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The Obama administration adopts an imperious tone with Turkey

By Paul Woodward on June 26, 2010

Philip H Gordon is the US Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. He sat down with an AP reporter this week to talk about Turkey.

Turkey is alienating US supporters and it needs to demonstrate its commitment to partnership with the West, Gordon says. “We think Turkey remains committed to NATO, Europe and the United States, but that needs to be demonstrated,” he said. “There are people asking questions about it in a way that is new, and that in itself is a bad thing that makes it harder for the United States to support some of the things that Turkey would like to see us support.”

“There are people…” Gordon says.

And those people would be?

Oh yeah — members of the United States Congress who serve at the pleasure of the Israel lobby.

Gordon cited Turkey’s vote against a U.S.-backed United Nations Security Council resolution on new sanctions against Iran and noted Turkish rhetoric after Israel’s deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla last month. The Security Council vote came shortly after Turkey and Brazil, to Washington’s annoyance, had brokered a nuclear fuel-swap deal with Iran as an effort to delay or avoid new sanctions.

Some U.S. lawmakers who have supported Turkey warned of consequences for Ankara since the Security Council vote and the flotilla raid that left eight Turks and one Turkish-American dead. The lawmakers accused Turkey of supporting a flotilla that aimed to undermine Israel’s blockade of Gaza and of cozying up to Iran.

The raid has led to chilling of ties between Turkey and Israel, countries that have long maintained a strategic alliance in the Middle East.

Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan, expressed surprise at Gordon’s comments. He said Turkey’s commitment to NATO remains strong and should not be questioned.

“I think this is unfair,” he said.

Tan said Turkish officials have explained repeatedly to U.S. counterparts that voting against the proposed sanctions was the only credible decision after the Turkish-brokered deal with Iran. Turkey has opposed sanctions as ineffective and damaging to its interests with an important neighbor. It has said that it hopes to maintain channels with Tehran to continue looking for a solution to the standoff over Iran’s alleged nuclear arms ambitions.

“We couldn’t have voted otherwise,” Tan said. “We put our own credibility behind this thing.”

Tan said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to discuss these issues with President Barack Obama on the margins of a summit of world economic powers in Toronto on Saturday.

Gordon said Turkey’s explanations of the U.N. episode have not been widely understood in Washington.

“There is a lot of questioning going on about Turkey’s orientation and its ongoing commitment to strategic partnership with the United States,” he said. “Turkey, as a NATO ally and a strong partner of the United States not only didn’t abstain but voted no, and I think that Americans haven’t understood why.”

Just two weeks ago, before Gordon decided his primary duty was to placate the Israel lobby, in an interview with the BBC he rejected the suggestion that the US and Turkey have become strategic competitors in the Middle East.

“I think the United States and Turkey remain strategic partners,” he said. “We have so many interests in common. We can have disagreements, and there are things we disagree on, not least the vote on Iran at the United Nations. Throughout that process we have been frank with each other about our differences. We’ve explained to them why we think it was important for countries to vote yes in the Iran resolution. They have explained to us why they think the Tehran declaration was something worth pursuing. And we’ve explained to them what we think the shortcomings are. That’s what friends and partners do.”

But can friends be so overbearing that they issue demands for a demonstration of commitment to their partnership?

The US wants Turkey to help advance America’s agenda in the Middle East. Is the Obama administration helping advance Turkey’s agenda in the region? Turkey after all is now in a much stronger position to promote regional stability than any of its Western tutors.

As deeply in debt as the United States is, there is one currency that it can use without fear of ever running short and it’s a currency whose value is appreciated in every corner of the globe. It’s called respect. A little goes a long way.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Peace campaigner, 85, classified by police as ‘domestic extremist’

By Paul Lewis and Rob Evans | The Guardian | 25 June 2010

For John Catt, protest has never been about chaining himself to a railing or blocking a road in an act of civil disobedience. The 85-year-old peace campaigner’s far milder form of dissent typically involves turning up at a demonstration with his daughter, Linda, taking out his sketch pad and drawing the scene.

However this, it seems, has been enough for police to classify Catt and his 50-year-old daughter “domestic extremists”, put their personal information on a clandestine national database and record their political activities in minute detail.

Secret files have revealed how police have systematically documented their political activities, undermining official claims that only hardcore activists were placed under surveillance.

