Saturday, December 10, 2016
Human Rights Watch on Thursday called for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia over the war in Yemen, and said the United States might be complicit in atrocities by supplying bombs used unlawfully in the conflict.
The New York-based rights group said more than 160 people were killed in one month, mostly by US bombs sold to the Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels.
It said the US arms were supplied after earlier violations had been publicized, and were used in airstrikes in September and October.
"The Obama administration is running out of time to completely suspend US arms sales to Saudi Arabia or be forever linked to Yemen wartime atrocities," Human Rights Watch researcher Priyanka Motaparthy said.
A Saudi-led coalition supported by the United States launched an air campaign on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognised government in March 2015. The year before, the Houthis had seized much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and some 3 million have been displaced. The fighting, along with an air and sea blockade by the coalition, has pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine.
Rights groups have investigated dozens of airstrikes that targeted weddings, busy markets, hospitals, and schools. They have accused the coalition of committing war crimes and called for an international investigation.
The Human Rights Watch report released Thursday included findings from an investigation into an air raid in Arhab, a town north of Sanaa, on 10 September that killed 31 civilians, including several first responders, and wounded more than 40.
HRW said fragments of the weapons used in the attack show they were produced in the US in October 2015, after several rights groups had already reported alleged violations.
Ten days later, warplanes struck a three-storey house near a funeral, killing more than 28 civilians and wounding 32 in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, the group said.
"Governments selling weapons to Saudi Arabia cannot with any credibility rely on either coalition or Yemeni-led investigations to determine whether these weapons are being used against civilians," Motaparthy said.
"The US, UK, and others selling weapons to Saudi Arabia should suspend these sales until unlawful attacks are curtailed and properly investigated."
Senator calls for James Comey to resign for withholding information revealed in CIA report that Russian operatives gave hacked emails to WikiLeaks.
The FBI covered up information about Russia seeking to tip the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour, a senior Democrat claimed on Saturday, after reports emerged about spy agencies’ investigations into hacks of US political parties. CIA concludes Russia interfered to help Trump win election, say reports
Harry Reid, outgoing Senate minority leader, compared FBI director James Comey to the agency’s notorious founder, J Edgar Hoover, and called for his resignation.
A secret CIA analysis found that people with connections to the Russian government provided emails, hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks in the final months of the election, according to a Washington Post report published late Friday. “The FBI had this material for a long time but Comey, who is of course a Republican, refused to divulge specific information about Russia and the presidental election,” Reid told MSNBC on Saturday. Comey testified to Congress in July that he was no longer a registered Republican, though he belonged to the party most of his life.
“Everyone should know WikiLeaks was involved from the very beginning,” Reid continued. “They leaked the information as if it was run by one of the great political operatives in America when in fact it was run by the political operatives in Russia.
“Russia has a pretty good way of cheating. Look at what they did with athletes,” he added, alluding to the long-running doping scandal of Russian Olympic athletes. Pressed on whether he believed Comey had information on Russia’s influence and sat on it, Reid replied: “That’s right, that is true.”
“I am so disappointed in Comey. He has let the country down for partisan purposes and that’s why I call him the new J Edgar Hoover, because I believe that,” Reid added, calling for the director’s resignation. “I think he should be investigated by the Senate. He should be investigated by other agencies of the government including the security agencies because if ever there was a matter of security it’s this … I don’t think any of us understood how partisan Comey was.”
Comey had previously angered Democrats when, 10 days before election day, he sent a letter to Capitol Hill leaders indicating the FBI had located additional emails potentially related to its investigation of Clinton’s private email server. Two days before the election, he sent another letter saying the review was complete and that he stood by the bureau’s original conclusion finding no criminal wrongdoing. A month before the election, the US government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber-attacks against Democratic party organisations, with an intention to interfere in the US election. Intelligence officials did not specify that a Trump victory was the ultimate goal at the time. On Friday, Barack Obama ordered a review of evidence that Russia had interfered in the election.
Gene Sperling, a former national economic adviser to Obama and former president Bill Clinton, tweeted: “So at end of close election, FBI deeply hurt HRC [Clinton] based on no evidence, while CIA sat on clear evidence of Putin interference for Trump.”
On Saturday Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House committee on intelligence, said in a statement that though he could not “comment on or confirm any intelligence briefings … one would also have to be wilfully blind not to see that these Russian actions were uniformly damaging to Secretary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump.”
He added: “I do not believe this was coincidental or unintended.”
