Emergency restriction areas re-appear in Turkey

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

Al-Monitor: “Is Turkey’s ’emergency rule’ back?”

As of this writing, 37 areas in Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Tunceli, Kars, Agri, Hakkari, Siirt and Sirnak provinces had been declared provisional security zones. The law allows bans from 15 days to six months. Nobody can enter those zones without permission, and doing so could mean fines and imprisonment.

Idris Baluken, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party Parliamentary Group, asked for a parliamentary inquiry about the decision. In a petition to the parliamentary speaker, Baluken said the decision is illegal.

“With this decision for forbidden zones, what is suspended is democracy,” Baluken said. “Rule of law is being violated. In addition to the political ramifications of the decision, there are also the legal aspects. Basic rights of residence, traveling and communications recognized by the constitution are violated. The ‘contract’ between the people and the public authority of law is violated by the authority.”

Although most of the forbidden zones are those where the PKK is known to be active, two areas on the Syrian border were also included on the off-limits list.

 


Previously from AFD on this topic:

“Turkey’s Erdogan demands total information awareness”

Turkey’s Erdogan demands total information awareness

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

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BGN News: “Turkey’s Erdoğan asks village administrators to spy on citizens for him”

“In order to continue its operations in a determined and forceful manner, the state has to determine what is going on in every house via intelligence gathering,” Erdoğan said during a meeting on Wednesday. “Who is in which home? What is going on inside? My muhtar will calmly, and in an appropriate manner, come and notify the district governor or the police chief.”
[…]
The last time muhtars were instructed to gather intelligence for the state was during the period of martial law following the 1980 military coup, a bloody period marred by severe state repression and severe infringements of the rule of law.

 

NYT editorial against Pentagon’s new journalist rules

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“The Pentagon’s Dangerous Views on the Wartime Press” – The New York Times Editorial Board:

The manual warns that “Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying”
[…]
Authoritarian leaders around the world could point to it to show that their despotic treatment of journalists — including Americans — is broadly in line with the standards set by the United States government.
[…]
Even more disturbing is the document’s broad assertion that journalists’ work may need to be censored lest it reveal sensitive information to the enemy. This unqualified statement seems to contravene American constitutional and case law, and offers other countries that routinely censor the press a handy reference point.

 
You can also read much more at the recent post CPJ: “In times of war, Pentagon reserves right to treat journalists like spies”

Make peace, not war, easier in Congress

The anti-Iran hawks will get to vote against the nuclear deal, without sinking it – The Globalist:

To nix the deal, the Senate must ultimately be able to vote through a resolution against it by a veto-proof majority. And that would require 67 out of the 100 US senators coming out to vote against it (along with 290 U.S. House members).
[…]
As a general principle, of course, this is probably not a strategy to be recommended. The people’s representatives should, after all, be taking meaningful votes on most international agreements.

But for a particularly delicate multilateral negotiation involving war and peace, it is an ideal setup to stack the deck against the former and in favor of the latter.

Remarkably, even the United States Constitution did not set a two-thirds threshold for Congress in making declarations of war – a feature seemingly rendered moot since World War II. A mere majority in each chamber could plunge the country into war.

It has been far too easy for the United States to choose the path of war casually. The structure of the Congressional role on the Iran Deal fortunately makes it much harder in this one instance – while still letting the “bomb bomb bomb” caucus formally register its hawkish preferences.

It might not look it to the rest of the world, but by U.S. political standards in 2015, that’s a win-win.

 
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Iraq’s air conditioner uprising

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

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Washington Post: “Iraqi leader announces measures aimed at fighting graft, dysfunction”

The protests came amid a searing heat wave that saw temperatures rise to than 120 degrees. The heat has been particularly unbearable because of the country’s limited power supply, which gives Iraqis only a few hours’ worth of electricity a day to run fans or air conditioners.

The country’s powerful Shiite militias — whose political influence has grown as they overtake the Iraqi army in the fight against the Islamic State — also threw their weight behind Friday’s protests. Their participation presented an unusual challenge to Abadi from his own Shiite constituency. The demonstrations also prompted the office of the influential Shiite religious leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani to urge Abadi to implement more sweeping measures. Sistani said Friday that Abadi had not done enough to fight corruption within the Iraqi state.

 

CPJ: “In times of war, Pentagon reserves right to treat journalists like spies”

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

“In times of war, Pentagon reserves right to treat journalists like spies” – Committee to Protect Journalists:

The Pentagon has produced its first Department of Defense-wide Law of War Manual and the results are not encouraging for journalists who, the documents states, may be treated as “unprivileged belligerents.” But the manual’s justification for categorizing journalists this way is not based on any specific case, law or treaty. Instead, the relevant passages have footnotes referring to either other parts of the document or matters not germane to this legal assertion. And the language used to attempt to justify this categorization is weak at best.
[…]
At 1,180 pages long and with 6,196 footnotes, the manual includes vague and contradictory language about when and how the category of “unprivileged belligerents” might be applied to journalists. It ignores the most relevant cases where the U.S. military detained war correspondents and accused them of being — using the term coined by Pentagon officials in the 2000s — “unlawful combatants,” without producing evidence or bringing even one accused journalist to trial. The manual mentions international human rights treaties and declarations, but ignores the most important one, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which deals most clearly with the right to free expression and the press.
[…]
The manual devotes attention to “classes of persons” who “do not fit neatly within the dichotomy” between combatants and civilians, and replaces the term “unlawful combatants,” which U.S. officials used to refer to terrorist suspects held under extra-legal circumstances in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks, with “unprivileged belligerent.”

“Unprivileged” means the suspect is not entitled to the rights afforded to prisoners of war under international law and can instead be held as a criminal suspect in a category that includes suspected spies, saboteurs, and guerrillas.

Read the full report from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

AP: US-backed Syrian rebels flee HQ after clash with Nusra Front

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AP / Lebanon Daily Star: US-backed rebel group flees north Syria HQ after clash with Nusra:

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said members of the Division 30 faction fled to a nearby area controlled by a Syrian Kurdish militia. Abu al-Hassan Marea, a Syrian activist who is currently in Turkey near the Syrian border, confirmed Saturday that Division 30 fighters have withdrawn from their headquarters.

Abdurrahman and Marea said Division 30 had less than 60 fighters and that on Friday alone the group lost five fighters and 18 others were wounded.
[…]
On Friday night the Nusra Front said it attacked Division 30 and abducted some of its members because they were trained by the CIA and vowed in a statement to cut off “the arms” of the American government in Syria.

A U.S. military official seemed to deny any American connection to Division 30, saying on Friday that no member of a U.S.-backed rebel faction had been abducted.

 
Despite the denial of connection, the U.S. military appeared to have responded directly to the situation as it unfolded, according to CNN, based on a policy implemented days earlier:

Syrian rebels backed by the United States will now have air cover if they come under attack after President Barack Obama signed off on the decision, a senior administration official confirms to CNN on Sunday.
[…]
This comes after the United States conducted airstrikes last week to protect two groups after they came under attack: U.S.-trained rebels and the U.S.-affiliated rebels of the 30th division.

U.S. aircraft came in after the attack on a compound where members of the New Syria Force, which is the U.S.-trained-and-equipped rebel group, were located as well members of the 30th division.

 


Previously from AFD on these topics:

Free Syrian Arms: The fall of the CIA’s Harakat Hazm force against Nusra Front
Will the U.S. become the Syrian rebels’ air force?
FT: “Syria rebels sceptical about Turkey’s plan to tackle IS”
U.S. agrees to clear a “safe zone” in northern Syria