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Saturday, October 1, 2011

U.S.’s “one-sided violence,” suffering and backlash

Edited, re-reported with comment by Carolyn Bennett

Violence in U.S. foreign relations we know of —

Saudi Arabia


Washington officials’ aggression against peoples of

Palestine (Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem)

The United States has deployed its drones for aerial attacks in at least six countries:  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia.

One-sided violence — hegemony’s war against defenseless nations, peoples, individuals

In “Torture, War, and the Limits of Liberal Legality,” chapter five in The United States and Torture, U.S. activist and Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk writes this.

When he returned to the United States from Vietnam in 1968, what struck him most “was the total disinterest in … the one-sided nature of the war and its horribly inhumane effects on a poor peasant society of the sort that existed in Vietnam”— a perplexing indifference that continues in the present day, Falk writes.  “It bears on what is a most dangerous and unacceptable ‘disconnect’ between condemning a reliance on torture while silently accommodating, or at least not vigorously protesting, the tactics and actualities of one-sided warfare

“What never became problematic in assessing the lessons of the Vietnam War — and should have been the most troubling reflection — was the magnitude of Vietnamese casualties (estimated to be 3-5 million) and the ratio of loss on the two sides.…

“…The United States, and some of its allies, rely on and seek to sustain and enhance a posture of military dominance enabling the pursuit of political goals throughout the world; and this dominance basically relies upon American technological superiority in warfare that enables it to inflict limitless devastation on a foreign country anywhere on earth without fearing retaliations at home.… It is this contrast between the helplessness of the victim and the total control of the perpetrator that properly causes … moral revulsion.”

A mask worn by American leaders in the aftermath of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as with U.S. officials and contemporary torture) let them “hide one of the worst of modern atrocities — one that was generally accepted by the liberal mainstream.…” Former President Harry Truman “lent his authority to such a rationalization of criminality.” 

It never stops — Murder Premeditated

A program in which names are added to a list through a secret bureaucratic process and remain there for months at a time plainly goes beyond the use of lethal force as a last resort to address imminent threats, and so goes beyond what the Constitution and international law permit. Lawyers and analysts at the Center for Constitutional Rights were concerned with the case of the U.S. Executive branch and Anwar Al-Aulaqi. Under international human rights law, lethal force may be used in peacetime only when there is an imminent threat of deadly attack and when lethal force is a last resort. 

Targeting individuals for killing who are suspected of crimes but have not been convicted — without oversight, due process or disclosed standards for being placed on the kill list — poses the risk that the government will erroneously target the wrong people,” CCR wrote.  Since 9/11, the U.S. government has detained thousands of men as ‘terrorists,’ only for courts or the government itself to discover later that the evidence was wrong or unreliable and release them.

“In early July 2010, CCR and the ACLU were retained by Nasser al-Aulaqi, the father of U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorize the death of his son, who [had been] placed on kill lists maintained by the CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) …. The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury then [on July 16, 2010] labeled Anwar al-Aulaqi a ‘specially designated global terrorist,’ which makes it a crime for lawyers to provide representation for his benefit without first seeking a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).”

The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union sought a license and the government failed to grant a license, despite the urgency created by an outstanding authorization for Al-Aulaqi’s death.

Then on August 3, 2010, then CCR and ACLU filed suit against Treasury and the OFAC challenging “the legality and constitutionality of the licensing scheme requiring them to obtain a license to file suit concerning the government’s asserted authority to carry out targeted killings of individuals — including U.S. citizens — far from any battlefield.” At the end of that month, CCR and the ACLU filed suit on behalf of Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi against U.S. President Barack Obama, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates challenging their decision “to authorize the targeted killing” of Nasser Al-Aulaqi’s son, U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, “in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law.”

This week drones ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly killed the son of Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi.

Murdered victims, whether citizens or not citizens of the United States, off or on a “battlefield” cannot face their murderers, tell their side of the story, or challenge murderous acts of impunity.  This is another example of U.S. lawlessness.

