From Blue Gold, Turkmen Bashes, and Asian Grids - Pipelineistan in Conflict by Pepe Escobar
As Barack Obama heads into his second hundred days in office, let's head for the big picture ourselves, the ultimate global plot line, the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order. In its first hundred days, the Obama presidency introduced us to a brand new acronym, OCO for Overseas Contingency Operations, formerly known as GWOT (as in Global War on Terror). Use either name, or anything else you want, and what you're really talking about is what's happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It's there that the Liquid War for the control of Eurasia takes place.
Yep, it all comes down to black gold and "blue gold" (natural gas), hydrocarbon wealth beyond compare, and so it's time to trek back to that ever-flowing wonderland -- Pipelineistan. It's time to dust off the acronyms, especially the SCO or Shanghai Cooperative Organization, the Asian response to NATO, and learn a few new ones like IPI and TAPI. Above all, it's time to check out the most recent moves on the giant chessboard of Eurasia, where Washington wants to be a crucial, if not dominant, player.
We've already seen Pipelineistan wars in Kosovo and Georgia, and we've followed Washington's favorite pipeline, the BTC, which was supposed to tilt the flow of energy westward, sending oil coursing past both Iran and Russia. Things didn't quite turn out that way, but we've got to move on, the New Great Game never stops. Now, it's time to grasp just what the Asian Energy Security Grid is all about, visit a surreal natural gas republic, and understand why that Grid is so deeply implicated in the Af-Pak war.
Every time I've visited Iran, energy analysts stress the total "interdependence of Asia and Persian Gulf geo-ecopolitics." What they mean is the ultimate importance to various great and regional powers of Asian integration via a sprawling mass of energy pipelines that will someday, somehow, link the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, South Asia, Russia, and China. The major Iranian card in the Asian integration game is the gigantic South Pars natural gas field (which Iran shares with Qatar). It is estimated to hold at least 9% of the world's proven natural gas reserves.
As much as Washington may live in perpetual denial, Russia and Iran together control roughly 20% of the world's oil reserves and nearly 50% of its gas reserves. Think about that for a moment. It's little wonder that, for the leadership of both countries as well as China's, the idea of Asian integration, of the Grid, is sacrosanct.
If it ever gets built, a major node on that Grid will surely be the prospective $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, also known as the "peace pipeline." After years of wrangling, a nearly miraculous agreement for its construction was initialed in 2008. At least in this rare case, both Pakistan and India stood shoulder to shoulder in rejecting relentless pressure from the Bush administration to scotch the deal.
It couldn't be otherwise. Pakistan, after all, is an energy-poor, desperate customer of the Grid. One year ago, in a speech at Beijing's Tsinghua University, then-President Pervez Musharraf did everything but drop to his knees and beg China to dump money into pipelines linking the Persian Gulf and Pakistan with China's Far West. If this were to happen, it might help transform Pakistan from a near-failed state into a mighty "energy corridor" to the Middle East. If you think of a pipeline as an umbilical cord, it goes without saying that IPI, far more than any form of U.S. aid (or outright interference), would go the extra mile in stabilizing the Pak half of Obama's Af-Pak theater of operations, and even possibly relieve it of its India obsession.
If Pakistan's fate is in question, Iran's is another matter. Though currently only holding "observer" status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), sooner or later it will inevitably become a full member and so enjoy NATO-style, an-attack-on-one-of-us-is-an-attack-on-all-of-us protection. Imagine, then, the cataclysmic consequences of an Israeli preemptive strike (backed by Washington or not) on Iran's nuclear facilities. The SCO will tackle this knotty issue at its next summit in June, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Iran's relations with both Russia and China are swell -- and will remain so no matter who is elected the new Iranian president next month. China desperately needs Iranian oil and gas, has already clinched a $100 billion gas "deal of the century" with the Iranians, and has loads of weapons and cheap consumer goods to sell. No less close to Iran, Russia wants to sell them even more weapons, as well as nuclear energy technology.