The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) recorded their presence at more than 80 lawful demonstrations over four years, logging details such as their appearance, and slogans on their T-shirts.

Catt and his daughter, from Brighton, were aware that surveillance teams were often in the vicinity during their protests, but they had no idea how closely they were being monitored until their files were released under the Data Protection Act

Police said they did not legally have to disclose them, but did so to show there was “nothing sinister in what we hold”.

The Catts, who have no criminal records, said they were “shocked and terrified” when they read their files. “Our activities were totally legitimate – we were not interested in non-violent direct action,” said Linda . “My dad likes to sketch and I will hold a banner and shout a few things. But I’m careful about what I say.”

They said the most worrying aspect was the seemingly banal information the surveillance officers had been logging, from observations about their demeanour and car number plates, to notes about their conversations with local reporters.

Amid the pages of detailed logs was an entry that noted how on the morning of 25 September 2005, John Catt was “clean shaven” when he attended a demonstration by Sussex Action for Peace. The Catts have been part of a long running campaign against an arms factory in Brighton, run by the American-owned EDO MBM Technology, over sales to Israel.

Since 2004, campaigners have mounted more or less weekly demonstrations outside the factory, in particular protests at which the activists bang drums and other objects to produce a cacophony.

Catt’s artistic endeavours received particular scrutiny. “John Catt sat on a folding chair by the southern most gate of EDO MBM and appeared to be sketching,” states one of several logs. “He was using his drawing pad to sketch a picture of the protest and police presence,” said another from 10 March 2006. A separate report, about his sketch of a Guantánamo Bay detainee, noted: “John Catt was very quiet and was holding a board with orange people on it.”

Last year, anti-EDO campaigners held a series of a “anti-war creativity” workshops with music, poetry and artwork. These included an exhibition of art by Catt and others, a fact recorded on the NPOIU database as “including … the classic drawings of John Catt, veteran anti-war activist”.

When the Guardian first revealed details about a police monitoring system that keeps tabs on political activists last year, police gave assurances they were not interested in everyday campaigners. They said surveillance was needed to monitor “domestic extremists” – a term that has no legal basis but is defined by police as activists who are determined to break the law to further their political aims.

Anton Setchell, who is national co-ordinator for domestic extremism for the Association of Chief Police Officers and is responsible for the NPOIU database, said most campaigners would never be considered domestic extremists.

However, information about the Catts has been transferred to the Police National Computer in Hendon and in July 2005, they were stopped by police under the Terrorism Act after driving into the east London to help a family member move house. They later discovered police had placed a marker against their car registration on the database, triggering an alert – “of interest to public order unit, Sussex police” – each time they drove beneath an automatic number plate reading camera.

The Catts said they were particularly shocked to discover that they had been tracked for two days in Manchester in 2008, during the Labour party conference, while their involvement in events only fleetingly connected to protest activity was recorded. “At 1020 hours … seen at Lobby point on Peter Street were two anti-war protesters from Brighton, John Catt and Linda Catt”, reads the entry.

Three times police noted Linda Catt had sat in the public gallery of Brighton magistrates court, to witness the trial of fellow campaigners for alleged breaches of public order law or local bylaws arising out of the EDO MBM protests.

The final entry on John and Linda Catt’s file was on 27 September last year, after the pair marched against New Labour. The record observed that the protest had been “organised by a number of trade unions”, adding: “Seen as part of the protest was John Catt and Linda Catt”.

When asked about the Catts today, Setchell said most of the protests against EDO had been “lawful … but some have been violent and disorderly, leading to a large number of arrests”.

Police had therefore monitored the demonstrations and “a small number” of lawful protesters, including the Catts, “will have their names recorded alongside others at protest events”. He accepted the Catts had not been responsible for the violent disorder.

Last year Setchell had said: “If it is just a street type of protest, or sitting in a field or something, I will probably never ever speak to those forces about it whatsoever. I deal with the more serious stuff, that requires slightly more sophisticated analysis and co-ordination and investigation, which doesn’t mean people sitting in roads or chaining themselves to a fence.”

A sample entry from police log of the Catts’ activity on the National Public Order Intelligence Unit database:

“At 16.24 hrs on Wednesday 24th of September 2008 a Silver Car was driven to Home Farm Road by Linda Catt,” said one entry on the UK-wide system that stores information about campaigners. The Catts were among protesters campaigning to close down a local arms factory owned by EDO MBM, a US-owned firm, over sales to Israel.

