[Illustration by TAMER YOUSSEF]
INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: One day after judges at the International Criminal Court ordered his arrest for atrocities committed in Darfur, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan offered a fiery and defiant response on Thursday, telling a crowd of thousands in his own country that “we are not succumbing, we are not bending” to outside pressure. Jabbing the air with a walking stick and flanked by aides and bodyguards, Bashir called the court’s decision a conspiracy designed to recolonize his country.
“Sudan is raising its voice. It rejects the hegemony, the colonialists,” he declared. Referring to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council, he said: “We are ready to face you,” according to live television broadcasts from Khartoum which showed him, clad in a light blue suit, addressing a huge crowd from a podium.His appearance at the rally in Khartoum, the capital, followed quickly after Sudanese officials retaliated against the court’s decision on Wednesday, ordering Western aid groups that provide for millions of people to shut down their operations and leave.
After months of deliberation, the judges charged Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity for playing an “essential role” in the murder, rape, torture, pillage and displacement of large numbers of civilians in Darfur. But the judges did not charge him with genocide, as the prosecutor had requested. In issuing the order, the three judges put aside diplomatic requests for more time for peace talks and fears that the warrant would incite a violent backlash in Sudan, where 2.5 million Darfur residents have been chased from their homes and 300,000 have died in a conflict pitting non-Arab rebel groups against the Arab-dominated government and its allied militias. MORE
GEORGE CLOONEY: I think what was most disturbing about the place was how little it had changed. “Normal” is 800 calories a day, sickness, threats of rebel violence, or just crime. When you see their faces, the hope that was there three years ago was all but gone. There are still moments. We walked through a village where children would follow me and chant the name “Obama.” His promise of “hope” having such a different meaning here. But there’s too little hope. Time and time again they’ve seen the convoy of white trucks and even whiter faces pull up, drag out their camera crew and pull aside the most damaged family they can find. We film them as they give honest answers to questions no person should have to answer. “What happened?” “How did you lose that arm?” “Were you raped?” “By how many?” Then, just as they’ve seen time and time again, we jump back in our vehicles and run to the next place. “Not really tragic enough,” is said out loud (probably by me). “Maybe there’s somebody that’s been attacked more recently.” It’s all been covered before. MORE
WIKIPEDIA: The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) (not to be confused with the International Court of Justice) is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although it cannot currently exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression). The Court came into being on 1 July 2002 — the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, entered into force — and it can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date. The official seat of the Court is in The Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere. As of March 2009[update], 108 states are members of the Court; A further 40 countries have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. However, a number of states, including China, Russia, India and the United States, are critical of the Court and have not joined. MORE
POSNER: CIA Destroyed Interrogation Tapes To Maintain The Mystery Of 9/11
GERALD POSNER: [9/11 ringleader Abu Zubaydah] then asked his interrogators to call a senior member of the Saudi royal family. And Zubaydah provided a private home number and a cellphone number from memory. “He will tell you what to do,” Zubaydah assured them That man was Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, one of King Fahd’s nephews, and the chairman of the largest Saudi publishing empire. Later, American investigators would determine that Prince Ahmed had been in the US on 9/11.
American interrogators used painkillers to induce Zubaydah to talk—they gave him the meds when he cooperated, and withdrew them when he was quiet. They also utilized a thiopental sodium drip (a so-called truth serum). Several hours after he first fingered Prince Ahmed, his captors challenged the information, and said that since he had disparaged the Saudi royal family, he would be executed. It was at that point that some of the secrets of 9/11 came pouring out. In a short monologue that one investigator told me was the “Rosetta Stone” of 9/11, Zubaydah laid out details of how he and the al Qaeda hierarchy had been supported at high levels inside the Saudi and Pakistan governments. He named two other Saudi princes, and also the chief of Pakistan’s air force, as his major contacts. Moreover, he stunned his interrogators by charging that two of the men, the king’s nephew and the Pakistani air-force chief, knew a major terror operation was planned for America on 9/11.
It would be nice to further investigate the men named by Zubaydah, but that is not possible. All four identified by Zubaydah are now dead. As for the three Saudi princes, the king’s 43-year-old nephew, Prince Ahmed, died of either a heart attack or blood clot, depending on which report you believe, after having liposuction in Riyadh’s top hospital. The second, 41-year-old Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki al-Saud, died the following day in a one-car accident, on his way to the funeral of Prince Ahmed. And one week later, the third Saudi prince named by Zubaydah, 25-year-old Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, died, according to the Saudi Royal Court, “of thirst.” The head of Pakistan’s air force, Mushaf Ali Mir, was the last to go. He died, together with his wife and 15 of his top aides, when his plane blew up—suspected as sabotage—in February 2003. Pakistan’s investigation of the explosion—if one was even done—has never been made public. MORE
OP ED NEWS: The 9/11 Commission was mandated to follow the facts surrounding the events of September 11, 2001 to wherever they might lead and make national security recommendations based upon those facts. Sadly, prior to even beginning their investigation, like you, the 9/11 Commissioners agreed amongst themselves that their role was to /fact find, not fault find/. This decision resulted in individuals not being held accountable for their specific failures. These people were shown to be incompetent in the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report but were left in their positions, or worse, promoted. No one should be allowed to make this compromise on behalf of the American people. How can any agency be deemed fixed or reformed if the people working there are inept? How can anyone feel safer? At the 9/11 Commission hearings, little actual evidence was ever produced. Many individuals were not sworn in, critical witnesses were either not called to testify or were permitted to dictate the parameters of their own questioning, pertinent questions were omitted and there was little follow-up. Whistleblower testimony was suppressed or avoided all together. The National Security Agency, an intelligence agency that is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign intelligence, was barely investigated at all. With the narrative of the 9/11 Commission’s final report predetermined and with the preexisting intention to never hold anyone accountable in place, the 9/11 Commission was doomed to fail as a real investigation. MORE