Archive for the 'The Media' Category

FINALLY, THE TRUTH ABOUT THE INVASION OF IRAQ

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Paul Krugman, never one to mince words, wrote a brilliantly direct editorial in response to the current budding campaign of Jeb Bush to be president in the wake of his father and brother.  Krugman writes:

“The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games — the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.

“And at this point we have plenty of evidence to confirm everything the war’s opponents were saying. We now know, for example, that on 9/11 itself — literally before the dust had settled — Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, was already plotting war against a regime that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. “Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] …sweep it all up things related and not”; so read notes taken by Mr. Rumsfeld’s aide.”

Troops in Iraq

US troops in Iraq

You can read the entire article here .

Alas, as always, the US media are not willing to tell the truth or challenge authority.  So long as such attitudes prevail, it will continue to be difficult for the people in this country to stand up to its militarization and continual invasions.

Some of us opposed that war at the time, but it should now be clear that we must resist US wars and aggression, limit the military budgets, stop supporting the arms manufacturers and dealers, and become a peaceful, not a warlike nation.  One can only hope and work toward that end.

ANNIVERSARY OF THE GUANTANAMO TORTURE CAMP

Friday, January 9th, 2015

As the twelfth anniversary of the opening of the torture center at Guantanamo Bay arrives, a group of authorities on the center and its prisoners spoke at an event hosted by World Can’t Wait.  Debra Sweet, head of World Can’t Wait presided.  The other participants were Ramzi Kasseem, professor at CUNY Law School and attorney for Shaker Aamer, Andy Worthington, British authority on the prisoners and author of the only book on the subject that has been published to date as well as author of a massive website with information about them, and Omar Farah of the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney for Fahd Ghazy.

panel_8jan2015

Panel from left: Debra Sweet, head of World Can’t Wait, Ramzi Kassem, Andy Worthington, and Omar Farah

As Debra remarked, though these are world authorities on the subject, no major US news outlets would have broadcast this discussion or even mentioned that it was taking place.  The US media completely support the government and those in it who have created the torture camp and the entire system of US torture.  Dick Cheney is quoted widely as willing to do it again.  The media never challenges the widely believed error that all of the men in the prison are “the worst of the worst”, when in fact nearly all of them were completely innocent of any aggression on the US or anyone and were rounded up  and sold for bounty to the US which needed to fill up that torture camp that Cheney had built. Reports of the release of prisoners almost never mention that they have never been charged with any crime and further that they never committed any.

The following is from the Guardian of 22 November 2014:

‘“What the Obama administration is doing is dangerous and, frankly, reckless,’ the retiring chairman of the House armed services committee, Buck McKeon, said after Thursday’s transfers [of prisoners released from Guantanamo].

“’They have chosen many times to put politics above national security. It’s time they stop playing with fire and start doing what’s right. Until we can assure the terrorists stay off the battlefield, they must stay behind bars.'”

This is a member of the United States Congress who will not admit that almost all of these prisoners never committed acts of terror.  He calls them all terrorists.  The article does not make it clear that these prisoners, a large number of whom have been cleared for release by two US administrations, are not only not terrorists, but not guilty of any violence toward anyone.

The Guardian is a British journal, but it does not tell the truth about the prisoners either.

The speakers last night all talked about the “evidence” that is in the files of these men held at Guantanamo.  Much of it comes from their fellow prisoners who were tortured in an effort to make them give evidence.  They eventually said what their torturers wanted them to say in order to get the torture to stop.  I don’t know that I would have been able to do anything different; would you?

There were two short films presented.  One of them was about Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British prisoner in the torture camp.

shaker_ammer

Shaker Aamer with his children before he was captured

Called We Stand With Shaker, you can see it on youtube .  You can see Andy perform his song about Shaker in this video.

