Say American leaders have “eroded the very freedoms and rights that generations of their young gave their lives to defend”. ● Twelve winners of the Nobel Peace Prize asked President Barack Obama late Sunday to make sure that a Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of harsh interrogation tactics is released so the U.S. can put an end to a practice condemned by many as torture. The release of the report, which is the most detailed account of the CIA’s interrogation practices in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, would be an opportunity for the U.S. and the world to come to terms with interrogation techniques that went too far, the laureates said in an open letter and petition. The release of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has stalled as the Obama Administration the CIA, and lawmakers clashed over how much of it should be redacted.
The Obama administration has blocked the public release of disturbing torture photos out of concern they would endanger US troops. Now, a federal judge is giving the government until December to justify its actions. ● The US government has been blocking the release of US military torture photos from Iraq and Afghanistan out of concern they could endanger US troops. Now, a federal judge is giving the government until December to justify its actions. In addition to the disturbing Abu Ghraib photos released in 2004, an estimated 2,100 images of US military personnel torturing and degrading detainees – possibly even more disturbing – may soon be released into the public realm. Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein [Yes, Hellerstein of the 911 settlement cases. -So we're not holding our breath...] has given the US Justice Department until December 12 to defend its rationale for withholding each photograph on an individual basis. Hellerstein will then deliver his ruling on the future fate of the photographs after he conducts a review of the government’s case.
● When the Bush administration revealed in 2005 that it was secretly interpreting a treaty ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applying to C.I.A. and military prisons overseas, Barack Obama, then a newly elected Democratic senator from Illinois, joined in a bipartisan protest.
● Mr. Obama supported legislation to make it clear that American officials were legally barred from using cruelty anywhere in the world. And in a Senate speech, he said enacting such a statute “acknowledges and confirms existing obligations” under the treaty, the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
● But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.
Attorneys for a longtime hunger-striker at Guantanamo Bay said today that refusing food is his only means of peaceful protest and asked a federal judge to stop his jailers from punishing him by being cruel in their application of force-feeding techniques. ● Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s court case is being carefully watched because U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler ruled on Friday that videos of Dhiab’s force-feeding – which involves the repeated insertion and removal of a rubber tube up his nose – should be publicly released. But the only showing of the videos today was behind closed doors, as the Justice Department continues to wrangle over how and when to release them. In a short closed session, Sondra Crosby, a Boston University medical professor who examined Dhiab on behalf of his legal team, was shown a few minutes of footage and asked her medical opinion. Afterwards, all she would say was that the footage was “disturbing.”
Cora Currier ■ Judge Rebukes Government, Keeps Gitmo Force-Feeding Hearing Open || A federal judge has knocked down the government’s attempt to hold a secret hearing in a case challenging the military’s practice of force-feeding Guantanamo detainees who are on hunger strike. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler called the government’s desire to close the proceedings “deeply troubling,” and chastised the Department of Justice for appearing to “deliberately” make the request “on short notice.”
The Republicans and Democrats play for the same Corporate American team. It is all window dressing to keep us divided cheering for our 'Red' team wedge issue or our 'Blue' team wedge issue while they rob us blind. Sorry, there is no change. It is the same basic course of action only it is now delivered with a more eloquence. The players of each team will never enact any accountability on each other. It is the people of this country that must demand that. We encourage you to copy and repost this and any of our videos in the hope of educating more people. Every ripple counts.
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to scrap the Human Rights Act if the Conservatives are re-elected in Britain’s 2015 general election. The controversial proposal has stoked the ire of civil rights groups across the nation. ● Speaking on the final day of the Conservative Party’s four-day conference, Cameron pledged to do away with the Act and replace it with a British “bill of rights.” However, the prime minister did not explicitly confirm that a future Conservative government would withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights – a move that would have far-reaching repercussions for Britain’s relationship with Europe. Legal experts and civil liberties campaigners suggest the PM’s pledge to repeal the Act could radically transform Britain’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). ● Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International, denounced the PM’s proposal, emphasizing the Human Rights Act has historically been a bedrock of social, legal, and economic protection. “
It’s disappointing to hear the PM vowing to scrap the Human Rights Act when it has done so much good. We should be defending it,” she said.
