Posts Tagged ‘Torture’

9.11, WTC-7 and the Pentagon attacks that have led to 11 years of war

September 11, 2012

By Dark Politricks

With another anniversary of the 9.11 attacks about to pass there are plenty of questions that remain unanswered and a growing number of people who are realising that the official conspiracy theory as preached by the US government is still just that, a theory which hasn’t been proved in the eyes of millions of enquiring minds.

The number of people who are happy to accept conspiracy as a legitimate explanation for an event is growing day by day and when articles are posted online designed to attack believers in alternative views (such as the recent Demos article) the comments quickly fill up with messages attacking the articles premise. This shows that the public are perfectly aware conspiracies do occur, that false flag attacks are a tool used by intelligence agencies of all shape and form and to dismiss this reality as nothing more than crazy talk is the favoured mechanism of those who benefit from stifling such discourse.

This is not to say that all conspiracy theories are equal and whilst history proves that the rich and powerful often collude to the detriment of the public the number of ill thought out or illogical theories that litter the web have had the effect of tarnishing debate of a legitimate subject matter that is most definitely based in reality.

There have been many conspiracy theories regarding 9.11 ranging from the complex to the ridiculous however just because some theories are easily debunked does not mean that all if them can be ignored. I for one have been back and forth over this subject many times and whilst I currently believe that sections within the US intelligence agencies at some level had pre-knowledge of the attacks I do not claim to hold all the answers.

Not only has the secrecy surrounding the attacks helped breed a myriad of competing theories it has helped cast aspersions on the governments own possible collusion whatever level that may have been. When the government refuses to hold a full public enquiry into events of such magnitude, when they collude with the one investigation actually held to withhold evidence, when they refuse to release videos and other evidence which could dispel many conspiracy theories for “national security” reasons it does nothing more than increase skeptisism in an already suspicious public about their motives.

For example the US government could easily release the numerous tapes confiscated from around the Pentagon in the aftermath of that attack to dispel rumours that a missile and not a large ariliner hit the building. Numerous cameras from surrounding hotels and garages had their footage confiscated shortly after the attack and even if these tapes do not show anything regarding the approach and impact then they should be released anyway otherwise people will always claim that the government is hiding footage of whatever really hit the building.

Without publicly accessible evidence of the impact there will always be questions over the Pentagon attack which left a small hole in the building wall before it’s collapse. The dimensions of the hole do not seem to fit those of a Boeing 757 and there is the question of how a plane of that size reportedly flew 400 mph at only 30ft above the ground to hit the first floor of the building without hitting the ground first.

Experienced pilots claim this feat would have been impossible for an inexperienced pilot such as Hani Hanjour who had been denied the usage of a small Cessna 172 which he had tried to rent because he was such a bad pilot.

Others believe that the the immense down-force from the plane would have prevented it from flying so close to the ground at such speeds and that it would have crashed into the ground leaving marks on the untouched Pentagon lawn way before the walls that it reportedly hit.

An analysis of the flight data recorder from Flight 77 which hit the Pentagon shows a so far unexplained discrepancy between the altitude of the plane and what supposedly happened which meant that the lamp posts which the plane supposedly hit would have had to have been 440 feet high for the plane to have brought them down.

This data which has been released by the National Transportation Safety Board also means that the planes altitude is in direct conflict with the only CCTV footage that has been released of the impact. Either the data from the black box is wrong somehow (e.g it was edited before being released) or the plane didn’t actually hit the lamp posts and then crash into the Pentagon.

The following video is a good 3D reconstruction of what supposedly happened during the Pentagon attack. Notice that the plane flies parallel to the ground for some considerable time, knocking over the lamp posts and then hitting the Pentagon.

Another issue proponents of the missile theory claim “proves” their argument is the lack of physical evidence after the crash. There are many witnesses on record saying that there was little or no plane debris which has been picked up on as supporting the idea that no plane actually the building however the following video shows how a plane can literally disappear leaving little or no discernible body parts when it’s flown at high speed into a wall.

This test was carried out in the 80’s to see whether a Japanese nuclear power station could withstand an airplane hitting it. They used a rocket-propelled, 27-ton F-4 Phantom jet, attached to a sled, aimed to hit a 3.7 meter thick slab of concrete at a speed of about 475 miles per hour which is the same speed that Flight 77 reportedly hit the Pentagon.

As you can see from that video the plane is totally pulverised and not much remains to be identified afterwards.

So what do I make of it all? There is a clear case of contradictory evidence in that the flight data that was released to the public is either wrong somehow or it is correct and the plane didn’t hit the Pentagon meaning that something else did.

Lots of witnesses claim to have seen the plane hit the building which means that either they are all lying or a plane did hit the building. I am going with the latter as I believe that personal witness statements should be treated as the key pieces of evidence they are. Many people in the 911Truth community will claim that there were a multitude of witnesses who heard and saw explosives go off at the World Trade Center and then claim that all the witnesses who saw the Pentagon crash were plants and in on the conspiracy. They cannot have it both ways.