The other film called Waiting for Fahd can also be seen on youtube.     This film really helped me to see a person, not just a vague prisoner.  I saw him through his family who are desperately waiting for him to be returned to them.  I was able to get a glimpse of the tragedy of being a teenager who has never seen her father, of the wife and brother of a man who has been tortured and imprisoned, has been “cleared for release” but still languishes half way across the world from them in that place of torture.

FahdGhazy_8jan2015

Fahd Ghazy

Let us not think that torture no longer occurs at Guantanamo.  Some of the worst of the physical torture may no longer take place, but Ramzi told us last night that the prisoners say the psychological torture is far worse.  The waiting to leave, the agony of being told you are cleared for release years ago and still being there are worse.

My tax money pays for this torture and abuse.  I know about it, though there is no doubt a lot more that I do not know about.  I am outraged by this and do what I can to stop it.  I also want to see the perpetrators of this torture, which is a crime under both US and international law, tried in courts of law.  Eventually, the Nazi war criminals were tried.  I continue to hope that the US ones will be, too.  It will not be tomorrow, of course.  The US media still will not even present an event as important as last night’s.  For now, powerful Western countries are not challenging the US on this issue; some of them are complicit in the torture.  I still continue to hope that the day will come when justice may prevail.

NO INTERVIEWS WITH PRISONERS WHO WERE TORTURED

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

As Glenn Greenwald points out, the US media has not published interviews with prisoners whom the US has tortured at Guantanamo and elsewhere and ultimately released.  There are hundreds of them now, and some of them are English speakers, though translators could also facilitate interviews even with those who do not.

Greenwald states:

“If you don’t hear from the human beings who are tortured, it’s easy to pretend nothing truly terrible happened. That’s how the War on Terror generally has been reported for 13 years and counting: by completely silencing those whose lives are destroyed or ended by U.S. crimes.”

prisoners_released to Uruguay

Guantanamo prisoners recently released

You can read  Greennwald’s full account here  of the egregious details of prisoners who, like nearly all the prisoners at Guantanamo (and likely others tortured by US officials elsewhere) are known not to have done any harm to the US or anyone.  The newly released section of the Senate report has information about some of these former prisoners.

Maher Arar, former prisoner and his wife

I have said for years that the remaining prisoners should be released and all the prisoners should be indemnified with a substantial amount of money.  The latter is not enough, but it would help some of these men to start life again on a better footing and to get the help they need after being tortured.  The US war department budget which is astronomical, could be used for this purpose.

Greenwalk gives a link to an article about the case of an innocent man tortured and released, suffering terrible physical and pschological trauma without so much as an apology:

“Masri brought his case, he told his story, and they knew it was true,” Dakwar [director of the Human Rights Program at the American Civil Libeties Union] said. “Yet he never received redress. He never received an apology. He never even received acknowledgment. His case gives you an idea of the level of lawlessness, the magnitude of this atrocity. His life was devastated. And the United States didn’t care.”

You can click here to go to an article from Fox News about prisoners released in November.  Though they never were a threat to the US, the article still says that ” an administration task force determined they no longer posed a threat.”  The US media support the US government in vilifying these men who are the victims of unspeakable abuse, though they are completely innocent.  It is rather the United States that poses the greatest threat to the rest of the world, to say nothing of the threats it poses to many US citizens, especially those who are persons of color.

The United States, the most lawless country on earth, doesn’t care about its atrocities, but I care.  I also fear that the rest of the world is not going to tolerate US crimes against humanity indefinitely and I fear the repercussions of that for all of us here.

Photo Essay from Lucille at Protest for Bradley Manning

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Lucille

Lucille Standing Up for Bradley and for All of Us

IVAW

The Iraq Veterans Against the War Were Well Represented

VientNam_vets

Viet Nam Veterans Were Also Out in Force

right_to_know_vfp

Veterans For Peace Know Why We Need to Stop Wars

makeout-notwar

This Veteran Has A Great Idea

youth

I am very encouraged by the Younger Generations Standing Up for Bradley and for Peace and Justice

codepink

Code Pink Can Always be Counted On

drones

This Woman Has Another Good Idea

occupier

Those from the Occupy Movement Still Working for Us All

Mexican_flag

Ssomeone From Mexico Supporting Bradley

Did you see this on the major corporate news media?  Thank you, Lucille, for sharing these photographs of this important action.

