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Sweden banned censorship and guaranteed free speech in 1766, 10 years before the Declaration of Independence in the American British colonies, and -- apart from shameful episodes of caving in to dictatorships and Nazis -- has pretty well kept it in place.
Sweden banned the death penalty and has not used it since 1910.
Now, Sweden has an opportunity to punish the speech of a Nobel Peace Prize nominee with the death penalty by extraditing Julian Assange to the United States to be put on trial.
Dear Sweden, what will you do? You've led the way toward civility. You've banned not only the death penalty but violence up to and including spanking. You gave refuge to Denmark's Jews. You gave birth to my grandfather. Usually I look to you for leadership.
That may sound funny to you, coming from a citizen and resident of a nation with more weapons than the rest of the world combined. But I said leadership, not insanely sadistic militarism.
There's a video available online that has created quite a scandal this week. It shows a fashion designer in Paris telling someone he loves Hitler and that their mothers and forefathers would have all been gassed to death.
I think the staying power of Hitlerian madness is more easily understood when we properly understand that Hitler and the Nazis didn't invent it out of whole cloth but built on a deep tradition that had long dominated European and U.S. culture. I wrote about U.S. influences on Hitler in "War Is A Lie." Another book that should be required reading is "Exterminate the Brutes," by Sven Lindqvist.
This is a monumental decision that will enable a Spanish judge to continue a case on the “authorized and systematic plan of torture and ill treatment” by U.S. officials at Guantanamo. Geoffrey Miller, the former commanding officer at Guantánamo, has already been implicated, and the case will surely move up the chain of command. Since the U.S. government has not only failed to investigate the illegal actions of its own officials and, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, also sought to interfere in the Spanish judicial process and stop the case from proceeding, this will be the first real investigation of the U.S. torture program. This is a victory for accountability and a blow against impunity. The Center for Constitutional Rights applauds the Spanish courts for not bowing to political pressure and for undertaking what may be the most important investigation in decades.
“Bush Six” could face torture charges
Smiley: "Torture is not just illegal. It’s a crime against humanity."
West: "In the history of the Black church, I say Amen."
Last week I returned from Poland, where I had been touring the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (which I co-directed with filmmaker Polly Nash), and discussing the importance of an ongoing investigation into the complicity of the Polish government in the establishment of a secret CIA torture prison in Poland in the early years of the “War on Terror.”
Americans Visit Spanish Embassy and Consulates to Thank and Encourage Spain to Prosecute Bush Officials
Turkey on Friday made public its report on the May 31 Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid convoy that killed eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin and injured many others.
Turkey repeatedly asked Israel to officially apologize and pay compensation for all the loss and damages caused by its illegal attack.
The report, prepared by Turkish National Commission of Inquiry, has been submitted to the Panel of Inquiry set up by the UN Secretary-General in August 2010, in accordance with the Presidential Statement issued by the UN Security Council in June 2010 which called for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.
If you've wanted to be part of a powerful effort to bring Bush-era officials to justice for their crimes, now is your chance. We've joined a national effort to reach out to the people of Spain, whose courts are considering prosecuting six of Bush's lawyers under international law. Our campaign includes an open letter and ads in prominent Spanish newspapers and billboards.
Even though the Obama administration has been working hard behind the scenes to stop this, our friends at the Center for Constitutional Rights have already submitted proof to the Spanish courts that our government is not taking action under international law and treaties. Now is our chance - we can keep the wheels of justice turning by doing people-to-people diplomacy now.
Here's what you do: Read and sign the letter to the Spanish people at http://rootsaction.org
WarIsACrime.org's name is behind it. The letter will go to the Spanish embassy and consulates across the country on Monday - Valentine's Day. We'll also bring Spanish officials flowers and invite the media. You can join us in these events. Get details at http://rootsaction.org
But we can't stop there. We've designed a billboard and newspaper advertisement that says in Spanish, "Please do what the U.S. won't. Prosecute torturers." We are raising money to place ads and billboards around Madrid where the country's leaders will see that there are Americans who want the case to continue.
