July 4th, a revolution desperately needed for the USA

July 4: Land of the free, home of the brave? Ok; are you free and brave enough to demand arrests of US .01% War Criminals ?

Do you admire the US Declaration of Independence ideals of unalienable rights, and early Americans having the intellectual integrity and moral courage to defend your country from dictatorial government, and refusing being used as work animals of a .01% self-declared “elite”?

Those of you with Oaths to support and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so you have the honor to enact that Oath here and now?

Those of you who consider yourselves responsible and educated citizens, do you respect the sacrifices of all our families through two world wars to uphold the Emperor’s New Clothes simple treaties that make current US wars Orwellian unlawful? I mean, really: can you tell us any more important law for citizens to understand than when armed attack is and is not lawful?

Unalienable rights are from God, and granted to all humans. Living in the land of the free and the home of the brave means by definition that we uphold all peoples’ freedom, and are brave enough to defend everyone’s freedom from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The most important freedom to defend is what the Declaration of Independence calls “Life”: freedom to not be killed by dictatorial government. The two treaties after each world war make current US armed attacks not even close to lawful. Importantly, all “reasons” given for war to Americans, our military, and the world are now disclosed by US official documents as known to be false as they were told. Of 248 armed conflicts since WW2, the US started 201 (81%), killing ~30 million human beings; more than killed by Germany in WW2.

You wouldn’t know this unless you read alternative media, because in Empires since the Roman’s, governments for the elite insiders rather than the public always control:

  • Government for favorable laws, and to control military, law enforcement, and judges.
  • What is used for money to enrich themselves and pay their minions.
  • Media in order to propagandize the public to “cover” their crimes.

These claims require zero belief. Those of us awake simply ask what the Emperor’s New Clothes child asks the community: look for yourselves at naked crimes in literally ~100 areas. These crimes demand arrests, obviously, as the costs of these crimes centering in war and money dwarf all others:

A lawful revolution is in response to government that abjectly violates its own laws, and refuses all reasonable offers to return government limits within its own constitution. It is a lawful revolution that requests its own military and law enforcement to do their jobs of arresting obvious criminal suspects in their own government.

Are you free and brave enough to stand with those of us simply pointing to Emperor’s New Clothes obvious facts of our own government slaughtering our fellow humans in unlawful, lie-began wars and poverty-murder?

Will you pass this simple test of responsible citizenship to demand arrests of obvious criminals violating the most important laws to stop government wanna-be dictators to continue killing millions, harming billions, and looting trillions?

I teach history, government, and economics, and promise you that the above documented facts of two treaties after each world war are what you already learned beginning in elementary school, and finished learning in high school.

Are you free enough to verify what you already know, and brave enough to tell the simple truth of US domestic War Criminals?

If you admire the Founding Generation of Americans for standing against the tyranny of their own government, do you admire yourself enough to stand with them today under circumstances far more obvious than faced by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and their colleagues?

The thoughts, words and actions you take are what you really are as a human being, and what you give to your children.

Be the American you’ve always wanted to be.

**

Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.

**

Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).

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Saudi dictatorship confirms WikiLeaks Leaked Documents are genuine

The Saudi crown prince: draconian measures and Severe Punishments Expected for Those Who Publish WikiLeaks Leaked Documents

 

Muhammad bin Nayef , the Saudi Crown Prince, declared that publishing any of classified Saudi documents by WikiLeaks whistle-blower is considered a crime and wrongdoers will convicted to high treason The Saudi monarch ordered a special committee to address the political consequences of recent publication of thousands of classified Saudi Foreign Ministry documents by the transparency advocate site WikiLeaks . The committee that is chaired by Saudi crown prince includes other high-ranking officials such as the heads of General Intelligence Directorate and Saudi’s notorious secret police –known as Mabaheth – and representatives from the Saudi royal court and Defence Ministry.