Torture in US Domestic Prisons

Monday, May 6th, 2013

engines_of_torture

Engines of torture when the tubes are forced down a person’s throat who is conscious and refuses them.

The perception by many people in the US, even the relatively small number who are aware of the torture at Guantanamo, is that torture of all kinds by the US has been an aberration since the wars of aggression in this century.

The truth is that torture is practiced in US domestic prisons and was just exported to prisoners taken in US wars.  Only lately, and due to media coverage of the current, but not the only, hunger strike by many of the prisoners at Guantanamo, is there much attention on torture in domestic prisons.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Ann Neumann published on 4 May 2013 in Waging Nonviolence:

“The prisoner has lost half his body weight and four teeth to malnutrition. He and his lawyer have gone to court to stop the force-feedings, but a judge ruled against him in March. If I asked you to guess where Coleman is being held, you’d likely say Guantánamo — ‘America’s offshore war-on-terror camp’ — where a mass hunger strike of 100 prisoners has brought the ethics of force-feeding to American newspapers, if not American consciences. Twenty-five of those prisoners are now being manually fed with tubes.

“But William Coleman is not at Guantánamo. He’s in Connecticut. The prison medical staff force-feeding him are on contract from the University of Connecticut, not the U.S. Navy. Guantánamo is not an anomaly. Prisoners — who are on U.S. soil and not an inaccessible island military base — are routinely and systematically force-fed every day.”

You can read the entire article here.

Neumann reiterates the facts about force feeding being torture.  The US is in contravention of international law and of American Medical Association standards.

What can we do to stop barbaric practices of the US government at home and abroad.  What are you doing to stop them?

Will the People of the US Relinguish all Pretense to their Rights? Have They Already Done So?

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Glenn Greenwald writes:

“Needless to say, Tsarnaev is probably the single most hated figure in America now. As a result, as Bazelon noted, not many people will care what is done to him, just like few people care what happens to the accused terrorists at Guantanamo, or Bagram, or in Yemen and Pakistan. But that’s always how rights are abridged: by targeting the most marginalized group or most hated individual in the first instance, based on the expectation that nobody will object because of how marginalized or hated they are. Once those rights violations are acquiesced to in the first instance, then they become institutionalized forever, and there is no basis for objecting once they are applied to others, as they inevitably will be (in the case of the War on Terror powers: as they already are being applied to others). As Bazelon concludes:

“‘No one is crying over the rights of the young man who is accused of killing innocent people, helping his brother set off bombs that were loaded to maim, and terrorizing Boston Thursday night and Friday. But the next time you read about an abusive interrogation, or a wrongful conviction that resulted from a false confession, think about why we have Miranda in the first place. It’s to stop law enforcement authorities from committing abuses. Because when they can make their own rules, sometime, somewhere, they inevitably will.’

“Leave aside the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been convicted of nothing [nor have the prisoners at Guantanamo and the black sites] and is thus entitled to a presumption of innocence. The reason to care what happens to him is because how he is treated creates precedent for what the US government is empowered to do, including to US citizens on US soil. When you cheer for the erosion of his rights, you’re cheering for the erosion of your own.”  Emphasis mine  You can read constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald’s full article here.

Can we not see that we must resist this erosion of legal protections for the good of all?  The framers of the US constitution were not fearful people; they wanted liberty and justice.  Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

To what extent are the people of the US already without liberty or safety?

