Posted tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

Obama Officially Announces Intelligence Staff

January 9, 2009

(New York) – President Elect Obama today announces his picks to lead his intelligence staff. Rertired Admiral Dennis Blair will be his Director of National Intelligence. Leon Panetta is scheduled to be his Central Intelligence Agency director.

The President Elect described both men as “public servants with unquestioned integrity, broad experience, strong management skills and the core pragmatism we need in dangerous times.”

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The Green Zone Is Now Under Iraqi Control

January 1, 2009
Republican Palace

Republican Palace

(New York) – January 1, 2009. A new year has come and an old one has gone, in a sign of the progress in Iraq the United States has made it has handed over control of the Green Zone to Iraqi forces. The 5.6-square-mile area in the heart of Baghdad also known as the International Zone will be under full control of the Iraqi’s, although there will be a United States presence there, the US is even paying rent now. (more…)

After Guantanamo… part 2

December 14, 2008

This is part two of a two part series on Guantanamo Bay. The first part can be found here.

Previously we answered the question about where detainees who are set free can go. Now we address the rest of the detainees….

So what about the rest of the detainees? Well most of them will face trails under the plans being crafted by the Obama administration. The Bush administration has set up military tribunals for the detainees.

Various organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty International have cited these tribunals as unfair. Recently the ACLU released a letter about the tribunals.

“Many of us do not believe these military commissions to be fair, in accordance with American values, or capable of achieving the justice that 9/11 family members and all Americans deserve,”

Many are asking to give the detainees fair trials with Constitutional rights, the same rights anyone on American soil is entitled to. There is opposition to the plan to give the detainees trials in the US. One of those is Senate Judiciary Committee member John Cornyn, (R-TX) said it is a “colossal mistake to treat terrorism as a mere crime.”

Human Rights First which recently met with the transition team issued a statement saying since the attacks of 9/11 there have been 107 successful prosecutions of international terrorism cases in the federal courts, compared with three convictions in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

President-Elect Obama will no doubt have to address this issue very early on in his presidency. Many have cited the unfair treatment of prisoners as a violation of human rights and some have even resigned their positions in protest of the treatment.

Many inside the current administration are hoping Obama will keep the camp open after reading some of the classified information he now has access to. Will it happen? (more…)

After Guantanamo…

December 13, 2008

This is part one of a two part series covering the future of Guantánamo Bay.

(NEW YORK) Guantánamo Bay is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the south-eastern end of Cuba. Most people however know the bay by the U.S. Naval base there. The land granted to the United States was granted to them in the terms of the Cuban-American treaty of 1903 which effectively leases the land indefinitely to the United States. Currently the United States leases the land for $4,085 annually.

In the American controlled Guantánamo Bay Naval Base are more than ships, barracks and an airfield. There are various food franchises owned by the Department of the Navy. There’s a Taco Bell, Subway, KFC, A&W, pubs, bowling allies, and even Cuba’s first and only McDonald’s.

Guantanamo Bay inmates upon arrival

Guantanamo Bay inmates upon arrival

The base is best known for the now infamous Guantánamo Bay Naval Base Detention Camp, where many detainees are held.

There has been controversy time and time again regarding the base. From the treatment of inmates, to the conditions they’re held in, to the ages of them.

Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of closing down the Detention Camp. He will not be closing down the base itself as the base is vital to the Navy’s interests and is a key strategic location in the Caribbean. The closing of the detention center on the base he has said is one of his top priorities.

There are very few, if any people who are against shutting down the detention center. But there’s a question which looms large and seems to have gone unnoticed by the media. What happens after the Detention center at Guantánamo Bay is closed?
(more…)

Poland Ends Military Draft

December 12, 2008
Polish Professional Troops

Polish Troops in Afghanistan

After 90 years Poland has ended its program of conscription into the military. All men 18 years and older must serve 9 months in Poland’s military.

Poland for most of its history was under threat of invasion. Recently these threats have loomed large yet again. These threats coming mostly from its neighbor to the east with the largest land army in the world. The Russian invasion of Georgia this summer reminded Poland how easy it would be for them to be next.

Recently however with the last election there were promises to the many youths that in exchange for their vote, the politicians would end the draft. So now the time has come for the government to end the draft. They kept their promises.

Last week the last group of of drafted soldiers would be the final group. This followed 90 years of mandatory service. All of this coming as an effort to modernize its army.

Poland has shown its eagerness to tackle military problems lately as a member of NATO and of the EU. With troops in Chad, Afghanistan and recently finished its tour of duty in Iraq. Poland has shown to be a vital ally to the United States and its Western European allies.

Poland is facing the same problems as many other nations at this time. The global economic recession has taken finances away from the armed services. Then there is the added pressure of outdated and failing equipment. The new policy of ending conscription has led to yet another problem to be addressed.

Not having a steady supply of men to serve in its armed forces Poland has had to start running commercials and raising financial compensation for its soldiers.  After these draftee’s have finished their 9 month tours of duty Poland will officially have a professional army.

British To Withdraw From Iraq

December 10, 2008
British troops in Basra

British troops in Basra

According to the latest BBC reports UK forces are scheduled to leave Iraq early next year. They are reporting the troops are scheduled to begin leaving in March of 2009.

Most British soldiers are in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Currently the UK has 4,100 of the few Non-American coalition troops left in Iraq. This would make Romania the next largest contributor of soldiers to the occupation in Iraq with around 500 troops.

This news follows the Iraqi governments decision to force US troops to pull out of the cities by mid 2009 and to withdraw completely by December 2011.

Many inside the Department of Defence in the UK are saying the troops could be moved over to help fight the Taliban. Soldiers, helicopters and other equipment are needed urgently to keep the Taliban from regaining land.

Obama’s Cabinet… so far

December 2, 2008

Today Barack Obama named his latest additions to the staff naming Clinton, Holder, Napolitano, and Rice to his team. This is his team so far:

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Peter Orszag
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Attorney General Eric Holder
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice
Secretary of Commerce Bill Richardson*
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Daschle*

*Richardson and Daschle have apparently been named by sources close to the campaign as soon to be designated.