We need to raise $30k to make this happen, so please consider a generous donation toward bringing the message directly to the Spanish people. Read and sign the letter at http://rootsaction.org
No Immunity for Former Presidents Under Law
President Bush was supposed to be in Geneva on Monday. He was going to address a group at the Hotel President Wilson. It was to be one of those big dollar events where the Ex-President speaks to a rah-rah crowd for a big passel of cash. That is now canceled, and just canceled this evening. Why is that?
Well you see the CCR and its allies in Europe had been preparing a bit of a surprise for the 43 President of the United States and unindicted torturer. They had been working for months to bring two complaints against George W. Bush under the International Conventions Against Torture. One in the name of Al Jazeera reporter Sami el-Hajj and a current CIA detainee Majid Khan, who is to this day held at Guantanamo Bay without charge.
CCR and the European Center of Constitutional and Human Rights have put together a 2.500 page case against the criminal President Bush and had intended to file it Monday when Bush was in Geneva. They had been keeping the a pretty tight lid on this, talking to reporters under a news embargo and preparing a press conference. Some how it seems that it has leaked and lo and behold, W suddenly can’t attend and the event is being canceled.
For those seeking accountabiity for the senior Bush administration officials and lawyers who established a global torture program in the "War on Terror," involving extraordinary rendition and torture in a variety of secret prisons, the news that the Polish Prosecutor has today accepted the claims of Abu Zubaydah, a former CIA "ghost prisoner," that he was a victim of extraordinary rendition and secret detention in P
Blair is appearing before Chilcot for his recall evidence next Friday 21st January. We are calling a demonstration outside the inquiry at the Queen Elizabeth II centre Westminster (nearest tubes Westminster and st James's).
Please do everything you can to attend and make the day a success. We will be organising a series of activities, stunts etc as part of the protest.
There is clearly real disquiet even in establishment circles about the evidence which has come out about the legality of the war. Now's our chance to bring this issue to the forefront of politics.
Further details of the time will be out soon but prepare for an early start.
STOP THE WAR COALITION
12th January 2011
Tel: 020 7801 2768
By Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO
Immediately on the heels of reports in the Guardian and other Western news media that the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization has crafted a strategy to intervene with nine army divisions in the Baltic Sea area, President Barack Obama met with his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski at the White House and confirmed plans to increase U.S. military hardware and troops in the latter’s country.
The two heads of state agreed on expanding bilateral military relations “in the spirit of the 2008 U.S.-Polish Declaration on Strategic Cooperation,”  including the stationing of 16 U.S. F-16 jet fighters and four C-130 Hercules military transport planes on Polish air bases beginning in 2013.
By Dave Lindorff
With a grown daughter and a wife, far be it from me to minimize the issue of rape, but to borrow from the Bard, in the case of the “rape” case being alleged against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, currently being held in a British jail without bail pending an extradition request from Stockholm: “Something is rotten in Sweden.”
As I wrote earlier in this publication, the alleged sexual crimes that Assange is currently being sought for by a Swedish prosecutor are:
1. Allegedly failing to halt an act of consensual sexual intercourse when his sex partner and host, Anna Ardin, claims she somehow became aware that the condom he was using had “split” and,
By Victor Grossman, Berlin Bulletin No. 15
On December 5th one or two hundred people left a movie theater in Berlin, mostly silent and deeply moved though the film they had seen was first released in 1930. This American-made epic had lost none of its extremely emotional appeal. It was "All Quiet on the Western Front" and the date of its showing here was no coincidence. Exactly eighty years earlier, to the day, Joseph Goebbels, later to become Hitler's notorious propaganda minister, had led 200 Nazis in violently preventing the showing of this same film. At the shout of Goebbels, who was in the balcony, the Nazis, storm troopers without their brown uniforms and some of the many newly-elected deputies to the Reichstag, blew whistles, attacked the rest of the audience and then let hundreds of white mice out of cardboard boxes to scurry through the rows. The police tried to restore order, at least some of them did, but this proved impossible and the showing was stopped. Then five or ten thousand Nazis waiting outside joined Goebbels in a march and rally in the downtown area. The tumults continued for a whole week, after which the Censorship Office, made up of Nazi sympathizers or men fearing the growing Nazi pressure, bowed to the demands of several pro-Nazi states to have the film banned altogether in Germany. This was a first major success of the Nazis and was accompanied by an obscene barrage of propaganda against this "defamation of our boys in uniform" by the "Jews in Hollywood" and in Berlin's "elite" West Side.
