In a detailed analysis of the European Union's counter-terrorism initiatives in the area of criminal law since 9-11, Amnesty International claims the absence of concrete human rights safeguards in many of these initiatives is likely to undermine efforts to fight terrorism in Europe. "Respect for human rights is often portrayed as hampering efforts to defeat terrorism but this new analysis shows how genuine security is undermined if basic human rights and the rule of law are not respected. It is in the breach, not in the protection of human rights that security is put at risk. That goes for the EU as well as anywhere else in the world," Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty International's EU Office told a press conference in Brussels May 31.
The New York Police Department is requesting funds to install hundreds more video cameras throughout the city to help fight crime and combat terrorism. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wants to put up some 400 surveillance cameras on high-crime and high-traffic streets to record action to be reviewed later if a crime occurs in the area. Locations for cameras have not yet been finalized but areas likely to be targeted for surveillance include Manhattan's Herald Square, Times Square and 125th Street in Harlem. There are already 80 such cameras in place, many installed during last summer's Republican Convention. Additionally, more than 3,000 cameras monitor the city's Housing Authority projects.
The British oil company Dana Petroleum announced May 26 it has acquired a large interest in the ongoing oil explorations offshore Morocco's town of Safi. Dana, based in Scottish Aberdeen, produces oil in the British sector of the North Sea and Russia, but is engaged in explorations in Mauritania, Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. It holds that the waters off central Morocco are promising and under-explored.
Thirty-seven Islamists have been charged in Mauritania with belonging to an illegal group after being arrested last month on suspicion of links to a organization tied to al-Qaeda. Another 14 were released May 27, and some accused the authorities of torture during their detention. "I was arrested and freed without knowing why," lawyer Mohamed Haj Ould Sidi told a news conference. "Those detained near me were regularly tortured and I had a lot of trouble sleeping because of their screams." Imam Ahmed Jiddou Ould Abdallahi, who was also detained, told reporters he had been tortured.
Spain's foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos began talks May 30 with his Moroccan and Algerian counterparts in the latest attempt to find a solution to the decades-long conflict in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. Mohamed Benaissa of Morocco and Algerian Abdelaziz Belajadem met Moratinos in Luxembourg to discuss the recent outbreak of violence in the mineral-rich former Spanish colony, where supporters of the Algeria-backed Polisario Front independence movement have been battling police in the territory's main city, Laayoune.
Violence against women and girls in Afghanistan is pervasive, says Amnesty International today, releasing its latest report "Afghanistan: Women Under Attack."
"Throughout the country, few women are exempt from violence or safe from the threat of it," the report finds. Afghan women remain at daily risk of abduction and rape by armed men, forced marriage and being traded in settlement of disputes and debts. They face discrimination from all segments of society as well as by state officials. Violence against women is widely accepted by the community and inadequately addressed at the highest levels of the government and the judiciary. Investigations by the authorities into complaints of violent attacks, rape, murders or suicide of women are neither routine nor systematic, and few result in prosecutions.
In an editorial for the July issue of The Progressive, editor Matthew Rothschild makes a serious case for war crimes charges against Rumsfeld and Bush, as well as other White House and Pentagon figures...
Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity
When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, he was asked whether he "ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise, and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison." Sanchez, who was head of the Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force-7 in Iraq, swore the answer was no. Under oath, he told the Senators he "never approved any of those measures to be used."
A conference questioning Turkey's official position on the World War I-era Armenian genocide has been cancelled following pressure from the government. The conference, entitled "Ottoman Armenians at the Decline of the Empire: Academic Responsibility and Issues of Democracy," was to start on May 26.