“What is obviously clear by the public reaction, and by the incessant grandstanding by a handful of officials at multiple press briefings, was that the people of Boston had been conditioned to believe that an overwhelming police and military show of force in Boston was necessary in order to ‘make them feel safe’.”  This from Patrick Henningsen, whose full article can be read on Global Research here.  Henningsen goes on to say that martial law operated in Boston:

“The city of Boston was effectively closed down under military-style dictum that included the closure of the city MBTA public transport system, Taxis taken off the road, restricted curfews, bank closures, business closures, police taking over public areas for ‘staging’, door to door searches of homes, and something which was not reported, and unsurprisingly so, the military commandeering of Boston police scanner communications in the early hours of Friday morning. Drivers heading in and out of city arteries could see the signs which read in bright letters, ‘Shelter-in-place in effect in Boston’, which was an order to stay indoors.”

Martial law in Boston cheered by many throughout the country.  What have we come to?  What is allowed to be done to any of us can be done to all of us.  What can we do now to bring about different conditions and a better world?

What Happened to Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

Friday, April 19th, 2013

The current president of the US, the same one who said of Bradley Manning long before any trial much less any verdict that ” he broke the law”, is quoted by the Guardian as saying tonight,’Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to this violence?’

A feature of the Obama regime is the declaration of who should be murdered because they are determined to be “guilty” by Obama himself, not by the judges and juries that are required by the US Constitution.  Of course, that is, as his predecessor famously said, “just a piece of paper.”  One might, however, have expected a different attitude and behavior from a constitutional lawyer than an ignorant man like Bush.

When we walked into an Upper East Side diner this evening for a late supper, we were greeted at the door by the owner’s glee that the guilty party was in custody.  I suspect most people in the US have embraced this.

Here is a part of the statement of the president of the Republic of Chechnya, which was reported by Le Monde after the murder of the first of the brothers and before the capture of the second:

“Today, as indicated by some media, a certain Tsarnaev was killed in the course of an attempt to apprehend him.  If he had been arrested, and an inquest had followed its course, it would have been possible to clear up the circumstances of his degree of culpability.  Apparently, the special forces needed a result, no matter what, in order to appease society.”

That is a very great condemnation from a country that most people in this one would find backward, not so free as the US.  Alas, it is the US which is backward, in fact it has regressed to the Middle Ages before the Magna Carta, when the dictator/monarch was law.

WAR IS TORTURE

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Normon Solomon wrote this after the bomb explosion at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013:

“Every news report about the children killed and injured at the finish line in Boston, every account of the horrific loss of limbs, makes me think of a little girl named Guljumma. She was seven years old when I met her at an Afghan refugee camp one day in the summer of 2009.

“At the time, I wrote: ‘Guljumma talked about what happened one morning last year when she was sleeping at home in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. At about 5 a.m., bombs exploded. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm.’

“In the refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, where several hundred families were living in squalid conditions, the U.S. government was providing no help. The last time Guljumma and her father had meaningful contact with the U.S. government was when it bombed them.

“War thrives on abstractions, but Guljumma was no abstraction. She was no more or less of an abstraction than the children whose lives have been forever wrecked by the bombing at the Boston finish line.

“But the same U.S. news media that are conveying the preciousness of children so terribly harmed in Boston are scarcely interested in children like Guljumma.”

I am interested in the children like Guljumma.  I am interested in seeing that not another child, woman, nor man dies from US bombs.  Not the least of the reasons I demand the end to all US wars is because of the children who are maimed, killed, and bereft of their loved ones and those who care for them.

To those who find the kind of bomb deployed at the Boston marathon diabolical, which it is, I also want to recall that the US uses bombs like that on innocent people in several places in the world.

Solomon mentions a report by Paul Watson of the LA Times who quoted Dr.Grbic of Yugoslavia during cluster bombing there : “I have been an orthopedist for 15 years now, working in a crisis region where we often have injuries, but neither I nor my colleagues have ever seen such horrific wounds as those caused by cluster bombs.” He added: “They are wounds that lead to disabilities to a great extent. The limbs are so crushed that the only remaining option is amputation. It’s awful, awful.”

These are almost exactly the words we read now from the surgeons in Boston who are treating the people injured there.

The US has dropped cluster bombs in Afghanistan and fired cluster munitions in Iraq.

