"In the continuing controversy over the treatment of torture in Zero Dark Thirty, a crucial scene has been overlooked – one that makes the film’s point of view clear, even if it’s less attention-grabbing than images of waterboarding. The scene comes late in the movie, after the CIA has surmised that Osama bin Laden is possibly hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan. One government official wonders aloud whether a Guantánamo detainee might be able to confirm that location, to which a CIA operative replies, “Who the hell am I supposed to ask, some guy in Gitmo who’s all lawyered up?” He explains that any lawyer will simply tip off al-Qaeda.
Defense lawyers are used to being portrayed in the media as morally questionable hired guns, while their police and prosecutorial counterparts play committed heroes who avenge victims and put the bad guys away. Even in the left-leaning HBO series The Wire, which broke the mold of the police procedural, the main defense attorney unscrupulously helps gangsters hide criminal activity, while the head prosecutor is accurately described on Wikipedia as one of the show’s “most morally upright figures.”
October 19, 2012
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Battles Over Government Secrecy Dominate 9/11 Hearings
Posted: 10/17/2012 1:49 pm
The definition and use of classified information, and the public's right to hear it, is proving to be one of the most important issues arising in pre-trial hearings in this historic September 11th terrorism prosecution. With only two of the defendants actually in the courtroom on Wednesday (the others elected not to come), lawyers from the government, defense, ACLU and 14 media organizations over the last two days have argued vehemently over whether the government is properly classifying information -- particularly the memories and experiences of the defendants, who were subjected to the CIA's classified "enhanced interrogation" program. Even if it is deemed classified, argue the ACLU and news organizations, it still has to meet a strict First Amendment standard for the court to lawfully prevent the public from hearing it.
The First Amendment only allows the closing of a courtroom, argued ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi and media lawyer David Schulz, if it will "cause grave harm to national security."
"The government fails utterly to explain how it has a legitimate interest, let alone a compelling one, in suppressing information about a CIA coercive interrogation and detention program that was illegal and has been banned by the president," the ACLU says in its brief to the court.
The issue is important, both for the public's right to know what its government did and for the legitimacy of this historic trial. As Schulz told the court yesterday: "Nothing is likely to shape the public perception of the fairness of these proceedings more significantly than the way the court handles this request for a protective order."
The current proposed order, he said, "covers things that quite clearly can't credibly constitute a threat to our national security."
November 2008 - Edmonton 9/11 Truth joined forces with supporters of Omar Khadr rally for his return to Canada. The rally was held at Churchill Square and the Winspere theatre. Members of Edmonton's 9/11 Truth Movement set up an information table, sharing news and information why Canada must investigate the 9/11 with an Independent Public Investigation. Edmonton activists shared free copies of Richard Gage's 9/11 Blue Print for Truth DVDs (Winnipeg Conference - published by former Dr. Joe Hawkins of StopLying.ca)
September 29, 2012 - TORONTO -AP NEWS - Canada's public safety minister says the last Western detainee held at Guantanamo has returned to Canada.
Vic Toews said Saturday that 26-year-old Omar Khadr arrived at a military base on a U.S. government plane early Saturday and has been transferred to Millhaven maximum security prison in Bath, Ontario.
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby talks about yet another "apparent suicide" in Guantanamo prison, dryboarding, and how the only way to ever leave is in a body-bag. Abby interviews former CIA Officer Ray McGovern about CIA intelligence failures leading up to 9/11, the presidential daily briefings, and the PNAC neocon strategy for war. Abby Martin then talks to Afghan journalist and author of "Opium Wars" Fariba Nawa about the opium trade, opium brides, and the heroin black market. 11 years after the 9/11. Finally, Abby breaks down the systematic erosion of our civil liberties through legislation passed in a post 9/11 America.
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U.S. owes apologies for mistakes in its war against terror
SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2012
BY RACHEL KAHN-TROSTER
"Morally speaking, … indifference to evil is worse than evil itself."
RABBI ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL
IN JEWISH tradition, every human being is created in God’s image, b’tzelem elohim. This concept from Genesis 1:27 means that every human being – whether friend or enemy – deserves basic respect and requires ethical treatment.
It means that even when we deal with those who try to harm us, we have an ethical standard by which we judge our own actions.
After Sept. 11, 2001, our country lost this moral compass, and we committed acts of torture against 9/11 detainees that were illegal under both American and international law. Fear became a driving force over our long-cherished values. And in return, both our values and our safety were compromised.
Statement of September 11th Advocates Regarding Guantanamo Bay Military Tribunals ... No Justice for 9/11 Victims Found Here
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2012
It would seem that the U.S. Government found itself in a conundrum when they allowed prisoners, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), to be tortured in secret prisons around the world. Once tortured, any confession or testimony from KSM, or others, could not be deemed reliable. Furthermore, the focus of the eventual proceedings would become a trial about the practice of torture, instead of being a trial about alleged terrorist crimes. That would have been untenable for the U.S. Government, which wants to avoid any and all accountability for their own crimes of torture.
By PAUL ELIAS
SAN FRANCISCO -- An appeals court said Wednesday a former senior Department of Justice lawyer who wrote the so-called "torture memos" authorizing harsh treatment of suspected terrorists is protected from lawsuits.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a convicted terrorist's lawsuit filed against John Yoo.
Jose Padilla alleged Yoo's memos allowed for his captors to subject him to harsh interrogation that amounted to unconstitutional torture.
Yoo wrote memos on interrogation, detention and presidential powers for the department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003.
The appeals court ruled that it was unclear at the time whether the interrogation methods Yoo authorized amounted to torture.
The court also said it was unclear whether Padilla, as an "enemy combatant," was entitled to the same constitutional protections as criminal defendants.