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Friday, May 22, 2009
From Blue Gold, Turkmen Bashes, and Asian Grids - Pipelineistan in Conflict by Pepe Escobar
By Renee Maltezou
ATHENS, May 21 (Reuters) - A leftist urban guerrilla group said on Thursday it carried out a bomb attack in the Greek capital this week and another in March, saying it was protesting corruption and the killing of a teenager by police in December.
No one was hurt in either explosion, part of a string of anarchist and leftist attacks aimed at companies, police and public buildings since the death of the teenager triggered the worst riots in Greece in decades.
The group, which calls itself Popular Will, said in a pamphlet sent to Greek weekly To Pontiki newspaper it planted the time-bomb which exploded outside the Athens offices of an investment company in Athens on Wednesday, causing minor damage.
The little-known group also claimed responsibility for a bomb which rattled central Athens in March, causing serious damage to a state building and shops but no injuries.
"Undoubtedly the killing of the 15-year old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos roused the sleeping consciousness of the popular class," the group said in its statement, referring to the teenager shot by the police.
It also condemned official scandals and corruption, as well as measures taken to deal with a sharp economic decline.
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ATHENS, May 21 (Reuters) - A former director of engineering firm Siemens' Greek unit was taken into custody on Thursday pending trial on charges of bribery and money laundering in contracts with Greek telecoms group OTE, a court official said.
Former general director Prodromos Mavrides has denied any wrongdoing in the 1997 case, in which prosecutors have also charged other ex-Siemens ( SI - news - people ) Greece staff over alleged bribes for contracts with the then state-controlled telecoms group.
'Last night, the investigating prosecutor ruled Mavrides should be kept in custody pending trial,' a court official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. 'He was taken to jail this morning.'
The scandal is one of a series being investigated by Greek prosecutors. Although others have come to light in recent years, no Greek politician has yet been prosecuted.
Siemens ended one of the biggest corporate corruption investigations in history when it agreed in December last year to pay about 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion) in fines and penalties as a result of investigations by U.S. and German authorities into bribes it paid to win contracts.
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From the Daily Times:
ATHENS: Greek police on Thursday used tear gas during clashes with hundreds of Muslim immigrants protesting in Athens over reports that an officer had torn up a copy of the holy Quran during a routine check the day before. Around 1,500 demonstrators marched through the working class district of Kypseli towards the Omonia Square in the city centre, where there were scuffles with officers and tear gas was fired, said police. Demonstrators said that on Wednesday, as police officers stopped four Syrian immigrants to check their papers, one of the officers had torn up a Quran and stamped on it. After word spread of the alleged incident, the local Muslim immigrant community, mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, organised Thursday's protest. Police have so far not commented on Wednesday's alleged incident. afp
This seems part of a wider clampdown:
EU border agency helps Greece with immigration
Officers from an EU border protection agency used high-tech sensors to search trucks and monitor clandestine crossings along Greece's frontier with Turkey on Tuesday, as part of an eight-day exercise to help local authorities stem a spike in illegal immigration.
Greek authorities said the EU agency, known as Frontex, has sent 40 officers from 20 countries to work with 165 Greek border guards in the exercise. Border guards from new EU-member Bulgaria are also assisting.
Athens is seeking greater assistance from the European Union to help stop immigrants illegally crossing over its rugged borders with Turkey or reaching dozens of islands in the Aegean Sea.
Frontex officers are using heartbeat and carbon dioxide detectors, along with heat cameras and other sensors to scan vehicles, and are watching the border with a surveillance helicopter and aircraft.
Officers involved in the exercise, which ends Wednesday, reported the arrest of 12 illegal immigrants during vehicle searches.
"This border region is the hottest area of illegal immigration in Europe," Gil Arias, Frontex' deputy executive director, told The Associated Press.