This does not resolve the issue of the hard to make aerial manoeuvres that inexperienced pilot Hani Hanjour had to have made to fly the plane so close to the ground and hit the building as he did. I don’t know the answer to this but one explanation would be that he wasn’t flying the plane at all and someone or something else was controlling it which might explain how it managed to fly such a complicated dive and then manage it’s fast parallel entry towards it target without crashing before hand.

Whatever actually happened it would be nice if the US government could release all the other video footage taken from cameras around the Pentagon even if they don’t show anything regarding the impact. I don’t know why they would want to keep confiscated footage if it didn’t show anything related to the event but the release of this footage would help clear up a lot of questions.

Whilst the Pentagon is an interesting and some what puzzling topic on it’s own I think the question of World Trade Center 7 is most troubling for the following reasons:

  • We have a large building that was not hit by a plane, only falling debris, that fell into it’s own footprint in a few seconds looking exactly like a controlled demolition.
  • The only investigation into this buildings collapse is a fundamentally flawed NIST report that relied purely on a computer model to explain the collapse.
  • This model, which they won’t release the data for, put the cause down to thermal expansion a totally new explanation for a buildings collapse.
  • This expansion was generated within the computer model by only heating the steel beams and not the concrete floor slabs which is totally unrealistic and a clear case of fixing the outcome by loading the parameters to create the desired outcome.
  • The NIST admits that there is a 2.4 second period during the collapse in which the building falls at freefall speed which defies the laws of physics and which meant that they had to remove their previous claim that the report was consistent with scientific principles.

This last one is a killer point that so far has not been tackled by any debunking site I have come across. In fact I have personally emailed a number of sites asking them to look at this particular point as I would love to hear a rational explanation that explains how this freefall could occur.

Believe it or not I don’t want to be labelled a conspiracy theorist and I don’t choose to believe a theory without it having some merit. On the topic of 9.11 I have a number of questions that I would like answering that at the moment are only explained by some sort of collusion.

As far as I am aware the 2.4 freefall of WTC7 is only explained by a controlled demolition of some kind and for that to have occurred there must have been foreknowledge and the pre-planting of explosives. If this question is answered some other way however I for one am perfectly willing to change my views on the matter and I would urge debunkers to please provide me with such an alternative explaination for this event.

The following video is a talk on the collapse of the Twin Towers which primarily looks at why the Pancake theory was flawed and why if the buildings had fallen naturally and not from a controlled demolition the huge central core columns that the towers were built around should have still been standing even if the surrounding building had collapsed.

And on this 11th anniversary of the events that have led to all of the following:

    • 11 Years of war.
    • Wars with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and covert wars with Pakistan and Syria.
    • The implementation of the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act.
    • Powers that allow the Preident to declare war on a whim as he did with Libya ignoring Congress and the War Powers Act.
    • The spectacle of torture, water boarding, CIA Black Sites, Extraordinary Rendition, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.
    • An enemy that cannot be beaten because we created it in the 80’s. An enemy we have found ourselves fighting on the same side with in Kosovo, Libya and Syria.
    • An endless war on a tactic that can never end because there is no-one to sign a cessation of hostilities or declaration of victory agreement with.
    • A police state that has grown up to an all invasive wet dream of George Orwell fans in which systems like TRAPWIRE and ECHELON watch and listen to your every move.
    • A push to move the war of terror into the homeland and declare protesters as domestic extremists and the new “terrorists”.
    • Free speech zones and constant films of police brutality against anyone daring to stand up to this wall of power.

I would ask you to kindly pay your respects to the victims of the attacks, including the huge number of Fire-fighters and first responders who are now dying from extreme forms of cancer.

I would also like you to just ask yourself with all the regime changing going along in the world at the moment, whether leaders of the moral fibre such as Dick Cheney, George Bush, Tony Blair and Karl Rove etc. Whether they would never, ever, consider putting the lives of innocent people ahead of a war that could push globalist policy objectives that could benefit the west (and themselves) long term – ideas such as those laid out in the Project for a New American Century.

At the very least it 9.11 was a major screw up in which the major players were all rewarded for their screw ups. At the worst it was a covert operation planned by elements across the board using al-Qaeda patsies (as we have been doing recently in Libya and Syria to do our dirty work for us) to carry out the crime.

A crime in which certain people had fore-knowledge and pulled the strings of others letting the blame fall across the Muslim world which we are now at war with.

If you have not read this article already I suggest reading it as well as the comment debate below as it shows the sort of people we are up against when trying to get a proper criminal investigation held into the events of 9.11.

A crime that 9.11 commissioners admitted was carried out or helped out by a foreign country but won’t tell us which one.

I ask you – why should the people who are fighting these never ending wars not know the name of the country involved, it sure wasn’t Iraq and it sure wasn’t mud hut dwelling Taliban Afghans which 92% of have never even heard of 9.11 or even the Twin Towers?