“John Catt was in the front passenger seat. Upon arrival the vehicle parked close to the footpath entrance and both occupants got out of the vehicle. John Catt removed a frame piece of art work from the rear of the vehicle and put it on display. The artwork was a cartoon sketch of the EDO MBM site with the following text: ‘EDO MBM Listed on the stock exchange’. During the demonstration Linda Catt and an individual had a discussion together away from the main group.”

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment

Rwanda ‘assassins’ kill reporter

BBC | June 25, 2010

A journalist working for a private newspaper has been shot dead in front of his house in the Rwandan capital.

Witnesses say Jean Leonard Rugambage, the acting editor of Umuvugizi newspaper, was fired on by two men who then fled in a car.

The authorities had recently suspended the paper, prompting it to start publishing online instead.

Police say they do not know who was behind the attack – the paper’s exiled chief editor has blamed the government.

‘South Africa shooting link’

Editor Jean Bosco Gasasira, who fled to Uganda in April after his paper was suspended, said Kigali had master-minded the assassination of Mr Rugambage who died in hospital after the shooting.

“I’m 100% sure it was the office of the national security services which shot him dead,” he told US state-funded radio Voice of America.

Mr Gasasira said it was because of an article published on the Umuvugizi website relating to the attempted killing last weekend of former army chief Lt Gen Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa in South Africa.

Rwanda has denied accusations it was behind the shooting of Lt Gen Nyamwasa.

He went into exile in South Africa earlier this year after falling out with President Paul Kagame, who he accused of corruption.

Mr Kagame denies these charges and his government accuses Lt Gen Nyamwasa of being behind grenade attacks in Rwanda earlier this year.

In April, Mr Kagame reshuffled the military leadership and two high-ranking officers were also suspended and put under house arrest.

Earlier in the month, Umuvugizi was suspended for six months by the press council for inciting opposition to the government.

Its website, launched in May, is not currently accessible through Rwandan internet providers; the authorities deny involvement in blocking it.

Mr Rugambage, who is survived by his wife and a child, was acquitted of genocide crimes by a local “gacaca” court in 2006.

The BBC’s Geoffrey Mutagoma in Kigali says his death has shocked many journalists in the country.

Presidential elections are due in Rwanda in August – the second such vote since the 1994 genocide.

Human rights groups have accused the Rwandan government of repressing independent media in the country, which Kigali denies.

Mr Kagame’s government argues that it must take care to control the media and politicians to avoid a repeat of the genocide, in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

Earlier this week, UN chief Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr Kagame to co-chair a committee of “superheroes to defeat poverty” – to push for progress in achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

He has been praised for trying to modernise Rwanda’s economy since coming to power at the end of the genocide.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on Rwanda ‘assassins’ kill reporter

Guantanamo and presidential priorities

By Glenn Greenwald | June 26, 2010

The headline from this morning’s New York Times article by Charlie Savage says it all — not just about this issue but about the administration generally:

Closing Guantanamo Fades as a priority

Savage writes that it is “unlikely that President Obama will fulfill his promise to close it before his term ends in 2013”; quotes Sen. Carl Levin as saying that “the odds are that it will still be open” by the next presidential inauguration; and describes how Sen. Lindsey Graham — who is actually trying to close the camp — is deeply frustrated with the White House’s refusal to spend time or energy to do so, quoting him as saying that the effort is “on life support and it’s unlikely to close any time soon.”  So that appears to be a consensus:  Guantanamo — the closing of which was one of Obama’s central campaign promises — will still be open as of 2013, by which point many of the detainees will have been imprisoned for more than a decade without charges of any kind and without any real prospect for either due process or release, at least four of those years under a President who was elected on a commitment to close that camp and restore the rule of law.

None of this is news to anyone even casually watching what’s been going on, but there are several aspects of this article which are so noteworthy for illustrating how this administration works.  Let’s begin with this:  Obama officials — cowardly hiding behind anonymity as usual — raise the typical excuse which they and their defenders perpetually invoke for their “failures” to fulfill their campaign positions:  it’s all Congress’ fault (“They blame Congress for failing to execute that endgame,” Savage writes).  It’s true that Congress has enacted measures to impede the closing of Guantanamo, and threatened to enact others, but the Obama administration’s plan was never so much to close Guantanamo as to simply re-locate it to Thompson, Illinois (GTMO North), in the process retaining one of its key, defining features — indefinite, due-process-free detention — that made it such a menace in the first place (that’s the attribute that led Candidate Obama to scorn it as a “legal black hole”).