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz (Sky News)

 

According to our well-informed sources, one of the first resolutions adopted by this committee is the restriction on publishing the Saudi Foreign Ministry cables, moreover Saudi citizens who found guilty will be sentenced to severe punishments.

 

In the meantime, the Saudi octogenarian king will soon send emissaries to United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan to urge the heads of governments to help the beleaguered Saudi regime prevent the unbaiting waves of angry public opinion.

 

The Saudi officials have blocked all websites that contain any parts of WikiLeaks leaked documents to avoid further public indignation.

Saudi linked to Jihadist Group in Afghanistan

Saudi Officials Linked to Jihadist Group in WikiLeaks Cables

Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, had high-level contacts with America’s most deadly adversary in Afghanistan, the Haqqani network, according to purported Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

Jalaluddin Haqqani (C)

Jalaluddin Haqqani (C)

The documents, which couldn’t be independently verified, say the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan met in 2012 with Nasiruddin Haqqani, the chief fundraiser for the jihadist group who has been on a United Nations terrorism watch list since 2010.

 

In the meeting, Mr. Haqqani requested medical treatment in Saudi Arabia for his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the terrorist organization, the diplomatic correspondence says. The documents indicate the elder Haqqani carries a Saudi passport.

 

The Saudi embassy in Islamabad wasn’t available to comment, and Afghan officials didn’t immediately respond to the allegations. Senior U.S. officials said they were reviewing the reports but they had no immediate comment. Earlier this month, Osama Nugali, a Saudi foreign ministry spokesman, said that many of the documents published by WikiLeaks“have been clearly fabricated.” But he also said that the documents “didn’t give any information other than that formerly announced by the ministry” on international or regional issues.

 

Washington’s ties with Saudi Arabia have been strained for years over U.S. concerns that funding for the Afghan insurgency and other terrorist groups in the Middle East comes from donors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Successive U.S. administrations have been careful not to accuse Gulf governments of complicity in sponsoring terrorism, however.

 

A document dated Feb. 15, 2012, and signed by the then-Saudi envoy to Islamabad, Amb.Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al Ghadeer, says the diplomat met with Nasiruddin Haqqani, who asked the ambassador to convey to the Saudi king his father’s wish to be treated in a Saudi hospital. The cable also mentions Jalaluddin Haqqani’s Saudi passport.

 

In a separate document, dated Feb. 25, 2012, a senior official from Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry recommends treating Jalaluddin Haqqani in a Saudi hospital. It was unclear whether the treatment ever took place.

 

The Haqqani network is believed by U.S. and Afghan officials to be responsible for carrying out the most brazen attacks in the Afghan capital over the last decade, including a September 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. This month, Afghan officials blamed the Haqqani network for an unsuccessful attempt to storm the parliament in Kabul.

 

The network traces its origins to the 1980s, when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia backed Afghan mujahedeen factions fighting the Soviets with the assistance of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf described the Haqqanis as “our champions of the uprising against the Soviet Union.”

 

The U.S. broke off support for the mujahedeen after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, but Saudi Arabia and Pakistan maintained active links with various mujahedeen factions. After the Taliban government was ousted by the U. S-led invasion in 2001, the Haqqanis became a key military ally of the Taliban, who have waged a deadly insurgency against the U.S.-backed government of Afghanistan following the collapse of their regime.

 

Jalaluddin Haqqani’s listing on the U.N. terror watch list is supposed to bar his international travel and impose a financial freeze on him. Nasiruddin was placed on the same U.N. list in 2010. The U.S. designated the Haqqani network as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” in 2012.

 

“It just shows how acceptable it is to the Saudi hierarchy that the ambassador thought nothing of reporting this in an official cable, and indeed meeting them, or needing to seek instructions before doing so,” said Zafar Hilaly, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Yemen.

 

Official U.S. anger over support for the Haqqani network has largely focused not on Saudi Arabia but on Pakistan, where the group had a base for years in the North Waziristan tribal area along the border with Afghanistan. In 2011, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the Haqqanis as “a veritable arm” of the ISI, a characterization Islamabad has disputed. A Pakistan army operation launched last year has driven many militants out of North Waziristan.