Solomon continues:

“Today, the U.S. State Department remains opposed to outlawing those weapons, declaring on its official website: ‘Cluster munitions have demonstrated military utility. Their elimination from U.S. stockpiles would put the lives of its soldiers and those of its coalition partners at risk.’

“The State Department position statement adds: ‘Moreover, cluster munitions can often result in much less collateral damage than unitary weapons, such as a larger bomb or larger artillery shell would cause, if used for the same mission.’ Perhaps the bomber(s) who stuffed nails and ball bearings into pressure cookers for use in Boston had a similarly twisted rationale.

“But don’t expect explorations of such matters from the USA’s daily papers or commercial networks — or from the likes of NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered,’ or the PBS ‘NewsHour.’ When the subject is killing and maiming, such news outlets take as a given the presumptive moral high ground of the U.S. government.”

You can read the full article here.

No War No Torture: No More Corporate Empire

 

Prisoners on Hunger Strike at Guantanamo

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay continue their hunger strike into a third month.

“Criminal defense attorney Marjorie Cohn shares this account by Guantánamo detainee Yousef Al Shehri, detailed in a statement by attorney Julia Tarver:

“Yousef was the second detainee to have an NG [nasal gastric] tube inserted into his nose and pushed all the way down his throat and into his stomach, a procedure which caused him great pain. Yousef was given no anesthesia or sedative for the procedure; instead, two soldiers restrained him – one holding his chin while the other held him back by his hair, and a medical staff member forcefully inserted the tube in his nose and down his throat. Much blood came out of his nose. Yousef said he could not speak for two days after the procedure; he said he felt like a piece of metal was inside of him. He said he could not sleep because of the severe pain.

“When Yousef and others ‘vomited up blood, the soldiers mocked and cursed at them, and taunted them with statements like ‘look what your religion has brought you,’  Tarver wrote.

“She notes that the feeding continued for two weeks and, after pausing for a few days, the guards began to insert larger, thicker tubes— ‘the thickness of a finger.’ According to Tarver, these tubes ‘were viewed by the detainees as objects of torture.'”  Read the full article here.

Adel Bin Ahmed Bin Ibrahim Hkiml, another prisoner on hunger strike for at least 43 days there, is said to have attempted suicide.  What has happened to him is not clear, though his death has not been reported by US officials.  Cori Crider, the legal director of Reprieve, according to an account on Huffington Post that you can read here, says she has not heard from him and that fellow prisoners do not know where he is, much less how he is doing.

adel_Hakimi_image

More about Adel Hakimi,  a variant on the name of Adel Bin Ahmed Bin Ibrahim Hkiml:

According to Andy Worthington, Adel Hakimi, a Tunisian, went to Pakistan to marry and was living in Jalalabad in Afghanistan which is near Pakistan and close to his wife’s family when the US invaded.  The US claims that he was at a military training camp near there, but there is no evidence that he was and he has always denied any involvement with al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

When the US invaded, he tried to get to Pakistan and was seized at the border and sold for bounty as so many people, especially Arabs, who were fleeing the US violence were, eventually arriving in Guantanamo.

Before he went to Pakistan, he had worked in Italy as a chef’s assistant at a number of hotels in Bologna and lived among the Italians whom he said treated him “as a brother”.  This European stay involved him a plan that never materialized to send him to Belgium, where he had been tried in abstentia based on US accusations, which have never been substantiated.

Adel Hakimi was, like so many of these prisoners still languishing in Guantanamo today, cleared for release during the Bush regime, which challenged that decision and the Obama regime continues to refuse to release him.  A hunger strike is the only way these prisoners have to resist.   The US, with disregard for international law and US laws against torture, brutally force feeds them.  More from Andy Worthington about this strike.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee says that violent force feeding of prisoners is torture.  The International Committee of the Red Cross guidelines also state that under no circumstances should doctors participate in force feeding of prisoners because it can be considered torture.

