by Justin Berton, Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writers
SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online)
Photo (left): Jay Finneburgh / AP — Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen lays on the ground bleeding from a head wound after being struck by a projectile during an Occupy Wall Street protest in Oakland, Calif. Olsen suffered a fractured skull while marching with other protesters attempting to reestablish a presence in the area of the disbanded camp, said Dottie Guy, of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Police Chief Howard Jordan says an internal review board and local prosecutors have been asked to determine if officers on the scene used excessive force.
OAKLAND — Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, stood calmly in front of a police line as tear gas canisters that officers shot into the Occupy Oakland protest Tuesday night whizzed past his head.
“He was standing perfectly still, provoking no one,” said Raleigh Latham, an Oakland filmmaker shooting footage of the confrontation between police and hundreds of protesters at 14th Street and Broadway. “If something didn’t hit him directly in the face, then it went off close to his head and knocked him down.”
The something was a projectile that apparently came from police lines, fractured Olsen’s skull and put him in Highland General Hospital. Doctors upgraded his condition Thursday from critical to fair, and said they expect him to make a full recovery.
His parents flew in from Wisconsin and spent Thursday at his bedside.… Continue reading
By AL BAKER
October 18, 2011
Photo: Ozier Muhammad/the New York Times
A New York police commander who pepper-sprayed protesters during the opening days of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations last month faces an internal disciplinary charge that could cost him 10 vacation days, the police said Tuesday.
The commander, Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, has been given a so-called command discipline, according to a law enforcement official. Officials said investigators found that the inspector ran afoul of Police Department rules for the use of the spray. The department’s patrol guide, its policy manual, says pepper spray should be used primarily to control a suspect who is resisting arrest, or for protection; it does allow for its use in “disorder control,” but only by officers with special training.
The Internal Affairs Bureau reviewed the episode and found that Inspector Bologna “used pepper spray outside departmental guidelines,” said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman. He declined to elaborate.
The inspector can accept the charge and plead guilty, or he can opt for a departmental trial. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly is the ultimate arbiter of punishment in such matters and has wide leeway in his decisions.
Inspector Bologna’s actions on Sept. 24, when he sprayed several penned-in women, were captured on video and spread widely on the Internet. It became a defining moment in the protests.
Four days later, Mr. Kelly said the Internal Affairs Bureau would look into the inspector’s actions. At the same time, the Manhattan… Continue reading
By Richard Perez-Pena
October 7, 2011
New York Times
A report on terrorism prosecutions written by scholars at New York University’s School of Law has set off an ugly fight, pitting the school against former Mayor Edward I. Koch and Representative Peter T. King in what one side calls a question of intellectual freedom, and the other says is a matter of intellectual honesty.
The report, focusing on three high-profile cases, accuses law enforcement agencies of luring young Muslim men into violent plots and makes broad assertions that the government stigmatizes Muslims. The charge is nothing new; defendants in many terrorism trials in the past decade have alleged entrapment, but juries have rejected that defense.
The report, “Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the ‘Homegrown Threat’ in the United States,” was published in May but did not draw much notice until recently, when some prominent alumni of the law school brought it to the attention of Mr. Koch, a 1948 graduate.
Mr. Koch called on the school’s dean, Richard L. Revesz, to disavow the report and distribute a rebuttal that Mr. King — the Long Island Republican who has presided over contentious hearings on domestic terrorist threats — wrote at Mr. Koch’s urging. When the dean did not agree, the former mayor decided to take the conflict public, potentially giving the report a wider audience than it had gained on its own.
The fight illustrates how differently the political and academic worlds can view the same dispute, and how the same information… Continue reading
September 24~October 1, 2011
American Library Association
Banned Books Week (BBW)
is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom–the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular–provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged–and possibly banned or restricted–if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
By Glenn Greenwald
September 20, 2011
The story of Jose Padilla, continuing through the events of yesterday, expresses so much of the true nature of the War on Terror and especially America’s justice system. In 2002, the American citizen was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, publicly labeled by John Ashcroft as The Dirty Bomber, and then imprisoned for the next three years on U.S. soil as an “enemy combatant” without charges of any kind, and denied all contact with the outside world, including even a lawyer. During his lawless incarceration, he was kept not just in extreme solitary confinement but extreme sensory deprivation as well, and was abused and tortured to the point of severe and probably permanent mental incapacity. (Bush lawyers told a court that they were unable to produce videos of Padilla’s interrogations because those videos were mysteriously and tragically “lost”).