 

The Afghan government has also considered the Haqqanis an irreconcilable foe. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai often addressed the Taliban as “brothers,” when urging them to end their armed opposition — but didn’t extend the same courtesy to the Haqqanis, according to his former spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

 

“They killed a large number of Afghans, civilians and military,” Mr. Faizi said.

 

Simbal Khan, a security analyst based in Islamabad, said that Afghanistan was part of the proxy war being waged across the Muslim world between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has also supported insurgent groups in Afghanistan, including parts of the Taliban.

 

“The Saudis cannot not support the old Taliban, the ones they at least had good relations with,” said Ms. Khan. “If they gave them up, and Iran kept funding their elements, how does that make sense for the Saudis?”

 

Nasiruddin Haqqani was assassinated on the outskirts of Islamabad in November 2013, a shooting that Pakistan says was orchestrated by Afghan intelligence. It isn’t clear whether Jalaluddin, who is known to have been ill for years, is still alive. Another one of his sons, Sirajuddin, is currently the group’s military commander.

 

This article was originally published in WSJ and can be accessed here.

Netanyahu: israel considering leaving UN Human Rights Council, actually they should be thrown out

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel is considering leaving the UN Human Rights Council, according to Israeli radio.

Netanyahu (Photo:lfarosulmondo)

 

“ Israel is considering whether or not to stay in the Human Rights Council in light of the recentUN Gazareport,” BenjaminNetanyahu said in a closed meeting with top Israeli officials, according to Israeli Army Radio.

 

Last Monday, an independent United Nations inquiry pointed out the impunity with which Israeli forces committed grave human rights violations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank during its offensive in 2014.

 

The report noted that there was a huge increase in firepower during the conflict in 2014, with over 6,000 airstrikes carried out by the Israeli army and around 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired.

 

Palestinian armed groups also reportedly fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars at Israel between July and August 2014.

 

The State of Palestine officially submitted documents to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday, accusing Israel of war crimes and illegal settlement construction on Palestinian territory.

 

The move, made possible after Palestinians joined the court in April, comes days after a United Nations report that said both Israel and Palestinian resistance group Hamas may have committed war crimes during Israel’s bloody military offensive last July.

 

The file delivered to the ICC contains claims regarding the Israeli operation in Gaza last year and the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 

During Israel’s 51-day Operation Protective Edge in July and August 2014, more than 2,100 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed and 11,000 injured — mostly women and children.

 

For decades, Israel has continued to misappropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank, where it continues to build Jewish-only settlements in breach of international law.

 

The number of Israelis living in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem is estimated to be over 500,000, living in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements.

 

This article was originally published in AA and can be accessed here.

New Cold War has nothing to do with Russian aggression for the simple reason there is/was none

US Restarted the Cold War: The Real Story About the NATO Buildup The New York Times Won’t Tell You

This article originally appeared at Salon

“Russian aggression”—CBS provides a perfect example of imperial disinformation

US leaders and media push time-worn nonsense about American innocence, while taking aggressive moves. Look out


Have you picked up on the new trope du jour? We are all encouraged to bask in our innocence as we lament the advent of a new Cold War. The thought has been in the wind for more than a year, of course, at least among some of us. But we witness a significant turn, and I hope this same some of us are paying attention.

As of this week, leaders who know nothing about leading, thinkers who do not think and opinion-shaping poseurs such as Tom Friedman are confident enough in their case to sally forth with it: The Cold War returns, the Russians have restarted it and we must do the right thing—the right thing being to bring NATO troops and materiel up to Russia’s borders, pandering to the paranoia of the former Soviet satellites as if they alone have access to some truth not available to the rest of us.

James Stavridis, the former admiral and NATO commander, quoted in Wednesday’s New York Times: “I don’t think we’re in the Cold War again—yet. I can kind of see it from here.”

