Archive for the 'Democracy?' Category


Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Though many of us know that the US engages in torture, new details of exactly what that means are being revealed in s Senate report.

“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.’

“The account of extreme CIA interrogation comes as the US Senate prepares to publish a declassified version of its so-called Torture Report – a 3,600-page report document based on a review of several million classified CIA documents.

“Publication of the report is currently being held up by a dispute over how much of the 480-page public summary should remain classified, but it is expected to be published within weeks.”

The full article can be found at this link:

At the end of the article, Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative is quoted as saying:

[The brutal torture, though not surprising] “… is, however, something that the American public has a right to know about, and an obligation to reckon with, and these revelations only underscore the urgent need for release of the Senate intelligence committee report”.

I believe, too, that the US public has a right to know this; we paid for it with our tax money, though no one asked our permission to do it.  I am not sure what our “obligation to reckon with” this torture means.


Along with many others, I have stood on the street and cried “No More Torture,”


I have gone to Washington on the anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo prison and protested on the steps of the Supreme Court, I once danced there while one of the lawyers who represent the prisoners at Guantanamo read a letter one of them wrote,

I have performed, hooded like the prisoners, with colleagues who told some of their stories, I have posted on this blog, written letters to congressional representatives, etc.

The prison remains open, no reparations to any of the men and boys who have been released from it have even been discussed, and over 140 of them are still there.

I don’t know how to “reckon with” torture committed by the US government.  What I long to see is the release of all the prisoners still there, trials of US officials responsible for the torture, beginning with Bush and Cheney and others from that regime, and also of those who perpetrated the actual torture: a real accounting for those atrocities.

My experience is that this government is not capable of justice.  I still continue to call for it; I will not be silent.


Thursday, August 21st, 2014

This photograph is of Carl Dix, co-founder with Professor Cornel West of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, who was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, protesting the police murder of Michael Brown. The speech he was giving when they arrested him is below.


We Stand With the Defiant Ones

We stand with the defiant ones. We stand with the angry ones, the rebellious ones, the ones who will not take it, the ones who tell the truth—and the ones they lie about. Without defiance, without  rage, without righteous rebellion, without people insisting on their rights and defending those rights in the street—very few people would even know about Michael Brown and how he was shot over and over with his hands up, murdered by pigs and then left to lie there in the streets, as if he were an animal. Very few people would have shared the grief of his parents for the terrible loss of this young man, at the very beginning of his life. Without the rebellion, this terrible  state-done murder would just be another rerun of the same old all-too-familiar story, the same murderous stuff that happens to Black and Latino youth over and over again.

But because of the defiance and rebellion, the whole world knows the story. Now everybody has to deal with this. And people all over the country and all over the world support this fight. You, the defiant ones, are changing the thinking of millions and millions of people… you are calling out to everyone NOT TO TAKE IT… you are making history—in the way it badly needs to be made.

So, yes we stand with the defiant ones—and we will defend them and stand with them in deed as well as word.

But now the authorities bring in the National Guard. This just shows how SCARED those on top are of the people that they oppress and dog, from day one down to today… The National Guard is just another part of their whole ILLEGITIMATE use of force and violence against people expressing their rights. And any illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate actions of the National Guard can—and must—be defied too. The people’s righteous demands have not been met: this cop, this murdering pig, must be charged and taken into custody. NOW! This pig chief must be fired. And right now, the people must be allowed to stay in the streets and express themselves in no uncertain terms.

Sunday night, as the tear gas hung in the air and the time ticked down to the midnight curfew, a woman stepped up and started calling out to people: “No Justice! No Curfew!” In response to the call to “go home and get some rest” she said—“Michael Brown can’t get no rest, he can’t go home. We’re not going home!” This is the spirit of Ferguson—this is the spirit we need to support and spread.

To everyone who really wants liberation, who wants a better day for our youth—don’t let them tamp this down. To the “leaders” who attack the angry ones and tell us to trust in the system—NO. If you can’t do any better than that, get out of the way.

And to any so-called militants who shamefully take up the role of the police and decide who can protest and when, who attack and slander the “agitators” and the communists as “provocateurs,” you need to cut that COINTELPRO shit out and if you can’t stand with the people when they stand up…then just get on home.