The only meaningful way to “close Guantanamo” is to release the scores of detainees whom the administration knows are innocent and then try the rest in a real court (as Pakistan just did with Americans they accused of Terrorism).  Imprisoning only those people whom you convict of crimes is a terribly radical, purist, Far Leftist concept, I know — the Fifth Amendment is so very un-Pragmatic and pre-9/11 — and that is something the administration therefore refused from the start even to consider.

But more important — and this goes to the heart of the debate I had all week with Obama defenders over his alleged inability to influence Congress — the primary reason why Congress has acted to impede the closing of Guantanamo is because the Obama White House has allowed it to, and even encouraged it to do so with its complete silence and inaction.  I was accused by various Obama defenders all last week of being politically ignorant for arguing that Obama possesses substantial means of leverage to influence Congress to do what he wants, and that often, when the excuse is made that it’s not Obama’s fault because he can’t control Congress, the reality is that Congress is doing what it does because the White House is content with or even supportive of that, while pretending in public to lament it.  I provided numerous examples proving that was true, none of which was answered, but one need not believe me and my starry-eyed political ignorance.  Just listen to Carl Levin, who sort of knows how the process works given that he’s been in the Senate for about 400 years, explaining the real reason Guantanamo will not close:

“There is a lot of inertia” against closing the prison, “and the administration is not putting a lot of energy behind their position that I can see,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee . . . . .

Mr. Levin portrayed the administration as unwilling to make a serious effort to exert its influence, contrasting its muted response to legislative hurdles to closing Guantánamo with “very vocal” threats to veto financing for a fighter jet engine it opposes.

Last year, for example, the administration stood aside as lawmakers restricted the transfer of detainees into the United States except for prosecution. And its response was silence several weeks ago, Mr. Levin said, as the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voted to block money for renovating the Illinois prison to accommodate detainees, and to restrict transfers from Guantánamo to other countries — including, in the Senate version, a bar on Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. About 130 of the 181 detainees are from those countries.

They are not really putting their shoulder to the wheel on this issue,” Mr. Levin said of White House officials. “It’s pretty dormant in terms of their public positions.”

That — what Levin just said there — is the heart of the critique of the Obama administration which its defenders steadfastly refuse to address, opting instead to beat the same strawman over and over no matter how many times it’s pointed out what they’re doing… Full article

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | Comments Off on Guantanamo and presidential priorities

Obama Regime Warns Turkey Must Show Commitment to West

Al-Manar TV – 26/06/2010

The United States warned Turkey that it is alienating US supporters and needs to demonstrate its commitment to partnership with the West.

The remarks by Philip Gordon, the Obama administration’s top diplomat on European affairs, were a rare admonishment of a crucial NATO ally.

“We think Turkey remains committed to NATO, Europe and the United States, but that needs to be demonstrated,” Gordon told The Associated Press in an interview. “There are people asking questions about it in a way that is new, and that in itself is a bad thing that makes it harder for the United States to support some of the things that Turkey would like to see us support.”

Gordon cited Turkey’s vote against a US-backed United Nations Security Council resolution on new sanctions against Iran and noted Turkish rhetoric after Israel’s deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla last month. The Security Council vote came shortly after Turkey and Brazil had brokered a nuclear fuel-swap deal with Iran as an effort to delay or avoid new sanctions.

Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan, expressed surprise at Gordon’s comments. He said Turkey’s commitment to NATO remains strong and should not be questioned. “I think this is unfair,” he said.

Tan said Turkish officials have explained repeatedly to US counterparts that voting against the proposed sanctions was the only credible decision after the Turkish-brokered deal with Iran. Turkey has opposed sanctions as ineffective and damaging to its interests with an important neighbor. It has said that it hopes to maintain channels with Tehran to continue looking for a solution to the standoff over Iran’s alleged nuclear arms ambitions. “We couldn’t have voted otherwise,” Tan said. “We put our own credibility behind this thing.”

Tan said that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to discuss these issues with US President Barack Obama on the margins of a summit of world economic powers in Toronto, Canada, on Saturday.

