International Commission of Jurists
Counterterrorism policies adopted by countries around the world since 2001 pose a "serious threat to the integrity of the international human rights legal framework," according to the report by the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, established by the International Commission of Jurists. February 2009 (pdf).
“We're engaged in a global struggle against the followers of a murderous ideology that despises freedom and crushes all dissent, and has territorial ambitions and pursues totalitarian aims… And against such an enemy there is only one effective response: we will never back down, we will never give in and we will never accept anything less than complete victory”… US President George W. Bush (4 July 2006)
Whether we like it or not, the world has not been the same since September 11, 2001 (9/11). Nearly all of us could witness that day, thanks to the spectacular media coverage, the biggest terrorist attack ever against US interests. What many people still could not imagine then was that the world may turn into an even more insecure, unstable and more unjust place following the reaction of the US government. First came the invasion of Afghanistan, whose Taliban regime – according to the Bush administration – hosted the Al-Qaeda network which the United States held responsible for the 9/11 attacks; then it was Iraq’s turn, which since 2003 lives under the occupation of a US-led coalition.
It is the “war on terror”, as George W. Bush himself has labelled it. And it seems that, within the framework of this relentless fight against terrorism, everything is justified…even the violation of international law, human rights and even the US Constitution, as it has been denounced by civil society groups. A particularly alarming chapter in this offensive is the treatment provided by the US army to prisoners of war (or “illegal combatants”) held at the Iraqi prison of Abu Ghraib as well as at the US military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where hundreds of people remain detained without neither formal accusations nor the right to a fair trial.
Equally controversial has turn out to be the use of military doctrines by the US government, including that of preventive war and “regime change” promoted within the framework of this “war on terror”, as well as the justifications for such war. For instance, the arguments stating that Saddam Hussein’s regime was hiding weapons of mass destruction and had been a partner with Al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks were never proved and even so the Bush administration invaded Iraq, overthrew Hussein and set up a “democratic” government serving US interests. Now the threat falls in Iran, which according to the US government is pursuing nuclear weapons for war purposes, thus turning into a destabilising force in the Middle East.
The truth is that, according to various reports including one by National Intelligence Council revealed by The New York Times on 24 September 2006, not only has the invasion and occupation of Iraq (with all its abuses) failed in halting international terrorism but, on the contrary, it has contributed to fuel terrorism worldwide and to strengthen Islamic radicalism toward the West.
Terrorism in historical perspective
It must be the most widely heard word since the beginning of the 21st century and also the most largely manipulated one in terms of geo-political interests. As pointed out by Fred Halliday in his article “Terrorism in historical perspective”, published in the website OpenDemocracy, “terrorism is a complex issue that allows of no easy resolution, intellectual or political. Indeed, probably no subject has been as important in international relations, or as confused in its treatment. Yet never has clear exposition been more necessary; for since September 2001 it has been the shaping theme of American foreign policy, and, by extension to much of the discussion of foreign policy in Europe, the Eurasian landmass, the Middle East and elsewhere”.
Halliday also remembers that terrorism is not a specifically “Islamic” or “Middle Eastern” problem. “Historically, the continent of Europe pioneered political violence on a world scale, developed modern industrial war, and played the leading role in developing those particular instruments of modern political action and control: genocide, systematic state torture, and terrorism”.
The first use of the word “terrorism”, says Halliday, was by the French revolutionaries of the 18th century, although in an exact reverse of the contemporary sense: to denote violence against people by the state. “This dimension should not be forgotten. In recent decades, states have killed and tortured far more people and violated far more of the rules of war than their non-state opponents”.
Then there is the doctrine stating that “you are either with me or against me” used by Bush to suggest that those who oppose the White House policy are indeed on the side of terrorists. The United States does not hesitate to point the finger at those countries that, according to Washington, are supporting terrorism, like Afghanistan under the Talibans, Hussein’s Iraq, Syria, Iran, and even the Venezuela under Hugo Chávez. However, at the same time, it supports, both economically and politically, states like Israel which has maintained an illegal occupation for more than 40 years, subjecting and depriving a civilian population like the Palestinian of its rights, under the excuse of the fight against terrorism and legitimate defense.
