Wednesday, June 6, 2012

12-06-06 NY Judge Says He Was Struck by a Police

Government employees, judges, and attorneys should never walk around in a T-shirt and jeans, lest they be confused with the populus... and treated accordingly...

Justice, Who Always  Supported 
Police Action, Attacked By Police

"I've always had profound respect for what they do," Justice Raffaele said of the police, noting that he was "always very supportive" of the department during the more than 20 years he served

Judge Says He Was Struck by a Police Officer in Queens

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Justice Thomas D. Raffaele said a police officer in Queens, enraged at a jeering crowd, hit him in the throat on Friday.
Published: June 5, 2012
Thomas D. Raffaele, a 69-year-old justice of the New York State Supreme Court, encountered a chaotic scene while walking down a Queens street with a friend: Two uniformed police officers stood over a shirtless man lying facedown on the pavement. The man�s hands were cuffed behind his back and he was screaming. A crowd jeered at the officers.

The judge, concerned the crowd was becoming unruly, called 911 and reported that the officers needed help.

But within minutes, he said, one of the two officers became enraged � and the judge became his target. The officer screamed and cursed at the onlookers, some of whom were complaining about what they said was his violent treatment of the suspect, and then he focused on Justice Raffaele, who was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. The judge said the officer rushed forward and, using the upper edge of his hand, delivered a sharp blow to the judge�s throat that was like what he learned when he was trained in hand-to-hand combat in the Army.

The episode, Friday morning just after midnight � in which the judge says his initial complaint about the officer was dismissed by a sergeant, the ranking supervisor at the scene � is now the focus of investigations by the police Internal Affairs Bureau and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The judge said he believed the officer also hit one or two other people during the encounter on 74th Street near 37th Road, a busy commercial strip in Jackson Heights. But he said he could not be sure, because the blow to his throat sent him reeling back and he then doubled over in pain.

�I�ve always had profound respect for what they do,� Justice Raffaele said of the police, noting that he was �always very supportive� of the department during the more than 20 years he served on Community Board 3 in Jackson Heights before becoming a judge. At one point in the early 1990s, he added, he helped organize a civilian patrol in conjunction with the police. �And this I thought was very destructive.�

The justice, who sits in the Matrimonial part in State Supreme Court in Jamaica, Queens, was elected to the Civil Court in 2005 and the State Supreme Court in 2009. Justice Raffaele was among the judges around New York State who volunteered to perform weddings on the Sunday last summer when New York�s same-sex marriage law went into effect. The judge�s description of the confrontation and its aftermath, which he provided in a series of interviews, was corroborated by two people he knows who described the encounter in separate interviews.

Justice Raffaele and one of the men, Muhammad Rashid, who runs a tutoring center near where the encounter occurred, said they were on the street at that hour because the judge had spent most of that day and night cleaning out his parents� house and Mr. Rashid had just helped him move two tables; he donated them to the tutoring center.

The judge said his parents had just moved to Houston; he had taken them to the airport that morning and the house�s new owner was to take possession the next day.

The judge said he was in �a lot of pain� and went with Mr. Rashid to the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital Center, where a doctor examined his throat by snaking a tube with a camera on the end through his nose and down his throat to determine whether his trachea had been damaged. The doctor, he said, found no damage; Justice Raffaele was released and told to see his personal doctor for follow-up care.

When they first came upon the crowd, the judge said, he was immediately concerned for the officers and called 911. After he made the call, he said, he saw that one of the officers � the one who he said later attacked him � was repeatedly dropping his knee into the handcuffed man�s back.  .....


12-06-06 Hunger Strikers at Virginia Supermax Face Retaliation for Protest Against Torturous Conditions

Hunger Strikers at Virginia Supermax Face Retaliation for Protest Against Torturous Conditions

Red Onion State Prison is part of Virginia's Prison Industrial Complex

Rania Khalek, Truthout: "Dozens of inmates at Red Onion State Prison, Virginia's only supermax facility, have been on a hunger strike since Tuesday, May 22, in what supporters say is a protest against inhumane conditions. Since its opening, Red Onion has been plagued by scandals of abuse and torture. Supporters are accusing prison officials of deliberately blocking all forms of communication, making it nearly impossible for outsiders to know what's actually happening."