I can kind of see it, too, Admiral, and cannot be surprised: NATO has missed the Cold War since the Wall came down and the Pentagon’s creature in Europe commenced a quarter-century of wandering in search of useful enemies. At last, the very best of them is back.

The inimitable (thank goodness) Tom Friedman on the same day’s opinion page: “This time it seems like the Cold War without the fun—that is, without James Bond, Smersh, ‘Get Smart’ Agent 86’s shoe phone,” and so on.

Leave it to Tom to recall the single most consequentially corrosive period in American history by way of its infantile frivolities. He is paid, after all, to make sure Americans understand events cartoonishly rather than as historical phenomena with chronology, causality and responsibility attaching to them.

You have here a classic one-two. Stavridis’ successors in the military get on with the business of aggressing abroad and trapping Russia in a frame-up J. Edgar Hoover would admire, while Friedman buries us in marshmallow fluff sandwiches.

A couple of columns back I wondered aloud as to what all the talk of renewed Russian aggression, begun in mid-April, was all about. It certainly had nothing to do with Russian aggression for the simple reason there was none. If you saw any, please tell us all about it in the comment box.

A couple of columns earlier I questioned why John Kerry met Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister, in Sochi. Altogether weirdly, the secretary of state suddenly appeared to make common cause with the Russian president.

My worst predictions are now realities. We have just been subjected to a tried-and-sometimes-true campaign preparing us for a Cold War reprise—begun, like the original, by spooks and Pentagon planners ever eager to escalate unnecessary tensions in the direction of unnecessary conflict.

Think with history, readers. We are now back in the mid-1950s by my reckoning, when the template at work today was perfected in places such as Guatemala. The Dulles brothers double-handedly transformed Jacobo Árbenz, offspring of a Swiss druggist and Guatemala’s second properly elected president, into an agent of “Communist aggression,” as the Times helpfully described him at the time. Árbenz was deposed in 1954, of course, and most Americans were obediently relieved that another “threat” had been countered. (I have always loved the purely American thought of an aggressive Guatemala.)

On through the decades, from Ho to Lumumba to Allende to the Sandinistas—every single case falsely cast as a Moscow-inspired challenge to the “free world,” every case in truth reflecting America’s ambition to global dominance. There is a golden rule at work here, so do not miss it: Americans never act but in response to a threat to human freedom originating among the mal-intended elsewhere.

Any good historian—and stop being so negative, you find good ones here and there—will tell you that the golden rule has applied without exception since the 18th century. It applied to the Mexicans in the 1840s, the Spanish in the 1890s, and countless times during the century we call American.

Even now, the golden rule is inscribed in any American history text you may pick up. It is integral to Americans’ consciousness of themselves. And in consequence it is near to impossible for most of us to grasp our role in events as they unfold before our eyes, never mind our true place in history.

So long as the rule applies, all notions of causality and responsibility are erased from the story. This reality is very close to the root of the American crisis, if you accept the thought that we are amid one.

I view the marked deterioration of the West’s relations with Russia since April in precisely this historically informed light. We have entered upon a new Cold War, all right, and its similarity to the last one lies in one aspect more important than any other: Washington instigated this one just as Truman set the first in motion when he armed the Greek monarchy—fascist by his own ambassador’s description—against a popular revolt in 1947.

You would think it something close to a magician’s trickery to conduct a century and more’s worth of coups, political subterfuge and military interventions and keep Americans convinced that all done in their names is done in the name of good. But we live through a case in point. We now witness an aggressive military advance toward Russia’s borders on a nearly astonishing scale, yet very few Americans are able to see it for what it is.

Such is the power of our golden rule.

The theme of new Russian aggression sounded over the past couple of months reeked of orchestration from the first, as suggested in this space when it was first sounded. It was too consistent in language, tone and implication, whether it came from the Pentagon, NATO or Times news reports—which are, naturally, based on Pentagon and NATO sources.

