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National Coalition To File Formal Complaints And Call For Dismissal Of The Lawyer Architects of Detainee Torture Programs

National Coalition to file formal complaints and call for dismissal of ‘Torture Architect’ and current top CIA lawyer, John Rizzo, and other current and former CIA counsel | Press Release

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, June 29th at 9:30AM in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, ( Map ) three prominent D.C. lawyers, including a former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, will discuss the legal case against the lawyer architects of a program of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees held in the custody of the U.S. government since shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

The sponsoring coalition, Velvet Revolution, has called for the disbarment of over a dozen lawyers filing formal complaints in five states as part of a national campaign described at disbartorturelawyers.com.

Fault Lines - Religion in the military

See more below.

Under the Hood in Killeen, Texas

The military town of Killeen, Texas becomes a free speech refuge for Fort Hood soldiers.

PART 3: U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran

PART 3: U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran
By Gareth Porter* | IPS News

In March 1997, FBI Director Louis Freeh got what he calls in his memoirs "the first truly big break in the case": the arrest in Canada of one of the Saudi Hezbollah members the Saudis accused of being the driver of the getaway car at Khobar Towers.

Hani al-Sayegh, then 28 years old, had arrived in Canada in August 1996 after having left Saudi Arabia, by his own account, in August 1995, for Iran and Syria. The Canadian government charged him with being a terrorist, based on claims by the Saudi regime.

In order to be transferred to the United States without facing deportation to Saudi Arabia, where he was believed to face the death penalty, al-Sayegh had to agreed to a plea bargain under which he would admit to having proposed an attack on U.S. personnel, for which he would have to serve up to 10 years in prison.

In fact, the only thing al-Sayegh had actually admitted to, according to FBI sources, was having proposed an attack on one AWACS plane that had been turned over to the Saudi Air Force – a proposal he said had been rejected. Both before and after being brought to Washington, moreover, Al-Sayegh steadfastly denied any knowledge of the Khobar Towers bombing. Read more.

America's "Bases of Empire"

America's "Bases of Empire"
By Stephen Lendman

Besides waging perpetual wars, nothing better reveals America's imperial agenda than its hundreds of global bases - for offense, not defense at a time the US hasn't had an enemy since the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.

So when they don't exist, they're invented as former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., suggested in a May 24, 2007 speech to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs:

"When our descendants look back on the end of the 20th century and the beginning of this one, they will be puzzled. The end of the Cold War relieved Americans of almost all international anxieties." As the world's sole remaining superpower, "We did not rise to the occasion."

US-AFGHANISTAN: Airstrike Report Belies "Blame Taliban" Line

US-AFGHANISTAN: Airstrike Report Belies "Blame Taliban" Line
Analysis by Gareth Porter* | IPS News

The version of the official military investigation into the disastrous May 4 airstrike in Farah province made public last week by the Central Command was carefully edited to save the U.S. command in Afghanistan the embarrassment of having to admit that earlier claims blaming the massive civilian deaths on the "Taliban" were fraudulent.

By covering up the most damaging facts surrounding the incident, the rewritten public version of report succeeded in avoiding media stories on the contradiction between the report and the previous arguments made by the U.S. command.

The declassified "executive summary" of the report on the bombing issued last Friday admitted that mistakes had been made in the use of airpower in that incident. However, it omitted key details which would have revealed the self-serving character of the U.S. command’s previous claims blaming the "Taliban" – the term used for all insurgents fighting U.S. forces - for the civilian deaths from the airstrikes.

The report reasserted the previous claim by the U.S. command that only about 26 civilians had been killed in the U.S. bombing on that day, despite well-documented reports by the government and by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission that between 97 and 147 people were killed. Read more.

Fattah's Fighting Words Fall Flat

Fattah's fighting words fall flat
Holding politicians accountable is the first step in battling Capitol Hill hypocrisy
Jimmy Tobias | Daily Pennsylvanian

Two years ago, our congressional representative Chaka Fattah (D) made an important promise - one that he has completely and shamelessly betrayed.

In 2007, in response to a growing number of American citizens frustrated by the United States' open-ended military presence in Iraq, Fattah and a small cadre of congressmen wrote a letter to then-President Bush. It stated that they would "only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of our troops out of Iraq before [Bush leaves] office."

Their purported goal was to limit the increasingly concentrated power of Washington bureaucrats, policy-makers and politicians who had become - and continue to be - the arbiters of life and death for millions of people living in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One would assume that this principled anti-war sentiment might continue to hold firm - even with a Democrat in the White House. But a little over a week ago, in an act of astonishing hypocrisy, Fattah went back on his pledge and voted for an emergency war supplemental bill that commits $79.9 billion to refuel both of our wars without any commitment to troop withdrawal. This act reveals his earlier pledge as nothing more than a cynical political stunt.

