Amnesty International: “Damning evidence” US may be complicit in Yemen war crimes

clusterbombyemen1

US-made BLU-97 submunitions used by Saudi Arabia-led coallition in Saada, Yemen, on May 23 2015 clusterbombyemen1

 

Damning evidence of war crimes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which is armed by states including the USA, highlights the urgent need for independent, effective investigation of violations in Yemen and for the suspension of transfers of certain arms, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

‘Bombs fall from the sky day and night’: Civilians under fire in northern Yemen examines 13 deadly airstrikes by the coalition in Sa’da, north-eastern Yemen, which killed some 100 civilians, including 59 children. It also documents the use of internationally banned cluster bombs.

“This report uncovers yet more evidence of unlawful airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, some of which amount to war crimes. It demonstrates in harrowing detail how crucial it is to stop arms being used to commit serious violations of this kind,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser who headed the organization’s fact-finding mission to Yemen.

“The USA and other states exporting weapons to any of the parties to the Yemen conflict have a responsibility to ensure that the arms transfers they authorize are not facilitating serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

Amnesty International is calling for a suspension of transfers to members of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, that are participating in the military campaign, of weapons and munitions which have been used to commit violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes in Yemen: in particular, bombs from the MK (MARK) 80 series and other general purpose bombs, fighter jets, combat helicopters and their associated parts and components. […]

Read in full Yemen: Call for suspension of arms transfers to coalition and accountability for war crimes at Amnesty International

Reports Indicate European Union Countries Rendered People to CIA for Torture

1015682423

December 10, 2014
It appears that Poland, Romania and Lithuania hosted CIA “black sites”, which were effectively torture chambers, according to The Guardian. Evidence points to other European countries cooperating with the US spy agency in organizing covert rendition flights, including Britain, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, The Guardian said.

MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik), Marina Elagina — There are strong indications that Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture, UK’s The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The claim comes as the US Senate Intelligence Committee released on Tuesday a 525-page summary of a detailed investigation into CIA interrogation techniques that were used on alleged al-Qaeda agents in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.

Despite being a brave attempt by the US government to come clean on its own human rights abuses, the report did not explicitly name nations involved in the unlawful renditions or those that also hosted the CIA’s “black site” torture camps in Europe.

In September 2001, US President George W. Bush signed a covert memorandum granting the CIA unprecedented counterterrorism authority, including the covert capture and detention of individuals. The same year, CIA agents started exploring the “possibility of establishing clandestine detention facilities in several countries,” according to the 2014 torture report.

“To encourage governments to clandestinely host CIA detention sites, or to increase support for existing sites, the CIA provided millions of dollars in cash payments to foreign government officials,” the summary said, adding that foreign governments were encouraged to “think big” in terms of US financial assistance.

Poland

All countries, who cooperated with a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture program, must investigate their role in a global network of human rights violations, Amnesty International has said.
© Sputnik/ Denis Voroshilov
US Global Partners Should Come Clean on CIA Torture Cooperation: Amnesty

In July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated an international treaty to protect human rights by hosting secret CIA prisons on its territory. The case was filed by two CIA detainees, Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri, who claimed they had been tortured at a secret CIA facility in a Polish forest before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay. An investigation, opened in Poland in 2008, is still underway.

Romania

In 2012, al-Nashiri, a Saudi national accused by the CIA of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, lodged a complaint with the ECHR claiming he was transferred from the CIA’s secret prison in Poland to a “black site” in Romania, where US agents continued to torture him.

Swiss Sen. Dick Marty, who investigated unlawful CIA operations on behalf of the Council of Europe, confirmed in a 2007 report that such sites “did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania.” Both countries have denied any involvement.

Lithuania

 

1015229439Abu Zubaydah, described by the CIA as the first “high-value detainee” to be captured and questioned by US intelligence in the wake of 9/11 attacks, was held in a secret CIA prison in Lithuania in early 2005, and filed a complaint against the country’s government in 2011.

According to ECHR records, the facility was purpose-built as a CIA detention facility with permission from “high-level Lithuanian authorities.” “The highest state authorities were aware of the CIA’s illegal activities on their territories,” the Swiss investigator said later in his report.

Sweden

To date, Sweden is the only country that has paid damages to the victims of its extraordinary renditions. In 2006, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that Sweden helped CIA agents render asylum seekers to Egypt for torture in violation of the global torture ban.