Is a proper criminal investigation with subpoena power too much to ask after 11 years of war that has changed America into the beacon of the free world into a place where the President can lock you up or even have you killed on his decision alone?

A place where mega computer systems watch your every move, listen to your every call and read your every text and then store it in city sized computers for analysis.

A place where the police are indistinguishable from the military and drones fly the US skies and tanks roam the streets.

And most importantly a place in which you are all ruled still by “Emergency laws” enacted after the events of 9.11 which give the President almost dictatorial powers.

Forget the US Presidential election question of “Is your life better than 4 years ago”.

It should be “Is you life better than it was 11 years ago in terms of civil rights, freedom, privacy and security from your own government?”

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Ron Paul attacks the beat of war drums to Iran

August 6, 2012

By Dark Politricks

Ron Paul attacks the beat of war drums to Iran an Syria in a speech to Congress.

The Democrat politician Dennis Kucinich gives way to his friend and comrade on many issues regarding civil liberties, war, foreign policy, the FED and many other things, Ron Paul, in the debate on the Iran Sanctions Bill. Or as Ron Paul likes to call it “The Obsession with Iran Act 2012.” A Bill that was passed anyway 421-6.

You can view the full video here: Ron Paul attacks the beat of war drums to Iran

All reasons these two lonely voices are on my Good Guy List.

He says the following:

“A vote for this … will show that it’s just one more step to another war that we don’t need,” the congressman said in an Aug. 1 speech against the bill. “We have not been provoked, [Iran] is not a threat to our national security and we should not be doing this. For the past 10 to 15 years we’ve been obsessed with this idea that we go to war and try to solve all the problems of the world. At the same time, it is bankrupting us.”

“What we continue to be doing is obsess with Iran and the idea that Iran is a threat to our national security,” the congressman said. “Iran happens to be a Third World nation. They have no significant navy, air force, or intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

Do you think we’re protecting civil liberties by arbitrarily dropping drones or threatening to drop drones any place in the world, with innocent people dying?” the congressman said.

“If we want to really care about civil liberties in Syria, why don’t we really care about the secret prisons we have and the history of torture we have in this country?

While the US is making kill lists, it is preaching for civil liberties abroad and “poking our nose in other people’s affairs, just looking for the chance to start another war,” this time in Iran, Ron Paul said.

As Ron Paul says in his speech the Iranian sanctions bill is an act of war and as I have said before we are already at war with Iran and our support of terrorist groups like the MEK and Jundalah who blow up innocent civilians in mosques and scientists in their cars for their Mossad/CIA paymasters is only the scratch of the surface of the covert proxy war already being fought out by US freedom fighters (really) terrorists and the Iranian regime.

As I said months ago America has lost any moral authority it once had in the world by it’s recent foreign policy actions.  It’s hypocritical support of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as they crush dissent and attack human rights every day whilst bleating on about the abuses in other nations who are not their friends or sell them large quantities of oil whilst holding US military bases in their territories only makes their hypocrisy more visible to the rest of the world.

When the US/UK/French axis of war attacks countries like Iran and Syria for “targeted killings” all the while holding their own “kill lists” ( death by executive order ). They are being more than a little choosy in who they accuse of human rights violations especially as they let one one of the worlds biggest, China, lend them billions of dollars so they can go to war on tick.

All the while they continue to bankrupt America by fighting wars they cannot afford and keep Gitmo open with many innocent detainees still locked up denied the right of habeas corpus.

Plus they still have the massive blemish of torture at prisons from Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba on their sheet which they need to remove before any moral authority can be restored to their words and actions.

They use drones to kill innocent people all across the world in their “shadow wars” and claim that no civilians have died purely because they count dead males of certain ages as enemy combatants whether they are or not.

Plus who can be bothered to count the dead when a drone drops a bomb in Pakistan that is controlled from Langley. Drones that now fly the skies over the US in a prequel to a Dark Angel world of instant scanning and automated minority report style pre-crime detection.

With a police that is looking more like an armed forces brigade every day. Driving tanks and using special military grade armour and weaponry to break up small protests or break into citizens houses and shoot dead people or dogs who dare bark too loud all the while looking for small amounts of pot.

Or who can forget the recent Occupy Protests in which cops beat up Grannies and held open students noses so that they can shoot pepper spray down their throats  just because they dared to sit down in a peaceful line to protest.

It is no wonder people are wondering why the home of the free has become the home of Orwell’s worst dreams.

Even the upcoming US Presidential election looks like a choice between two useless contestants.

Whoever wins nothing will change unless the American public wake up and vote in someone with morals, a sense of America’s true actions in the world and at least a modicum of knowledge about why half the world wants to kill them.

If only there was some way of the American people showing their displeasure at the road it’s taking that doesn’t involve voting in a GOP version of Obama or keeping a very non-liberal Democrat as President both of which who will do nothing to change the direction America is going in….

