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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘detention’

US, Setting Example For Israel, Releases Taliban Terrorists

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

On 28 July, Jonathan Tobin asked, at Commentary, if the U.S. would release terrorist killers as a precondition for talks – the measure Secretary of State John Kerry was demanding of Israel.

A couple of days later, in an almost supernaturally handy turn of events, we had the answer: yes.  The U.S. did exactly that at the end of July, agreeing to release five Taliban terrorists we’ve been holding at Guantanamo, in order to jumpstart the initiative – mainly ours – for talks with the Taliban.

Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that in June, the Taliban offered to exchange U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban at Gitmo.  The Haqqani network of the Pakistan Taliban has been holding Bergdahl since late June or early July of 2009, shortly after he went missing close to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

But the Gitmo Five were released without an exchange for SGT Bergdahl taking place.  This will have to be a blow to his family in Idaho (not to mention a blow to Bergdahl).

It will also be another blow to U.S. credibility, already on the ropes.  It certainly dents the credibility of detention as a deterrent to terrorism.  Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, had a hilariously timed oped in Friday’s Washington Post online in which he argued that the Obama administration should declare that the “war against al Qaeda” – yes, that al Qaeda; the one that has our embassies shut down across the Muslim world this weekend – is over.  Instead of acting on a war footing and killing terrorists, says Mr. Roth, we should be going with President Obama’s own expressed preference to “detain, interrogate, and prosecute” them.

Now, I have been a critic myself of Obama’s overreliance on drone killings as a method.  And detention and interrogation, while important for intelligence gathering, are not methods of deterrence, nor is prosecution.  I don’t argue for them as a substitute for drone attacks.

I’m getting those points out of the way so we can focus on what matters here, which is that detention is as close to meaningless as makes no difference, if we’re just going to turn terrorists loose anyway, to everyone we might have a yen to have “talks” with.  The Obama administration, just a few days before his oped appeared, provided Kenneth Roth with a conversation-stopping answer to his proposition that we should kill less and detain more.  The answer leaves Roth in the dust:  whether we stop killing terrorists or not, we should release the ones we have detained in order to get terrorists to have talks with us.

I guess, technically, there would be a purpose for detaining a few from time to time, on the assumption that we may want to have talks with their comrades in terror in the future.  This kind of preemptive hostage-taking is gang-and-guerrilla behavior, of course.  The degrees by which the mode of thinking shifts from “responsible statesman” to “mob boss” are not subtle here.

In any case, we can reassure Mr. Roth that the U.S. ended the war on terror in 2009.  Perhaps that’s not the same thing as the “war against al Qaeda,” but in the latter regard, Roth would do well to try and keep up:  al Qaeda has been “decimated” and has been “on the path to defeat” for a year or more, according to the Obama administration.

The die seems to be cast; we can at least hope that God really does watch out for fools, drunks, and the United States, because our president certainly isn’t doing it.  Given the reigning jumble of confused soundbites and incoherent actions that now masquerades as U.S. policy on the global threat of terrorism, we may justly ask, with our former secretary of state: what difference, at this point, does it make?

More than 500 Fatah and Hamas Media Freedom Violations Since Split

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has released a statement saying that since “the internal Palestinian division in mid-June 2007,” the “Palestinian people are still suffering from its very bad and negative effects.”

Palestinian Journalists are subjected to massive violations which include arrest, torture, beatings, detention, and repeated calls for investigation, in addition to the closure of media outlets, the prevention of journalists from collaborating together, and the prevention of distributing daily newspapers, the rights Network says.

The number of violations against journalists and the media committed by both sides since the start of the division, when Hamas evicted the PLO from Gaza, reached beyond 500 violations, reads the statement.

One of the results of this brutality has been the promotion of self-censorship on the part of journalists and media outlets, seriously curtailing the quality of news reports available to Palestinians.

The Network says there has been some improvement in the area of media freedoms in 2012 and in the first months of 2013, but adds that “the serious violations against journalists during the past month do not promise serious breakthroughs in the status of media freedoms, especially with the stalled efforts to implement a reconciliation.”

Having said that, the Network quickly reminds us that the real, and biggest violators are still “the Israeli occupation and its settlers,” whom the Network accuses of committing more than 800 violations during the same period, including the killing of eight journalists.

Captain Eytan Buchman, IDF Spokesperson, responded to an inquiry by The Jewish Press regarding the above accusation of killing journalists:

“The IDF takes every possible measure to contend with security threats using the most minimal, effective measures. In many cases, but more so in Gaza, terrorist groups such as the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad exploit civilians and even the media as human shields. While this represents a conscious and deliberate decision to endanger local residents and journalists, the IDF still takes every possible measure to minimize collateral damage, even while rockets launched from urban areas in Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians.

“During operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ the IDF went beyond what was required both by international law and the IDF’s military code. This included the use of pinpoint fire, real-time intelligence on targets to prevent civilian causalities and warnings being given to local residents prior to IDF operations.

“Numerous sources reveal the cynical exploitation of media coverage. For example, AP themselves live-tweeted the strike on a media building that housed an Islamic Jihad meeting. For more examples, please see this article.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/more-than-500-fatah-and-hamas-media-freedom-violations-since-split/2013/06/19/

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