use of white phosphorus munitions in built-up areas; use of human shields; abusive treatment of detainees; imposition of a blockade on Gaza before and after the attack itself–the report concludes that Israel violated international humanitarian law, committed “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and …
By Rupert Cornwell Tuesday, 14 July 2009 Published in ‘ Independent’. Why are we asking this now? The CIA is currently embroiled in two controversies that go to the heart of the problems surrounding the world’s largest intelligence agency. It is accused of keeping Congress in the dark about a secret post-9/11 project, on the orders of the former vice-president Dick Cheney and probably in violation of the law. Meanwhile the Justice Department is moving towards a criminal investigation of whether CIA operatives illegally tortured captured terrorist suspects. A rule of thumb about an intelligence service might be: the less you hear about it, the better it’s probably doing its job. Instead, the CIA seems to be eternally in the headlines.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is convinced that the cost of the insurgency in the Malakand Division has been increased manifold by the shortsightedness and indecisiveness of the non-representative institutions and their policy of appeasing the militants and cohorting with them. While the ongoing military operation had become unavoidable, it was not adopted as a measure of the last resort. Further, the plight of the internally displaced people has been aggravated by lack of planning and coordination by the agencies concerned, and the methods of evacuation of towns/villages and the arrangements for the stranded people have left much to be desired. Based on reports by HRCP activists in the Malakand Division and other parts of NWFP/Pakhtunkhwa, visits to IDP camps by its activists and senior board members, and talks with many displaced people and several Nazims and public figures, the commission has released the following statement on the situation, its conclusions and recommendations:
Dear President Obama, This is an extraordinary time in history. You have been elected as the president of the most influential nation in the world. This is also a formative period in history, and political decisions will influence humanity’s direction for generations to come. Humanity faces enormous challenges and hopes for great possibilities. The world finds itself in a reflective and transformative mood, and it hopes for a visionary leader who can set milestones towards a better world.