By Naomi Wolf
August 1, 2008
Is it possible to fall out of love with your own country? For two years, I,
like many Americans, have been focused intently on documenting, exposing, and
alerting the nation to the Bush administration’s criminality and its assault
on the Constitution and the rule of law — a story often marginalized at
home. I was certain that when Americans knew what was being done in their name,
they would react with horror and outrage.
Three months ago, the Bush administration still clung to its devil’s
sound bite, “We don’t torture.” Now, Doctors Without Borders
has issued its report documenting American-held detainees’ traumas, and
even lie detector tests confirm they have been tortured. The Red Cross report
has leaked: torture and war crimes. Jane Mayer’s impeccably researched
exposé “The Dark Side” just hit the stores: torture, crafted
and directed from the top.
The Washington Post gave readers actual video footage of the abusive interrogation
of a Canadian minor, Omar Khadr, who was seen showing his still-bleeding abdominal
wounds, weeping and pleading with his captors.
So the truth is out and freely available. And America is still napping, worrying
about its weight, and hanging out at the mall.
I had thought that after so much exposure, thousands of Americans would be
holding vigils on Capitol Hill, that religious leaders would be asking God’s
forgiveness, and that a popular groundswell of revulsion, similar to the nineteenth-century
anti-slavery movement, would emerge. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if torture
is… Continue reading
Tuesday July 22, 2008
Guantánamo BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes
trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained
from Osama bin Laden’s driver following his capture in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors are considering whether to appeal the judge’s ruling — a
development that could halt the trial of Salim Hamdan that began earlier Monday
after years of delays and legal setbacks.
"We need to evaluate … to what extent it has an impact on our ability
to fully portray his criminality in this case, but also what it might set out
for future cases," said Army Col. Lawrence Morris, the tribunals’ chief
Hamdan, who was captured at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, pleaded
not guilty at the start of a trial that will be closely watched as the first
full test of the Pentagon’s system for prosecuting alleged terrorists. He faces
a maximum life sentence if convicted of conspiracy and aiding terrorism.
The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said the prosecution cannot use a series
of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of
the "highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were
At Bagram, Hamdan says he was kept in isolation 24 hours a day with his hands
and feet restrained, and armed soldiers prompted him to talk by kneeing him
in the back. He says his captors at Panshir repeatedly tied him up, put a bag
over his… Continue reading
By Peter Phillips
July 18, 2008
The United States is directly responsible for over one million Iraqi deaths since the invasion five and half years ago. In a January 2008 report, a British polling group Opinion Research Business (ORB) reports that, “survey work confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003…. We now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000. If one takes into account the margin of error associated with survey data of this nature then the estimated range is between 946,000 and 1,120,000”.
The ORB report comes on the heels of two earlier studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University published in the Lancet medical journal that confirmed the continuing numbers of mass deaths in Iraq. A study done by Dr. Les Roberts from January 1, 2002 to March 18 2003 put the civilian deaths at that time at over 100,000. A second study published in the Lancet in October 2006 documented over 650,000 civilian deaths in Iraq since the start of the US invasion. The 2006 study confirms that US aerial bombing in civilian neighborhoods caused over a third of these deaths and that over half the deaths are directly attributable to US forces.
The now estimated 1.2 million dead, as of July 2008, includes children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, cab drivers, clerics, schoolteachers, factory workers, policemen, poets, healthcare workers, day care… Continue reading
Israel Planning a September/October Surprise?
By Ray McGovern
International Clearing House — You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.
What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.
Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.
But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.
Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.…Continue reading
Wednesday 16 July 2008
By Adam Liptak, The New York Times
Indefinite military detentions of persons apprehended within the United States
are legal, according to a Tuesday federal appeals court decision. (Read text
of decision.) However, a concurrent decision allows detainee Ali al-Marri (pictured)
to challenge his detention in court.
President Bush has the legal power to order the indefinite military detentions
of civilians captured in the United States, the federal appeals court in Richmond,
Va., ruled on Tuesday in a fractured 5-to-4 decision.
But a second, overlapping 5-to-4 majority of the court, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled that Ali al-Marri, a citizen
of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., must be given an additional
opportunity to challenge his detention in federal court there. An earlier court
proceeding, in which the government had presented only a sworn statement from
a defense intelligence official, was inadequate, the second majority ruled.
The decision was a victory for the Bush administration, which had maintained
that a 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force after the Sept.
11 attacks granted the president the power to detain people living in the United
The court effectively reversed a divided three-judge panel of its own members,
which ruled last year that the government lacked the power to detain civilians
legally in the United States as enemy combatants. That panel ordered the government
either to charge Mr. Marri or to release him. The case is likely to reach… Continue reading
FISA "Compromise" Completes Transformation of US into Full Police
by Larry Chin
Global Research, July 11, 2008
On July 9, 2008, the US Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation permitting
government spying, including immunity to telecommunications companies involved
in secret domestic surveillance programs. With the stroke of George W. Bush’s
pen, the US is now a police state by definition.
