Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old Iraqi woman living in Southern California, was taken off life support today, succumbing to injuries sustained in a brutal tire iron beating on Wednesday. Shaima was found in her living room, and according to her daughter Fatima and the police investigating, a note was found near her saying “Go back to your country, you terrorist.”
Shaima was a mother of five who has been in the US with her family since the mid-1990s. She was described by her friend Sura Alzaidy as “respectful modest muhajiba.” Her daughter tearfully addressed her mother’s attackers during a media interview, saying “You took my mother away from me. You took my best friend away from me. Why? Why did you do it?”
"In the American media coverage of the uproar after the release of the Abu Ghraib photos, one of the only references to race was fleeting and dismissive, midway through a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on May 3: ‘So far the alleged grotesqueries are more analogous to the nightmares that occur occasionally at American prisons, when rogue and jaded guards freelance to intimidate and humiliate inmates. The crime, then, first appears not so much a product of endemic ethnic, racial, or religious hatred, as the unfortunate cargo of penal institutions, albeit exacerbated by the conditions of war, the world over.’
That essay, by the Hoover Institution’s Victor Davis Hanson, typifies media denial of what’s happening in the hellish American cells populated so disproportionately by low-income blacks and Latinos. In the world of the Journal editorial page’s convenient fantasy, guards ‘occasionally’ choose to ‘freelance to intimidate and humiliate inmates’. In the world of prisoners’ inconvenient reality, guards frequently intimidate, humiliate — and brutalise.
Media denial lets the US military — and the US incarceration industry — off the hook."
Kuala Lumpur War Crimes tribunal: Bush and Blair guilty
A war crimes tribunal in Malaysia offers a devastating critique of international criminal law institutions today.
In Kuala Lumpur, after two years of investigation by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC), a tribunal (the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, or KLWCT) consisting of five judges with judicial and academic backgrounds reached a unanimous verdict that found George W Bush and Tony Blair guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide as a result of their roles in the Iraq War.
The proceedings took place over a four-day period from November 19-22, and included an opportunity for court-appointed defense counsel to offer the tribunal arguments and evidence on behalf of the absent defendants. They had been invited to offer their own defense or send a representative, but declined to do so. The prosecution team was headed by two prominent legal personalities with strong professional legal credentials: Gurdeal Singh Nijar and Francis Boyle. The verdict issued on November 22, 2011 happens to coincide with the 48th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy.
The tribunal acknowledged that its verdict was not enforceable in a normal manner associated with a criminal court operating within a sovereign state or as constituted by international agreement, as is the case with the International Criminal Court. But the KLWCT followed a juridical procedure purported to operate in a legally responsible manner. This would endow its findings and recommendations with a legal weight expected to extend beyond a moral condemnation of the defendants, but in a manner that is not entirely evident.
The KLWCT added two “Orders” to its verdict that had been adopted in accordance with the charter of the KLWCC that controlled the operating framework of the tribunal:
1) Report the findings of guilt of the two accused former heads of state to the International Criminal Court in The Hague; and
2) Enter the names of Bush and Blair in the Register of War Criminals maintained by the KLWCC.
The tribunal also added several recommendations to its verdict:
1) Report findings in accord with Part VI (calling for future accountability) of the Nuremberg Judgment of 1945 addressing crimes of surviving political and military leaders of Nazi Germany;
2) File reports of genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague;
3) Approach the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution demanding that the United States end its occupation of Iraq;
4) Communicate the findings of the tribunal to all members of the Rome Statute (which governs the International Criminal Court) and to all states asserting Universal Jurisdiction that allows for the prosecution of international crimes in national courts; and
5) Urge the UN Security Council to take responsibility to ensure that full sovereign rights are vested in the people of Iraq and that the independence of its government be protected by a UN peacekeeping force
These civil society legal initiatives are an outgrowth of a longer-term project undertaken by the controversial former Malaysian head of state, Mahathir Mohamed, to challenge American-led militarism and to mobilise the global South to mount an all-out struggle against the war system.
This vision of a revitalised struggle against war and post-colonial imperialism was comprehensively set forth in Mahathir’s remarkable anti-war speech of February 24, 2003, while still prime minister, welcoming the Non-Aligned Movement to Kuala Lumpur for its thirteenth summit…
Read More: aljazeera.net
The Notepad | SWAMP
The Notepad is an act of protest and commemoration disguised as a stack of ordinary yellow legal pads. Each ruled line, when magnified, is revealed to be microprinted text enumerating the full names, dates, and locations of each Iraqi civilian death on record over the first three years of the Iraq War. A printed edition of 100 notepads was covertly distributed to US representatives and senators, as a sort of Trojan horse, injecting transgressive data straight into the halls of power and memorializing it in official archives. SWAMP is now working on a new edition that takes into account the American incursion into Afghanistan; with the disclosure of confidential information by WikiLeaks.