Planet Watch

Will world war be October surprise?

Will an "October surprise" in the prelude to the mid-term elections in the US be the outbreak of world war—that is, direct superpower conflict? Things are escalating fast on the frontlines with both of the United States' major imperial rivals. The US Navy's Pacific Fleet is preparing to carry out a "global show of force" as a warning to China, after a near-skirmish between a US warship and a Chinese destroyer in the disputed South China Sea. Meanwhile, NATO is planning to conduct its largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War, Trident Juncture 2018, along Norway's border wth Russia. This comes as Washington and Moscow are odds over missile deployments, accusing each other of violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Watching the Shadows

Lithuania, Romania guilty in CIA torture case

The European Court of Human Rights found that Lithuania and Romania had violated articles of the European Convention on Human Rights by allowing secret CIA prisons to operate on their territory. Lithuania had allowed the CIA to open a "black site" on its territory, where the CIA subjected the applicant, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn AKA Abu Zubaydah, to "ill-treatment and arbitrary detention." Lithuania must pay Husayn 130,000 euros ($150,000). The applicant in the Romania case, Abd al-Rahim Husseyn Muhammad al-Nashiri, was transported to a "black site" on that country's territory territory, and faced capital charges in the US. The court apprehended Romania for transferring al-Nashiri to the US when it was likely he would face the death penalty. Romania must pay the applicant 100,000 euros ($115,000). Both men remain interned at Guantánamo Bay. (Photo: WikimediaCommons)

Afghanistan

ICC to investigate US war crimes in Afghanistan

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda made a formal request to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US the military in Afghanistan. The investigation would also examine crimes at secret CIA detention facilities in Poland, Romania and Lithuania. The request cites articles of the Rome Statute concerning murder, torture and unlawful imprisonment. It marks the first time ICC prosecutors have targeted the United States.

Europe

Bad news both sides of Russo-Ukrainian breach

A UN Human Rights Office report charges Russia with forced disappearances, torture and persecution of the Tatar minority in annexed Crimea. Ukraine meanwhile passes an education law that discriminates against minority languages such as Russian and Hungarian. 

Europe

Trump-Putin breach portends global catastrophe

The Flynn resignation has been followed by a fast and dramatic escalation of US-Russia tensions, with Pentagon troops deployed to Romania and a near-skirmish in the Black Sea.

Europe

NATO, Russia face off across Black Sea

As the US deploys warships to the Black Sea for NATO exercises, Ukraine approved a NATO force to be stationed in the country. Russian troops meanwhile mass on Ukraine's borders.

Europe

Will Ukraine ‘go nuclear’?

NATO maneuvers in the Black Sea—just across from Crimea—come as Ukrainian lawmakers threaten to seek nuclear weapons if the West does not act against Russia.

Europe

Romania: protest wave against mega-mine

Thousands of Romanians have been occupying Bucharest to protest plans by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources to establish Europe's biggest open-pit gold mine at Rosia Montana.

Watching the Shadows

Gitmo detainee seeks ECHR ruling on CIA prison

Gitmo detainee Abu Zubaydah asked the European Court of Human Rights to rule on whether Poland violated his rights by hositng a secret CIA prison where was tortured.