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Meanwhile, Turkey raises the ante:
Greece insists to ignore Turkish rigths despite ECHR rule
Iskece (Xanthi) District Law Court in Greece announced the reasons for denial decision on the case of closure of Iskece Turkish Union (ITU) in Western Thrace that applied to Greek court to get legal rights after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision, Turkish Anadolu news agency reported.
Denial causes were listed under three main headings in the court decision: "Greek Civil Procedure Code do not allow to change a court decision in this manner", the association applied to the court without making any changes in its charter, which is one of the reasons of closure " and "any association closed by court order have the right for financial compensation, but do not have the legal right to move on to new activities as it is before the decision."
ITU officials reported they will appeal the court decision.
ITU, after the ECHR's decision last year, had made two separate applications to get their legal rights to Iskece District Court and Rodop Court of Appeal. ITU demands to regain its legal position before the closure and the renewal of its registration that was deleted by Iskece Associations Book.
Established in Western Thrace in 1927, and shut down in 1986 by the Governor of Iskece claiming " there are no Turks in Western Thrace" and "activities threatens public order and national security", ITU struggled nearly 20 year within Greek law until 2005 and then moved to the ECHR.
ECHR desicion states Greece violated the Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights that is related to the right to organize by closing the ITU.
Greece insists on recognizing only a Muslim minority, not Turkish, impeding progress for resolving minority rights issues.
So, Cyprus comes to the rescue:
House rules Greece has no Turkish minorities
By Elias Hazou
BY UNANIMOUS vote, the Plenum yesterday passed a resolution stressing that it does not recognise the presence of “any Turkish minority within the territory of Greece”.
The move comes after DISY deputy Christos Pourgourides, in his personal capacity, signed a motion for a resolution calling for an investigation into possible human rights violations of the 'Turkish minority' in the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kos.
The contentious motion was drafted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), of which Pourgourides is a member. PACE's document, dated May 6, expressed “concern on the situation of the Turkish minority” in the two islands.
PACE's motion cited concerns over religious and linguistic restrictions for persons of Turkish ethnic origin living in the two islands. It noted, for instance, that Turkish schools in Rhodes and Kos “ceased to operate in 1972”. And that “according to the latest information received, the Turkish minority on the islands is denied the right to education in their mother tongue.”
Greece does not acknowledge the presence of a Turkish minority, instead referring to Greek citizens of Turkish ethnic origin as the “Muslim minority”.
A number of Turkish MPs also signed the same document. Pourgourides took flak from politicians in Cyprus, accusing him of playing into the hands of Turkish diplomacy and of jeopardising Cyprus' relations with steadfast ally Greece.
Yesterday's resolution by Parliament, drafted at the initiative of DIKO, also stressed that “we remain firmly opposed to Turkey's intention to promote secessionist elements in the territory of Greece”.
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Hidden from this debate are basic issues such as the denial of burial plots and services to muslims in southern Greece and the Athens area (forcing them to have to transport their dead to northern Greece for proper burial).
Greek newspapers express concerns about a NATO restructuring under which Greek and Turkish commanders will take turns heading the alliance's Larissa military headquarters. Some Greeks say the appointment of a Turkish commander will make it easier for Turkish warplanes to fly in Greek airspace
The appointment of a Turkish commander to the NATO military headquarters in Larissa, Greece, as part of a restructuring process has sparked controversy in Turkey's western neighbor.
According to the Greek press, the Turkish and Greek Chiefs of General Staff, with their respective governments' approvals, agreed at a meeting held May 7-8 in Brussels to accept the implementation of the new arrangements under a NATO restructuring in the region.
The restructuring foresees the closing of the military base in Eskişehir, and Turkey and Greece's continued responsibility for the Larissa headquarters and the aerial control of Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. The administration of the Aegean base will be transferred to NATO under alternating Turkish and Greek commandership in two-year intervals.
Athens newspapers argued that the appointment of a Turkish commander to the Larissa Military Headquarters, which was merged with the Eskişehir base, would make it easier for Turkish warplanes to fly in Greek airspace.