Anything counted: Russia’s military exercises within its own borders were aggressive. Russian air defense systems on its borders were aggressive. Russia’s military presence in Kaliningrad, Russian territory lying between Lithuania and Poland, was an aggressive threat.

The caker came 10 days ago, when Putin promised his generals 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles. Aggressive times 10, we heard over and over. “Loose rhetoric” was the incessantly repeated phrase.

In this connection I loved Ashton Carter in an exclusive interview on CBS Tuesday morning. Announcing NATO’s new plans for deployments in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, the defense secretary cited Putin’s “loose rhetoric.” The correspondent must have lost the playbook and had the temerity to ask him to explain. Whereupon the wrong-footed Carter mumbled, “Well, it’s… it’s… it’s loose rhetoric, that’s what it is.”

Got it, Ash. Loose rhetoric.

Does the secretary mind if we spend a few minutes in the forbidden kingdom known as historical reality?

Putin has not uttered a syllable of rhetoric—no need of it—since the Bush II White House floored him with its 2002 announcement that it would unilaterally abandon Nixon’s 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. “This, in fact, pushes us to a new round of the arms race, because it changes the global security system,” the Russian leader said subsequently. Whereupon Russia set about rebuilding its greatly reduced nuclear arsenal, of which the 40 new ICBMs are an exceedingly small addition.

There are no secrets here—only chronology and causality. In the context, I view the 40 new missiles as a very measured message—and of little consequence in themselves—in reply to the immodest lunge into frontline nations Carter disclosed in Estonia this week.

USA, always quick to criticise others over Human Rights gets very defensive over UN report

“Just Say Anything!” – The US Responds to the UN Review of its Human Rights Record

The US has a history of making inaccurate statements to international bodies in order to advance its global agenda. One need only look at the statements made on the international stage prior to the invasion of Iraq to realize that the intention to invade Iraq was not going to be hindered by a realistic assessment of its “weapons of mass destruction” program.

In recent UN convenings, we are now seeing false statements put on the record by high-ranking US officials concerning the US’s domestic agenda. As the UN has no dominion over the domestic issues within the United States, one can only view these coordinated efforts by the US officials as a studied effort at propaganda.

This past May, the UN reviewed the human rights record of the United States. Known as the UPR (Universal Periodic Review), this session in May marked the second such review, the first having taken place in 2010. Civil society was invited to submit reports and over ninety NGOs and grassroots organizations did so. In addition, over 110 UN member nations also voiced their concerns as to the US’s human rights record.

Criticisms and concerns were entered on many different issues. The failed campaign promise of President Obama to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay was mentioned repeatedly. So were the failures of the United States to ratify many human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention on the Rights of the Child, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as well as other international treaties.

Racial profiling and police killings of US citizens, many if not most being African Americans, were raised as consistent concerns. In addition, recommendations were made that the US halt its application of the death penalty and also establish a national human rights agency.

The tone of the US response was quite a bit different from the tack taken in 2010. Gone were the promises, empty as they were. Instead, the US adopted a regimented and in some cases a somewhat belligerent defense of what might be considered indefensible activities. And where belligerence might have failed to impress, outright lies were employed.

Muted belligerence was clearly in evidence in the statements made by Brigadier General Richard Gross, legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who addressed concerns about Guantanamo Bay and the detainees. “The detainees are detained lawfully,” he declared. According to Gross, there were 242 detainees at the beginning of the Obama administration and 116 have been transferred out since then. He stated that 122 remain. As these figures omit four individuals, it is assumed that they have died.

Alarmingly, Gross made the following revelations: Of the remaining 122, he told us, 57 are designated for transfer. Out of the 65 others, 10 are currently facing charges or have been convicted. The remaining 55, he stated, will be reviewed by the periodic review board. In other words, 55 individuals have been detained for years without being charged. This is hardly in accordance with US law, which guarantees a speedy trial, among other legal considerations.

