Human Rights

Submitted by tnjp on March 28, 2014 - 6:15pm.

Watch the hearing - Right to Heal Initiative for a People's Hearing on the Lasting Impacts of the Iraq War, Phil Donahue moderating Speakers: Yanar Mohammed is president and co-founder of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Falah Alwan is President of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), one of Iraq’s largest labor unions. Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Submitted by tnjp on August 22, 2013 - 6:39pm.

"...I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror...

Submitted by tnjp on August 4, 2013 - 8:38pm.

PJ Harvey releases Guantánamo song for Shaker Aamer


Shaker Aamer

No water for three days.
I cannot sleep, or stay awake.

Four months hunger strike.
Am I dead, or am I alive?

With metal tubes we are force fed.
I honestly wish I was dead.

Strapped in the restraining chair.
Shaker Aamer, your friend.

In camp 5, eleven years.
Never Charged. Six years cleared.

They took away my one note pad,
and then refused to give it back.

I can't think straight, I write, then stop.
Your friend, Shaker Aamer. Lost.

The guards just do what they're told,
the doctors just do what they're told.

Like an old car I'm rusting away.
Your friend, Shaker, Guantanamo Bay.

Don't forget.

Submitted by tnjp on July 8, 2013 - 3:07pm.


Yasiin Bey appears in a video launched today demonstrating the Standard Operating Procedure for force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.

Made by human rights charity Reprieve and Bafta-award winning director Asif Kapadia, the film shows US actor and rapper formerly known as Mos Def experiencing the procedure. You can watch it above, or online, here.

The video launches a campaign to rally support for Guantanamo prisoners who are on hunger-strike in protest against their detention without charge or trial. The campaign asks members of the public to undertake their own short-term hunger-strikes in solidarity with the prisoners, and donate the time to support them, while also raising the issue with their political representatives. The website [http://www.standfastforjustice.org/] consolidates the total number of hours of hunger-striking undertaken in this way.

Prisoners in Guantanamo have been hunger-striking since February this year, with the total number involved now well over 100. The strike is in protest against their ongoing detention, despite the vast majority of prisoners never having been charged or tried, and over half the remaining population having even been cleared for release by the US Government. However, their peaceful protest has met with an increasingly aggressive response from camp authorities, including force-feeding and violent procedures known as 'forcible cell extractions’ (FCEs).

Commenting, Reprieve's Director and attorney for Guantanamo prisoners Clive Stafford Smith, said: "President Obama could take the steps needed to release cleared prisoners from Guantanamo any time he likes, but so far has lacked the political courage to do so. We hope that public solidarity with the hunger-strikers in Guantanamo will persuade him to change his mind."

Submitted by tnjp on May 25, 2013 - 2:39pm.

You Gotta Love Medea Benjamin

If you're an advocate for Peace and Justice you just gotta love Medea Benjamin. She consistently speaks out when the rest of us only wish we could. As co-founder of CodePink she's been at it for over a decade, repeatedly speaking truth to power at the risk of losing personal freedom and physical harm. She may be diminutive in size but posses a gargantuan spirit.

Her latest exploit? Speaking out against President Obama's policies during his counter-terrorism policy speech at the National Defense University. As Obama said himself - "The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to..."

Witness it yourself in the below videos, reports, and interviews...

President Obama Heckled By Code Pink Leader Madea Benjamin. Guantanamo Gitmo Speech

Medea Benjamin v. President Obama: CodePink Founder Disrupts Speech, Criticizing Drone, Gitmo Policy

Submitted by tnjp on May 23, 2013 - 9:21pm.

New light shed on US government's extraordinary rendition programme

Online project uncovers details of way in which CIA carried out kidnaps and secret detentions following September 11 attacks

The Rendition Project interactive
CIA rendition flights explained

Ian Cobain and James Ball
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 May 2013

A groundbreaking research project has mapped the US government's global kidnap and secret detention programme, shedding unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years.

The interactive online project – by two British universities and a legal charity – has uncovered new details of the way in which the so-called extraordinary rendition programme operated for years in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to avoid detection in the face of growing public concern.

The Rendition Project website is intended to serve as a research tool that not only collates all the publicly available data about the programme, but can continue to be updated as further information comes to light.

Data already collated shows the full extent of the UK's logistical support for the programme: aircraft associated with rendition operations landed at British airports more than 1,600 times.

Although no detainees are known to have been aboard the aircraft while they were landing in the UK, the CIA was able to refuel during operations that involved some of the most notorious renditions of the post-September 11 years, including one in which two men were kidnapped in Sweden and flown to Egypt, where they suffered years of torture, and others that involved detainees being flown to and from a secret prison in Romania...

Submitted by tnjp on May 23, 2013 - 4:21pm.

