Buhari's First Challenge: Military Mass Killings

nigerian soldiers riding in lorry, photo courtesy of dammex1

nigerian soldiers riding in lorry, photo courtesy of dammex1

NIGERIA - Amongst the feeling of hope and a fresh start in the air from President Muhammadu Buhari's inauguration, Nigeria was slammed this week with a report from Amnesty International that claims the Nigerian military is tied to over 8,000 deaths in the country.

The research for the report has been conducted since 2009, in alignment with the rise of the Boko Haram insurgency. While the rise in violence by the military was driven by Boko Haram, the report finds that the majority of those 8,000 deaths have nothing to do with Boko Haram members.

This process was started through widespread rounding up of boys and young men, over 20,000 of them, based on often unreliable informants and poor intelligence. The report states that one could be arrested based on the word of a single unidentified informant. Upon arrest, the thousands of prisoners were placed in detention centers where they were commonly cramped into overcrowded cells in abysmal condition.

Many died from starvation, dehydration, suffocation and preventable diseases, as the prisoners were kept from adequate water, food and basic hygiene and sanitation. In one case, a detention center survivor told Amnesty, they were denied water for two days and 300 inmates died. In these dire situations, they were often forced to drink urine.

Those who were able to survive these terrifying living standards were still at risk of the brutal treatment by the military commanders, which included extrajudicial killings, torture, electrocution, and a myriad of other horrifying tactics. On March 14, 2014, after a Boko Haram attack on the Giwa barracks (and detention center), the military killed at least 640 men and boys who were imprisoned there. Satellite analysis has confirmed the presence of multiple mass graves in the area shortly after this date.

More worrisome is that this system of detainment and mass murder was widely known through all levels of the Nigerian military, including senior officials, Chief of Army staff and Chief of Defense Staff who regularly received reports of military activity in these regions of war-torn Northern Nigeria.

As stated in Amnesty's report, "A high ranking military officer...further said: '...people were not strong enough to stand...They keep them to die. They are deliberately starved. The effect is devastating. You have massive deaths. I believe close to 5,000 [in total] have died like that. It increased after the state of emergency.'" This behavior indicates that the Nigerian military's strategy to fight Boko Haram included murdering thousands of boys and young men without giving them fair trials or even the slightest confirmation that they were tied to the terrorist organization. Through this tactic, they managed to make the Boko Haram insurgency more detrimental to their country and its citizens.

Since the report has surfaced, the Nigerian military has rejected the findings as "concocted and biased," and even called Amnesty International an "irritant" in a Premium Times' article. Regardless of their response, the international community is up in arms over the findings and it is increasingly evident that new President Muhammadu Buhari must address these atrocities as soon as possible. If he wants to keep his promises of tackling human rights violations, it is imperative that he holds those who are guilty accountable and pave a new, morally upright pathway forward. The future of the country depends on it.

The entire report can be found here. 

Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols
LinkedIn: Jessamy Nichols

Christopher Dorner Manhunt Continues


Patrice Ellerbe, Staff WriterLast Modified: 16:00 p.m. EDT, 11 February 2013

Christopher Dorner, Suspected Police Murderer

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif.- The Los Angeles Police Department has announced they will reopen the disciplinary case of Christopher Dorner, the 33 year-old male who has taken aggressive action against the LAPD after being terminated in 2008.

Police have conducted a 3-day manhunt the suspect but have yet to locate him. Dorner is suspected of three killings in retaliation of the police department against whom he has a perceived vendetta according the manifesto he published.

However; is this retaliation, or a case of right vs. wrong?

Christopher Dorner derived from what seems to be a respective background, and became a U.S. Navy reservist. Dorner allegedly wrote a 12,000 word manifesto explaining why he was taking the “necessary” actions, and then posted the message.

Throughout the manifesto, Dorner explains how he lied on numerous occasions throughout his career as an officer while with the LAPD. Dorner provides specific details of the events that resulted in his termination from the LAPD. He describes an altercation that occurred on a corrections van, where he heard another officer refer to an African American male as a “nigger."

He continues to explain how he did not react right away, but waited to hear the word again, just for confirmation. Dorner states, “I explained that it was a well-known offensive word that should not be used by anyone.”  The confrontation ended with Dorner choking the officer, and other colleagues breaking them up. Dorner also recalls his first experience of racism, dating back to his elementary years when a classmate also called Dorner a “nigger.”

He explains that he is not a bully and feels disgusted by the slanderous word. The manifesto spoke specifically to Journalist, and advised that they pull and file specific documents so that he may prove what he saying is true.

The ex-LAPD officer was terminated for allegedly making false statements about his training officer, stating she kicked a a suspect, using excessive force (also included, with details, in the manifesto).

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Published: 11 February 2013 (Page 2 of 2)

It appears that Christopher Dorner may have been the ideal citizen. In the beginning of his statement, he acknowledges his personal friends and family as he explains his reasons for carrying out this crime. Dorner states, “I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders… You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of [me]”. He continues and explains that a persons name is the most important possession.

According to KTLA (a California news station), police believe Dorner is responsible for the shooting of three officers on Sunday, 3 February 2013, killing one, and also the double homicide in Irvine, C.A. where the daughter of a retired LAPD captain and her fiancé were killed.

The department has stated they will re-examine the allegation Dorner gave. Police Chief, Charlie Beck has promised to hear out Christopher Dorner if he surrenders. Beck also states that he takes the allegations of racism in he department seriously, thus motivating his to review Dorner’s 2007 case.

Dorner has vowed revenge against specific former colleagues, whom he blames for his termination. His threats have led police to provide protection for 50 families. The threats have also caused a captain, who’s name was mentioned in Dorner’s manifesto, to only be restricted to his home. He stated he has not left the house since he heard the threats, and is taking it serious.

