Human rights vs Obama

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Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:30 pm


GENEVA (AFP) - – Human rights campaigners on Thursday expressed disappointment at the Obama administration, saying it had failed to remedy abuse in Iraq and bring those responsible for the torture of terror suspects to justice.

Speaking before the United States faces its first public review by the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, representatives of US and international groups said Washington had been unable to turn the page on violations under the previous administration.

"Many of us would have been much happier two years ago, we expected very much deeper change. The momentum has been lost," said Gerald Staberock, speaking on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

Staberock said impunity over allegations of torture in the Iraq war and interrogations of terror suspects, continued trials by military commissions, detentions and targeted killings by drones in Afghanistan amounted to "a grim picture on accountability."

"Not only is justice not being done, it is also prevented from being done."

Staberock and Jamal Dakwar, a director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), praised President Barack Obama's swift orders in January 2009 to close of Guantanamo Bay and on interrogation methods, as well as a shift away from "aggressive rhetoric on human rights."

"We all thought that was a terrific beginning," commented Dakwar.

"However, we are now seeing that this administration is becoming an obstacle to achieving accountability in human rights," he said on the sidelines of Council session.

Dakwar said that US government lawyers were defending the stance of Bush administration officials in court, and seeking to "extinguish" civil lawsuits brought by torture victims with the ACLU.

"Until today not a single victim of torture has had their day in a US court. This is very sad," Dakwar added.

Devon Chaffee of Human Rights First said Washington was still leaving the door open for further abuse and undermining its international credibility as a critic of torture elsewhere.

Federal investigations by US Attorney General Eric Holder had failed to materialise so far while the few prosecutions "have been at a very low level," she argued.

"It's clear that an investigation that only goes after the foot soldiers will not be seen as credible."

Chaffee warned that Democratic Party losses to the Republicans in mid-term congressional elections in the United States could harm chances of progress.

"I think there is likely to be additional pressure on the administration, especially from the House (of Representatives), not to move forward with investigations," she said.

Rights campaigners also raised the prospect of compensation and apologies for victims of torture or abuse by the CIA or US forces.

The 47 member states of the UN rights council will debate Washington's human rights record in their first "Universal Periodic Review" of the United States on Friday, a quadrennial assessment made of each UN member state.

The process is based on reports by the United Nations, the country concerned, as well as a summary of observations by campaign groups.

Although no action is taken, it exposes governments to scrutiny by their peers and especially their critics.

Antonio Ginatta, US advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, expressed "guarded optimism" over the US review.

"The US is doing things it has never done in the past like raising racial discrimination issues," in its report, he told AFP.

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:50 pm

Factbox: U.S. report to U.N. Human Rights Council

(Reuters) - The United States, which comes under the scrutiny of the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time on Friday, says it is open to fair criticism of its flawed record.

A senior U.S. delegation of some 30 officials is likely to be under fire about racial discrimination and the fight against terrorism at the forum, dominated by developing countries, many of them Muslim, often backed by Russia and China.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks which has made public nearly 500,000 classified U.S. files on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, will speak in Geneva on Thursday ahead of the session.

Here are some highlights from a required 29-page report submitted by the Obama Administration on the U.S. performance, and a "shadow report" submitted by rights activists.

U.S. REPORT TO THE U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

- Lists achievements as a democracy guided by "simple but powerful principles," but admits to discrimination against blacks and Hispanics and a "broken" immigration system.

- The United States is "currently at war with al Qaeda and its associated forces." The United States will comply with all applicable domestic and international law in armed conflicts and has ordered foreign detainees be treated humanely.

- The United States protects freedom of expression at home and has a "free, thriving and diverse independent press."

- It also upholds freedom from religious persecution and has worked to ensure fair treatment of Muslims, Arab-Americans and South Asian communities affected by discrimination and intolerance since the September 11 attacks on America.

- Workers are allowed to organize and bargain collectively and the administration is working to help women who face wage discrimination to recover their lost wages.

- Criminal defendants are entitled to constitutional rights including due process, but concerns remain about the U.S. justice system including capital punishment, juvenile justice, racial profiling and racial disparities in sentencing.

