Cindy Sheehan against drones killing Pakistani civilians


From CommonDreams in the USA:

Cindy Sheehan: CIA Actions Killing Innocent People

Long-time anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is now speaking out against drone activities in Pakistan. She sat down with Kristine Frazao to talk about how extrajudicial CIA actions are mostly affecting civilians in remote tribal regions.

Activists Protest Outside CIA Offices Against Drone Strikes: here.

See also here.

Pakistan resisting US demands for new offensives: here.

Pakistani tribesmen celebrated on Tuesday shooting down one of the US military’s unmanned drone planes over Waziristan province: here.

FBI confuses Bin Laden with Spanish Leftist


From The Reader in Spain:

Spanish politician’s photo used by FBI to identify Bin Laden

Gaspar Llamazares, a Spanish MP for the Izquierda Unida

United Left

party, has said that a party political photo of him has been used by the FBI to create a photo of how terrorist Bin Laden might look like in 2010.

Photo released by the US Government

'Bin Laden' and Llamazares photos

Several versions of the photo were released this week by the US government and the F.B.I. The photo is purported to a digitally aged photo of wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

However, Dr Llamazares says that it is obvious that his hair and facial features have been used to create the photofit. Analysis of the two photos shows that the hair and forehead are the same.

Whilst the main version of the photo shows Bin Laden as he would look like with a turban, another version of the photo, published on http://www.fbi.gov, shows Bin Laden without a turban. This photo was later removed after El Mundo newspaper contacted the US Embassy.

The two photos are shown here. “Osama Bin Laden” is to the left, the IU party political photo of Dr Llamazares to the right.

Complaints registered

Dr Llamazares and the IU party have made an official complaint to the Spanish Ministry of the Exterior asking for an explanation from the US government.

Dr Llamazares has also said he is investigating taking legal action over the matter.

They have also lodged a protest with the US embassy in Madrid.

“While my complaint may seem petty, this is a very serious question that affects personal liberty and the right to control one’s own image” Dr Llamazares told reporters at midday today. “I hope this is simply an error by the US government which shows their low level of competance, rather than something more sinister. “

Dr Llamazares, who is spokesperson for the Spanish Congress on Exterior Affairs, also said that until the matter is cleared up “I will not travel to the United States. The photo does not endanger Bin Laden, but it could endanger me”.

The Ministry of the Exterior has refused to comment on the matter. A spokesperson for the Spanish United Police Syndicate, contacted by the media, said it was “an absurd error that would not be committed by the Spanish police. It looks as if some technician simply surfed the web for a random photo.”

Well, United States authorities also do not seem to know the difference between an eight year old boy and a terrorist. Or between the late Senator Edward Kennedy and a terrorist. Or between Egyptian archaeologist Hawass and a terrorist. Or between many other people and terrorists.

Sad for Spanish-US relations that the spokesperson for the Spanish Congress on Exterior Affairs now cannot travel to the USA because some overzealous bone-headed gunman there might kill him, thinking he was killing Bin Laden.

Melon-headed whale beaches in Australia


This video from the Philippines says about itself:

Melon headed whale

Rescued by Ocean Adventure from Pillar Bataan. This 2.4m long female is recovering fast in the redress facility here in Subic Bay.

From the Coffs Coast Advocate in Australia:

Rare whale will be used for study

16th January 2010

A MELON-headed whale was washed up on rocks at Woolgoolga Beach on Wednesday evening.

The washed up remains of a melon-headed whale on Woolgoolga Beach rocks this week.

A MELON-headed was whale washed up on rocks at Woolgoolga Beach on Wednesday evening.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service’s (NPWS) Coffs Harbour area manager Glenn Storrie said melon-headed whales are creatures of the deep and most of what is known about them has come from the study of washed-up specimens.

“The melon-headed whale lives well off-shore in all the world’s tropical and sub-tropical oceans hunting primarily squid in very deep water,” Mr Storrie said.

“We are currently transporting the animal to a facility where a necropsy will be conducted.

“Every little bit of scientific information we gather about these rarely-seen animals is valuable to their long-term protection and conservation,” he said.

Mr Storrie said the small whale, 2.7 metres long, was first spotted near the rocks on the eastern end of Woolgoolga beach.

“NPWS attended and called in a vet from Pet Porpoise Pool to assess the animal’s condition, but despite attempts to direct it back to sea the animal was in distress and unable to navigate,” Mr Storrie said.

The melon-headed whale has a body shape rather like a torpedo – its head shaped like a rounded cone giving the animal its common name.

Bagram torture prison inmates’ list published


These two videos from the USA say about themselves:

7 October 2009

Speech given at National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance rally

As the U.S. led war in Afghanistan begins its ninth year this week, 61 were arrested bringing a strong message to the White House that war, torture and drone bombing are outrageous, unacceptable and must end immediately. National anti-war groups and people from around the country joined together to say No to War in Afghanistan. No to Torture and Vengeance.

Bush administration’s torture policies.

Hundreds of people gathered in McPherson Square for song, poetry and rousing speeches to kick off a day of action. This is the reflection that Liz McAlister gave to those gathered, who would soon be processing to the White House led by the Mourn the dead, heal the wounded, end the wars banner. Those gathered then marched to the White House in a solemn procession, carrying large photographs of war victims, signs and banners. …

Members of Witness Against Torture, a group committed to the shuttering of Guantanamo and the quickly enlarging Bagram air base in Afghanistan … chained themselves to the fence.

From Al Jazeera:

US releases Bagram prisoner names

ACLU has welcomed the move, but demanded greater transparency about Bagram

The United States has published the names of 645 prisoners held at a controversial US-run prison in Afghanistan following a freedom of information lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Despite previous refusals to identify those held in the jail at Bagram, the ACLU received the list of names on Saturday after their request for documents related to the detention and treatment of prisoners at the base was partially accepted.

Melissa Goodman, a lawyer for ACLU, said the publication of the list was “an important step toward transparency and accountability at the secretive Bagram prison” but that vital information was still missing.

“Full transparency and accountability about Bagram requires disclosing how long these people have been imprisoned, where they are from and whether they were captured far from any battlefield or in other countries far from Afghanistan,” she said.

A separate letter released by the US defence department on Friday said a “very small number” of prisoners were under 16 years of age, the Associated Press news agency reported.

‘Unprecedented’

Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at City University of New York, told AP that the decision to release the names was significant. “This is completely unprecedented, we’ve never had access to the list,” he said.

Kassem represents Amin al-Bakri, a Yemeni national, who was captured in Thailand and then sent to Bagram. In his case, a federal judge in Washington ruled that only those Bagram prisoners captured outside Afghanistan could file suit in the US.

US President Barack Obama’s administration is appealing against the decision.

Bagram, north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, has been used as a detention facility by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban government in December 2001.

The list is here. It says “redacted list”, so probably United States authorities have not divulged all information.

THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN: here.

U.S. Marines shoot at stick wielding Afghan protester: here.

Afghans ‘do not hide their hatred’ of Canadian troops: here.

British soldiers in Afghanistan are to be issued with [US] guns inscribed with references to passages from the Bible – risking handing a propaganda victory to Muslim extremists: here. And here.

According to a new report, “self-immolation is being used by increasing numbers of Afghan women to escape their dire circumstances”: here.

Psychologists and psychiatrists should not be expected to participate in torture as they do not have the expertise to assess individual pain or the long-term effects of interrogation, says an expert on bmj.com today: here.