Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Ten United States Congress members today filed a lawsuit against Barack Obama. Lawsuit also notes NATO's attempts to kill Muammar al-Quathafi

Ten members of the United States Congress today filed a lawsuit against President Barack Obama alleging that he didn't get Congressional authority before involving the U.S. military in the war on Libya.

The lawsuit also notes NATO's attempts to kill Muammar al-Quathafi.

The members of the House of Representatives claim the president introduced the U.S. military into the Libya war, which is now being carried out by NATO forces, in March, in violation of the U.S. War Powers Resolution which seeks to curb the ability of a president to unilaterally engage the U.S. military in wars.
The lawsuit against President Obama and U.S. Defense Secretary Bob Gates also contends that the U.S. has ignored the African Union, which has opposed the NATO bombing mission in Libya. The lawsuit also contends the U.S. actually has personnel on the ground since CIA agents are in Libya advising the rebels.
"The President cannot unilaterally take the country to war," Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) told The Black Star News. "The American people have grown weary of open-ended military conflicts that place our troops in harm’s way and add billions to our national debt. This is one of the reasons why the President initially limited the scope of our military presence in Libya to exclude the use of American ground troops."
The lawsuit also claims the president went around Congressional authority by using the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) "to authorize the use of military force abroad, in violation of the Constitution."
The lawsuit also shows that the NATO operations now extend beyond the no-fly zone mandate authorized by the United Nations Resolution 1973.
"While first enforcing a no-fly zone, the U.S. soon began bombing Libyan assets such as airfields, armored forces, and strategic sites," the lawsuit reads. "The Administration and its allies later began close combat support and open assistance of the rebels in their ground operations. Most recently, Western operations (with U.S. support) have included efforts to kill Gaddafi and have succeeded in killing members of his family."
"The Libyan operations include efforts to kill Libyan leader Gaddafi and force a victory on the side of the rebels aligned with the United States and NATO," the lawsuit contends.
The lawsuit also notes that "the Libyan rebels have been accused of war crimes by U.N. investigators, including but not limited to torture."
In addition to Rep. Conyers, other lawmakers who've signed on to the lawsuit are: Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Duncan (R-TN), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Conyers (D-MI) Ron Paul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Tim Johnson (R-IL) and Dan Burton (R-IN).
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Federal Court in the District of Columbia and the plaintiffs want the court to declare the U.S. role in the Libya war "unconstitutional."

The lawsuit contends the U.S. has already spent $750 million on the Libya war and seeks to bar the president from using any more funds, including those already approved for purposes other than the Libya war, such as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds, which are meant for operations directly related to the global war on terror.

"It is the policy of the Obama Administration that it may use previously appropriated funds for an undeclared war in contravention of both the Constitution and federal law," the lawsuit reads. "Such use of funds is a misuse of federal funds in violation," of relevant articles of the constitution.

The White House contends the president is not in violation of the War Powers Resolution and lawyers have drafted an argument to support the president's position.

“We are acting lawfully,” Harold Koh, the State Department legal adviser, was quoted saying in The New York Times today, in reference to the U.S. role in Libya being barred by the War Powers Resolution. “We are not saying the president can take the country into war on his own,” the Times quoted Koh saying.

Yet the argument offered by Koh almost sounded preposterous: “We are not saying the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional or should be scrapped, or that we can refuse to consult Congress. We are saying the limited nature of this particular mission is not the kind of ‘hostilities’ envisioned by the War Powers Resolution.”

In Cambell vs. Clinton, the US Supreme Court during the Clinton Administration dismissed a case against the war on Yugoslavia. The justices said that the plaintiffs in that case - also members of Congress - lacked standing to sue the President over his making of war, even if he was doing so illegally.

The political fallout may be more enduring than the lawsuit itself as an increasing number of lawmakers are moving against the war as U.S. public opinion sways against it.

ATTENTION Africa : UN has got your population growth in their sights. A prediction of Genocide?

