Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases
By DAVID JOHNSTON
Published: August 24, 2009
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter.
The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general but have never been released.
The lost legends of American soft rock
As 1980s pop stars from Britain leap on to the crowded revivalist bandwagon, Ben Walsh wonders what happened to their US cousins
Monday, 24 August 2009
Learn to fly again/ learn to live so free”, wailed Mr. Mister on the power ballad “Broken Wings”. The likes of T’Pau, Kim Wilde, Nick Heyward and Bananarama are pulling in legions of nostalgia fiends as part of Rewind, the wildly popular national Eighties revival tour. But whatever happened to their American counterparts, the Eighties soft-rockers and power balladeers? And what happened to the hair? Has it been gathered up in a crate and deposited in a huge warehouse, Indiana Jones-style, to be studied by future perpetrators of soft-rock?
The recent demise of the superb director/writer John Hughes has generated a lot of Eighties reminiscing, but this odd, garish and evocative decade has never strayed very far from my thoughts. Mainly, because the lyrics that decorated the hits of the day, however corny, however absurd, are enormously memorable. They stick.
New Unit to Question Key Terror Suspects
Move Shifts Interrogation Oversight From the CIA to the White House
By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 24, 2009
President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, part of a broader effort to revamp U.S. policy on detention and interrogation, senior administration officials said Sunday.
Obama signed off late last week on the unit, named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG. Made up of experts from several intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the interrogation unit will be housed at the FBI but will be overseen by the National Security Council — shifting the center of gravity away from the CIA and giving the White House direct oversight.
Healthcare insurers get upper hand
Obama’s overhaul fight is being won by the industry, experts say. The end result may be a financial ‘bonanza.’
By Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger
August 24, 2009
Reporting from Washington – Lashed by liberals and threatened with more government regulation, the insurance industry nevertheless rallied its lobbying and grass-roots resources so successfully in the early stages of the healthcare overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall.
The half-dozen leading overhaul proposals circulating in Congress would require all citizens to have health insurance, which would guarantee insurers tens of millions of new customers — many of whom would get government subsidies to help pay the companies’ premiums.
West Bank: slowly, determinedly, settlers bid to build new town
In the first of a series of exclusive reports examining settlements in the West Bank and their role in the middle east peace process, Rory McCarthy meets a group of Israelis who want to ‘redeem’ a patch of land near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 23 August 2009 20.19 BST
Early in the morning, Nadia Matar drove to the hills south of Jerusalem, near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, and turned into a dusty, unmarked road. There she planted a sign which read “Welcome to Shdema”. She drove on, stopping every few metres along the route to jam into the rocky ground a series of fluttering blue and white Israeli flags. Israeli soldiers let her pass unhindered as she drove up to the concrete ruins of what was until a few years ago the Israeli military base of Shdema.
Here, just a stone’s throw from Palestinian homes and only a few minutes from the city of Bethlehem, Matar and her friends are intent on building a Jewish community, the next settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank.
Alleged mastermind behind Baghdad bombs ‘confesses’ on Iraq TV
From The Times
August 24, 2009
Oliver August in Baghdad
The Iraqi Government broadcast yesterday the confession of the alleged mastermind behind massive bombings that struck Baghdad last week, killing more than 100 people.
Wisam Ali Khazim Ibrahim, 57, a Sunni, said that he had been a provincial police chief under Saddam Hussein and had paid thousands of dollars in bribes to get two 4,000lb lorry bombs past police checkpoints to the front gates of the Finance and Foreign ministries.
Opposition politicians voiced doubt last night that the real perpetrators had been caught and asked if the confession was made under torture. After months of relative calm, Iraq appears on the brink of a new round of attacks, said Hoshyar Zebari, the Foreign Minister. “The coming violence will be bigger,” he said.
Justice in Sierra Leone: apathy is folly
The RUF case will end almost unnoticed, but indifference to prosecutions like this amounts to complicity in the worst crimes
Paul Kingsley Clark
guardian.co.uk, Monday 24 August 2009 08.00 BST
Next week, in a now quiet corner of west Africa, the special court for Sierra Leone will be in session for its final three days in Freetown: the appeal of the five-year long RUF (Revolutionary United Front) case.