PERSIAN GULF (Arabian Gulf)
A shallow marginal sea of the Indian Ocean that
Lies between the Arabian Peninsula and southwestern Iran
Bordered on the north, northeast and east by Iran;
On the southeast and south by part of Oman and by the United Arab Emirates;
On the southwest and west by Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia; and
On the northwest by Kuwait and Iraq
The term Persian Gulf sometimes refers not only to Persian Gulf proper but
Also to its outlets —
The Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, which open into the Arabian Sea

Authoritarians: Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia; occupied Iraq, Palestine

BAHRAIN (U.S-allied with despots)
Another anti-government protester is killed in Bahrain due to tear gas inhalation. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have continued to take to the streets demanding freedom and democracy in Bahrain.

Yesterday’s demonstrations organized by the country’s main opposition group, al-Wefaq, called again for ending the four-decade rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty. The day before, hundreds of Bahraini women staged a protest rally in the village of Maqsha condemning the imprisonment of medical personnel.

For having treated anti-government protesters, a military court sentenced each of 20 medics to up to 15 years in prison, after convicting them of conspiracy to overthrow the regime. The special security court, in a separate case, sentenced a protester to death over the alleged killing of a police officer. The same court upheld life sentences handed to eight opposition leaders convicted of having vital roles in the anti-government protests in the country and upheld sentences of up to 15 years on 13 other activists.

Protesters called on the international community to stand by the Bahraini people.

JORDAN (U.S-allied with despots)
King Abdullah II announced some concessions in June in an attempt to appease protesters in this country. Among the promises was the formation of future governments based on an elected parliamentary majority rather than government appointed by the monarch. However, the monarch delayed, saying the changes might take two to three years to put an elected government in place.

Friday, nearly 4,000 anti-government protesters took to the streets of Amman, Jordan’s capital, accusing the government of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit and lawmakers of ‘protecting corruption’ and demanding the resignation of Bakhit and dissolution of the lower house of parliament.

Protests came after the lower house had approved a bill to criminalize corruption allegations: people who “publicly accuse officials of corruption without proof will be fined between 30,000 and 60,000 dinars ($42,000-$85,000).”

SAUDI ARABIA (U.S-allied with despots)
Human Rights Watch says more than 160 dissidents have been arrested since February as part of the Saudi government’s crackdown on anti-government protesters. Saudi-based Human Rights First Society (HRFS) reports detainees have been subjected to physical and mental torture. 

Saudi activists say there are more than 30,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscience, in jails across the Saudi Kingdom.

Families of political prisoners have repeatedly pleaded with the ruling monarchy to give their loved ones at least a fair trial but, according to the families, for years the king has ignored their calls.

Despite tight security and a strict ban on all anti-government rallies, hundreds of anti-government protesters poured into the streets in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province yesterday. They were demanding the immediate release of political prisoners. Demonstrators in the cities of Qatif and Awamiyah also expressed solidarity with anti-government protesters in neighboring Bahrain and condemned Manama’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Activists say most of the detained political thinkers are being held without trials or legitimate charges, that they have been arrested “for merely looking suspicious.”

IRAQ (U.S. is occupier)
Iraq has experienced bombing attacks, roadside bombs, and shootings on an almost daily basis since the US-led invasion of this oil-rich country in 2003.

One of the deadliest recent attacks came on Monday (September 25), when twin bombings rocked the southern Iraqi city of Karbala. Twenty-five people died and dozens suffered injuries.

Yesterday, at least 18 people died and 48 others suffered wounds when a large bomb exploded near a mosque. Whoever detonated the bomb was reportedly targeting people mourning the death of a local sheikh in the city of Hillah in central Iraq, 60 miles from Baghdad.

On Thursday, two women and a man died and 76 people were wounded in a truck explosion incident in front of a bank in Kirkuk. Police officers were reportedly collecting their monthly salaries. In clashes in Baghdad and north of the capital in Tarmiyah, a police officer and a U.S. soldier died and others were injured.

PALESTINE (U.S. allied with occupier)
Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas officially submitted his bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 23.