The extent of the spying program, and its larger implications, have been revealed
by Mark Klein, who blew the whistle on secret domestic spying program of Bush/Cheney’s
National Security Agency (NSA) and AT&T:
The update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, called the "FISA
compromise", or more appropriately, the "spy bill", largely completes
the triumph of the Bush/Cheney administration and a bipartisan criminal consensus.
By convenient design, the FISA revision derails pending law suits filed against
the Bush administration’s corporate spying partners (AT&T, Sprint
Nextel, and Verizon), silences (the largely empty-to-begin-with) congressional
investigations into Bush administration’s illegal domestic spying program.
Presidential nominee Barack Obama and the Democrats have now moved to silence
all discussion about the issue.
Fear itself, a.k.a. spying itself
Between the false flag mass murder of 9/11 and the creation of the "war
on terrorism", the USA Patriot Act and this new FISA revision, the Bush-Cheney
administration and its enthusiastically complicit congressional partners, have
achieved total victory–world war, open criminality, and the end of law itself.
It gives the US government unprecedented new spying powers and sweeping new
legal… Continue reading
By SHAUN WATERMAN
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor
June 30, 2008
WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) — The U.S. military is looking for a contractor to
patrol cyberspace, watching for warning signs of forthcoming terrorist attacks
or other hostile activity on the Web.
“If someone wants to blow us up, we want to know about it,” Robert
Hembrook, the deputy intelligence chief of the U.S. Army’s Fifth Signal Command
in Mannheim, Germany, told United Press International.
In a solicitation posted on the Web last week, the command said it was looking
for a contractor to provide “Internet awareness services” to support
“force protection” — the term of art for the security of U.S. military
installations and personnel.
“The purpose of the services will be to identify and assess stated and
implied threat, antipathy, unrest and other contextual data relating to selected
Internet domains,” says the solicitation.
Hembrook was tight-lipped about the proposal. “The more we talk about
it, the less effective it will be,” he said. “If we didn’t have to
put it out in public (to make the contract award), we wouldn’t have.”
He would not comment on the kinds of Internet sites the contractor would be
directed to look at but acknowledged it would “not (be) far off” to
assume violent Islamic extremists would be at the top of the list.
The solicitation says the successful contractor will “analyze various
Web pages, chat rooms, blogs and other Internet domains to aggregate and assess
data of interest,” adding, “The… Continue reading
By Jeffrey Denning
July 2, 1008
Washington Post, Aviation Security
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…
A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would
serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to
this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. website, the bracelet
would be worn by all airline passengers (video also shown below).
This bracelet would:
- take the place of an airline boarding pass
- contain personal information about the traveler
- be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
- shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to, would be worn by every
traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a
government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information,
and would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if the passenger
got out of line.
Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is a euphuism for the EMD Safety Bracelet,
or at least it has a nefarious hidden ability (thus the term ID Bracelet is
ambiguous at best). EMD stands for Electro-Musclar Disruption. Again, according
to the promotional video, the bracelet can completely immobilize the wearer
for several minutes.
So is the government really that interested in this bracelet?
According… Continue reading
by Jeffrey St. Clair
June 26th, 2008
Oklahoma to feds: Don’t tread on me
State House defends its sovereignty from D.C. intrusion
Steamed over a perceived increase in federal usurping of states’ rights, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives told Washington, D.C., to back off.
Joint House Resolution 1089, passed by an overwhelming 92-3 margin, reasserts Oklahoma’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and, according to the resolution’s own language, is “serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates.”
The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Traditionally, this language has meant that the federal government is limited in its scope and cannot usurp the sovereign powers of states. In recent decades, however, as the size and reach of the federal government has expanded, many have come to question whether Washington has stepped on states’ rights and gotten too big for its breeches.
Charles Key, the Republican state representative who authored the resolution, told WND that he introduced it because he believes the federal government’s overstepping of its bounds has put our constitutional form of government in danger.
Oklahoma State Rep. Charles Key
“The more we stand by and watch the federal government get involved in areas where it has no legal authority, we kill the Constitution a little at a time,” he said. “The last few decades, the Constitution has been hanging by a thread.”
Specifically, Resolution 1089 says the following:
“The State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.”
The resolution resolves that Oklahoma will “serve as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”
It also instructs that “a copy of this resolution be distributed to the president of the United States, the president of the United States Senate, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate of each state’s legislature of the United States of America, and each member of the Oklahoma congressional delegation.”