Between the lines ::: 'Washington-based Globalist Research Center' has said "...rapid population growth occurs when the death rates decline, but birth rates remain high." "...Population growth rates return to low levels when fertility rates come down near to replacement, i.e., about two children per couple"

By Thalif Deen   
UNITED NATIONS, Jun. 20, 2011 (IPS/GIN) - The African continent, which is projected to make significant economic gains over the next decade, is in danger of being weighed down by a dramatic explosion in population growth.
A new study titled "Africa's Demographic Multiplication", commissioned by the Washington-based Globalist Research Center, points out that Africa's population has more than tripled during the second half of the 20th century, growing from 230 million to 811 million.
As a result, Africa has become more populous than Europe.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country at 158 million, is expected to grow to 730 million by century's end, making it larger than Europe's projected population of 675 million.
The study, authored by Joseph Chamie of the New York-based Center for Migration Studies and a former director of the U.N. Population Division, says that Nigeria is currently the only African country with a population exceeding 100 million.
But 10 other countries in the African continent are expected to join that club before the close of the century: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Together, he says, the population of these 11 African nations is expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2100, representing about a quarter of the world's population at that time.
According to current projections, total world population is expected to reach a historic seven billion by October this year.
The world's five most populous countries are China (1.3 billion), India (1.2 billion), the United States (310.2 million), Indonesia (242.9 million) and Brazil (201.1 million).
Africa's population will soon reach close to one billion, or nearly 15 percent of the world population.
Due to continuing high birth rates (close to five children per woman) and comparatively lower death rates (life expectancy at birth is 56 years), the population of Africa continues to grow rapidly.
While the average annual growth rate for the entire continent is around 2.3 percent, there are even higher rates of growth in excess of 3.0 percent.
This implies a doubling of the population within a generation, as observed in countries such as Mali, Niger and Uganda, whose average fertility rates exceed six children per woman.
Asked if Africa's future economic growth will be jeopardised by its rising population, Chamie told IPS, "This is a perennial question posed by many."
The answer depends on many factors, he said, including the size of the population, resources, environment, education, composition and location.
Generally speaking, however, he said, "My answer is this: for many African countries, especially for the least developed, rapidly growing populations will pose serious challenges for their overall development, including future economic growth."
It would be far easier for these countries to develop and progress with low rates of population growth.
Chamie said future demographic trends are critical components in effectively confronting Africa's numerous development challenges.
"The international community can play an important role in facilitating the demographic transition to low death and birth rates," he said.
By virtually any measure, he said, the costs of international assistance to Africa aimed at advancing the continent's growing population expeditiously through the demographic transition are small, and the resulting benefits are undeniably enormous for families and nations.
In a joint report released last month, the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission said African economies will continue to enjoy high growth rates in 2011. But the report called for "a larger role for the state" in order to translate that growth into job creation and poverty reduction.
According to the 130-page report, the African continent registered a growth rate of 4.7 percent in 2010, and is estimated to rise to 5.0 percent in 2011.
This is attributed to the rebound of export demand and commodity prices over the past 18 months, as well as an increased flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in extractive industries and also development aid.
"This is good news for Africa, but not good enough for millions of people who are yet to feel the benefits of prosperity in their daily lives," the report noted.
Still, the continent is far from attaining the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including drastic reductions in hunger and poverty.
The study said that stronger growth has yet to translate into meaningful reductions in unemployment as "poverty rates and high unemployment and food prices have instigated political unrest in some African countries such as Tunisia and Algeria."
In his report, Chamie said that if Africa's fertility rates remain unchanged over the coming decades, the population of the continent would grow extremely rapidly, reaching three billion by 2050 and an incredible 15 billion by 2100, or about 15 times Africa's current population.
Even if fertility rates were to fall instantly to replacement levels, the African population would continue to increase due to its young age-structure (half the population is less than 20 years old), growing to 1.5 billion in 2050 and 1.8 billion in 2100. With high rates of natural increase, in excess of two percent, by the close of the century the population of Africa's 33 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is expected to reach 2.2 billion, or slightly more than a fifth of the world's population at that time, noted Chamie.
Asked if the rise in population growth in Africa is also due to improvement in overall health (and extending the average life span) and decline in HIV/AIDS, Chamie told IPS the decline in mortality rates, especially among infants and young children, has contributed to rising population growth.
"And also, yes, if HIV/AIDS levels are high, this will have an impact on population growth as any other mortality factor does," he added.
If death rates are high, even with high birth rates, population growth will be relatively low (births minus deaths equals population growth, setting aside international migration patterns).
He said rapid population growth occurs when the death rates decline, but birth rates remain high.
Population growth rates return to low levels when fertility rates come down near to replacement, i.e., about two children per couple.
This is basically the demographic transition which has occurred in nearly every major region except Africa, he said.
"The goal is to move Africa through the demographic transition as rapidly as possible," he added.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich contacted the International Criminal Court against NATO

