Tag Archives: Torture

Silent protester Ray McGovern brutalized by cops at Hillary Clinton talk on free speech

By Rady Ananda

Walking like an Egyptian pharaoh more than an Egyptian, during Hillary Clinton’s talk on free speech on Tuesday at George Washington University, she allowed the arrest and brutalization of a silent protester, Ray McGovern, who since his retirement from the CIA has been actively protesting war. The university’s newspaper, GW Hatchet, reported Clinton’s words:

“What happened in Egypt and what happened in Iran, which this week is once again using violence against protesters seeking basic freedoms, was about a great deal more than the Internet,” Clinton said. “In each case people protested because of deep frustrations with the political and economic division of their lives.”

Try looking in the mirror, Clinton.

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What Bertrand Russell May Have Missed

By Volaar

A thought occurred to me yesterday just as Father Richard Rohr was reformulating truth in terms of Hellenistic (Greek) Thought versus the kind of thoughts that Jesus of Nazareth was allegedly spinning out of whole cloth with regards to the “holy trinity.” 

Here are the three principles of Greek Thought that underpin all of western “civilization”:

1)      A = A (principle of identity)

2)      A != !A (principle of noncontradiction)

3)      A or !A = unary truth (principle of the excluded third)

Russell goes on to suggest that, “nothing can both be and not be,” and “everything must either be or not be.” Continue reading

Why Mubarak Is Out

This piece provides deep background on the interplay of forces — progressive, repressive, labor, business, military, police, and criminal factions in Egypt — leading to the ongoing collapse of Mubarak’s regime. ~ Ed.   (H/T to Claudia)

[Image from Lefteris Pitarakis/AP]

By Paul Amar
Jadaliyya.com

The “March of Millions” in Cairo marks the spectacular emergence of a new political society in Egypt. This uprising brings together a new coalition of forces, uniting reconfigured elements of the security state with prominent business people, internationalist leaders, and relatively new (or newly reconfigured ) mass movements of youth, labor, women’s and religious groups. President Hosni Mubarak lost his political power on Friday, 28 January [though he officially resigned on Feb. 11]. On that night the Egyptian military let Mubarak’s ruling party headquarters burn down and ordered the police brigades attacking protesters to return to their barracks. When the evening call to prayer rang out and no one heeded Mubarak’s curfew order, it was clear that the old president had been reduced to a phantom authority. In order to understand where Egypt is going, and what shape democracy might take there, we need to set the extraordinarily successful popular mobilizations into their military, economic and social context. What other forces were behind this sudden fall of Mubarak from power? And how will this transitional military-centered government get along with this millions-strong protest movement?

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Military puts Bradley Manning on suicide watch; denies visitation

By Kevin Zeese
Bradley Manning Support Network

Military officials at Marine Corps Base Quantico yesterday increased the isolation of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning by detaining Manning’s friend and regular visitor David House at the base entrance until visiting hours were over. House was accompanied by Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com, a website that has collected 42,000 signatures on a petition calling for improvements to the conditions of Manning’s detention, which constitute extreme and illegal pre-trial punishment.

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Spain’s largest newspaper on WikiLeaks, Madrid cables

Why EL PAÍS chose to publish the leaks

By Javier Moreno
El Pais, Dec. 23, 2010

1. The leak and its consequences.

When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called my cellphone on a Friday afternoon in November, I could barely hear him. The conversation, held amid the usual tumult of Rome’s airport on a weekend, was strangely short. Assange talked slowly, making sure to pronounce each word carefully, his deep, almost baritone voice, reducing itself almost to a whisper at the end of each sentence. A few moments before the conversation, I had noticed how the Italian police seemed particularly interested in the little luggage that I was carrying, and that as the phone had rung, they were examining the cloth that I had used to wipe the screen of my iPad. Were they looking for drugs, or explosives, or both?

Assange, as far as I could tell at that time, was willing to give EL PAÍS access to 250,000 cablegrams sent between the US State Department and its embassies in around 30 countries, garnered as a result of the largest leak of secret documents in history.

