Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Preamble:
UDHR, Article 3:
UDHR, Article 5:
UDHR, Article 8:
UDHR, Article 12:
UDHR, Article 19:
RUSSIA EXPELS 4 BRITISH DIPLOMATS IN LUGOVOI AFFAIR
Russia has announced it is expelling 4 UK diplomats, in response to a move by the UK government to expel 4 Russian diplomats over the Kremlin's unwillingness to extradite Alexandr Lugovoi, tycoon and Putin supporter, for alleged involvement in the murder of Alexandr Litvinenko. [Full Story]
BUSH ADMITS TO SECRET JAILS WITH 'ALTERNATIVE' INTERROGATIONS
Pres. Bush has acknowledged the existence of a secret network of CIA-run prisons, where an "alternative set of procedures" was used to extract information given up "unwillingly" by top terror suspects. The revelation suggests that some facilities existed on European soil, renewing allegations that have long been denied by European and US officials, and provoking calls for a probe into possible human rights violations. [Full Story]
3 BANKERS LOSE EXTRADITION APPEAL IN ENRON CASE
Three former executives for Greenwich NatWest, a subsidiary of NatWest Bank, have lost their appeal for refusal of extradition to the US on charges of fraud in connection to the Enron corruption case. The executives may now face up to two years in a federal prison awaiting trial, classified as "fugitives from justice" solely for fighting extradition. [Full Story]
CHINA ACCUSED OF WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE AGAINST CITIZENS
The human rights investigative and lobbying organization, Human Rights Watch, has issued a new report on China, which alleges widespread violence against citizens who seek justice. The report also claims officials deliberately block petitions to higher levels of the government. [Full Story]
The principal legal problem relating to alleged "ghost flights", secret interrogations and the policy of "extraordinary rendition" is the extralegal nature of all three techniques, designed to operate beyond the scope of ordinary legal constraints. Rendition is "extraordinary", because it evades the normal legal channels for processing criminal allegations, charges and suspects across international borders. [Full Story]
HUSSEIN TRIAL UPROAR AS DEFENSE TEAM WALKS OUT
The trial of deposed Iraq Ba'athist dictator, Saddam Hussein, is again temporarily suspended. The defense team walked out after judges refused to hear defense arguments. The government claims to have thwarted a plot to rocket the courthouse. Two defense lawyers have been assassinated, one has fled the country, and one judge has stepped down due to conflict of interest. [Full Story]
SECRET CIA LANDINGS RAISE CONCERNS IN EUROPE
Authorities on the Spanish island of Mallorca began complaining of alleged secret landings by CIA-linked planes, after a prominent local figure charged that, according to an unnamed source, at least 10 such stopovers occurred in early 2004, in the last months of the Aznar government. The flights are said to have been carrying "detainees" whose legal condition is considered a violation of international human rights laws. [Full Story]
At the opening of his trial, Saddam Hussein, charged with ordering the killing of 143 Shi'a —presumably opponents to his rule— in 1982, was defiant. He decried the judicial process set up to judge him as illegitimate, questioned the authority of the judge overseeing the proceedings, and refused to acknowledge his identity. [Full Story]
UZBEK GOVERMENT USING BRUTAL TACTICS TO GLOSS OVER ANDIZHAN MASSACRE
Human Rights Watch has documented a massive and intensive campaign of intimidation across Uzbekistan, designed to gloss over the government's massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Andizhan, in May of this year...
