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Criminal Prosecution and Accountability


Stop Mass Incarceration by the United States, at Home and Abroad!

Across the country in the next two weeks, we will be marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S. prison at Guantánamo with protests, film showings, talks, and benefits.  We do this for:

171 prisoners still in Guantánamo, even though most were cleared for release by the Bush regime.  Read about one:
Holiday Thoughts for Omar Khadr, Still Held at Guantanamo by Andy Worthington.

Cities that broke up Occupy camps now face lawsuits over free speech, use of force

By Associated Press

Most major Occupy encampments have been dispersed, but they live on in a flurry of lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities’ mass arrests and use of force to break up tent cities.

Lawyers representing protesters have filed lawsuits — or are planning them — in state and federal courts from coast to coast, challenging eviction orders and what they call heavy-handed police tactics and the banning of demonstrators from public properties.

Some say the fundamental right of protest has been criminalized in places, with protesters facing arrest and charges while doing nothing more than exercising protected rights to demonstrate.

Montanans Launch Recall of Senators Who Approved NDAA Military Detention. Merry Christmas, US Senate.

Disclaimer: I am now a volunteer press contact for this campaign.

From the press release (last revised 12/28/2011):

Moving quickly on Christmas Day after the US Senate voted 86 - 14 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA) which allows for the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial, Montanans have announced the launch of recall campaigns against Senators Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester, and Congressman Denny Reberg, who all voted for the bill.

European Fail: Extraordinary Rendition Flights

Europeans accused over CIA rendition data

19 December 2011 - Almost two-thirds of countries asked by human rights groups about their involvement in extraordinary rendition flights have failed to comply with freedom of information requests – with European nations in particular accused of withholding evidence of the controversial CIA programme.

Legal action charity Reprieve and open government pressure group Access Info Europe made a total of 67 requests for flight data relating to the years 2002 through to 2006.

Was the Attack on Pakistani Outposts Deliberate?: How Far Will the US Go to Target Pakistan's Military?

 

By Shaukat Qadir


This past June I posted an article by Anatol Lieven on Facebook. For those who are not familiar with his name, Anatol is from the UK and numbers among the few journalists whom I always enjoy reading. I have met Anatol a few times and he is the kind of person who likes to get acquainted with the psycho-social environment of the people he writes about. Written in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s execution, Anatol’s article was critical of the US approach to the region, particularly Pakistan.

Transcripts of Haditha Massacre in Junkyard in Baghdad

Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre in Iraq

December 14, 2011 - One by one, the Marines sat down, swore to tell the truth and began to give secret interviews discussing one of the most horrific episodes of America’s time in Iraq: the 2005 massacre by Marines of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.

“I mean, whether it’s a result of our action or other action, you know, discovering 20 bodies, throats slit, 20 bodies, you know, beheaded, 20 bodies here, 20 bodies there,” Col. Thomas Cariker, a commander in Anbar Province at the time, told investigators as he described the chaos of Iraq.

Local Newspaper The Hook Makes Me Runner Up Person of Year for Chasing Dick Cheney Away - Gotta Love Charlottesville

Person of the year: The runners up

By Courteney Stuart | stuart@readthehook.com


DAVID SWANSON
When conservatives hear progressive political activist David Swanson coming, they might want to run away. But sometimes, they do so quite literally. After Vice President Dick Cheney announced plans to speak at the Miller Center on November 16, Swanson publicly called for Cheney's arrest for conspiracy to commit torture. "Were a local resident credibly accused of torture, I sincerely doubt you would hesitate to seek his or her immediate arrest and indictment," Swanson wrote in a November 14 letter emailed to Charlottesville and Albemarle law enforcement and posted on his website, warisacrime.org. Mere hours later, the Miller Center announced that Cheney's visit would be postponed for "personal reasons" and that he'd reschedule for early next year. Coincidence? Perhaps. But either way, Swanson will undoubtedly lead the welcome parade if the former Veep appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Execution for Mumia: 30 Years after a Police Shooting, Abu-Jamal Backers Vow to Free Him from Life in Prison

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The mood was both celebratory and angry among a 1000-plus overflow audience packed into the balcony space of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on the evening of Dec. 9.  

 

The crowd of supporters of Philadelphia journalist and black political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal had come to denounce the over 29 years that he has spent locked in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s grim death row since his conviction for the shooting of a white police officer, Daniel Faulkner. But they were also there to celebrate the surprise decision, announced two days earlier by Philadelphia DA Seth Williams, not to seek to reinstate Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, which had been permanently vacated by a recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Can State Attorneys General Challenge the Rule of the Banksters?

