Of all the abuses committed by the United States in the “War on Terror,” the use of waterboarding as an “enhanced interrogation technique” has generated by far the most controversy. This practice, whereby terror suspects are strapped to a plank, tilted so that their heads are lower than their feet, and subjected to mock drowning, has rightly been condemned — even by President Obama — as torture. As water is sloshed onto a wet cloth placed over the mouth and nose, the body convulses, moving into an achingly-painful panic reaction exactly as if it were drowning.
The UK Government has always publically distanced itself from such extreme methods, with ministers going on record to label waterboarding as torture. However, court documents filed recently on behalf of Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani businessman captured in Iraq in February 2004 and detained without trial for over ten years, show that the UK was deeply implicated in the abuse he suffered.
10 Human Rights Organizations in an Urgent Letter to Attorney General: Concerns Regarding Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the IDF’s Operations in Gaza
Ten human rights organizations urgently contacted Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein today following the release of reports on the nature of attacks within the Gaza Strip and the high rate of civilian casualties. This information raises concerns about grave violations of international humanitarian law.
The organizations demanded that the Attorney General instruct the government to refrain from violating the laws of war and re-evaluate its aggressive policy and rules of engagement. The organizations seek to clarify whether the Attorney General critically evaluated the legal advice supplied to the Military Advocate General that underpins ‘Operation Protective Edge’, and calls on him to establish an external, independent and effective investigatory mechanism to examine the decision making of the political and operational establishment as required by international law and supported by the rulings of the High Court of Justice.
The joint letter notes that more than 400 people have been killed and thousands injured since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, the vast majority of which are Palestinians. More than 80 of the dead Palestinians are children. According to estimates provided by the United Nations, civilian casualties constitute 70% of the deaths.
Saudi Arabian King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz has donated $53.3 million to the victims of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, the official Saudi news agency reported yesterday evening.
Speaking to the news agency, Saudi Financial Minister Ibrahim Bin Abdul-Aziz said: “This donation was specified to afford urgent medical needs and equipment needed for the treatment of the victims of the Israeli war on Gaza, which affected thousands of innocent people, including the disabled.”
In a pre-dawn attack on Saturday, Israeli warplanes targeted a charity association for the disabled. Three Palestinians were killed and several others were wounded.
Since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza, dubbed by Israel as “Operation Protective Edge”, Israel killed more than 170 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200. Most of the casualties are civilians, with large numbers of children and women.
After a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet, Israeli leaders decided to continue and intensify the war on the Strip. They ignored a UN Security Council resolution calling for both sides to declare a ceasefire.
Israeli emergency services said that the number of Israeli casualties among, caused by Palestinian rockets, is 208, including 11 hit by shrapnel, 36 wounded as they were rushing to shelters, six wounded in car accidents as they heard the sirens and 151 suffered from panic attacks.