The resolution does not, as some have speculated, amount to secession, but it does send a warning signal to Washington: Oklahoma does not intend to be bullied by big brother government.…Continue reading
By Tom Burghardt
June 16, 2008
from Antifascist Calling, Reprinted at Global Research
Proving the old axiom that Congress "is the best that money can buy,"
congressional Democrats are preparing to gut the Constitution by granting giant
telecom companies retroactive immunity and liability protection on warrantless
wiretapping by the Bush regime.
According to Congressional Quarterly, "Congressional leaders
and the Bush administration have reached an agreement in principle on an overhaul
of surveillance rules."
Tim Starks reports,
According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the compromise would
be very similar to the last proposal by Sen. Christopher S. Bond , R-Mo.,
to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
Sources said the major change is that a federal district court, not the
secret FISA court itself, would make an assessment about whether to provide
retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies being sued for
their alleged role in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.
("Agreement Could Pave Way for Surveillance Overhaul," Congressional
Quarterly, June 13, 2008)
In other words, the telecommunication corporations and their "customers,"
the NSA, FBI and other members of the "intelligence community" will
get everything they want–retroactive immunity and billions of dollars in continued
taxpayer subsidies for intelligence "outsourcing."
Under rules being considered by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Kit Bond (R-MO),
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
and Bush administration officials, the deal would allow the federal district
court "to look at… Continue reading
Center for Constitutional Research
June 12, 2008
Today is a historic victory for the rule of law. We won! For the third time,
the Supreme Court has upheld the fundamental rights of Guantánamo detainees.
In its historic decision in CCR’s case, Boumediene v. Bush, the Court affirmed
detainees’ right to habeas corpus. One of the oldest and most basic legal protections,
habeas corpus affords the incarcerated the right to challenge the legality of
their detention before a judge and keeps the king and president from arbitrarily
locking people up and throwing away the key.
We’re asking you to take action in two important ways: please make a contribution
to CCR today so we can continue this important work, and please write to the
presidential candidates to demand that they uphold the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Administration has delayed, ignored and sought to evade two prior Supreme
Court decisions, Rasul v. Bush in 2004 and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006, both
of which upheld the rights of Guantánamo detainees.
This decision was, in many ways, made possible by the support of so many –
the over 500 volunteer habeas counsel who have committed themselves to defending
the rights of Guantánamo’s detainees, the thousands upon thousands who have
acted to demand that the Constitution be upheld, and all of our supporters,
who have made this work possible. Today, your support is urgently needed, now
more than ever, to ensure that the Supreme Court’s decision is implemented and
the Constitution restored.
CCR was… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton
Posted at Lewrockwell.com
June 7, 2008
The George W. Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attack on the World
Trade Center and Pentagon with an assault on U.S. civil liberty that Bush justified
in the name of the “war on terror.” The government assured us that
the draconian measures apply only to “terrorists.” The word terrorist,
however, was not defined. The government claimed the discretionary power to
decide who is a terrorist without having to present evidence or charges in a
court of law.
Frankly, the Bush administration’s policy evades any notion of procedural
due process of law. Administration assurances that harsh treatment is reserved
only for terrorists is meaningless when the threshold process for determining
who is and who is not a terrorist depends on executive discretion that is not
subject to review. Substantive rights are useless without the procedural rights
to enforce them.
Terrorist legislation and executive assertions created a basis upon which federal
authorities claimed they were free to suspend suspects’ civil liberties
in order to defend Americans from terrorism. Only after civil liberties groups
and federal courts challenged some of the unconstitutional laws and procedures
did realization spread that the Bush administration’s assault on the Bill
of Rights is a greater threat to Americans than are terrorists.
The alacrity with which Congress accepted the initial assault from the administration
is frightening. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act passed by a vote of 98 to 1 in
the… Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (646) 206-8643 or (212) 549-2666; firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK — Family members of 9/11 victims have sent a letter today to
Susan Crawford, Convening Authority of the Guantánamo military commissions,
sharply criticizing the politicization of the system. According to news reports,
a Pentagon representative secretly invited an outspoken supporter of the military
commissions to Guantánamo Bay for Thursday’s arraignment of Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees on terrorism-related charges, but did
not make this option available to family members who have expressed criticism
of the commissions. This type of politicization is symptomatic of the unconstitutional
and biased tribunal system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The letter echoes the widespread call for a system to try the Guantánamo
detainees that adheres to the Constitution, stating, “As people who lost
loved ones in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we want nothing more than to see
that justice is served in the prosecution of suspects. However, we know that
no justice will come out of a system that has been compromised by politics and
stripped of the rule of law.”