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Uchenna Izundu writes for Oil and Gas Journal
LONDON, May 21 -- Eni SPA and OAO Gazprom plan to double the capacity of the South Stream pipeline to 63 billion cu m/year. The line will deliver Russian gas directly into Europe by December 2015 under a new agreement.
The original capacity was slated at 31 billion cu m/year and signifies their commitment to diversify gas supply routes following Gazprom's price spat with Ukraine earlier this year which stopped flows into Europe (OGJ Online, Jan. 2, 2009).
Although the European Commission is keen to promote supply diversity, its preference lies with the proposed 31 billion cu m/year Nabucco pipeline, which would bypass Russia, and is slated to come onstream in 2014. However, there is no firm gas production committed from the Caspian and Middle East and financing is another key challenge. The European Commission has been earnestly trying to garner the necessary political support from the transit countries, including Turkey (OGJ Online, May 14, 2009). Only Azerbaijan has agreed to support Nabucco and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—owing to political pressure from Russia—have declined.
Iran is another potential gas supplier, but tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program, means that it is difficult for Europe to pursue this option.
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Here is how Moscow sees the issue:
Problems in the pipeline
The new Great Game in energy politics - the race between Gazprom's South Stream pipeline project and the European Union's planned Nabucco route - is escalating as countries are increasingly being pushed to take sides.
In the latest developments, Italy's Eni agreed to double South Stream's capacity and Gazprom offered to buy Azeri gas in a deal that would be a major blow for Nabucco, while a tentative EU-backed deal to pump gas from Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq faltered after Baghdad vetoed the plan.
The $8 billion deal with Kurdistan could have seen Nabucco pumping gas by 2014, a full year before Russia's rival South Stream project.
Alexander Medvedev, deputy CEO of Gazprom, told Bloomberg television that it could buy all the gas from the Shah Deniz-2 field, which many had previously thought would be used for Nabucco. However, the reasons for the Russian monopolist's interest in Azeri gas remain unclear as it would be unlikely to make a profit on the Caspian Sea field.
"We believe that Gazprom would buy this gas with the main aim of providing trouble-free gas supply to Europe," said Natalya Milchakova, senior oil and gas analyst at financial company Otkritie. "Nevertheless, we do not rule out that the government, as Gazprom's controlling shareholder, could force the company to adopt such a decision in order to offset the potentially competing Nabucco project."
Gazprom is losing around 20 per cent of its income on gas from Central Asia as it is paying more than the export price to Europe and has also had to cut back on highly profitable domestic production due to the decrease in demand.
"Azeri gas is too expensive to be sold domestically, so it can only be re-exported," Mikhail Korchemkin, managing director of East European Gas Research, wrote in an e-mail. "To re-export Azeri gas, Gazprom needs to cut down exports of Russian gas, the main source of its profit."
Gazprom has denied that the offer is connected with Nabucco, stating that it is a long-term plan to increase the reliability of its deliveries and diversifying its export portfolio.
"Russia and Azerbaijan are connected already with a developed gas-transport infrastructure," Gazprom's press office wrote on Thursday in an e-mailed response to questions. "The contract negotiations about purchasing Azerbaijani gas are a logical step not connected with the project Nabucco and directed towards the development of bilateral cooperation in the field of power."
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The quackery of chemotherapy, gunpoint medicine and the disturbing fate of 13-year-old Daniel Hauser
By Mike Adams
(NaturalNews) You see it in newspapers and websites across the 'net: People insisting that 13-year-old Daniel Hauser must be injected with chemotherapy in order to "save his life," and that anyone refusing to go along with that is a criminal deserving of arrest and imprisonment.
What's most astonishing about the mainstream reaction to the forced chemotherapy of Daniel Hauser is not merely that they believe states now own the children, but that they believe in the entire world there exists but one single treatment for cancer, and it happens to be the one that makes pharmaceutical companies the most money. The arrogance (and ignorance) of that position is mind boggling.