Needless to say, none of the government officials responsible for this abuse of a U.S. citizen on American soil has been held accountable in any way. That’s because President Obama decreed that Bush officials shall not be criminally investigated for War on Terror crimes, while his Justice Department vigorously defended John Yoo, Donald Rumsfeld and other responsible functionaries in civil suits brought by Padilla seeking damages for what was done to him.
As usual, the Obama DOJ cited national security imperatives and sweeping theories of presidential power to demand that Executive Branch officials be fully shielded from judicial scrutiny (i.e., shielded from the … Continue reading
by Sibel Edmonds
CIA’s Maneuver: A Case of Bluffing? Buying Time? Or Something More?
Last week we broke the story of the CIA issued legal threats against producers Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy on their discovery of the identities of the two key CIA analysts who executed the Tenet-Black-Blee cover-up in the case of two key 9/11 hijackers. The analysts were referred to only by first names initially, but were going to be fully named in a follow up segment. It appears the story is still developing, but we now have further details on the case, an analysis by an expert producer, and a few comments on assessing the nature and possible implication of this move by the CIA.
I asked Mr. Nowosielski how the CIA was informed about the schedule and the content of their upcoming segment, and he provided us with the following details:
We emailed CIA Public Affairs on Thursday morning telling them of our intention to name two current agents in our journalism piece and explained the context of their use — the things they were accused of. We also explained that their names had been deduced through open-source materials and that our sources had told us they were working from headquarters.
As for the CIA’s reaction and response Mr. Nowosielski recounted the following:
Their media spokesperson called back almost immediately. After a brief discussion, we emailed him the script for official reply. We also requested an interview with the two to ensure that we were telling the full story accurately.…
September 12, 2011
by Hereward Fenton
On this sad anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in post-war history I am reminded of the prophetic words spoken by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation in 1961: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Eisenhower was the supreme commander in western Europe who had led America to victory against one of the most evil regimes in history, a man who had witnessed the depths of human depravity, and wanted finally to warn us that the war machine which had been created to defend freedom in WWII could equally be used for the opposite purpose, and that it was up to the American people to guard against this possibility.
Eisenhower coined the phrase “military industrial complex” which became the catch-cry of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, describing an economic and political fusion of power involving armaments manufacturers, construction companies, banks, democratic governments and puppet dictatorships.
As Marine Major General Smedley Butler put it, War is a Racket. In his seminal book on the subject Butler declares, “I spent 33 years in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a… Continue reading
By Kevin Zeese
October2011.org seeks to Stop the Machine and Create a New World. It can be done. Indeed, it must be done and now is the time to do it. The thousands who have joined October2011.org know the challenges we face but we also know that the disastrous direction the country is going is unacceptable. We have seen that the normal tools – elections, lobbying and education – do not work. The U.S. is facing a crisis on many fronts – economic, environmental and in foreign relations – and the government does not respond or even makes things worse.
We certainly understand the despair, lost hope and discouragement that many Americans feel about the U.S. political system. The system seems designed to make change impossible. We also see the power and sophistication of the corporate propaganda media machine. But, we also see people in the United States seeing through the propaganda, understanding the truth and getting angry. In every rebellion around the world that has occurred in the last year – from Egypt to Spain – the view that it can’t be done, the people will not rise up would have been the belief of 95% of the population before it happened. Predicting the future is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot of evidence that the time may be right for an American Awakening. The past is not always the future.
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN
July 18, 2011
Relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks have asked to meet with the FBI and top members of the Obama administration about allegations reporters from one of Rupert Murdoch’s British papers tried to hack the cell phone accounts of victims.
In letters sent Monday to Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, a lawyer representing some victims’ families is asking for meetings to discuss a report that journalists from the now-defunct News of the World asked a New York-based private investigator to help them gather information from victims’ phones.
The FBI has initiated an informal probe into the allegations, which were first reported by the Daily Mirror.
“We commend the FBI for opening a preliminary inquiry into this serious issue and we are requesting a meeting to ascertain the scope, goals and timetable of the inquiry,” the letter to Mueller said, Reuters reported. The FBI’s press office declined to comment.