In 2001, Swedish officials expelled Mohammed al-Zari and another Egyptian, Ahmed Agiza, to Egypt at the behest of the US spy agency. Sweden permitted the CIA to ship them to Egypt despite its knowledge that Egypt was a “torture state.”

Britain

The British government has so far prohibited any domestic inquiry into its involvement in the CIA’s global kidnap and torture operations, according to The Guardian.

A 2012 report by Human Rights Watch cited official documents unearthed in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government “showing a close degree of cooperation among the US, the UK, and other Western governments with regard to the forcible return and subsequent interrogation of Gaddafi opponents in Libya.” The Guardian said Mi6 agents were involved in at least two renditions to Libya alongside the CIA, during which male suspects were kidnapped together with their wives and children, aged 6 to 12.

British officers are also known to have interrogated Guantanamo inmates in Cuba and detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, while the UK government provided secret US rendition flights with logistical support, according to British daily.

Italy

Italy is the only country to have ever convicted CIA agents of abducting foreigners and sending them to a torture state.

In 2003, Americans snatched Egyptian cleric Abu Omar on the street in Milan and secretly transported him to Egypt, despite his official asylum status in Italy. In 2009, an Italian court found 22 CIA operatives, a US military official and two Italian spies guilty of the kidnapping and sentenced them each to five years in jail. All CIA agents were tried in absentia. None were handed over to Italy.

The court established that Omar was first brought to a US air base at Aviano near Venice, and then transferred to America’s Ramstein base in Germany, from whence he was flown to Egypt. The 2007 report of the Council of Europe established that the CIA performed some 1,000 rendition flights over Europe in the previous six years, using a web of European airports and US military air bases.

Germany

Germany was implicated in aiding CIA renditions in 2004 after a German national of Lebanese descent named Khaled El-Masri was mistakenly kidnapped in Macedonia by CIA agents and flown to a US detention facility in Afghanistan, prompting condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights. The German government denied its participation in the blunder.

According to a 2013 report by George Soros’s NGO Open Society Justice Initiative, a total of 54 foreign governments participated in CIA rendition operations in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil. These countries hosted CIA prisons, tortured people, assisted America in renditions and provided information leading to secret arrests of alleged terror suspects.

Obama on Senate’s CIA report: “We tortured some folks”  – watch video

 

 

What You Need to Know About New CIA Torture Report

The US Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a long-anticipated 500-page summary of the report on post-9/11 torture practices used by the CIA, on Tuesday, December 9. The White House fears that the “potentially explosive” report could trigger violence against US citizens overseas.

Sputnik –  12/09/14

MOSCOW, December 9 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — The US Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a long-anticipated 500-page summary of the report on post-9/11 torture practices used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), on Tuesday, December 9.

“Two years ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee completed its investigation into the detention and torture of detainees in CIA custody during the Bush administration. The report has been the subject of lengthy negotiations, conflicts and even legal threats between the committee and the CIA, and it has sparked intense partisan battles within the committee itself,” writes Dafna Linzer, Managing Editor of MSNBC.com, in her article “5 things to look for in the Senate’s torture report.”

The comprehensive report dubbed “CIA Torture Report” contains a 6300-page description of CIA interrogation techniques used against detainees including waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation, use of stress positions, mock executions, threats against children, use of power drills and etc. These methods have been qualified by human rights groups as inhuman torture practices.

As the CIA has expressed deep concerns regarding releasing the full document, the committee and the White House decided to publicize a redacted 500-page version. However, the White House fears that the “potentially explosive” report could trigger violence against the US citizens overseas. It led “the Obama administration to raise security precautions at US embassies worldwide,” the ABC News reports.

After the tragedy of 9/11, the CIA began a program to capture al-Qaeda members and detain them at secret prisons, also known as “black sites.” At these sites, the CIA operatives carried out interrogation techniques against prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and his counterpart Ramzi bin al-Shibh, in order to learn more about al-Qaeda.

Only in 2006 did US President Bush publicly acknowledged the existence of the CIA secret prison network. Remarkably, prominent members of the Bush administration, particularly former Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, insisted repeatedly that “torture works.” Dafna Linzer cites Cheney as saying that the waterboarding “produced phenomenal results for us.”