Congressman Dennis Kucinich says in an interview with The Black Star News that he's determined to support the African Union's peace proposal to end the Libya war and even willing to travel to the war-torn country to meet both Muammar al-Quathafi and the rebels seeking his ouster.

At the same time, the Congressman denounced NATO's bombing campaigns and said he's contacted the International Criminal Court about investigating its commanders on possible war crimes charges.

"You can't just talk the talk," when it comes to seeking peace, Rep. Kucinich (D-Ohio) said, in an exclusive wide-ranging interview with this newspaper. "You have to be willing to walk the walk."

Kucinich urged President Barack Obama to "seize the opportunity" for a peaceful resolution to the Libya war and stalemate even as challenges mount from Congress to the U.S. role.

The longer the U.S. continues supporting attacks on Libya through NATO, the more weaponry flows into north Africa, destabilizing the entire region. He says Africa must be allowed to take the lead in ending the conflict. Western involvement in Africa is always clouded by economic motives, he said.

Rep. Kucinich said he had built on the African Union (AU) plan, being promoted by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, in drafting his own proposal. He said his own peace plan calls for reparations for Libyans killed and injured "on both sides."

He said Libyans needed reconciliation and to come up with a government that reflected the aspirations of the people. He said he has been in touch with people in contact with both sides in the conflict. Kucinich said the bombing campaign was preventing Libyans from reconciling.

Rep. Kucinich said he's written a letter to ICC to ask that NATO's commanders be investigated for possible war crimes in Libya. "If civilians were killed NATO needs to be held accountable," Rep. Kucinich said, in the telephone interview today. "If you kill people, there has to be consequences." He said such an investigation would not involve all NATO member countries but only the commanders now in charge of the attacks on Libya.

Kucinich, together with nine other lawmakers, yesterday filed a lawsuit against President Obama seeking to have a U.S. District Court Judge declare the U.S. involvement in the Libya war unconstitutional. He says President Obama is in violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution which holds that only Congress can declare war and involve "our young men and women in harms way."

Kucinich also dismissed President Obama's defense that his Administration is not in violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 because the U.S. supportive role in the current war in Libya doesn't fit within the definition of "hostilities" as envisioned in the resolution.

"Dropping bombs on Tripoli -- if any country had 2,000 flights over the united states, which is how many sorties the US flew above Libya," Kuchinic said, referring to the initial attacks involving U.S, pilots before the handover to NATO, "bombing us, we would say that's an act of war."

He added, referring to Rep. John Boehner, "As the Speaker said, it doesn’t pass the straight face test. This attempt at verbal gymnastic over such serious issues is very disappointing coming from an Administration which is run by constitutional scholars."

Asked about the prospects of the lawsuit he filed together with nine other members of Congress --seven Republicans-- given that the Courts typically sided with the White House on such matters, kucinich sounded confident. "If we can get standing and the court gives us the ability to go forward with this, I think we have an excellent chance to win on the merits," he said, adding trhat the constitution made it absolutely clear that only the U.S. Congress had the authority to declare war.

"It has nothing to do with the personalities; it has everything to do with the Constitution," he noted, adding that if the court agreed that "we raised the question of separation of powers and the court will rule in our favor and reinstate the constitution."

Kucinich denounced NATO's and the U.S.'s position that the attacks in Libya was about protecting civilians. "Of course it became about regime change and we know there have been several efforts on Quathafi's life."

He added: "We need to ask ourselves what kind of nation are we? Are we a nation who believes in the rule of law? We think we can just assassinate the head of another government because it's our privilege?"

Kucinich said NATO had exceeded it's authority, not only in Libya but in Afghanistan as well. The organization had become a "global cop" and it was time to ask whether the organization has outlived its usefulness.