The lawyer representing the victims’ relatives, Norman Siegel, told the wire service that his “clients are troubled about the allegation of potential hacking and they are particularly upset that there now exists an allegation that a newspaper would seek to illegally obtain information about their loved ones.”
“I tried in the letter not to accuse anyone, especially News Corp, of anything yet because you don’t want a media frenzy accusing someone if the facts aren’t there. We want… Continue reading
by Ray McGovern
Published on Saturday, July 2, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Yes, that was I standing before the U.S. Embassy in Athens on the eve of the July Fourth weekend holding the American flag in the distress mode — upside
[Photo (right): Ret. US Army Colonel Ann Wright, 64, from Honolulu, chants slogans as she and other activists rally in protest outside the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, Friday, July 1, 2011. The activists hope to join an international flotilla and to sail to Gaza.]
Indignities experienced by me and my co-guests on “The Audacity of Hope,” the American boat to Gaza, over the past ten days in Athens leave no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama’s administration has forfeited the right to claim any lineage to the brave Americans who declared independence from the king of England 235 years ago.
In the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to a new enterprise of freedom, democracy and the human spirit. The outcome was far from assured; likely as not, the hangman’s noose awaited them. They knew that all too well.
But they had a genuine audacity to hope that the majority of their countrymen and women, persuaded by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the elegant words of Thomas Jefferson, would conclude that the goal of liberty and freedom was worth the risk, that it was worth whatever the cost.
These days we have been seduced into thinking that such principles have become “quaint”… Continue reading
Supporters of accused WikiLeaks source vow to fight on for open trial and freedom
May 5, 2011
By the Bradley Manning Support Network
Published at Couragetoresist.org
Hundreds of thousands of individuals globally celebrate today the confirmation that their efforts to end the torturous pre-trial confinement conditions inflicted upon US Army PFC Bradley Manning have been successful. Manning’s lead defense attorney, David E. Coombs of Rhode Island, has personally verified that Manning is indeed being held in Medium Custody confinement at the Joint Regional Corrections Facility (JRCF) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as claimed by the Army last week.
“We won this battle because 600,000 individuals took the time to write letters and sign petitions, because thousands called the White House switchboard, because 300 of America’s top legal scholars decried Bradley’s pre-trial conditions as a clear violation of our Constitution’s 5th and 8th Amendments,” declared Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network. “We won this battle because over a hundred concerned citizens engaged in civil disobedience at the White House and at Quantico, and because our grassroots campaign shows no sign of slowing.”
These new conditions reflect a dramatic improvement for Manning following his transfer to Fort Leavenworth on April 20, 2011, after having suffered extreme solitary-like confinement at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked. These conditions were unique to Manning and were illegal under US… Continue reading
Lessons the 9/11 Truth Movement Needs to Consider With New Urgency
by John Parulis
The talk, linked to here, given by the late Utah Phillips in the summer of 2004 in Berkeley, California, sets a pathway for a new direction for activism centered on creating world wide worker unions established in non-violence and wide scale organizing.
Utah Phillips is right. The progressive left needs to change tactics. The 9/11 Truth Movement can learn from the left’s failures. Street marches achieve little or nothing. Look at the global anti-war marches of 2003 to stop the Iraq Invasion. Millions flooded the streets around the world in days of historic popular uprisings and demonstrations, yet the war proceeded and ever expanding wars metastasized in Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya. Nearly a million people have died. People continue to die from the so called 9/11 wars and billions continue to be misspent on these failings.
At home, bankers engineered the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. For this they were rewarded with bailouts and no regulatory reform to speak of. They, along with their giant corporate cousins are making record profits while states and cities are chipping away and hacking to death vital services, jobs and job protections for workers, the poor and students and record numbers of people are losing their homes. Legislative efforts to strengthen our democratic institutions, like expanded whistleblower protections and corporate oversight, die on the table or in committee under the nasty anti-environmental and anti-worker agendas of… Continue reading
Obama professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
by Ed Pilkington in New York
More than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.
The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.
He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that “is not only shameful but unconstitutional” as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.
The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called “prevention of injury order” and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.
Tribe said the treatment was objectionable “in the way it violates his person and his liberty… Continue reading
March 7, 2011
by Ralph Lopez
War Is A Crime.org
As Obama’s crime of the destruction of Bradley Manning continues to unfold before our very eyes, Manning friend David House now tells us that over 8 months in isolation with movement and sleep restrictions placed on him have been having their intended effect. House has told MSNBC that by the end of January Manning appeared “catatonic” and that he had “severe problems communicating,” with it having taken House nearly 45 minutes on a recent visit to engage in any meaningful way (video below.) House said Manning’s demeanor was as “if he had just woken up and didn’t know what was going on around him.” Manning was “utterly exhausted physically and mentally…it was difficult to have any kind of social engagement.”
Also, a full month after Congressman Dennis Kucinich formally requested a visit, the Army has stalled on the request.
All for the crime of reporting war crimes and criminal behavior even among the highest-ranking military officials in Iraq.
In 2005, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member [in Iraq], if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to try to stop it.”
Chase Mader writes in HuffPo that soon after deployment to Iraq, Manning:
“soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” — which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist.…
By Glenn Greenwald
February 18, 2011
In March, 2002, American citizen Jose Padilla was arrested in Chicago and publicly accused by then-Attorney-General John Ashcroft of being “The Dirty Bomber.” Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to a military brig in South Carolina, where he was held for almost two years completely incommunicado (charged with no crime and denied all access to the outside world, including even a lawyer) and was brutally tortured, both physically and psychologically. All of this — including the torture — was carried out pursuant to orders from President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and other high-ranking officials. Just as the Supreme Court was about to hear Padilla’s plea to be charged or released — and thus finally decide if the President has the power to imprison American citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind — the Government indicted him in a federal court on charges far less serious than Ashcroft had touted years earlier, causing the Supreme Court to dismiss Padilla’s arguments as “moot”; Padilla was then convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Padilla — like so many other War on Terror detainees — has spent years in American courts trying unsuccessfully to hold accountable the high-level government officials responsible for his abuse and lawless imprisonment (which occurred for years prior to his indictment). Not only has Padilla (and all other detainees) failed to obtain redress for what was done to them, but worse, they have been entirely denied even… Continue reading
By Robert Parry
February 17, 2011
Sometimes the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. So, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would deliver a speech hailing the peaceful protests that changed Egypt while 71-year-old Ray McGovern was roughed up and dragged away for standing quietly in protest of her support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“So this is America,” said McGovern as he was hustled from the room by two security guards. “This is America.”
McGovern, a former Army intelligence officer and a 27-year veteran of the CIA, was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” t-shirt and, according to witnesses, was standing silently with his back to Secretary Clinton before he was set upon by the two agents who bruised, bloodied and handcuffed McGovern, a cancer survivor. [For video, see below.]
McGovern, who writes for Consortiumnews.com, has been detained at other events protesting both the illegality of U.S. wars and the hypocrisy of demanding accountability for others but not for senior U.S. officials implicated in war crimes, like the torture authorized by former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney.
For instance, last December, McGovern joined a Veterans for Peace protest at the White House, which he described in an article “Thoughts at the White House Fence.”
In the article, McGovern described thinking about “Casey Sheehan and 4,429 other U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, and the 491 U.S. troops killed this year in Afghanistan (bringing that total to 1,438). And their… Continue reading
Interview by Cosmos Civil Disobedience at the White House for 9/11 Justice9/11 Truth News
9/11 Justice activist and researcher Jon Gold has announced his intention to chain himself to the White House fence this coming Monday, January 31. 9/11 Truth News asked Gold a few questions to find out more about the upcoming action.
9/11 Truth News: Why are you going to chain yourself to the White House?
Jon Gold: To try and bring attention to the fact that we were lied to about 9/11 and that there needs to be justice and accountability for what happened. That there are family members still seeking justice for what happened and that the people of the world deserve it. When you take into account what that day has been used for — and then think about the fact that we don’t exactly know what happened that day — that is an unacceptable situation. People are dying. If that day wasn’t what we were led to believe — and it wasn’t — then the people of the world need to know about it.
911TN: This seems like a somewhat extreme action to take. Do you think more standard forms of protest have been exhausted?
Jon Gold: I have been fighting for truth, accountability, and justice for what happened that day for almost 9 years now. I have tried every avenue I can think of to bring attention to this issue, to no avail. Contacting your Representatives does nothing. Contacting the media does nothing.… Continue reading