12-06-06 Obama - Assassin-in-Chief and Killing by PowerPoint

A President, a Constitutional Law Professor, and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate...

By Tom Engelhardt
Tom Engelhardt: Assassin-in-Chief
Be assured of one thing: whichever candidate you choose at the polls in November, you aren't just electing a president of the United States; you are also electing an assassin-in-chief.


By Philip Giraldi
Killing by PowerPoint
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it is ringing for all of us. In the past 11 years we have fallen into an abyss. That the president of the United States meets weekly to draw up a list of people to be killed without producing an immediate demand for impeachment from Congress, the media, and the public boggles the mind. What kind of monsters have we become and how much worse can it get?


12-06-06 Dershowitz: Zimmerman Prosecutor Threatening to Sue Harvard for My Criticism

Suprising? Not!

Dershowitz: Zimmerman Prosecutor Threatening to Sue Harvard for My Criticism

Tuesday, 05 Jun 2012 05:54 PM

By Alan Dershowitz

Alan M. Dershowitz’s Perspective: State Attorney Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case, recently called the Dean of Harvard Law School to complain about my criticism of some of her actions.

She was transferred to the Office of Communications and proceeded to engage in a 40-minute rant, during which she threatened to sue Harvard Law School, to try to get me disciplined by the Bar Association and to file charges against me for libel and slander.
State Attorney Angela Corey(AP Photo)
She said that because I work for Harvard and am identified as a professor she had the right to sue Harvard.

When the communications official explained to her that I have a right to express my opinion as “a matter of academic freedom,” and that Harvard has no control over what I say, she did not seem to understand.

She persisted in her nonstop whining, claiming that she is prohibited from responding to my attacks by the rules of professional responsibility ­ without mentioning that she has repeatedly held her own press conferences and made public statements throughout her career.

Her beef was that I criticized her for filing a misleading affidavit that willfully omitted all information about the injuries Zimmerman had sustained during the “struggle” it described. She denied that she had any obligation to include in the affidavit truthful material that was favorable to the defense.

She insisted that she is entitled to submit what, in effect, were half truths in an affidavit of probable cause, so long as she subsequently provides the defense with exculpatory evidence.

She should go back to law school, where she will learn that it is never appropriate to submit an affidavit that contains a half truth, because a half truth is regarded by the law as a lie, and anyone who submits an affidavit swears to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Before she submitted the probable cause affidavit, Corey was fully aware that Zimmerman had sustained serious injuries to the front and back of his head. The affidavit said that her investigators “reviewed” reports, statements and “photographs” that purportedly “detail[ed] the following.”

It then went on to describe “the struggle,” but it deliberately omitted all references to Zimmerman’s injuries which were clearly visible in the photographs she and her investigators reviewed.

That is Hamlet without the Prince!

The judge deciding whether there is probable cause to charge the defendant with second degree murder should not have been kept in the dark about physical evidence that is so critical to determining whether a homicide occurred, and if so, a homicide of what degree. By omitting this crucial evidence, Corey deliberately misled the court.

Corey seems to believe that our criminal justice system is like a poker game in which the prosecution is entitled to show its cards only after the judge has decided to charge the defendant with second degree murder.

That’s not the way the system is supposed to work and that’s not the way prosecutors are supposed to act. That a prosecutor would hide behind the claim that she did not have an obligation to tell the whole truth until after the judge ruled on probable cause displays a kind of gamesmanship in which prosecutors should not engage.

The prisons, both in Florida and throughout the United States, are filled with felons who submitted sworn statements that contained misleading half truths. Corey herself has probably prosecuted such cases.

Ironically, Corey has now succeeded in putting Zimmerman back in prison for a comparably misleading omission in his testimony. His failure to disclose money received from a PayPal account requesting donations for his legal defense made his testimony misleadingly incomplete.

In her motion to revoke his bail, Corey argued that Zimmerman “intentionally deceived the court” by making “false representations.” The same can be said about prosecutor Corey. She too misled and deceived the court by submitting an affidavit that relied on a review of photographs and other reports that showed injuries to Zimmerman, without disclosing the existence of these highly relevant injuries.

Even if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view. The idea that a prosecutor would threaten to sue someone who disagrees with her for libel and slander, to sue the university for which he works, and to try to get him disbarred, is the epitome of unprofessionalism.