The special court is one of a generation of tribunals prosecuting crimes against humanity and war crimes in the name of the international community. Those addressing the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Cambodia are also among them, as is the international criminal court. Like the idea of an internationally shared morality that they espouse, they are a curiously modern phenomenon. In fact, these institutions are peculiar to the last 15 years or so, notwithstanding the relatively brief post-second world war efforts.
Watch out! Disaster looming for Kenya
Politicians cared little about the burning of East Africa’s largest forest – until the lights in Nairobi started going out. Daniel Howden reports
Monday, 24 August 2009
Under a slate-grey sky Francis Maina is hunched over a tree stump. He secures a rusted chain around it and signals for the tractor to start hauling. The blackened base of the mature hardwood is wrenched from the earth like a tooth from a jaw. As he works, the nearby standing forest soaks up a gentle afternoon rain, pulling it into the soil. In Maina’s razed field the water runs down the cratered hillside in channels of black mud.
The 60-year-old farm labourer stands in the midst of an ecological rape scene: scorched earth scattered with the burnt stumps of centuries-old trees. He is one of thousands of Kenyans who have settled inside this supposedly protected forest that stretches from the Mau escarpment down to the Maasai plains and up to the central highlands.
Thousands flee as fire and destruction advance on Athens
Greek authorities in plea for help as they struggle to fight flames
By Elinda Labropoulou in Athens and Claire Soares
Monday, 24 August 2009
Raging fires were closing in on the Greek capital Athens last night, having already forced thousands of people to flee, razed acres and acres of forest and olive groves, and demolished scores of buildings in the northern suburbs.
Struggling to extinguish the blazes, which sent black clouds of smoke spewing over the Acropolis, the Greek government called on EU allies for reinforcements. Italian planes joined the 20 Greek aircraft dumping gallons of water on the flames, and more were expected from France and Cyprus. “The fire is raging, rekindled by the constant change in the wind’s direction,” said fire brigade spokesman Giannis Kapakis.
Lech Walesa: ‘I would have done things better’
Twenty years after the overthrow of communist rule in Poland, Adrian Bridge asks Lech Walesa if he’s happy with the result.
By Adrian Bridge
Published: 7:35AM BST 24 Aug 2009
The trademark walrus moustache is still in place, though these days it is a distinguished shade of grey and rather better manicured than it once was. And there’s no mistaking its owner: Lech Walesa, the electrician whose fiery rhetoric ignited the shipworkers of the Polish port of Gdansk and lit the fuse that led to the toppling 20 years ago this autumn of the communist regimes that for so long had ruled with a vice-like grip from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
This month, the Great Electrician (Walesa’s job at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk) has had cause to reflect on his life’s work. Exactly 20 years ago, Poland became the first country in Eastern Europe since the Second World War to have a non-Communist prime minister, in the shape of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, following the resounding victory of Walesa’s Solidarity movement in elections earlier in the summer.
Malaysian model released without caning
From Times Online
August 24, 2009
Islamic officials today abruptly released a Muslim model scheduled to be caned this week for drinking beer after briefly detaining her, in an unexpected twist for the first woman to face the corporal punishment in Malaysia.
Earlier today three officials travelled to the house of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno in northern Malaysia and took her away in a van for what was supposed to be a four-hour road journey to a prison near the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
But they returned after about 30 minutes and said they had received “instructions from the higher powers” to release her, said Ms Kartika’s father, Shukarno Abdul Muttalib. He added that the officials had told him that “for now, the sentence cannot be carried out”.
Trials due over Xinjiang riots
More than 200 people will be prosecuted on charges of involvement in the Xinjiang disturbances of last month, the China Daily has reported.
The BBC Monday, 24 August 2009
The trials are expected to start this week Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.
Charges include vandalising public property and transport, organising crowds to cause bodily harm to others, robbery, murder and arson.
Chinese police detained more than 1,500 people after violence between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese left 200 dead.
The China Daily said that most of the arrests were made in Urumqi and Kashgar, a southern Xinjiang city with a heavy concentration of Uighur people.
The state newspaper did not give a breakdown on how many Uighurs and how many Han would go on trial, but it said more than 170 Uighurs and 20 Han lawyers had been assigned to the suspects.