Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | December 23, 2011
IN THIS ISSUE
- Vying for justice in the U.S. empire
- Maliki’s turn toward dictatorship
- Government vs. military in Pakistan
- Afghanistan is worse
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
The preliminary hearings for Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, ended this week, leaving Manning to wait and see if the investigating military officer recommends his court martial. At the conclusion of the hearings, some of which were held in secret, Manning’s lawyers reiterated that there is no evidence Manning’s leaks ever harmed anybody.
An American citizen from a Boston suburb was convicted on Tuesday on terrorism charges, but his defense lawyers argued his activities amounted to free speech. "Under the government’s theory of the case," read a statement by the Massachusetts ACLU, "ordinary people – including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary Web surfers – could be prosecuted for researching or translating controversial and unpopular ideas."
The British government has asked the U.S. to hand over a detainee at Bagram, Yunus Rahmatullah, after transferring him to U.S. custody in 2004. An appeals court granted Rahmatullah habeas corpus rights, but since he wasn’t receiving them from the U.S., the U.K. asked to regain custody and organize his release. The U.S. has not yet responded.
A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by a former Guantanamo detainee seeking damages for torture and abuse he suffered while in U.S. custody. Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko’s case was thrown out after considerable pressure from the Obama administration, which refuses to have the government scrutinized in a court of law.
Iraq Flirting With Dictatorship
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki ordered his own vice president arrested this week on terror charges. Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is one of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians. He fled to Iraq’s Kurdish region at word of Maliki’s order. Former prime minister Iyad Allawi said Maliki’s recent behavior is like Saddam Hussein’s. The move by Maliki is part of a broader pattern of targeting and marginalizing Sunnis and could be a sign of rising sectarian conflict after a series of deadly bombings late in the week.
The last U.S. occupation forces have left Iraq, and Maliki confirmed that up to 700 U.S. troops remain for training, along with up to 2,000 to guard the embassy.
Government vs. Military in Pakistan
Sources within the Pakistani army have confirmed that officers are looking for a way to oust President Asif Ali Zardari without resorting to a violent military coup. The Pakistani Defense Ministry admitted that the government has lost all control over the operations of both the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Illustrating the country’s tense divisions, some 30,000 Islamists demonstrated on the streets of Lahore in solidarity with the military over the government.
The Obama administration’s handling of the relationship with Pakistan has gone from bad to worse. This week the administration said the November attacks on Pakistani military outposts were "justified" and "appropriate." Still, drone strikes in Pakistan have been halted because of the tensions.
Staying in Afghanistan
Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, conceded this week that the U.S. is probably going to have troops in the country beyond 2014, Obama’s date for withdrawal. The admission is only the latest in a long line of such statements from political and military officials who aren’t up for election in the coming months. But the war isn’t going well: the latest U.N. report concluded that violence in Afghanistan was up 21 percent over 2010, which hit record levels of violence. The U.S. occupation, with policies such as night raids, continues to harm Afghans and destabilize the country.
Negotiations are said to be taking place with the Taliban, although past talks have not ended productively.
Assorted News From the Empire
- The U.S. stood alone in vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlement activity as illegal, as Hamas’ plan to join the PLO in a peaceful coalition was condemned by Netanyahu.
- Violence and repression by Egyptian authorities is again increasing, as U.S. support remains steady.
- Bahraini opposition groups and a U.N. statement condemned ongoing repression by the regime and urged reform.
- Djibouti troops arrived in Mogadishu to support African Union forces, as Britain considered sending in troops to Somalia.
- Despite a second arrival of Arab League monitors to Syria, opposition groups claim a massacre of 300 people by the Assad regime.
What’s New on the Blog?
Jeremy Sapienza blogged about Obama endlessly ending the Iraq war and Ethiopia being Washington’s apparent role model. Justin Raimondo praised Cenk Uygur for getting it right on Ron Paul. John Glaser pointed to the human costs of the drone war in Pakistan, Hamas’ apparent turn to nonviolence, the bipartisan rush to war with Iran, how government secrecy obstructs accountability, the mainstreaming of U.S. support for Bahraini repression, and being on the wrong side of history in Egypt.
Opinion and Analysis
Justin Raimondo described how Ron Paul’s rise has the War Party in a panic and criticized the supposed gay rights focus of American foreign policy. Philip Giraldi wrote about the ignorant and bellicose Republican presidential contenders. Ivan Eland put a new spin on the phrase "no war for oil." Kelley B. Vlahos reviewed the shopworn excuses for war in Afghanistan.
Scott Horton had on Karen Greenberg to talk about the dangers of terrorist entrapment. Aaron Glantz discussed the travesty that is the Iraq War. Jack Hunter contrasted pro-war Republicans with Ron Paul and a growing number of conservatives. Adam Morrow analyzed the troubles in Egypt and the prospects for progress. Gareth Porter gave the real story of U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Phil Giraldi compiled evidence of increasing Western intervention in the Syrian uprising.
Young Americans for Liberty is hosting a February campus tour on "The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution." It will bring together left, right, and libertarian, including Glenn Greenwald, Bruce Fein, Jacob Hornberger, and Jack Hunter. Find dates and locations here.
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