I stand by my remarks on Karkare: Digvijay Singh
|Former President Alvaro Uribe was to testify in a lawsuit against Drummond, which was called after a student threw a paper. Now, victim advocates argue that in any case must attend to testify.|
JUSTICE ‘s lawyer says many victims of the paramilitaries that the president must appear to explain the links between the military and paramilitaries, and to report the alleged payments to Drummond Fabio Echeverry.
More legal trouble in the U.S. for the greedy president Uribe. The attorney for many victims of the paramilitaries who have a lawsuit in the U.S. with the U.S. company Drummond just ask a court for the District of Columbia (Washington DC) who summoned to give evidence before 10 February. Terry Collingsworth, a lawyer for the plaintiffs he made the request to the court in the U.S. capital in the process against the U.S. multinational, so that Uribe tell what he knows about the alleged links between the army and the paramilitary in Colombia ( AUC).
This is not the first time that Collingsworth, who works for the law firm of Conrad and Scherer of Washington, made a request to that effect. A few days ago, an Alabama state court, which airs the trial against Drummond, Uribe ordered to go to declare the office of attorney. The date was Nov. 22, but Uribe did not attend. His representative, Gregory Craig, argued that his client is CObj by diplomatic immunity. The same thesis argued in a recent letter to U.S. State Department’s ambassador to Colombia, Gabriel Silva Luján. According to Silva, Uribe, in his capacity as head of state is, is protected by diplomatic immunity in light of the Vienna Convention and not have to appear at a trial. Silva added that “the former president also is accused in this case, it is asked to render a witness.” The idea of immunity, the ambassador concluded, is to prevent as president who took delicate and secret decisions must be subjected to questioning from a lawyer in another country. “We are defending a legal principle. I also defended former President Alfonso Lopez Michelsen when he was called to testify in a lawsuit against the ‘former strongman “Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama,” he said. Collingsworth, however, stated in its letter of December 10 that Uribe should also report about the alleged payments made to Drummond who was his “chief of staff” one of his top advisers in the Presidential Palace, Fabio Echeverry Correa . The victims’ attorney also notes that Uribe can not rely on this case as a former head of state because it is the owner of “testimonial immunity.” That theory was applied by the House of Lords in the UK when he agreed to the former chief of Chile, Augusto Pinochet in London made statements in a process that began in the late 90’s. The issue, however, must be defined in the coming days by U.S. courts. Uribe visits Washington often, because he teaches at Georgetown University. Gregory Craig, the defense of former president, is a famous lawyer in the U.S. capital. It was taken over by the then President Bill Clinton when he prosecuted the Congress by the Monica Lewinski scandal, Senator Edward Kennedy represented in certain cases, and seized the father of Elian Gonzalez ‘the child rafter’ Cuban. If you want to read the memorial to Terry Collingsworth to the District Court of Columbia, click here.
Written by Dr. Franklin Lamb
The European Union can redeem its charter and alleviate widespread suffering in Lebanon’s refugee camps.
The Palestine Civil Rights Campaign—Lebanon (PCRC) was organized in Washington DC and Beirut, Lebanon in late 2009 with the goal of achieving, in concert with Lebanese based NGOs, the enactment in Lebanon’s parliament of two basic civil rights for more than 400,000 UNRWA registered Palestinians. These are the basic civil rights to work and to own a home.
With a series of popular support efforts, including a civil rights march on parliament on 27 June 2010 and a series of informational and analytical reports distributed widely on the Internet and in hard copy, the PCRC continues to intensify its work. Currently lobbying members of parliament, as well as pursuing several initiatives, including an International Petition which aims to collect one million signatures (it currently has 600,000 signatures from 105 countries), the PCRC in Lebanon pegs success on international and particularly European Union involvement.
Background to Lebanon’s refugee crisis
During the spring-summer 1948 Nakba, 780,000 Palestinians—approximately 60 percent of the population of Palestine—were driven from their homes and ancestral lands. Over a period of several months, approximately 121,000 refugees arrived along Lebanon’s southern border, trekking along ancient roads and footpaths or traveling by boat from beaches in Palestine. These Palestinians retained the hope and determination to return to their homeland.
