Saturday, October 31, 2009
The "invisivel threats" : The Language of rapists and their accomplices on the case of Military Mother raped in Iraq in 2008
Dawn Leamon, who has two sons on active duty in Iraq, told her horrific story to members of the American Congress on April 9, 2008 at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Leamon told the Committee that she was raped in early 2008 by a U.S. soldier and a KBR(U.S. contractor Kellogg Brown Root) colleague while she was working in Iraq.
Leamon says KBR then assigned full-time security guards to her which gave her no privacy to talk about the incident, and her movements around camp were restricted, yet her attackers' movements were unrestricted.
She also talked about the harassment she was subjected to and the photo of one of the "scenarios" of the "harassment language" was presnted at the hearing.
The video can be seen at ABC NEWS
HERE:In Her Own Words: Raped in Iraq
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"The need to know everything about the lives of others" - The History of Stasi-the notorious and bygone East Germany intelligence agency:
Ministry for State Security (Mfs) also known known as "Stasi" - the East German Intelligence Agency Strategies:
Torture, Harassment, assassinations, persecution of dissent, illegal surveillance, mobbing and on:
As the enforcement arm of the German Democratic Republic's Communist Party, the Stasi at its height in 1989 employed 91,000 persons full time, including 2,000 fully employed unofficial collaborators, 13,073 soldiers and 2,232 officers of GDR army, along with 173,081 unofficial informants and 1,553 informants in West Germany. In terms of the identity of inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IMs) Stasi informants, by 1995, 174,000 had been identified, which approximated 2.5% of East Germany's population between the ages of 18 and 60.
A bureaucracy almost three times the size of Hitler's Gestapo was spying on a population a quarter that of Nazi Germany. 10,000 IMs were under 18 years of age.
MfS has been accused of a number of assassinations against political dissidents and other people both inside and outside the country. Examples include the East German football player Lutz Eigendorf and the Swedish journalist Cats Falck.
The Stasi had formal categorizations of each type of informant, and had official guidelines on how to extract information from, and control, those who they came into contact with. The roles of informants ranged from those already in some way involved in state security (such as the police and the armed services) to those in the oppositionalist movements (such as dissidents in the arts and the Protestant Church). Information gathered about the latter groups was frequently used to divide or discredit members.Informants were made to feel important, given material or social incentives, and were imbued with a sense of adventure, and only around 7.7%, according to official figures, were coerced into cooperating. A significant proportion of those informing were members of the SED; to employ some form of blackmail, however, was not uncommon.(pp. 242-243 - The People's State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker,Fulbrook, Mary (2005), London: Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300144246)
Full-time officers were posted to all major industrial plants (the extensiveness of any surveillance largely depended on how valuable a product was to the economy)and one tenant in every apartment building was designated as a watchdog reporting to an area representative of the Volkspolizei (Vopo). Spies reported every relative or friend that stayed the night at another's apartment. Tiny holes were bored in apartment and hotel room walls through which Stasi agents filmed citizens with special video cameras. Similarly, schools, universities, and hospitals were extensively infiltrated.After the mid-1950s, Stasi executions were carried out in strict secrecy, and usually were accomplished with a guillotine and, in later years, by a single pistol shot to the neck. In most instances, the relatives of the executed were not informed of either the sentence or the execution.
Stasi:The untold story of the East German secret police - Koehler, John O. (2000), , Westview Press, ISBN 0813337445
The Lives of Others - Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film-winning German film Das Leben der Anderen (aka as The Lives of Others) involves the monitoring of the cultural scene of East Berlin by agents of the MfS - Stasi
Piecing together the Dark Legacy of East Germany's Secret Police
BLACKWATER: The Rise of the Most Powerful Mercenaries - By Jeremy Scahill
and at:Not Blackwater but Xe
Friday, October 23, 2009
directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington , and inspired by Andy’s book, The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, it was launched on October 21, 2009 in London, UK.(photos from the launch of "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo)
The film tells the story of Guantánamo (and includes sections on extraordinary rendition and secret prisons) with a particular focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, how prisoners were rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism (as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, for example).
The film is based around interviews with former prisoners (Moazzam Begg and, in his first major interview, Omar Deghayes, who was released in December 2007), lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith in the UK and Tom Wilner in the US), and journalist and author Andy Worthington, and also includes appearances from Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, Shakeel Begg, a London-based Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.
