Sunday, February 03, 2008

Random News & Views Roundup

- Did you know that Pakistan tested a medium range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead just a few days ago? If, like me, you wonder why this happened now - in the midst of political chaos in that country - you'll find this Asia Times piece quite interesting.

- And, while you're at the Asia Times, check out this article by Tom Englehardt: Bombs away over Iraq: Who cares?. It's an eye-opening look at the increased use of air power in Iraq and the tens of thousands of pounds of bombs being dropped.

- Speaking of bombs: U.S. Says It Accidentally Killed 9 Iraqi Civilians (again) and Editor & Publisher takes on the claim that mentally disabled women (which the Times of London has labeled "Down's Syndrome Bombers") were used as suicide bombers in the latest Baghdad market attack.

- Omar Khadr's lawyers are back in the so-called "court" at Gitmo on Monday:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - A U.S. military tribunal will hear arguments Monday on whether it has the right to try Omar Khadr, a Canadian captured as a 15-year-old while fighting against American forces in Afghanistan in 2002.

Lawyers for Khadr, now 21, argue in a challenge on the hearings' agenda that the judge would be the first in western history to preside over a trial for alleged war crimes committed by a child.
Khadr's trial is scheduled for May and is on track to be the first for a detainee at the U.S. naval base in southeast Cuba, where the Pentagon's efforts to hold the first war-crimes trials since the Second World War era have been stalled by legal setbacks.

A Pentagon spokesman, navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said that Khadr's age may be considered during the sentencing phase if he is convicted - but it does not affect the trial.

While the deck is stacked against Khadr, pressure from international human rights group is mounting - urging Canada's heartless government to do the right thing. This weekend, UNICEF released a statement in support of Khadr's rights as well.

If in contact with a justice system, persons under 18 at the time of the alleged offense must be treated in accordance with international juvenile justice standards which provide them with special protection.

- The IAEA's Mohammed ElBaradei reports that Iran is cooperating with his agency's inquiry into Iran's nuclear facilities and that his report will be released later this month. The clock is ticking. Will Bush start one more war before he leaves office? Could the fact that Iran is without internet access right now be related? Here's more on that.

- Finally, this news in Afghanistan is reportedly causing strains between the Brits and Karzai: Revealed: British plan to build training camp for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan

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