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Criminal Prosecution and Accountability


PROTESTING KILLER DRONES AT THE CIA: FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD

I just returned to my home in Wisconsin after spending four days in the Washington, DC area, participating in two actions against drones organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR).  I flew to DC on Thursday.  On Friday we returned to the US Attorney’s office in Alexandria, VA to follow up on the criminal complaint we filed in May, and on Saturday we did an action at the CIA where six of us were arrested.  I had purchased a one-way ticket to fly out there because I did not know when I would be able to return home.

Biden/Obama full-court press on Snowden is a bad joke: The Real Traitors to America are in Washington and New York

By Dave Lindorff


It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry as the US goes all out to get its hands on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

FBI Knew of Plot to Execute Occupy Activists but Did Nothing

By Dave Lindorff


Would you be shocked to learn that the FBI apparently knew that some organization, perhaps even a law enforcement agency or private security outfit, had contingency plans to assassinate peaceful protestors in a major American city — and did nothing to intervene?

When the official default is to lie: In Us We Have to Trust

By Dan DeWalt


“If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress, and don't trust federal judges, to make sure that we're abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here.”   


Snowden’s escape: China, Hong Kong and Russia Foil US Attempt to Silence NSA Whistleblower

By Dave Lindorff


Now that Edward Snowden is safely away out of the clutches of the US police state, at least for now, let’s take a moment to contemplate how this one brave man’s principled confrontation with the Orwellian US government has damaged our national security state.


Bush, Rice, Powell Served in Suit Filed by Iraqi Over Illegal War

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.

[Copy of the Saleh v. Bush complaint]

Today Comar has this update:
 
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:

He was 29

 

Many years later they found him in a monastery in China.

He agreed to be interviewed.

He looked happy in the eyes.

He said,

“One question.”

So I said,

“Hong Kong, June 2013. 

You were 29.

You said your greatest fear was

That nothing would change,

That the government would continue to grant itself

Unilateral powers.

Every time there is a new leader,

‘They’ll flip the switch’, you said...

A whistleblower holding all the cards: Why did Edward Snowden go to Hong Kong?

By Dave Lindorff

A lot of people in the US media are asking why America's most famous whistleblower, 29-year old Edward Snowden, hied himself off to the city state of Hong Kong, a wholly owned subsidiary of the People's Republic of China, to seek at least temporary refuge.

Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, they say. And as for China, which controls the international affairs of its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while granting it local autonomy to govern its domestic affairs, its leaders "may not want to irritate the US" at a time when the Chinese economy is stumbling.

These people don't have much understanding of either Hong Kong or of China.

Blue Steals Green: Police Corruption’s the Dark Underside of the Drug War’s Iceberg

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Drug-related corruption within the Philadelphia Police Department – once again – is the target of federal authorities.

This latest action by federal authorities involves two patrolmen charged with trafficking drugs and robbing suspected drug dealers while on-duty and in full uniform.

Obama, Clapper and most of Congress are full of s**t: Where’s the Bullshit Repellent When We Need It?

By Dave Lindorff

Many years ago, back in 1975 when Gerald Ford was the nation’s default president, I spent a summer living in the home of two friends, both important anti-war academics, who had two young children. One of their kids, Jacob, who was about seven at the time and smart as a whip, had been given the gift of a can of compressed air which carried a label claiming it contained a miracle product called “Bullshit Repellent.”  Whenever someone in the house -- family member, me, or some other guest -- would say something ridiculous, stupid or false, someone would inevitably yell out, “Jacob, get the Bullshit Repellent!”  Jacob would come running in enthusiastically with the can and would spray it proudly at whoever was uttering the BS.

I sure wish I had Jacob and his spray can right now. I simply cannot believe the BS being spouted by President Obama, National Security Agency Director James Clapper, or the members of Congress who should be demanding their heads for the unprecedented surveillance and spying on all Americans that has just been exposed.  


Making the hero pay: A Nation’s Betrayal

By Dan DeWalt


This week, the government began their assault against private Bradley Manning. Even though he has already plead guilty to misusing classified documents and faces twenty years in prison, prosecutors want him branded as having aided the enemy, with a life sentence to go along.

War and Rape go Hand in Hand

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.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent...as the Grave: Is the FBI in the Execution Business?