From which areas of Palestine did Lebanon’s uninvited and soon to be unwanted guests arrive? Approximately 29,500 rural dwellers and 8,500 urban dwellers escaped Zionist death squads and arrived to Lebanon by land and sea from Acre; 1,500 rural inhabitants and 7,200 urban dwellers arrived by boat from Haifa; 9,500 refugees came by land from Nazareth; and 6,900 urban dwellers and 4,000 rural dwellers came by boat from Jaffa. They came from among the 531 attacked and destroyed villages, victims of the quarter-century of meticulously planned ethnic cleansing projects A, B, C, and D (the infamous Plan Dalat)—Zionism’s final solution.
Many Lebanese, Arab, and international committees undertook the responsibility of sheltering the refugees and provided them with basic humanitarian services until the establishment of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in 1949. UNWRA started its mission in 1950. They first provided the refugees with tents, then mud houses covered with reeds and straw mats, then one level zinc-roofed cinder block rooms and public bathrooms on main streets. Today it is common to find 5–7 persons forced to live in one room.
The United Nations and the government of Lebanon established 16 refugee camps between 1948 and 1955, of which 12 remain with close to 227,000 refugees tightly caged inside. Lebanon has the highest percentage of camp-dwelling refugees (approximately 53 percent) of all the countries hosting Palestinian refugees.
In addition to the 12 camps, more than 21,000 Palestinians refugees squat in 14 scattered ‘gatherings’ with essentially no infrastructure.
These refugees and their offspring account for more than 98 percent of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees, of whom 426,000 are registered with UNRWA as of November 2010. In addition, there are approximately 5000 non ID Palestinians who arrived between 1967 and 1974.
Increasingly, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face staggering problems. Contrary to the status of refugees in other countries, Lebanon’s unwanted guests are denied social, economic and civil rights, including the right to work or to own a home. They have very limited access to the government’s public health or educational facilities and no access to public social services.
Recognition of the problem but still no solution
Unfortunately, the 17 August 2010 parliamentary amendments to article 59 of the Lebanese Labor Law of 23 September 1946 and paragraph 3 of Article 9 of the Lebanese Social Security Law issued on 26 September 1963, failed to address the elementary requirements of international law relating to refugees in Lebanon. The amendments also failed to achieve parliament’s presumed legislative intent of granting employment rights for these victims of ethnic cleansing.
Preceding the parliamentary vote, which led to the abolition of work permit fees for menial jobs but retained the bar on Palestinians working in the more than five dozen professions and syndicated jobs, and continues the prohibition of home ownership, limited discussion was encouraged. The same false arguments from the past half century were bandied about, including unsubstantial claims that allowing refugees to work would interfere with their right to return to Palestine (resolution 194), take jobs from Lebanese, and make the refugees too comfortable thus weakening their desire to return to Palestine. The truth is, according to the international NGO community in Lebanon, that granting these internationally mandated rights, enjoyed by refugees around the world, will in fact fortify the Palestinians strong determination to refuse permanent settlement, displacement or dispersal.
The solution to the plight of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees is to grant the population elementary civil rights, and it is increasingly evident that the international community must become involved in achieving this.
There also remains a dire need to increase the amount of land allocated for the refugees to live on. The original area allocated to refugee camps has actually been diminished in size by the destruction of three camps (noted above), while the number of Palestinian refugees has increased more than 400 percent since 1948.
A need for the European Union to take an enhanced leadership role
On 19 November 2010, the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign received a much appreciated communication and invitation from Pope Benedict XVI, responding to an October 2010 open letter to Pope Benedict XVI and Lebanon’s Patriarch, Nasrallah Sfeir. The missive was an interim response from the Vatican to the growing international effort to enact civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon, and it included an invitation for a delegation from Lebanon’s camp to attend for a private visit with His Holiness. The missive also highlights the fact that the grave human rights problems of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon require immediate international intervention, support and assistance to the government of Lebanon as its works to meet its minimal international obligations.
As the Palestine Civil Rights Movement launches ‘Round Two’ of the struggle to secure civil rights for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, international community involvement is essential, beginning with education among the European Union countries of the squalid conditions in Lebanon’s camps and EU solidarity with encouraging Lebanon’s parliament to fulfill its obligations and avoid a growing demand for international sanctions against Lebanon. Among actions being organized is the pending lawsuit in Washington DC to cut off all US aid to Lebanon as required under the 1961 US Foreign Assistance Act to countries, such as Lebanon, who engage in a pattern of denying civil rights to refugees.