- The U.S. report, partly based on meetings held in 10 U.S. cities with representatives of civil society, notes that 32 million Americans are to get health insurance coverage under a new law. It is working to help the homeless, often mentally ill.

SHADOW REPORT BY ACTIVISTS

More than 300 activist groups, including Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have issued a separate 400-page report charging that racial, ethnic and gender disparities persist in the United States.

Protection of fundamental freedoms has eroded since the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. targets, according to the broad coalition known as the U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN) which denounced "gross shortcomings."

"Discrimination permeates all aspects of life in the U.S., and extends to all communities of color, and when coupled with discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, disability or other bases, can have a devastating impact," the activists' report says.

This "structural racism" negatively affects access to housing, food, jobs, education, health and justice, it adds.

The U.S. immigration system, while generous in many ways, is "riddled with systemic failures to protect human rights."

"Whether it is migrant laborers who are excluded from workplace protections, children denied education because of the school-to-prison pipeline, or women denied equal pay in the workplace, advocates feel compelled to bring their experiences before international human rights mechanisms because the U.S. legal system has fallen short," said Sarah Paoletti of USHRN.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A24CW20101103

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UNHCHR Statement on Iraq Wikileaks.doc

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:55 pm

HC/10/49
26 October 2010

STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF THE UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE IRAQ WIKILEAKS

GENEVA – The files reportedly indicate that the US knew, among other things, about widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces, and yet proceeded with the transfer of thousands of persons who had been detained by US forces to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010. The files also allegedly include information on many undisclosed instances in which US forces killed civilians at checkpoints and during operations.

The information adds to the High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law have occurred in Iraq, including summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses, in line with obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both the US and Iraq are parties.

The High Commissioner calls upon Iraq to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol, which gives the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment the right to visit all places of detention and examine the treatment of persons detained.

High Commissioner Pillay also urges the Iraqi Government to facilitate visits of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Teams to monitor the human rights situation in detention facilities so that necessary advice and assistance can be provided to the Iraqi authorities.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT): http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat.htm

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT): http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat-one.htm

OHCHR Country Page – USA: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/USIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page –Iraq: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/IQIndex.aspx

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Media Unit

Xabier Celaya, Information Officer: + 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  satan_baby on Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:48 pm

Failed accountability, WikiLeaks show true cost of war

Action Network, October 26, 2010 at 5:39 AM

The release by WikiLeaks late last week of 391,832 secret documents on the Iraq War has been said to be “…the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record.” The revelations emerging from these documents showcase the culture of impunity that has plagued this war effort, including the U.S. government’s failure to adequately address rights violations linked to the corporations and contractors used to fight our wars.

As an August 22, 2006 report released by WikiLeaks stated

AFTER THE IED STRIKE A WITNESS REPORTS THE BLACKWATER EMPLOYEES FIRED INDISCRIMINATELY AT THE SCENE.

More than one year later, on September 16, 2007, Blackwater (now renamed Xe) guards, still benefiting from huge government contracts, shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad. This is just one example of many that can be found in the leaked documents.

It is clear that the record of unjustified killings and violence by PSCs is far beyond what had previously been released to the public. As it stands, none of these incidents has resulted in prosecution, and even those cases that have moved forward have resulted in dismissal or failure to indict. Recently, a case against Andrew J. Moonen, a former Blackwater guard who was accused of killing a guard assigned to an Iraqi VP while wandering drunk in the Green Zone, was dropped by the Justice Department, citing difficulties in obtaining evidence in war zones, and the granting of immunities to the defendant by American officials at the scene.

Even the most public of cases, including that against Blackwater guards for the shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, have resulted in dismissals in US courts. This culture of impunity extends across PSC activities. On September 11th, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a 2 to 1 ruling dismissed a lawsuit brought against CACI International that alleged CACI personnel participated in torture and abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.

By creating complex legal hurdles, issuing on the scene immunities, and failing to ensure an environment of transparency, oversight and accountability, we are shielding the true costs of our wars, not only financially but in human terms as well. The release of these documents showcases just how terrible that cost is.

Let’s continue to call for accountability in conflict zones. Tell President Obama and Congress to respect human rights and counter terror with justice.