US historian Michael Parenti remembers, however, that US interventionism has been a consistent pattern in American history. “Since World War II, the US government has given more than $200 billion in military aid to build up the internal security forces in more than eighty countries”. “While claiming to be motivated by a dedication to human rights and democracy, US governments have supported rightwing autocrats (…) that have tortured, killed or otherwise maltreated large numbers of citizens because of their dissenting political views”, as in Turkey, Zaire, Chad, Pakistan, Morocco, Indonesia, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, the Philippines, Cuba (under Fulgencio Batista), Nicaragua (under Somoza), and Portugal (under Salazar). It has participated in “covert actions or proxy mercenary wars against reformist or revolutionary governments in Cuba, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Portugal, Nicaragua, Cambodia, East Timor, Western Sahara, Egypt, Lebanon, Peru, Iran, Syria, Jamaica, South Yemen and the Fiji Islands, among others”.
The bombing of innocent people in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq has been a constant pattern in recent years. These are clearly terrorist actions targeted at unarmed civilians. The conclusion is alarming: no corner of the world suspected of playing host to some kind of terrorist activity is safe from being invaded or bombed.
The status of human rights
Article 14 of the 1977 Protocol to the Geneva Convention states that “the Occupying Power has the duty to ensure (…) the medical needs of the civilian population”. In Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and more recently Lebanon when it was attacked by Israel in July 2006, bombings have left significant sectors of the civilian population without drinking water, energy, hospitals and health centres.
But, besides the Geneva Convention, the United States and NATO have violated other international treaties and instruments such as the Protection of People against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among others. So, there is no international treaty on the subject that has not been violated by the United States and its allies.
Two recent events account for the hypocritical duality with which some states are manipulating the concept of human rights well into the 21st century. In the first place, on February 7, 2007, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance that criminalises the use of secret prisons was signed in Paris by some sixty countries (most of them from Europe, but not the United States). And a few days later, on February 14, a report accusing those same European governments of complicity with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in operations involving clandestine kidnappings, was approved at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. According to this report, between 2001 and 2005, CIA aircrafts made no less than 1,245 stopovers at European airports, often carrying suspects who were victims of “enforced disappearance”, being clandestinely sent to Guantánamo or prisons in allied countries (Egypt, Morocco) where torture is a regular practice.
As stated by Ignacio Ramonet in a recent article published in the newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, “it is clear that this massive violation of human rights could not have happened without the consent of the Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Javier Solana, and those of his associate EU Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, Gijs de Vries. In an eloquent gesture, de Vries decided to resign, although alleging personal reasons: “Democratic states – he said – must carry out their battle against terrorism within the framework of respect for the law (…). The ill-treatment at Abu Ghraib, the abuses at Guantanamo, together with the CIA renditions have undermined the credibility of the United States and Europe”.
The overwhelming majority of Iraqis in Iraq and outside Iraq wants U.S. troops and mercenaries to leave their country. However, the U.S. refused to abide by international law and respects the Iraqi people rights to self-determination. The stated justification for the ongoing Occupation is that a withdrawal of U.S. troops and mercenaries would result in increased violence. Evidence shows that the Occupation is the source of violence and terror against the Iraqi people. June 2008.
Since President Bush’s statements in November 2001 that there was no room for neutrality in the war against terror, the U.S. government has placed foreign policy issues in a “good versus evil” dichotomy. Pentagon policy chief and its reigning neocon Douglas Feith echoed the president’s sentiments in a 2002 speech when he said that “moral clarity is a strategic asset [in the war on terror]” and that the president’s label of “evil” is to “steer the world toward an unquestionable rejection of terrorism, regardless of its goals.” As such, other nations have been pressured (diplomatically, economically and militarily) to leave no stone unturned when investigating groups that may be acting against U.S. interests. However, such a clear cut paradigm – which already has been used by Washington to justify two of its recent wars – has not been applied to the U.S. government when it itself is accused of harboring terrorists, especially when the accusations come from Havana. 9 May 2005.
The EU's reform of its terrorist lists amounts to little more than window dressing. Secret intergovernmental committees continue to act as judge and executioner and those listed are denied their basic human rights. Until they are granted a fair hearing -in which the substantive allegations against them can be reviewed by a competent, impartial tribunal- the terrorist lists will continue to represent a legal vacuum and a betrayal of the EU's commitment to the rule of law. August 2007.
A new survey of more than 100 U.S. foreign policy experts -both Republicans and Democrats, as well as retired military and intelligence professionals- has found deep pessimism over the "global war on terror" and even deeper pessimism over the war in Iraq. February 2007.