Quiz Are you only against an American police state when “your man” is in the White House?

June 17, 2012

By Dark Politricks

This a pop quiz to see if you are a free thinker who chooses your morals independently of whether “your guy” is in the White House or someone who sees right and wrong whichever side of the coin is in power.

1. Are you someone who is attacking Obama‘s expansion of the war on terror. His increase in drone strikes and failure to close Gitmo. The  killing by Presidential decree and implementation of civil liberty destroying measures such as increased Internet Spying and the implementation of the NDAA?

2. Were you doing the same when George Bush was implementing the PATRIOT ACT and using warrant-less phone hacking. Allowing his Vice President to have a personal execution team to take out enemies of the state and using extraordinary rendition and torture to gain information from prisoners who were mostly innocent people sold to the Americans by the Afghan warlords. Were you decrying  the implementation of drone attacks which de-link the close up smell and emotion of a killing from the deed turning it to nothing more than a real life video game? Did your protests stop when a Democrat “you could believe in” entered the White House and then carried on the Bush policies?

3. Are you someone supporting the Occupy Wall St’s desire to have real banking reformstop bailouts of casino banks that waste billions on bets or “hedges” like JP Morgans’s recent London Whale and want to close the disparity between the top 1% and the rest of America. Do you mind that during the worst depression of our lifetime the wages of those in the top percent of the country have increased by staggering amounts whereas the lowering, devaluing dollar that means lower and middle class families are seeing real price increases, inflation and lowering living standards?

4. Were you supportive of the original Tea Party and Ron Paul when they were making some of the same claims. Did you change your support of economic policy when Bush left and Obama entered the White House. Do you think it matters who sleeps in the White House bed when the FED can print money, loan out billions to foreign and domestic banks on a whim and devalue the dollar in your pocket without any political oversight?

5. Is it moral or ethical to kill an American citizen without any judicial process even if they are not in America at the time of the killing?

6. What about if they were in America? Should the President be able to sign your death warrant like an English King without your knowledge and without any recourse to  court?

7. Is it okay to kill a Jihadist in Pakistan by drone attack because a CIA agent “thinks” they have the right person in Langley, Virginia?

8. Is it still okay if 50 innocent Pakistani villagers, woman and children are also killed at the same time?

9. What about a thousand people? What number is a legitimate figure for “collateral damage” in these kinds of attacks?

10. What if you later find out that the Jihadist wasn’t killed at all and it was a case of mistaken identity. Was the attack still justified? What recourse should the families of the dead victims have against the American government who is supposedly not at war with Pakistan?

11. If a gang of burglars broke into your house in the middle of the night, shot your dog dead, beat you with sticks and de-humanised you in front of your family. Should you have the right to fight back, to kill if necessary to protect your family and possessions?

12. What if the gang wore SWAT uniforms and were following a false tip phoned in by a jealous neighbour or they thought you were smoking marijuana. Should the fact that the state is the gang of thugs killing your pets and beating you make any difference to your right to defend your family and your property?

13. Do you think Obama is bankrupting the country by increasing national debt?

13. What about President Bush or President Reagan? Does your perspective of national debt change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat or is debt, debt no matter who is President? Both Bush and Reagan increased the national debt by huge amounts – what is the difference between  a Republican increasing debt and a Democrat?

14. Do you think Obama wants to turn your country into socialist Cuba by having a health policy that actually allows poor people or those with existing conditions to get affordable health care?

15. What would you do if you lost your job due to a bank bailout and a house repossession caused by policies enacted under George W Bush and you couldn’t afford your health insurance?

16. What would you do if you broke your leg or had a serious disease. How would you treat your condition? Would you use the most expensive health care system in the world by turning up at your local Hospital Emergency department?

17. Do you think that a healthy work force is a productive one? Or should people born into poor families through no fault of their own be left to suffer and die due to lack of money?

18. Do you think war should be decided by Presidential decree alone or that Congress should vote on every decision that sends peoples children into harms way? Should Congress vote according to their conscience or their parties line on the matter?

19. Do you agree with the wars in Iraq and Libya. Were you against the war in Iraq when Bush was President and for the war in Libya when Obama was? Why was  that?

20. Do you want your country to turn into a modern day Police state where all communications are listened to, automatically filtered and then decisions about whether you can leave and enter the country or travel by plane decided by a text message or email?

21. Should the TSA be able to touch your wife’s breasts and touch your children’s bodies all in the name of protecting the homeland from terrorists disguised as 4 year old white boys and 80 year old grannies?

22. Should people be able to speak out about government abuses, criminal acts and actions that break international law if they feel that the people have a right to know? Does the law apply to everyone or just the serfs and not the landowners?

