Obama interviewed about his executive order to police thought-crime; Saudi Arabia grants consent for a pre-emptive strike on Iran to Israel; U.N. envoy calls Free Gaza aid-delivering activists’ kidnapping by Israel ‘criminal’; Iran clerics declare gov’t illegitimate; Glenn Greenwald notes NYT hypocrisy in classifying Iran’s treatment of prisoners as “torture”; China and India protest the U.S. ‘cap-and-trade scheme’; and more…

President Obama said he would “proceed very carefully” in implementing his policy of indefinite detention. The executive order is being drafted by the White House. (AntiWar.com) “Very carefully” means doing so conservatively within the morally consistent framework, not executive decree; not at all. This is about as Orwellian as it gets.

VP Joe Biden said in Iraq that troops will not withdraw if “Iraq were to revert to sectarian violence or engage in ethnic violence”. Violence has risen in Iraq this year, most notably along the region bordering the Kurdish region, where the Kurds have been denied autonomy by the current Iraqi gov’t — in collaboration with the U.S. — as they were for decades under the Hussein regime. The VP faced protests as the Iraq commander Gen. Ray Odierno said this week that 90% of troops with remain in Iraq at the end of this year. (AntiWar.com)

A U.S. drone strike on South Waziristan killed 17, including 14 civilians.

In his meeting with U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano, Pakistan PM Yousef Gilani sought U.S. aid to build a 1600+mile wall along the Af-Pak border. Ms. Napolitano was the former governor of Arizona, which borders Mexico and Mr. Gilani referenced the U.S.-Mexico model. (AntiWar.com)

Saudi Arabia has granted Israel consent to use its airspace to strike Iran, Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter report in The Sunday Times of London. Israel denies these reports, but both being clients of the U.S., this isn’t surprising. VP Biden said today that Israel has the “sovereign right” to make a first strike on Iran. The Saudis acting contrary is inconceivable with the Saudi-U.S. deals that exist.

U.N. human rights investigator Richard Falk has called the kidnapping of 21 activists delivering aid to Gaza — Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney among them — “unlawful”. They are set to be released Sunday, but Ms. McKinney has refused to sign a document admitted guilt. (AntiWar.com) Israel Defence Minister Ehud Barak is considering a “partial” lift of the Gaza blockade, where Israel has created a virtual concentration camp.

Israeli agents intruded a “Holy Sanctuary” and detained a journalist covering it. The agents were photographing and smashed the memory card of the journalist before releasing him. (PTV)

New IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano has no evidence of an Iranian nuclear program in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but that the gov’t was obligated to abandon its civilian program — an obligation written nowhere, only voiced by Mr. Amano for no reason. (AntiWar.com)

Iran clerics of the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum have deemed the current government as illegitimate on the day when opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, uncovers documents accusing the president’s supporters of printing 20m extra ballots and paying bonuses for those voting in favor of Pres. Ahmadinejad. Qum condemned the gov’t for not adequately investigating election fraud claims and the excessive use of force to fend off protesters. (NYT)

Glenn Greenwald on the NYT calling Iran’s treatment of prisoners, “torture”: “Virtually every tactic which the article describes the Iranians as using has been used by the U.S. during the War on Terror, while several tactics authorized by Bush officials (waterboarding, placing detainees in coffin-like boxes, hypothermia) aren’t among those the article claims are used by the Iranians. Nonetheless, “torture” appears to be a perfectly fine term for The New York Times to use to describe what the Iranians do, but one that is explicitly banned to describe what the U.S. did. Despite its claimed policy, the NYT has also recently demonstrated its eagerness to use the word “torture” to describe these same tactics . . . when used by the Chinese against an American detainee.” (Salon)

The U.S. is expected to block sanctions against Iran at the G-8 Summit this weekend in L’Aquila, Italy. (AntiWar.com) Russia has said that sanctions from the West would backfire by increasing tensions and decreasing transparency into Iran’s programs, as Iran continues to blame Western interference in its election and the opposition to the results, afterward.

Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari will face trial in Iran for “acting against national security”. Mr. Bahari was detained June 21 and hasn’t yet been granted a meeting with his lawyer. (Raw Story) Washington Times reporter Iason Athanasiadis-Fowden was released today.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is set to return today after being ousted by the country’s military in a coup. The interim gov’t has pledged to block Mr. Zelaya from landing after the Organization of American States (OAS) suspends Honduras’ membership from the alliance. Mr. Zelaya is favorable to the population, but not to Congress, the high court, or the military — whose interim gov’t has imposed a 10PM to 5AM curfew, banned many forms of public assembly, and shut down news organizations critical of the coup (FT). National and local stations have been attacked directly with live fire. The army’s top lawyer has admitted lawlessness in the coup. UPDATE: No planes were allowed to land in honduras, so the president’s flight was re-routed to El Salvador.

China joined India in protesting the U.S. “cap-and-trade scheme, imposing egregious tariffs on imports. China says the bill violates the Kyoto protocol.

Thousands of protesters faced tear gas from riot police in Italy ahead of this week’s G-8 Summit, protesting the expansion of a U.S. military base. (AJE)

India has officially joined China and Russia in calling for moving away from dollar hegemony, as the U.S. debt grows to $11.5tn — at a rate of $1tn per year. Brazil, Russia, India, and China held an economic summit of the the four states’ leaders last month to discuss diversifying global reserves.

Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari
  1. […] Blog Daily Briefing — 4th-5th July 2009 5 July 2009 EditorsHelen Thomas Calls Obama Press Treatment Worse Than Nixon; WaPo Selling ‘Off […]

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