A new study, by terrorism experts Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, uses data from the RAND Corporation to produce the first public report that measures the "Iraq effect" on jihadist terrorism. It documents that since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, incidents of jihadist violence in the world have increased by 607 percent, and the number of people killed in those attacks has risen by 237 percent. February 2007.
Three important dynamics taking place before our eyes these days revolve around American government perceptions of the world that also impact on the lives of billions of people around the globe. It is urgent to correctly diagnose and appropriately respond to the issues involved, especially in view of the expanding terrorism threats in Europe and the upsurge in violent clashes in Iraq. April 2004.
In light of recent changes in the way U.S. administers foreign aid, this Oakland Institute's policy brief challenges Bush administration's efforts to bring the administration of aid under the control of the State Department and tie foreign assistance to U.S. strategic military interests. At a time when the U.S. foreign aid has been made a central team member of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, the policy brief advocates that it is in the interest of the United States to ensure that each dollar of development aid is invested in building self-reliant societies abroad instead of subjecting them to its short-term foreign and military policy goals. February 2006 (pdf version).
"When it comes to human rights, there is no greater leader than the United States of America,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said. The view from abroad is less kind. A recent resolution of the European Parliament, for example, “condemns” US government’s treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. It urges Washington to guarantee all prisoners “minimum human rights in accordance with international human rights law and fair trial procedures” and to “immediately clarify the situation of the prisoners.”
Terrorism has become a global phenomenon, and the response has to reflect the dimensions of the threat. Cooperation between Europe and America is crucial to building the necessary partnerships. By Gijs De Vries, former European Coordinator for Counter-terrorism. Pdf version.
Innocent people across the world are now paying the price of the "Iraq effect", with the loss of hundreds of lives directly linked to the invasion and occupation by American and British forces. March 2007.
On the eve of the examination of the human rights record of the Philippines under the newly established mechanism of Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in cooperation with its national member, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and with the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), make public a report which highlights that torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are common practice in the Philippines in the context of the “war on terror”. April 2008.
Terrorism is an assault on people's fundamental human rights. Amnesty International (AI) has consistently condemned the heinous attacks in recent years that have left thousands of civilians dead or maimed. But at the same time, AI urges all governments not to respond to terror with terror. It has repeatedly exposed and condemned human rights violations committed in the name of security as well as measures that undermine fundamental human rights, such as torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. October 2006.
The so-called “war on terror” has led to an erosion of a whole host of human rights. States are resorting to practices which have long been prohibited by international law, and have sought to justify them in the name of national security.
A report released by the Council of Europe confirms that the CIA has used interrogation centers in Europe, including in Romania and Poland, to secretly hold and torture prisoners captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the globe. The report is the most detailed description of a secret program initiated by the US government, with the collaboration of Europe. June 2007.
Based on research by six major human rights groups —Amnesty International, Cageprisoners, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, Human Rights Watch and Reprieve— Off the Record identifies individuals believed to have been held at some point by the United States in secret sites, all of whom remain missing. June 2007.
September 11, 2001, caused many to reflect upon the fundamental values on which United States was founded: freedom of speech, respect for human dignity, freedom of religion, justice for all, tolerance. It is imperative that the United States stand for the principles of unalienable, universal rights. Otherwise, those who wage war on human rights will have won the battle against freedom. Amnesty International is concerned the "war on terror" not become an excuse to deny human rights.
Deliberate attacks on civilians flout the most fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. Yet, with the advent of the "war on terror," governments are increasingly employing counterterrorism measures that themselves violate basic human rights. This is the section of Human Rights Watch on counterterrorism.
Major concerns have been raised by U.S. policies for detaining and interrogating suspected terrorists (both those detained here in the U.S. and those captured in war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq), for using the designation of "unlawful enemy combatant" as a means of denying basic due process rights, and for using torture and other forms of abuse to obtain information. Human Rights USA also have challenged the use o fthe practice of "rendition to torture", that is, sending suspected terrorists to other countries so that they can be subjected to more forceful forms of interrogation, including torture, not permitted in the U.S.
The Center’s cutting edge legal analysis exposes the practices of extraordinary rendition, disappearances, and detainee abuse as violations of domestic, regional and international law. The Center works closely with human rights organizations, litigators, regional groups, parliamentary bodies, and other actors working to end abuses by the United States and collaborating countries in the "War on Terror".
