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By Dave Lindorff
I have been deeply ashamed of my country a number of times. The Nixon Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong was one such time, when hospitals, schools and dikes were targeted. The invasion of Iraq was another. Washington’s silence over the fatal Israeli Commando raid on the Gaza Peace Flotilla--in which a 19-year-old unarmed American boy was murdered--was a third. But I think I have never been as ashamed and disgusted as I was today reading that US Attorney General Eric Holder had sent a letter to the Russian minister of justice saying that the US would “not seek the death penalty” in its espionage case against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, promising that even if the US later brought added charges against Snowden after obtaining him, they would not include any death penalty, and vowing that if Snowden were handed over by Russia to the US, he would “not be tortured.”
So it has come to this: That the United States has to promise (to Russia!) that it will not torture a prisoner in its control -- a US citizen at that -- and so therefore that person, Edward Snowden, has no basis for claiming that he should be “treated as a refugee or granted asylum.”
Why does Holder have to make these pathetic representations to his counterpart in Russia?
Because Snowden has applied for asylum saying that he is at risk of turture or execution if returned to the US to face charges for leaking documents showing that the US government is massively violating the civil liberties and privacy of every American by monitoring every American’s electronic communications.
Snowden has made that claim in seeking asylum because he knows that another whistleblower, Pvt. Bradley Manning, was in fact tortured by the US for months, and held without trial in solitary confinement for over a year before being finally put on trial in a kangaroo court, where the judge is as much prosecutor as jurist, and where his guilt was declared in advance by the President of the United States -- the same president who has also already publicly declared Snowden guilty too...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF inThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to:www.thiscantbehappening.net/
Brandon Toy’s Act of Conscience
July 19, 2013
Editor Note: Courage, like cowardice, often comes in individual, incremental pieces building toward something great and honorable, or small and dishonorable. The resignation of Brandon Toy from General Dynamics fits into the former category and is so honored by an organization of former intelligence officials.
A Respectful Salute to a Soldier/Contractor/Truth-teller
By Sam Adams Associates
By John Grant
We now have clarity from a full-bird colonel in judicial robes that Bradley Manning is to be charged with “aiding the enemy.” OK, not much of a surprise here. Colonel Denise Lind’s ruling seems pretty predictable.
His 'Crime' is Patriotism, not Betrayal Like Hale's Philip Nolan, Snowden has Become a 'Man Without a Country'
By Dave Lindorff
In Edward Everett Hale's short story "The Man Without a Country," US Army Lt. Philip Nolan, following a court-martial, is exiled from his country, his citizenship snatched away, leaving him doomed to sail the seven seas confined to a Navy vessel, unable to make any country his home. His crime: being seduced by a treacherous leader to betray the US of A, the country of his birth.
|VICTORY !!! CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED !!!|
Sisters and Brothers:
This victory would not have been possible without the concerted international solidarity campaign, which drew support from an unprecedented array of international and national labor federations, national unions, local and regional labor organizations and allied NGOs (listed below).
This is a great victory, but it is one battle in a larger class conflict in Iraq and internationally.
We need to continue our efforts to secure basic rights for the working people of Iraq. There will be other targets of employer and state repression who will need our support. So we need to formalize our effort and establish a way for our organizations (and others) to contribute financially to support the solidarity effort. USLAW, Solidarity Center, and the Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative will continue to work together to further this effort.
By Dave Lindorff
So New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and former Times executive editor Bill Keller are both saying that the massive NSA spying program on all Americans’ communications is a needed thing because if they don’t do it, then maybe there could be another major terrorist strike on the US, and democracy would be erased in the US.
A Cure for War – With Limitations.
by Erin Niemela
Earlier this week I wrote an editorial proposing a 28th constitutional amendment to abolish war. The NSA scandal, I argue, is tied to the more pervasive problem of violent foreign (and domestic) policy, and we’ll continue to see government abuses so long as war and inter-state military violence are the acceptable choices for conflict management. David Swanson, author of the brilliant history, “When the World Outlawed War,” thoughtfully responded to my plea by urging us to recall and reignite the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, an existing international pact renouncing war signed and ratified by the US president and Senate.
I agree with Mr. Swanson that any efforts to end war should point to existing law, and we agree that abolishing war is possible and necessary. However, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is not without its limitations, and a fresh, people-driven constitutional amendment could both address those limitations and offer current, culturally relevant and legally dispositive reinforcement.