The report, however, proves the opposite, according to an official familiar with the document. It should be noted that in April 2012, the committee published a press release, which claimed that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” had not provided any valuable information leading to the finding of bin Laden, the infamous al-Qaeda leader. “The enhanced interrogation techniques produced zero actionable intelligence,” the committee has found.

“The report is likely to blame CIA leaders for false portrayals of the value of the interrogations or for keeping details from congressional leaders and even the White House. Expect every named former CIA official to deny it. And expect to never know the truth,” writes Dafna Linzer and adds: “And don’t look for good guys – there aren’t any in this report.”

Poland Risked Lives of Own Citizens Hosting CIA Prisons: Lawmaker

1015710490

© Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo

December 10, 2014

Poland sacrificed the security of millions of its people for the sake of friendship with the United States when Warsaw agreed to host CIA prisons on its territory.

There are strong indications that Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA's enhanced interrogation program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture, UK's The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.
© Flickr/ Justin Norman

 

Reports Indicate EU Countries Rendered People to CIA for Torture

 

MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) —Poland put the lives of ordinary Poles at risk when it agreed to host CIA prisons on its soil, Polish Sejm speaker told Sputnik Wednesday.”By making a decision to host CIA prisons on the territory of Poland, Leszek Miller [former Prime Minister] and Aleksander Kwaśniewski [former President] agreed to increase the terrorist threat to their own people. They risked the health and lives of millions of the Poles in the sake of friendship with the United States,” Andrzej Rozenek said.Rozenek’s comment comes after the release of the so-called CIA torture report compiled by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included more than 500 pages of a detailed investigation into controversial interrogation techniques that were used by the CIA on alleged al-Qaeda terrorists, following the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York.

Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture.”Unfortunately, this is a situation when a gross violation of the Polish legislation is supported by such high-ranking officials as the president and prime minister. The report indicates the absence of democracy and human rights in our country,” Rozenek stressed.

He also expressed hope that “extensive conclusions will be drawn and all those responsible for torture in CIA prisons will be brought to justice.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Amnesty International’s counter-terrorism expert Julia Hall said that the United States and all of the countries that cooperated with it to transfer, detain and torture suspects, have an “international legal obligation to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law, including torture and enforced disappearances.”

According to Amnesty International, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, Britain and Poland, which hosted a secret US prison at Stare Kiejkuty from 2002 to 2005, are among the countries that have cooperated with the CIA.

 

Crimes of Ukrainian Aidar battalion confirmed in Amnesty Int’l report – Russia

Ukraine battalion Aidar crimes

Ukraine battalion Aidar crimes

 

By RT

An Amnesty International report has confirmed that war crimes including abductions, executions and extortion were committed by the Ukrainian Aidar battalion in Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, an official from Russia’s Foreign Ministry says.

“The report confirms large-scale crimes, including war [crimes] made routinely and under the aegis of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, by the leaders and members of the Aidar battalion,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights.

“Amnesty International points only to some of these [crimes] – abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, including demanding ransom for abducted Ukrainians, and simple robbery from the civilian population,” Dolgov said.

He added that Russian authorities have repeatedly called on international organizations , including Amnesty International, to pay more attention to large-scale human rights violations during Kiev’s so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine.

“We hope that the report on Aidar’s [battalion] crimes will attract more attempts in these sphere because the atrocities of Aidar members is only a part of sinister crimes committed by the punishers,” he said, “All these crimes, including the [May 2] bloodshed in Odessa should be objectively investigated under effective international control and the culprits should be brought to justice.”

Fighters of the Donbass battalion by the building of the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev. (RIA Novosti/Evgeny Kotenko)

Fighters of the Donbass battalion by the building of the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev. (RIA Novosti/Evgeny Kotenko)

Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has called for urgent investigation of the shelling in eastern Ukraine.

“[We] call all sides of the conflict to restrain their forces from any war crimes, any violations of the international humanitarian law and do everything in their power to protect civilians and their lives,” Shetty said.