Fortunately, truth is a defense to such charges.

I will continue to criticize prosecutors when their actions warrant criticism, to praise them when their actions deserve praise, and to comment on ongoing cases in the court of public opinion.

If Angela Corey doesn’t like the way freedom of expression operates in the United States, there are plenty of countries where truthful criticism of prosecutors and other government officials result in disbarment, defamation suits and even criminal charges.

We do not want to become such a country.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School. Read more reports from Alan M. Dershowitz ­ Click Here Now.

Read more on Dershowitz: Zimmerman Prosecutor Threatening to Sue Harvard for My Criticism 


New York Times  


Bara Kristinsdottir for The New York Times
Updated: April 24, 2012

Iceland is a small but rugged country far from anywhere that suffered from financial wreckage as severely as any in the developed world after Iceland’soverstretched banks failed in 2008. In a matter of weeks after the banks’ collapse, the unemployment rate jumped to 10 percent, house prices fell, the currency plunged and inflation surged.
Iceland has managed to recover since the 2008 crisis, helped by its traditional tourism and fishing industries. Some economists have argued that the collapse of its banks forced the country to deal with its problems faster and aided a swifter recovery.

From Iceland to Ireland: Two paths to financial recovery?Iceland isn't a model for Ireland. It is a model for the whole European Union.

30 May 2012

By Dan Hind

London, United Kingdom - This is a tale of two countries. One of them, Iceland, has a population of around 320,000 people. That's about as many people as live in Lubbock, Texas. The other, the Republic of Ireland, is a fair bit bigger, with a population of 4.6 million. That's about as many as live in South Carolina.

In the years before 2008, both countries had been hosts to unsustainable real estate and consumer booms. And in both countries a lightly regulated financial sector ran out of control. Iceland's big three banks - Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki - had lent out more than US $200 billion, eleven times the country's GDP. Ireland's banks were holding assets of around seven times GDP on their books. Much of the money had been lent abroad.

"People in Iceland recognised that something had gone badly wrong with the country's political system."
When the financial crisis hit in the last months of 2008 the two countries r eacted very differently. Iceland's former prime minister, Davio Oddsson, explained that the recently privatised banks had been 'a little heedless' and the state wasn't going to bail them out. Domestic deposits were protected but the government refused to take responsibility for vast bulk of the losses. In Ireland, on the other hand, the government transformed a banking crisis into a sovereign debt crisis. Politicians decided that the banks were too big to fail and spared no expense in their efforts to save them.

People in Iceland recognised that something had gone badly wrong with the country's political system. They responded by drafting a new constitution and in May of this year they tried and convicted another former prime minister, Geir Haarde, for negligence. It all seems roughly proportionate to the scale of the crisis. But in Ireland, so far at least, there has been no serious reckoning for the political and economic establishment. One centre-right party, Fianna Gael, has replaced another, Fianna Fail, in government. The personnel have changed, but not the policies.

On Thursday the Irish will decide in a referendum whether to ratify the European Fiscal Compact, an EU treaty that forbids governments from running budget deficits. The treaty is intended to lock national governments into a continent-wide programme of public sector austerity. Even the British government, with its appetite for public spending cuts, has refused to sign up. Intent on strangling the UK economy it may be, it is determined to do so at its own pace.

'What the bankers want'
Last year the Irish government had to borrow more than 10 per cent of the money it spent. The economy is now in recession. There is no way that it can balance its budget any time soon. But acceptance of the compact will mark another step away from the path chosen by Iceland, where the needs of the global financial sector have, to some extent at least, been subordinated to those of voters.

"The bank's losses can then be paid off through cuts in public spending and new forms of privatisation. Though it makes little sense... it has one great advantage... it is what the bankers want."
At the moment the political class in much of Europe is trying to rescue the financial sector by shifting the costs of the banking collapse onto national balance sheets. The banks' losses can then be paid off through cuts in public spending and new forms of privatisation. Though it makes little sense in strictly economic terms it has one great advantage, from the point of view of the politicians. It is what the bankers want.

In the scramble to balance budgets in the short term, states will sell or lease assets to private companies that will then charge fees for what were once public goods. The same people who made fortunes from the expansion of credit will make even more money from turning public property and nationalised utilities into corporate revenue streams. This doesn't have anything to do with patient investment in new and more productive industries. It doesn't even have the breathless elan of speculation. It is rent seeking of the most blatant and pedestrian kind.