The military commission proceedings have been subject to unlawful political
influence since they started. After holding detainees for over six years, the
government is now rushing through these cases, giving the defense just three
months to prepare for a trial timed to begin only weeks before the November
“The American public has every right to expect that prosecutions of 9/11
suspects will be conducted in a fair, open and honest manner that is not compromised
by crass political considerations.…
On Tuesday, June 3, join the Center for Constitutional Rights for an exciting
live webcast of the event "True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation
of Iraq." The event, which will take place at New York City’s Town Hall,
features bestselling author JEREMY SCAHILL, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer CHRIS
HEDGES, journalist LAILA AL-ARIAN, and The New Yorker’s SEYMOUR HERSH, as they
go behind the headlines to tell the untold story of the occupation of Iraq, the
daily plight of Iraqi civilians, and the ongoing role of private mercenaries in
America’s so-called "war on terror."
The webcast will stream live on CCR’s website on Tuesday, June 3, 7 p.m. EST.
Go here for more details.
This event also marks the book launches of Collateral Damage: America’s
War Against Iraqi Civilians by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian and the
updated paperback edition of Blackwater: Rise of the World’s Most Powerful
Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill.
CCR has worked with all of these authors in our pursuit of justice for the
victims of the war and occupation of Iraq. Recently, we filed new cases against
Blackwater for its killing of Iraqi civilians as well as a new case against
CACI and Titan, military contractors in Iraq who were responsible for interrogation
and translation at Abu Ghraib.
The event is co-sponsored by CCR, The Nation, Public Concern Foundation,
Democracy Now!, The Indypendent, CERSC, Democrats. com, Veterans for
Common Sense, Peace Action New York, Alternet and Tricycle.…
Scholar Urges Candidates Debate Role of President’s Usurpation of Power
By Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 22, 2008
President Bush’s usurpation of power since 9/11 was termed “rapacious,” “predatory,” and “extra-Constitutional,” by presidential scholar Michael Genovese, director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Genovese said the “Unitary Theory” of the executive espoused by the Bush White House “is a very strange and ahistorical notion that says, ‘In a crisis all power gravitates to the president. No one, not the courts, not the Congress can interfere with the president and in effect, the president is the state.”
“That ahistorical view runs contrary to everything that we find in the Framers,” Genovese said. “For the president to say that he has all the authority he needs to do all he had to do without Congress, without the courts, is simply dead wrong. He may be the decider but he’s not the only decider.”
Genovese urged the candidates for the White House discuss their views on the nature of the presidency.
He said the Framers’ intention “was to get away from the rule of one man that they just fought a revolution to overthrow, and so the Framers invented a rule of law system, under a separation of powers, with checks and balances, under a constitution, and they invented an office, the president, who was to preside, not to govern, but to preside.”
The system they created was primarily concerned “about protecting freedom… Continue reading
Iceland tops list of peaceful nations, U.S. 97th
Tue May 20, 2008 5:08pm EDT
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation while the United States is ranked among the bottom third, according to a study released on Tuesday.
The “Global Peace Index,” compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked the United States 97th out of 140 countries according to how peaceful they were domestically and how they interacted with the outside world.
The United States slipped from 96th last year, but was still ahead of foe Iran which ranked 105th. It, however, lagged Belarus, Cuba, South Korea, Chile, Libya and others which were listed as more peaceful.
Iraq, which the United States invaded in 2003, leading to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, ranked lowest on the index. Afghanistan, another country invaded by the United States this decade, was also in the bottom five, along with Sudan, Somalia and Israel.
Commenting on the U.S. ranking, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said to realize a more peaceful and prosperous world, “Often times, you have to do difficult things and a lot of times, people don’t agree with them. They don’t like them.”
“A lot of times you fall down in these lists but at the end of the day it is in defense of democracy and the way of life we have enjoyed over the past several decades,” he added.
The United States has come under strong international criticism for the invasion of Iraq and… Continue reading
Under a new plan, the government could take your DNA and keep it on file permanently
if you are arrested at a demonstration on federal property. Take action today
to stop the government from giving itself sweeping new powers to create DNA databases.
Please read this alert for background on the plan and immediately go here and
click on the yellow "Add Comments" balloon to file public comments
with the government to oppose the plan. The government is only accepting comments
until this Monday, May 19, so take action today!
At the end of 2005, a little-noticed provision was slipped into the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill that provided the federal government
with the power to collect and permanently keep DNA samples from anyone arrested
for any crime whether or not they are convicted, any non-U.S. citizen merely
detained by federal authorities for any reason, and everyone in federal prison.
Now the government is trying to put the DNA Fingerprint Act into practice.
Federal agencies would be required to take DNA samples from:
* Individuals arrested for the most minor of crimes, such as peaceful protestors
who are demonstrating on federal property.
* Countless numbers of visitors from other countries who are pulled aside in
airports by the Transportation Security Administration.
* Lawful immigrants seeking admission to this country, whether at the land border
or in passport control at the airport.
Go here for more information on the law.
This is a dangerous invasion of privacy. Our DNA is not a fingerprint – it
contains vast amounts of sensitive medical information about us.…