For the European Union to champion this cause would be a win-win result for all involved. The EU has the political and economic power to quickly achieve the enactment in Lebanon’s parliament of the two key goals that would alleviate much of the suffering of the refugees: the right to work and to own a home. All countries which host Palestinian refugees, such as Jordan, Syria and EU member states clearly benefit from Palestinians refugees being allowed to work on the same basis as other refugees.
The European Union is uniquely positioned to quickly achieve civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon given its economic and political involvement in human rights. Sometimes, the EU is said to have abdicated some of its responsibilities and is accused of caving to US and Israeli objectives with respect to the Middle East.
Among EU efforts that are sought and being hoped for in Lebanon’s Palestinian camps are the following:
- The EU should move into the vacuum that is quickly developing in the languid ‘peace process’ and offer its own leadership initiatives. Clearly the Obama administration is struggling and would welcome EU support and an enhanced pro-active role.
- The EU should immediately act to support the work of UNRWA, which provides, to the best of its limited capacity, health and educational assistance to the camps. UNRWA will soon be the target of US Congressional Committees whose hostility toward the Palestinian refugee community is well-known. The EU has a good record of helping UNRWA and should continue now by more publicly coming to its defense and helping with budget shortfalls. This EU initiative will have an immediate positive impact inside Palestinian camps where UNRWA budget cuts have been sharply felt.
- The EU should take more public leadership positions such as the one expressed by former EU representatives this month with respect to blatantly illegal Israeli actions such as settlement building and the whole list of discriminatory and illegal government actions against the Arab population on both sides of the 1949 armistice line.
- More EU presence in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian camps in the form of educational, health, cultural and small business projects would markedly contribute to the refugees need for international solidarity and would help end the siege and abandonment anxieties growing inside the camps. An urgent educational need is for volunteer teachers in UNRWA’s 79 schools.
- The EU would significantly advance the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign in Lebanon were it to send delegations to meet with local NGOs, visit the camp residents, and dialogue with members of parliament and political leaders to bring much needed international attention to this acute human rights crisis.
Were the European Union to lead the growing international effort to secure civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon, it would be much to its credit. More importantly, it would alleviate much of the needless suffering of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon while simultaneously sending a message of hope to all Palestinians in the Diaspora. Hopefully the European Union will seize this opportunity and achieve the leadership position within the international community that has been its promise since it came into being.
[When it becomes OK to do such things to a trapped population like the people of Balochistan, then humanity itself loses all hope. If Pakistan or some hostile union of India and America is behind these death squad hits upon the government of Balochistan, then “the ball” must pass to the global community. If the people’s government is under attack from other governments then it becomes an international moral duty to expose these contract killings and the mob bosses who ordered them. This must be one of those cases where “the world community” (if there is such a thing) must intervene in some manner. One thing we can tell for certain from the crime scene photos below, no matter what unnamed govt. officials might say, is that the hollowed-out head laying in the gravels belonged to a suicide bomber.]
In a period of barely ten days, both the governor and chief minister of Balochistan have narrowly escaped two separate assassination attempts. Last week, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) accepted responsibility for attacking the convoy of Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi. The governor was returning from Kalat to Quetta when his convoy came under a remote-control IED attack.
The remote control blast did not kill the twice-elected chief minister but caused enormous panic in the official ranks. The governor sarcastically commented that his name had been registered among the martyrs after he survived the attack. His tribesmen, on the other hand, took the event more seriously and resorted to protests against the assassination plot. The BLA said that the attack on the governor was intended to avenge recent killings of Baloch political workers.
Another assassination attempt was made yesterday on Quetta’s Zarghoon Road on the life of Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani. The CM came under attack when his convoy was attacked.Raisani had recently disclosed in an interview with BBC’s Ahmed Raza that his son and he were on the ‘hit-list’ of probably Baloch armed groups. While the police termed yesterday’s attack as a case of suicide bombing, the Baloch Liberation United Front (BLUF) which accepted responsibility for the attack, said it was a remote control bomb blast.
Initially, there were reports that the Lashkar-e-Jhangavi, a Sunni militant group with a very significant presence in Quetta, had claimed responsibility for the attack by calling it a suicide attack. As dust settled down, a BLUF spokesman strongly contradicted LeJ’s claim and said that the attack was carried out by its activists and asked other organizations to refrain from taking credit for the operations conducted by BLUF. Daily Tawar quoted through news agencies the ‘real spokesman’ of LeJ who disowned his organization’s involvement in the entire episode. The LeJ spokesman urged media outlets to report carefully, warning “otherwise, we will teach them (the journalists) a very bad lesson.”