From Lauren McCauley:

“Lawyers representing the hunger striking prisoners say that most of the 166 prisoners being held are participating in the strike which began around February 6. Though the military only acknowledges 42 of those individuals as ‘hunger strikers,’ they reported that, of those, 11 were being force fed, according to detention center spokesman Navy Capt. Robert Durand.”  Read the full account here.

US tax payer money provides the staff, equipment, and all resources of the prison at Guantanamo where these crimes against humanity are committed.  What are we doing to make it clear that we are not complicit in this ongoing torture and indefinite detention of men?  The lawyers I have heard and whose words I have read say again and again that the prisoners are not tried because the US has no case against them. The only just thing to do, then, is release them with reparations and abject apologies to them, their families, and the world.  Fair and just trials of all the US officials who have had any part in this atrocity must also take place in order to hold them accountable.  What are we doing to bring these just actions about?

 

US Torture Condemned in European Court of Human Rights

Monday, December 24th, 2012

“Today, the European court of human rights delivered a measure of justice to [Kaled] el-Masri, [a German national seized by the CIA and tortured]. It vindicated his account of his ill-treatment, and unanimously found that Macedonia [to which he was taken by the CIA for part of his torture] had violated his rights under the European Convention, including by transferring him to US custody in the face of a risk of ill-treatment, and facilitating and failing to prevent his being subjected to CIA ‘capture shock’ at Skopje airport.

“This is the first court to comprehensively and specifically find that the CIA’s rendition techniques amounted to torture. The decision stands in sharp contrast to the abject failure of US courts to deliver justice to victims of US torture and rendition.”

Read about this here  and also  here .

I hope this is the first of many legal condemnations of US torture and crimes against humanity and that the tide of US immunity from legal consequences of its torture will soon be at an end.

Though he recognizes that there is much working against justice any time soon, Andy Worthington writes about other events which show eroding immunity for US torture and crimes against humanity.  He writes:

“While Khaled El-Masri was securing his victory in Strasbourg, another victim of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and torture, Sami al-Saadi, a Libyan and a former opponent of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, secured an important victory in the UK, when the British government agreed to pay him £2.23 million ($3.5 million) in an out-of-court settlement relating to the key role played by the UK, working with the US and Libya, in kidnapping Mr. al-Saadi and his family and rendering them to Col. Gaddafi, who then imprisoned and tortured him.”

undefined

Sami al-Saadi

Worthington continues:

“Again, the US is not directly implicated, but the reverberations from the settlement cannot be wished away by the US, and, it seems, there will be more to come in the case of Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who said of al-Saadi, ‘When my friend Sami al-Saadi was freed from Abu Salim prison on 23 August 2011, he weighed seven stone. He was close to death. It is a miracle he survived his ordeal and is home with his family'”

And Worthington remarks on a third event that shows some change in the status of US torture, the 6000 page report by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  He quotes Senator Dianne Feinstein as follows:

“’The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight.’ She also stated, ‘I strongly believe that the creation of long-term, clandestine “black sites” and the use of so-called ‘enhanced-interrogation techniques’ were terrible mistakes. The majority of the Committee agrees.’”

Worthington concludes:

“… the best response, while repeatedly highlighting the case of Khaled El-Masri and the shame of rendering political opponents to Col. Gaddafi to secure his support and his oil, will be for President Obama and Congress to make sure that the Senate’s comprehensive torture report is released, and not hidden away, so that the torturers cannot continue to evade accountability for their crimes.

“Without accountability, the toxic virus of torture in America’s body politic will continue to infect the whole country with its poison. It is time for the denial to end.”

How many of us are in denial about the toxic virus of torture in the US?  How can you know you are not in denial about it?  What are you doing to stop it? If you are serious, there are things you can do.  Organizations like World Can’t Wait, organize resistance to US torture.  You can join with others to make your resistance known.  Click here to go to the World Can’t Wait website for information on what you can do to stop the crimes of the US government.