WW4 Report

Kuwaiti GitMo detainees: We were tortured

Tom Wilner, attorney for 11 Kuwaiti men arrested by US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan and now held at Guantanamo Bay, told the press his clients say they were beaten, tortured and subjected to electro-shock and sodomy to extract confessions. According to Wilner's notes, one detainee said: "The American soldiers kept saying, 'Are you Taliban or are you al-Qaeda?'... They kept hitting me, so eventually I said I was a member of the Taliban." He says the 11 are all innocent.

Iranian Nobel Laureate dissident blasts US intervention

The Feb. 8 NY Times featured an op-ed by Shirin Ebadi, Iranian dissident attorney and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, co-authored with Hadi Ghaem of Human Rights Watch: "The Human Rights Case Against Attacking Iran". Ebadi is skeptical about Condoleeza Rica's recent assertion that attacking Iran is "not on the agenda at this point." She is even more skeptical about Condi's claim "The Iranian regime's human rights behavior...is something to be loathed."

Islamists protest Pakistan spring festival

A traditional Punjabi festival of the approaching spring, Basant, is the source of controversy in Pakistan, where Islamic clerics went to court in an unsuccessful bid to have the celebrations banned and revelry in Lahore left at least 17 dead. Festivities usually include kite-flying, fireworks and firing rifles in the air. Stray bullets and throats slashed by metal kite strings were responsible for most of the deaths.

Purported guerilla attacks mar Mexican elections

On Feb. 5, the eve of Guerrero gubernatorial elections, suspected guerillas of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) attacked police posts in Acapulco, leaving four dead, including a 15-year-old boy who was making a call at a payphone. (AP, Feb. 5) In the election, former Acapulco Mayor Zeferino Torreblanca of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) was elected governor, ending the long-entrenched rule of the corrupt Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Guerrero. (AP, Feb. 8)

Baluchi rebels threaten Pakistan oilfields

Guerillas of the Baluchistan Liberation Army threatened to blow up Pakistan's most important oil and gas facility at Dhodak, in the central province of Punjab. The statement, phoned into several newspapers Feb. 6 by a spokesman called Azad Baluch (an apparent nom de guerre meaning Free Baluchistan), was the first threat by the rebels to strike outside Baluchistan province. The previous day, rebels reportedly struck a gas pipeline at Mangrotha in Dera Ghazi Khan district, 90 kilometers west of the central Punjab city of Multan. Bombings of rail lines and other government targets are now taking place nearly every day in Baluchistan, the largest and poorest of Pakistan's four provinces. (AFP, Feb. 7)

Gonzales may face war crimes charges in Germany

Newly-confirmed US Atttorney General Alberto Gonzales may begin his term as an indicted war criminal. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed new documents January 31 with the German Federal Prosecutor looking into war crimes charges against high-ranking US officials, including Donald Rumsfeld. One includes new evidence that the Fay report on Abu Ghraib protected Administration officials--a comprehensive and shocking opinion by Scott Horton, an expert on international law and chair of the International Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. The second is a letter detailing how Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee confirms his role as complicit in the torture and abuse of detainees in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq.

Morocco: journalist threatened for Western Sahara reportage

Reporters Without Borders issued a statement Feb. 5 protesting a "smear campaign" against Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet, who has been accused of "treason" in numerous pro-government media outlets since he ran a piece in the Spanish daily El Mundo on his visit to bases of the Polisario Front guerilla organization, and an interview with Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz in the UK-based Arabic newspaper al-Moustakillah.

Nigeria: protesters shot at Chevron terminal

The UN's IRIN news agency reports that Nigerian troops shot and killed four villagers who were protesting at the main export terminal run by ChevronTexaco in the Niger Delta Feb. 4. Over 200 protesters from the village of Ugborodo near Warri occupied the Escravos plant just before dawn to demand a fairer share of revenues from the 300,000 barrels of crude oil that are pumped out every day. "Soldiers shot at them, killing four and injuring three others," said Helen Joe, one of the protest leaders.

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