23. Should these whistle blowers be punished for breaking “secrets act” laws or praised for following their conscience?

24. Should the American government force private companies to stop trading with people and organisations that try to bring the truth to the people. Knowledge and misdeeds that your government would rather you didn’t know about such as the illegal bugging of UN dignitaries or the massacre of innocent people in a war zone?

25. Do you want to live in a world where it is increasingly hard to tell the difference between your once free country and a banana dictatorship that kills opponents on a whim, uses torture and prison without trial, prints money to cause inflation and goes to war to distract the people from real problems at home?

26. Do you really think that by electing Mitt Romney as the next US President anything will really change?

27. If Mitt Romney is elected do you think jobs will suddenly come flooding back to America from all those companies like his own and Apple who offshore them to Chinese cheap labour camps?

28. Will Romney stop the FED printing money and will the government never raise the national debt under his presidency?

29. Do you think that he will stop or expand the war on terror and increase it more to the homeland by naming US Citizens as domestic terrorists. Do you think you are on one of the government watch-lists right now?

30. What can you do about it?

Please put your ideas in the comment boxes.

Our arch enemy – the European Court of Human Rights

May 17, 2012

By Dark Politricks

Just a short one today related to something that I read in a paper by a famous British controversial comedian Frankie Boyle.

It’s about the current furore over the European Court of Human Rights and the extradition of Abu Qatada to Jordan where he will probably be tortured – not that most UK citizens care if he was.

“When your arch enemy is a court of human rights it might be time to take a deep breath and think for a moment what that makes you” – Frankie Boyle

A nice thought provoking quote I thought.

Do you have the balls to be a whistle blower?

December 16, 2011

By Dark Politricks

Today is the day Private Bradley Manning finally gets his first of many days in court. It must be a relief to put some different clothes on after the many months he has spent in solitude, sometimes naked and depressed with only his thoughts to occupy his time. Some people have called his treatment a form of torture.

Whatever the outcome, and I think we all know what that will be – his fate has been decided many moons ago, the question will remain when does whistle blowing constitute traitorous activity?

If you work for a government body of any kind and you find out that someone or some group within that organisation is breaking either national law or international law by their actions should you speak out?

No matter what you think of Bradley Manning’s actions it has been clear from many leaked documents and videos that war crimes have been committed by US troops during their many years of imperialistic activity.

We have had the Abu Ghraib incidents in which detainees, many who were innocent of any crime, were forced to perform humiliating and sexually degrading acts for the camera wielding jailers who claimed they were just following orders from above. Scape goats a many.

We have had the claims of torture at Gitmo in which detainees were water boarded, sometimes multiple times a day. An act the current president of the United StatesUS and International law calls Torture.

We have had “rouge” groups of US troops commit murder for fun. In Afghanistan a “secret kill team” went on a rampage killing several men and collecting their fingers as trophies. I doubt this was the only group doing this but it took a brave whistle blower to tell the tale.

We had the famous WikiLeaks helicopter attack on a group of Iraqi men, two of which were journalists, which shocked the world when it was released. It showed the “Playstationmentality” of the pilots who seemed to treat the massacre as nothing more than a video game where real human beings and ambulances were just targets to be shot at to gain extra points.

And the list could go on across many more years, wars and armies as atrocities are not just committed by the USA but by UK troops, Russian soldiers in Chechnya, Bosnian Serbs, Turkish and Israeli armies. No countries army is immune from the horrors and excesses of war. War crimes are committed on a daily basis and no doubt clever and influential people in the West are plotting and planning as I write trying to create plans to delay the imminent rise to dominance of China.

However we have seen what happens to people who dare to stick their head over the parapet and accuse their own government of wrong doing.

Daniel Ellsberg felt the full force of US law when he brought to the US populations attention the excesses of the Vietnam war in the Pentagon papers and Mordechai Vanunu found out what happens when you mess with the Israeli establishment who were secretly building nuclear weapons at their Dimona nuclear plant.

Ex British Spy David Shayler was jailed for his revelations that the MI6 were funding Al-Qaeda linked terrorists in a plot to kill Col Gaddafi and after 9.11 numerous whistle-blowers including the “most gagged person in history” Sibel Edmonds were prevented from telling the world what they knew about the US governments pre-knowledge of the attacks on the country.

Therefore it seems that it does not pay to be a truth teller when the goverment you serve is more interested in telling lies.

You risk a lot by going public with evidence of wrong doing when the organisation you work for treats whistle blowing as official secrets to be kept, even when they know those secrets are illegal, immoral and wrong.

We can see now how Julian Assange is being treated for daring to open a website up that allowed whistle-blowers to pass information on secretly. If the government in question can’t get you then it will use it’s corporatist nature and it’s overseas allies to hurt you by shutting down your site, blocking funding and bank accounts and possibly even going as far as concocting false accusations of sexual molestation so that you can be character assassinated in the public domain.

To many it is clear that our supposedly free, western liberal democratic governments are nothing of the sort. The continuous swapping of power between similar political parties run or backed by millionaires and big business every few years is nothing more than the illusion of democracy being played out for the watching populous.