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:45 am

US must tackle human rights issues, says former UN torture investigator

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture lauds the Obama administration for joining the UN Human Rights Council. But he urges Obama to deal with the legacy of his predecessor.


Manfred Nowak, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Manfred Nowak served as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture from 2004 until October 2010. He is the director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna and a professor for international human rights protection at the University of Vienna. From 1996-2003, Nowak was a judge at the Human Rights Chamber in Bosnia.

Deutsche Welle: Last year President Barack Obama reversed his predecessor's decision not to join the UN Human Rights Council and on Friday the council reviews the US for the first time. Was Obama right to join the group and do you expect that the US will get a fair review by the Human Rights Council which doesn't only consist of democracies and friends of the US?

Manfred Nowak: I certainly welcome very much that the US joined the Human Rights Council. It is the most important political body of the United Nations dealing with human rights and it is important that all the major member of the Security Council are also members of the Human Rights Council. There are also some positive developments which the US brought into the policy making of the Human Rights Council.

Will they receive a fair treatment? I think the very fact that there is a universal periodic review is extremely important because every state in the world whether or not it has ratified certain United Nations human rights treaties has to undergo this review and it is taken seriously by states. Of course it is not free from politics, but the troika that was selected for taking the lead in discussing the US report consists of Cameroon, France and Japan, so I think these are all states from which we in principle can expect fair treatment.

In its required report prior to the council's review, the US admitted problems with discrimination and immigration. What other human rights issue involving the US do you expect the council to raise?

First of all, the US has a very bad reputation in ratifying UN and other human rights treaties and accepting monitoring procedures. It's one out of two countries in the world which has not yet ratified on the rights of the child, similarly the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, even the Inter-American convention on human rights.

There is no individual complaints procedure. No US person can ever bring a complaint to an international body whether within the United Nations or the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It has not accepted the statute of the International Criminal Court and that is of course a matter of major concern.

Another big concern is of course capital punishment. The death penalty is still fairly widely practiced in 35 states and in the federal jurisdiction and the General Assembly of the United Nations issued a strong appeal to all states to at least take action for a moratorium with the final aim of abolishing the death penalty.

A further concern is the prison system. Of the roughly 10 million prisoners worldwide more than 2 million are in the US because of a very punitive and retributive way of criminal justice. The prisons are overcrowded and the conditions in maximum security prisons are very very strict. They have shackles and other forms of restraints that are inhuman.

And then we have the whole issue of the legacy of the Bush administration and their so-called war on terror. We have just heard from the Wikileaks documentation that the US knowingly practiced torture in Iraq, handing over detainees to the Iraqi securities forces.

They have not closed down Guantanamo and the Obama administration has not brought a single individual whether a CIA officer, military or the political persons responsible for the practice of torture to accountability before a criminal court. Not a single victim has received any form of compensation which of course is a continuing violation of the obligations of the United States under the convention against torture.

The Obama administration has vowed to close the CIA's secret prisons and to stop using harsh interrogation methods, but it has not repudiated so-called renditions, that is the abduction and transfer of prisoners to other countries, but has insisted it won't transfer prisoners to countries where they might be tortured. As former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, how do you rate the Obama administration's performance on torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners?

I think we have to distinguish two issues. One is change and Obama promised and I think he kept his promise to a large extent to not continue any longer with the practice of secret detentions, the practice of torture, the practice of rendition flights. Really rendition flights in the sense of sending a person to another country in order to be tortured. That was the very person of the extraordinary rendition flights by the CIA under the Bush administration.

But the second issue is that the Obama administration is under an international obligation to deal with the past. And Obama closed his eyes and said I don't want to look into the past. He should have immediately established a comprehensive investigation appointing a blue ribbon commission or a special investigator to first investigate what really happened.

Now Wikileaks in relation to Afghanistan and Iraq has shown some evidence, but there is much more. Where were the secret detention places? What kind of methods have been used in order to torture the detainees? That all needs first to be established and on the basis of such an independent investigation there are two obligations. One is to hold the perpetrators accountable. This is an obligation under criminal law under the torture convention and that means also those who ordered it whether it is the (former) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or others. That depends on the outcome of the investigation. If you have enough evidence, you have to bring them to justice.

