Apr 082014
 

Legal or Illegal? The 2001 US-British Attack on Afghanistan. Never Got the U.N. “Green Light”
By Ian Sinclair
Global Research, April 08, 2014
Morning Star

The Twitter equivalent of a bickering married couple, Times newspaper columnist David Aaronovitch and Huffington Post Political Editor Mehdi Hasan, recently alighted on a point of agreement during one of their regular Twitter exchanges.

The US/Nato invasion of Afghanistan was “UN-sanctioned,” they both said.

But are they right? With British forces formally handing over the military command of Helmand to US forces, it seems a good point to look at the legal status of the bombing and invasion in October 2001.

Written in 2010, the official House of Commons Library briefing paper on the subject provides interesting reading:

“The military campaign in Afghanistan was not specifically mandated by the UN, but was widely (although not universally) perceived to be a legitimate form of self-defence under the UN Charter.”

The paper goes on to explain that Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

The accepted exceptions to this are where the security council authorises military action or where it is in self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter.

As the paper alludes, the UN security council did not authorise the military attack on Afghanistan.

Furthermore, there is reason to believe the US and Britain’s citing of Article 51 is suspect too.

Writing a month into the invasion, Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at California’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the US National Lawyers Guild, described the US and

British attack as “a patently illegal use of armed force.”

The bombing was not a legitimate form of self-defence under Article 51 for two reasons, according to Cohn.

First, “the attacks in New York and Washington DC were criminal attacks, not ‘armed attacks’ by another state.” Indeed, as Frank Ledwidge argues in his new book Investment In Blood: The True

Cost Of Britain’s Afghan War, “the Taliban certainly were not aware of the 9/11 plot, and equally certainly would not have approved even if they had been.”

Cohn’s second criticism is that “there was not an imminent threat of an armed attack on the US after September 11, or the US would not have waited three weeks before initiating its bombing campaign.”

Michael Mandel, professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School, is in agreement on the latter point, arguing: “The right of unilateral self-defence does not include the right to retaliate once an attack has stopped.”

Even if one were to agree the West’s attack was legitimate under Article 51, the House of Commons Library paper notes proportionality is central to the use of force in self-defence.

“It may not be considered proportionate to produce the same amount of damage” as the initial attack, the paper notes.

Writing in November 2001, Brian Foley, professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law, maintained “these attacks on Afghanistan most likely do not stand up as proportional to the threat of terrorism on US soil.”

Having undertaken a systematic study of press reports and eyewitness accounts, Professor Marc Herold from the University of Hampshire found more civilians were killed during “Operation Enduring Freedom” than died on September 11 2001.

Moreover, the House of Commons Library briefing paper inadvertently highlights the crux of the issue.

“The USA might conceivably have gained specific legal support from the security council for its action in Afghanistan, but in the end did not seek such a resolution.”

With much of the world standing in sympathy alongside the US, why didn’t the US try to get UN security council authorisation for its attack on Afghanistan?

“An immediate need after 9/11 was to recover imperial prestige swiftly and decisively,” argue Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls in their book Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords And The Propaganda Of Silence.

Speaking just after the bombing had started, the anti-Taliban Afghan resistance leader Abdul Haq concurred with this reason for the attack.

“The US is trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world.”

The last thing a nation attempting to “recover imperial prestige” would want to be seen doing is asking the United Nations for permission to act — a sure sign of weakness to the watching world.

The likely illegality of the 2001 attack on Afghanistan remains one of the biggest secrets of the so-called “war on terror.”

No overt censorship is needed, just an intellectual culture and corporate-dominated journalism that has — often heated — discussion within a narrow set of factual and ideological boundaries.

But while it is perhaps right to be forgiving of those who lost their critical faculties during those days of high emotion immediately after September 11 2001, how should we judge the ignorance of two award-winning journalists repeating the official deception 13 years later?

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History Of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press.

Mar 292014
 

The United States is on alert and has deployed military assets to defend the Atlantic coastline from New York to Charleston from attack by a cruise type missile or low flying aircraft
Press TV

Heightened security measures began with Israel’s increasing threats against Iran but increased with the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

Sources at the highest levels of the US military and intelligence community cite the possibility of a terror bombing, even using nuclear weapons, most likely to be submarine launched. This is what is being defended against.

However, the plot, we have been informed, was to include a seemingly hijacked airliner which would be blamed on Iranians, as stated by Joel Rosenberg while speaking with Greta van Susteren on Fox News, March 18th. Rosenberg claimed the Iranians hijacked the plane to attack Israel.

The US, however, believes someone other than Iran is planning an attack, on the US, not Israel, and planning to blame Iran.

