Archive for June 2008

Queen of Hawaii demands independence from ‘US occupiers’

June 30, 2008

By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles

AP

Last Updated: 12:26AM BST 30/06/2008

 
The United States is an illegal occupying force that should hand the 132 islands of Hawaii back to the monarchy overthrown more than a century ago, according to members of a Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement.
For almost two months, the self-proclaimed Hawaiian Kingdom Government has peacefully occupied the grounds of the Iolani Palace, residence of the islands’ last two monarchs, operating a shadow government from a tent erected in its stately grounds.
Her Majesty Mahealani Kahau, a descendant of Hawaii’s last king who was elected “head of state” by the group, and her ministers gather each day to debate how to achieve their goal of restoring Native Hawaiian rule.
“We are here, we are real, we are in business,” declares the group’s website, which outlines its aim to “remove all laws, policies, rules and regulations” of the “occupying power” and “return Hawaii’s independent status”.
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The group, which claims 1,000 followers, is demanding the dissolution of the State of Hawaii and the return of land and bank assets totalling billions of dollars.
Hawaii has about 200,000 Native Hawaiians, or kânaka maoli, out of a population of 1.3 million. The Hawaiian Kingdom Government is just one of a number of sovereignty groups, many with similar names, waging independence campaigns.
All aim to “right the wrong” inflicted on Native Hawaiians in 1893 when a small, mostly American group of sugar plantation owners and other businessmen overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy with the support of US troops sent ashore from a Navy warship.
The then monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, gave up her throne “to this superior force of the United States of America” and was imprisoned in the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, built by her brother King Kalakaua. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed by the United States and in 1959 became the 50th US state.
“The Hawaiian kingdom was unlawfully taken over by a coup d’etat and then those that took it over formed an illegal government and then ceded Hawaii to the United States,” said Leon Siu, minister of foreign affairs for the Hawaiian Kingdom, another sovereignty group that shares many of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government’s aims.
“There was never a lawful transfer of either jurisdiction or title, therefore what we are doing is asserting that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists.” Mr Siu said he was engaged in discussions with several countries as well as the United Nations as part of a bid to achieve “international recognition of our nation”, in part by reviving treaties Hawaii had with other nations, including Britain, in the 19th century.
Sovereignty groups cite the so-called “Apology Resolution” signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 which acknowledged the 100th anniversary of the overthrow and apologised to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the US.
“The legal cause for the restoration of the kingdom is air-tight,” said Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, who has been advising Hawaiian independence groups since 1992.
In addition to devising a draft constitution for one group, the Nation of Hawaii, Professor Boyle sued the US in the US Supreme Court in 1998, demanding the restoration of Hawaiian independence and reparations “for all the harm inflicted on the Kingdom of Hawaii”.
He said rather than dismissing the case as “something totally frivolous” the court met several times to discuss it before determining the kingdom “was a non-recognised sovereign that does not have access to the US courts”.
“Based on this experience I simply told them that we would have to wait until the Kingdom of Hawaii has achieved substantial diplomatic recognition and then I could file something in the international court of justice.”
He described the occupation of Iolani Palace as “a very significant step in terms of their struggle to restore their kingdom their dignity and their land” and remains confident that Hawaii will at some stage achieve independence.
“Native Hawaiians operate in accordance with the Aloha spirit, which is similar to Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha force, and I take the position that if Gandhi can throw the mighty British Empire out of India with Satyagraha, Native Hawaiians can throw the mighty American empire out of Hawaii with Aloha.”
Sovereignty groups reject as divisive and inadequate legislation being pursued by the state’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs that would grant Native Hawaiians partial self -governance akin to that of American Indian tribes.
The State of Hawaii has so far turned a blind eye to the peaceful gatherings of Hawaiian Kingdom Government. No-one has been arrested and members have been careful not to break any laws. “As long as they comply with the permit conditions, they may continue to request permits to meet,” Deborah Ward, of the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, told the Associated Press.

 

 

Visa-Waiver Agreement between Russia and Israel

June 28, 2008

The Israeli side on June 20 informed the Russian MFA of the completion of national procedures necessary for the entry into force of the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the State of Israel on Mutual Abolition of Visa Requirements, signed on March 20, 2008. The Russian side had accomplished this work earlier – on March 28, 2008.

Thus, in accordance with Article 9, item 1 of this Agreement it will be in place 90 days after the date of receipt of the last written notification of the fulfillment by both sides of all necessary intrastate procedures; that is before September 20, 2008.

