Thursday, April 09, 2009

Obama Silent While The UN Calls For Ceasefire in Sri Lanka & ACLU Demands Investigation After Release of Red Cross Report Detainee Abuse

UPDATE SRI LANKA, 1:27 PM & 1:58 PM ,April 9, 2009:
War On Terror Cover for War Crimes in Sri Lanka & President Obama Is Silent ?
Sri Lankan government Getting away with War Crimes under the guise of The War on Terror

Tamil Diaspora demonstrations around the world & UN calls for a ceasefire
RealNews Network-April 9, 2009

" The UN is calling on the government of Sri Lanka to declare a ceasefire amid a looming humanitarian crisis and pending potential blood shed in the north-east of Sri Lanka. The Tamils in the diaspora are in seamless protests calling for international attention on the crisis. Dr. R. Cheran, Assistant Professor, University of Windsor, Ontario Canada sheds light on the crisis and explains why the government of Sri Lanka will likely not honor such a request by the UN"

Tamils of Sri Lanka appeal to Obama to put pressure on Sri Lankan government for a ceasefire:

" Overstretched President Obama Should Cut the Gordian knot "By: Dr C P Thiagarajah , TamilCanadian - April 8, 2009

To dispense justice he must undo the injustice done by his predecessor who brought in the phrase ‘war on terror’ without any real terror except Al Queda. In his realms of power he should look for people who high-jacked Bush buss word “war on Terror” and used diplomacy to do injustice to some minorities in the world. Tamils of Sri-Lanka for example became one of the victims of Bush’s puppets of power in SriLanka. Richard Boucher and Ambassador Robert Blake were too enthusiastic to implement the war on Terror policy initiated by Bush after the 9/11 twin tower disaster that they lost sight of justice and reality in the 60 year old Tamil’s civil war over Tamils human rights issue. They misdiagnosed the real political problem of the Tamils as terrorism. This error led them to support the GSL to military confront with the freedom movement of the Tamils –the LTTE.

Even the UN Under Secretary for Human Rights, Ms Navaneethan Pillai, in a statement to PTI news in new Delhi on 23/3/2009 identified the Sri-lankan problem as a political problem. “Our view is that you can never succeed through military solution. The problem can be solved politically” she said. Instead of solving a simple political problem of power sharing through diplomacy the past US administration supplied arms and ammunitions to the Sinhala government that created havoc to the Tamils ending now in the genocide of the Tamils. That was why Prof Boyle of Illinois College of Law has written on 11 March "Any one or more of the 140 state parties to the Genocide Convention must immediately sue Sri Lanka at the International Court of Justice in The Hague''.

Recent communications from seven US Senators, Robert P. Casey, Jr.Patrick Leahy,George V. Voinovich,Sherrod Brown,Joseph I. Lieberman, Barbara Mikulski and Richard Burr, urging Mr Obama to stop GSL HR violations and killings of civilians under the guise of fighting LTTE terrorism exposes the hypocrisy of the Sinhala government. It has now come clear that the Government of Sri-Lanka (GSL) uses ‘war on terror’ tactics to exterminate a minority without any consideration for their civil rights. These violations are carried out under press black out which was another crime committed by the US under Bush patronised Sinhala government. Mr Richard Boucher and Ambassador Robert Blake represented US interest in Sri-Lanka at that time as well.

And in this press release the authors detail crimes being committed by the Sri Lankan government - These War Crimes are being ignored by the US and President Obama who merely see the conflict in terms of the War on Terror - supposedly Obama rejects the use of the term War on Terror yet in this case he has bought into the Sri Lankan governments misuse of the term to commit War Crimes.

"Tamil Massacre Imminent: Human Rights Group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) Organizes Emergency Rally in New York City to Protest the Silent Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka" by Ilankai Tamil Sangam ,, April 8, 2009

NEW YORK, NY -- 04/08/09 -- Human rights group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) is organizing an emergency rally of Sri-Lankan-born Tamils to be held today in New York City in front of the Indian Mission to the UN, Mexican Mission to the UN and the United States Mission of the UN. TAG stated that the rally is intended to show the United Nations and the United States the immediate urgency of stopping the slaughter of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces. TAG hopes that the international community will act on their responsibility to protect civilians from elimination.

According to TAG, there are reports from local sources about the military's use of chemical weapons. A massacre is about to happen. In order to appeal to the inherent idealism and fairness of the United States, 5 persons have started fasting from April 7, with out food or water in front of Ambassador Susan Rice's office. They are also protesting at the Indian Embassy to put maximum pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).

The protest in front of the Mexican Embassy will demand that the UN Security Council Leader bring this issue to UN Security Council.