And it is US law which pertains to the detainees. Supreme Court decisions have granted the detainees protections under US law, including the right of habeas corpus. Over 200 writs of habeas corpus have been filed by Guantanamo Bay detainees. Not one has been granted.

Police abuse is of grave concern to many different sectors. The US attempted to assuage these concerns with outright lies. Indeed, the US continued on with its hooey about the non-existent “hundreds of federal prosecutions” for police abuse that it tried to front a few months back at the Convention Against Torture meeting in Geneva. As discussed in this article, he actual numbers of federal prosecutions for police abuse could be counted on the fingers of one hand. 

Rather than correct the previous misstatements, the US officials amplified the bogus figures, and cited a total of 400 such prosecutions. The Big Lie is always the best, and for those who gagged on the overblown figure of 330 such prosecutions stated at the CAT by Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower a few months back, the new figure of 400 such prosecutions provides an even bigger loogey to swallow.

For students of effective propaganda, it might be of interest to note that the US did not use David Bitkower, a white man, as the mouthpiece for this lie on the occasion of the UPR. As previously noted, most of the police killings involve a black victim, and accordingly, the US used one of its black DOJ officials, James Cadogan, to deliver this line of horse puckey. Cadogan is Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General.

Well, using the facade of race to convince the naïve population that it was getting something other than more of the same worked in the 2008 election, did it not?

It looks like the US, seemingly on a roll of grandiose pronouncements as to its diligent protection of human rights, did not stop with this false figure. Other declarations were made at the UPR which were similarly suspect. For example, according to Kevin Washburn, with the Department of the Interior, the US has restored about a million acres to Indian tribes under this administration. Well, that sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? 

The problem arises in verifying Washburn’s “million acre” pronouncement. As it turns out, Washburn also testified before a Congressional subcommittee just a scant three days after he made the “million acre” declaration to the UN. In his testimony in front of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, US House of Representatives on May 14, Washburn testified that the Obama administration had restored “approximately 300,000 acres to tribes.” 

That constitutes a rather serious difference in figures. In accordance with the Uncle Tomism seen in using African American Cadogan to speak on police abuse, Washburn, who is the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, also claims to be a member of the Chickasaw Nation, an Oklahoma tribe.

At the 2010 UPR, the US promised to ratify the Convention On the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In fact, Congress voted against ratification in. 2012. In the US report to the UPR for the 2015 review, the US stated that “The United States has robust protections to prevent discrimination against persons with disabilities and has actively enforced these protections since our last report.” In fact, multiple ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) complaints have been filed with the Department of Justice, stating profound violations of rights affecting the elderly and disabled by state courts. According to recent statements made by an ADA employee to this reporter, not one of these complaints has been pursued by the DOJ.

Another red flag appeared in the US’s statements about the number of federal hate crimes prosecutions. The US claimed that over 200 individuals had been convicted under federal hate crime laws, including the Shepard/Byrd Act, in the past five years.

This reporter contacted the DOJ press office as well as the FBI and was refused details on hate crime convictions. A dedicated internet search, including DOJ and FBI websites as well as newspaper reports, turned up a total of 72 convictions for federal hate crimes since 2009. Sixteen of these convictions—for the infamous Amish beard cutting defendants– were subsequently reversed in 2014, leaving a grand total of 56.

Parenthetically, as the press office at the US DOJ refused to supply factual documentation (such as case numbers and names), this reporter filed a Freedom of Information Request for this information. It is possible that the fulfillment of this request will provide a different perspective. For the edification of the readers, the last FOIA request by this reporter was filed in 2009. I am still awaiting the response.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the lack of transparency in the Obama administration and cited multiple problems with FOIA. According to the article, “Most Administrations play games with FOIA, but the Obama White House has turned stonewalling into an art form.” 

The WSJ article goes on to discuss the following ploys being utilized to evade replies to FOIA requests– imposing sky high fees, failing to process requests within the legal time limit, destroying information and excessively redacting information.

