Monthly Archives: May 2019

Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC stormed by police

Yesterday, the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC was stormed by police and the Embassy Protection Collective was forcibly removed. In an earlier attempt, police had backed off after a lengthy discussion with the Embassy Protection Collective and their lawyer Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who pointed out that entering the embassy would be a breach of the Vienna Convention. Collective members reminded police officers that following illegal orders does not protect them from being charged with criminal actions.

The total ignorance of international law that has been displayed of course increases risk of escalation. Lawrence Wilkerson warns for the consequences if the USA would invade Venezuela.

Peculiar way of treating suspected terrorists who have been active in Syria

Swedish media have been keen on reporting about the children of IS terrorists. Today there is also a report about Sweden hosting a meeting on a possible tribunal against suspected IS terrorists (link to Swedish content). However, none of the countries involved wants to cooperate with Syrian government on this, even if the crimes have been committed there. It is also peculiar how some of these western countries have ealier treated suspected terrorists. Mark Curtis wrote in Middle East Eye:

In 2015, a court case collapsed at the Old Bailey against a Swedish national, Bherlin Gildo, accused of attending a terrorist training camp to fight in Syria, when it became clear that British intelligence agencies were supporting the same opposition groups as he was. British media reported that Gildo was fighting either with Nusra or a linked jihadist group, the Kataib al-Muhajireen.

It has been claimed that also the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) helped this terroris suspect to be set free and that the suspect now lives under a different name in Sweden (links to articles in Swedish).

Can this have anything to do with the Swedish government’s earlier involvment with opposition groups in the Syrian conflict? Read more in Swedish about the “democracy support” claimed to have turned into terrorist support. For some reason, it’s very quiet about some of these topics.

Killer drone proliferation

In an article about killer drones made in Turkey, The Intercept wrote yesterday:

While the U.S. was the foremost operator of armed, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the world for more than a decade, launching the first drone attack in 2001, today more than a dozen countries possess this technology. The U.K., Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and Turkey have all used armed UAVs to kill targets since 2015. Efforts by Washington to control proliferation through restrictions on drone exports have failed to slow down a global race to acquire the technology. Meanwhile, the U.S. has set a precedent of impunity by carrying out hundreds of strikes that have killed civilians over the last decade.

“We are well past the time when the proliferation of armed drones can in any way be controlled,” said Chris Woods, a journalist who has tracked drone use for more than a decade and director of the conflict monitor Airwars. “So many states and even nonstate actors have access to armed drone capabilities — and they are being used across borders and within borders — that we are now clearly within the second drone age, that is, the age of proliferation.”

The following is an excerpt from one of the comments to the article:

How long until killer robots are being used in the U.S.? We’ve already seen at least one lethal strike with a remotely controlled unmanned vehicle carried out by domestic law enforcement, in Dallas a couple years ago – the only difference being it was a ground vehicle not an aerial vehicle.

There are a number of routes by which lethal drone strikes could be introduced in the U.S. – in SWAT raids and other standoff situations, against suspected “terrorists” the government claims are armed, against alleged drug traffickers the government claims would be dangerous to try to arrest, against people suspected of crossing the border illegally in the desert. And like a snowball rolling downhill, it’ll become normalized.

As described in the Swedish book Världens dummaste folk?, even Sweden apparently participates in extrajudicial executions by drones.

Terrorism as an excuse for reducing citizens’ rights

After the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka last month, state of emergency was declared, in order to give the government and the authorities greater authority in the pursuit of those behind the attacks. Swedish Radio reports:

This means, among other things, that the authorities can pick up people for questioning and keep them detained without specific accusations for a long time.

This is something that worries human rights activist Ruki Fernando, who for many years has mapped human rights violations in the country. He believes that the government will now take advantage of the situation and try to introduce new tough laws that will reduce citizens’ rights.

Every government in Sri Lanka has an interest in introducing laws that keep the population at bay, says human rights activist Ruki Fernando. The laws that the president now wants to impose are laws that give the authorities greater authority to control the lives of citizens and indicate the path the government will take after the attacks and the forthcoming presidential elections.

Read more on Swedish Radio (news in Swedish) and on Ruki Fernando’s blog. Now, curfew has been imposed in part of Sri Lanka and social media has been blocked, according to Swedish Television (news in Swedish).

Putting humanity at risk

Despite that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is in many ways considered illegal and the devastating consequences of nuclear war, even some governments that are supposedly against nuclear weapons apparently try hard to sabotage the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). A recent article in Swedish highlights that Sweden is one of the countries where the establishment now shows that they are accepting nuclear weapons. Three representatives for Pugwash in Sweden write that:

The armed forces have been able to form part of nuclear-related collaborations without any politically responsible person having opposed them.

According to a poll from 2017, about 9 of 10 Swedes support the TPNW. However, most of the Swedish political parties are against TPNW (see for example the web site of Svenska Freds, in Swedish). Resistance against TPNW is probably linked to that it could dismantle the absurd profitability of nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, Nevil Shute Norway’s classic book On the Beach continues to be relevant reading.