Law and Disorder Radio – US Covert Military Operations in Libya and Somalia – Phyllis Bennis on the US, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Israel – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

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The United States Military Kidnapping in Libya and Failed Kill-or-Capture Operation in Somalia

The United States military has gone into two parts of Africa. In one case they went into Libya and brazenly seized a man named Abu Anas al-Libi, who they claim to be a leader of Al-Qaeda. He was seized out of Tripoli, Libya. The U.S. also went into Somalia and attacked a house or a compound in an apparent effort to capture or kill an alleged senior leader of the Somali group al-Shabab. Michael Ratner reports in this update.



Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • It was shocking news to see that the United States thinks it can go into sovereign countries and kidnap or kill whoever they want. Did the US have the right to go into Libya at all?
  • Article 24 of the UN Charter says that the territorial integrity of a country is complete, except in the case of self-defense or authorization by the UN.
  • There was no authority by the UN or international law to go into Libya.
  • Then the question comes up – did Libya consent to this?
  • He’s on some U.S. ship. It’s called the San Antonio.
  • They’re keeping him floating on this ship while they’re going to interrogate him.
  • Obama, when he took office 5 years ago, banned torture and said all interrogations had to be done according to the Army Field Manual.
  • Annex M allows 3 kinds of techniques that I think constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and taken together would constitute torture.

Guest – Law and Disorder Co-host Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by BookAgainst War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.

The United States, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Israel Part 2

October 7th, 2013 marked the 12th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan as the war drags into its 13th year. The Afghanistan war and the Iraq war have been estimated to cost tax payers up to $6 trillion. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War – an illegal war launched despite the global protest in the streets.

Phyllis Bennis:

  • On the one hand it was a huge victory for the U.S. and the anti-war mobilization effort, that we managed to prevent what was a very imminent US strike on Syria. The British also had their missiles ready to go. They were very close.
  • In combination with the British Parliament decision to say no, this led to a huge shift in what the Obama Administration was prepared to do.
  • It turns out they were prepared to go to war without UN permission. They were ready to do it without the UN, without NATO, without the Arab League, but not without the Brits.
  • This was a political decision; this wasn’t rooted in concerns about international law or any kind of strategic or military necessity.
  • When it was turned over to Congress, a lot of organizations mobilized and said, you know what, we’re not going to let this happen.
  • Members of Congress were reporting that their emails were running 500 to 1, 800 to 1, 1000 to 1 against US military intervention.
  • What we found is that people were not willing to sign on to another war after so many failed wars in the region.
  • You can call it war fatigue but it’s really about learning a lesson, that war is not an answer to these problems.
  • Given that there have already been 100,000 victims in this war in Syria, about a third of them civilians, to claim this was all about the humanitarian consequences now, that’s simply not the case.
  • The voices that have been marginalized the most are the original political opposition in Syria, who were incredibly brave and courageous, still out there fighting.
  • The regime in Syria was forced to sign on to the chemical weapons treaty. That’s huge; there are only 7 countries in the world that had not signed that treaty – Israel of course being another one.
  • The number of people killed with chemical weapons in Syria is tiny compared to the number of people killed with conventional weapons.
  • The five wars in Syria, the regional power struggle, the sectarian war, the US-Russian war, the US-Israel vs. Iran war, those are still underway in Syria.
  • President Rouhani, the new president of Iran, was on a major charm offensive.
  • Rouhani has said, “I have the backing of the Supreme Leader in a new approach to our nuclear negotiations.”
  • There are enormous pressures in the US from the arms industry, from AIPAC, from hawks in Congress of all sorts.
  • The Palestinians are the ones that will pay the price if there is an agreement between the US and Iran because the US will be determined to give Israel something.
  • Iraq has become as violent as it was in the height of the sectarian wars of 2006 and 2007.
  • Hundreds of people are being killed on a daily basis. It’s a disaster. Much of that is the result of the exploding war in Syria. Syria and Iraq share a long border. It’s a very porous border.
  • The division of Libya into 2 or 3 regions is a very likely possibility.

Saul Landau was a giant in our movement, he made one of the first films about Fidel. It was called Fidel and it was made in 1960, a year after the revolution.

He died about a month ago after a 2-year battle with a very aggressive cancer.

Saul had been at IPS almost at the beginning. He wrote the book Assassination on Embassy Row that documented with such precision how Operation Condor had gone forward.

Guest – Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. In 2001, she helped found and remains on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. She works closely with the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, co-chairs the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and since 2002 has played an active role in the growing global peace movement. She continues to serve as an adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.