Focusing on the stories of three particular prisoners — Shaker Aamer (who is still held), Binyam Mohamed (who was released in February 2009) and Omar Deghayes — “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” provides a powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.
For further information, interviews, or to inquire about broadcasting, distributing or showing “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” please contact Andy Worthington(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Polly Nash(email@example.com).“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a Spectacle Production (74 minutes, 2009).
Andy Worthington is a journalist, and the author of three books, including The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (Pluto Press). Visit his website here.
Polly Nash is a lecturer at the London College Of Communication (LCC), part of the University of the Arts, London, and has worked in film and TV for 20 years. Core funding for the film was provided by LCC.
Review at The Osterley Times :
"The film was intense and powerful, mostly because it did not attempt in any way to emotionalise the story it was laying out before us. [Andy] Worthington, Clive Stafford Smith and others simply told the story of how the US abandoned habeas corpus and found itself in a kind of war with its own legal system, whilst [Moazzam] Begg and [Omar] Deghayes told the tale of what it was like to be on the receiving end of this historic aberration of justice."
"The film was brilliantly powerful — both understated and shocking. All night I have had the images in my head and thoughts of these men who, even when released, can’t contact their families. I hate to admit I had no idea about extraordinary rendition — you have lifted the lid on a world that far too many people, like myself, find too easy to avoid."
"I have just returned from a rather extraordinary evening. I attended the film premiere of Andy Worthington and Polly Nash’s film “Outside the Law” — a feature length documentary about Guantánamo. I urge you all to see it. Please do and then when you have seen it pass it on to your friends and family. I have not seen anything at all that compares to understanding the magnitude of what has been happening in Guantánamo and Bagram. After seeing this film and then staying for the Q&A, which featured the film makers, as well as former detainees Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg, I was moved, inspired and angered beyond any other event I have been to. People left the venue with changed opinions, far better informed and shocked. Once again please do try and get to a screening."
For more information : Andy Worthington Website at: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Jurists — authors Deborah Gorham, David Mitchell and Lawrence Scanlan — about Dark Days:
“Dark Days is a compelling and powerful book about an important subject — racism in Canada and the clandestine activities of the RCMP and CSIS. The book tells the story of four Muslim Canadians — Maher Arar, Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin — all “terror suspects” tortured in Middle Eastern prisons before being released without charge. Writing with passion and empathy yet admirable restraint, Kerry Pither leaves the reader with a vivid, detailed and disturbing picture of what we do in the name of security.”
More about the author and the book at:
Sunday, October 18, 2009
UK: High court orders publication of US report, saying British foreign secretary's actions were harmful to the rule of law
"The suppression of reports of wrongdoing by officials in circumstances which cannot in any way affect national security is inimical to the rule of law".
"Championing the rule of law, not subordinating it, is the cornerstone of democracy." Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones ruled.
The case is that of Binyam Mohamed, torturers slashed his chest and genitals with a scalpel and told Binyam: "We are going to change your brain!"
The CIA secretly flew Mohamed to Morocco, Afghanistan and then Guantánamo Bay, the court has heard. The judges criticised MI5 and MI6 for the belated disclosure of documents that revealed an MI5 officer was in Morocco when Mohamed was held there in a secret jail
David Rose of the British paper The Mail reported the details of Binyam Mohamed's torture in an article on March 8, 2009 , entitled "How MI5 colluded in my torture: Binyam Mohamed claims British agents fed Moroccan torturers their questions" - HERE
The judgment by the two seniorUK judges roundly dismissing David Miliband, the British foreign secretary's claims that" disclosing evidence would harm national security and threaten the UK's vital intelligence-sharing arrangements with the US".
The full article published on the Guardian on October 16, 2009 can be read HERE:
Binyam Mohamed: Judges overrule attempt to suppress torture evidence
More on the case HERE:"What the British governemt knew about the torture of Binyam Mohamed"
Saturday, October 17, 2009
THE FIRST WAR ON TERROR " : OPERATION CONDOR
Operation Condor was a covert Latin American military network created during the Cold War to facilitate the seizure and murder of political opponents across state borders in Central and South America. It involved kidnappings, torture, murder.
As the revelations emerge that the United States of America is engaged in torture , murders, kidnappings and suspected terrorists captured by CIA and U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq have been deliberately hidden from the Red Cross, severely tortured and abused to death, the History of the United States involvement in the "dirty wars" in Central and South America is a call to consider the consequences of clandestine operations in the name of democracy.