By John Grant
“The problem here is to define ... a form of life that would not depend on an unsustainable relation of domination over the rest of the world.”
We live in a time of incredible change, and to have any say at all in the direction that change will take requires a respect for reality. Right now, the United States is losing this battle as it tries mightily – and wastefully -- to sustain its post-WWII legacy as the world’s undisputed Top Dog.
The key to this disaster here in the US is a greater and greater restriction of information in conjunction with what can only be called a top down enforced blindness among the population.
If you think this is only the view of a disgruntled leftist, read Thomas Friedman’s latest column in The New York Times, where he imagines WikiLeaks revealing a gleeful cable from the Chinese ambassador in Washington to his bosses in Beijing:
Russia's lower house of parliament has condemned Joseph Stalin by name for the mass execution of Poles at Katyn during World War II.
I'll say this again: Sadly it looks like these don't go back far enough, I for one want to know how much it cost this country for the so called 'coalition of the willing' for the invasion of Iraq, and there's still plenty that needs to be added to what has already come out as to the previous admin!!
Sunday 28 November 2010 - Use our interactive guide to discover what has been revealed in the leak of 250,000 US diplomatic cables. Find stories and original documents by country, subject or people Visit to Use Their Interactive Globe and More
15 November 2010 - Amnesty International has accused the EU of failing to hold its members to account for their role in the detention of terrorism suspects by the CIA.
It calls for European governments to ensure justice for suspects who were interrogated under the programme known as extraordinary rendition.
Countries including Poland have been accused of hosting secret CIA prisons.
Many suspects are alleged to have been taken to other countries where they were tortured or disappeared.
Several European nations have been accused of co-operating by hosting secret CIA prisons or allowing CIA flights carrying the prisoners to use airports on their way to other countries.
13.11.2010 - The United States found itself embroiled in a major spy scandal. As many as five countries caught the Americans illegally spying on their citizens.
Nobody would think it was strange if we were talking about the citizens of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela. With these five countries, everything is clear: U.S. officials constantly refer to them as those presenting threats to the national security. But this time the U.S. was caught by quite friendly countries of Northern Europe - Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
Two of the individuals are survivors of the Mavi Marmara incident last May; the situation arose from ship owner argument with agent.
(DERNA PORT, Libya) - "Strofades IV" has broken its moorings, without port permission, and is heading out of Derna Harbour.
The rear door of the ship is half closed, with convoy vehicle B7 stuck on it precariously. It is extremely dangerous.
In the lower deck of the Ro-Ro (rollon rolloff) ship are held hostage:
3 Libyans - (2 port authority policemen, with Colonel Salahuddin Rashin, Manager of Derna Port)
6 UK nationals
The violent Greek owner who is also its captain of "Strofades IV" has just disembarked (as at 22.50 GMT) through a side door of the ship, onto a speed boat. His speed boat has made for another cargo vessel in Derna the harbour - "Odin Finder".
None of our guys now know who is in charge of Strofades IV, or where it is destined to go.
The ship is empty, apart from the hostages and single convoy vehicle jammed in the doorway. It is making rapid headway to get out to sea.
The matter is a serious breach of every maritime law possible.
We have asked all relevant Embassies to supply urgent, immediate, consular assistance.
France denies any connection between its decision to remove troops from Afghanistan in 2011 and Osama bin Laden's pledge to attack French troops. . . .
France has joined both the Netherlands and Canada in recent announcements of pullouts from Afghanistan.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE - MOVE ALONG
Britain announces major military cutbacks
By Anthony Faiola, Washington Post
LONDON - Washington's closest ally unveiled its deepest military cuts since the end of the Cold War, with a cash-strapped Britain announcing Tuesday that it will withdraw thousands of troops from continental Europe, decommission warships, mothball an entire class of fighter jets and delay upgrading its nuclear arsenal.