Moscow presumes that the entry into force of this Agreement will give an additional weighty impulse to the development of Russian-Israeli relations in the most diverse fields, including human contacts and business partnership.

 

 

Source: MoFA-Russia

 

Council of Europe to investigate Kosovo organ trafficking allegations

June 28, 2008

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) [official website] announced Wednesday that it will prepare a report [press release] on allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo. Former prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Carla Del Ponte [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has alleged in a new book [JURIST report] that about 300 Serbian and other non-Albanian prisoners were victims of organ trafficking during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, but that a 2003 probe by her ICTY team failed to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute. In response, parliamentarians submitted a motion [text] in April requesting that the Assembly investigate the organ trafficking charges. PACE officials forwarded the issue to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights [official website] earlier this month, according to officials from PACE’s Serbian delegation [official website]. B92 has more. AP has additional coverage.
Del Ponte said reliable sources told her that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) [official website] took the organs of young, healthy prisoners for black-market sales [Kosovo Compromise report]. The Swiss Foreign Ministry later barred Del Ponte from promoting the book because it was inconsistent with her role as the Swiss ambassador. In March, the office of Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor [official website] said that it was investigating “informal statements” [JURIST report] received from ICTY investigators alleging illegal organ harvesting. The next month, Serbia announced [JURIST report] that it planned to officially request that the ICTY resume a probe into the organ trafficking allegations, even though Kosovo Justice Minister Nekibe Kelmendi dismissed the allegations as “fabrications.” The same month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] urged [JURIST report] leaders of Kosovo and Albania to launch an investigation into the allegations, but as of May had not received a response.

 

 

 

Source: Jurist: University of Pittsburgh School of Law

John Bolton: Israel could strike Iran after U.S. presidential election

June 27, 2008

http://www.interfax.com/17/406278/Interview.aspx

INTERFAX (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)

June 27, 2008

 

The chances that Israel will strike Iran after the U.S. presidential
election are quite high, said John Bolton, a prominent U.S. security expert.

I think that if it does happen, it will not be before November, but before
the U.S. president’s inauguration, he said in an interview with Interfax.

I do not know what is the decision of Israel about using
military force, he said.

However, if Israel decides to use force against Iran, it will
not do so before the U.S. presidential election, said Bolton, who is a
former U.S. undersecretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations.

The Israelis do not want to do anything that could affect the
outcome of the U.S. presidential election either way, he said.

It is clear that they will know at that time who is going to be
the next president. However, the Israelis will feel more secure at the time
when President Bush is still in the White House. But my point of view does
not mean that Israel has made any particular decision, Bolton said.

It is hard to evaluate the consequences, because the event is
going to be quite dramatic, he said.

Bolton said also that the U.S. recognition of Kosovo’s
independent was a serious mistake.

The recognition could escalate tensions in the Balkans, rather
than normalize the situation, he said.

Bosnian Serbs would wonder why not secede from Bosnia if Kosovo
could secede from Serbia, while Belgrade democrats would wonder why their
aspirations for European integration and defense of democratic values was
rewarded in that way (with the recognition of Kosovo), Bolton said.

Hopefully, instability in the Balkans would not deepen,
alongside the risk of violence, said the prominent Republican, who currently
works for the American Enterprise Institute.

The policy on Kosovo has been unaltered since the time Slobodan
Milosevic led Yugoslavia, Bolton said. The opposition to Milosevic was so
strong that the United States gave support to anyone in opposition, he said.

However, the situation changed drastically when a democratic
government took office in Belgrade, and support for Kosovo is now atavistic,
Bolton said. He said he believed that such support might have made sense 15
years ago, but not now.

As for the opinion of the American people about events in
Kosovo, he said, the Americans have no viewpoint on Kosovo. He said
everything had been done by the State Department, while others paid little
attention.

 

 

 

“Al-Qaeda helpers operating in Bosnia”

June 26, 2008

26 June 2008 | 12:30 | Source: Beta 

 

 

BANJA LUKA — Bosnian Deputy Anti-Terrorism Security Minister Vjekoslav Vuković says there probably are organizations operating in the country linked to Al-Qaeda.

 

“We have obtained certain information and indicators that some of these organizations are active in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but under different names. Individuals who worked in outlawed organizations are now running others, which suggests that they are still active in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Vuković told Banja Luka daily Nezavisne Novine.

He said that security and police agencies in Bosnia-Herzegovina had information about organizations and individuals listed by the UN as accomplices to terrorism, and certain measures were being taken accordingly.

The UN periodically publishes a list of organizations and individuals that are either members of or are linked to Al-Qaeda.