Earlier today, a Philippine court found La Union residents Vicente and Dorma Ridon—who have been in jail during their trial since June 2012—guilty of child abuse, animal welfare crimes, human trafficking, and wildlife-protection crimes for forcing girls to torture and kill puppies, rabbits, and other animals in “fetish” videos. PETA Asia worked with authorities to ensure that the Ridons were located, arrested, and prosecuted. The Ridons, who have been sentenced to life imprisonment, also received a fine totaling over 9 million pesos each for their part in making the videos.
Two asylum seekers have been severely beaten and abused by security guards in a German town. The police compared the brutal actions to those committed by US guards in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, against the prisoners. ● The seekers were abused in shelter home in a small community of Burbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany, reported the country’s press. The alleged suspects filmed all the guards’ actions on smartphones. A local journalist received a DVD showing the abuse. Police authorities immediately opened investigation into the case. One video shows an asylum seeker lying on the floor and one of the members of security staff pinning his neck down with his boot. The other guard is sitting near-by, seeming posing to the camera.
“I want people to consider, what if that happened to your family member or daughter?” || The U.S. military used a camera as a torture device at Abu Grahib. To add further humiliation to detainees who were already put in cages, urinated on, stripped naked then stacked in macabre human pyramids, their photos were taken during these degrading acts. “I wanted to use the camera to restore these peoples’ humanity through beautiful portraiture,” says photographer Chris Bartlett, whose exhibition, “Iraqi Detainees: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Ordeals,” opens tonight in New York. When confronted with images of torture, Bartlett says, even the greatest liberal or humanist among us has the tendency to flinch and look away. “It’s such a disturbing and disgusting issue that people want to turn off from it.” Bartlett, who often works in high fashion photography, shooting subjects like candy colored Tory Burch handbags, said he wanted to take “very kind, respectful, beautiful, portraits to draw people into the subject and learn more about their stories.”
China has become a leading manufacturer of riot control and torture equipment and is exporting it to other authoritarian regimes. ● China is exporting its expertise in riot control and torture to other authoritarian regimes, selling everything from electric shock batons and leg shackles to armoured cars, according to a report.
The market for equipment to control crowds and interrogate detainees has boomed in the wake of revolutions across Europe and the Arab Spring, and Chinese companies have been quick to respond to demand. The number of Chinese companies manufacturing "policing and security equipment" has quadrupled in the past decade to 134, with 48 offering products for export, according to Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation, which tracks the global market.
As the US Senate prepares to release a report documenting US torture programme after 9/11, Telegraph reveals new details about the scope of "CIA excesses". ● The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph. The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA. “They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.”
Adam Hudson ■ The United States and Israel have "shared values" but not when it comes to upholding democracy and the rule of law. Their shared values are perpetual war, torture, indefinite detention, and military courts. Guantanamo is a perfect example of this. Both states have been in a state of perpetual war for quite some time with Israel against the Palestinians since its founding in 1948 while the U.S. can trace back its war to its founding in 1776 and the colonization of Native American lands. Today's global war on terror is the latest chapter in that saga. Under perpetual war, the United States and Israel can justify a litany of draconian policies, such as indefinite detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing. (H/T: PCR)
The soldier starts at the 5:30 mark.
Kiev Independence Day Parade Flaunts Artillery and Armor: Russian Roulette
Roman, who introduced himself as a battalion “Aydar” fighter, related that a spotter with Rostov registration was tortured in his battalion. This was reported by the international edition VICE in one of its episodes of the “Russian Roulette” series.
Responding to a reporter's question about what the battalion does with captured Russian soldiers, the alleged “Aydar” fighter related the various torture they would apply, states Korrespondent.
“I saw a spotter ... I’m not afraid to say that, yes, we tortured him. We pinched his nipples with pliers, yet he did not feel any pain. We poked needles under his fingernails, and the whole time he sang “Ridna Mati Moya”. He has a Rostov residence permit”, asserted Roman.
Two men convicted of murder in the United States and served 30 years behind bars have been freed after DNA evidence implicated another man. ● Henry McCollum and Leon Brown had been in prison for 30 years in North Carolina since being convicted of raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl in 1983. Superior Court Judge Douglass Sasser ordered the immediate release of McCollum, 50, and Brown, 46. McCollum had been on death row for decades and his half brother Brown was serving a life sentence. Ken Rose, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, has represented McCollum for 20 years. [He said,] "
Henry watched dozens of people be hauled away for execution. He would become so distraught he had to be put in isolation. It's impossible to put into words what these men have been through and how much they have lost." Their convictions were overturned after DNA evidence from a cigarette butt recovered at the crime scene implicated another man with a history of rape and murder. The DNA shows that the real murderer was a 74-year-old man who is currently serving a life sentence for a different murder.
