Monthly Archives: August 2013

Governments trying to silence witnesses

A terrible pattern of governments trying to silence witnesses of government-related crime, while the big perpetrators go free, can be seen in many countries around the world. We have been sad to see some staggering examples lately of why an organization like Accoun needs to demand government accountability.

In Egypt, many hundred supporters of the overthrown president Mursi have recently been killed in the streets during the government’s brutal crackdowns. Last week, also a number of journalists witnessing the violence are reported to have been killed, detained, injured or threatened. However, the former dictator Hosni Mubarak, with much blood on his hands, is set free by a court. Among many other atrocities, Mubarak’s regime partnered with the USA to torture suspected terrorists, which have in some cases been found innocent afterwards.

Yesterday the US whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has revealed war crimes in Irak through Wikileaks, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. During the last months, we have also been able to follow the US government hunt for another whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who has exposed that NSA broke privacy laws thousands of times a year. The UK government has obviously been complicit in many of these crimes. A newspaper in the UK, the Guardian, have even reported that they were forced by their government to destroy documents leaked by Snowden, and thus to destroy possible evidence of government-related crime. Nobody else than Manning and Snowden have been held accountable, despite the serios crimes they have revealed.

These cases are unfortunately like the tip of an iceberg of government-related crime and dysfunctional legal systems, which are unacceptable. The public has reason to be very thankful to whistleblowers and reporters who dare to try to tell the truth, despite the harsh consequences it may have for them personally. Without these heroes, the situation would probably be even worse.

Stop renewal of Diego Garcia lease

Fourty years ago, the last Chagos Islanders, also known as Ilois or Chagossians, were forced to leave their homes in the Chagos Archipelago. Ever since, they have been denied to return to live there by the British government. The reason is that the British government leased Diego Garcia, the main island of the archipelago, to the USA. While the expulsion of the indigenous inhabitants is a public abuse of power by the British government, some of the secret activities on the military base on Diego Garcia can probably be classified as illegal.

Human rights groups believe the base has been used for extraordinary rendition operations, including that prisoners were incarcerated there. Such renditions are extrajudicial transfers of persons, often in combination with illegal abductions of these persons and subsequent torture.

Now is the time to stop renewal of the lease of Diego Garcia and enable the Chagossians to return. The suspected illegal activities connected to the military base must also be fully investigated.

Obama reported for crimes against humanity

Barack Obama, who is planning to visit Sweden in September 2013, was last week reported to Swedish police for crimes against humanity. One of the crimes listed in the report is extrajudicial executions by unmanned airplanes, so called drones.

Attacks by drones have been carried out by the USA in a number of countries, including countries that the USA is not in war with. It is estimated by independent sources that thousands of innocent humans have been killed or wounded in these attacks, authorized by Barack Obama. In Pakistan alone, it is estimated that over 100 children have been killed in such attacks. Earlier this year, a Pakistani court ruled that the drone strikes in Pakistan were illegal.