And second, of course the victims of torture and renditions have an internationally recognized right to an adequate remedy and reparation. That means at least compensation or for torture victims rehabilitation. In other states that cooperated with the US some victims received compensation. In the US, even the Obama administration is still invoking the state secrecy privilege in order to block civil litigation by victims.

Last year you called on the Obama administration to prosecute George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld for permitting torture to take place. Are you disappointed that it hasn't happened and probably won't ever happen?

Of course it's a political issue as well. But from a legal point of view, there's an obligation. I am not calling really for particular individuals. What I am saying is first we need the truth. And then it is up to the independent judicial bodies of the US, judges and prosecutors, to take the necessary action. If all the evidence is on the table, for instance in relation to John Yoo and Jay Bybee (legal counsellors to George W. Bush - ed.) and others who issued these torture memos which were used as a justification of torture by Alberto Gonzales (Attorney General under Bush - ed.) and the Bush administration in general. This is complicity in torture.

We know what kind of interrogation methods Donald Rumsfeld clearly ordered to be applied in Guantanamo Bay and he was warned by Alberto Mora (General Counsel of the Navy under Bush - ed.) and others, his closest legal advisers, that what you are ordering is torture. So he knew it and nevertheless he did it. Now that is clear evidence and in our Guantanamo report already in 2006 we have stated that evidence.

There must be criminal accountability according to the law. I have a certain understanding that President Obama did not want immediately to really get into such a conflict with the Republicans and the former government. But a thorough investigation would be the least that is required from a new president who really campaigned for change and a new ethical behavior in international relations and toward people under his jurisdiction.

Interview: Michael Knigge
Editor: Rob Mudge

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6190034,00.html

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  hacksecrets on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:41 pm

Journalists across globe sign petition in support of WikiLeaks


Journalists from 34 countries have put their names to a petition in support of the whistleblowing organisation WikiLeaks following criticism of its founder and operations.

Hosted by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), the petition currently has 113 signatures from journalists in countries including the UK, US, Denmark, South Africa and South Korea.

The full list of signatories will be made public when more have joined the petition, but representatives from the the Forum for African Investigative Reporters and the Centre for Investigative Journalism in the UK have already put their names to the campaign, alongside other prominent investigative journalists and writers.

The petition's statement on the GIJN website says the group is particularly concerned with the reaction to WikiLeaks following the release last month of 400,000 previously classified US military documents relating to the Iraq war.

We, journalists and journalist organisations from many countries, express our support for Mr Assange and Wikileaks. We believe that Mr Assange has made an outstanding contribution to transparency and accountability on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, subjects where transparency and accountability has been severely restricted by government secrecy and media control. He is being attacked for releasing information that should never have been withheld from the public," says the petition.

"We believe Wikileaks had the right to post confidential military documents because it was in the interest of the public to know what was happening. The documents show evidence that the US Government has misled the public about activities in Iraq and Afghanistan and that war crimes may have been committed."

The group concedes that criticism of WikiLeaks for not vetting its Afghanistan war logs, for example removing names of informers, is legitimate, but says there is no evidence that this lack of redaction has resulted in injury or death of those names.

"We note that Wikileaks learned from that mistake and has been much more careful with the Iraq documents. Overall, Wikileaks' factual reporting of numerous undisputed abuses and crimes is of far greater significance than the widely criticized mistakes over inadequate redacting," it says.

WikiLeaks has been "an extraordinary resource for journalists around the world" since its launch, the group says, adding that personal threats to its founder Julian Assange set a "terrible precedent... contrary to open government".

"Although it is not part of the media, and does not purport to be, its mission of informing the public and reducing unjustified secrecy complements and assists our work. As grateful beneficiaries of Wikileaks and Mr Assange's work, we stand in support of them at this time," says the site.

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  hacksecrets on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:44 pm

WikiLeaks urges U.S. to fully examine abuses

* Founder Assange seeks investigations on Iraq, Afghanistan

* Urges U.S. to stop aggressive pursuit of WikiLeaks

* Vows to release more documents on U.S., Russia, Lebanon

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The founder of WikiLeaks called on the United States on Thursday to fully examine abuses by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanstan and to halt its "aggressive investigation" into his whistle-blowing organisation.