Trump himself curtly dismissed the reports of the CIA findings. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” his transition team said in a statement. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest electoral college victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again’.”
The comment earned widespread derision. David Axelrod, a former top adviser to Obama, tweeted that Trump’s “blithe dismissal only deepens concern”, and John Dean, the former White House counsel under former president Richard Nixon, described the response as “remarkably inadequate”. Dean called for the intelligence report on Russia’s role to be made available to the 538 members of the electoral college before 19 December, when they formally vote to elect the next president.
Senior Democrats demanded a congressional investigation next year. “Reports of the CIA’s conclusion that Russia actively sought to help elect Donald Trump are simultaneously stunning and not surprising, given Russia’s disdain for democracy and admiration for autocracy,” said Chuck Schumer, Reid’s successor as Senate minority leader.
“The silence from WikiLeaks and others since election day has been deafening. That any country could be meddling in our elections should shake both political parties to their core.” Schumer threw down a gauntlet to Republicans to back the investigation. “It’s imperative that our intelligence community turns over any relevant information so that Congress can conduct a full investigation.” The call poses a dilemma for Republicans who have increasingly rallied around Trump and do not want to be seen undermining his legitimacy. Trump has repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin and rejected the intelligence community’s findings. In a recent interview with Time magazine, he said: “I don’t believe they interfered. It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.” Advertisement In its report on the CIA conclusions, the Post quoted an unnamed senior US official who had been briefed on the intelligence agency findings. “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favour one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the official said. “That’s the consensus view.” CIA agents told senators it was “quite clear” that putting Trump in the White House was Russia’s goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post. Meanwhile, a New York Times report suggested that the Republican National Committee was also hacked. “We now have high confidence that they hacked the DNC and the RNC, and conspicuously released no documents” from the RNC, the Times quoted one senior administration official as saying. A senior administration official told Reuters: “That was a major clue to their intent. If all they wanted to do was discredit our political system, why publicise the failings of just one party, especially when you have a target like Trump?” The Kremlin has denied accusations of interference in the US election. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied links with Russia’s government. At the White House on Friday, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said Obama had called for the cyber-attacks review, for release before inauguration day on 20 January, to ensure “the integrity of our elections”. “
We are going to make public as much as we can,” Schultz said. “This is a major priority for the president.”
Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, said that during the election, Republicans had wanted to “avoid the subject altogether and the Obama administration did not want to appear to be influencing the election”. “Now that the election is over, we need a serious , independent, bipartisan investigation to know the facts.” Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, now director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, called the situation “unprecedented”.
“A foreign adversary has been caught trying to influence an American election. The intelligence community must have certainty that the evidence is concrete to support the conclusion. But revealing the evidence may not be in the national interest and undermine future capabilities to monitor Russia’s next attack on the nation.”
In her second public address since her concession speech the day after the November 8 election, Hillary Clinton has spoken out against fake news. This after an attack in a restaurant inspired by a fake news story.
Fake news has "real world consequences" that must be addressed in order to protect the nation's democracy, Clinton told US lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington where she was attending a ceremony for outgoing Democratic Senate minority leader Harry Reid.
"It's now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences," Clinton said. "This isn't about politics, or partisanship. Lives are at risk."
Clinton went on to blast "the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year." The "danger" must be addressed quickly, she added.
"It's imperative that leaders from the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives."
When fake news becomes real news
A man wielding a rifle entered a pizza restaurant in Washington last week saying he wanted to investigate a fake news story that mistakenly stated the Comet Ping Pong restaurant was a center for child abduction linked to Clinton and her top advisor, John Podesta.
No one was injured when 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch fired off a round from his AR-15.
Police shut down Connecticut Avenue outside Comet Ping Pong, the pizza restaurant that was the subject of a fake news story
"This is not exactly the speech to the Capitol I hoped to be giving after the election," Clinton said to an audience that gave her a standing ovation as she took the stage.
"But after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to come out."
Afterward Clinton ignored reporters' questions about whether fake news stories had cost her the election.
Trump won the Electoral College vote, 306-232. Clinton leads in the popular vote, 65,432,202 to Trump's 62,793,872.