The list was revised a few months ago and now features groups such as Al-Furkhan, the Al-Harmain and the Al-Masjed Al-Aksa humanitarian foundations, Bosnian Ideal Future, the Global Relief Foundation, and Taibah International’s Bosnian office.

According to the UN’s information, all these organizations have offices in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“We know that the UN list features several humanitarian organizations that were registered in Bosnia earlier. However, they have been outlawed, and are not active under those names in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” says Dragan Lukač, assistant director of the State Agency for Investigation and Protection (SIPA).

He does not rule out the possibility, however, that these organizations have remodeled themselves, or are registered under new names.

“We cannot fully rule out the possibility that they have transformed into different organizations, or registered themselves under different names, though SIPA has no such knowledge of this,” Lukač stresses. 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO THE WESTERN BALKANS

June 25, 2008

THE WHITE HOUSE
 
Office of the Press Secretary
 
                                                               
For Immediate Release                             June 24, 2008
 
 
NOTICE
 
– – – – – – –
 
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT
TO THE WESTERN BALKANS
 
     On June 26, 2001, by Executive Order 13219, I declared a national emergency with respect to the Western Balkans pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701‑1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions of persons engaged in, or assisting, sponsoring, or supporting (i) extremist violence in the Republic of Macedonia and elsewhere in the Western Balkans region, or (ii) acts obstructing implementation of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia or United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999, in Kosovo.  I subsequently amended that order in Executive Order 13304 of May 28, 2003.
 
     Because the actions of persons threatening the peace and international stabilization efforts in the Western Balkans continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on June 26, 2001, and the measures adopted on that date and thereafter to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond June 26, 2008.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to the Western Balkans.
 
     This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
 
 
                             GEORGE W. BUSH
 
 
THE WHITE HOUSE,
    June 24, 2008.
 
# # #

World military update

June 21, 2008

Budget cuts dog Austria’s Typhoon programme

 

As Austria’s nine new Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter aircraft prepare to take over air-policing and quick reaction alert (QRA) duties from the 12 Swiss F-5Es at the end of June 2008, budget cuts continue to plague the operability of the programme. Negotiations on the terms of specification of the remaining six ex-German Air Force Typhoons, which are to be upgraded to Block 5 standard before delivery, are continuing, while an option for six PIRATE (Passive InfraRed Airborne Tracking Equipment) infrared search and track (IRST) sensors and the EuroDASS defensive aids system has been cancelled, since the government does not expect to have to fly any combat missions beyond the air-policing task

 

 

 

South Korea awards Malaysian company for fast attack craft waterjets

 

Malaysian firm Pesaka Astana has won a MYR15 million (USD4.6 million) contract from the South Korean Ministry of Defence for the provision of waterjet propulsion systems. The waterjets will be fitted in the RoK Navy’s (RoKN’s) new 63 m, 41 kt missile-firing Gumdoksuri-class (PKX) fast attack craft, the first of which – the prototype Yoon Young-Ha – was commissioned earlier in 2008

 

 

 

 

 

Iraq suffers worst suicide attack on civilians since March

 
Fifty-one Iraqi civilians were killed on 17 June by a car bomb in a northern Baghdad market, in the worst suicide attack on civilians since March. The attack came as Iraq’s parliament announced intentions to hold its first sessions outside the US-protected Green Zone due to hard-won security gains and followed praise at the UN Security Council for the progress being made by the country’s national security forces

 

 

 

 
Eurosatory 2008: Oshkosh open to acquisitions

 
United States company Oshkosh is open to further acquisitions at home and abroad, senior company figures have told Jane’s. In December 2006 the US vehicle manufacturer completed the takeover of JLG industries to create a giant vehicle specialist company in a deal worth about USD3.2 billion. Speaking at Eurosatory in Paris on 17 June, the company’s marketing and communications manager, Joaquin Salas, said that “the corporation has certainly stated that they are going to continue to grow the business, so whether it’s tomorrow or whether it’s three years from now, you can pretty much count that there will more than likely be another acquisition”

 

 

 

 

 

India test fires Agni, Prithvi ballistic missiles

 
India has conducted successful flight tests of its Agni 3 and Prithvi 2 ballistic missiles. The Prithvi 2 tactical ballistic missile was successfully launched from the Interim Test Range at Chandipur, Balasore, off the Orissa coast at 1026 h local time on 23 May. It achieved a range of 350 km after a flight of 483 seconds’ duration, during which it reached a peak altitude of 43.5 km