There was once a time when western medical doctors believed that the heavy metal mercury was a medicine, too. They methodically used mercury to treat hundreds of different diseases and conditions, oblivious to the fact that they were actually poisoning people with this toxic heavy metal.
And yet, imagine if authorities had arrested parents for not treating their children with mercury. Imagine if they threw parents in prison for refusing their "mercury medicine." That would be equivalent to today's arrogant, misguided and extremely dangerous campaign to outlaw saying "no" to chemotherapy.
A brief history of medical quackery
It was mercury, in fact, that led to the term "quack." Mercury is called "quicksilver," and those doctors who prescribed it were eventually discovered to be pushing toxic chemicals rather than any real medicine. They were initially called "quicks" and then later "quacks."
The quackery of those doctors prescribing mercury wasn't hard to miss: People taking the mercury would get extremely ill. Their hair would fall out. They would lose their appetite and experience extreme loss of body weight. Many would simply die from the toxicity.
Remarkably, these are the same side effects produced by chemotherapy. And today, chemotherapy doctors describe these side effects in precisely the same terms as the mercury quacks of a century ago, claiming the effects are "part of the healing process" and encouraging patients to find the courage to "just go through with it."
But let's pull our heads out of the muck here and acknowledge the obvious: Poisoning patients -- whether with mercury or chemotherapy -- will never produce healing. And the prescribing of such toxic chemicals to patients is little more than sophisticated quackery, backed by seemingly convincing data (which is actually based on scientific fraud) along with the urgings of cancer doctors who rely on highly manipulative fear tactics to corral patients into treatments that will only harm them.
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"The following is reposted from the publication The Industry Standard and looks into one of the economic reasons behind the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the commercial interests of major computer and cell phone related companies in the exploitation of the DRC which comes at a massive cost to civilian life. The original article at http://www.thestandard.com/article/0,1902,26784,00.html has now expired, but is preserved here."
Guns, Money and Cell Phones
By Kristi Essick
The Industry Standard Magazine
Issue Date: Jun 11 2001
The offer turned up a few weeks ago on an Internet bulletin board called the Embassy Network. Among the postings about Dutch work visas and Italian pen pals lurked a surprisingly blunt proposal: "How much do you want to offer per kilogram? Please find me at least 100,000 U.S. dollars and I will deliver immediately."
The substance for sale wasn't cocaine or top-grade opium. It was an ore called Columbite-tantalite - coltan for short - one of the world's most sought-after materials. Refine coltan and you get a highly heat-resistant metal powder called tantalum. It sells for $100 a pound, and it's becoming increasingly vital to modern life. For the high-tech industry, tantalum is magic dust, a key component in everything from mobile phones made by Nokia (NOK) and Ericsson and computer chips from Intel (INTC) to Sony (SNE) stereos and VCRs.
Selling coltan is not illegal. Most of the worldwide tantalum supply - valued at as much as $6 billion a year - comes from legitimate mining operations in Australia, Canada and Brazil. But as demand for tantalum took off with the boom of high-tech products in recent years, a new, more sinister market began flourishing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, warring rebel groups - many funded and supplied by neighboring Rwanda and Uganda - are exploiting coltan mining to help finance a bloody civil war now in its third year. "There is a direct link between human rights abuses and the exploitation of resources in areas in the DRC occupied by Rwanda and Uganda," says Suliman Baldo, a senior researcher in the Africa division at Human Rights Watch, a New York-based nongovernmental organization that tracks human-rights abuses worldwide.
The slaughter and misery in the Congo has not abated since the country's president, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in January. (Kabila's son, Joseph, was quickly appointed the new head of state.) Human Rights Watch researchers, working with monitors in the Congo, estimate that at least 10,000 civilians have been killed and 200,000 people have been displaced in northeastern Congo since June 1999. Rebels have driven farmers off their coltan-rich land and attacked villages in a civil war raging, in part, over control of strategic mining areas. The Ugandan and Rwandan rebels "are just helping themselves," Baldo says. The mining by the rebels is also causing environmental destruction. In particular, endangered gorilla populations are being massacred or driven out of their natural habitat as the miners illegally plunder the ore-rich lands of the Congo's protected national parks.
