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Category Archives: Asia

Osama bin Laden’s death does not vindicate the use of torture


My first article for Examiner.com was published on Monday. Read it here or below.

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The death of Osama bin Laden, at the hands of U.S. special operations forces in Pakistan, has reignited the debate about torture. Those who support the use of torture (or “enhanced interrogation techniques”), claim that vital evidence which led U.S. special forces to successfully finding and killing bin Laden was produced through torture. The key piece of evidence that led to bin Laden’s death was the nom de guerre of his courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. If the Bush administration did not implement its torture program, they argue, Osama bin Laden would still be alive and inspiring al-Qaeda to commit acts of terrorism. This argument is wrong on multiple levels. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Speech: “Imperialism, racism, and torture”


This is the text of a speech I gave at a panel Stanford Says No to War hosted called “It’s All About U.S.: Questioning U.S. Militarism”. This speech was given on May 26th, 2010 and is the last speech I gave at Stanford.

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During the Nuremberg Trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, famously stated: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” America has a long history of war and its accumulated evils. It began as thirteen small colonies that sat along the Atlantic coast. In over a century, the United States expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean – from sea to shining sea. The process was not pretty. It involved the genocide of the native Americans and the enslavement of millions of black Africans whose free labor was needed to fuel the American capitalist economy. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States began to colonize other lands, such as Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba. Since then, it has occupied and militarily intervened in several parts of the globe, such as in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. And let’s not forget the many democratically-elected leaders America overthrew in places like Chile and Iran. The United States currently occupies two countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – and has a network of over 700 bases across the planet. Thus, the United States is an empire. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Crimes of war and the need for justice


It is essentially common knowledge that Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States. Iraq possessed no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and had no connection to al-Qaeda or 9/11, thus, discrediting the Bush administration’s justifications for war. Since the invasion was not authorized by the United Nations Security Council nor waged in self-defense against an imminent threat, the invasion of Iraq was an unlawful use of force (see Art. 39 and 51 of the Charter of the United Nations). In other words, the war in Iraq was a crime against peace and a war of aggression. The Nuremberg Principles (Art. 6) define “crime against peace” as “namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing”. The Judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal famously stated that “to initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Upon waging war with another country, the consequences of that initial act of aggression are various forms of human suffering. This includes, but is not limited to, torture, rape, mass murder, and the intentional or unintentional killing of civilians. This has evil has manifested in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Goldman Sachs, the economy, torture, human rights, and war – a collection of thoughts (Part 2)


Here’s Part 2:

TORTURE/HUMAN RIGHTS/WAR:

When it comes to torture, war and human rights, the United States recently unveiled its extended Afghanistan prison at Bagram airbase. Clara Gutteridge, an investigator on secret prisons for human rights organization, Reprieve, told Al-Jazeera that while the U.S. claims that this prison is supposed to more open and transparent, the government refuses to release a list of names of prisoners who are Bagram and none of them have access to a lawyer. However, she does says, “But one thing that the US government is saying is that Afghan prisoners in Afghanistan have less rights than any other prisoner which just seems absurd.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

Articles and thoughts on torture, Afghanistan and the environment


I haven’t written about current events lately so I thought I would take the time out to write some of my thoughts and post some good articles about the latest events.

TORTURE:

On Friday, October 16, 2009, the British High Court issued a ruling that rejected the U.S./British cover-up of torture evidence. Binyam Mohamed, a British resident of Ethiopian descent who was suspected to be involved in terrorism, was tortured by the CIA in Pakistan and other countries he was rendered to by the U.S. The CIA told British intelligence exactly what they did to him and the British recorded this on various memos. Last year, the British High Court ruled that Mohamed – who was at Guantanamo then – had the right to obtain those documents from British intelligence in order to prove that his statements to the CIA were the result of coercion. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Pakistanis see US as biggest threat, says recent poll


A recent Al-Jazeera-Gallup survey in Pakistan (released Sunday, August 9, 2009) revealed that a large majority of the Pakistani public views the United States as the biggest threat to Pakistan. According to the poll, 59% see the U.S. as the greatest threat to Pakistan, while 18% considered India and 11% considered the Taliban to pose the greatest threat. This could be a result of the U.S.’s drone attacks in Pakistan, which have massive civilian casualties, and are opposed by 67% of the Pakistani public.

To view the entire poll, click here.

Here’s the Al-Jazeera article: “Pakistanis see US as biggest threat” by Owen Fay (Al-Jazeera, August 10, 2009).

 
 
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