TAG issued the following statement in conjunction with the April 9 rally:

Tamils Against Genocide urges the international community to act immediately to stop the imminent massacre in Sri Lanka and aid hundreds of thousands of trapped civilians. Government forces are closing in on 300,000 Tamil civilians. Casualties are high. UN reports indicate close to 3,000 innocent Tamil civilians have been killed, including more than 700 children, during the first 10 weeks of 2009. The UN Commissioner of Human Rights has asserted that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is perpetrating war crimes. TAG highlights the follow facts:

-- Tamil civilians are being slaughtered by indiscriminate bombings and
shooting of innocent civilians, even in GoSL-declared safe zones.
-- Access is being denied to international relief agencies to work in
Eelam Tamil areas in the Northeast of Sri Lanka.
-- Armed forces shell hospitals, use cluster bombs on Tamil civilian
targets, and drop incendiary bombs on densely populated civilian areas.
-- Tamil areas closed to international journalists and observers.
-- There is an embargo on food and essentials to over 2 Million Tamils in
the Northeast.
-- Over 1.3 million Tamils have been displaced; Tamils displaced in GoSL-
occupied areas are not being allowed to return to their lands.
-- Displaced Tamil civilians are being imprisoned in barbed wire
concentration camps.
-- Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have voiced concern about
the treatment of Tamils in GoSL-occupied areas.
-- Secretary of State Clinton and British Foreign Minister Milliband have
urged a ceasefire.
-- GoSL is requesting $1.9 Billion loan from the International Monetary
Fund to continue their genocidal actions against the Tamils.
-- Sri Lanka has been labeled as one of the most dangerous places in the
world for journalists and NGOs to work by the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC).

Colin Powell on the Bush torture meetings
Red Cross Report details systematic abuse of detainees by US personnel
ACLU insists Obama must appoint an Independent Investigator
Obama waffling on warrantless wiretaps
Drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan may have disastrous Blowback effect

Rachel Maddow Grills Colin Powell on Torture Authorization In Bush Admin.

Is Colin Powell merely being careful in his answers to Rachel Maddow or does he know more than he claims to. Well he is though candid that these meetings did take place but he was not at all of them nor was he privy to the follow ups to these meetings. So it may be as some in the know have said that early on Colin Powell was no longer in the loop and at times because of his good reputation was used as the public face of the Bush administration as in the selling of the Iraq War to the UN in which he touted a number of lies and falsehoods though he had been assured that the Intel as such was all valid.

And its odd that we get more of the same old song and dance about what was legal and what was not- if an attorney tells the government it can break the law without worrying about consequences because the attorneys will look for loopholes or will merely rewrite the law or they tell the President that being the president he is above the law- surely this must be a breach at the least for the ethics of an attorney but then again most individuals do not go through law school in order to hone their ethics but rather to make as much money as they can or to get on the inside of the halls of power as it were. As Bush said about the Bill of Rights and the Constitution they are just pieces of paper. The laws of the land have little or nothing to do with ethical behaviour or morality. If you can get away with it then do as you please.

So these intelligent Machiavellian attorneys tell their superiors in the white House that it is just a matter of interpretation on what constitutes and what does not constitute torture.And therefore the definition of torture according to these cynical Neocons and their Republican Party devotees is just a matter of opinion it is therefore relative. Odd that the Republicans and the Christian Right who are always attacking so called liberals for claiming values and such are relative that they would engage in this form of relativism. So they sit around quibbling about terms such as " abuse" , "inhumane treatment", notions like human dignity as opposed to physical and psychological abuse - Have none these attorneys working for the Bush Regime ever read the Geneva Conventions and related international agreements on the treatment of POWS or detainees. I guess when you are willing to lie to your country , to your citizens so that you can take your country into an unnecessary war then what's a few more lies or being a little cagey about what constitutes and what does not constitute truth or a lie.

Obama's Justice Department refuses to release information on Warrantless Wiretapping insists on State Secrets & immunity for the government - Why is Obama protecting the Bush Regime- Is this part of his bipartisanship madness. Is he not interested in justice.

Is Obama Breaking The Same Laws Bush Did?-April 7, 2009

Report on the US treatment of prisoners by International Committee of the Red Cross released shows there was systematic abuse of detainees and that health professionals aided in these criminal actions and are therefore culpable for their involvement.

" Report Calls CIA Detainee Treatment "Inhuman" by Joby Warrick and Julie Tate, Washington Post April 7, 2009(

Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a confidential report that labeled the CIA program "inhuman."

Health personnel offered supervision and even assistance as suspected al-Qaeda operatives were beaten, deprived of food, exposed to temperature extremes and subjected to waterboarding, the relief agency said in the 2007 report, a copy of which was posted on a magazine Web site yesterday. The report quoted one medical official as telling a detainee: "I look after your body only because we need you for information."

New details about alleged CIA interrogation practices were contained in the 43-page volume written by ICRC officials who were given unprecedented access to the CIA's "high-value detainees" in late 2006. While excerpts of the report were leaked previously, the entire document was made public for the first time by author Mark Danner, a journalism professor, on the Web site of the New York Review of Books.