The link between the bloodshed and coltan is causing alarm among high-tech manufacturers. Slowly they are beginning to grapple with the possibility that their products may contain the tainted fruits of civil war. A similar controversy, after all, wracked the diamond industry in the late 1990s, when global demand for the gems helped finance civil wars in Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia. Since then, the international community has clamped down on the diamond trade, imposing tougher import and export regulations.
But with tantalum, such regulations may be difficult to enforce. The market for the metal is based on secretive and convoluted trade links subject to few international regulations, and the ore is not sold on regulated metals exchanges.
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See also: Congo's Tin Soldiers - Democratic Republic of Congo
Psychological warfare, embedded reporters and the hunting of refugees
by Keith Harmon Snow
Global Research, April 12, 2008
Author's website www.allthingspass.com
An investigation has uncovered an asylum system scandal where bogus Rwandan “refugees” infiltrate the U.S. and U.K. and work as undercover agents to hunt down critics of the Rwandan dictatorship and legitimate refugees and drag them back to Rwanda. This is yet the latest revelation on how the dictatorship in Rwanda manufactures and exports terrorism using an ideology of genocide and how the West supports terrorism by backing its Rwanda proxy. Meanwhile, business in Rwanda is booming and the criminal networks of the Kagame military machine continue to plunder the blood-drenched Congo.
In October 1990, the Ugandan army and the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) led by Major General Paul Kagame invaded Rwanda.1 This action set in motion a course of history that determined the fate of millions of innocent people in Central Africa.
By July 1994, the RPF completed its coup d'etat and consolidated its power in Rwanda. The government of Paul Kagame has since then maintained political power and manipulated public sympathy by promoting a highly politicized ideology of genocide.2
After more than 14 years of systematic disinformation about Rwanda there exists a collective ignorance about what really happened in Rwanda and who is responsible. The so-called “Rwanda Genocide” is one of the most widely misunderstood events in contemporary history, and not because the evidence is lacking or because the truth is obscured by butchery.
According to the official story, extremist Hutus in the government and military committed an orchestrated and pre-planned genocide against the Tutsi minority from April 6 to about July 16, 1994. In this mythology, some 800,000 to 1.2 million Tutsi were butchered with hoes, axes, and machetes, over the now infamous “100 days of genocide.”
Anyone who challenges the official story is branded a 'genocide negationist' or 'genocide revisionist' by the Kagame regime, and they are castigated as 'killers of remembrance.'3
“Within Rwanda, legislation prevents anyone from questioning the official historical record. Although the constitution already forbids denial of the 1994 killings, the Rwandan government has stepped up moves to combat 'genocide ideology'. […] A new law is in the making, aimed at criminalizing all ideas that might provoke ethnic division. Under the law, children below the age of 12 will be sent to a rehabilitation centre for a year if found guilty.”4
The real story seems to be that the RPF were the killers to a far greater extent, the majority of the victims were Hutus, and the numbers of dead during those 100 days were far less. The final insult to truth comes in the upside-down assertion that the RPF “stopped the genocide by winning the war.” Also, the RPF typically killed everyone in its path: Major General Paul Kagame did not trust any Tutsis who stayed in Rwanda after pogroms that created the Tutsi exile community prior to the Habyarimana government (1973-1994) and Tutsis were also targeted by the RPF.
Even those experts on “genocide in Rwanda” who do not contest the official story will attest to the myriad complexities that surround accusations and counter accusations about victims and perpetrators in post-1994 Rwanda.5 Under the new power structure there were strong motivations to accuse the stigmatized Hutus of crimes that were never committed.