There's no easy way to deal with a burst credit bubble. Iceland also suffered a severe recession. It too has had to cut public expenditure. But there at least the country has had a serious debate about what happened - about what its politicians allowed to happen - in the run-up to the banking collapse. The social order responsible has been held to account and the country's economy appears to be recovering in a way that is restoring the living standards of the people who live there.

I said at the beginning that this was a tale of two countries. But the real comparison isn't between Iceland and Ireland. It is between Iceland and the European Union as a whole. At the moment most European governments are intent on policies that sacrifice the interests of the many to the preferences of the few. It shouldn't surprise us.

It is, after all, the same formula they applied in the prequel. If this is to change then the five hundred million citizens of the European Union will have to learn some lessons from the 320,000 inhabitants of Iceland. If they don't they will learn what the end of mass prosperity feels like instead.

In the mean time I hope the Irish reject the Fiscal Compact on Thursday, for their sake, for Greece's sake, and for Europe's sake.

Dan Hind is the author of two books, The Threat to Reason and The Return of the Public. His pamphletCommon Sense: Occupation, Assembly, and the Future of Liberty, was published as an e-book in March. He is a member of the Tax Justice Network.

Follow him on Twitter: @DanHind

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

American Free Press


MAY 21, 2012

By Pete Papaherakles


Iceland is showing the world what real independence from the bankers means. The Nordic island has become the first country to criminally charge a world leader as a result of the 2008 economic crisis. Former Prime Minister Geir Haarde, 73, was found guilty of “failing to adequately inform other Icelandic officials of events that led up to the 2008 financial crisis” according to an April 23 New York Times article.

As part of Haarde’s final verdict, two of the original six charges were dropped and the other three were cleared. These included “gross neglect of duty” and “ failure to reduce the size of the banking system,” charges that were more serious and could have put him behind bars for years.

Haarde, who served as Iceland’s prime minister from June 2006 to February 2009, will not actually have to serve any jail time but the trial was indicative of Iceland’s re-establishment of its sovereignty after defaulting on the bankers. As many as 90 bankers and politicians are expected to be brought to trial this year for crimes related to the targeted debt crisis Iceland faced.

Iceland was the only European country that dared to default on the bankers. In February 2011 Iceland’s President Olafur R. Grimsson refused to sign a $5B bailout bill and told the bankers he was going to put the bill to a referendum. Although 44 of the 63 members of Parliament had passed the bill, Grimsson said he was responding to a popular demand for a plebiscite after more than 42K of Iceland’s 318K inhabitants signed a petition asking him to block it.

Icelanders absorbed some of the costs itself but forced foreign investors to take the biggest hit. Not deterred by horror stories about an “unthinkable economic demise” that have prevented countries like Greece and Portugal from defaulting, Iceland has proved that default was the best thing it could have done. As a result, not only has the economy not collapsed since last year, but its gross domestic product is expected to increase by 2.6% this year. Much of that growth is based on increased production, mainly in tourism and the fishing industry. In contrast, most other European economies are either stagnant or in decline. Even the Times article admitted that many economists say Iceland’s recovery was aided by the collapse of the banks.

Iceland’s recovery is a shining example for countries like Greece, Ireland and Spain to follow. History has proven that countries experience growth once they get out from under the parasitic burden of debt to the bankers. National Socialist Germany from 1933 – 39 is a perfect example.

Real wealth is measured in terms of growth in agriculture, manufacturing and services. Greece and Spain have more than half of their highly energetic youth unemployed, producing nothing. In the U.S. 55K factories have shut down in the last decade.

Iceland has shown that with regained sovereignty comes justice and dignity. Corrupt politicians and bankers can be brought to trial.

Further asserting its independence, Iceland was the first country, last fall, to recognize Palestine as an independent nation, a move no country under the yoke of the international bankers has had the guts to do.

Peter Papaherakles, a U.S. citizen since 1986, was born in Greece. He is AFP’s outreach director. If you would like to see AFP speakers at your rally, contact Pete at 202-544-5977.