ACLU insists Obama administration take action & appoint an Idependent Prosecutor to investigate detainee abuse and torture.

Red Cross report on detainee abuse gives more weight to calls for investigations and prosecutions of those who gave the orders permitting these illegal barbaric actions to take place along with those who actually took part in the inhumane treatment and abuse.

Full ICRC Report Further Underscores Extent Of Torture And Abuse By U.S. Officials
Justice Department Should Appoint Independent Prosecutor And Turn Over Torture Memos, Says ACLU, , April 7, 2009

A full report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made public late Monday on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody further underscores the extent of the systemic and far-reaching use of torture by American personnel and provides further evidence of the need for accountability for government officials who broke the law.

In light of this report – the newly revealed portions of which emphasize the role played by medical personnel in torture and abuse – the American Civil Liberties Union renews its call for the Justice Department to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the authorization of torture at CIA prisons and for the release of several legal memoranda used by the Bush administration to justify it. The memos, authored by former Office of Legal Counsel officials Steven Bradbury and Jay Bybee and demanded as part of an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, supplied the legal framework for the Bush administration's interrogation program. The deadline for the government to release the memos or justify withholding them is April 16.

The ACLU, through its John Adams Project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has worked with under-resourced military lawyers to provide legal counsel for several of the Guantánamo detainees whose treatment was addressed in the ICRC report.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"The ICRC report provides further confirmation of the systemic use of torture against prisoners in CIA custody and underscores that the CIA's torture program was endorsed and authorized at the highest levels of the Bush administration. The Justice Department must now make good on President Obama's commitment to transparency by making public the legal memos that supplied the basis for the CIA's torture program. It's also imperative that the Justice Department appoint an independent prosecutor to conduct a criminal investigation. Government officials who violated the law should not be shielded from investigation. Transparency and accountability are critical to the restoration of the rule of law."

Glenn Greenwald accuses President Obama as going back on his word that those responsible for warrantless wiretaps would be investigated and if possible charged for their crimes. Now it seems Obama is waffling and maybe involved in similar illegal actions.

" Obama, the ICRC Report and Ongoing Suppression " by Glenn Greenwald,, April 7, 2009

Following up on the latest extremist Cheney/Addington/Yoo arguments advanced by the Obama DOJ in order to shield Bush lawbreaking from disclosure and judicial review -- an episode I wrote about in detail yesterday, here -- it's worthwhile to underscore the implications of Barack Obama's conduct. When Obama sought to placate his angry supporters after he voted for the Bush/Cheney FISA-telecom immunity bill last June (after vowing the prior December to support a filibuster of any such legislation), this is what he said :

"[The FISA bill] also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses."

So candidate Obama unambiguously vowed to his supporters that he would work to ensure "full accountability" for "past offenses" in surveillance lawbreaking. President Obama, however, has now become the prime impediment to precisely that accountability, repeatedly engaging in extraordinary legal maneuvers to ensure that "past offenses" -- both in the surveillance and torture/rendition realm -- remain secret and forever immunized from judicial review. Put another way, Obama has repeatedly done the exact opposite of what he vowed he would do: rather than "seek full accountability for past offenses," he has been working feverishly to block such accountability, by embracing the same radical Bush/Cheney views and rhetoric regarding presidential secrecy powers that caused so much controversy and anger for the last several years.

And note the pure deceit on the part of Senate Democrats who justified telecom immunity by continuously assuring the public that the Bush officials who ordered the illegal surveillance (as opposed to the telecoms who broke the law by enabling it) would still be subject to legal accountability. It was obvious at the time (as was often pointed out) that they were outright lying when they said this -- because all sorts of legal instruments had been invoked (such as "state secrets" and "standing" arguments) to protect those government officials from that accountability (legal instruments Democrats knowingly left in place), and now it is Barack Obama who is leading the way in ensuring that the assurances given by Senate Democrats -- don't worry that we immunized the phone companies because Bush officials, who were the truly guilty parties in the illegal spying, will still be subject to legal accountability -- never materialize.

" Justice Extends to Bagram, Guantánamo’s Dark Mirror " by Andy Worthington 7, 2009

Since coming to power in a blaze of reforming glory, promising to close Guantánamo within a year, to stop the CIA from running offshore torture prisons, and to restore the Geneva Conventions to prisoners seized in wartime, the Obama administration has proceeded to make a number of poor decisions in relation to its predecessors' reviled "War on Terror" policies.

One was the decision to invoke the state secrets privilege to quash a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen for its role as the CIA's travel agent in a case brought by a number of prisoners subjected to "extraordinary rendition," although this was understandable if the floodgates were not to be opened with regard to everyone involved in the Bush administration's lawless policies rather than, say, the senior officials who authorized the crimes. Another, I believe, was the refusal to substantially redefine the terms of reference for "enemy combatants," while the administration was scoring a propaganda point by dropping the use of the term

and so it goes,

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