09 February 2008

Reuters: stenographers to power

Reading the headline this morning and my immediate reaction was a scoffing chortle. The headline read "U.S. military loses records for bin Laden's driver".

The Reuters article gave the details:

"GANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - The U.S. military has lost a year's worth of records describing the Guantanamo confinement of Osama bin Laden's driver, a prosecutor said at the Yemeni captive's war court hearing on Thursday.
Lawyers for the driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, asked for the records to support their argument that prolonged isolation and harassment at the Guantanamo prison have mentally impaired him and could affect his ability to aid in his defense against war crimes charges.
"All known records have been produced with the exception of the 2002 Gitmo records," one of the prosecutors, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Stone, told the court. "They can't find it."
He said the military was still looking for the records kept at the remote U.S. naval base in southeast Cuba, which he referred to by its nickname.
The chief prosecutor, Army Col. Larry Morris, said all of Hamdan's interrogation records were given to the defense at least a year ago and that the missing 2002 documents are "local detention records that deal with issues of confinement such as diet, exercise, hygiene and the location of the detainee" within the camp.
Defense lawyers contend there are still records missing, including some that would show Hamdan was coerced into making some statements that could be used as evidence against him.

Several things struck me immediately. This is a claim by the prosecutors, not a fact. So why is the word 'lost' not in inverted commas? Obviously its not a direct quote so it shouldn't be in double inverted commas: "lost", but grammatically speaking (and I'm an English teacher), it should at the very least have single inverted commas which denotes it as being used in an unusual way: in other words it is claimed as 'lost' .

I sent off a letter to the Reuters editors, and am awaiting a reply. It could be a long wait...The letter referred to the universal habit in western main stream media (MSM) of always treating claims by governments and military as gospel truth, rather than the interested claims they really are, and taking into consideration the record of proven lies in which they have been caught time after time in the past.

Finally! An American newspaper that has broached the subject, albeit fleetingly. The LA Times has this headline: "Attacks up sharply on Iraqis aiding U.S."

The article went further:

"Attacks on Iraqi security volunteers...have doubled since October, the U.S. military said Thursday."

What it doesn't spell out is what this actually means. Well, actually that's not strictly true. The LA Times does give the US miltary's thoughts on what it means, and by the same process as referred to above on the Reuters piece treats these 'views' as facts:

"The U.S. military says the rising attacks are a sign that Sunni Muslim militants feel squeezed by the grassroots security program".

Well its one interpretation. Another, mine, is that it is yet more proof that there is no religious civil war in Iraq as claimed, rather attacks by Iraqis on Iraqis are the same as attacks by the French resistance on French supporters and members of the Vichy government: against collaborators of the invaders...

Its the legal resistance to a brutal occupation resulting from an illegal and aggressive invasion - itself the "supreme crime".

Another report from Reuters tells us that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told a news conference in Mexico City that the controversial interrogation technique known as waterboarding and used by the United States, qualifies as torture:

"I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture".

The article continues:

"Arbour made her comment in response to a question about whether U.S. officials could be tried for the use of waterboarding that referred to CIA director Michael Hayden telling Congress Tuesday his agency had used waterboarding on three detainees captured after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Violators of the U.N. Convention against Torture should be prosecuted under the principle of 'universal jurisdiction' which allows countries to try accused war criminals from other nations, Arbour said.
"There are several precedents worldwide of states exercising their universal jurisdiction ... to enforce the torture convention and we can only hope that we will see more and more of these avenues of redress," Arbour said."
"Arbour referred to an arrest warrant issued in 1998 by a Spanish judge for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who died in 2006, on charges of torture, murder and kidnapping in the years that followed his 1973 coup.
Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s were known to use waterboarding on political prisoners."

Spain is one of the most active countries in this respect. They are excercising their universial jurisdiction to bring to trial torturers and murderes from the Argentinian military dictatorship as well as Chile, and there are also several genocide investigations open too, such as those in Guatemala, Rwanda and Tibet.

Bad news from AP: "Germany drops CIA kidnap investigation"! The reason? They saw no prospect of achieving results.

"Prosecutors said they had been unable to establish the identity of the pilot or others on the plane, and also could not determine whether anyone at Ramstein, in western Germany, was involved.
"They said Nasr himself says he is "not able to identify the pilot or other members of the crew."
"U.S. authorities for their part were not prepared to give the corresponding information and contribute to clearing up the matter," they added in a statement, noting that Italian prosecutors were unsuccessful in seeking U.S. legal assistance.
"German prosecutors said they had dropped the investigation against persons unknown "because further investigative approaches that would promise success are not apparent."

And finally, the stupidest comment of the week comes from British Conservative MP Julian Lewis (the Shadow Defence Minister no less). Not only that but Lewis has some curious friends. According to the Guardian, Lewis is a 'friend' of Paul Mercer, named by CAAT as a Bae spy, and was one of those who voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq and as such will be a defendant in any future torture and genocide cases brought before the courts. On the secret extradition from Zimbabwe to Equitorial Guinea of the British mercenary Simon Mann and his imminent trial this criminal Lewis had this to say:

"Quiet diplomacy has failed and we now have to save this man, whatever he has and hasn't done, from torture and a horrible death."

If only he applied this universally and not just for fellow British criminals.

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