After Palestine went to the UN for full member state status, Israel committed its usual tactic to continue putting off the resolution of conflict with Palestinians and in the greater Middle East. The interior minister approved construction of more than 1,100 homes in the contested Gilo neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Palestinians had initially agreed to negotiate, but only if Israel freezes all construction on Palestinian lands.

The economy minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) said this week, “No matter what the Palestinian people achieve by our own efforts, the occupation prevents us achieving our potential as a free people in our own country.”

A report the PA released this week says “Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has deprived the Palestinian economy annually of an estimated $4.4 billion.” Moreover, the majority of costs have no “relationship with security concerns but rather come from the heavy restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the access to their own natural resources — including water, minerals, salts, stones and land — many of which are exploited by Israel itself.”

If not for the illegal occupation, the report found, “the Palestinian economy could have been nearly twice as large. Current losses amount to some 85 percent of the current Palestinian GDP” [Ma’an News Agency].

Also this week Press TV interviewed Valentine Azarov with Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, who said, “There are ongoing violations of international laws [by Israel] that constitute international crimes that the ICC has jurisdiction over — the basis for going to the International Criminal Court already exists.

“That is irrefutable. There is sufficient material in the hands of the prosecutor that he has received over the last year, specially since the Operation Cast Lead happened, and that indeed has been indicated by him to civil society and international organizations as enough to look into certain cases.

“The reason the court has not accepted Palestinian declaration from January 2009 is largely political. The court has not made a decision on whether Palestine is a state for the purpose of the Rome Statute. That is why this is a very important moment to push forward the declaration and also to open the opportunity for the state of Palestine to become a member of the court to ratify Rome Statute.”

Today in Tehran the 5th International Conference on Palestinian Intifada opened. It focuses on “the restoration of Palestinian rights, including their right of return and to determine their fate as well as the liberation the  territories occupied by Israel.”

In an opening address, the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for considering Israel’s security as his red line. He said the president’s “red line would be crossed by the awakened Muslim nations.”

“Muslim nations,” the Ayatollah Khamenei said, “will no longer want or allow the U.S., Europe, or their puppets to rule over their countries.”

A deepwater basin that forms a natural sea link between the
Red Sea and the Arabian Sea
Named after the seaport of Aden, in southern Yemen,
The gulf lies between the coasts of Arabia and the Horn of Africa

YEMEN (U.S-allied with despots)
Hundreds of people died during regime-ordered crackdowns on anti-government protests. Since President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s return last Friday, more than 170 protesters have died in newly revived brutal campaigns against popular demonstrations in the Yemini capital, Sana’a.

Yesterday, crowds of Yemenis again took to the streets of Sana’a, Press TV reported, “to condemn Saleh for seeking the approval of scholars to crush the country’s  popular uprising.” Tribal leaders and opposition figures said anyone giving such approval would be brought to justice for aiding the Saleh regime in killing civilians.

Ali Abdullah Saleh had been in Saudi Arabia since a June rocket attack on the presidential palace in which he and other senior officials were seriously injured. Saleh returned to Yemen on September 23.

HORN OF AFRICA — SOMALIA (U.S. stands against)

Somalis are suffering from lack of food and are contending with disease, including malaria, measles and pneumonia. Their famine is compounded by armed conflict in Somalia and the United States is bombing the country.

Free Speech Radio News reports this week that the expanding U.S. presence in Somalia is also giving rise to questions among rights groups about the U.S. role in detention and interrogation in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and a rise in drone attacks throughout the Middle East and Horn of Africa region.

Somali officials yesterday confirmed that a U.S. spy drone had crashed near the port city of Kismayo. Somalia is the sixth country where the US military has engaged in unauthorized aerial bombing campaigns through the use of its remote-controlled aircraft.

The United States has also deployed its so-called drones for aerial attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.

Officials in Washington claim the airstrikes target militants but these drone attacks have mostly resulted in civilian casualties.


In an interview with Press TV this, retired U.S. General John Adams expressed outrage at U.S. spending “on unnecessary wars when we have people hurting in our country and other countries.” Talking from the U.S. perspective, he said, “[there are people] who can’t get jobs, are running out of the ability to pay for their medical care, have to look to the next paycheck just to be able to figure out if they can put food on the table — and we’re spending this kind of money on wars of choice. It’s staggering, it’s really outrageous to me.”