__________New York Times 

Ex-Prime Minister of Iceland Convicted on Charge Related to Financial Crisis

APRIL 23, 2012


Geir H. Haarde described his conviction as "silly." 
Ex Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde

LONDON ­ Iceland’s former prime minister, Geir H. Haarde, was found guilty of failing to keep his cabinet informed of major developments during the 2008 financial crisis, but was cleared of three more serious charges of negligence on Monday.

Mr. Haarde was acquitted of three charges that were linked to his management during Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008, which could have resulted in a jail sentence. A Reykjavik court ruled that Mr. Haarde would not receive any punishment on the one guilty count, and that his legal expenses would be covered.


New York Times  

Iceland Indicts Ex-Executives Of Failed Bank


Published: February 23, 2012
The former chief executive and former chairman of the failed Icelandic lender Kaupthing Bank were indicted on Wednesday on charges of fraud and market manipulation.

Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the bank's former chief executive, and Sigurdur Einarsson, the former chairman, are expected to stand trial at the beginning of March in Iceland, their lawyers said. The court hearings could last for several months. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.


__________The Mess That Greenspan Made  
An Update on the Iceland Economic Recovery
On January 17, 2012, in Europe, by Tim
They’ve yet to write the final chapter on how the path taken by Iceland in the wake of the financial crisis (i.e., letting its banks fail and allowing its currency to plunge while consumer prices soared, all of which seems to have led to a much swifter recovery) compares to the path chosen by the rest of the world (i.e. printing money, propping up the banks, and lots of can-kicking), but this Washington Post story brings readers up to date.

Iceland’s journey from financial ruin to fledgling recovery is a case study in roads not taken and choices not made by other countries faced with calamity in recent years.
By the time the United States and Europe began to wrestle with the fallout of the global financial crisis in 2008, this tiny island nation was experiencing full-fledged meltdown. Its bloated banks failed. Its currency collapsed. The prime minister invoked God’s help, and protesters filled the streets.
Iceland did what the United States chose not to do ­ allow its biggest banks to fail and force foreign creditors to take a hike. It did what troubled European nations saddled with massive debts and tethered by the euro cannot do ­ allow its currency to remain weak, causing inflation but making its exports more desirable and its prices more attractive to tourists.
Three years later, the unemployment rate has fallen. Tourism has increased. The economy is growing. The government successfully raised money from investors in the summer for the first time since the crisis.
It’s tempting to conclude that this country of 318,000 people simply handled the crisis more adeptly than others, like a pick-your-own-ending book in which Icelanders chose correctly. There is a sliver of truth in that, but the full story is more complicated.
There’s much more to this report and it’s well worth reading in its entirety.

If nothing else, it should be interesting to see how Iceland is doing three, five, or ten years from now as compared to other Western nations. According to the latest data from The Economist, the Iceland economy has been booming lately, though, for some reason, projections for the New Year are very U.S.-like.


__________New York Times

The Path Not Taken

Published: October 27, 2011

But it’s worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine ­ a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.

The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.

This doctrine was sold both with claims that there was no alternative ­ that both bailouts and spending cuts were necessary to satisfy financial markets ­ and with claims that fiscal austerity would actually create jobs. The idea was that spending cuts would make consumers and businesses more confident. And this confidence would supposedly stimulate private spending, more than offsetting the depressing effects of government cutbacks.


But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: Iceland’s very desperation made conventional behavior impossible, freeing the nation to break the rules. Where everyone else bailed out the bankers and made the public pay the price, Iceland let the banks go bust and actually expanded its social safety net. Where everyone else was fixated on trying to placate international investors, Iceland imposed temporary controls on the movement of capital to give itself room to maneuver.

So how’s it going? Iceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. But it has managed to limit both the rise in unemployment and the suffering of the most vulnerable; the social safety net has survived intact, as has the basic decency of its society. “Things could have been a lot worse” may not be the most stirring of slogans, but when everyone expected utter disaster, it amounts to a policy triumph.

And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: The suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.



Iceland GDP Growth Rate

12-06-06 The EC’s human rights commissioner: Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo - a "smaller version of Guantanamo"



‘Smaller Version of Guantanamo” in Kosovo

The EC’s human rights commissioner called the prison within the U.S. base in Kosovo ‘a smaller version of Guantanamo’.
Amnesty International 

That the case of Guantanamo is not unique was proven by human rights activists who claim that prisons similar to the one in Cuba also existed in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The British Telegraph writes about two contentious locations, which is Eagle, near Tuzla in Bosnia, and Bondsteel in Kosovo. Both prisons were part of U.S. military bases. According to the most recent information, alleged members of Al-Qaeda were tortured and questioned there and then transferred to Afghanistan and then into Guantanamo.