Massachusetts Files Major Foreclosure-Abuse Lawsuit

By Tim McLaughlin and Aruna Viswanatha, Reuters

he Massachusetts attorney general has filed a lawsuit against five large U.S. banks accusing them of deceptive foreclosure practices, a signal of ebbing confidence that a multi-state agreement can be worked out.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said on Thursday she filed the lawsuit partly because it has been taking too long to hammer out a nationwide settlement.

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Attorney General of N.Y. Is Said to Face Pressure on Bank Foreclosure Deal

Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop his opposition to a wide-ranging state settlement with banks over dubious foreclosure practices, according to people briefed on discussions about the deal.

In recent weeks, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and high-level Justice Department officials have been waging an intensifying campaign to try to persuade the attorney general to support the settlement, said the people briefed on the talks.

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State is key to deal on mortgages

FORECLOSURES

California's attorney general has a crucial role in national talks with lenders.

September 24, 2011|Nathaniel Popper and Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES — California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has emerged as a key player in pursuing a nationwide settlement with major U.S. banks accused of wrongful foreclosures and is facing increased pressure from consumer groups seeking help for homeowners devastated by the mortgage crisis.

Arrest Bush, Amnesty International Urges Africa

By Matt Cantor, Newser

eorge W. Bush should be arrested for his role in waterboarding, Amnesty International says, and his trip to Africa presents an opportunity for that. “International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed,” the human rights organization said. (It's not the first time.)

Bush is in Africa to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS as well as breast and cervical cancer. While Amnesty applauds that goal, “this cannot lessen the damage to the fight against torture caused by allowing someone who has admitted to authorizing waterboarding to travel without facing the consequences prescribed by law,” the statement said. Bush's trip coincides with World AIDS Day today, and he has been receiving much praise for the global AIDS initiative he launched as president.

U.S. Government Funds Ongoing Anthrax Coverup With Another $2.5 Million

US to Pay $2.5M in Photo Editor's Anthrax Death

By Curt Anderson, Associated Press, via ReaderSupportedNews

Although a number of lawsuits have been dismissed, the U.S. Government chose to settle in the case of Mr. Stevens' death. The deal comes on the heels of [ new evidence ] that further clouds the summary determination that Dr. Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide during the investigation, was the lone source of the anthrax attack. This deal forestalls the possibility of new details being revealed in court. - JPS/RSN

ore than a decade after tabloid photo editor Robert Stevens became the first victim of the 2001 anthrax attacks, the U.S. government has agreed to pay his widow and family $2.5 million to settle their lawsuit, according to documents released Tuesday.

Stevens, 63, died on Oct. 5, 2001, when a letter containing deadly anthrax spores was opened at the then-headquarters in Boca Raton of American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, Sun and Globe tabloids. Eventually four other people would die and 17 others would be sickened in similar letter attacks, which the FBI blames on a lone government scientist who committed suicide.

Stevens' widow, Maureen Stevens, sued the government in 2003, claiming its negligence caused her husband's death by failing to adequately safeguard anthrax at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md. The FBI probe concluded that Fort Detrick was the source of the spores used in the attacks in New York, Washington and Florida.

The government failed to carry out its "duty of care, the highest degree of care" in making sure the deadly microbes were kept tightly under lock and key, said the lawsuit filed in West Palm Beach federal court.

The case languished for years in procedural delays and appeals until the FBI announced in 2008 that a Fort Detrick scientist, Dr. Bruce Ivins, was responsible for the attacks. Although some of his colleagues and outside experts have raised doubts about his intent and ability to weaponize the anthrax, the FBI formally closed its "Amerithrax" investigation in 2010.

Ivins killed himself with an overdose of Tylenol and valium as investigators closed in. His attorney has maintained Ivins is innocent, but Justice Department prosecutors say they had more than enough evidence to convict him at trial.

Stevens' attorney, Richard Schuler, said when the FBI announced that Ivins was their man that it proved a key allegation in their lawsuit: "We've maintained all along this was an inside job," he said. Schuler called the settlement a "tremendous victory" for the Stevens family after years of litigation.

"They fought us at every turn and dragged this thing out," Schuler said. "You have to control access to these tremendously dangerous organisms and they didn't have any of that. You had security that was Swiss cheese out there."

The Justice Department declined comment beyond the settlement documents.

Government attorneys who handled the Stevens settlement said in the court papers that it is not "an admission of liability or fault on the part of the United States" and that the intent of the deal was "avoiding the expenses and risks of further litigation."

The settlement avoids a trial that had been set for early 2012 before Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley, who had earlier rebuffed U.S. efforts to get the case dismissed.

The deal allows for attorney fees of up to 25 percent and requires that a host of sensitive documents be destroyed or returned to U.S. officials. In addition to Maureen Stevens, 68, the settlement will benefit her three grown children.

Schuler said he felt confident Stevens would prevail at a trial but likely would face years of appeals and uncertainty about whether she would ever collect. The settlement avoids all that.

"She's delighted that the case has come to a successful conclusion and with the improved security the government has engaged in," Schuler said.

For years the FBI investigation focused on another scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was identified as a "person of interest" in 2001 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Hatfill was eventually cleared and sued the government for invasion of privacy, eventually reaching a $5.8 million settlement.

Lawsuits filed by other victims have been dismissed, although at least one is on appeal. Employees of a postal facility in Washington, D.C., where two workers died, sued the Postal Service for allegedly failing to protect them, but a judge in 2004 ruled that the service was immune.

The 67,200-square foot AMI building in Boca Raton, meanwhile, took years to decontaminate and was finally reopened in 2007. AMI had long since moved its headquarters to New York, leaving behind an archive of some 5 million photographs, although many were digitally scanned for preservation.

An AMI mailroom worker, Ernesto Blanco, was sickened in the attack but recovered.

Bush, Blair Tried for War Crimes in Kuala Lumpur

A seven-member panel chaired by former Malaysian Federal Court judge Abdul Kadir Sulaiman presided over the trial, which began last Saturday, and both Bush and Blair were tried in absentia.

"The evidence showed that the drums of wars were being beaten long before the invasion. The accused in their own memoirs have admitted their own intention to invade Iraq regardless of international law," it said.

The verdict is purely symbolic as the tribunal has no enforcement powers.

The tribunal is also expected to later hear torture and war crimes charges against seven others, including former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former vice president Dick Cheney.

by Debra Sweet, National Director, World Can't Wait

Arrest McCain and Levin Now. Senate to Vote on Military Detention of Americans.

 

Why would Founders create a class of criminal, "domestic enemies" of the "United States Constitution," if there were no such thing?

If you think soldiers won't do it, think again.  Some of the stupidest people on Earth join the Army, and they, in contrast to the many intelligent young patriots who join for the right reasons, will always be there.  Reading blogs arguing about Posse Comitatus and martial law I've seen comments like "I expect I might be picking a few civvies (civilians) off the wire someday...but I like my home on base and my kids need the nice playground.  Life is good."

I also have close relatives in.  I couldn't make this up.

Now Chris Anders, Legislative Counsel for the ACLU writes:

Bush and Blair Have Been Symbolically Tried for Their Crimes in Malaysia - Why Not in Reality?

image More Photos.

Story in the Telegraph.

Bush, Blair guilty in Malaysia 'war crimes trial'

Demand for the Equal and Principled Application of Laws Forbidding Wars of Aggression

Demand for the Equal and Principled Application of Laws Forbidding Wars of Aggression, War Crimes and Other Heinous Abuses 
 

Dear High Road Traveler -

 

Together we collected over 2,000 signatures demanding  the application of laws forbidding wars of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and warrantless surveillance. Today, High Road for Human Rights sends our message to President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Members of Congress, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and the United Nations Committee Against Torture. See the letter below.

CLICK HERE

Malaysia holds war crime exhibition

The Perdana Global Peace Foundation has mounted a war crime exhibition in the Malaysian capital, as part of the foundation's efforts to criminalize war, Press TV reported.

WATCH VIDEO

The Kuala Lumpur exhibition, which contains gory images of decapitated bodies, aims to inform the public that war is a crime against humanity.

The event was opened during a ceremony attended by former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad and president of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation.

Organizers of the war crime exhibition said they hoped the public could be educated about the consequences of the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam through the exhibition.

National Lawyers Guild Files FOIA Requests Seeking Evidence of Federal Role in Occupy Crackdown

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

With Congress no longer performing its sworn role of defending the US Constitution, the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee and the Partnership for Civil Justice today filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and the National Parks Service to release "all their information on the planning of the coordinated law enforcement crackdown on Occupy protest encampments in multiple cities over the course of recent days and weeks."

Eviction and Enlarged Freedom

 

By Charles M. Young

 

After watching the Packers beat the Vikings on Monday Night Football, I had insomnia, so it was kind of an accident that I checked my email at 2 a.m. and discovered the police were clearing Zuccotti Park. Everyone had been expecting an eviction since it all started on September 17, but not expecting it at that particular moment. On my cell phone, there were several frantic texts from Occupy Wall Street begging for community support. So I hopped on a slow subway and arrived at Chambers Street about 3 a.m.

Police State Tactics: Signs Point to a Coordinated National Program to Try and Unoccupy Wall Street and Other Cities

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

 

The ugly hand of the federal government is becoming increasingly suspected behind what appears to be a nationwide attempt to repress and evict the Occupation Movement.

 

Across the country in recent days, ultimatums have been issues to groups occupying Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA, and most recently New York, NY, where the Occupation Movement began on September 17. The two most recent eviction efforts, in Oakland and New York, have been the worst.

 

AUDIO: David Swanson and Coy Barefoot Discuss Dick Cheney's Chickening Out of Charlottesville Event

Charlottesville Right Now (Subscribe)
Charlottesville Right Now: 11-15-11 David Swanson
David Swanson joins Coy to discuss Dick Cheney postponing his visit to The University of Virginia and Occupy Charlottesville.


LISTEN HERE

Top 5 Reasons Dick Cheney Won't Speak in Charlottesville VA This Week

Number 5. When John Yoo came here, he got a good rowdy rule-of-law unwelcome, which no doubt made the Miller Center hesitate to promise Cheney a room free of decent human beings.

Number 4. Our brothers and sisters in San Francisco confronted Cheney with his crimes last week.

Number 3. It's a heck of a lot of crimes.

Number 2. Cheney just might have found himself face-to-face with a set of handcuffs.

And the Number 1 reason Cheney won't be seen at the University of Virginia this week: The first part of a Chicken Hawk is the chicken.

Upcoming Debate in Washington: Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?

http://www.debatingtaboos.org

Who: Ralph Nader; Center for Study of Responsive Law
When: Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:30 p.m.
What: Bush/Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?
Where: 1530 P St NW, Washington, DC – Carnegie Institution building
Contact: Katherine Raymond, 202-387-8030, kraymond@csrl.org

(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, November 18, Ralph Nader and the Center for Study of Responsive Law will host a public debate on the subject: Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s actions: war crimes or lawful wars?

Debaters arguing for the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

Protest Dick Cheney in Charlottesville, Va., November 16th

Open flyer: PDF.

Another year, another war criminal book-touring at the Miller Center.  This time, on Wednesday, November 16th, it’ll be Dick Cheney, who . . .

  • lied to the public and Congress to launch a war on Iraq;
  • pressured the CIA to assist in fraud;
  • threatened and worked to promote war on Iran;
  • lied to the public and Congress in an effort to launch war on Iran;
  • led a campaign of retribution against a whistleblower;
  • refused a Congressional subpoena;
  • obstructed DOJ investigations;
  • profited from his own war making;
  • led the creation of programs of warrantless spying, lawless imprisonment, and torture;
  • created a secret energy task force that violated open-government laws;
  • mishandled classified information and destroyed visitors logs;
  • suppressed evidence in the California energy crisis;
  • continues to make false claims and to openly brag about his offenses.


The Miller Center is making people contact dcforum@virginia.edu for permission to attend, and appears to be screening out those who oppose the policies listed above.

But the Miller Center cannot prevent us protesting outside.  
Bring posters.  

9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
Lawn in front of Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Road  
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Park at University Hall or Lannigan Field or in a nearby parking lot on Old Ivy Road.

Cheney Confronted with His Crimes

By Cynthia Papermaster

Wow!
 
A huge thank you to everyone who came out today to San Francisco's Palace Hotel, marched, held signs and banners, wore a jail outfit and Cheney mask, sang, chanted and spoke out. I hope you had a great time calling for Cheney's arrest -- I sure did. And It was great that people came from Occupy SF; that young energy is so terrific. 

As you may know, Nancy Mancias and I were able to get into the private investment conference which had invited Cheney to speak, and then actually inside the room where Cheney was speaking to a group of investors, bankers, brokers, and entrepreneurs, to disrupt his talk, which focused on his administration's response to 9/11 and terrorism. Both of us had time to separately tell him, loud and clear, that he should be in prison for his crimes. Below is a link to a YouTube of Nancy's outstanding statement to Cheney. Neither of us was arrested or handled roughly; on the contrary, we were treated politely by security. I had sent letters to the San Francisco Police Chief, Sheriff and District Attorney telling them that they have jurisdiction and asking that they take their responsibilities seriously and arrest him. Not surprisingly, they did nothing.  

 
(with a great stock photo of Cheney)