Yesterday, investigative journalist Chris Bollyn made a startling discovery:

“According to reports from plane-spotters, Israel has an identical Malaysia Airlines
Boeing 777-200 in storage in Tel Aviv since November 2013. The only visible difference between the missing plane and the one in Tel Aviv would be its serial number. What do the Israelis have planned with the twin Malaysia Airlines plane?
By using the twin aircraft they have in storage, the terror masterminds may have a sinister plan for the missing plane to seemingly reappear in a false-flag atrocity. Public awareness of the twin plane in Tel Aviv, therefore, could prevent the evil plot from going ahead.”

After Bollyn’s detailed and well supported story was published, a full-scale public relations “counter-offensive” was launched by Tel Aviv.

However, US sources say this effort has backfired, indicating that if an Israeli role in the missing plane had never been considered before, it certainly is now. One highly placed source stated:

“In light of Israeli efforts to get Jonathan Pollard released including overt blackmail, the current ‘bottoming out’ of relations between Israel and the Obama administration have created a very dangerous situation. Israel may well do anything.”
OBAMA WARNS DURING NUCLEAR SUMMIT

On March 25, 2014, President Obama addressed the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague, Netherlands. 53 heads of state were in attendance.

Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel did not attend. This is the 3rd Nuclear Security Summit that Israel has boycotted thus far.

During the closing press conference, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte had just finished congratulating Iran on its cooperation, lauding the United States for a diplomatic success. Rutte made the following announcement while standing next to President Obama:

“…progress is being made. Take Iran. I spoke with President Rouhani in Davos at the World Economic Forum in January. We have now interim accords. The fact that I was able — the first Dutch leader in over 30, 40 years who spoke with an Iranian leader, President Rouhani — was possible because of the interim accords, and it seems that it is holding. America provides leadership there.”

Then President Obama spoke:

“I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan”

Normally such a warning would seem less ominous but these are not “normal times.”

Read full article here

Mar 272014
 

Access to YouTube has been cut off in Turkey after an explosive leak of audiotapes that appeared to show ministers talking about provoking military intervention in Syria.

By RT

March 27, 2014 “Information Clearing House – “RT”- Access to YouTube has been cut off in Turkey after an explosive leak of audiotapes that appeared to show ministers talking about provoking military intervention in Syria. Other social media have already been blocked ahead of tumultuous local elections.

The latest leaked audio recording, which reportedly led to the ban, appears to show top government officials discussing a potential attack on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

The tomb is in Syrian territory, but protected by Turkish soldiers.

On the tape, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is heard to say that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sees any attack as an “opportunity” to increase Turkish presence in Syria, where it has staunchly supported the anti-Assad rebels. Security chief Hakan Fidan then goes one step further, and suggests staging a fake attack to give Turkey a casus belli to intervene in the conflict.

Turkish officials have recently vowed to protect the tomb as its “national soil.”

The Foreign Ministry in Ankara reacted to the tape by issuing a statement, calling the leak a “wretched attack” on national security. It also claims the tape was “partially manipulated.”

“These treacherous gangs are the enemies of our state and people. The perpetrators of this attack targeting the security of our state and people will be uncovered in the shortest time and will be handed over to justice to be given the heaviest penalty,” the ministry said.

A source inside the office of President Abdullah Gül, who has taken a softer line than Erdoğan over the series of government leaks, told Reuters that access to YouTube may be restored if the sensitive content is removed, even though the original video has been deleted.

Invoking national security and privacy concerns has been the government’s tactic in fighting off a stream of leaks showing top officials engaging in unsavory or downright illegal practices.

Erdoğan has also repeatedly claimed that most of the audio recordings are fakes. He labeled the latest audio revelation “villainous” during a stump speech in Diyabakir.

Twitter, another popular source for leaks, has already been shut down in Turkey since March 20, after a court order.

More here

Feb 272014
 

A New Neocon Push for Syrian War

By Coleen Rowley

February 25, 2014 “Information Clearing House - The propaganda that continues to flourish for war on Syria shows many Americans fail to understand the problems posed by “U.S. Empire-building” believing it to be an altruistic force, toppling other governments and starting wars for the good of all mankind.

Two recent articles in the New York Times: “Use Force To Save Starving Syrians” and “U.S. Scolds Russia as It Weighs Options on Syrian War“ are typical of the concerted efforts underway to ramp up U.S. military intervention despite overwhelming opposition voiced by Congress and the American public thwarting Obama’s plan to bomb Syria announced in late August last year.

The “U.S. Weighs Options” news piece is easier to expose since it employs an obviously twisted and one-sided reporting lens that puts the primary blame on Russia for the violent conflict in Syria. It was apparently fed to Michael R. Gordon and his NYT colleagues by anonymous Administration officials as well as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the neocon think tank nefariously founded by the Israeli American Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to deceptively appear to be independent of its parent. (AIPAC has been revealed by scholars as the most powerful force in recent decades on U.S. foreign policy, repeatedly pushing the U.S. into wars for Israel.)

It should be recalled that Gordon himself is the same NYT reporter who gave a big assist back in 2002 to Judith Miller, notoriously collaborating with Vice President Dick Cheney’s aide Scooter Libby and other neoconservatives to gin up war on Iraq by writing false front page stories about Saddam’s WMD.