That said, the lone dead person was either probably a passerby or a security guard whose identity the government does not want to reveal in order to avoid demoralizing the security guards of the VVIP squads.
Besides holding constitutional offices, both Magsi and Raisani are highly influential chiefs of their respective Baloch tribes. Raisani told the media, soon after the attack on his convey, that he fully knew who the attackers on his convey were but he still supported a peaceful and political solution to the Balochistan crisis. He once again offered a hand of reconciliation with Baloch armed groups and made it clear that he would not negotiate to LeJ because he had never extended any kind of offer to that group in the past.
On his part, Governor Magsi reacted more angrily to the attack on Raisani by saying that both of them were capable of retaliating with tribal force.
The situation in Balochistan has rapidly worsened over the years. It never improved since General Musharraf inducted controversial mega projects, unleashed a military operation, which he would subsequently bill as “500% justified” and killed popular Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. Ever since, the situation in the province has dramatically deteriorated as more Baloch activists have been whisked away and killed allegedly by the government agencies.
The attacks on two highly influential consitutional officers and tribal lords clearly shows the alarmingly dangerous level of insecurity that prevails in the province. A few months ago, the provincial education minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan was killed which was followed by a bomb blast at the residence of another finance minister Mir Asim Kurd.
If big guns like Magsi and Raisani are absolutely unsafe, what should the common man in the street expect? The more these officers restrict their movements, the more they remain disconnected from the masses. People expect their elected representatives to meet and pay attention to their problems in order to solve them. These attacks will hopefully lead to enhanced security of governor, chief minister and the provincial ministers. In that case, the provincial government is likely to further go underground and become inaccessible for the masses due to security reasons.
A sense of fear has already overtaken all members of the Balochistan as only four MPAs out of 65 showed up for a recent meeting session. The MPAs are making every effort to avoid coming in public. However, in its meeting soon after the assault on the official convoy, the Balochistan Assembly strongly condemned the attacks. They said these events were about to trigger a tribal war in the province.
A four member team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) instantly visited Quetta on the instructions of Interior Minister Rehman Malik to probe the attack on the Chief Minister.
These attacks indicate that space in Balochistan is being narrowed for the friends of Islamabad or parliamentary politics. The way forward is going to be more difficult for Islamabad because the armed groups have not only repeatedly rejected offers to talk but they have also gained too much power by now which has enabled them to disrupt any tight security to hunt down top government officers.
Times of India report on snapshot of Pak Army “shaheed” being honored after dying in New Delhi hospital. The website has since gone offline. The following info is from snapshot.
Army No: 1726016 Name: Zulfiqar Ahmed Arm / Service: Engrs Operation: Suicide Attack Formation / Unit: HQ 30 Corps/ Dte Gen ISI Date of Shahadat: 16 November 2007 Place of Shahadat: New Delhi Cause of Shahadat: Neptrotic syndrome/ARI at Ganga Ram Hosp New Delhi
[WTF is going on?]
The head of South Korea’s army, Gen Hwang Eui-don, has resigned.
Defence officials confirmed that Gen Hwang stepped down after reports in the press linked him to a financial scandal involving a property investment.
His resignation comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island last month.
South Korea’s defence minister resigned after criticism of his response to the attack, which killed four people.
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Two marines and two civilians died in the shelling of Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border on 23 November.
It was the first attack of its kind on South Korean civilians since the Korean War ended in a ceasefire in 1953.
The military has come under fierce public criticism for its perceived weak response to the attack.
Gen Hwang was promoted to the army’s chief of staff in June this year. His resignation is a further blow to the South’s military.
Allegations that he profited from changes to property regulations have been widely reported in South Korea.
“He judged it was inappropriate for him to stay on the post at a time when he has to lead the reform of the army,” Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed ministry of defence official as saying.
Gen Hwang is suspected of buying a property in Seoul in 2002 with advance knowledge that building restrictions would soon be eased.
The general has denied the allegations, saying he had no knowledge of the impending changes.
The BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Seoul says a reshuffle of senior military staff is expected shortly.
Meanwhile South Korean live-fire military exercises entered a second day on Tuesday. North Korea has described them as a “provocation”.