By Dave Lindorff


Anyone who was a fan of the old ABC TV series “The Untouchables” or of the later series, also on ABC, called “The FBI,” would know something is terribly fishy about the FBI slaying of Ibragim Todashev.


'Obama must be taken before ICC for the war on terror' - Chomsky to RT

By RT

The US war on terror is in fact the most massive terror campaign ever, and the invasion of Iraq was the worst crime in recent history, prominent liberal thinker Noam Chomsky told RT, adding that he wants to see Bush, Blair and Obama tried at the ICC.

The ‘father of modern linguistics,’ Chomsky reflects on the language of the war on terror, coming to the conclusion that the freer the society, the more sophisticated its propaganda.

RT: As someone who was living in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, the chaos, what did you think of the police and media response to them?

Noam Chomsky: I hate to second guess police tactics, but my impression was that it was kind of overdone. There didn’t have to be that degree of militarization of the area. Maybe there did, maybe not. It is kind of striking that the suspect they were looking for was found by a civilian after they lifted the curfew. They just noticed some blood on the street. But I have nothing to say about police tactics. As far as media was concerned, there was 24 hour coverage on television on all the channels.

CITIZEN ACTIVISTS CONFER WITH US ATTORNEY URGING AN INDICTMENT AGAINST U.S. PRESIDENT, CIA DIRECTOR, AND OTHERS FOR WAR CRIMES

WHO: Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) and others have taken action to call attention to, and bring an end to the crimes of the United States government since the Iraq war began in 2003.
 
WHAT: On Tuesday, May 21 members of NCNR went to the U.S. Attorney’s office at the Federal Courthouse in Alexandria, VA to deliver a criminal complaint and call for an investigation into the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) by the CIA.  NCNR maintains that the Obama Administration and the CIA drone program is in violation of U.S. and international law. 
 
They met with Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Rossi who officially received the complaint and will be delivering it directly to his superior US Attorney Neil MacBride.

Official Story has Odd Wrinkles: A Pack of Questions about the Boston Bombing

 

By Dave Lindorff


           (This article was originally written forWhoWhatWhy News)


FBI Twists History: 'Terror' War Gets Stupider as Shakur is Added to the List

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Federal authorities publicly plot encouraging bounty hunters to kidnap a fugitive black radical from a foreign country for return to prison in the U.S. to achieve long-delayed justice.

This sounds like the FBI action on May 2, 2013 in placing former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur on its “Most Wanted Terrorists” list – the first female to have that dubious distinction.

What We Know is Bad; What's Behind It is Worse! The AP Seizures and the Frightening Web They've Uncovered

 

By Alfredo Lopez


"Paranoia," said Woody Allen, "is knowing all the facts." By that measure, we're becoming more and more "paranoid" every day.

Legacy of European Colonialism Liberating Women With Bombs and Bags of Cash

 

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.

Death Penalty Dying Out

Most of the world's governments no longer use the death penalty.  Among wealthy nations there is one exception remaining.  The United States is among the top five killers in the world.  Also in the top five: the recently "liberated" Iraq.

But most of the United States' 50 states no longer use the death penalty.  There are 18 states that have abolished it, including 6 in this new millennium, including Maryland this week.  Thirty-one states haven't used the death penalty in the past 5 years, 26 in the past 10 years, 17 in the past 40 years or more.  A handful of Southern states -- with Texas in the lead -- do most of the killing.

The progress is slow and painful.  Mississippi is right now having trouble deciding whether to spare a man just because he might be innocent.  Maryland has perversely left five people waiting to be killed while banning the death penalty for any future cases.  Next-door in Virginia we hold second place behind Texas and continue to kill. 

Virginia electrocuted a man named Robert Gleason in January.  Since then, Texas has killed four men, Ohio two, and Florida, Oklahoma, and Georgia one each -- all by lethal injection.  Since 1973, there have been 141 exonerations from death row nationwide, including an innocent Virginian who came within days of being killed. 

If you're convicted of killing a white person in Virginia, you're over three times as likely to receive the death penalty as you would be if the victim had been black.  The injustice and backwardness is staggering, but so is the lack of democracy.  Only a third of Virginians tell pollsters they favor the death penalty.

