Globe and Mail: Forces’ terror manual lists natives with Hezbollah

March 31, 2007

The Canadian army’s terror manual now lists radical natives as “a potential military opponent, lumping aboriginals in with the Tamil Tigers, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad”.

OTTAWA — Radical natives are listed in the Canadian army’s counterinsurgency manual as a potential military opponent, lumping aboriginals in with the Tamil Tigers, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad.

The military is putting the finishing touches on the manual, but a draft version of the document obtained by The Globe and Mail outlines a host of measures the military might use to fight insurgents at home and abroad. The measures include ambushes, deception and killing.
….

Read: Forces’ terror manual lists natives with Hezbollah (Globe and Mail)

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CBC Docs this Weekend: ‘Can We Save Planet Earth’?

March 31, 2007

I would like to draw attention to a couple of good documentaries on CBC Newsworld this weekend.

Please note that all films listed are 60 minutes unless otherwise indicated.

__________________________________________________

DOC ZONE

(Saturday March 31 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld)

CRAZY EIGHTS

Crazy Eights is an intimate look at the life of the Canadian soldier at war in the dusty and dangerous region of southern Afghanistan. The Royal Canadian Regiment Charles Company Eight Platoon-The Crazy Eights-have suffered more than any platoon in the war, sustaining casualties in both Operation Medusa and a friendly fire attack over Labour Day weekend. A crew spent a month in Afghanistan with The Crazy Eights, hunkered down in dust- filled trenches while the platoon struggled to rebuild a war-ravaged nation.

Watch an excerpt online.

http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/crazyeights.html

PASSIONATE EYE Monday

(Monday April 2 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld)

CAN WE SAVE PLANET EARTH?

Of the hottest years on record, nine out of ten have occurred since 1990. Thousands of plant and animal species are already on life support.

Hurricanes, floods, droughts, heat waves and forest fires are happening with more regularity and intensity than ever before. And in a matter of decades, some coastal communities could be entirely under water. All because of global warming. All because of the choices we make every day.

Legendary UK broadcaster Sir David Attenborough says we’ve reached a tipping point and that we must act now to save our planet.

Discuss this film online.

http://www.cbc.ca/passionateeyesunday/feature_240906.html


CNN’s Impeachment “Reality Check” Needs Fact Check

March 31, 2007

This latest Action Alert from FAIR shows CNN’s misleading “reality check” regarding the nature of impeachable offenses. After reading the article, I strongly urge readers to follow FAIR’s suggestion and contact CNN at the address provided below.

Action Alert
CNN’s Impeachment “Reality Check” Needs Fact Check

3/30/07

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3077

On March 26, CNN‘s Situation Room program presented a “reality check” of discussions of impeaching George W. Bush. Reporter Carol Costello concluded, “To sum it up, the only way President Bush can be impeached is if he violates the law.” But that summary is misleading.

The CNN report took up the issue primarily in response to Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel’s recent comments about impeachment. Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced the idea this way: “They used to be just whispers, quiet conversations about impeaching the president, but now as we just saw, they’re getting a little bit louder.” As an example, CNN played a clip from Hagel’s interview on ABC‘s This Week (3/25/07), where he said, “Any president who says I don’t care or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don’t care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed, if a president really believes that, then…there are ways to deal with that.”

In response, Costello disputed such talk: “But decisions people may disagree with doesn’t make a president impeachable. Reality check.” Costello then quoted George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who claimed that “the Framers did not want a president impeached because he simply is a bad president or he does bad things or stupid things. But once the president starts to violate federal law, then he gets into a realm of impeachable offenses.” Costello then introduced what was presented as another example of loose talk about impeachment—a quote from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.), who criticized a potential an attack on Iran because it is “illegal to threaten aggressive war against another nation.”

While that comment doesn’t necessarily relate to impeachment—presumably Kucinich is accurately referring to provisions of the United Nations charter forbidding aggressive war—it nonetheless earned a “reality check,” with Costello insisting: “The Constitution makes it clear, you can dislike a president all you want, but the only way a president can be impeached is if he is found guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.”

There are several problems with Costello’s formulation. “High crimes and misdemeanors” does not necessarily refer to a president breaking a statutory law. As many commentators have noted (e.g., Center for Constitutional Rights, “Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush”; Elizabeth Holtzman in the Nation, 1/12/06), the framers (specifically George Mason and Alexander Hamilton) crafted that language deliberately to allow for political deliberations over what might constitute an impeachable offense. The move to impeach Richard Nixon, for example, was marked by a serious debate over the question of whether impeachment should solely address violations of federal law, or take a broader view, in line with the debate that took place among the framers of the Constitution. The three articles of impeachment that were before the House at the time of Nixon’s resignation included one based on indictable offenses, one based on political abuses, and one that was a mixture of the two.

As the American Bar Association explains on its website, “What precisely constitutes ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ is… uncertain because the courts have not specifically defined or interpreted the term, unlike other constitutional clauses.” The ABA adds that “many experts agree that there are different standards for impeachable and criminal conduct.”

Right after Costello’s “reality check,” Blitzer interviewed former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who contradicted what Costello had just presented as “reality,” arguing: “I would only take issue with the notion that a president could only be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. We went through this. It doesn’t necessarily mean a crime as we define a felonious crime, but rather it could be an abuse of power.” Cohen then undermined the idea that Bush might meet such a standard, saying that “the notion that you’re talking about impeachment at this point for political differences, I think, is off the base.” So on the question of what exactly constitutes a “high crime,” should CNN viewers believe the network’s journalist, or another guest?