All allegations of abuses should be investigated, he said, adding: “I call upon the Ukrainian government to do everything in their power to provide the humanitarian assistance which internally displaced people urgently require, as winter is approaching,”

Abductions, extortion, executions: Amnesty slams actions of Aidar Batallion

In its report, released Sept. 8 and titled, “Ukraine: abuses and war crimes by the Aidar volunteer battalion in the north Lugansk region,”

Amnesty International said: “Members of the Aidar territorial defense battalion, operating in the north Luhansk [Lugansk] region, have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”

Бойцы батальона “Азов” приняли присягу в Киеве перед отправкой на Донбасс

Azov battalion soldiers take an oath of allegiance to Ukraine in Kiev’s Sophia Square before being sent to the Donbass region. (RIA Novosti/Alexandr Maksimenko)

According to Amnesty, “members of the Aidar battalion act with virtually no oversight or control, and local police are either unwilling or unable to address the abuses.”

Amnesty Intl: Both sides of Ukrainian conflict committed war crimes

“Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”

“Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”

Fire brigade members extinguishing fire in a building hit by a shell during an artillery attack by the Ukrainian Security Forces in Lugansk. (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

Fire brigade members extinguishing fire in a building hit by a shell during an artillery attack by the Ukrainian Security Forces in Lugansk. (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

Amnesty called upon the Kiev authorities ”to bring Aidar and other volunteer battalions under effective lines of command and control, promptly investigate all allegations of abuses, and hold those responsible to account.”

“The [Aidar] fighters abducted local men, often businessmen or farmers, whom they accused of collaborating with the separatists and held in makeshift detention facilities,” says the report. “… The victims were subjected to beatings at the moment of capture and/or during interrogations, and either had to pay ransom for their release, or had possessions, including money, cars, telephones, and other valuables seized by the battalion members.”

A man going down to the basement of a building damaged during an artillery attack by the Ukrainian Security Forces in Lugansk. (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

A man going down to the basement of a building damaged during an artillery attack by the Ukrainian Security Forces in Lugansk. (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

Swastikas, SS badges and other Nazi regalia noticed among Ukrainian troops

The troops from Ukrainian Azov and Donbass battalions were reportedly noticed wearing Nazi symbols – swastikas and SS badges.

According to a video on German TV station ZDF, Ukrainian soldiers were shown wearing swastikas and the “SS runes” of Adolph Hitler’s elite corps. The footage was shot by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

“We were filming a report about Ukraine’s Azov battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,” said Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for TV2, a private television station, NBC News reported.

Bogen then asked a spokesperson if the battalion had “fascist tendencies. “

“The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,” Bogen said.

Wolfsangel in E. Ukraine: Foreign Policy talks to deputy leader of ‘pro-govt’ Azov Battalion

Ukrainian volunteer pro-government militias were organized in Kiev in 2014 with the help of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

One such group, the Azov battalion, was formed in May 2014 in Mariupol, based on special patrol units of the Interior Ministry. Participants of the Azov battalion are also known on the Internet as “black men” due to their uniforms.

 

 

The Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) Nazi symbol can be commonly seen on uniforms worn by men from the Azov battalion. It was originally used by the SS and the Hitler Youth, as well as various modern-day neo-Nazi groups.

Another militia group under Kiev’s control, the Donbass battalion, was created in Odessa in April to fight against the supporters of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. In May the Ukrainian news portal LB.ua published a video showing a member of Donbass battalion killed in the fighting who has a Nazi swastika on his chest.

Far-right Right Sector party which first came to international spotlight at the end of November 2013, is considered very active in the violence which triggered the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Right Sector fighters used clubs, petrol bombs, and firearms against Ukrainian police while wearing Nazi insignia.

 

 

During the EuroMaidan protests, the far-right organization Right Sector was formed on the basis of the Donbass battalion and other far-right groups. Russia put the party’s leader, Dmitry Yarosh, on an international wanted list and charged him with inciting terrorism after he urged Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov to launch attacks on Russia. Yarosh has also threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian soil.

In the meantime, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has launched an investigation over the crimes of volunteer battalions in eastern Ukraine.

“We have the facts and criminal proceedings where the representatives of volunteer battalions committed crimes against the local population,” the country’s Prosecutor General, Vitaly Yarema, told RIA Novosti.

 

 

Crimes of Ukrainian Aidar battalion confirmed in Amnesty Int’l report – Russia

RT

An Amnesty International report has confirmed that war crimes including abductions, executions and extortion were committed by the Ukrainian Aidar battalion in Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, an official from Russia’s Foreign Ministry says.

“The report confirms large-scale crimes, including war [crimes] made routinely and under the aegis of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, by the leaders and members of the Aidar battalion,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights.