Access to accurate information is a fundamental part of a democracy. If the citizenry is kept in the dark about the nature of its governance, it will not be able to make appropriate decisions. Those in power who play a shell game with the facts of their activities do so in accordance with the dedicated purpose of any liar–fear of exposure and avoidance of accountability.

Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/06/29/just-say-anything-the-us-responds-to-the-un-review-of-its-human-rights-record/

US government covered up 14,000 photos documenting CIA secret prisons

US government covered up 14,000 photos documenting CIA secret prisons

By Thomas Gaist

The US government has concealed the existence of some 14,000 images documenting the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) network of secret “black site” torture and interrogation centers established after September 11, according to unnamed US officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

The existence of the photographs was known to the US military prosecutors involved in ongoing military commission cases against four alleged terrorists for at least several months prior to the publication of the media reports on Saturday, according to the Post.

The photos had never been brought forward during more than three years of hearings in the cases of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and three other alleged participants in the September 11 attacks.

After a brief attempt to conduct their trials in a New York federal court, the accused are again standing before military-run commissions established to deny basic democratic rights to “enemy combatants” captured by the US government as part of the so-called global war on terror.

Images from black sites in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and possibly others are included in the photo cache, which the Obama administration still refuses to release.

The photos, now under review by US officials, include images of naked prisoners taken during transportation to the torture sites. There are also reportedly photos of a wooden board used for waterboarding detainees at a black site in Afghanistan as well as photos of the small confinement boxes which a number of detainees were forced into for hours on end.

The concealment of the photos has prompted calls for the suspension of the commissions, pending an official investigation into the images.

In spite of ferocious efforts waged continuously by both the Bush and Obama administrations to suppress investigation of the torture programs, the basic facts are more or less known. More than 100 individuals are confirmed to have been “rendered” to secret prisons between 2002 and 2006. Individuals without any remote connection to Jihadist organizations were detained and tortured for years as a result of mistaken identity.

Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen, underwent prolonged torture and confinement in Afghanistan before being dumped by CIA officers in rural Albania after proving to his captors that his name was very similar to, but not the same as, that of the man they had intended to interrogate.

At least five of the detainees disappeared to black sites by the CIA have been confirmed to have been killed as a result of being subjected to the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The total number of victims may be much higher. The CIA organized more than 1,200 flights to and from locations on the European continent between 2002 and 2006, as part of its rendition and torture operations, according to a 2007 report approved by the European Union’s main legislature.

A slow trickle of detainees have been quietly released or transferred without explanation. Two Tunisians held at a CIA black site in Afghanistan for over a decade were flown back to Tunisia for release on June 15, traveling on board a US military plane. An unknown number of other detainees held by US forces at black sites were handed over to the Afghan government last December.

The refusal of the US government to release the photos, along with their secrecy in the first place, are serious crimes in themselves. As part of the cover up, the Obama administration continues to hold dozens of “enemy combatants” who have been cleared for release as early as 2009.

The collaboration of European governments in the operation of the secret torture network has also been covered up. Details of the European role in the torture network were subject to heavy redaction in the already heavily redacted Senate torture report.

Nonetheless, it is known that Poland, Lithuania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania all hosted secret prisons directly run by the CIA, while a broader circle of some 20 European states ran sites in close collaboration with the CIA.

Security personnel from the British government were directly involved in CIA torture sessions. Other collaborating governments received millions in US government money paid out by the CIA, including more than $1 million paid to Lithuania for the right to set up a single detention center.

At least three of the agency’s black sites, located in Poland, Romania and Morocco, were established from the CIA branch office in Frankfurt, Germany. The Frankfurt office, previously a “sleepy” logistics outpost for the agency, suddenly received millions of dollars’ worth of budget increases under orders from the White House, beginning in 2002.

Instead of being punished, the bureaucrats who oversaw the programs, including current CIA Director John Brennan, are now ensconced in powerful offices at the highest levels of government.

Documentation proving that the Obama administration has dismantled the vast array of resources, camps and personnel networks involved has not been forthcoming.

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