Archive for December, 2014

TFF PressInfo 295: Stop torture: Yes to accountability

This petition will be delivered to the U.S. government, the International Criminal Court, the President of the UN General Assembly, the President of the Human Rights Council and the European Court of Justice.

Hans von Sponeck, TFF Associate, and Denis Halliday

Petition initiated by two former UN Assistant Secretaries-General, UN Humanitarian Coordinators for Iraq: Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday.

On 9 December 2014, the US Senate released its CIA torture report. The investigation confirmed what globally has been known for many years: the US Central Intelligence Agency and US-outsourced national authorities in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere have been involved in an extensive range of torture applications.

Compelling evidence has become available, especially since 2001, the beginning of the Afghanistan war, through investigations by the European Parliament and national judicial authorities, as well as two major reports presented by Swiss Senator Dick Marty in 2006 and 2007 to the Council of Europe, on secret CIA detention centres in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.

The US Senate report makes it clear that cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment of captives by the CIA and its collaborators have been carried out on a continuous basis.

Such treatment can not be justified in any manner, even if the US Government reservations with which it signed the UN torture convention in 1994 were to be taken into account.

CIA personnel and others wilfully participated in following executive orders and directives thereby violating the UN torture convention and the Geneva Convention III. In this way they have committed serious crimes for which they must be held accountable. Read the rest of this entry »

TFF PressInfo # 294 – Change the Iran policy now

By Jan Oberg
TFF director

Jan Oberg

Tehran Dec 9, 2014

The First Conference on ”World Against Violence and Extremism” is inaugurated here in Tehran this morning by President Rouhani. His idea was endorsed unanimously by the UN General Assembly last year. This PressInfo was written before I came to Iran.

The last round of negotiations between Iran and the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council + Germany about the future possibility that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons should have resulted in no agreement but a 7 months postponement. It is a waste of everybody’s time in one of the most urgent issues on the international agenda.

An a-symmetric conflict

Here are 5 countries bristling with thousands of nuclear weapons themselves and planning to spend trillions of dollars on more and more sophisticated nukes – unanimous in telling a country that does not have nukes to not acquire them: ”What we can’t live without thou shall never have”.

Everybody knows but conveniently omit mention of the fact that Israel is a nuclear weapons power over 50 years with at least 200 nukes in contravention of UN resolutions that the whole region shall be free from such weapons. And it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In rough terms, Iran’s military expenditures is 2-3% of the United States’; with a population ten times that of Israel it spends about the same, and 4% of its GDP where Israel spends 6.

Israel is number 1 Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Yoshikazu Sakamoto 1927-2014 – also former TFF Associate

By Richard Falk

Richard Falk

TFF wants to express its gratitude to Yoshikazu Sakamoto who served for many years as TFF Associate.

Prefatory Note

This post is dedicated to my remembrance of Yoshi Sakamoto who died recently. Yoshi was a deeply valued friend and an important public intellectual in Japan who exerted a strong influence on the post-war generation. His political orientation, rejecting extremes of right and left, while questioning the militarist premises of the Cold War and Japan’s willingness to become America’s Asian poodle, gave him a distinctive political profile.

I am sharing these words of appreciation, and hope that anyone from Japan who comes across this text will contact me, especially if they have a way of putting me in touch with either Yoshi’s family or Japanese media. I would like to believe that ‘an American appreciation’ of Professor Sakamoto would be of interest to those who knew and admired him.

I first met Yoshi in the mid-1960s when he came to visit me at Princeton, expressing his concern about the Vietnam War and knowing of my anti-war activism. We bonded quickly and marched in a peaceful demonstration in New York City a few days later, and somehow managed to keep in fairly consistent contact until Yoshi’s death on October 2nd.

Yoshikazu Sakamoto 1927 - 2014

Read the rest of this entry »

Neigbours ditch India, bat for China

By Shastri Ramachandaran

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have been the toast at the high tables from BRICS and ASEAN to G-20 and the East Asia Summit, but nearer home, in the neighbourhood, few are impressed by his 56-inch chest. The stark truth that India does not draw much water in the region was driven home unmistakably during the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu.

Continued here…

Blowback of the foreign jihadists?

By Jonathan Power

Over 15,000 foreign jihadists from 80 countries are believed to be fighting alongside militants in Syria, the CIA says. The Syrian war is estimated to have mobilized more European Islamists than all the foreign wars of the last 20 years combined.

What to do when the jihadists try to return home?

Many of them might be trained to wage jihad against their home countries. The danger is, as Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro write in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, “the returned fighter seasoned by battle acquires a new authority among his old friends and followers on social media – a street cred that allows him to recruit and radicalize others and send them into the fray.”

On the other hand because of the use of social media where the returnee sometimes brags about his exploits and adventures it becomes easy for the intelligence services both to track him down and know who he is trying to reach.

The threat posed by returning jihadists is too often hyped by both Western politicians and the media. Read the rest of this entry »

Civilization clashes Occident-Orient?

By Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Kuala Lumpur
IAIS-International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies & IIUM-International Islamic University of Malaysia

Yes, Islam and Christianity are on old Buddhist lands; with Muslim-Buddhist clashes in Sri Lanka, Myanmar.

Occident is the big space of the three Abrahamic religions Judaism-Christianity-Islam, with the secularisms of the first two, excluding each other. Indonesia-Philippines are in the Occident.

Orient is a big space spanned by Buddhism, which does not exclude others, not even violent state power; hence more complex. There are pure Buddhist countries: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam; and mixed Buddhist countries, with other non-exclusive world views: in China with Daoism-Confucianism, in Japan with Kami shinto-Confucianism, and in Korea with Confucianism and Christianity.

The world religioscape started with Read the rest of this entry »

Why foreign military intervention usually fails in the 21st century

By Richard Falk

Richard Falk

When Nehru was taking a train on his return to India after studying abroad he read of the Japanese victory over Russia in the 1904-05 Russo Japanese War. At that moment he had an epiphany, realizing the hitherto unthinkable, that the British Empire was vulnerable to Indian nationalism. An earlier understanding of the colonial reality by native peoples generally subscribed to the postulates of hard power primacy making it futile or worse to challenge a colonial master, although throughout history there were always pockets of resistance.

This soft power attribute of colonial hard power by way of intimidation and a façade of invincibility is what made colonialism efficient and profitable for so long at the great expense of colonized peoples.

A traditional colonial occupation assumes that the foreign domineering presence, while oppressive and exploitative, refrains from ethnic cleansing or genocide in relation to the indigenous population.

When settler versions of colonialism emerged in relation to the Western Hemisphere and regions occupied by traditional peoples that were without either population density or some kind of industrial capability, the occupier managed to achieve enduring control Read the rest of this entry »


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