The cutbacks would not affect the war in Afghanistan, where British troops make up the second-largest contingent after the United States. Britain said it would invest in more helicopters and armored vehicles to aid military operations there. By also committing to boost combat-ready special forces, officials here are seeking to reassure the Pentagon that Britain will still retain its global role as deputy to Washington's sheriff.
Nevertheless, Britain's most sweeping military review in more than a decade is set to further diminish this nation's military might, particularly as a maritime power. For Washington, the moves amount to a tactical scaling down of military ambition by the one European ally consistently willing to back the United States with firepower in international conflicts, and comes at a time when other NATO members including Germany are also making substantial military cuts.
Here's Michael Scott Moore:
The question first came up when Estonian government servers went down in 2007, under a “denial-of-service” attack that seemed — but was never proven — to come officially from Russia. Estonia was a new member of NATO and felt bullied by its former Soviet big brother.
But the question was awkward, and it came up again when Georgian servers went down just before Russian tanks invaded a Georgian province in 2008. (Georgia also wants NATO membership as a shield against Russia.) Were cyber-attacks warfare, and should they trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which provides for collective self-defense? Should the U.S. and Europe consider launching ships and planes against Moscow if servers go down again in some new NATO capital, somewhere on the old Soviet frontier?
New America Media, Yoichi Shimatsu
In its most recent selections of peace laureates Barack Obama and Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has been pushing the strategic agenda of its chairman since 2009. Outside of European policy circles, Thorbjoern Jagland has no celebrity status, yet he is among the most powerful figures influencing the future global order.
The veteran Norwegian Labour Party politician has taken a stance similar to that of Britain’s Tony Blair in support of European Union integration and a strong alliance with Washington to ensure Western leadership in international affairs. He has served as Norway’s prime minister, foreign minister, speaker of the parliament known as the Storting, and current chairman of the Council of Europe, a body that backed the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the Cold War.
His political career has been defined by his close relationship with NATO. He sat on the Norwegian government’s standing committee on defense and was a key player in NATO parliamentary conferences.
By Victor Grossman
Berlin -- What do the USA, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and North Korea have in common?
The answer may surprise you.
The European Parliament answered this question \on October 2nd with passage of a resolution singling out that seemingly disparate list for criticism.
The embarrassing common thread among these six countries: an obsession with putting lots of people to death. The US, its key oil ally Saudi Arabia, its major trading partner China, its targeted enemies of Iran and North Korea, and its puppet ally Iraq all endorse the barbaric state-sanctioned practice of the death penalty, and lead the world in applying that terrible and irreversable sanction.
In a long, detailed EU Parliament resolution, approved almost unanimously by 574 members (only 25 opposed and 39 abstained), the members from all over Europe named people languishing on death rows and threatened with execution in several countries.
6 October 2010 - The CIA used a secret prison in Poland to detain and torture its most important 9/11 suspect, a former top human rights official alleges in a new BBC documentary.
On 7 March 2003 a CIA Gulfstream Jet landed at a remote airstrip in north-eastern Poland. Human rights officials and campaigners are convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the most senior al-Qaeda suspects, was on board.
American agents took him to a secret facility where, he says, he was tortured before being eventually transferred to Guantanamo Bay.
The secret transfer of CIA prisoners is said to have taken place in both Poland and Lithuania - a region where, only a generation ago, people were subject to arbitrary detention and torture at the hands of Communist secret police.
An important report on a Europeans review of Veterans, U.S. Veterans Courts, PTSD and Justice and Help for!
This is the type of lead the rest of the World used to look to the U.S. for, we were never perfected but working that way, and many here were once so good at it. Sadly this issue is another that comes out of our recent failed policies of destruction and terror waged on others, DeJa-Vu all over again. But shows that those who deplored our actions recently, and have been turning their backs to us in many area's including economic, are finding some of the old America and it's once Leadership Role in the World Community as we try to rebuild what we've lost and move back in the right direction!!
|From Courage to Resist|
Connection e.V. and MCN. Septermber 20, 2010
"André Shepherd has done what is prohibited to soldiers: he made a decision. Alone. He took his life into his own hands and said: I am not doing this anymore." - Editor Bernd Pickert