Stand together and demand REAL JUSTICE!! The time is NOW!

…like people in Nazi Germany…

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Chris Floyd writes that persons targeted and killed with US drones:

“are most often blown to pieces in domestic homes, along with family members, friends and, often, neighbors who live nearby. ”


victims of drone strikes in Pakistan

and that

“This is what we are now. Future generations will look back on us in horror.  …  They will look at us just as we look at the people in Nazi Germany.”  Read the full article here

Germans I knew while living in France in my youth taxed their parents and grandparents for allowing the Nazis to come to power and their atrocities to take place.  I do not want to be like those Germans.  I have, however, not been able to make even the tiniest impact on US atrocities.  I do participate when I can in protests of US wars and torture, I have this blog.  It just seems to me that too few of us are engaged.  I often wonder what difference it would make if millions of us showed up on the street for protests instead of the small numbers who do, if millions of us appeared on the steps of the White House or of the Capitol.  In my youth, large numbers of protestors over time did appear to made a difference.

For what it is worth, I am on the record as opposed to all US wars and torture.  I will continue to do what I can to stop them.


Monday, May 26th, 2014


                             WAR IS HIDEOUS



US Torture Goes On

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Here is a link to an article by David Swanson that references a book by Rebecca Gordon called Mainstreaming Torture.  Swanson says:

“The idea was spread around that the torture was stopping, but the cynical could imagine it must be continuing in secret, the partisan could suppose the halt was only temporary, the trusting could assume torture would be brought back as needed, and the attentive could be and have been aware that the government has gone right on torturing to this day with no end in sight.”

This blog has maintained that US torture has never stopped.  It also deplores it and calls for its end and for accountability for those in high positions who order and sanction torture.  It also calls on all of us to work to stop it.  There is never any reason ever for torture.

What are we doing to stop torture?  If we are US citizens or residents and pay taxes, what does it mean for each of us that we are, at least indirectly, paying for this torture?  Please comment or post about your ideas for ending US torture.

More on US Torture

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

New revelations about the US torture programs have been made by the Washington Post in the past few days.  It only corroborates what all of us who have been paying attention have heard for a long time. I encourage you to read the details here so that you will know what US taxpayers’ money goes for.  I remind you that there are still prisoners in the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay and that torture still goes on there, most recently in the response to the prisoners hunger strikes.  There is good commentary on the Post article at the World Socialist Website here.


Also, it is important to remember that the vast majority of the prisoners have never done any harm to anyone and were rounded up indiscriminately.  All have been tortured.  Life at Guantanamo and in the black sites is torture.

Regardless of what any prisoner at Guantanamo or at any of the numerous US black sites did (and few of them did anything as previous posts have mentioned), their being tortured makes it impossible for them to be fairly tried.  It looks to me as though the only possible just thing is to release them all.  Holding people indefinitely without trial is not legal.  Trying people who have been tortured can never be just.  The US has created an impossible situation where the only solution is to let them all free and indemnify them, which would certainly not make up for their treatment, but would demonstrate that the US is serious about taking responsibility for its heinous practices.

Even Andy Worthington asked me once if I really wanted to let one of the prisoners (I can’t remember which one now) free.  Andy is an authority on who is in the torture camp and believes, with good reason, that a very small number of the men imprisoned there are dangerous.


Andy Worthington on the steps of the Supreme Court protesting Guantanmo and demanding release of innocent prisoners

The lawyers who represent these prisoners whom I have met and heard speak all say that the prisoners should be justly tried or released.  I have never heard one of them say that since they have been tortured, no fair trial is possible, but I am not willing to think that might not be a legal argument to present.

My statement on this issue is that the choices made by the US have left no just alternative; it should release the prisoners, pay restitution, and take the consequences of its atrocious acts.  The alternative is to continue the torture and abuse.  I, for one, want to go on record as being opposed to that alternative. Nothing ever justifies torture in any form.  The US Constitution, written by persons who knew well about torture and the threat to liberty and justice of its use, proscribed “cruel and unusual punishment.”  Some say that that only applies to US citizens, but we know that US citizens are tortured as well.   I protest the use of torture by the US on anyone, anywhere, ever.