The memos have been embroiled in national security politics for years. The memos laid out a broad interpretation of executive power, one the previous administration also used to authorize warrantless wiretapping and secret prisons.
A six-year-old memo from within the George W. Bush administration that came to light this week acknowledges that White House-approved interrogation techniques amounted to "war crimes."
"The Bush White House tried to destroy every copy of the memo, written by then-State Department counselor Philip Zelikow. Zelikow examined tactics like waterboarding -- which simulates drowning -- and concluded that there was no way they were legal, domestically or internationally.
“We are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here," Zelikow wrote. The memo has been obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive and Wired's Spencer Ackerman".
In an e-mail exchange with Britain's The Guardian newspaper, Zelikow said he still believes the techniques approved under Bush were "wrong" and may have violated U.S. and international laws. He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice supported his position.
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?
hyperlinks and video live at source: http://www.examiner.com/nonpartisan-in-national/ndaa-2012-torture-of-americans-or-arrest-the-1-s-criminals-your-choice
I appreciate my colleagues at Activist Post posting my friend Billy Vegas’ PuppetGov video, Obama and the War Criminals. The video powerfully shows damning testimony of US government “leadership” admitting they can torture any person they dictate as a “terrorist.”
Art and academic/professional documentation synergize for the 99% to declare the “emperor has no clothes” obvious facts of the 1%’s crimes.
NDAA 2012 (National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012) explicitly states dictatorial authority of the US executive branch to order US military to seize any person, including US citizens, for unlimited detention and without rights.
This repeats explicit language in the 2006 Military Commissions Act.
This article highlights a number of seemingly absurd CIA demands for redactions from Ali Soufan's forthcoming book on the CIA's pre-9/11 intel 'failures' and post-9/11 prisoner abuse, but, imho, the most significant info is buried at the end of the article; the hard cover version of Soufan's book is going to be 448 pgs, while Shane refers to a "600-page manuscript." This is possibly a round number; in any case, at least 152 pgs of material have been cut due to CIA demands. - loose nuke
C.I.A. Demands Cuts in Book About 9/11 and Terror Fight By SCOTT SHANE
WASHINGTON — In what amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath, the Central Intelligence Agency is demanding extensive cuts from the memoir of a former F.B.I. agent who spent years near the center of the battle against Al Qaeda.
The agent, Ali H. Soufan, argues in the book that the C.I.A. missed a chance to derail the 2001 plot by withholding from the F.B.I. information about two future 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego, according to several people who have read the manuscript. And he gives a detailed, firsthand account of the C.I.A.’s move toward brutal treatment in its interrogations, saying the harsh methods used on the agency’s first important captive, Abu Zubaydah, were unnecessary and counterproductive.
Neither critique of the C.I.A. is new. In fact, some of the information that the agency argues is classified, according to two people who have seen the correspondence between the F.B.I. and C.I.A., has previously been disclosed in open Congressional hearings, the report of the national commission on 9/11 and even the 2007 memoir of George J. Tenet, the former C.I.A. director.
By NEDRA PICKLER
WASHINGTON -- A judge is allowing an Army veteran who says he was imprisoned unjustly and tortured by the U.S. military in Iraq to sue former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld personally for damages.
The veteran's identity is withheld in court filings, but he worked for an American contracting company as a translator for the Marines in the volatile Anbar province before being detained for nine months at Camp Cropper, a U.S. military facility near the Baghdad airport dedicated to holding "high-value" detainees.
The government says he was suspected of helping get classified information to the enemy and helping anti-coalition forces enter Iraq. But he was never charged with a crime and says he never broke the law.
Lawyers for the man, who is in his 50s, say he was preparing to come home to the United States on annual leave when he was abducted by the U.S. military and held without justification while his family knew nothing about his whereabouts or even whether he was still alive.
November, 10 2010
Amnesty International today urged a criminal investigation into the role of former US President George W. Bush and other officials in the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" against detainees held in secret US custody after the former president admitted authorizing their use.
In his memoirs, published yesterday, and in an interview on NBC News broadcast on 8 November 2010, the former President confirmed his personal involvement in authorising "water-boarding" and other techniques against "high value detainees".
"Under international law, the former President's admission to having authorized acts that amount to torture are enough to trigger the USA's obligations to investigate his admissions and if substantiated, to prosecute him," said Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International.
"His admissions also highlight once again the absence of accountability for the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance committed by the USA."
On November 4th, 2009, a year after the election of Barack Obama, artist Shepard Fairey was at the University of Southern California for a conversation entitled “Art, Culture, Politics.” Fairey lent the Obama campaign his artistic design skills by creating the imagery and layout of the “Hope” and “Progress” posters. This iconographical work, which now resides in the Smithsonian, was a crucial visual vehicle in Barack Obama’s mega-cultural ascendancy.
CIA whisked detainees from Gitmo
By: MATT APUZZO and ADAM GOLDMAN
08/06/10 1:10 PM PDT
WASHINGTON — A white, unmarked Boeing 737 landed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before dawn on a CIA mission so secretive, many in the nation's war on terrorism were kept in the dark.
Four of the nation's most highly valued terrorist prisoners were aboard.
They arrived at Guantanamo on Sept. 24, 2003, years earlier than the U.S. has ever disclosed. Then, months later, they were just as quietly whisked away before the Supreme Court could give them access to lawyers.
The transfer allowed the U.S. to interrogate the detainees in CIA "black sites" for two more years without allowing them to speak with attorneys or human rights observers or challenge their detention in U.S. courts. Had they remained at the Guantanamo Bay prison for just three more months, they would have been afforded those rights.