The US government should account for all the missing detainees once held by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Human Rights Watch said. The 50-page report, “Ghost Prisoner: Two Years in Secret CIA Detention,” contains a detailed description of a secret CIA prison from a Palestinian former detainee who was released from custody last year. Human Rights Watch has also sent a public letter to US President George W. Bush requesting information about the fate and whereabouts of the missing detainees. February 2007.
Over one thousand CIA-operated flights used European airspace from 2001 to 2005 and temporary secret detention facilities "may have been located at US military bases" in Europe, says the European Parliament in its final report on illegal CIA activities in Europe, adopted 14 February. The report, which deplores the passivity of some Member States in the face of illegal CIA operations, as well as the lack of co-operation from the EU Council of Ministers, was approved with 382 votes in favour, 256 against with 74 abstentions. February 2007.
On 10 December, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."
Adopted on 12 August 1949 by the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, held in Geneva from 21 April to 12 August, 1949. Entry into force: 21 October 1950.
Adopted on 8 June 1977 by the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armned Conflicts. Entry into force 7 December 1979, in accordance with Article 95.
Hyderabad, August 24, 2008: A three-day People's Tribunal concluded here after recording testimonies of over 40 victims who have been arrested, harassed and tortured by Indian police and State security agencies in violation of standard legal procedures in the name of fighting terror. August 2008.
In one of the most important human rights cases of the decade, the Supreme Court of the United States held, in a 5-4 decision, that the men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay have the constitutional right to habeas corpus. One of the oldest and most basic legal protections, habeas corpus affords the incarcerated the right to stand before a judge and confront the charges presented against him or her. The Center for Constitutional Rights has been sending habeas counsel to represent the prisoners at the base since winning the first Guantánamo case, Rasul v. Bush, in 2004. June 2008.
The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 would implement an expansion of the 2002 Homeland Security Act with the creation of a National Commission authorized to study and identify individuals and groups whose social values, political associations, or religious beliefs "might" lead them to commit violent acts. However, this does not refer to CIA assassinations, police brutality, murder of unarmed civilians, or torture at secret prisons. This Commission is targeting political dissidents and social activists who are critical of U.S. foreign policy, corporate abuse, and practices that threaten the life of our planet. February 2008.
Two human rights groups have criticised the U.N. Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee for refusing to castigate governments that crack down on human rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Human Rights First say governments the world over, including the major powers, continue to abuse human rights deploying the language of counter-terrorism.
The revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed at least two video tapes depicting the torture of prisoners held by the United States underscores the brazen criminality of the Bush administration. Aside from the torture itself, the elimination of evidence of brutal interrogation exposes top CIA and government officials to obstruction of justice charges. December 2007.
Terrorism has always had a morbid tendency to bring the most reactionary instincts of governments to the surface. From the so-called 'anarchist terror' of the 19th century to the 9/11 attacks, states have responded to real or fabricated threats with authoritarian legislation, states of emergency and attacks on civil liberties. September 2007.
Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian political prisoner, is being held in a prison hospital, after a debilitating 60-day hunger strike seeking to draw the attention of the nation and the world to the injustice visited upon him, jailed for his commitment to justice and dignity for his homeland. This is not a scene from an Israeli jail, however, but from a U.S. prison in North Carolina. Al-Arian's hunger strike ended at the pleas of his family, yet without justice for Al-Arian, whose imprisonment is part and parcel of a U.S. government policy of targeting Palestinian activists, as well as the broader Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities, in an internal "war of terror" whose policies run parallel to that being waged abroad. April 2007.
This briefing paper looks at the use of indefinite detention under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA) and its consequences for human rights and for an effective counter-terrorism strategy in the United Kingdom. It examines the legal and factual basis of the derogation from human rights law on which the Part 4 detention power rests, and whether the power constitutes permissible discrimination on the ground of nationality. The paper highlights concerns by U.K. parliamentary and international human rights bodies about the efficacy and necessity of indefinite detention under the ATCSA. It also details the cost of indefinite detention—for counter-terrorism efforts, race and community relations, the willingness of British Muslims to cooperate with the police and security services, and to the detainees themselves. 24 June 2004.