Prosecutors now seek to paint the entire affair with the broad brush of a war against Islamist extremism. HRW reports that government forces have been harassing witnesses and using violence against (perhaps random) citizens, in order to extract "confessions" of having participated in the Andizhan demonstrations, to their having been a "violent uprising", and to their being backed by international "terrorists". [Full Story]
Leaked IPCC documents suggest early reports about the shooting of Brazilian immigrant Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Underground Station in London on 22 July of this year, were littered with untruths. Perhaps most importantly, the central claim that he had worn a bulky, winter-type coat in summer, thus raising suspicions he might be concealing a suicide bomb vest, appears to be erroneous; in fact, he wore denim jacket... [Full Story]
CHILE AMENDS PINOCHET-DRAFTED CONSTITUTION
Chile's President Ricardo Lagos proclaimed the event marked "a day of national joy and unity", adding that Chile would now be "a full member of the democratic" community of nations. The new constitution will come into force on 17 September, the eve of Chile's national independence day. [Full Story]
WHAT U.S. LAW SAYS ABOUT LEAKING COVERT OP INFO
The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, the applicable federal law, states that revealing "any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information" constitutes a violation of the law and can result in $50,000 in fines and/or 10 years in prison. According to Matt Cooper, Rove told him Wilson's wife was an "agency" operative. [Full Story]
Yesterday's Orange Order parade to celebrate the Twelfth of July, "the victory of the Protestant Prince William of Orange over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690" turned violent when "dissident republicans" allegedly "linked to the Continuity IRA" attacked police in north Belfast, according to BBC reports. [Full Story]
OIL GIANT MAY FACE RULING ON FORCED LABOR IN BURMA
A Burmese woman, who was beaten and thrown with her baby into a fire by regime forces who sought to relocate her to a forcible labor camp set up to build a pipeline, filed suit in U.S. court against Unocal in 1994. The Burmese dictatorship, in order to provide cheap labor for the Unocal pipeline project, ordered the relocation of the plaintiff's entire village, committing them to forced labor to fulfill the pipeline contract. [Full Story]5 DETAINED IN MADRID BOMB INVESTIGATION
14 March 2004
The Spanish government has announced it arrested 5 men in connection with evidence related to Thursday's bomb attacks in Madrid. 3 of the men are Moroccans, 2 carry Indian passports but may be Spanish citizens of Indian origin. Thousands of protesters gathered outside the ruling party's HQ to demand answers, alleging political motives for shying from an Al Qaeda connection. [Full Story]
10 BOMBS STRIKE MADRID TRAINS, KILL 180+
Ten bombs struck the heart of Madrid today, exploding within a few minutes of one another at the Atocha, Santa Eugenia and El Pozo del Tío Raimundo train stations and at the Calle Téllez, near Atocha. Reports indicate at least 186 killed and 1,000 injured. The attacks are an unprecedented terrorist action for Spain. [Full Story]
BOLIVIAN GOVERNMENT RELEASES NINE BANGLADESHI MEN ACCUSED OF PLOTTING HIJACKING
CNN is reporting that the Bolivian government has released 9 accused terrorist conspirators for lack of evidence. The Bangladeshi nationals were detained after the French government warned that they might be conspiring to hijack and airliner for use in an attack against American interests in Argentina. [For more: HT]
"LIBERTICIDE" OU SÉCURITÉ?
French Justice Minister Dominique Perben has been pushing a new legal initiative designed to facilitate his efforts to combat organized crime. The Assemblée Nationale has passed the law, creating a wave of The law grants new powers to investigators which critics say will threaten civil liberties in France. The law is aimed at "adapting the law to fit the crime (adapter la justice à la criminalité)". According to Le Monde, critics went so far as to call the new law an act of "liberticide". Jean-Paul Lévy, President of the CNB, declared "The balance between the power to accuse and the rights of the defense is broken". [For more: Le Monde]
EU PRE-CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
Debate over the nature and extent of new continental powers provided by an as-yet unfinished European Union Constitution is ongoing. A proposal by Italy to grant broader powers to an EU Foreign Minister was fought by diplomatic leaders from other member states, who believe it necessary to protect the rights of individual governments to determine their own policy stance. Even now, the smaller and newer of the 25 member states of the expanded EU are fighting to gain more representation in the policy-generating process, leading up to debate on the passage of a draft constitution. [For more: DW]
NGOs MOVE AGAINST CLUSTER BOMBS
Cluster bombs are controversial munitions, designed to explode outward from a central point, creating multiple explosions and dispersing shrapnel over a wide area. Many believe the technology itself effectively increases the risk of any bombing campaign to civilians and should therefore be banned. The aim of this campaign is to fully realize the basic human rights inherent in the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the right of civilians not to be targeted by military attacks, directly or peripherally.
Pro-human rights advocates, as well as those in favor of such disarmament campaigns, suggest that the abolition of munitions which are likely to cause harm to civilians and to civilian centers can help to reduce the impetus to terrorist activities. In the same vein, an alternative security argument suggests that securing human rights and reducing the degree of violence inherent in all foreign policy can improve security at all levels. [Full Story]
RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS — IN BAGHDAD?
The occupying coalition in Iraq has determined that no assault weapons will be permitted on the streets of Iraqi cities. Weapons will be confiscated from all Iraqis except those authorized to execute official duties under the interim regime. Concerns are diverse: including controversy in the US regarding a proposed repeal of the assault weapons ban (for which conservatives have expressed ambivalence) and the reigning chaos in Iraq against which many Iraqis feel firearms are the only viable defense.
Further concerns regard the power of an interim authority, not democratically elected, sanctioned or organized, to institute spontaneous bans, as well as the degree to which such a ban might actually impair the ability of the occupying forces, in conjunction with the Iraqi population, to maintain order and prevent atrocities.