“Amnesty International points only to some of these [crimes] – abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, including demanding ransom for abducted Ukrainians, and simple robbery from the civilian population,” Dolgov said.

He added that Russian authorities have repeatedly called on international organizations , including Amnesty International, to pay more attention to large-scale human rights violations during Kiev’s so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine.

“We hope that the report on Aidar’s [battalion] crimes will attract more attempts in these sphere because the atrocities of Aidar members is only a part of sinister crimes committed by the punishers,” he said, “All these crimes, including the [May 2] bloodshed in Odessa should be objectively investigated under effective international control and the culprits should be brought to justice.”

Усиление мер безопасности у Верховной Рады Украины в Киеве

Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has called for urgent investigation of the shelling in eastern Ukraine.

“[We] call all sides of the conflict to restrain their forces from any war crimes, any violations of the international humanitarian law and do everything in their power to protect civilians and their lives,” Shetty said.

All allegations of abuses should be investigated, he said, adding: “I call upon the Ukrainian government to do everything in their power to provide the humanitarian assistance which internally displaced people urgently require, as winter is approaching,”

Abductions, extortion, executions: Amnesty slams actions of Aidar Batallion

In its report, released Sept. 8 and titled, “Ukraine: abuses and war crimes by the Aidar volunteer battalion in the north Lugansk region,”

Amnesty International said: “Members of the Aidar territorial defense battalion, operating in the north Luhansk [Lugansk] region, have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”

Бойцы батальона “Азов” приняли присягу в Киеве перед отправкой на Донбасс

According to Amnesty, “members of the Aidar battalion act with virtually no oversight or control, and local police are either unwilling or unable to address the abuses.”

Amnesty Intl: Both sides of Ukrainian conflict committed war crimes

“Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”

Ситуация в Луганске

Amnesty called upon the Kiev authorities ”to bring Aidar and other volunteer battalions under effective lines of command and control, promptly investigate all allegations of abuses, and hold those responsible to account.”

“The [Aidar] fighters abducted local men, often businessmen or farmers, whom they accused of collaborating with the separatists and held in makeshift detention facilities,” says the report. “… The victims were subjected to beatings at the moment of capture and/or during interrogations, and either had to pay ransom for their release, or had possessions, including money, cars, telephones, and other valuables seized by the battalion members.”

Ситуация в Луганске

Swastikas, SS badges and other Nazi regalia noticed among Ukrainian troops

The troops from Ukrainian Azov and Donbass battalions were reportedly noticed wearing Nazi symbols – swastikas and SS badges.

According to a video on German TV station ZDF, Ukrainian soldiers were shown wearing swastikas and the “SS runes” of Adolph Hitler’s elite corps. The footage was shot by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

Украинский неонацистский батальон “Азов” готовится к развёртыванию в Мариуполе.[Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalion “Azov” is preparing for deployment in Mariupol.]

 

“We were filming a report about Ukraine’s Azov battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,” said Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for TV2, a private television station, NBC News reported.

Bogen then asked a spokesperson if the battalion had “fascist tendencies. “

“The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,” Bogen said.

Wolfsangel in E. Ukraine: Foreign Policy talks to deputy leader of ‘pro-govt’ Azov Battalion

Ukrainian volunteer pro-government militias were organized in Kiev in 2014 with the help of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

One such group, the Azov battalion, was formed in May 2014 in Mariupol, based on special patrol units of the Interior Ministry. Participants of the Azov battalion are also known on the Internet as “black men” due to their uniforms.

Вот они, самые настоящие нацисты и фашисты… Батальон ”Азов”.. [Here they are the real Nazis and Fascists Battalion Azov …]

 

The Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) Nazi symbol can be commonly seen on uniforms worn by men from the Azov battalion. It was originally used by the SS and the Hitler Youth, as well as various modern-day neo-Nazi groups.

Another militia group under Kiev’s control, the Donbass battalion, was created in Odessa in April to fight against the supporters of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. In May the Ukrainian news portal LB.ua published a video showing a member of Donbass battalion killed in the fighting who has a Nazi swastika on his chest.

Far-right Right Sector party which first came to international spotlight at the end of November 2013, is considered very active in the violence which triggered the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Right Sector fighters used clubs, petrol bombs, and firearms against Ukrainian police while wearing Nazi insignia.