Read full article here

Jan 232014
 

(Syrian Free Press Network) – Montruex-Geneva 2, Minister Walid al-Moallem: “We are here representing the Syrian people, the Government & the State, the Army, the President Bashar al-Assad, the blood of our martyrs, the tears of our bereaved, the heartbreak & the anguish of families of kidnapped or missing, the cries of our children, the hopes of an entire generation destroyed, the courage of mothers and fathers, of families whose homes have been destroyed…

“When all of this failed, America threatened to strike Syria, fabricating with her allies, Western and Arab, the story about the use of chemical weapons, which failed to convince even their own public, let alone ours. Countries that celebrate democracy, freedom and human rights regrettably only choose to speak the language of blood, war, colonialism and hegemony. Democracy is imposed with fire, freedom with warplanes and human rights by human killing, because they have become accustomed to the world doing their bidding: if they want something, it will happen; if they don’t, it won’t. They have heedlessly forgotten that the perpetrators who blew themselves up in New York follow the same doctrine and come from the same source as those blowing themselves up in Syria. They have heedlessly forgotten that the terrorist that was in America yesterday is in Syria today, and who knows where he will be tomorrow. ”

Read full speech here

Jan 232014
 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/9627574/Editorial-Afghanistan-venture-an-exercise-in-futility

OPINION: Afganistan remains a dismal country after 12 years of Western occupation. A United Nations report finds that it is once again becoming a narco-state, with a huge rise in opium poppy cultivation. Corruption is rampant. The Karzai Government controls only a small part of the country. Torture is widely used. The Western intervention in Afghanistan, in which New Zealand played an important role, comes to a dismal end.

The invasion of the country after September 11 was justified and New Zealand was right to back it. The Taliban Government was sheltering Al Qaeda, the terrorist group which had committed the outrage in New York. The United States and its Western partners were justified in responding.

Read the rest of the article here

Dec 292013
 

Kevin Barrett has hosted some 9/11 related interviews this month.

I thought his interview with Frank Greening, while interesting from the point of view of proving the BBC to be even bigger liars than previously thought possible, was more interesting in its claims that some of the Harrit paper crowd (Jones, Harrit, etc.) were not taking Greening seriously. Perhaps Kevin will follow that lead up later.

The interview with mechanical engineer Tony Szamboti was a knockout. Tony goes into extensive detail about the fallacies surrounding WTC7 in particular.

The interview with Barry Kissin, whom I had heard speak only about the 9/11 anthrax attacks, displayed his comprehensive grasp on the issue of Saudi involvement and provided some excellent pushback on Kevin’s tendency to focus only on Israeli/Zionist involvement.

Finally, Wayne Madsen provides an update on the inside job aspects of 9/11 and adds to the discussion about Congressional knowledge and foreknowledge as discussed by Barry Kissin.

While I still have reservations about the limited hangout potential in the recent “revelations” about the Saudi’s role in 9/11, there is no question that a serious look at these connections would inevitably lead to closer scrutiny of the close relationship between the Saud family and the US government in general and the Bush crime family in particular.

Happy listening and best wishes for the new year!

 Posted by at 11:25 pm
Dec 182013
 

Thursday, 19 December 2013, 10:12 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Hon Murray McCully

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Defence

19 December 2013

Media Statement

NZ to maintain support as Afghanistan mission transitions

New Zealand will maintain its current level of support for international efforts in Afghanistan until December 2014, the Government says.

Twenty seven New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel are currently deployed in behind-the-wire roles based in Kabul, including at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters, ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters, and Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA).

“The Government has reviewed the mandate for these deployments, which is due to expire next April. Our 27 personnel will remain in Afghanistan to December 2014 to support the final stages of the ISAF mission,” Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

The ISAF mission will be replaced by a training, advice and assistance mission.

“As previously announced, a small number of personnel are expected to remain at the UK-led Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) in roles focused on training assistance and capacity building beyond 2014,” Dr Coleman says.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says New Zealand’s work in Afghanistan is business as usual.

“New Zealand remains committed to fulfilling our role as part of the ISAF mission to secure the gains made in Afghanistan over the last decade.

“New Zealand will continue to make financial and development contributions to Afghanistan. The nature of those contributions has not been finalised.”

ENDS

Dec 112013
 

Published on Dec 10, 2013

Syria has been marred by civil war by over two years. In August, videos emerged which showed alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians outside Damascus.

Critics of President Bashar al-Assad claimed the videos proved the administration was behind the sarin gas attack, and led US President Barack Obama to push for intervention in the country before backing away from the threats when Assad agreed to hand over all his chemical weapons stockpiles.

RT’s Meghan Lopez speaks with Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, founder of the James the Mutilated Monastery in Syria, who says that the videos show the chemical weapons were used by Syrian rebels, not the Assad administration.

Originally aired on RT, December 9, 2013