On April 6, 1994, the governments of Rwanda and Burundi were decapitated when the plane carrying the two presidents and top military staff was shot down over Kigali, Rwanda's capital. The well-planned assassinations of Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira sparked a massive escalation of warfare that is falsely portrayed as the result of meaningless tribal savagery.
On February 6, 2008, a Spanish court delivered international arrest warrants against forty of the top military officials in the Rwandan regime. President Paul Kagame was investigated but not indicted but only because heads of state have immunity. The arrest warrants charge the RPF officials with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1990 and 2002.6
The Spanish indictments join the November 17, 2006 indictments issued by French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who concluded that the RPF, under the direct orders of Paul Kagame, carried out the surface-to air-missile attacks on the airplane carrying the two presidents.7
Now, an investigation has uncovered a scandal where fake Rwandan asylum seekers infiltrate the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (U.K.) and work undercover to hunt down critics and survivors of the Rwandan dictatorship and bring them back to Rwanda. This scandal revolves around networks of informers and agents and it encapsulates all the machinations of the growing industry around “genocide in Rwanda”.
Prejudged by Western human rights organizations, journalists, and mass media, the Rwanda government's critics and survivors forced to flee for their lives are falsely accused and publicly branded as genocide perpetrators. Shunned as humanity's lowest criminals, arrested and imprisoned without trial for months or years, legitimate refugees are framed, extradited and neutralized by a government whose top officials have international arrest warrants against them.
Journalists, human rights defenders, businessmen, and ordinary citizens both inside and outside Rwanda are persecuted and neutralized if they deviate from the falsified “victim” and “survivor” ideology used as a political weapon by the military dictatorship of Paul Kagame and his vast network of propagandists, state agents, and foreign backers.
Innocent Rwandan asylum seekers live under perpetual fear of being hunted down, branded as genocide perpetrators, ostracized, and persecuted by the Kagame regime.8 As examples to follow will show, host governments generally capitulate without investigation or resistance and support the Kagame regime's requests for arrest and extradition.
Using international legal instruments and institutions, like the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR), Western governments—the U.S., Belgium, Canada and Britain in particular—actively assist the Kagame regime in hunting refugees and critics, because all four governments backed the Rwanda Patriotic Front's guerrilla war, 1990-1994, and the years of terrorism that have followed, 1994-2008.
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By Marcy Wheeler (Salon.com)
On April 16, the Obama administration released four memos that were used to authorize torture in interrogations during the Bush administration. When President Obama released the memos, he said, "It is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution."
Yet 13 key people in the Bush administration cannot claim they relied on the memos from the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel. Some of the 13 manipulated the federal bureaucracy and the legal process to "preauthorize" torture in the days after 9/11. Others helped implement torture, and still others helped write the memos that provided the Bush administration with a legal fig leaf after torture had already begun.
The Torture 13 exploited the federal bureaucracy to establish a torture regime in two ways. First, they based the enhanced interrogation techniques on techniques used in the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program. The program -- which subjects volunteers from the armed services to simulated hostile capture situations -- trains servicemen and -women to withstand coercion well enough to avoid making false confessions if captured. Two retired SERE psychologists contracted with the government to "reverse-engineer" these techniques to use in detainee interrogations.
The Torture 13 also abused the legal review process in the Department of Justice in order to provide permission for torture. The DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) played a crucial role. OLC provides interpretations on how laws apply to the executive branch. On issues where the law is unclear, like national security, OLC opinions can set the boundary for "legal" activity for executive branch employees. As Jack Goldsmith, OLC head from 2003 to 2004, explains it, "One consequence of [OLC's] power to interpret the law is the power to bestow on government officials what is effectively an advance pardon for actions taken at the edges of vague criminal statutes." OLC has the power, Goldsmith continues, to dispense "get-out-of-jail-free cards." The Torture 13 exploited this power by collaborating on a series of OLC opinions that repeatedly gave U.S. officials such a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for torturing.
Between 9/11 and the end of 2002, the Torture 13 decided to torture, then reverse-engineered the techniques, and then crafted the legal cover.
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