The riveting images of the Iraqi prisoners being forced by United States military personnel into simulated sexual poses or otherwise abused at Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison have become one of the most enduring, ironic, and, some might add, iconic images of the America’s “war on terror.” However, even before the emergence of the photographs thrust the issue to the forefront of political discourse, a public debate was long overdue on the balance to be struck between the competing demands of civil liberties and national security and whether or not violent responses to violence render both sides morally indistinguishable. This article analyzes the issue considering Michael Ignatieff’s book “The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror”, a timely account of the challenges facing liberal democracies as they confront the phenomenon of international terrorism. Pdf version.
The war on terror was politically declared on 9/11 but officially commenced on 9/12/’94 when the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 49/60 delineating the measures to eliminate all forms of Terrorism. The Resolution recalled the Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and goes on to refer to various other Resolutions including International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The reference to the last two Covenants is to assure the World Public opinion that rights ensured by these Covenants will not be trampled upon and that this War on Terror shall not impede the forces of social change. Pursuant to this, a solemn declaration was made containing twelve clauses divided into three sections simultaneously.
The passage of the Anti-Terror Bill-now incongruously rebaptized the "Human Security Act of 2007"-- marks the end of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's penance for withdrawing the Philippine military contingent from Iraq following the kidnapping of Angelo de la Cruz in July 2004. At a time that our leaders should be exerting all their efforts to protect activists, journalists, workers, and farmers by decisively reining in the state security agencies, the president and a compliant Congress are presenting the soldiers and the police with one more powerful instrument of repression. 22 February 2007.
Terrorism has been on the agenda of the United Nations for decades. Thirteen international conventions have been elaborated within the framework of the United Nations system relating to specific terrorist activities. Member States through the General Assembly have been increasingly coordinating their counter-terrorism efforts and continuing their legal norm setting work.
The United Nations Security Council has the international stature and resources necessary to exercise farsighted global leadership in the campaign against terrorism. To date, it has largely failed to fully realize this potential. An important reason has been its failure to take seriously the protection of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism. 10 August 2004.
USA has miserably failed in solving the problem of terrorism by using torture; and ruining lives of hundreds of innocent people in Gantanamo Bay. India, and for that matter any other country, can also not succeed in solving this problem simply through torture. It is a political problem and has to be solved politically. Political policies, not the jackboots, can solve such problems. July 2008.
Countless examples of the U.S. commitment to terrorism exist, dating back to the American Indian genocide, the invasion of Vietnam, the funding and collaboration in the genocidal ethnic cleansing in Turkey, US longstanding proxy military force in Colombia, the massacres of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians through the Clinton years, and of course, the current bombing of civilians in the illegal occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, which by our own Nuremberg standards, constitute the gravest war crime of "unlawful aggression." March 2008.
Probably no word better defines or underscores the Bush presidency than "terrorism" even though his administration wasn't the first to exploit this highly charged term. We use to explain what "they do to us" to justify what we "do to them," or plan to, always deceitfully couched in terms of humanitarian intervention, promoting democracy, or bringing other people the benefits of western civilization Gandhi thought would be a good idea when asked once what he thought about it. May 2007.
The case of Luis Posada Carriles is a prime example of the tentacle-like reach of Miami's exile community into both the Washington foreign policy establishment and the U.S. judicial system. What is so instructive about the Posada case is how little secrecy actually surrounds it: few details are shrouded, and his dastardly crimes are not only publicly known, but even celebrated in select circles. This apathy and lack of moral rectitude is appalling, even under the Bush administration's Olympic record for duplicity. Such openness has been fostered by a deep rooted culture of impunity that affects Washington – one that has existed for so long that it no longer sparks adequate debate or investigation. May 2007.
The double standards employed by the US to protect its own buddy Luis Posada Carriles have shocked the world. By its refusal to either prosecute Posada for his crimes against humanity on its own or refusing to extradite him to Cuba or Venezuela it has clearly violated international anti terrorism agreements. April 2007.
Terrorism is the defining issue of the post 9/11 world. It is also one of the most confusing and contested words in the political lexicon. The route to understanding, says Fred Halliday, is through making connections: between past and present, state and insurgent violence, nationalist and religious movements. The result is an illuminating survey of terrorism’s history, current impact, and possible future. 22 April 2004.
In a trenchant analysis of the post-9/11 world, Fred Halliday documents the two-sided assault both by the United States and its fundamentalist enemies on universal principles. Can citizens of the world retrieve a confident, humane politics from beneath the rubble? 16 September 2004.
Modern war is rarely a classic confrontation between the armed forces of two or more states. The huge imbalances in political and economic power and military might have led to the development of new forms of waging conflict that challenge the conventional view of war.
