Human Rights

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The Iraq War Ain’t Over, No Matter What Obama Says

Spencer Ackerman, Danger Room, October 21, 2011 President Obama announced on Friday that all 41,000 US troops currently in Iraq will return home by December 31. “That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end,” he said. Don’t believe him. Now: it’s a big deal that all US troops are coming home. For much of the year, the military, fearful of Iranian influence, has sought a residual presence in Iraq of several thousand troops. But arduous negotiations with the Iraqi government about keeping a residual force stalled over the Iraqis’ reluctance to provide them with legal immunity. But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. ... The

Goodbye Iraq? Not Exactly

David Swanson,, October 21, 2011 I just got an email from Huffington Post telling me that Obama was keeping his campaign promise to get US troops out of Iraq. Not quite. ... [H]e says: "I will promise you this: that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank." Here's the Huffington Post: "Fulfilling a long-held campaign promise, President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will pull all US troops out of Iraq by the end of the year ... " What exactly is a long-held campaign promise? ... Goodbye

Obama: All US Troops Out of Iraq by End of Year

Mike Ludwig, Truthout, October 21, 2011 Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama announced today that all US troops in Iraq would be withdrawn by the end of the year. The final drawdown will leave behind thousands of private security contractors and State Department employees. "As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year," Obama said during his announcement. "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over." "Today, I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays," Obama said. The announcement came after the president held a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki ... Obama

After Gadhafi, the West eyes the Libyan prize

Oil rich and deeply divided, the country is vulnerable to outside powers. Phyllis Bennis, Salon, October 20, 2011 The death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi will likely - though it’s too early to know anything for sure - mean the end of the current stage of Libya’s civil war. Whether it will set the stage for peace, national reconciliation, democracy, normalization with the region or other goals is far less clear. And what post-Gadhafi Libya’s relationship with the United States and other NATO countries will look like remains uncertain. ... After

The Son of Africa Claims a Continent’s Crown Jewels

John Pilger, Information Clearing House, October 19, 2011

 On 14 October, President Barack Obama announced he was sending United States special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there. In the next few months, US combat troops will be sent to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. They will only “engage” for “self-defence”, says Obama, satirically. With Libya secured, an American invasion of the African continent is under way. 

Obama’s decision is described in the press as “highly unusual” and “surprising”, even “weird”. It is none of these things. It is the logic of American foreign policy since 1945. ... The

Lincoln points Obama to the high ground

EJ Dionne Jr., Washington Post, October 19, 2011 Can President Obama take advantage of the egalitarian sentiment let loose in the country by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations? Would doing so be consistent with the moderate, conciliatory persona he has cultivated? The best response comes not from polls but from history. Eric Foner’s magnificent book on Abraham Lincoln’s evolving views on the slavery question, “The Fiery Trial,” offers some surprisingly relevant lessons. The thing to remember is that, on slavery, Lincoln was a moderate, not a radical. He promised in the 1860 election to leave slavery alone in the South ... Lincoln

Occupy Wall Street not Palestine!

We are part of the world's 99% yearning for freedom, justice and equal rights! The   B u l l e t, October 17, 2011 The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition struggling for Palestinian rights, is proud to stand in solidarity with the movements struggling for a new world based on democracy, human rights and economic justice. From New York to Athens, from Madrid to Santiago, from Bahrain to Rome, these huge mobilizations provide a much needed reminder of something that Palestinians have always known – that another world, a dignifying one, is possible and ordinary people can create it. Our aspirations overlap; our struggles converge. ... Occupy

US Troop Deaths in Afghan War Under Obama Now Twice That Under Bush

Megan Iorio, Just Foreign Policy, October 17, 2011 This weekend marked a new milestone for the war in Afghanistan: the total number of US troops killed in the war has doubled since President Obama took office, according to and our US Troops in Afghanistan: Obama vs Bush web counter. That means that two-thirds of the total US troop deaths have occurred in the last two years and eight months, which accounts for roughly a third of the duration of the war to date. 1728 US troops have died in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001, with 1153 of those deaths having occurred since President Obama's inauguration. 575 US troops died in Afghanistan during President Bush's term in office. ... US