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A Nobel Peace Prize Winner Torturing Bradley Manning

By Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque

Tonight, in the tenth year of the 21st century, the government of the United States is torturing a young man — one of its own soldiers — whom it has incarcerated but not indicted. He has been held in solitary confinement for months on end, subjected to techniques of sleep deprivation taken from the Soviet gulag, denied almost all human contact except from interrogators, constantly harassed by guards to whom he must answer every few minutes — all in an attempt to break his mind, destroy his will, degrade his humanity and force him to “confess” to a broader “conspiracy” against state power.

His name is Bradley Manning. He is 23 years old. The “crime” he is accused of committing is releasing video evidence of an American atrocity committed years ago in Iraq: the murder of Iraqi civilians by helicopter gunships. Under the American system of jurisprudence, of course, he is considered innocent until proven guilty of this heinous ‘crime’ of truth-telling. He has not been tried or convicted of this charge, or any other crime.

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Obama refuses cooperation with Poland’s CIA ‘black site’ probe

News from Poland

The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected a request from prosecutors in Warsaw for assistance in the investigation into the alleged CIA prisons in Poland, where captives claim they were tortured. [Image: A giant billboard has appeared on Ulica Żydowska in Poznan, designed by the Abnormals.org artistic group.]

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Jericho

I am responsible for my own behavior. 

I am accountable to my closest associates and the state for the consequences of my own behavior. 

Thus the basis for the formation of any and all social contracts begins.  Systems of morality and ethics derive their moment from “responsibility for” and “accountability to.” 

As Soren Kierkigaard famously noted, “life must be understood backwards; Continue reading

WikiRebels shine a light on evil

Chris Pratt takes WikiRebels footage and adds his emphasis and message:

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Reclaiming Omelas

By Robert C. Koehler

Bob’s taking Thanksgiving week off. This column originally ran four years ago, and is one of my favorites. ~Ed.

Originally published Sept. 20, 2006

“In one corner of the little room a couple of mops, with stiff, clotted, foul-smelling heads stand near a rusty bucket. . . . In the room a child is sitting. It could be a boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. It is afraid of the mops.”

– Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

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The Stench of American Hypocrisy

Screen shot at a TSA desk computer in an airport

By Paul Craig Roberts
Counterpunch

Ten years of rule by the Bush and Obama regimes have seen the collapse of the rule of law in the United States. Is the American media covering this ominous and extraordinary story?  No the American media is preoccupied with the rule of law in Burma (Myanmar).

The military regime that rules Burma just released from house arrest the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The American media used the occasion of her release to get on Burma’s case for the absence of the rule of law. I’m all for the brave lady, but if truth be known, “freedom and democracy” America needs her far worse than does Burma.

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Wikileaks: New Secret Files Detail Torture, Summary Executions and War Crimes

Collected by Information Clearinghouse

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Wolfowitz Directive Gave Legal Cover to Detainee Experimentation Program

By Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye
TruthOut

In 2002, as the Bush administration was turning to torture and other brutal techniques for interrogating “war on terror” detainees, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners.

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The CIA, the KKK and the USA

Image by Bob Row

By Sherwood Ross
Global Research

By assigning covert action roles to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), it is as if the White House and Congress had legitimized the Ku Klux Klan to operate globally. That’s because the CIA today resembles nothing so much as the “Invisible Empire” of the KKK that once spread terror across the South and Midwest. Fiery crosses aside, this is what the CIA is doing globally.
 
The CIA today is committing many of the same sort of gruesome crimes against foreigners that the KKK once inflicted on Americans of color.

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Letting Torturers Go Free

By Sherwood Ross
Consortium News

Although U.S. officials have attributed the torture of Muslim prisoners in American custody to a handful of maverick guards or limited to a few “high-value detainees,” such criminal acts were widely perpetrated, likely involving large numbers of military personnel, a book by a survivor suggests. (Image)

According to Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen raised in Germany and defamed as “the German Taliban,” torture at the several prisons in which he was held was frequent, commonplace, and committed by many guards.

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New Facts Call Into Question DOJ Investigations Past and Present

By Andrew Kreig posted by Michael Collins

2010-07-26-NoraR.Dannehy.jpg

Four days before Connecticut’s Nora Dannehy was appointed to investigate the Bush administration’s U.S. attorney firing scandal, a team of lawyers she led was found to have illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case.