■ In an August 20 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, former acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo defends his role as the legal architect of the US government’s international campaign of detention and torture. In the interview, Rizzo, who worked at the CIA from 1976 to 2009, declares that although the torture programs he approved “seemed harsh, even brutal,” he does not regret his support for their implementation.
■ At one point in the interview, Rizzo refers to an interrogation technique on the initial list provided by the Counter Terrorism Center that was “even more chilling than waterboarding.” He claims it was never used. Asked by the interviewer what the technique was, Rizzo replies: “I’m not allowed to specify it; it is still classified. I had no preparation when the counterterrorism people came to me, and so my first reaction was one of being rather stunned by what was being proposed.” Given the sadistic character of the so-called “enhanced interrogation” methods that have been acknowledged, one can only imagine the gruesome nature of the proposal that was supposedly rejected.
■ Rizzo attempts to foist the blame for the torture and state assassination programs on the American people. When asked about the White House’s post-September 11 decision to authorize the CIA to “do whatever is necessary” to halt the ostensible terrorist threat, Rizzo says “the phrase is a characterization of the atmosphere and the consensus in the country.” This is a lie. All of these programs were instituted secretly, behind the backs of the American public, precisely because those implementing them knew they would be massively opposed. Rizzo’s interview should be taken as a warning to the working class. It reveals the prevalence within the highest echelons of the American state of fascistic elements who would have had no problem serving as functionaries of Hitler’s Gestapo or SS.
A Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks concludes that the agency initially kept the secretary of state and some U.S. ambassadors in the dark about harsh techniques and secret prisons, according to a document circulating among White House staff. The still-classified report also says some ambassadors who were informed about interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at so-called black sites in their countries were instructed not to tell their superiors at the State Department, says the document, which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter.
Sunni militants from the Islamic State have ordered all girls and women aged 11 to 46 in and around the city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the UN reported. The potential number of victims is estimated at 4 million. The shocking news, adding to an already long list of crimes reportedly committed by the militants since the takeover of northern Iraq last month, was broken by UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock. "
This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed," she told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil on Thursday. "
This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists," she added.
The members of US Congress during a Wednesday Rules Committee hearing considered arguments from legal experts explaining the reasons and grounds to follow through on a lawsuit against President Barack Obama. ● Elizabeth Price Foley, Professor of Law at Florida International University College of Law, told members of the Committee “the House has standing” to sue the President for “institutional injury,” making the case that the lawsuit against Obama, initiated by House Speaker John A. Boehner, could succeed. Foley believes that even if the current President does not fully abuse executive authority, his unilateral decision-taking will set a precedent of executive overreach that could become dangerous in the hands of a future president. ● Drawing on the subject of violating constitutional provisions, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, stated that the President has no authority “to go it alone, ordering changes to the law as a majority of one.” He continued in his opening statements, that the President's “executive prerogative” is a “sirens call,” which should be heeded.
Eric Zuesse: America Is Guilty if We Don’t Prosecute Obama
If there’s one person who has absolutely zero business criticizing anyone for how they’re running the country, it’s Dick Cheney. This should be obvious to pretty everyone by now, but apparently the Wall Street Journal didn’t get the message. Today, the paper published an editorial by Cheney and his daughter Liz in which the former Vice President blasts the “collapsing Obama doctrine” of foreign policy.” Taking the rapid advance of ISIS radicals through northern Iraq as his cue, Cheney accuses President Obama of “emboldening” America‘s enemies. He writes: "
Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is ‘ending’ the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality…America‘s enemies are not ‘decimated.’ They are emboldened and on the march."