The complicity of the American government with drug traffickers to protect American interests of national security or covert operations is also connected to Operation Condor and the "War on Drugs" .
Cocaine Politics:Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall
Guns, Drugs, and the CIA by Leslie Cockburn (full transcript HERE)
Condor: The First War on Terror
Thursday, October 15, 2009
They Lie to the World with Impunity while embracing TORTURE, WARS AND MORE : "No Day Light, No Public Oversigh, No Press Scrutiny"
"as somebody who has fight a great deal of his life in a Court room, I feel a great deal of intense personal frustration when I know facts that would rebut a case that an administration is making and they have declassified their side of the argument and kept my side classified and I have to keep my peace eventhough the public is being mislead..."
American Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - October 13, 2009
A video with American Senator Sheldon Whitehouse where he talks about "misleading the public about what the actual facts really are" at the American Senate Intelligence Committee Nomination Hearing for David Gompert as principal deputy director of american national intelligence, on October 13, 2009.
The video can be watched C-SPAN.org at :
Or to redirect click HERE
Visit Right to Know Website at:
About Right to Know: http://www.righttoknow.ca/en/Content/about_right_to_know.asp
by Chisun Lee, ProPublica - July 22, 2009
This story was published as an op-ed in the New York Times and in "ProPublica"
The 10 men pictured have all gone before trial judges in Washington, D.C., to obtain their freedom. Each one represents a case study for the Obama administration as it struggles to craft a legal framework for detaining suspected terrorists.
As the Obama administration and Congress try to forge a legal framework for detaining suspected terrorists, they might want to take a close look at what's happening at the federal district courthouse just a short walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from both the White House and the Capitol.
Trial judges there have quietly decided 31 of some 200 cases brought by Guantánamo inmates seeking freedom. Dossier by dossier, the jurists have answered the core questions that policy experts have been addressing in theory: When can the president place someone in preventive detention, and how solid does the evidence need to be?
President Obama, like George W. Bush before him, has claimed the power to detain not only Qaeda and Taliban members, but also those who "support" them. Last year the Supreme Court ruled (PDF) that the courts can scrutinize these detention decisions and overturn them if they are invalid. But the court didn't say exactly what a valid detention looks like, and Congress hasn't stepped in to make it clear.
Thus the federal judges in Washington have had to develop their own guidelines — functioning, in essence, as the country’s national security court.
A close examination of the decisions shows that some of the fears about sending terrorism cases to civilian courts have not been realized. The judges haven't been particularly hard on the government, holding it to a low standard of proof: If more than half the evidence tips in the government's favor, then the detainee stays put — a far lower bar than "beyond a reasonable doubt." The judges have also admitted hearsay evidence, and they've sealed courtrooms to protect government secrecy.
Yet despite these allowances, the government has not fared well. Twenty-six detainees have won their lawsuits, known as habeas petitions, while five have lost. So far, the Obama administration has filed just one appeal.
These initial judgments may not be typical, because they involved relatively low-level suspects. But they offer the first tangible indication of what members of the third branch of government believe it takes to make preventive detention legal.
While the federal trial judges are working largely without guidance, the Supreme Court did offer some clues in its decision on a 2004 challenge by Yaser Hamdi, an American accused by the Bush administration of fighting the United States in Afghanistan. The justices said the situation in which he was captured was enough like a classic battlefield that detention without charge was justified until the end of hostilities, as is typical in wartime.
But the fight against terrorism won't have a "clear terminal point," as President Obama said recently, and many of the detainees weren't captured on an obvious battlefield. The president says he can detain not only anyone who contributed to the 9/11 attacks, but also people "who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or Al Qaeda forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States." The habeas suits have opened this claim to dispute. Some judges have pushed back at President Obama's assertion of power, particularly when assessing the concept of "supporting" the enemy.
In the case of Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani, a Yemeni being held at Guantánamo Bay, Judge Richard Leon agreed with the government that simply cooking meals for the Taliban was "more than sufficient 'support'" of the enemy to justify his detention. Yet Judge Gladys Kessler ordered another Yemeni, Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed , freed despite the government's claim that he'd stayed at a suspect guesthouse and "traveled ... in the company of terrorist fighters fleeing the battlefield."Another judge, Reggie Walton, who is handling the challenges of more than a dozen men, defined "substantial support" as membership in "the 'armed forces' of an enemy organization." Judge John Bates scrapped the "substantial support" concept altogether, which he said comes from the world of criminal law.