More about Moazzam Begg

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

In his article on The Intercept, The Moazzam Begg Arrest: Part of the Effort to Criminalize Muslim Political Dissent, Glenn Greenwald questions the arrest of Mr. Begg.

Moazzam Begg

“This raises the obvious question: if the British government had concerns about his involvement with militant groups in Syria, why did it specifically meet with him to green-light his trip there? Furthermore, if his arrest was related to his December 2012 trip, why would the government wait more than a year to arrest him for it?

“Begg has long been a vituperative critic of the British government’s conduct during the War on Terror but throughout this time he has always been a public figure under constant media and government scrutiny. The notion that he’d be able to engage in terrorism surreptitiously on a trip sanctioned by MI5 — then hide this for over a year — seems dubious in the extreme.”

Greenwald continues:

“While government suppression of activists usually begins by targeting unpopular minority groups such as Muslims, it is clear that the dragnet is already beginning to expand, as exemplified by the recent threats and detentions of journalists, whistleblowers and other activist groups under terrorism laws. [There are links in this section one of which is here .

The arrest of one of the West’s most prominent Muslim war on terror critics is almost certain to further stifle political activism within the Muslim community and more broadly as well.  Utilizing extremely dubious terrorism charges against domestic dissidents has been a hallmark of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. That such tactics are commonly condemned when implemented by authoritarian governments such as China, Egypt and Russia – and yet enthusiastically implemented at home with little objection – exemplifies the corrosive measures and accompanying mentality which are undermining the foundations of Western freedoms.”

Read the complete Greenwald article here .

Moazzam Begg Arrested in the UK

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

It is shocking to learn that former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg has been arrested in the UK.  Begg, who had gone to Afghanistan to do  humanitarian work,  fled to Pakistan with his family when the US invaded, and was rounded up in that indiscriminate arrest of people to populate Dick Cheney’s torture center in Guantanamo,

The Birmingham Mail of the UK said:

“He is being held on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas.

“He had his passport confiscated in December [2013] and reportedly visited Syria in 2012.

“He claims he was told that it was ‘not in the public interest’ for him to keep his passport after returning from South Africa after commemorating the death of Nelson Mandela.

“The Home Office used Royal Prerogative power to seize the passport.

“Speaking after the confiscation Mr Begg said he believed the Home Office was trying to discredit him after he gave evidence to an inquiry into Britain’s alleged complicity in rendition and torture.”

Moazzam Begg_2014


Moazzam Begg, pictured above, has never done anything but humanitarian work for people in some of the most dangerous places in the world.  The perfectly ridiculous “attending a terrorist training camp” and “facilitating terrorism” charges came from US records extorted from other Guantanamo prisoners under torture and long discredited.  There are no facts to support this.  What is known is that Moazzam Begg has done and continues to do humanitarian work for people in dangerous and war torn places.

The Birmingham Mail also said:  “in recent years [Begg] has been a campaigner with the group Caged, which campaigns for those it says are unfairly targeted by the west’s war on terror.”

Here is a link to CAGE, the publication of the organization Begg works for with an article by him on this matter:

Below is the complete text of the press release about the arrest from CAGE:

“(London) CAGE is outraged by the arrest of our Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg. A former Guantanamo Bay detainee, he has been campaigning for due process and the human rights of victims, despite suffering over three years of torture and abuse by the US government with the complicity of the British security services.

“This latest action is designed to ensure that any travel to Syria is deemed suspicious. It follows a concerted campaign of harassment against Muslim individuals and charities involved in providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the Syrian crisis.  Moazzam Begg is just the latest individual drawn by the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria who has been labelled a terrorist .The purpose is to intimidate and vilify the wider Muslim community so that they are prevented from delivering much needed aid to the Syrian people.

“Moazzam is an internationally recognised figure on issues relating to due process and human rights. His advocacy on behalf of the Guantanamo Bay detainees has been recognised across the world, resulting in various governments accepting detainees who could not be returned to their countries of origin.

“Cerie Bullivant, Media Officer of CAGE said:

‘“Moazzam has been very open about his international travel and his objectives, including importantly exposing British complicity in rendition and torture.  The timing of Moazzam‘s arrest given his travel to Syria took place in December 2012 requires a detailed explanation. The timing coincides with the planned release of a CAGE report on Syria and a major news piece that was due to be televised soon. As with David Miranda it seems those who are engaged in exposing abuse of powers are targeted and smeared to prevent disclosure of vital evidence.’