Since 2001, “we spent 7.5 trillion dollars on defense and security, a staggering amount of money and opportunities lost.”  

In his first of a four-point conclusion to his chapter “Torture, War, and the Limits of Liberal Legality,” Falk urges this.
The ethical resemblance between one-sided warfare and torture [both one-sided violence] must be acknowledged and addressed.

Sources and notes

Notes from The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse edited by Marjorie Cohn. New York: New York University Press, 2011, pp. 119-129

Chapter 5: “Torture, War, and the Limits of Liberal Legality” by Richard Falk

U.S. Targeted killings
“CCR and the ACLU v. OFAC and Al-Aulaqi v. Obama,” http://ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings

U.S.-involved aggression

“Tear gas claims another Bahraini life,” September 30, 2011,

“Bahrainis rally for freedom,” September 30, 2011,

“Jordanians call for resignation of PM,” September 30, 2011,

“Saudis want political prisoners released,” September 30, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/202062.html

U.S. in Iraq
“Funeral turns into bloodbath in Iraq,” September 30, 2011,

“U.S. soldier killed in northern Iraq,” September 29, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/201880.html

U.S. in Palestine
“U.S.-armed Israel expands settlement construction in Palestinian territory,” September 28, 2011, http://fsrn.org/

“Occupation costs Palestine $4.4bn per yea,” September 30, 2011,

“‘Ample evidence to take Israel to ICC,’” September 30, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/201970.html

“Leader blasts Obama red line, Israel,” October 1, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/202118.html

U.S. in Yemen
“Yemenis protest govt. crackdown,” September 30, 2011,

“Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh says that the United States intelligence apparatus is closely following up and keeping a close eye on the situation in the country — He said Washington was investigating a June attack on the presidential palace that inflicted serious injuries on him as well as other Yemeni officials,”  Press TV interviews Ian Williams, from Foreign Policy in Focus,
U.S. in Somalia

“U.S. role in Somalia questioned as drone attacks, interrogation step up,” September 28, 2011, http://fsrn.org/

“Al Shabab’s power shifting as famine spreads in Somalia,” September 28, 2011,
“The crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, with aid agencies warning that 750,000 people are at risk of dying by the end of the year. … Earlier this summer, the militant group Al-Shabab withdrew from Mogadishu but the capitol is still war-ravaged and militants still have a strong presence in other areas,” audio/us-role-somalia-questioned-drone-attacks-interrogation-step/9199

“U.S. spy drone crashes in Somalia,” September 30, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/201984.html

A U.S. General on U.S. endless wars
“‘U.S. wasting the citizens’ money on wars,’” September 20, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/200215.html

U.S. in Pakistan
From Pakistan: “We are not afraid of the U.S. threats; we are ready to protect our country at all costs if the American forces attack us” [a protester]

Pakistanis have staged nationwide rallies to condemn the United States’ threats of unilateral attacks on Pakistan’s tribal belt in an alleged hunt for the militant Haqqani network. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has denied U.S. accusations against the Pakistani intelligence agency. She says “the Haqqani network was once the ‘blue-eyed boy’ of the CIA.”
On Friday, days after Washington claimed Pakistan’s intelligence agency was supporting the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, activists from religious parties took to streets.

“Pakistanis rally against U.S. threats, October 1, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/202102.html
“Pakistan: Haqqani network, CIA agents,” September 27, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/201398.html

Notes from The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse edited by
Marjorie Cohn. New York: New York University Press, 2011, pp. 119-129
Chapter 5: “Torture, War, and the Limits of Liberal Legality” by Richard Falk

Richard Anderson Falk (b. 1930) is U.S. professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and author or co-author of 20 books, editor or co-editor of another 20 books. He is a speaker and activist on world affairs; and has held United Nations positions on the Palestinian territories.


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Talking Leaves Books-Elmwood: talking.leaves.elmwood@gmail.com [Buffalo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire


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