Perhaps the sharpest curb on presidential authority came from Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, who ruled in March that even if a Taliban fighter named Yasin Muhammed Basardh had deserved detention when captured, he now deserved freedom because he had informed on other detainees and "any ties with the enemy have been severed."
The judges have been more accommodating of the government on technical matters, including the protection of national security secrets. All have routinely concealed important facts — sometimes even the very basis for deciding to keep someone locked up — despite the principle that American courts should be open.
That's what happened in the case of Moath Hamza Ahmed Al Alwi, a Yemeni whose lawyer insisted he had traveled to Afghanistan to fight in its civil war, not against the United States, and was "easy prey for locals who were eager to hand over anyone they could find in return for American rewards." Judge Leon rejected the argument, saying there was "more than ample evidence" of Mr. Alwi's affiliation with America's enemies, but that evidence isn't revealed in the unclassified version of the judge's decision released to the public.
In the case of six Algerian men arrested in Bosnia, Judge Leon ruled in favor of five because the evidence that they had planned to travel to Afghanistan to take up arms against the United States was unreliable. But the judge decided against the sixth man because of other "credible and reliable" evidence that he kept secret.
The judges have also overlooked technical imperfections in the government's evidence, admitting anonymous and other unverifiable information. One government lawyer explained that military and intelligence officers aren't accustomed to following the "finer points" of evidence rules, and the court doesn't appear to expect them to be: in no case has a judge decided against the government merely because its evidence lacked proper form, as far as the publicly available records show.
The judges were more demanding when it came to interpreting the substance of the government's evidence. In the case of Mr. Ahmed, Judge Kessler agreed to consider hearsay "because of the exigencies of the circumstances." But she eventually ruled that he should be released because the accuracy of the evidence was "hotly contested for a host of different reasons ranging from the fact that it contains second- and third-hand hearsay to allegations that it was obtained by torture to the fact that no statement purports to be a verbatim account of what was said."
The trial judges have also rejected much of the intelligence community's "mosaic theory," which calls for interpreting minor facts to suggest a greater threat. Judge Kessler, for example, refused to infer that Mr. Ahmed was an enemy fighter simply based on a "web of statements" that he had associated with enemy fighters.
She acknowledged that the mosaic approach "is a common and well-established mode of analysis in the intelligence community," but that the legal system required more specific evidence. Likewise, in January Judge Leon ordered the release of Mohammed El Gharani, a citizen of Chad, after dismissing the main evidence against him: contradictory statements from two detainees whose credibility the government itself had "directly called into question."
In the absence of guidelines from Congress and the president for evaluating preventive detention cases, these judges have succeeded in coming up with their own, individual approaches. Yet whenever ground rules seem ad hoc, people worry about fairness — is the man in the next courtroom getting a better shake? One step toward assuring the public that justice will be uniform is to establish clear standards.
At the top of the list, the government could clearly state what makes a person subject to indefinite detention by the president. Is "supporting" the enemy enough? If so, what exactly is "support?" And, once a judge has concluded that someone has been unjustifiably detained, what is the president required to do?
Seventeen of the 26 detainees who've been cleared for release by judges remain in custody. President Obama has given mixed signals on how he views the issue. He has resisted a judge's order to release immediately 13 Chinese Uighurs, saying that the courts can't override the president's discretion to decide when detainees will be freed. Yet that position contrasts sharply with his message in a recent televised speech , when he said he accepted judges' rulings that certain prisoners should be released. "The courts have spoken," Mr. Obama said. "We must abide by these rulings."
But as these cases show, neither the guidelines for deciding the cases nor the consequences of the decisions are quite so clear.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
- 2:30 pm, Rm. 360 Tory Bldg., Carleton University,
Speakers include Abousfian Abdelrazik, organizers for Project Fly Home and a representative of the legal team. Organized by the Carleton University Human Rights B.A. Program and OPIRG-Carleton.
- 7:00 pm, TOM BROWN ARENA HALL, 141 Bayview Rd. at Scott
O-train or transitway to Bayview Station or Bus 16 to
Speakers include Abousfian Abdelrazik, organizers for Project Fly
Home, a representative of the legal team, and Paul Dewar, MP on
the political situation..
Free admission, refreshments. Organized by nowar-paix.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
American Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly Judge confirms that an Innocent Man Was Tortured To Make False Confessions
Full article and documents HERE
"A Truly Shocking Guantánamo Story: Judge Confirms That An Innocent Man Was Tortured To Make False Confessions"