انسانی حقوق کی خاطر پیپلز پارٹی نے بہت کام کیا، نوازحکومت کو چاہیئے کہ انسانی حقوق کی فراہمی یقینی بنانے کیلئے کام کرے
اسلام آباد: سابق وزیر اعظم یوسف رضا گیلانی نے کہا ہے کہ چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری ہی نوجوانوں کے لیڈر ہیں۔
عالمی دن برائے انسانی حقوق کے حوالے سے منعقدہ تقریب میں میڈیا سے بات کرتے ہوئے سابق وزیر اعظم یوسف رضا گیلانی نے کہا کہ وہ وزیر مملکت پانی و بجلی عابد شیر علی کے بلاول بھٹو پر کمنٹس کو جواب کے قابل بھی نہیں سمجھتے۔
یوسف رضا گیلانی نے کہا کہ چیئرمین بلاول نے اپنے چار مطالبات کے حوالے سے جو کمیٹی بنائی ہے اسکا پہلا اجلاس تیرہ دسمبر میں اسلام آباد میں ہوگا۔
انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ پاکستان کی پینسٹھ فی صد آبادی نوجوانوں پر مشتمل ہے، بلاول بھٹو بھی نوجوانوں کے لیڈر ہیں۔
ایک سوال کے جواب میں انہوں نے بتایا کہ انسانی حقوق کی خاطر پیپلز پارٹی نے بہت کام کیا،
نوازحکومت کو چاہیئے کہ انسانی حقوق کی فراہمی یقینی بنانے کیلئے کام کرے۔
Peshawar district administration has arrested Fata Student Organisation’s (FSO) central president for ‘protesting’ against the Frontiers Crimes Regulation (FCR).
Shaukat Aziz was rounded up under 3 MPO (Maintenance of Public Order) after he chanted slogans against a tribal chief who spoke in favour of the FCR during the grand jirga called by the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) last week.
Grand Jirga over FATA reforms ends in a brawl The scuffle was so intense that security staff evacuated the chief guest, K-P Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, who is also Fata’s chief executive, and the provincial assembly speaker Asad Qaisar. The brawl sparked after provocative comments were made by Khan Marjan, a tribal chief from North Waziristan.
Terming the members of the reforms committee traitors, he said tribal areas had been destroyed and Fata’s public representatives in the National Assembly were unaware of ground realities. “Whatever you (the committee) have written in the report is nothing short of an insult to the tribesmen,” were Marjan’s last words, after which the hall reverberated with anti-FCR slogans.
“After his arrest Aziz has been sent to Central Jail, Peshawar,” said Samreen Wazir, general secretary of FSO’s female wing. “We will hold a protest in Peshawar if he’s not released by tomorrow.” Mohmand, Bajaur jirgas oppose Fata-K-P merger
Wazir claimed that the FSO peacefully carried out their protest, saying “It is our political right to chant slogans against the FCR, and the arrest is against the spirit of democracy.”
Aziz was called by the deputy commissioner and asked to present a surety bond for not protesting in future, FSO president Amir Hamza Kuram told The Express Tribune. However, Aziz was taken into custody and sent to prison before he could submit the bond. DC’s version
However, K-P Deputy Commissioner Riaz Mehsud told The Express Tribune that the FSO president was held after a complainant, Sajid, informed his office that the accused was issuing him death threats.
By Afrasiab Khattak
The on going political schism in Pakistan is manifested in conflict between civilian and military elites over controlling the system for policy making and resource allocation. It is also reflected in a prolonged political confrontation encouraged by the security establishment to put pressure on civilian governments for expanding its control. But since both the civil and military factions of the ruling elites are predominantly Punjabi, the aforementioned power struggle has largely obscured the deepening fault lines representing the growing alienation of oppressed nationalities like Baloch, Pashtun, Sindhi and those living in Gilgit-Baltistan from the Pakistani state system. The situation in the largest urban center Karachi also reflects the sense of exclusion felt in the rest of peripheral spheres. Such a development can be comprehended by acknowledging the fact that smaller ethnic groups are marginalised by the said power struggle since the political discourse of the country remains by and large hostage to artificially generated issues leaving no space for genuine and vital challenges faced by the people of oppressed nationalities.
Here I shall make an effort to briefly focus on the growing alienation among Pashtuns in Pakistan during the last few years. This sounds ironic because there were serious efforts underway in the recent past by the democratic political forces, including Pashtun nationalist leadership, to find a solution in a federal democratic structure and there was tangible progress on that front a few years ago. The National Finance Commission Award in 2009 and the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010 are two examples. However, myopic policies of certain state actors have complicated the situation by adopting extremely oppressive policies.