We can see it now in Egypt and Libya. Two countries who are supposedly now free of their tyrannical leaders and who are supposed to be embracing democracy with open arms.

In Egypt people are voting in pointless elections for a government with no power whilst the military still controls the country.

In Libya the old dictator has been replaced by a grouping of his old deputies, “ex” terrorists and other regime linked cronies who seem to be loathe to hand power back to the people.

Right now in Benghazi people are protesting about the countries interim governmentthe National Transitional Council, who they feel are being too slow to affect any meaningful change.

They also believe that the NTC leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil who was the ex Minister for Justice under Gaddafi is far too willing to forgive ex colleagues and Gaddafisupporters. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that as Minister for Justice he was probably personally responsible for many of the human rights abuses and crimes that went on under the old regime.

Same faces, different name. That is the game we are all playing as the world spins in turmoil and we watch protesters from Wall Street to Europe to the Middle East all try and affect change in their lives whilst our real rulers, the bankers and their cohorts shuffle the deck of politicians and make us all believe the impossible.

As Bradley Manning goes to court today, whether you agree with his actions or not, I wonder how many of us in this current climate of fear would dare to stand up and say “No”, if they knew the punishment that faced them for doing so.

Would you?

 

 

 

Secret detention may amount to crime against humanity: UN experts

January 28, 2010

AFP
Thursday, January 28th, 2010

UN human rights experts warned on Wednesday that “widespread and systematic” secret detention of terror suspects could pave the way for charges of crimes against humanity.

In their first in-depth global study on the practice, the experts said the practice had spread to almost all regions of the world and was continuing.

The study, which is due to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March, listed 66 states that have been involved in secret detentions, mainly over the past nine years.

In spite of international norms protecting individual rights, “secret detention continues to be used in the name of countering terrorism around the world,” the report added.

Full article here


Rubbing Salt in Guantanamo's Wounds: Task Force Announces Indefinite Detentions

January 23, 2010

Andy Worthington
Truthout.org
Friday 22 January 2010

With a stunning lack of sensitivity, President Barack Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force chose the anniversary of the president’s failed promise to close the prison to announce its conclusions regarding the eventual fate of 196 prisoners.

As the Washington Post explained, the Task Force said, with no trace of irony, that “nearly 50” of the men still imprisoned at Guantanamo “should be held indefinitely without trial under the laws of war.”

The administration’s invocation of the laws of war actually refers to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which authorized the President “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001” (or those who harbored them), as interpreted by the Supreme Court in June 2004, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, in which it was asserted that “Congress has clearly and unmistakably authorized detention” of individuals covered by the AUMF.

This may technically be legal in the United States, but it is at odds with everyone else’s understanding of the laws of war. As every other civilized country understands them, the laws of war involve holding combatants for the duration of hostilities according to the Geneva Conventions, which, under Common Article 3, prohibits the “humiliating and degrading treatment” and coercive interrogations to which the men in Guantánamo were subjected, after President Bush declared in February 2002 that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Moreover, these men were never screened to ascertain whether they were actually combatants in the first place. Under Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention (relative to the treatment of prisoners of war), if there is any doubt about whether those detained fit the description of Article 4 (broadly speaking, regular armed forces), they should be treated as Article 4 prisoners until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal. Held close to the time and place of capture, these were convened in every U.S. war from Vietnam onwards, and in the first Gulf War, for example, 1,196 tribunals were held, and 886 men were subsequently released.

However, competent tribunals were not held in Afghanistan (and are still not held to this day, under President Obama), and irregular soldiers (such as those fighting for the Taliban, or military forces related to al-Qaeda who were supporting the Taliban) slipped through the cracks of the protections assured to everyone detained in wartime, whether combatant or civilian, and were labeled as “unlawful enemy combatants,” who, according to the Bush administration, could be deprived of all rights.

This was nonsense, as the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed in 1958 in a commentary on the Fourth Convention (relative to the treatment of civilians) that “Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or … a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention.” Moreover, “There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law.”

This interpretation was reinforced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in a judgment in 1998, but in the “war on terror,” the result of the Bush administration’s cynical maneuvering was Guantánamo, a prison in which men who had never been adequately screened were presumed to be guilty, even though, in most cases, the authorities knew nothing about them, largely because 86 percent of them had not been seized “on the battlefield,” as senior officials claimed, but had been sold to the U.S. military by their Afghan and Pakistani allies, at a time when bounty payments, averaging $5,000 a head, were being paid for al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects.

As a result, the Obama administration’s justification for holding 50 men indefinitely without charge or trial reinforces the Bush administration’s false claim that there is a category of wartime prisoner who can be held indefinitely (as opposed to being held as a prisoner of war until the end of hostilities). What makes this conclusion even more unnerving is that the justification for holding these men indefinitely is evidence that, by President Obama’s own admission, is “tainted” by the use of torture.