After the attack on the WTC in New York, the German intelligence service (BND) was commanded to send an interpreter together with two intelligence officers to Tuzla to help interrogate prisoners who were suspected of terrorism, Germany’s weekly Stern reported last week.

A smaller version of Guantanamo
The news arrived after Barack Obama on January 23 ordered the closing down of secret prisons, known as CIA’s black sites in which an unknown number of “ghost detainees” were held.

Together with the new information about the number of prisoners who had been kept in such locations without any rights or legal remedy, locations used by the CIA have began to be revealed.

Apart from Bosnia and Kosovo, many prisoners were also held in Thailand. Some data reveal that an unknown number of people had also been imprisoned in Poland and Rumania. But the branched-out network of black sites reached all the way to the cape of Africa, which includes “Kamp Lemonier”, a former French base intended for the legionnaires.

As far as the U.S. army base Bondsteel is concerned, the British Guardian was the first to state the words of the European Commission’s human rights commissioner who dubbed the location “A smaller version of Guantanamo”.

Kosovo’s dirty secret: the background to Germany’s Secret Service affair
by Peter Schwarz

The arrest of three German secret service agents in Kosovo exposes the sort of society that has been developed with German and American support in this former part of Yugoslavia­one mired in corruption, organised crime and secret service plots.

The affair began on November 14, when a bomb exploded outside the office of the European Union special representative, Pieter Feith, in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. The building was damaged but no one was hurt. Immediately afterward in a neighbouring building, a German man, Andreas J., was observed and questioned by the Kosovan security forces, and unmasked as an agent of Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND, Secret Service). This is according to the public prosecutor’s office. German sources, however, claim that Andreas J. only came to the scene four hours after the explosion to take photographs.

Normally, such secret service affairs between friendly governments are settled quietly and discreetly, usually by the departure of the unmasked agents. Not so in this case. Last week, the police arrested Andreas J. and two additional BND agents, accusing them of having planted the bomb at the EU’s International Civilian Office (ICO) building.

The case has received enormous attention and has led to a diplomatic crisis between Berlin and Pristina. Pictures of those arrested were shown on Kosovan TV and on the front pages of the press, complete with rumours whose source was thought to be the office of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. It was claimed that the public prosecutor’s office possessed a video showing Andreas J. throwing the explosive device at the ICO building. However, various witnesses who claim to have seen the video say it is not possible to clearly identify anyone on the tape. Thaci, for his part, completely denies any involvement and says the whole affair is a matter for the allegedly independent Kosovan justice system.

Speculation has since been rife about the background to the case, but it is doubtful whether it will ever be clarified. Kosovo is a jungle of rival secret services. In this regard, it resembles Berlin before the fall of the Wall. The US, Germany, Britain, Italy and France all have considerable intelligence operations in the country, which work both with and against one another. Moreover, in this country of just 2.1 million inhabitants, some 15,000 NATO soldiers and 1,500 UN police officers are stationed, as well as 400 judges, police officers and security officers belonging to the UN’s EULEX mission.

In addition, the country has a government and state apparatus that are notoriously corrupt and are closely linked with organised crime. According to a report by the Berlin Institute for European Policy, produced last year on behalf of the German army, drugs, human trafficking and arms smuggling, theft, robbery and car crime are the only increasing and profitable sectors of the country’s economy. Conservative estimates put the annual monetary turnover of the mafia at approximately €550 million. This represents a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, which is artificially inflated by enormous international transfers. Kosovo has become a “poly-criminal multifunctional region,” with Kosovo playing an important role, particularly as a transit country for Afghan heroin.


Camp Bondsteel

The United States agreed to provide a force of approximately 7,000 US personnel as part of the NATO KFOR to help maintain a capable military force in Kosovo and to ensure the safe return of Kosovar refugees. The US supports KFOR by providing the headquarters and troops for one of the four NATO sectors. The US also provides personnel, units and equipment to other components of the KFOR organization.