This previously unreported fact from Dannehy’s past calls into question her entire national investigation. The revelation similarly compromises the pending investigation by her Connecticut colleague, John Durham, who since 2008 has been the nation’s special prosecutor for DOJ and CIA decision-making involving torture.

Here’s the story, which the Justice Integrity Project I lead just broke in Nieman Watchdog:

In September 2008, the Bush Justice Department appointed Connecticut career federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy to investigate allegations that Bush officials in 2006 illegally fired nine U.S. attorneys who wouldn’t politicize official corruption investigations.

But just four days before her appointment, a federal appeals court had ruled that a team of prosecutors led by Dannehy illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case in Connecticut. The prosecutors’ misconduct was so serious that the court vacated seven of the eight convictions in the case. Continue reading

The Secrecy State


By Robert C. Koehler

Under the I-hate-government, let’s-drown-it-in-the-bathtub administration of George Bush and Dick Cheney, the Secrecy State swelled to such enormous proportions it required more than a dozen investigative journalists from the Washington Post two years to fathom its size and shape.

In our otherwise financially bankrupt society, where we can afford virtually nothing that actually helps people, money is no object in the Secrecy State. Thus in the name of national security, as Dana Priest and William M. Arkin tell us in “Top Secret America,” their harrowing tale of government gone wild, 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are currently in the homeland security, counterterrorism and intelligence game.

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One Year After Coup, Honduras Still in Crisis; Is the US Enabling?

Pro-democracy demonstrators clash with police on September 23, 2009, in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

A year after a military coup toppled the democratically-elected government, a “horrifying” human rights crisis continues amidst economic and environmental decay. Is the U.S. enabling this repression with taxpayer dollars?

One year ago last week, on June 28, 2009, the Honduran special forces – led by U.S.-trained officers, wearing U.S.-issue uniforms and armed with U.S.-made M16s – attacked the home of president Manuel Zelaya, kidnapped him in his pajamas, and after a quick stop at the local U.S. airbase, flew him off to Costa Rica in exile. Honduras hasn’t been the same since.

“[It’s] a totally different country since the coup,” says Dr. Adrienne Pine, a Central American expert at American University in Washington, D.C. In an exclusive interview, Dr. Pine, who was in the capital of Tegucigalpa as an international observer last week, described conditions in the new Honduras as being “horrifying.”

“We’ve now reached a point where it’s like we’ve returned to the 1980’s, when death squads killed several hundred people and effectively ended the Leftist movement in Honduras at the time,” says Pine, who spent Monday marching with about 200,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in the capital. She believes a heavy presence of foreign observers and reporters was the only reason the police and soldiers, who shadowed the marchers at all times, did not attack as they have in the past. “What we’re seeing now is that they’re using the same repressive strategies [as in the ’80’s],” she says. “Even the same people are in charge.”

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Sen. John McCain Authors Bill to Detain Americans Indefinitely without Trial


By Allison Bricker
The Smoking Argus

WASHINGTON D.C. – The man once held as a P.O.W. and tortured after his A4E-SKYHAWK jet was shot down during the Vietnam War has authored a bill entitled, “S.3081 – Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010” which thus far has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill outlines the process by which Americans may be held indefinitely, without notice of their Miranda Rights, and without ever being charged with a crime. Worse detainment of an individual according to the legislation is authorized by mere suspicion that the individual did or seeks to harm any asset of the United States government or any civilian target.

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The Gitmo Distraction

By Robert C. Koehler

America’s charade of change comes complete with national “debate” and a slight readjustment of the center to accommodate the Bush Lite policies of the Obama presidency.

What matters is that any change President Obama proposes be symbolic rather than substantive. A furious battle then ensues over the symbolic change so that, if it does finally come to pass — with the president weathering the endless flow of invective and fear-mongering from the Republican right — it will appear as though something was actually accomplished.

Meanwhile, business as usual holds course. The great swell of hope for a renewal of American society that swept Obama into office — for a real accounting of the crimes of the Bush administration, not to mention a reversal of its most heinous policies and a return to value-based governance — dissipates into the vague, scattered disappointment of millions of supporters, who once again have no focus for their disaffection.

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