If CNN accepts its own reporter’s view that only a narrow definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” applies, it is worth mentioning that Bush’s warrantless domestic wiretapping plan violated the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Ironically, the very legal expert CNN tapped to analyze the impeachment debate is on the record elsewhere arguing that Bush’s FISA violation could very well be an impeachable offense. As Salon.com reported (12/20/05), “According to Turley, there’s little question Bush committed a federal crime by violating the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” So even by that narrow standard, Bush arguably met it by violating FISA law. As Salon quoted Turley: “The fact is, the federal law is perfectly clear…. At the heart of this operation was a federal crime. The president has already conceded that he personally ordered that crime and renewed that order at least 30 times. This would clearly satisfy the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors for the purpose of an impeachment.”

As was clear during the Clinton administration, impeachment is a political decision made by Congress. When CNN tells viewers that “high crimes and misdemeanors” only refers to violations of federal statutes, it is taking an arguable legal position and turning it into a fact. In doing so, CNN is treating an issue endorsed by millions of Americans—the impeachment of George W. Bush—as a fringe issue in conflict with the Constitution.

ACTION: Tell CNN‘s Situation Room to clarify its “reality check” on the nature of impeachable offenses, and to add more voices to its discussion of impeachment—including experts who argue that Bush could be guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

CONTACT:
CNN
Situation Room
Comment page:
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form5.html?65
Feel free to respond to FAIR ( fair@fair.org ). We can’t reply to everything, but we will look at each message. We especially appreciate documented examples of media bias or censorship. And please send copies of your correspondence with media outlets, including any responses, to fair@fair.org.


MidEast Dispatches: Fallujah Fears a ‘Genocidal Strategy’

March 31, 2007

Fallujah Fears a ‘Genocidal Strategy’

Inter Press Service
Ali al-Fadhily*

FALLUJAH, Mar 30 (IPS) – Iraqis in the volatile al-Anbar province west of Baghdad are reporting regular killings carried out by U.S. forces that many believe are part of a ‘genocidal’ strategy.

Since the mysterious explosion at the Shia al-Askari shrine in Samara in February last year, more than 100 Iraqis have been killed daily on average, without any forceful action by the Iraqi government and the U.S. military to stop the killings.

U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces working with them are also executing people seized during home raids and other operations, residents say.

“Seventeen young men were found executed after they were arrested by U.S. troops and Fallujah police,” 40-year-old Yassen of Fallujah told IPS. “My two sons have been detained by police, and I am terrified that they will have the same fate. They are only 17 and 18 years old.”

Residents of Fallujah say the local police detention centre holds hundreds of men, who have had no legal representation.

Others are killed by random fire that has long become routine for U.S. and Iraqi soldiers. Sa’ad, a 25-year-old from the al-Thubbat area of western Fallujah was killed in such firing.

“The poor guy kept running home every time he saw U.S. soldiers,” a man from his neighbourhood, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “He used to say: Go inside or the Americans will kill you.” Sa’ad is said by neighbours to have developed a mental disability.

He was recently shot and killed by U.S. soldiers when they opened fire after their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb.

Last week, U.S. military fire severely damaged the highest minaret in Fallujah after three soldiers were killed in an attack. What was seen as reprisal fire on the minaret has angered residents.

“They hate us because we are Muslims, and no one can argue with that any more,” 65- year-old Abu Fayssal who witnessed the event told IPS. “They say they are fighting al- Qeada but they are only capable of killing our sons with their genocidal campaign and destroying our mosques.”

Others believe occupation forces have another sinister strategy.

“It is our people killing each other now as planned by the Americans,” Abdul Sattar, a 45- year-old lawyer and human rights activist in Fallujah told IPS. “They recruited Saddam’s security men to control the situation by well-known methods like hanging people by their legs and electrifying them in order to get information. Now they are executing them without trial.”

IPS has obtained photographs of an elderly man who residents say was executed last month by U.S. soldiers.

“Last month was full of horrifying events,” a retired police officer from Fallujah told IPS. “Three men were executed by American soldiers in the al-Bu Issa tribal area just outside Fallujah. One of them was 70 years old and known as a very good man, and the others were his relatives. They were asleep when the raid was conducted.”

Another three men from the same tribe were executed similarly in ar-Rutba town near the Jordanian border. Their tribe did not carry out the usual burial ceremony for fear that more people would be killed. Instead, a cousin performed a religious ceremony in Amman in Jordan.

“Seven people were executed in al-Qa’im recently, at the Syrian border,” Khalid Haleem told IPS on telephone from al-Qa’im. “They were gathering at a friend’s place for dinner when Americans surrounded the house, with armoured vehicles with helicopters covering them from the air. Those killed were good men and we believe the Americans were misinformed.”

Adding to the violence are U.S.-backed Shia militias which regularly raid Sunni areas under the eyes of the U.S. and Iraqi army. Residents of Fallujah, Ramadi, and especially Baghdad have regularly reported to IPS over the last two years that Shia militiamen are allowed through U.S. military cordons into Sunni neighbourhoods to conduct raids.

Last month, residents report, more than 100 men aged 20 to 40 were executed by Shia militias in Iskandariya 40 km south of Baghdad and Tal Afar 350 km northwest of the capital. Another 50 were detained by the Iraqi Army’s fifth division, that many believe is the biggest death squad in the country.

A U.S. military spokesperson in Baghdad told IPS that their troops “use caution and care when conducting home raids” and “in no way support Shi’ite death squads and militias.”

In the face of the U.S.-backed violence, most Iraqis now openly support attacks against occupation forces.

“The genocidal Americans are paying for all that,” a young man from Fallujah told IPS. “They seem to be in need of another lesson by the lions of Fallujah and Anbar.” He was referring to the intensive resistance attacks in and around Fallujah that have killed dozens of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers this month.

According to the U.S. military, at least 1,194 U.S. soldiers have died in al-Anbar province since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The number is far higher than in any other province in Iraq.

(*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)


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