Julian Assange said WikiLeaks would release thousands of documents this year concerning not only the United States, but other countries including Russia and Lebanon.

It has made public nearly 500,000 classified U.S. files on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, drawing ire from the Pentagon. Some U.S. secret documents contained accounts of Iraqi forces torturing Iraqi prisoners and the failure of the U.S. military to investigate those instances.

"It is time the United States opened up instead of covering up," Assange told a news conference in Geneva on the eve of an examination by the U.N. Human Rights Council of the overall U.S. record.

"The United States is in grave danger of losing its way," said the Australian, who is moving from country to country to seek protection through their whistleblower laws.

The U.S. delegation has said it is open to fair criticism of its human rights record, including racial discrimination and counterterrorism policies, at Friday's debate, where Muslim countries are expected to voice concern about detainee abuse. [ID:nLDE6A21SX]

U.S. officials have said the military had not systematically ignored cases of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqi forces.

The Obama administration has not announced any investigation into the abuses -- some of which occurred during its first year in office -- unlike Britain and Denmark, which have begun looking into their own troops' behaviour, according to Assange.

"The only investigation to my knowledge that has been announced by the United States is into us, into possible sources within the U.S. military," Assange said.

ALLEGED WHISTLEBLOWER

"The only action to date has been to threaten this organisation, to place the alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning into prison, where he sits now in Quantico (Virginia) facing a potential sentence of 52 years," he said.

The U.S. probe into the source of the leaked documents has focused on Manning, who worked as a U.S. army intelligence analyst in Iraq. He is under arrest and charged with leaking a classified video showing a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists.

The massive WikiLeaks disclosures of leaked documents have been the largest in U.S. military history.

WikiLeaks has said the documents detailed the deaths of 15,000 more Iraqi civilians than the U.S. military had reported.

The Pentagon has said it did not under-report the number of civilian deaths or ignore prisoner abuse by Iraqi forces. [ID:nN2585449]

"If the United States is to be seen as a credible country that obeys the rule of law...it must conduct investigations into plausible violations of those laws," he said.

It was vital for the United States to submit its record to international scrutiny by the 47-member rights body, Assange said, recalling its tradition of allowing free speech.

WikiLeaks has publicly acknowledged it has some 15,000 more documents on the war in Afghanistan that it has threatened to release, along with an Afghanistan video file.

"We are continuing to publish as fast as we can," he said.

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  hacksecrets on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:46 pm

CrossTalk on WikiLeaks: Rocky Road to Truth?


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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  hacksecrets on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:52 pm



Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
November 4, 2010

INDEX:

DEPARTMENT
Secretary Clinton completed day in Wellington, New Zealand/Wellington Declaration/Tomorrow to Christchurch to review Antarctic cooperation
Secretary Clinton will reach out to congressional leaders
Deaths in Mexico of two additional U.S. citizen students who were shot in Ciudad Juarez on November 2nd
U.S. welcomes visit of Serbian President Tadic to Vukovar and his meetings with Croatian President Josipovic and Prime Minister Kosor
Special Envoy Gration in Khartoum/Southern Sudan Referendum Commission/Ambassador Princeton Lyman
U.S. continues to encourage all actors in Guinea to continue preparations for second round of elections
Senator Mitchell met today with Saeb Erekat/We expect to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu next week
Tomorrow U.S. will formally present Universal Periodic Review at UN Human Rights Council Geneva

HAITI
For Tropical Storm Tomas, U.S. has prepositioned supplies, has significant capability already on the ground
FEMA a part of this effort/CDC continuing to monitor cholera outbreak

IRAN
U.S. does not support terrorism; did not have any relationship with Jundallah
U.S. designated Jundallah as a foreign terrorist organization because it met criteria under U.S. law

NORWAY
U.S. works closely with host nation government and shares information to protect our embassy, diplomats

WIKILEAKS
U.S. regrets all of the activities that WikiLeaks has done--past, present, and future

ที่เหลืออ่านต่อได้ที่ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/11/150428.htm

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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:56 am

CIA Response to Assange Assassination FOIA


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Re: Human rights vs Obama

ตั้งหัวข้อ  hacksecrets on Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:30 am

Amnesty: US must investigate abuses revealed by WikiLeaks


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