Only 20 US bases left in Iraq: spokesman

AFP, October 17, 2011 There are only 20 American military bases left in Iraq ahead of a year-end US withdrawal, down from a peak of 505, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement on Monday. There are "only 20 US bases that remain to be evacuated, while US forces are continuing their evacuation and withdrawing all their soldiers and equipment, and are handing over those bases and sites to the Iraqi government according to the signed agreement between the two sides," Dabbagh said. He was referring to a 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington that calls for all US troops to leave the country by the end of 2011. Dabbagh added that 485 bases and military sites have been handed over to Iraqi forces, from a peak figure of 505 in 2008.

Dispatch From Activist Arrested for "Assaulting" Leon Panetta During Supposedly Public Hearing

Allison McCracken, AlterNet, October 17, 2011 "Assault? Who - or what - did I assault??" I asked the police officer incredulously as I sat in his office at the police station, handcuffed to the wall. "Well, looks like it was Leon Panetta himself," the officer responded as he flipped through a pile of paperwork. Me? A 22-year-old mild-mannered peace activist, assaulted the Secretary of Defense? I had simply tried to tell him how I felt about the wars.

On the morning of October 13th about 25 activists who are occupying Washington DC, as part of the nationwide occupations, went on a field trip to Congress. ... Dispatch

America’s Secret Empire of Drone Bases

Its Full Extent Revealed for the First Time.
 Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch, October 16, 2011 They increasingly dot the planet. There’s a facility outside Las Vegas where “pilots” work in climate-controlled trailers, another at a dusty camp in Africa formerly used by the French Foreign Legion, a third at a big air base in Afghanistan where Air Force personnel sit in front of multiple computer screens, and a fourth at an air base in the United Arab Emirates that almost no one talks about. And that leaves at least 56 more such facilities to mention in an expanding American empire of unmanned drone bases being set up worldwide. ... America

Palestinians Are “Marching To Freedom Land”

James M. Wall, Wallwritings, October 1, 2011 A warning to the United States and Israel is embedded in a New York Times analysis entitled, “Arab Debate Pits Islamists Against Themselves”. The warning lies in the reality that the Palestinian people are on the same march against the same obstacles that have stirred the quest for freedom throughout the region. The warning is there, even as the Times editors chose to leave Palestine on the editing room floor. Anthony Shadid, who co-wrote the analysis with David D. Kirkpatrick, may have wanted to include Palestinians, but it is a strong possibility the Times editors had a different agenda. ... Palestinians

Why Kosovo but not Palestine?

Zoltan Grossman, ZNet, September 25, 2011
 In his September 21 speech to the United Nations, President Obama announced that he would veto UN recognition of a Palestinian state, because its independence was not a result of a negotiated settlement with Israel. He said that “peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our ... votes have been tallied ... That’s the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state - negotiations between the parties.”

 But President Obama neglected to mention ... Why

Bahrain: Harsh sentencing on 20 Medical Staff

Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, September 29, 2011 Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) expresses deep concern at the harsh sentences against 20 Medical Staff. Defendants ... Bahrain

Bahrain Court Hands Down Harsh Sentences to Doctors and Protesters

J. David Goodman, New York Times, September 29, 2011 A court in Bahrain sentenced a protester to death on Thursday for killing a police officer in March and issued harsh prison terms to medical workers who treated protesters wounded during months of unrest there this spring. The punishments drew strong criticism from rights groups. The official Bahrain News Agency reported that eight people it identified as doctors who worked at a central hospital in the capital, Manama, received 15-year sentences. Other medical personnel at the Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain’s largest public hospital, were given terms of between 5 and 15 years. ... Bahrain

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