In a major national security speech in May, when he first signaled that he was reviving the Bush administration’s justification for holding men indefinitely without charge or trial, he referred to prisoners who “cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States.”

To its credit, the administration has belatedly acknowledged that the decision regarding whether or not to hold these men is not the exclusive province of the executive branch. As the Post explained, officials stated that “each detainee has the right to challenge his incarceration in habeas corpus proceedings in federal court.” This is a welcome acknowledgment, as the courts’ role, mandated by an enormously significant Supreme Court ruling in June 2008, has been noticeably sidelined by the administration, even though, in the last 16 months, District Court judges have ruled, in 32 out of 41 cases, that the government’s supposed evidence – largely derived from the prisoners themselves, or from their fellow prisoners – is so “tainted” as to be useless and unbelievable.

Judges have also taken exception to the President’s hidden sub-text – that other compelling evidence has come from the intelligence agencies – noting, on several occasions, that the “mosaics” of intelligence put forward to justify detention may be useful in terms of gathering intelligence, but fail to stand up to scrutiny in a court of law.

No indication has yet been provided as to the identities of the 50 men that the Task Force advocates holding indefinitely, but it is a safe bet that one is Fayiz al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti (profiled on Truthout last October), who has always maintained that he was a humanitarian aid worker, caught up in the post-invasion chaos of Afghanistan.

Noticeably, al-Kandari has been persistently uncooperative with the interrogators in Guantánamo, and has refused to implicate himself in any terrorist-related activities.

But according to the authorities, in a version of reality concocted almost exclusively from multiple levels of hearsay provided by other prisoners, while in Afghanistan, between August and December 2001 he managed not only to visit the al-Farouq training camp (the main training camp for Arabs in the years before 9/11), but also provided instruction to al-Qaeda members and trainees, to serve as an adviser to Osama bin Laden, and to produce recruitment audio and videotapes which encouraged membership in al-Qaeda and participation in jihad.

Al-Kandari is one of the men whose only hope now is that a District Court judge will see through the authorities’ flimsy case against him, but for those seeking justice for genuine terrorists (or those, at least, against whom something resembling real evidence exists), the news from the Task Force is at least more encouraging. As the Post explained, the Task Force has recommended that “about 35 prisoners should be prosecuted in federal or military courts.”

Without the distraction of the 50 supposedly dangerous men who can be held indefinitely without evidence, this figure rather comprehensively demonstrates the colossal failure rate of the Bush administration’s experiment at Guantánamo: of the 779 men held, just under 5 percent are to face trials. If anything demonstrates that doing away with establishing safeguards in wartime and establishing guilt through arrogant presumption is a disastrous idea, it should be this statistic.

Making up the rest of the 95 percent of Guantánamo’s prisoners who should never have been detained are “at least 110 detainees” who have been cleared for release. As the Post explained, the Task Force “deemed approximately 80 detainees, including about 30 Yemenis, eligible for immediate repatriation or resettlement in a third country. About 30 other Yemenis were placed in a category of their own, with their release contingent upon dramatically stabilized conditions in their home country.”

This is another swipe at the chaos of the Bush administration’s policies, of course, as the figure of 110 can be added to the 44 prisoners already released by Obama, but it is not without its problems. The Post tiptoed around Obama’s cowardly refusal to release any cleared Yemenis for the foreseeable future, in the face of unprincipled attacks from Republicans and member of his own party, who attempted to equate the cleared Yemenis with the failed Christmas Day plane bomber.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had apparently been in contact with an al-Qaeda-inspired group in Yemen that included Saudi ex-prisoners released by George W. Bush, despite warnings from the intelligence services that they were among the handful of dangerous men in Guantánamo, but in the hysteria that recently prevailed, the cleared Yemenis were sacrificed for political gain.

The unadorned figures also fail to reveal that, of the 50 men from other countries, the majority cannot be repatriated because of fears that they will be tortured on their return.

On the anniversary of President Obama’s failure to close Guantánamo – and also to fully repudiate the Bush administration’s vile policies – the plight of these men should not be overlooked. Although the Post noted that the administration “anticipates that about 20 detainees can be repatriated by this summer,” and “has received firm commitments from countries willing to settle an additional 25 detainees who have been cleared for release,” experiences this year have indicated that other countries are reluctant to provide new homes for these men when the United States has washed its hands of them.

The blame for refusing to allow any cleared prisoner to settle in the United States, if they cannot be repatriated, lies with the president, with lawmakers, with the Justice Department and judges in the Court of Appeals and numerous media outlets.

But its impact not only continues to sour relations with other countries asked to do America’s dirty work, it also threatens to leave innocent men stranded in Guantánamo for an undefined amount of time. Back in October 2008, when Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that 17 men from China (the Uighurs), who had won their habeas petitions, had to be rehoused in the United States because they could not be repatriated, and because no other country and been found that would take them, he explained that their continued detention was unconstitutional.