Scahill spoke at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY on May 22, 2013 on the eve of President Obama's address on drone policy, just after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. wrote a letter to members of Congress acknowledging the deaths of four Americans, including Anwar al-Awlaki, in counterterrorism strikes "outside of areas of active hostilities." Though these strikes had long been the subject of press reports about the administration's use of drones, the letter marks the first time the classified operations have been publicly acknowledged.

Submitted by tnjp on March 15, 2013 - 8:51pm.

Read the transcript HERE...

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement
March 11, 2013
By Trevor Timm Follow @TrevorTimm Rainey Reitman Follow @RaineyReitman

Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.

While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.

Bradley Manning's Full Statement

Download

full_statement.mp3 (63M)

full_statement.ogg (37M)

See Help Spread Bradley Manning's Words Across the Internet to embed the full audio, as well as excerpts from the audio, on your website.

Read the transcript HERE...

He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would "spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan." In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.

Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review...

Submitted by tnjp on March 10, 2013 - 4:46pm.

A Low, Dishonest Decade: New Details for the Iraq War Crime Mosaic

Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 07 March 2013

The truth-telling of the imprisoned Bradley Manning continues to bear rich fruit, even as he faces a lifetime in prison for acting on principle to save innocent lives and prevent his country from staining itself further with war crimes. This week, the Guardian released a special investigation into the hideous regime of torture that the United States imposed and empowered during its years-long rape of Iraq.

The Guardian report draws on the trove of documents that Manning gave to Wikileaks (and the now diplomatically "sequestered" Julian Assange) to provide new details on the direct links of America's highest officials -- including the bipartisanly adored and now much mourned retired apparatchik David Petraeus -- to the torture of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

In many ways, of course, it's hardly a revelation that American forces were deeply involved in torture during the "extraordinary achievement" (B. Obama) in Iraq. Some cranks have been writing about it since the earliest days of the invasion -- as in this piece, from August 2003:

Here's a headline you don't see every day: "War Criminals Hire War Criminals to Hunt Down War Criminals."

Perhaps that's not the precise wording used by the Washington Post this week, but it is the absolute essence of its story about the Bush Regime's new campaign to put Saddam's murderous security forces on America's payroll.

Yes, the sahibs in Bush's Iraqi Raj are now doling out American tax dollars to hire the murderers of the infamous Mukhabarat and other agents of the Baathist Gestapo – perhaps hundreds of them. The logic, if that's the word, seems to be that these bloodstained "insiders" will lead their new imperial masters to other bloodstained "insiders" responsible for bombing the UN headquarters in Baghdad – and killing another dozen American soldiers while Little George was playing with his putts during his month-long Texas siesta.

Naturally, the Iraqi people – even the Bush-appointed leaders of the Potemkin "Governing Council" – aren't exactly overjoyed at seeing Saddam's goons return, flush with American money and firepower. And they're certainly not reassured by the fact that the Bushists have also re-opened Saddam's most notorious prison, the dread Abu Ghraib, and are now, Mukhabarat-like, filling it with Iraqis – men, women and children as young as 11 – seized from their homes or plucked off the street to be held incommunicado, indefinitely, without due process, just like the old days. As The Times reports, weeping relatives who dare approach the gleaming American razor-wire in search of their "disappeared" loved ones are referred to a crude, hand-written sign pinned to a spike: "No visits are allowed, no information will be given and you must leave." Perhaps an Iraqi Akhmatova will do justice to these scenes one day.

Submitted by tnjp on January 16, 2013 - 2:11pm.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by ProPublica
Revealed: America’s Arms Sales To Bahrain Amid Bloody Crackdown
by Justin Elliott, ProPublica

Despite Bahrain's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, the U.S. has continued to provide weapons and maintenance to the small Mideast nation.

Following the crackdown on protests in Manama, protesters displayed tear gas canisters and pellets they said were made in the US. (Photo: Al Jazeera English) Defense Department documents released to ProPublica give the fullest picture yet of the arms sales: The list includes ammunition, combat vehicle parts, communications equipment, Blackhawk helicopters, and an unidentified missile system. (Read the documents.)

The documents, which were provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and cover a yearlong period ending in February 2012, still leave many questions unanswered. It's not clear whether in each case the arms listed have been delivered. And some entries that only cite the names of weapons may in fact refer to maintenance or spare parts.

Defense Department spokesman Paul Ebner declined to offer any more detail. "We won't get into specifics in any of these because of the security of Bahrain," said Ebner.

While the U.S. has maintained it is selling Bahrain arms only for external defense, human rights advocates say the documents raise questions about items that could be used against civilian protesters.

"The U.S. government should not be providing additional military equipment that could make matters worse," said Sunjeev Bery, Middle East advocacy director for Amnesty International USA....