150 + International Legal Experts: Israel Has Committed War Crimes

By Washington’s Blog
Global Research, August 09, 2014
Washington’s Blog
Region: Middle East & North Africa
Theme: Crimes against Humanity, Law and Justice
In-depth Report: PALESTINE

Should be Referred to the International Criminal Court

Netanyahu

Netanyahu

Legal Experts Say Israel Is Targeting Civilians and Inflicting Collective Punishment

The United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all say that Israel has committed war crimes by targeting civilians.

Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians is also a war crime.

Over 150 international legal experts – including two Former UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights situation in Palestine – have also signed a declaration stating:

Israel has targeted civilians

Israel has inflicted collective punishment on the Palestinians

These are war crimes

The matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Indeed, a French lawyer filed a complaint with the ICC on July 25, 2014 on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister. The complaint alleges that Israel committed war crimes – citing Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories, Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and the ongoing military operations there.

Numerous prominent British legal experts have also requested that the ICC investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza, stating:

Reports produced by non-governmental organisations following preliminary investigations strongly suggest that crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court have been and are being committed. Supporting information is appended to this letter. Additional information, including from “States, organs of the United Nations, intergovernmental or non- governmental organizations [and] other reliable sources” (article 15(2)) is readily and widely available. Eye witness accounts have been documented, and “written or oral testimony” can be provided by victims and others (article 15(2)). There can be no doubt as to the “seriousness of the information” available (article 15(2)).

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has called for “accountability and justice”. That call has been echoed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who has underscored the need for “real accountability considering the increasing evidence of war crimes”.

***

All the requirements for the initiation of an investigation pursuant to article 15 are clearly made out. The “information available to the prosecutor provides”, at the very least, “a reasonable basis to believe that… crime[s] within the jurisdiction of the Court ha[ve] been or [are] being committed” (article 53(1)(a)).

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is worried … as shown by the fact that he has asked the U.S. for help in avoiding war crime charges.

Postscript: The ICC has said that it does not have jurisdiction over Israeli war crimes in Gaza, because the Palestinians have not yet accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction (perhaps because they are worried that Hamas has also committed war crimes). However, Palestinian leaders now appear ready to submit to ICC jurisdiction.

Articles by: Washington’s Blog

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Pussy Riot duo in NYC to promote Amnesty International concert @ Barclays Center

At Barclays Center, the sentiment was more bittersweet and tangible than anyone might have realized.

“Live Aid co-organizer Bob Geldof also added his input by addressing the dwindling crowd:  “This is supposed to be a concert to ensnare the youth of America but I don’t see anyone under the age of 60,” he complained, before dedicating his short set to the memory of Pete Seeger.”

With more Marxists in New York than in Moscow, Pussy Riot should expect a chilly reception from New Yorkers.

Two members of the Russian  feminist punk collective who were jailed by their home country for ‘hooliganism,’ held a press conference at Amnesty International’s headquarters to promote yesterday’s event ‘Bringing Human Rights Home’ concert in Brooklyn.  The two members of the punk collective were joined by Madonna, The Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, and Cold War Kids, among others.

Members of the Pussy Riot collective and Madonna

Members of the Pussy Riot collective and Madonna

The two women were convicted of “hooliganism” in 2012 after staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church.

The duo came to New York City with a political agenda: A brighter future for Russia which includes the overthrow of Vladimir Putin because “We don’t want a shirtless man on a horse leading us.” They also want to visit prisons in the United States.

They did better with satirist Stephen Colbert, but the interview was so bizarre that the answers given by the duo might have left viewers wondering about whether Russia will be better if led by the Pussy Riots.

Welcome to the United States. Have you been to an Olive Garden yet?” That’s how Stephen Colbert opened his interview with Pussy Riot on Tuesday night’s episode of The Colbert Report. Despite speaking through a translator, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina  were laughing along as Colbert made jokes about being a personal friend of Vladimir Putin and rolling their eyes when he threatened to search them following the taping of the episode. ”We’ve had two years of practice hiding things from searches,” Nadya replied.

When Colbert asked the women why they were against Putin, someone “who’s just trying to preserve the peace and bring Russia to a brighter future,” Masha responded, ”We have different ideas about a brighter future. We don’t want a shirtless man on a horse leading us.” They also intend “to look at prisons in the United States, talk to human rights activists, and learn from their experience.” Following their release, the women have called for reform of the prison Russian system.