Gordon said Turkey’s explanations of the UN episode have not been widely understood in Washington. “There is a lot of questioning going on about Turkey’s orientation and its ongoing commitment to strategic partnership with the United States,” he said. “Turkey, as a NATO ally and a strong partner of the United States, not only didn’t abstain but voted no, and I think that Americans haven’t understood why.”

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on Obama Regime Warns Turkey Must Show Commitment to West

Shalit, for example

By Uri Avnery | June 26, 2010 | Excerpt

[Gilad] Shalit has become a living symbol – a symbol of Israeli reality, of the inability of our leaders to make decisions, of their moral and political cowardice, of their inability to analyze a situation and draw conclusions.

If there had been an opportunity to free Shalit through military action, the Israeli government would have seized it eagerly.

So much is obvious, because the Israeli public always prefers solving a problem by force than doing anything that might be interpreted as weakness. The rescue of the hostages at Entebbe in 1976 is considered one of the most glorious exploits in the history of Israel, even though there was only a hair’s breadth between success and failure. It was a gamble with the lives of the 105 hostages and the soldiers, and it was successful.

In other cases, though, the gamble did not succeed. Not in Munich in 1972, when they gambled with the lives of the athletes, and lost. Not in Ma’alot in 1974, when they gambled with the lives of the schoolchildren, and lost. Not in the attempt to free the captured soldier Nachschon Wachsman in 1994, when they gambled with his life, and lost.

If there had been any chance of freeing Shalit by force, they would have risked his life, and probably lost. Fortunately for him, there has been no such chance. So far.

Actually, this is quite remarkable. Our security services have hundreds of secret collaborators in the Gaza Strip, in addition to high tech surveillance. Yet it seems that no reliable information about Shalit’s whereabouts has been obtained.

How has Hamas succeeded in this? Among other measures, by not allowing any contact with the captive – no meetings with the Red Cross or foreign dignitaries, just two short videos, almost no letters. They simply cannot be pressured. They refuse all requests of this nature.

This problem could possibly be overcome if our government had been ready to give assurances that no attempt would be made to free him by force, in return for a Hamas undertaking to let him meet with the Red Cross. To be credible, such an undertaking would probably need a guarantee by a third party, perhaps the US.

Absent such an arrangement, all the sanctimonious speeches by foreign statesmen about “letting the Red Cross meet with the soldier” are just so many empty words.

No less hypocritical are the demands of foreign personalities to “free the kidnapped soldier.”

Such demands are music to the Israeli ear, but completely disregard the fact that the subject has to be an exchange of prisoners.

Shalit is alive and breathing, a young man whose fate arouses strong human emotions. But so are the Palestinian prisoners. They are alive and breathing, and their fate, too, arouses strong human emotions. They include young people, whose lives are being wasted in prison. They include political leaders, who are being punished for simply belonging to one or another organization. They include people who, in Israeli parlance, “have blood on their hands,” and who, in Palestinian parlance, are national heroes who have sacrificed their own freedom for their people’s liberation.

The price demanded by Hamas may seem exorbitant – a thousand for one. But Israel has already paid such a price for other prisoners in the past, and that has become the standard ratio. Hamas could not accept less without losing face.

The 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have families – fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children, brothers and sisters. Exactly like Gilad Shalit. They, too, cry out, demand, exert pressure. Hamas cannot ignore them.

The whole affair is shocking evidence of the inability of our government – both the previous and the present one – to take decisions and even to think logically.

Hamas already fixed the price four years ago, according to past precedents. Their demand has not changed since then… Full article

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | Comments Off on Shalit, for example

IOF soldiers abduct daughter of businessman, serve demolition notice

Palestine Information Center – 26/06/2010
File Photo – IOF Home Invasion

TULKAREM — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have stormed the home of Palestinian businessman Ali Al-Dadu in Tulkarem city and kidnapped his daughter Yasmin after confiscating a number of personal computers in the house.

Local sources said that the IOF troops broke into the house before dawn Friday and thoroughly searched it, wreaking havoc in the process.

The IOF soldiers had detained Dia, Yasmin’s brother, a couple of days ago at the Karame crossing on returning from Jordan into the West Bank.