Submitted by tnjp on December 14, 2012 - 9:35pm.

Round-up of latest US/CIA/UK torture reports.... makes u wannu puke!

It's WAY PAST TIME to gather up ALL the various psychopathic torturing bastages to have them sent to the International Criminal Court to be tried for crimes against humanity. It'd go a long way towards re-establishing the rule of law, dammit...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/dec/13/cia-tortured-sodomised-terror-...

CIA 'tortured and sodomised' terror suspect, human rights court rules

Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen
Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, Thursday 13 December 2012 13.54 EST

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

"The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

He described the judgment as "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror". It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was "simply unacceptable", he said............

Submitted by tnjp on November 27, 2012 - 8:45pm.

Mr. President: How Do You Define Precise?
Sunday, 25 November 2012
By Robert Greenwald, War Costs

"I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties…. For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al- Qaeda and their affiliates. And we are very careful in terms of how it's been applied."
President Obama, January 2012

I have interviewed many people over the years of doing documentaries.  Currently in Pakistan filming with victims of drone attacks (ahead of the film, follow my trip at warcosts.comFacebook and Twitter), I have never had a more haunting and harrowing experience than looking into the eyes of person after person, children and adults, and hearing them talk about their homes, villages and families destroyed by drone attacks. The pain is palpable, their fear still radiates. And even a question about the CIA sets off terror alerts in peoples' eyes....

Submitted by tnjp on July 29, 2012 - 5:39pm.

a speech at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland...
Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours | TomDispatch
Destroying the Commons
How the Magna Carta Became a Minor Carta
By Noam Chomsky

Down the road only a few generations, the millennium of Magna Carta, one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights, will arrive. Whether it will be celebrated, mourned, or ignored is not at all clear.

That should be a matter of serious immediate concern. What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that event. It is not an attractive prospect if present tendencies persist -- not least, because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

The first scholarly edition of Magna Carta was published by the eminent jurist William Blackstone. It was not an easy task. There was no good text available. As he wrote, “the body of the charter has been unfortunately gnawn by rats” -- a comment that carries grim symbolism today, as we take up the task the rats left unfinished...

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2011 - 11:36am.

Eight Years of War: What WikiLeaks Has Revealed on the US Occupation of Iraq
By Kevin Gosztola
March 19, 2011 at 09:24:02

This date, March 19, 2011, marks the beginning of the ninth year of the US war in Iraq. The war, which began in 2003 with a bombing campaign of "shock and awe," has for years been more of an occupation than a war. Despite the fact that many believe the war is over (especially Americans), the US still has 47,000 troops in Iraq and, despite a 2011 withdrawal date, will likely continue to have tens of thousands of soldiers based in Iraq for years to come.

The past year has seen the world learn a great deal about the US war and occupation of Iraq. With the WikiLeaks release of US State Cables, the Iraq War Logs, and a "Collateral Murder" video showing US soldiers firing on journalists and innocent civilians from an Apache helicopter, the criminal nature of the war and occupation has become more evident. To mark the end of eight years of US troops in Iraq and the beginning of a ninth year, it is worth noting the many revelations on Iraq that have become known thanks to WikiLeaks.

On October 22, 2010, 390,000 field reports, which became known as the Iraq War Logs, showed the regular use of abuse, brutality and torture used on Iraqis by Iraqi Police and Iraqi Security Forces. The logs revealed, despite US claims, a tracking of civilian deaths had been going on, and, in fact, 66,000 civilian deaths (15,000 which were previously unknown) had occurred.

Submitted by tnjp on November 12, 2010 - 2:57pm.


George W. Bush: Torturer-in-Chief
David Cole
November 10, 2010
In an uncoerced confession in his new memoir, Decision Points, former President George W. Bush proudly admits that he personally signed off on the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in 2003. Former Vice President Dick Cheney made the same admission in a televised interview shortly before he left office. In one sense, this is nothing new. It had long been reported that the CIA's use of what the Bush administration euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques" had been approved at the highest levels of the administration. But now both Bush and Cheney have publicly admitted to specifically signing off on the CIA's torture tactics. Their direct personal admissions now seal the case against them.

What case, you might ask? There is in fact no criminal or civil case against the former president or vice president for these actions. And both men no doubt felt comfortable admitting they had authorized what the world recognizes as torture because they believe they are politically immune from being held accountable. Even before the midterm elections, Barack Obama had insisted that he wanted only to look forward, not backward. With a strengthened Republican Party after the elections, it is even less likely that Bush or Cheney will be held accountable by the Obama administration. On November 9 the Justice Department announced that no criminal charges would be brought against the CIA agents who destroyed videotapes of the torture interrogations; that part of the cover-up, it seems, has succeeded...

Syndicate content