Why did Fattah do it? It's shameful. Our congressman snapped like a dry bone when Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other members of President Barack Obama's Beltway war council (Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, among others) leaned on him. Read more.

Now We See You, Now We Don’t

Now We See You, Now We Don’t
by Kathy Kelly | June 25, 2009 | Voices for Creative Nonviolence

In early June, 2009, I was in the Shah Mansoor displaced persons camp in Pakistan, listening to one resident detail the carnage which had spurred his and his family’s flight there a mere 15 days earlier. Their city, Mingora, had come under massive aerial bombardment. He recalled harried efforts to bury corpses found on the roadside even as he and his neighbors tried to organize their families to flee the area.

“They were killing us in that way, there,” my friend said. Then, gesturing to the rows of tents stretching as far as the eye could see, he added, “Now, in this way, here.”

The people in the tent encampment suffered very harsh conditions. They were sleeping on the ground without mats, they lacked water for bathing, the tents were unbearably hot, and they had no idea whether their homes and shops in Mingora were still standing. But, the suffering they faced had only just begun.

Full-Spectrum Idiocy: GOP and Chavez on Iran

Full-Spectrum Idiocy: GOP and Chavez on Iran
by Norman Solomon | Common Dreams.org

When approaching Iran, the Republican Party line and the Hugo Chavez line are running in opposite directions -- but parallel. The leadership of GOP reaction and the leadership of Bolivarian revolution have bought into the convenient delusion that long-suffering Iranian people require assistance from the U.S. government to resist the regime in Tehran.

Inside Iran, advocates for reform and human rights have long pleaded for the U.S. government to keep out of Iranian affairs. After the CIA organized the coup that overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953, Washington kept the Shah in power for a quarter century. When I was in Tehran four years ago, during the election that made Mahmoud Ahmadinejad president, what human rights activists most wanted President Bush to do was shut up.

But Bush played to the same kind of peanut gallery that is now applauding the likes of Sen. John McCain. The Bush White House denigrated the 2005 election just before the balloting began -- to the delight of the hardest-line Iranian fundamentalists. The ultra-righteous Bush rhetoric gave a significant boost to Ahmadinejad’s campaign.

Denunciations and threats from Washington are the last thing that Iran’s reform advocates want. And Iranians certainly don’t need encouragement from Uncle Sam to do what they can to bring about democratic change. Read more.

Obama Might Veto National Offense Bill if F-22 Included

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 2647 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010
(Rep. Skelton, D-Missouri, and 1 cosponsor)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The Administration appreciates the House Armed Services Committee's continued strong support of our national defense, including its support for the Department's topline budget requests for both the base budget and for overseas contingency operations.

Like Killing Flies - Updated: 'Dozens Dead' In US Drone Strike - 43 Known Dead

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space wrote the following to the Times Record in Brunswick, Maine.

Dear Editor:

The national media made a big deal about President Obama killing a fly. His "I got the sucker" was even compared to a similar moment by honest Abe Lincoln.

But sadly little time in the national media is spent describing the tragic consequences to hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been killed by United States unmanned aerial vehicles, or "drones" as they are popularly called.

Commentary -- Recognize Torture Day By Punishing The Torturers

Commentary -- Recognize torture day by punishing the torturers
By James Bovard | Morris Sun Tribune

Since 1997, every June 26 has been formally recognized as the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture. Political leaders around the globe take the occasion to proclaim their opposition to barbarism.

On June 26, 2003, President George W. Bush proudly declared: “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.”

This was one of the most fraudulent assertions since 1936, when the new Soviet constitution guaranteed Soviet citizens complete freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. But this “perfect constitution” did nothing to prevent Stalin from sending millions of people to their deaths in the Gulag and in front of firing squads.

Similarly, Bush’s anti-torture proclamation did nothing to stop his administration from formalizing perhaps the most brutal abuses in modern American history. Top Bush administration officials created twisted rationales to authorize simulated drowning, “walling” (throwing detainees up against a wall, repeated ad nauseam), sleep deprivation (as long as it did not last more than 11 days), head slappings, and other methods to shatter people’s will and resistance.

The fact that the Bush administration engaged in torture in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and secret prison sites around the world is now no longer in dispute. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is rapidly become complicit in Bush torture crimes. Read more.

Nancy Pelosi: A Hawk in Donkey's Clothing?

Nancy Pelosi: A Hawk in Donkey's Clothing?
By Stephen Zunes | Alternet
Pelosi has a history of voting for pro-war measures and supporting pro-war candidates. Her current behaviors should come as no surprise.

Congressional approval to continue funding of the ongoing war in Iraq, a major segment of the $90 billion supplemental appropriate package, passed on Tuesday thanks to heavy-handed pressure by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., against anti-war Democrats.

