Activists protest former President Bush's visit to Canada
In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post last Friday by former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen asked why Amnesty International had not called for the arrest of President Obama for war crimes and claimed that a double standard is at work.
That is not the case.
Amnesty International called for President George W. Bush to be investigated for authorizing the use of torture on detainees in US custody. Torture is recognized as an international crime and states have an obligation to investigate individuals credibly accused of ordering its use who come within their jurisdiction.
It’s that simple.
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Following hard on the heels of the revelation that the Obama administration had held Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame in secret detention on a US naval vessel patrolling off the coast of Somalia for over two months, comes a startling new claim from The Nation magazine that the Obama administration is back in the extraordinary rendition business.
Writing in the latest edition of The Nation, journalist Jeremy Scahill alleges that since early 2009 the United States has maintained a secret prison located on a compound within the perimeter of Mogadishu Airport and that in July 2009 the United States was involved in the extraordinary rendition of Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan from Kenya to Somalia.
Without further independent investigation it is difficult to make a definitive judgment about Scahill’s claims but it is worth noting that he is the author of the well-regarded study “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and has extensive contacts in the intelligence, special forces, and private military contractor communities.
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Late Monday night the Obama administration reported that it had transferred a Somali national called Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame from detention on a US warship somewhere in the Persian Gulf to the jurisdiction of the New York federal court.
Warsame is accused of having provided material support to the radical Somali Islamic group Al Shabab and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He was reportedly detained on a fishing trawler somewhere in international waters between Somalia and Yemen. Another individual detained with him has since been released.
On the face of it, the Obama administration’s decision to refer Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame’s case to be heard in federal court is to be welcomed. The criminal justice system is both the most appropriate and best-equipped venue to adjudicate such cases. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST