By Coleen Rowley
Dear Department of Justice and Department of Treasury Officials:
We might have just helped you bag another material supporter of terrorism this week! And you’ll never believe who the culprit is! We were even able to tape record some of his own damning admissions! (That’s the reason for my calls last week to your duty attorneys and media offices.)
As you know, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has an ongoing investigation into several high profile former political figures, trying to discover their financial transactions with the terrorists in the Mujaheddin e Khalq aka “MEK”. One of the former political officials apparently being investigated for his financial transactions and paid advocacy on behalf of MEK is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Well Mukasey happened to get tapped on March 15 to give an “ethical leadership” speech at the University of St. Thomas Law School and some of us went to hear what he had to say. As an aside, the overall thrust of his speech was anything but ethical. Instead he mostly defended the Bush Administration and its lawyers for having used their talents “to push the legal limits” of what the Executive Branch could do in its “war on terror.” (Of course there are many legal scholars who think those Bush attorneys pushed over the legal limits.) He especially defended John Yoo and Robert Delahunty (now a St. Thomas law professor) who working in Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, co-wrote memos in early… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts
September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.
Some of us have watched this day approach and have warned of its coming, only to be greeted with boos and hisses from “patriots” who have come to regard the US Constitution as a device that coddles criminals and terrorists and gets in the way of the President who needs to act to keep us safe.
In our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions , Lawrence Stratton and I showed that long before 9/11 US law had ceased to be a shield of the people and had been turned into a weapon in the hands of the government. The event known as 9/11 was used to raise the executive branch above the law. As long as the President sanctions an illegal act, executive branch employees are no longer accountable to the law that prohibits the illegal act. On the president’s authority, the executive branch can violate US laws against spying on Americans without warrants, indefinite detention, and torture and suffer no consequences.
Many expected President Obama to re-establish the accountability of government to law. Instead, he went further than Bush/Cheney and asserted the unconstitutional power not only to hold American citizens indefinitely in prison without bringing charges, but also to take their lives without convicting them in a court of law. Obama asserts that the US Constitution notwithstanding, he has the authority to assassinate US citizens, who he deems to be a “threat,” without due process… 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
By Debra Sweet
August 24, 2009
CIA Torture Report to be Released
The release of the long-anticipated CIA report, quashed since 2006 by the Bush regime, and then postponed several times by the Obama administration, is set for Monday August 24. It’s been leaked. Newsweek and the Guardian UK, “Bombshell report on CIA interrogations is leaked” report the CIA used mock executions to terrorize detainees through threatening the use of pistols and electric drills.
It’s reported that the Attorney General will make a decision in the next few days on whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture. The New York Times analyzed the problem Eric Holder is up against, having been instructed by Barack Obama not to look “backward” while saying “we do not torture”:
“Mr. Holder has told associates he is weighing a narrow investigation, focusing only on C.I.A. interrogators and contract employees who clearly crossed the line and violated the Bush administration’s guidelines and engaged in flagrantly abusive acts. But in taking that route, Mr. Holder would run two risks. One is the political fallout if only a handful of low-level agents are prosecuted for what many critics see as a pattern of excess condoned at the top of the government. The other is that an aggressive prosecutor would not stop at the bottom, but would work up the chain of command, and end up with a full-blown criminal inquiry into the intelligence agencies – just the kind of broad, open-ended criminal… Continue reading
June 25, 2009
The highest officials in our government have trampled on our traditional ideals of making America a nation of laws, not of men, by illegally narrowing the scope of torture and authorizing waterboarding, walling and other inhumane interrogation
techniques. In doing so, they violated the Anti-Torture Act, the War Crimes Act, the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.
In order to enforce our laws and restore the free society that our forefathers envisioned, citizens must demand accountability for abuses of the laws pertaining to torture. In the tradition of the Civil Rights movement, change will not occur unless citizens stand up for their rights under the law.
On June 25th join us for an international day of demonstration demanding accountability for torture
in and across the country, to prosecute those responsible for torture. In Washington D.C. we have tabling starting at 9, speakers and a rally from 11 to 12 in , then a march to the Department of Justice. (Find other events across the US here. (Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Pasadena, CA, Boston, MA, Salt Lake City, UT, Tampa Bay, FL, Portland, OR, Bryn Mawr, PA, Seattle, WA, Las Vegas, NV, Honolulu, HI, Anchorage, AK)
Torture Accountability Action Day, sponsored by:
Cheney said in an interview on Fox News:
“On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9-11, there was never any evidence to prove that,” he told the Fox host. “There was “some reporting early on … but that was never borne out… [President] George [Bush] … did say and did testify that there was an ongoing relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq, but no proof that Iraq was involved in 9-11.”
How important is Cheney’s admission?
Well, 5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam” .
And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.
Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative… Continue reading
30 April 2009
By Dennis Loo
If you ask most people what Obama has done about Guantánamo, most would say,
“He shut it down.”
Most don’t know that Obama has said he might take as much as a year to shut
If you ask most people what Obama has done about torture and rendition, most
would say, “He’s ended them.”
Most don’t know that Obama has declared that he will continue rendition,
that he reserves the right to go beyond the Army Field Manual for interrogations,
and that by
not acting affirmatively to ensure otherwise, he has allowed conditions to worsen
If you ask most people what Obama’s done about restoring habeas corpus, most
people would first say, “What’s habeas corpus?”
Then, after you explain to them that habeas corpus is your right to challenge
your detention, most people would say, “He’s restored habeas corpus, hasn’t
Most people don’t know that Obama has said that Bagram prisoners have no
right to habeas corpus and that Gitmo detainees don’t have a right
to it prior to June 2008.
The latest news about what Obama is up to on these fronts follows.
Obama’s DOJ pressed the Court of Appeals to rule that Gitmo prisoners aren’t
“persons,” aren’t entitled to the rights of “persons,” and
that if the Court does find that they are indeed “persons,” then US
officials who ordered and carried out torture and abuse of prisoners should
be immune from prosecution for… Continue reading
By Paul Haven
April 16, 2009
MADRID (AP) — Spain’s attorney general has rejected opening an investigation
into whether six Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror
suspects at Guantánamo Bay, saying Thursday a U.S. courtroom would be the proper
Candido Conde-Pumpido’s remarks severely dampen the chance of a case moving
forward against the Americans, including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales. Conde-Pumpido said such a trial would have turned Spain’s National
Court “into a plaything” to be used for political ends.
“If there is a reason to file a complaint against these people, it should
be done before local courts with jurisdiction, in other words in the United
States,” he said in a breakfast meeting with journalists.
Spanish law gives its courts jurisdiction beyond national borders in cases
of torture, war crimes and other heinous offenses, based on a doctrine known
as universal justice, but the government has made clear it wants to rein in
Last month, a group of human rights lawyers asked Judge Baltasar Garzon, famous
for indicting ex-Chilean ruler Augusto Pinochet in 1998, to consider filing
charges against the six Americans. Under Spanish law, the judge then asked prosecutors
for a recommendation on whether to open a full-blown probe.
National Court prosecutors have not formally announced their decision, but
Conde-Pumpido is the country’s top law-enforcement official and has the ultimate
say. While an investigative judge like Garzon is not bound by the prosecutors’
recommendation, it would be highly unusual for a case… Continue reading
As the History Commons e-mail returns after a break, one of the busiest projects
this week was the Loss of Civil Liberties Timeline. It has more about previously-
and still-secret memos from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel
about the Geneva Conventions, rendition, and detainees. Some of the OLC’s
memos were later withdrawn, because of the “doubtful nature” of
Another active project was the Detainee Abuse Timeline, where a contributor
has added material about Binyam Mohamed, a British resident captured in Pakistan
in 2002 and then held in Morocco, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo, before his release
early this year.
In the International Relations Timeline we have new entries about the International
Criminal Court, the Bush administration’s lack of interest in multilateral
cooperation, and, believe it or not, George W. Bush’s sense of Vladimir
Contributors to the US Military Timeline have more about forthcoming weapons
cuts, the return of fallen soldiers’ remains to Dover Air Force Base,
and missile defense.
A contributor to the Iraq Occupation Timeline has added entries about the blocked
confirmation of the new US ambassador, as well as Colin Powell’s feelings
about being unable to find those pesky WMD.
Finally, in the Domestic Propaganda and Military Analysts Timeline a contributor
highlights praise on Fox News from retired General Thomas McInerney for a defunded
fighter. McInerney previously lobbied for the fighter’s manufacturer.
The History Commons needs funding to continue its operations, including… Continue reading
More Than 20 Types Of War Crimes Against Children Ascribed To Ex-President Bush In Iraq And Afghanistan
Monday, 23 March 2009
Press Release: Sherwood Ross
Scoop World Independent News
Torture has received the most attention among the many war crimes of the Bush administration. But those who support Bush’s pursuit of the “war on terror” have not been impressed by recriminations over torture. Worse than torture are the murders of at least 50 prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo, but again the hard-hearted are unimpressed when those whom they perceive as terrorists receive illegal extrajudicial capital punishment.
The case for abusing children, however, is more difficult to support. The best kept secret of the Bush’s war crimes is that thousands of children have been imprisoned, tortured, and otherwise denied rights under the Geneva Conventions and related international agreements. Yet both Congress and the media have strangely failed to identify the very existence of child prisoners as a war crime. In the Islamic world, however, there is no such silence. Indeed, the prophet Mohammed was the first to counsel warriors not to harm innocent children.
From jailing children together with adults in prisons where they were raped to failing to notify their parents of their arrest, the U.S. committed numerous war crimes against children in Afghanistan and Iraq, a new book on President Bush states.
“American guards videotaped Iraqi male prisoners raping young boys but took no action to stop the offenses (and) children in Abu Ghraib were deliberately frightened by dogs,” writes political scientist Michael Haas in his new book, George W.…Continue reading
March 28, 2009
NEW YORK (Reuters) — A top Spanish court has moved toward starting a
probe of six former Bush administration officials including ex-Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales in connection with alleged torture of prisoners at Guantánamo
Bay, The New York Times said on Saturday.
The criminal investigation would focus on whether they violated international
law by providing a legalistic justification for torture at the U.S. detention
camp in Cuba, the Times said.
The paper said the National Court in Madrid had assigned the case to judge
Baltasar Garzon, known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto
Garzon has accepted the case and sent it to the prosecutor’s office for review,
the newspaper said, citing an official close to the case.
The complaint, prepared by Spanish lawyers with the help of U.S. and European
legal experts, also names John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who
wrote secret legal opinions saying the president had the authority to circumvent
the Geneva Conventions, and Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense
Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five Spanish citizens or residents
who were prisoners at Guantánamo Bay say they were tortured there.
The other Americans named are William Haynes II, former general counsel for
the Department of Defense; Jay Bybee, Yoo’s former boss at the Justice Department’s
Office of Legal Counsel; and David Addington, chief of staff and legal adviser
to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney.
Yoo, already the subject of a Justice Department… Continue reading
by Dave Lindorff
March 3, 2009
The dithering and ducking going on in the Obama White House and the Holder
Justice Department over the crimes of the Bush administration are taking on
a comic aspect.
On the one hand, we have President Obama assuring us that under his administration,
there will be respect for the rule of law, and on the other hand we have this
one-time constitutional law professor and his attorney general declaiming that
there is no need for the appointment of a prosecutor to bring charges against
the people in the last administration, in the CIA, in the National Security
Agency and in the Defense Department and the military who clearly have broken
the law in serious and felonious ways.
What gets silly is that America is either a nation of laws…or it isn’t.
It is either a place where “nobody is above the law”…or it
There is really no middle ground here.
The latest solid and incontrovertible evidence of outrageous and criminal behavior
by the White House is the discovery–and the public release by the Obama
administration–of documentary evidence that the CIA committed not just
torture but willful obstruction of justice by destroying video tapes of some
92 interrogations of terrorism suspects and captives in the so-called Bush “War”
on Terror. Plus the release of a stack of nine legal opinions by White House
and Justice Department lawyers providing legal cover for torture, including
executive orders from President Bush and directives from then Secretary… Continue reading
by Andy Worthington
4 March 2009
Andy Worthington, London-based journalist and author of “The Guantánamo
Files” (Pluto Press), has released the first definitive list of the 779
prisoners held in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The list, which is the result of three years’ research and writing about Guantánamo,
provides details of the 533 prisoners who have been released, and includes,
for the first time ever, accurate dates for their release. It also provides
details of the 241 prisoners who are still held, including the 59 prisoners
who have been cleared for release. Although some stories are still unknown,
the stories of nearly 700 prisoners are referenced either by links to Andy’s
extensive archive of articles about Guantánamo, or to the chapters in
“The Guantánamo Files” where they can be found.
Andy Worthington says:
“It is my hope that this project will provide an invaluable research
tool for those seeking to understand how it came to pass that the government
of the United States turned its back on domestic and international law, establishing
torture as official US policy, and holding men without charge or trial neither
as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects
to be put forward for trial in a federal court, but as ‘illegal enemy
“I also hope that it provides a compelling explanation of how that same
government, under the leadership of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld,
established a prison in which the overwhelming… Continue reading
We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
UPDATE 2/27/09 6pm: In response to the many email questions we’ve received asking why we have not endorsed this call for a Special Prosecutor: On 2/24, when this statement/petition was posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, 911truth.org immediately signed on as an endorsing organization via the signup at that site. As of now, our name does not appear on that list. Nonetheless, we did submit endorsement. We are not, yet, encouraging 9/11 truth advocates to politely contact David Swanson asking him why he would permanently post a video statement from Willie Rodriguez on the front page of his site, yet continue to ignore/ban the burgeoning 9/11 truth movement from being heard as the powerful voice we are, in calling for truth and accountability. We believe that Mr. Swanson is acting in good faith, all in all, and will post our endorsement with the others on the list shortly.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations.…Continue reading
by Stephen C. Webster
February 12, 2009
Three major human rights organizations have declared the Department of Defense was running secret prisons at Bagram and in Iraq, actively sought ways around the terms of the Geneva conventions and cooperated with the CIA’s “ghost detention” program which saw prisoners hidden from Red Cross oversight.
The arrival of the documents comes on the same day the ACLU published two unredacted pages of a government report which reveals detainees in US custody were tortured to death.
“These newly released documents confirm our suspicion that the tentacles of the CIA’s abusive program reached across agency lines,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, Director of the NYU International Human Rights Clinic, in a Thursday advisory. “In fact, it is increasingly obvious that defense officials engaged in legal gymnastics to find ways to cooperate with the CIA’s activities. A full accounting of all agencies must now take place to ensure that future abuses don’t continue under a different guise.”
The papers, part of a volley of responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, were released by Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.
“One heavily redacted page mentions (PDF, page 34) an ‘undisclosed detention facility’ at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan,” he noted.
“Another, dated May 2004,… Continue reading
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
January 26, 2009
The arrival of the Obama administration will not fundamentally alter the course of military expansion accelerated during the Bush era. The origins of these policies do not lie uniquely in neoconservative ideology. While the election of President Obama may offer new opportunities for progressive forces to delimit the damage, their space for movement will ultimately be constrained by deep-seated structural pressures that will attempt to exploit Obama to rehabilitate American imperial hegemony, rather than transform it.
Indeed, the radicalization of Anglo-American political ideology represented by the rise of neoconservative principles and the militarization processes of the ‘War on Terror’, constituted a strategic response to global systemic crises supported by the American business classes. The same classes, recognizing the extent to which the Bush era has discredited this response, have rallied around Obama. Therefore, as global crises intensify, this militarization response is likely to undergo further radicalization, rather than a meaningful change in course. The key differences will be in language and method, not substance.
Obama and National Security: “It’s the Oil, Stupid!”
This became increasingly clear as Barack Obama’s administration appointees became known — individuals whose political and ideological positions are largely commensurate with neoconservative ideals particularly on security matters, and whose social and intellectual connections link them to neo-conservative think-tanks and policy-makers.
A glance through Obama’s national security team also raises eyebrows, but we should focus on his selection of former Marine General Jim Jones as his National Security Advisor. Jones… Continue reading
Kucinich: UN should investigate Israeli Gaza strikes
by Nick Juliano
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for an independent investigation to be led by the United Nations into the recent eruption of violence between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza strip that has killed scores of innocent civilians.
Monday brought a third day of Israeli bombing Gaza in what the state is calling its “all-out” war on Hamas. So far, 345 people have been killed by the bombs. At least 57 of the dead are civilians, including 21 children, according to the UN.
Kucinich said he wrote to UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon urging an “independent inquiry of Israel’s war against Gaza.” The Democratic lawmaker said Israel’s attacks are an example of “collective punishment,” which violates the Geneva Conventions.
“The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better,” Kucinich said in a news release Monday. “The world community, which has been very supportive of Israel’s right to security and its right to survive, also has a right to expect Israel to conduct itself in adherence to the very laws which support the survival of Israel and every other nation.”
Kucinich compared the latest bombing campaign to Isreal’s earlier strikes at southern Lebanon targeted at Hezbollah. Then too, he said, civilians were killed, infrastructure was destroyed and lawlessness took hold… Continue reading
by Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories
For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.
Israel also refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I was myself expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. Clearly, prior to the current crisis, Israel… Continue reading