This has led to great consternation here in her home district in San Francisco, where anti-war sentiment remains stronger than ever. The timing of the measure is particularly upsetting given that California's record budget deficit has resulting in the layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers, the incipient closure of almost all of our state parks and draconian cuts in health care, housing, public transportation,the environment, social services and other critical programs. While unwilling or unable to get Congress to provide some financial support for the crisis here at home, our most powerful member of Congress was quite willing to work hard to insure continued financial support for war.

What few people outside of San Francisco realize is that despite representing one of the most liberal congressional districts in the country, Pelosi has been a strong supporter of the Iraq war for most of past seven years. Read more.

Another Day, Another New US Military Base

US and Kyrgyzstan sign new air base deal
By Isabel Gorst in Moscow, Financial Times

Kyrgyzstan said on Tuesday it would temporarily allow the US to continue using a military air base on its territory that is critical to coalition forces fighting the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Kadyrbek Sarbayev, the Kyrgyz foreign minister, said Washington had agreed to more than triple the rent for use of the Manas base, a transit hub used for refuelling aircraft carrying troops to Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan gave the US six months to vacate Manas last February after accepting a promise of $2bn of financial assistance from Russia which objects to the presence of US troops in former Soviet central Asia.

Military Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges Over Afghanistan Defense Contracts

Military Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges Over Afghanistan Defense Contracts Military Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges Over Afghanistan Defense Contracts
Written By The Public Record

Two U.S. military officials pleaded guilty to various bribery, fraud and conspiracy charges relating to Department of Defense (DOD) contracts in Afghanistan. A third military official pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, which was obtained through the bribery conspiracy. In addition, four DOD contractors and four affiliated contracting companies were indicted for their roles in paying bribes to the military officials and otherwise defrauding the United States.

The pleas of the military officials were filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A superseding indictment of the contractors and companies was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

"As the United States continues to expend resources in Afghanistan, the Antitrust Division will remain vigilant in prosecuting individuals and companies who divert funds for their personal gain," said Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. Read more.

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I

Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
By Stephen Lendman

For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Engdahl's two previous books include "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" explaining that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.

Urge Congress to Support An Exit Strategy In Afghanistan

In March, President Obama said we must have an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan. [1]

More than 80 Members of Congress agree: they're supporting a bill which would require the Pentagon to submit a report to Congress saying what the U.S. exit strategy is by the end of the year. This week, supporters of an exit strategy from Afghanistan will try to attach this language to the 2010 military authorization bill.

Can you urge your Representative in Congress to support an exit strategy from Afghanistan?

Urge your congressional representative to support an exit strategy.

Members of Congress are saying that the U.S. should have an exit strategy; they're also saying that Congress and the American people should be told what it is.

Nukes: We'll Disarm When Everybody Else Does: Will Your Congress Member Not Even Agree to THAT?

PROPOSITION ONE IN 2010! CAMPAIGN
http://propositiononein2010.blogspot.com

Dear Friends of Peace and Sanity,

Greetings. We have just embarked on a road trip to bring the idea of nuclear disarmament and economic conversion to voters everywhere. This letter is to connect with you, to let you know about the Proposition One in 2010! Campaign, our nationwide effort to mobilize grassroots support for a bill now in Congress, HR-1653, which would help President Obama get rid of nukes ASAP. We will be coming through your state this summer and hope to organize a fun, energetic informational event at a good local spot in your town!

We Don't Need Another Military Base in Vicenza, Italy

By Desiree Fairooz, CODEPINK DC

Vicenza, located just 4 hours north of Rome, between Venice and Milan, is a classically Italian city with two important footnotes. First, Vicenza is a UNESCO world heritage site, home to numerous architectural works by the Venetian architect, Andrea Palladio, widely considered the most influential architect in the history of Western architecture.

Secondly, on the outskirts of town, it is home to the U.S. Army base called Caserma Ederle, headquarters of the Southern European Task Force, as well as of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the United States Army from where troops take off on missions to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Judge tosses laws restricting recruiters

Matthew B. Stannard, San Francisco Chronicle

Without fanfare, a federal judge in Oakland on Thursday threw out voter-approved laws in two Northern California cities barring military recruiters from contacting minors.

U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong ruled that laws passed in the Humboldt County cities of Arcata and Eureka in November were unconstitutional and invalid.

The finding was not unexpected by proponents of the laws, which passed with 73 percent of the vote in Arcata and 57 percent in Eureka. The federal government quickly sued to overturn the laws, which have been stayed ever since.

But Dave Meserve, the former Arcata councilman behind the laws, said he was disappointed that the judge ruled without hearing arguments on the case. Armstrong ruled on filed pleadings after a hearing scheduled this month was canceled.