Police found Dorner’s vehicle in the San Bernardino mountains, blazed on Thursday, 7 February 2013. According the the Huffington Post, a law enforcement officer told the Associated Press authorities found weapons in the truck. An investigation is being carried out as officials try to figure out if the fire was intentiona, or if this was an attempt for Dorner to diverge the situation. According to police, Dorner’s truck had a broken axle, however, they are attempting to find out if the axle broke before or after it was towed away from the mountain.

The LAPD fears Dorner because he has had military training. He knows many survival mechanisms and is well trained when it comes to weapons. While serving in the Navy, Dorner earned a rifle marksman ribbon and a pistol expert medal. Also, in his manifesto he says he will use “every bit of small-arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training I’ve been given.”

Because Dorner understands the end’s and out’s of the LAPD as well as being highly trained in weaponry, he is labeled as a serious threat. He confirmed this the day he shot the three LAPD officers, and killed the former captain’s daughter and her fiancé.

On Friday, 8 February 2013, Christopher Dorner sent a coin to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, with three bullet holes in them. Attached to the package was a note, which read, “I never lied!”. The coin was given as a gift of good luck from former Chief Brattong, of the U.S. Navy. Police believe the gesture was a sign of planning made by Dorner before the killings.

It is unknown as to what Dorner will do next. It is believed that his is indeed armed and dangerous. By no means is Christopher Dorner excused from his actions of murder; however, his rage and infuriation with the Los Angeles Police Department is understandable. As Dorner stated in his manifesto, a person’s name is important. It is unclear if all of Dorner’s, if any, are true; however, it is believed that justice will serve itself.

Below is the link to read Christopher Dorner’s Manifesto here.

Follow Patrice Ellerbe on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Staff Writer: @PatriceEllerbe

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Al Khalifa's Vendetta Against Bahraini Medics


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:14 PM EDT, 21 March 2012

A Wounded Shiite Bahraini DemonstratorBAHRAIN – On Tuesday, 20 March 2012, the Bahraini attorney general concluded his summation in the government’s case against the medics who defied an injunction against treating wounded Arab Spring protesters last year.

Although, the prosecutor initially suggested that the charges against the 20 medics would be drop, they changed course last week with an announcement that the government decided to pursue charges against 5 of the healthcare workers. The remaining 15 cases would be transferred from a military to an as yet unspecified professional tribunal.

Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, directed the public prosecutor to release a statement clarifying the government’s intent to prosecute the defendants for violating an injunction against treating wounded protesters. The majority of the wounded were Shi'a, which leads some observers to believe that these trials may be motivated by sectarian agendas.

The predominantly Sunni government did not provide an explanation for the choice to pursue the indictments and trials against the medical workers, despite initial claims that they would bring no charges against the doctors. It is also unclear what methodology drove the decision to try five medics while referring the remaining cases to a tribunal.

The Bahraini government’s decision to prosecute these doctors drew international condemnation, and human rights groups were vociferous in their assertion that the medical workers were being punished simply because they helped civilians during the bloody crackdown by state security forces during the anti-government demonstrations.

Last September, the military court sentenced each of the doctors to 15-year jail terms for the crimes of sedition, incitement to overthrow the government, stockpiling weapons, and taking hostages. These charges arose out of an incident when 20 doctors and other medical staff refused to stop treating the injured protesters and subsequently barricaded themselves in Salmaniya hospital.

After the militia agreed to let them leave, the medics disbanded peacefully and were of the understanding that the matter was concluded. However, they were subsequently charged and their cases referred to a military court. In the face of worldwide criticism, their cases were moved to a civil court  where the charges were dismissed. The presiding judge in the current case provided no explanation for why the initial charges were never dropped, nor why the defendants had not been informed of their continued indictments.

Bahrain is a pivotal ally to the United States, hosting the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, providing an observation point for America in the Middle East, and aiding its efforts to monitor Iran and its nuclear program. Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state, said last month that Bahrain should seek "alternatives to criminal prosecution" in the case.

North Korea Halts Nuclear Program For Food


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 22:33 PM EDT, 29 February 2012

Trident II MissileWASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday 29 February 2012, the United States and North Korea have reached a nuclear disarmament agreement which hopefully signals a new era of open access to a country that grew increasingly insular under the iron rule of Kim Jong Il.

Under Kim Jong-un's leadership this move seems to signify North Korea's willingness to admit that it is in desperate need of international food aid. This deal, once finalized, will result in the delivery of 240,000 metric tons of food aid.

In the 1990's the country was hit by famine and more than 1 million North Koreans starved to death. Following Kim Jong Ils refusal to participate in nuclear disarmament talks, sanctions against the nation were devastating for the populace but left the ruling elite unscathed.

Stories of 'people eating grass,' were reported and the UN's World Food Programme said in a statement that "North Korea faces its worst food shortage in a decade, with six million people at risk - a consequence of poor economic management of its centrally planned system, a series of bad harvests caused by harsh winters, flooding and exhausted agricultural land, and the regime's unwillingness to spend its dwindling hard currency reserves on buying food for its 24 million people."

In 2009, under his father's leadership, North Korea withdrew from the negotiations and increased its nuclear testing program and refused entry to the country by International Atomic Energy (IAE) Inspectors. As a prerequisite for assistance, the North Korean government must reengage with the 6 nations disarmament talks which were suspended 3 years ago.

The agreement between the US and North Korea will require the immediate suspension of nuclear activities, a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests, and unfettered entry into the country by IAE inspectors so they can verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

The announcement follows talks in Beijing last week between U.S. and North Korean negotiators, the first since negotiations were suspended after Kim's death in December from a heart attack.'