‘“We are also concerned that the Police and the security services are using the wide scope of terrorism laws, and applying them in Syria to set precedents that will make legitimate activity unlawful in future.’

“Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE said:

‘“CAGE calls on all defenders of civil liberties and the rule of law to stand up and protest against the serious curtailment of yet another victim. The message may be unpalatable to those who wish to shroud their abuse in secrecy but that can never justify an attack on the messengers.’

“We are disgusted that Moazzam Begg is being retraumatised with the same guilt by association accusations that resulted in his unlawful incarceration in Guantanamo Bay.  We fully support our colleague and see his arrest as politically motivated and as part of a campaign to criminalise legitimate activism.”

See previous posts on this blog about Moazzam Begg here and here.


Monday, February 24th, 2014

Below is a statement by Carl Dix about actions on 26 February 2014.


Sisters and Brothers,

What we are doing today is critically important. The refusal of the system to convict Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis, on top of the exoneration of George Zimmerman, the vigilante murderer of Trayvon Martin, amounted to Amerikkka telling us, once again, that Black people have no rights that whites are bound to respect. It was critical that this be responded to powerfully. Gathering at the seats of power and influence in cities across the country, rocking our hoodies, holding targets and raising our fists in silent determination, we are declaring that we will not accept our youth being targeted in this way.

We are saying NO MORE to Black and Latino youth being treated like criminals, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This is unacceptable. It is illegitimate. It must be stopped, and we are acting to stop it!

And things don’t end with today’s action. We are just getting started. There needs to be a movement of determined resistance to the criminalization of our youth, to the warehousing of people in prison, to mass incarceration overall and all its consequences. We need to go from the hundreds who are acting today to thousands acting soon, to ultimately mobilizing a movement of millions of people saying no more to the slow genocide the criminal “injustice” system in this country enforces on Black and Brown people.

There is a lot of potential for doing this. Tens of millions of people in this country are living lives enmeshed in the criminal “injustice” system. People are suffering, and people are seething with rage. They want to know why these horrors keep happening and are looking for ways to resist. And it is up to US to give people a vision of what we can accomplish by resisting these horrors and saying NO MORE. And it is up to us to give them a way to participate that can organize and give direction to that seething anger, and to inspire and challenge them to act to END this.

We are committed to building this movement of millions, and we have a vision to make a leap toward doing that through a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October, 2014. We envision a month of nationwide rallies and demonstrations, major concerts, symposiums and panels, well known people speaking out, people wearing armbands and ribbons, and more. A month that can change the way millions of people in this society look at mass incarceration.

Cornel West and I have developed a basic vision for October, but we can’t figure all this out alone. There is a whole lot to do to flesh out that vision, to give it life and to make it real. We need people to enlist in this effort now; to join and be a part of hammering out a vision for a Month of Resistance that can change everything around mass incarceration. We need all kinds of people to be part of developing the plans for building up to an October that can have this kind of impact.

We need to be reaching out to students in colleges and high schools, activating them now so that they are primed to act in the fall. We need to raise the funds needed to make this month one that has the power to impact all of society.

Cornel West and I are calling for a strategizing meeting in New York City to launch this effort on April 3rd and 4th. Hold the dates. Details will be announced.

Hoodies Up! Targets Up! Fists Up! Time’s Up! We’re standing

Up! No More Murders of Black Youth!

 We Are All Trayvon Martin; We Are All Jordan Davis—The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!

_ _ _

Carl Dix, c/o Stop Mass Incarceration Network, P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station, New York, New York 10002

See more here.

Cooper Union Event June 19

Friday, June 14th, 2013

World Can’t Wait is collaborating with the Continuing Education Department at The Cooper Union for a very urgent event:

An Evening of Conscience: The Great Hall at Cooper Union 7:00 pm, Wednesday, June 19.

We Will not be Complicit…We DO NOT Consent!

No Government Spying on Whole Populations.
Hands Off Snowden & Manning.
Close Guantanamo NOW.

See more on the World Can’t Wait website.