Dadu’s shop was burnt at the hands of Fatah elements after Hamas took over control of the Gaza Strip more than three years ago and his losses were estimated at millions of dollars. The businessman and his sons were repeatedly detained by Fatah militias and the IOF soldiers since then.

Hebrew press had reported that the IOF soldiers rounded up six Palestinians on Friday in northern and southern areas of the West Bank including two brothers in Qabatia, Jenin district.

Meanwhile, IOF troops delivered a demolition notice to a citizen in the northern Jordan Valley on Friday following a series of similar demolition notifications in the area.

Local sources told the PIC that the IOF soldiers handed Ahmed Nawaja’a a written order not to live or be present in the area of his residence and asked him to evacuate his home within 24 hours.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on IOF soldiers abduct daughter of businessman, serve demolition notice

Israel seizes oxygen machines donated to PA

Haaretz | June 26, 2010

Israel confiscated seven oxygen machines en route to hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza based on the claim that there was a chance the generators attached to the machines would not be used for medical purposes, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Saturday.

According to Ma’an, the Ramallah-based health ministry said that the generators, which were donated to the Palestinian Authority by a Norwegian development agency, were seized by Israeli officials despite the fact that only one machine was bound for Gaza.

The generators “came under the category of possible use for non-medical purposes” if they were delivered to southern Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement, adding that the six other machines were bound for government hospitals in the northern Gaza, inducing the European Hospital in Gaza City, the Rafdieyah hospital in Nablus, and other facilities in Ramallah and Hebron.

The Ministry of Health appealed to the Norwegian Development Agency, which supplied the machines, and asked that they intervene and demand the release of the equipment at the soonest possible date, Ma’an reported.

“Any delay in obtaining the medical equipment will negatively affect the health of patients,” the statement concluded.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israel seizes oxygen machines donated to PA

2 bodies pulled from bombed Gaza tunnel

Ma’an – 26/06/2010

Gaza:  Medics pulled two bodies from a Rafah-area tunnel following overnight airstrikes launched by Israeli fighter jets Friday.

Officials said the young men were inside the tunnels during the strike and were crushed by falling rock and sand.

One was identified by medics as Amer Abu Hadid, 23, while the second remains unnamed. A third was said to have been injured. All three were taken to the Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah.

No injuries were reported on the strikes in northern Gaza, but severe damage to buildings was recorded.

The deaths mark the first resulting from Israeli fire since commandos boarded an aid ship in international waters and commandeered the vessels, killing eight Turkish nationals and one dual Turkish-US citizen.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on 2 bodies pulled from bombed Gaza tunnel

Obama forgot vow of closing Gitmo?

Press TV – June 26, 2010

US President Barack Obama has sidelined efforts to close the Guantanamo prison, making it unlikely that he will fulfill his promise to close it before his term ends in 2013, US senators say.

The White House acknowledged last year that Obama will miss his initial January 2010 deadline for shutting the prison and to eventually move the detainees to one in Illinois.

“There is a lot of inertia” against closing the prison, “and the administration is not putting a lot of energy behind their position that I can see,” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and supports the Illinois plan.

He added that “the odds are that it will still be open” by the next presidential inauguration.

And Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who supports the plan to close the plan, said the effort is “on life support and it’s unlikely to close any time soon.”

He says some fellow Republicans’ “demagoguery” and the administration’s poor planning and decision-making “paralysis,” have stymied the plan, The New York Times reported.

Some senior officials say privately that the administration has done its part, including identifying the Illinois prison, and blame Congress for failing to execute that endgame.

But Levin says the US administration is unwilling to make a serious effort to exert its influence.

Last year, for example, the administration stood aside as lawmakers restricted the transfer of detainees into the United States except for prosecution. And its response was silence several weeks ago, Levin said, as the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voted to block money for renovating the Illinois prison to accommodate detainees, and to restrict transfers from Guantanamo to other countries — including, in the Senate version, a bar on Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. About 130 of the 181 detainees are from those countries.

“They are not really putting their shoulder to the wheel on this issue,” Levin said of White House officials.

A recent Pentagon study, obtained by The New York Times, shows US taxpayers spent more than $2 billion between 2002 and 2009 on the prison.

The US Administration officials believe taxpayers would save about $180 million a year in operating costs if Guantanamo detainees were held at Thomson, which they hope Congress will allow the Justice Department to buy from the State of Illinois at least for federal inmates.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | 2 Comments