Attorney Inder Comar is maintaining a website at http://witnessiraq.com which describes the lawsuit:
Witness Iraq has brought a lawsuit against key members of the Bush Administration: George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz.
In Saleh v. Bush, plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh alleges that the Iraq War was a premeditated war against the Iraqi people, the planning of which started in 1998. The war was not conducted in self-defense, did not have the appropriate authorization by the United Nations, and under international law constituted a “crime of aggression” — a crime first set down at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.
Friends - some major updates on the Iraq War Case, Saleh v. Bush, et al., C 13 1124 (JST) (N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013). The plaintiff, an Iraqi woman now living in Jordan, alleges that defendants Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz violated international law in waging war against Iraq.The Court has ordered a briefing schedule regarding the legality of the war (PACER docket pleading attached). The briefing will take place over several months and will not be completed until at least November.Defendants Bush, Rice and Powell have been served with the lawsuit through their counsel of record, the Department of Justice. The remaining defendants - Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz - will be served on or before June 21, 2013. [Here's the order: PDF]The legality of the Iraq War -- and whether Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz allegedly committed the crime of aggression under international law, forbidden by the Nuremberg Trials -- is now before a court of law. If you can, help me spread this incredible story.Updates will be posted at our host site, witnessiraq.com, which also has copies of the Complaint and other materials.
Here Comar interviews the plaintiff and other victims:
A report on June 11, 2013 from Reuters calls Richard Falk, the United Nations human rights investigator for Palestine, ‘embattled’, apparently because he has once again refused to dance to the U.S.-Israel tune. At a forum of the U.N. Human Rights Council, he called for an inquiry into what he sees as the torture of Palestinians in Israeli custody. The U.S., of course, with its own shocking record of torturing its political prisoners in Guantanamo, Iraq, and who knows where else, boycotted the debate. Israel did the same, accusing the forum of anti-Israel bias.
Epidemic of Birth Defects and Cancer in Iraq: America's Toxic Legacy
by Stephen Lendman
America's Gulf War, intermittent bombings in the 1990s, the 2003 war, and aftermath left a toxic legacy.
Children born with two heads reflect it. Some had only one eye. Missing sockets look like the inside of an oyster. They're milky and shapeless.
By John Grant
Watching the US Senate Armed Forces Committee wrestle with the issue of rape and sexual abuse in the military opens a whole range of related issues concerning sex and war that will likely not be addressed in the Senate.
Moral Imperative of Bradley Manning
Editor Note: Official Washington still glorifies George W. Bush’s “successful surge” in Iraq while ignoring the wanton slaughter inflicted on Iraqis. So, there remains a high-level desire to harshly punish Pvt. Bradley Manning for exposing the horrific truth about that and other war crimes.
By Ray McGovern
Although we had to swelter in the Maryland sun on Saturday, I found the pre-trial rally at Ft. Meade to support Bradley Manning particularly spirit-filled. It seemed there was an unspoken but widely shared consciousness that Manning is as much Biblical prophet as Army private.
War Crimes as Policy
In February the Guardian and BBC Arabic unveiled a documentary exploring the role of retired Colonel James Steele in the recruitment, training and initial deployments of the CIA advised and funded Special Police Commandos in Iraq.
The documentary tells how the Commandos tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Iraqi men and boys. But the Commandos were only one of America’s many weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Along with US military forces – which murdered indiscriminately – and various CIA funded death squads – which murdered selectively – and the CIA’s rampaging palace guard – the 5,000 man strong Iraq Special Operations Forces – the Commandos were part of a genocidal campaign that killed about 10% of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq by 2008, and drove about half of all Sunnis from their homes.
With U.S. approval of Congress holding steady at a whopping 15%, one wonders just who it is the elected representatives are representing. Perhaps we can answer that question, by looking at some of their recent activities, and considering some of the things currently left undone.
By John Grant
Arun Gupta, whose writings can be found at occupyusatoday.com, discusses the lives of refugees from the U.S. war on Iraq now living in California, and the crimes of David Petraeus who has now been made a professor by the City University of New York and the University of Southern California.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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By John Grant
It was the summer of 1981. I was working on an ambulance in Philadelphia, transporting a cancer patient to a hospital for radiation treatments. The man was in his sixties, and I felt he knew his days were numbered.
In my conversations with the man, it came up that I was a Vietnam veteran. He told me he was in the CIA in Saigon in the early 1970s.
“What did you do?” I asked.