Brown Forced To Open Iraq Inquiry To Public Scrutiny

Brown forced to open Iraq inquiry to public scrutiny
Senior military officers and peers welcome decision to hear evidence in public
By By Andrew Grice and Kim Sengupta | Independent.co.UK

Gordon Brown climbed down yesterday in the face of a growing revolt over his announcement that the inquiry into the Iraq war would be held in private.

Only three days after saying the investigation would be held behind closed doors, the Prime Minister disclosed that some hearings could take place in public after all. His retreat was revealed exclusively in The Independent yesterday.

In a letter to the inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, Mr Brown asked him to consider holding some sessions in public. He urged Sir John to hold an open session to "explain in greater depth the significant scope and breadth of the inquiry" and to meet relatives of the servicemen killed in Iraq – either in public or in private – to explain how it would operate. He also asked him to take evidence on oath. Read more.

U.S. Fortifies Hawaii’s Defenses Against North Korean Arms

U.S. Fortifies Hawaii’s Defenses Against North Korean Arms
By Thom Shanker | NYTimes

efense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced Thursday that he had ordered the military to deploy missile interceptors and radar to protect Hawaii from a North Korean long-range rocket.

The defense secretary’s disclosure came as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the military’s commitment to “vigorously enforce” the latest United Nations Security Council resolution on North Korea’s nuclear program. But he declined to confirm reports provided by other Pentagon officials that the military was tracking a North Korean freighter suspected of carrying banned materials. Read more.

Taliban Defectors: US, Israel Funding Militants

Taliban defectors: US, Israel funding militants | Press TV

Two militants' leaders who defected from notorious Taliban chief in Pakistan have revealed that their comrade was pursuing a US-Israeli agenda across the country.

A prominent militant leader, Turkistan Bittani, who broke away from Baitullah Mehsud, called him "an American agent".

Mehsud, a warlord in his late 30s, has claimed responsibility for dozens of devastating string attacks on both civilians and security forces throughout the feared region.

Moreover, Baetani emphasized that Mehsud was being funded by US and Israeli intelligence services for brainwashing innocent youths.

The insurgents' chief has recruited several teenagers who have carried out dozens of suicide attacks on Pakistani mosques and educational institutes over some past months. Read more.

Bush Assails Those Who Offer Terrorists 'Therapy' -- Though His Administration Sent Detainees to Saudi Counseling Center

Bush Assails Those Who Offer Terrorists 'Therapy' -- Though His Administration Sent Detainees to Saudi Counseling Center
By Jake Tapper | Political Punch | ABCNews

At a speaking engagement last night, former President George W. Bush defended his administration's counterterrorism policies, including Guantanamo Bay, the Washington Times reports.

"The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again," Mr. Bush said.

Refraining from directly criticizing President Obama, Mr. Bush said, "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind." Read more.

CIA Attempts to Block Release of Torture Report

CIA Attempts to Block Release of Torture Report
By Chris George | OMB Watch

The Central Intelligence Agency is attempting to prevent the Obama administration from releasing a May 2004 Inspector General's report describing and evaluating the agency's treatment of detainees and interrogation practices, according to today's Washington Post. A redacted version of about 12 paragraphs of text was released in May 2008 as a result of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit. The Obama administration promised a review of the IG report last month after the ACLU appealed the decision in that case.

Tony Blair Knew of Secret Policy on Terror Interrogations

Tony Blair knew of secret policy on terror interrogations
Letter reveals former PM was aware of guidance to UK agents
By Ian Cobain | Guardian.co.UK

Tony Blair was aware of the ­existence of a secret interrogation policy which ­effectively led to British citizens, and others, being ­tortured during ­counter-terrorism investigations, the Guardian can reveal.

The policy, devised in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, offered ­guidance to MI5 and MI6 officers ­questioning detainees in Afghanistan whom they knew were being mistreated by the US military.

British intelligence officers were given written instructions that they could not "be seen to condone" torture and that they must not "engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners".

CIA IG's Torture Report Referred Detainee Murder Cases to DOJ

CIA IG's Torture Report Referred Detainee Murder Cases to DOJ
By Jason Leopold | The Public Record

President Barack Obama’s promise of a more open government faces a new test this week as his administration weighs whether to release details of a May 2004 internal CIA report about the agency’s use of torture, including how at least three detainees were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The secret findings of CIA Inspector General John Helgerson led to eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department for homicide and other misconduct, but those cases languished as Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly intervened to constrain Helgerson’s inquiries.

Heavily redacted portions of Helgerson’s report were released to the American Civil Liberties Union in May 2008 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but the ACLU appealed the Bush administration’s extensive deletions and the Obama administration agreed to respond to that appeal by Friday. Read more.

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