There are three main issues that are responsible for deepening alienation among Pashtuns today. The first and foremost is Pakistan’s Afghan policy formulated and executed by the security establishment. By now it is quite clear that the term “strategic depth” has been an euphemism for a colonial type of control of Afghan/Pashtun people on both sides of the Durand Line by Punjabi dominated Pakistani ruling elite. Project Taliban is the modus operandi for the implementation of this policy, which is aimed at deconstruction of Afghan/Pashtun socio cultural and historical identity. Since military means remain the main instrument for implementation of Talibanisation, it has involved death and destruction on a large scale, deepening Pashtun alienation to dangerous proportions. The naked design of demolition of Afghan state and nationhood that constitute the content of the aforementioned policy has turned it into a zero sum game reviving the animosity that existed between Afghans and the 19th century Punjabi state of Ranjit Singh. It is not a coincidence that inside Pakistan, Pashtun nationalists have had to bear the brunt of Taliban’s target killings. In the past Pashtun nationalists were suppressed by torture, imprisonment and exiles and now their political activities are blocked through terrorist attacks. Interestingly the main justification for the notorious Afghan policy post 9/11 was the “ compulsion” of Pakistan to “support” Pashtuns in Afghanistan (by supporting Taliban) who were supposed to have been marginalised by the domination of the so called Northern Alliance. But now when millions of Afghan/Pashtun refugees are being thrown out of Pakistan by using the most brutal and humiliating methods, Pashtuns in Pakistan are supposed to remain indifferent! The saga of the well-known Afghan refugee woman Sharbat Gula epitomises the arrogance of the aforementioned hegemonic policy. It goes without saying that this situation is totally unacceptable for Pashtuns living in Pakistan. Convergence of almost all political parties active in Pashtun belt on demanding an end to this policy proves it. Similarly, by choking Afghan Transit Trade and by discouraging trade via Torkham and Chaman, Pakistani policy amounts to economic murder of Pashtuns with a political fallout.
The second burning issue for Pashtuns in Pakistan is the fate of their brethren in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). Situation in FATA is closely linked with Pakistan’s Afghan policy. FATA has been not only groaning under the colonial structures of governance for the last seventy years even after the independence with no human rights for its people but the area has also been used as a launching pad for three undeclared wars that Pakistan has fought in Afghanistan during the last four decades (1980-89, 1994-2001 and 2003-2016). After 9/11, terrorists coming from different parts of the world were allowed to establish a parallel state in the area for supporting Taliban’s war in Afghanistan. Terrorists occupied the area and turned it into a hell for the Pashtuns living there. Terrorists established their hegemony in the area by killing almost all known tribal leaders and subsequently imposed a reign of terror on the indigenous people while Pakistani state looked the other way. At times clashes would erupt between Pakistan Army and the terrorists and tribal Pashtuns would get caught up in the cross fire. Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in 2014 has pushed most of the terror syndicate into Afghanistan with some Afghan Taliban bases still operating in FATA. The recent report by a federal government committee (18th such report since 1972) for suggesting merger of FATA in Pakhtunkhwa faces challenges in implementation. It is pretty clear that as long as Pakistan actively supports Taliban’s war in Afghanistan FATA will be kept as a back hole and no go area. Consequently it will remain a socio political backyard and a bleeding wound despite the high sounding rhetoric of the authorities.
The third issue faced by Pashtuns (along with other oppressed nationalities) is their socio economic exclusion. FATA, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan face the highest incidence of poverty even according to the recently released official statistics. The two most prominent examples of the unfairness in state policy are the capping of net profit from hydel power to Pakhtunkhwa since 1992 (in violation of the Constitution) and exclusion of Pashtuns from the CPEC. The net profit of hydel-power enshrined in 1973 Constitution was received for the first time in 1991 after a delay of 18 years and was capped the next year depriving Pakhtunkhwa from its legitimate income. But all political parties with some political base in the area, including the religious groups, are taking a strong stand on all these three issues. Similar fault lines are also deepening in other marginalised communities in Pakistan but the ruling elites can’t pay attention being too busy in power games. Dissatisfied with traditional politics the younger people are bound to make more radical demands.
Chickpea farmers came out on streets to protest in Mahni area of Mankera Tehsil in the distrcit of Bhakkar on Saturday. According to media reports, the farmers spoke up for the damage caused to their crops allegedly by the members of the Qatari royal family hunting bustards. The protesters gathered in Mahni and started marching towards the camps of hunters, but the police stopped them. They further resisted the police order to disperse peacefully, to which they were like chickpeas are the only crops they produce throughout the year. After that, the police baton-charged the protesters when they tried to continue their march towards the camps.