Interfaith Service of Lamentation and Hope
APRIL 22, 2013 ● 5:00 P.M. INTERFAITH PEACE CHAPEL
GATHERING MUSIC Jenny Holland, flute David Moldenhauer, piano
PRELUDE Dona Nobis Pacem
by Giulio Caccini, arr. James Moore
Stephanie Darbo, soprano
When truth has fallen in the public squares (Isaiah 59), falsehood becomes the memory norm of a people unless someone provides a truthful narrative befitting democracy at its best. Truth telling, our purpose today in the name of the God of Peace and Justice, calls for transparency and accountability from all parties, offering judgment, self-examination, and the hope of restoration.
We recognize that all of us as a nation bear responsibility for the fall of truth. It is the responsibility of each citizen of the United States to reflect on one’s own role in the decisions of presidential administrations and it behooves us to make whatever changes are necessary for the common good.
WELCOME Rev. Bill McElvaney INTRODUCTION TO LAMENTATIONS Rabbi Steve Fisch
We lament the misinformation used to justify the war against Iraq, a country with no weapons of mass destruction despite the assurance of the Bush administration to the contrary.
We lament the muting of dissent by the Bush presidency during the U.S. initiated war in Iraq, casting doubt on the patriotism of those opposing the war.
We lament President Bush’s wrongful assumption that U.S. invasion and occupation would make the U.S. more secure when in fact the consequence was increased recruitment of would-be terrorists.
We lament the claim by the Bush administration that our nation was protected from terrorist attacks when in fact the worst terrorist attack in history on U.S. soil occurred during the Bush presidency.
We lament resistance to acknowledge claims of the scientific community regarding climate change.
ALL: We call upon God to guide us towards truth telling in the public square.
By Dave Lindorff
My mother died last Thursday at the age of 89. Her death, fortunately coming peacefully after she suffered a stroke during her sleep, followed a long mental decline caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
An Iraqi on What Was Done to Her Country: Sarah AK Ahmed: Poem @ Anti-Drone Conference In Syracuse, NY
By Dave Lindorff
I ran the Boston Marathon back in 1968, and, my feet covered with blisters inside my Keds sneakers, dragged across the finish line to meet my waiting uncle at a time of about 3 hours and 40 minutes. It was close enough to the time that the current bombing happened in this year’s race -- about four hours from the starting gun -- that had I been running it this year, I might still been near enough to the finish line to have heard the blasts.
Manning's Co-Defendant is the Internet Itself Bradley Manning Update: How to Commit Espionage Without Trying!
By Dave Lindorff
If it wasn't clear up to now, it was made crystal clear last week. The co-defendent in the Bradley Manning trial is the Internet itself.
TCBH! founder Dave Lindorff On Iran: "The Iranians have enough money to buy a bomb if they wanted one, on the black market, so I think all of this has been hugely overblown in US propaganda, and Israeli propaganda."
Veterans for Peace has just released the following statement:
The Iraq war, like all wars, was launched on the basis of false answers to false questions. We are now being told to ask whether Iran or Syria has weapons, as though possession of weapons were grounds for bombing a nation, and as if we've learned nothing.
By Dave Lindorff
The history of third parties in America is pretty dismal. The system is rigged against them, for one thing. But equally problematic is the lack of focus that leads to infighting and splits whenever a third party is created.
Back then, everybody was writing about Iraq, but it’s surprising how few Americans, including reporters, paid much attention to the suffering of Iraqis. Today, Iraq is in the news again. The words, the memorials, the retrospectives are pouring out, and again the suffering of Iraqis isn’t what’s on anyone’s mind. This was why I returned to that country before the recent 10th anniversary of the Bush administration’s invasion and why I feel compelled to write a few grim words about Iraqis today.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
Photo Credit: Cherle A. Thuriby/Dept. of Defense
Since the end of the Second World War, American political leaders and opinion-makers have led the public to believe that the aggressive use of overt and covert military force are essential tools of US foreign policy. As we reel from one military disaster to the next, sending our loved ones off to war, killing millions of innocent people and destabilizing one region after another, each new administration assures us that it has learned the lessons of the past and deserves our support and sacrifice for its latest military strategy.
By Greg Muttitt, http://www.fuelonthefire.com/?
Tony Blair always did like to think of himself as a world statesman. I sometimes wonder whether he had an eye on Winston Churchill when he said of the Iraq War in 2003, “the oil conspiracy theory is honestly one of the most absurd”. Back in 1920, Churchill told parliament that the idea of an oil motive behind Britain´s Mesopotamia Campaign during the First World War was “too absurd for acceptance.”