Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | December 2, 2011
IN THIS ISSUE
- America’s dissolving due process
- Attacking Pakistan
- Israel, rogue state
- Re-occupying Iraq
- Training killers not to kill
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
Making Enemies Out of American Citizens
The Democrat-controlled Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed an enormous $662 billion defense bill, including a provision that would give the military the responsibility to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists, even if they are American citizens caught on U.S. soil. The bill passed 93-7 despite two proposed amendments to roll back the detention provision and a vow from President Obama to veto the bill on account of the provision.
Meanwhile, top lawyers in the Obama administration said on Thursday that the U.S. may target and kill U.S. citizens with no due process if the president declares them terrorists. This declaration is the president’s alone to make, the lawyers argued, and is subject to no oversight.
U.S. Attack on Pakistan
After the Pentagon spent days trying to come up with an explanation why its warplanes attacked Pakistani military bases, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers, Pakistan responded by cutting off NATO supply routes to their troops in the war in Afghanistan. As anger grew this week in Pakistan over the U.S. strike, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar warned that a simply apology would not be enough, and some speculated that Pakistan might bar the U.S. from its airspace.
President Obama has not offered any formal apology for the loss of Pakistani life, and the military has not come up with a final story about what prompted the attack.
Israel, Rogue State
After weeks of issuing what amounted to outright threats of a unilateral attack on Iran, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday hedged earlier saber-rattling and stated that Israel does not have plans to attack Iran, though it will keep that option open as a last resort.
Israel has also threatened the Palestinians, who this week decided to shelve the planned unity government leading up to the next election. Among those threats was one issued by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who suggested that Israel might cut off water and electricity to Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Ministry has announced that it is retroactively legalizing all the illegal settlement expansion conducted in the Shilo settlement in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli Knesset, in addition, is considering a bill that would impose major penalties on human rights groups, including a massive 45% tax on all foreign donations and a full ban on funding for groups seen as too critical of the government.
Mixed Messages on Re-occupying Iraq
U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey revealed that the 2012 budget allocates $6.5 billion of spending in Iraq, mostly on military and security-related expenditures. This drew into question just how much of “an end” to the Iraq War was meant by President Obama’s announcement in October of a withdrawal by December.
In fact, the administration and Congress have sent mixed messages about whether the U.S. occupation of Iraq is really over. A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday, “There is no discussion, no contemplation, no thought of returning U.S. troops to Iraq.” Still, a bid in the Senate to officially declare the Iraq War over and revoke the 2002 authorization for military force there failed by a 30-67 vote, again leaving open the possibility of a future U.S. military presence there.
Retraining U.S. Troops to Not Murder
NATO’s commander in Afghanistan ordered tens of thousands of troops “retrained” in how to avoid civilian casualties, while innocent corpses continue to pile up in the decade-long war. The order came after NATO bombs killed six Afghan children and NATO helicopters killed three women and injured two men on the same day.
A gradual decline in the occupation of Afghanistan has begun, and up to 40,000 troops are supposed to withdraw from the country by the end of next year. But observers have paid close attention to repeated explanations by military officials that Obama’s 2014 date for full withdrawal will not be a reality.
Assorted News From the Empire:
- After President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen formally handed power over to his vice president, Gen. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, it was announced that the election for Saleh’s successor would be uncontested.
- Islamist blocs gained a major victory in Egypt’s first elections, as the U.S. continues to support the ruling military council.
- The EU failed in its attempt to impose even harsher sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.
- Following the failed “Mexico model,” the Honduran government deployed the army to fight drug gangs.
- WikiLeaks released a new cache of documents called the Spy files on the surveillance-industrial complex.
- Congress, urging more intervention in Africa, inflates the threat from Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. And admits it.
What’s New on the Blog?
Matt Barganier highlighted the waste and profligacy of America’s spy agencies, as everyone else faces austerity. John Glaser blogged about U.S. support for Egypt’s abusive military and the feeble attempt by Patrick Leahy to make that aid conditional, the true nature of the forgotten war in Uganda, the proliferation of drones for domestic use, the Senate move toward dictatorial detention policies, what Sam Husseini thinks of journalism, U.S. plans to exploit Afghanistan’s natural resources, the dangerous evolution of imperial grand strategy, Iran’s non-threat, how the U.S. military calls the Iraq withdrawal a “reposture,” the severe repression by friend and ally Saudi Arabia, and more.
Columns and Viewpoints
Justin Raimondo wrote about the slow road to dictatorship portended by the detention provision of the latest defense bill as well as the terrible price of empire. Phil Giraldi revealed the twisted right-wing Islamophobic interpretation of Occupy Wall Street. Ivan Eland explained how the McCain-Levin provision on military detentions eviscerates the Constitution. Kelley B. Vlahos wrote about how Americans are preoccupied with trivialities yet remain tragically unaware of the warfare state in which they live. Brian Phillips explained how the War on Terror is the gift that keeps on giving.
Scott Horton had on Gareth Porter to discuss the lies and innuendo in the IAEA report on Iran. John Glaser was on to talk about the continuing U.S. effort to support tyranny and repress democracy in the Middle East. Steve Horn and Allen Ruff came on to examine how private warmongers and the U.S. military infiltrated American universities. Chris Anders explained how dangerous and unconstitutional is the Senate provision codifying indefinite militant detentions. Jeff Paterson discussed whistle-blower Bradley Manning’s court hearing. Marcy Wheeler talked about the detention provision and its implications for the global battlefield and forever war. Adam Morrow was on to explain events in Egypt after the first real elections there in decades.
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