Turkish Police Fired After Their Anti-Corruption Probe
Five senior Turkish police commissioners have been fired one day after 52 people, including the sons of three cabinet ministers and several prominent businessmen close to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, were detained as part of a corruption probe. The police also seized shoeboxes stuffed with $4.5 million in cash at the home of the state-owned bank’s CEO, after detaining him on Tuesday. The raids are the culmination of a yearlong surveillance operation focusing on alleged graft and bribery in the awarding of state contracts as well as gold smuggling.
Erdoğan has denounced the inquiry as “dirty operation” against his government, although the arrests and firings seem to indicate a schism within the ruling AK party itself.
Britain’s M16 Linked to Libya Torture
False information extracted through torture in Tripoli’s notorious Abu Salim prison has been linked to the arrests of Libyan dissidents in the United Kingdom. Two leaders of an anti-Gaddafi resistance group claim they gave up names of innocent residents in the UK under torture and that foreign agents also questioned them in Abu Salim. Another Libyan granted asylum in Britain in 2004 was arrested and jailed for 18 months without trial after Libyan secret police were given his name and the names of other Gaddafi opponents living in Britain.
After Gaddafi’s fall, a stash of old documents outlined the degree of collaboration between British and Libyan intelligence services.
While the UK claims it has not been involved in rendition and torture, the stalled official inquiry will be handed to the intelligence and security committee (ISC), not a judge. The ISC had previously concluded that the UK intelligence community was not involved in detainee abuse – it had just been slow to spot what the CIA was doing.
NSA Review Report
The White House has announced it will release the report of a surveillance review board later today. The report includes over 40 recommendations for modifying the NSA’s counterterrorism program, including that the NSA no longer keep the phone database of over 1 trillion records. It also suggests the NSA be bared from asking companies to build ‘backdoors’ into their software and from undermining global encryption standards.
President Barack Obama is under no obligation to accept the review board’s requirements and is conducting his own internal review, expected to be complete in January.
India Parliament Passes Anti-Corruption Bill
India’s parliament has approved a landmark anti-corruption bill that sets up an independent ombudsman’s office to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and misconduct by politicians. The idea behind this law was first proposed 46 years ago, but successive governments had been reluctant to create the post.
Its decision to create the watchdog now is likely a response to rising public anger at the levels of corruption in India, the ruling party’s heavy losses to a young anti-graft party in state elections, and the tough upcoming battle the current government will face to stay in power.
Ongoing Conflicts: South Sudan, CAR, Syria
Violence has spread from South Sudan’s capital to the rural state of Jonglei, raising fears the country will descend into civil war. After two days of street battles, over 500 people have been killed, 700 wounded and 20,000 forced to seek refuge at UN facilities since Sunday. President Salva Kiir told a news conference today that he was ready for a dialogue.
Approximately 210,000 people have been displaced from the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui in the past two weeks. Around half of those are children, and many are too scared to return home. 40,000 have sought refuge in Bangui’s airport, hoping that French troops will keep them safe.
Government aircraft have dumped barrels packed with explosives on the city of Aleppo for the fourth straight day. UN heads and the EU have called for a humanitarian ceasefire - which is extremely unlikely. As for Syria’s chemical weapon arsenal , it will be taken in Russian armored trucks to the Mediterranean coast, where it will be loaded onto Danish and Norwegian cargo ships and ultimately neutralized at sea.