The theme of terrorism dominates the mass media today and this daily onslaught on our senses by the print and the electronic media is building "terror hysteria". The media campaign projects "terrorism" as a philosophy of perpetual violence, which intends to terrorize the masses and destroy the civilized world. It seems that the exponents of "terrorism" aim to create a state of permanent chaos. Terrorism is the evil spirit of the nether world, which corrupts the souls of the people it touches and turns them into devil. The terrorists therefore, are a bunch of demented killers - the barbarians of yore who only want to create anarchy. January 2005.
Terrorism is not a new problem, nor is there anything novel in the government tendency to justify repressive policies by reference to the terrorist threat. Yet it is only in recent years, with the greater scale and pervasiveness of contemporary terrorism, that a sustained global focus on security has emerged. The new global security agenda poses significant normative threats to the existing human rights framework. Governments are increasingly taking actions in the name of counter-terrorism that violate basic human rights norms. International bodies such as the United Nations are not only failing to impede such actions, but are in some ways encouraging them. January 2006.
9/11 brought the issues of religious identity and national identity, i.e. faith and patriotism, to the fore. But rather than reflecting carefully about what these meant, they were distorted and twisted by all sides in this new climate of fear and vengeance to promote a perverse political aim that was best summed up by Bush's own "with us or against us" dictum. 11 September 2006.
In one of the most extensive studies of counter-terrorism and human rights yet undertaken, an independent panel of eminent judges and lawyers today presents alarming findings about the impact of counter-terrorism policies worldwide and calls for remedial action. The Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, established by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), has based its report "Assessing Damage, Urging Action" on sixteen hearings covering more than forty countries in all regions of the world. February 2009 (pdf).
This report contains papers that were presented at the second of a series of four seminars on the theme ‘understanding terrorism in Africa’. The seminar, organized jointly by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Terrorism Studies and Research Programme (TSRP) of Cairo University, and the African Centre for Strategic Research and Studies (ACSRS) at the Nigerian National War College, took place at the University of Cairo from 19 and 20 May 2007. 2008 (pdf).
The US operates military bases in 63 countries and deploys 255,065 military personnel in 156 countries. A new Global Research article provides maps and statistics about US bases and argues that Washington uses its global "war on terror" to justify its interference in countless countries where it has usurped natural resources and "established its control" over governments. International progressive groups and antiwar activists protest US military intervention, but neither they, nor the exorbitant costs of military operations, have succeeded in deterring the US from expanding its "worldwide network" of bases. July 2007.
The euphoria which emerged in the late 1980s with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the spread of democratic regimes has been replaced in recent years by a backlash against civil society. This has particularly intensified September 11 and the ensuing global ‘war on terror.’ A working paper by the London School of Economics and the Center for Civil Society examines the causes of the backlash against civil society, describes the manifestations of that backlash, and reflects upon the implications for the future. July 2007 (pdf version).
Five years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the influence of foreign lobbying on the U.S. government, as well as a shortsighted emphasis on counterterrorism objectives over broader human rights concerns, have generated staggering costs to the U.S. and its allies in money spent and political capital burned. "Collateral Damage" couples the reporting of 10 of the world's leading investigative journalists on four continents with a powerful database combining U.S. military assistance, foreign lobbying expenditures, and human rights abuses into a single, easily accessible toolkit. June 2007.
“Preventing Torture within the Fight against Terrorism” is a joint project of the Fédération Internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (FIDH) and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT). This new publication aims to increase knowledge sharing and dialogue about human rights violations—especially torture—that are taking place under the guise of counter-terrorism efforts throughout the world. May 2007.
Since September 11, the Bush Administration has made the distribution of security assistance a centerpiece of its "War on Terrorism." In its haste to strengthen the "frontline" states' ability to confront transnational terrorist threats on their soil, and to gain the cooperation of regimes of geostrategic significance to the next phases of the "War on Terrorism", the administration is disregarding normative restrictions on U.S. aid to human rights abusers. This list highlights this tradeoff by juxtaposing data on increases in military aid to the administration's allies in its global war on terror with excerpts from the State Department's recently released reports on human rights.
This web page has the following sub-sections: Reaction to the September 11, 2001 events; Resulting War on Terror; Mainstream Media; Will violence lead to more violence?; Using Fear; President Bush losing the war on terror; Additional articles and links.