Fifteen months later, Judge Urbina’s words still ring true, as they may on this day next year, when some of these men may still be held in Guantánamo unless America accepts responsibility for its own mistakes.

View the original article at Truthout.org

Author uses ‘Monty Python’ logic to ‘obfuscate’ on waterboarding

January 22, 2010

Muriel Kane
Raw Story
Friday, January 22nd, 2010

When CNN’s Christiane Amanpour hosted a debate on Wednesday between conservative writer Marc Thiessen and British lawyer Philippe Sands, the conversation quickly took a turn to the surreal that concluded with Sands telling Thiessen his argument was “straight out of Monty Python.”

Thiessen, a former speechwriter for Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush and the author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack, started off by charging that the Christmas Day underwear bomber was able to go undetected because the Obama administration has “eliminated the capability to capture, detain, and effectively interrogate terrorists.”

Sands, the author of Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values, responded to Thiessen’s defense of enhanced interrogation by saying, “Marc has written a terrifically entertaining book, but it’s really a book of fiction. … I think if you speak to seasoned interrogators, they will tell you maybe you get a little bit information, you don’t get a lot, but what you do get is completely overridden by the price that is paid of setting up a recruitment tool and recruiting others in their terrible cause.”

“Unlike Philippe and the other critics, I’ve actually spoken to the CIA interrogators,” Thiessen retorted. “And one of the things they told me which was fascinating, when Abu Zubaydah, the first terrorist who was interrogated by the CIA, was waterboarded, he told his — he thanked his interrogators for waterboarding him and said to them, ‘You must do this for all the brothers.’”

“Do you support torture?” Amanpour asked bluntly.

“It’s not torture,” Thiessen replied. “There have been so many misstatements told about the enhanced interrogation techniques, comparing them to the Spanish Inquisition, to the Khmer Rouge…” At that point, he brought out a transcript of a CNN story from a year ago in which Amanpour described a set of paintings at a former Khmer Rouge prison in Cambodia which is now a museum.

“One of his paintings shows a prisoner blindfolded and hoisted onto a makeshift scaffold by two guards,” she reported. “He is then lowered head first into a massive barrel of water. Another shows a prisoner with cloth over his face, writhing as an interrogator pours water over his head.”

Thiessen quoted this description of a prisoner being lowered into a barrel of water, while conveniently omitting the sentence about water being poured onto a prisoner’s face. “We did not submerge people in a box full of water,” he objected.

“Excuse me a second. That is called waterboarding,” Amanpour replied.

“No, it’s not.” insisted Thiessen. “You’re absolutely wrong,”

“You’re trying to obfuscate the debate here,” Amanpour complained. “That prison was full of images of water torture. You can call it whatever you like.”

Thiessen went on to offer a series of arguments in support of waterboarding, finally citing a number of foiled terrorist attacks and asking Sands, “Which of these attacks would you prefer we hadn’t stopped?”

“I simply don’t accept your underlying premise that any information that has been obtained would have prevented these things,” Sands replied. “You argue that because these techniques were used in the United States, there were no further attacks on the mainland. How, then, do you explain the fact that, in the United Kingdom, which doesn’t use these techniques, there have been no further attacks in the last five years? The argument is a fallacious argument. It’s a naive argument. It’s straight out of — frankly, Marc, it’s straight out of Monty Python.”

Conservative blogs have, predictably, begun describing this exchange as a triumph for Thiessen. Human Events proclaimed that “a stunned Amanpour” was “left momentarily speechless” when Thiessen proved “that she had misled her viewers about the CIA’s waterboarding techniques.”

Erick Erickson at Red State exulted, “What makes it so spectacular is that Thiessen reads to Amanpour her own words and tells her what she said ‘is completely false.’ She goes ballastic [sic] and he proceeds to then mop the floor with her.”

And a blog called “Yid With Lid” went even further in an entry offensively titled, “Marc Thiessen ‘Bitch-Slaps’ Christiane Amanpour For Lying During CNN Interview.”

“Christiane Amanpour, the Chief international correspondent of Cable News Network grew up in Tehran where her father was a shill for the Shah’s government,” the blogger began. “Christiane cut her teeth on her her [sic] one-sided coverage of the conflict in Bosnia. Since then she has continued to support the Islamofacist [sic] cause every chance she can. … When Amanpour challenged Thiessen about waterboarding being torture, Thiessen directly challenged her with evidence that she had misled her viewers about the CIA’s waterboarding techniques . To be honest he wiped the floor with her.”

In all fairness, Amanpour’s original story may have unfairly blurred the line between waterboarding and more severe forms of water torture. Thiessen, however, played fast and loose with the transcript by omitting the sentence describing the Khmer Rouge torturers pouring water over a cloth on a prisoner’s face. So perhaps there was a little floor-wiping on both sides.

View the original article at Raw Story