Nadya and Masha said they were released early from prison because “[Putin and other government officials] were fed up with us.” Asked if they believed it was a publicity stunt ahead of the Olympic Games, they replied, “We don’t think it was a successful stunt; we don’t think it improved the image of Russian. Maybe Putin made a mistake and should throw us back in jail.

As for why they came to America, Nadya and Masha said they intend “to look at prisons, talk to human rights activists, and learn from their experience.” Following their release, the women have called for reform of the prison Russian system. The duo did not say if they intend to visit the Guantanamo Base prison.

Lastly, Colbert asked about the origins of Pussy Riot and how one (such as himself) could become a member. “Even you” could be in Pussy Riot, they told him. “We could even come up with an honorary Pussy Riot tradition for youbut we’ll only talk to you about this after you call Putin.” Well, ask and you shall receive and by episode’s end, Colbert was sporting some bright new head wear: Colbert Pussy Riot

And if you’re wondering why they call themselves Pussy Riot and why they use the English translation, it’s because “we wanted to let English-speaking people enjoy themselves,” explained Nadya. (???)

Amnesty International Concert @ Barclays Center

Brooklyn’s Barclays Center has hosted everything from boxing matches to pop concerts, but until last night, the venue’s premises hadn’t been used as a recruitment station for the Revolutionary Communist Party. The unique occasion was Amnesty International’s Bring Human Rights Home Concert, the Jingle Ball of charitable giving, a show hyped in the States for its very special guest stars: two of the formerly jailed members of Pussy Riot.

The concert itself, however, didn’t launch with a ton of revolutionary energy. The first hour’s highlights only included Colbie Caillat’s performance of “Brighter Than the Sun” and the Fray’s extended take on — but of course — “How to Save a Life.”

After an introduction from once-jailed Iranian blogger Kianoosh Sanjari, Blondie finally made the concert feel like one, keeping the crowd on its feet even through their 2013 track “A Rose By Any Name.” Before “Call Me” ended the set, Debbie Harry announced the determined message of “One Way or Another” was “especially appropriate for this event.”

If Blondie managed to unite all the disparate fans in the arena, Cake could barely bring together the Cake fans in the building. Fortunately, their set was followed by the most anticipated portion of the night, when Madonna (black coat, Grammys cane, Comme des Fuckdown beanie) introduced recently freed Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, recalling how the Russian leg of her latest tour was threatened for encouraging of “gay behavior” before Nadya and Maria themselves addressed the crowd.

Speaking through a translator, the duo opened with the sort of truisms we had been hearing all night – “We have to remember that freedom is not a given,” for instance – before offering the sort of specific, goal-oriented call-to-action that had heretofore been missing, reading closing statements of trials for political prisoners currently awaiting sentencing. “This is our last chance to say something to them before they are locked up for five or six years,” they explained. And though many had hoped for a performance of some sort, what we received instead was undoubtedly more appropriate, a nod to Amnesty, a “thank you for the support” and an account of ongoing struggles back home. As another member of the collective had told Vice nearly two years ago, “We’ll never give a gig in a club or in any special musical space.”  Yeah…

The crowd’s chants of “Russia will be free” seemed like a perfect cap for the night, but instead marked only the halfway point of the show, and Imagine Dragons began to make their way toward the stage. If the Pussy Riot collective envision rock & roll as a way to disrupt and even change society, Imagine Dragons use it to slowly chip away at the world’s surplus of drum sticks. Lead singer Dan Reynolds snapped the first one midway through their opening song, and by the time they got to the end of “Radioactive,” four of the five band members — everyone but the bassist — was hitting some sort of percussion.

Next up, Lauryn Hill used her time onstage to play a single song suite, one that began with “Ready or Not” and concluded with some liberationist reggae, providing the only performance that seemed truly revolutionary.

Bob Geldof nearly spoke for longer than Cold War Kids had played, then continued to play three songs that left the arena emptier than it had been since that band’s opening set.

Tegan and Sara were short and sweet, giving those remaining the first refreshing dance songs that had been heard in hours, and the Flaming Lips closed with Wayne Coyne dressed in a tinsel cape, standing on a small tower of amps and asking if we realize that everyone we know someday will die. With Pussy Riot — who’ve bravely suffered at the mercy of the Russian legal system — in the building, the sentiment was more bittersweet and tangible than anyone might have realized.