Chelsea Manning: The Fog Machine of War
Paul Waldman: Dick Cheney's amazing chutzpah on Iraq
RT.com: You've been lied to all the time: Chelsea Manning issues dire warning about Iraq
RINF: Why Bush and Blair Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes
AWIP: Wes Clark - America's Foreign Policy "Coup" - Video
Craig Murray: Deadly Fiasco
Paul Craig Roberts: Professor Francis Boyle on Impeachment of Bush and Obama
The Israeli prime minister is pushing for the approval of a bill that will allow doctors to force-feed up to 120 Palestinian prisoners. Inmates are hunger striking in protest of their indefinite detention and say they are ready to die for their cause. ● Although the bill is opposed by the Israeli Medical Association on the grounds it is a violation of medical ethics, the Knesset voted for the legislation to be sent to a committee. The measure would allow a judge to enact force-feeding if he or she thinks the detainee’s life might be in danger. Between 100 and 120 inmates are currently participating in the hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention without any charges.
In a brief appearance in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that the US would maintain nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan next year despite an official declaration of an end to combat operations. Obama said his plan to keep thousands of US military forces in the country for the next two years was dependent on the reaching of a military cooperation agreement with the incoming president of Afghanistan.
Stephen Lendman: Obama in Afghanistan
John LaForge ■ The Weapons Oligarchy With the Pentagon having secured its annual 47 percent of the April 15 federal tax haul ($1,335 billion out of a total of $2,890 billion) it’s a good time to consider the mountains of money being wasted on useless weapons or just plain stolen. Without a public uproar, U.S. could spend more than $600 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years, according to Alicia Godsberg of Peace Action and others. President Obama has famously mouthed support for “a world without nuclear weapons,” and “a world where these weapons will never again threaten our children,” but his nuclear weapons budget says bombs, bombs and more bombs. For 2014, the President plans a nuclear weapons spending increase over the current level of $7.227 billion. Where’s the money to come from? Taking a page from the Reagan/Thatcher play book, Obama plans to get it from the nuclear non-proliferation budget. According to a report by Jeffery Smith and Douglas Birch in Foreign Policy April 9, the president has proposed a $460 million cut from the nuclear non-proliferation program — so it can boost nuclear weapons building programs by exactly $500 million. Since 2011, Obama has been pushing a plan to spend $85 billion over 10 years to rebuild thousands of H-bombs — bombs that should be retired and abolished. The president has also proposed pouring $125 billion over 10 years into a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines, new nuclear bombers and new land-based ICBMs.
Carl Herman ■ There is evil, and then there’s organized evil. This is a memorial outside the village where my brother lives in the south of France. It is a typical village, quite small, perhaps a few hundred residents. The memorial commemorates three young French civilians who were taken out and shot by Nazi soldiers, either for “crimes” of resistance or perhaps as a “lesson” to the restive civilian populace. The German soldiers who pulled the triggers were of course “just following orders.” [...] But to be part of large-scale organized evil, people need to surrender their autonomy under threat, and be ordered by a central authority.
Paul Craig Roberts ■ Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” - The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty.
For some reason, the power to disappear people without a trial is really, really important to America's ruling class. ● One thing we know for sure, the indefinite detention provisions which shipped in the 2012, 2013, and now the 2014 versions of the NDAA didn't slip in by accident. It was bad enough that Congress pushed the law through in the face of widespread uproar, and that Obama signed it each time when he could have easily vetoed it with a single stroke of his pen, but yesterday when they voted down an amendment proposed by Adam Smith (D-Washington), which would have done nothing but eliminate indefinite detention in the U.S. and its territories, that demonstrates that America's ruling class really, really wants this power. Now of course, those who support the elimination of habeas corpus will tell you that this law is only for "terrorists", but that's precisely where the issue lies. Who determines if someone is a terrorist? Under the NDAA, faceless bureaucrats can make someone disappear based on a mere accusation.
Americans Are More Afraid of Being Tortured By Our Government than British, Australians, Canadians – Or Even Chinese – Are Afraid of Torture By Their Governments. ● And Most People – Including Most Americans – Know that Torture Is NEVER Necessary Or Acceptable “To Gain Information That May Protect The Public”. Amnesty International conducted a global survey to find out how afraid people were of being tortured by their own governments if they are taken into custody. The survey shows that the British, Australian, Canadian – and even Chinese people – are less afraid of being tortured than Americans. Specifically, Amnesty asked whether people agreed with the following statement: If I were taken into custody by the authorities in my country, I am confident that I would be safe from torture - Here are some of the results.
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