Camp Bondsteel [CBS] is quite large: 955 acres or 360,000 square meters. If you were to run the outer perimeter, it is about 7 miles...
Camp Bondsteel has an improved detention facility, with a 250 by 350 foot temporary structure composed of tents with plywood sidewalls and floors, electricity, heat, and lights. The project also includes a separate shower point and security measures - perimeter fencing, triple-standard concertina wire, locking gates, and an upgraded guard tower. The facility replaced an interim holding cell at Bondsteel and provides space for persons detained in incidents throughout the US sector in Kosovo.



Camp Bondsteel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo

Camp Bondsteel is the main base of the United States Army under KFOR command in Kosovo.[a] Located near Uroševac in the eastern part of Kosovo, the base serves as the NATO headquarters for KFOR's Multinational Brigade East (MNBG -E). The base is named after Vietnam War Medal of Honorrecipient United States Army Staff Sergeant James L. Bondsteel.

Camp Bondsteel was constructed by the 94th Engineer Construction Battalion, 568 Combat Support Engineer Company together with the private Kellogg, Brown and Root Corporation (KBR) under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. KBR is also the prime contractor for the operation of the camp. The camp is built mainly of wooden, semi permanent SEA (South East Asia) huts and is surrounded by a 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high earthen wall. The camp occupies 955 acres (3.86 km2) of land.[1] To construct the base, two hills were flattened and the valley between them was filled. In August 1999, 52 helipads were constructed on the facility's south perimeter to handle helicopter aviation.




U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visiting Camp Bondsteel, May 2009

Camp Bondsteel has many facilities on base for use by the soldiers and civilian employees who live and work there, and can hold up to 7,000 soldiers which makes it the largest US base in the Balkans. The post exchange (PX) is the largest military exchange in south eastern Europe and contains all the necessities and more that someone may need while in Kosovo, including TVs, phones, books, DVDs, CDs, small furniture, video games, computers, clothes, shoes, food, and more, all in its two story building.[1] The base also has, arguably, the best hospital in Kosovo; a movie theater; one gym; two recreation buildings that have phones, computers with internet connection, pool tables, video games and more; one chapel with various religious services and other activities; one large dining facility; a fire station; a military police station; the Laura Bush education center where classes are offered through theUniversity of Maryland University College and Central Texas College; two cappuccino bars, a Burger KingTaco Bell, and an Anthony's Pizza pizzeria; onebarber shops; one laundry facilities employing local nationals who do the laundry for those living on base; one press shops; a sewing shop; My Thai massage shops employing mostly Thai women who conduct various massages and are regulated by military officials; various local vendors who sell Kosovo souvenirs and products; softball and football fields; and more.[1]



"Big Duke" (Mt. Ljuboten) looming over Camp Bondsteel

The United States Army has been criticized for using the base as a detention facility, and for the conditions faced by the detainees there.[2] In November 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described the camp as a "smaller version of Guantanamo" following a visit. The Swiss newspaper Weltwoche reported, "A German report by the Berlin Institute for European Policy, produced last year on behalf of the German army... is particularly critical of the role of the US, which had obstructed European investigations and which had been opened up to political extortion by the existence of a secret CIA detention center on the grounds of Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo...†[3] In response, the US Army stated that there were no secret detention facilities in the Camp. The detention facilities were completely demolished in late 2008/early 2009, [ citation needed] ending once and for all the accusations of a "secret detention facility" present at Camp Bondsteel.

Notes and references

Notes:a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, while Serbia claims it as part of its own sovereign territory. Its independence is recognised by 91 out of 193 UN member states.

  1. a b c "Camp Bondsteel"Global Security Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  2. ^ "‘Smaller Version of Guantanamo" in Kosovo". 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-01-31. mirror
  3. ^ Peter Schwarz (2008-12-01). "Kosovo’s dirty secret: the background to Germany’s Secret Service affair" Retrieved 2009-01-31. "The German report is particular critical of the role of the US, which had obstructed European investigations and which had been opened up to political extortion by the existence of secret CIA detention centres in the grounds of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo,†writes Weltwoche. “Doubts are growing about the American methods and also as a result of the ‘serious’ description of a high-ranking German UN police officer that the main task of UNMIK’s second in command, American Steve Schook, is ‘to get drunk with Ramush Haradinaj once a week’."  mirror

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