The evil of the death penalty is not limited to the instances in which it is used -- or to the corrosive influence it has on our culture.  The death penalty primarily serves as a valuable chip in plea bargaining.  Want someone to plead guilty, whether or not they actually are guilty?  Threaten them with the death penalty.  Who needs trials by jury (now used in under 2% of cases) when you have that kind of tool?  And who has time for them when you've overloaded the system by treating drug use as a crime?

Remarkably, a former commonwealth's attorney here in Charlottesville, Va., named Steve Deaton is campaigning for his old job with a commitment to never use or threaten to use the death penalty.

"I believe the death penalty is barbaric and has no place in modern Charlottesville courts," Deaton says, reversing the electoral wisdom of many decades, which firmly holds that candidates must pretend to believe the death penalty is just and righteous and a deterrent to crime, even if the public thinks that's nonsense.

"I am calling for a moratorium on death penalty prosecutions," says Deaton.  "During the past 20 years -- that is, the term of the incumbent Commonwealth's Attorney -- a number of capital murder charges have been brought against some people, almost all of them poor.  Then the charge is often used as a bargaining chip to get the defendant to plead guilty to murder and accept a life sentence.  This practice of using the threat of death to plea bargain is legal, and under current ethical standards, considered ethical.  However, I find such a practice appalling. By engaging in this practice the prosecutor is tempting fate: what if their threat doesn't work and the case goes to a jury?"

Many in Charlottesville oppose the death penalty.  Deaton explains the very real possibility that it will nonetheless be employed here: "The notion that no Charlottesville jury will return a death sentence is misleading.  In a capital murder case the jury has to be 'death qualified,' meaning that the jurors must believe in the death penalty.  Such a jury is not representative of the community!  Studies have shown that a 'death qualified jury' is also much more likely to convict."

Deaton points out that prosecutors have a great deal of discretion: "A prosecutor does not have to bring a capital murder charge.  They have the option of bringing a regular murder charge instead."

If elected, Deaton intends to use the enormous discretion given to prosecutors to try to make punishments more reasonably fit crimes, including so-called drug crimes.  While Charlottesville City Council failed by a vote of 3-2 in February to end jail time for possession of marijuana, Deaton intends to charge those possessing marijuana with a different charge: disorderly conduct.  It's technically a higher level charge -- a Class 1 misdemeanor -- but it does not carry the draconian punishments of loss of driver's license, subjection to drug testing, ruined college acceptance and student loan prospects, immigration status, etc.  "If a person makes a mistake, they should be punished.  They shouldn't have their lives ruined," Deaton says.

Deaton aims to counter mass-incarceration, not add to it.  "The state has built a new $100 million prison in Grayson County and there is talk of expanding our local jail," he says.  "All of this in spite of declining crime rates.  It is time to stop feeding the prison-industrial complex. I believe the goal of the justice system should be to empty out spaces in the jails and prisons -- not to fill every available space!"

Of course, the system of mass incarceration creates a caste system by stamping the scarlet F of "Felon" on those released, no matter how many years of their lives are wasted in cages.  Deaton favors restoring rights, including voting rights, for people convicted of nonviolent felonies.

Charlottesville has a chance to give the death penalty in Virginia a big push toward the door, which would help the United States and the world along that path.  As Charlottesville only elects Democrats (and packs the full range of great to awful candidates into that one party) the election for Deaton is effectively the June 11th primary.  Anyone in Charlottesville can vote in that primary, without swearing any loyalty to any party.  And anyone else can help to spread the word or donate to the campaign.

We lament the pre-emptive and illegal war against Iraq

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

LAMENTATIONS

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.

Ducking the Full Costs of War: The Ongoing Scandal Called the Veterans Administration

 

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.

Two degrees of Separation: Tsarnaev Brothers had a CIA Connection

 

By Dave Lindorff


Let’s do a little exercise. Forget nationalities and identities for a moment.


Who Really Left the Knapsacks with those Bombs in Boston?


By Dave LIndorff

 

I have written a lengthy piece about all the bizarre aspects of the Tsarnaev brothers’ alleged bombing of the Boston Marathon, including questions about where the elder Tsarnaev brother, Tarmelan, who was delivering pizzas, and whose wife was slaving away at a low-paid home health aid job, got the money to buy his fancy clothes and Mercedes Benz, why the Marathon finish line area was crawling with black-jacketed mercenaries from the Craft International Security rent-a-soldier agency, and how the police and federal agencies and National Guard managed to lock down a city of a million in a few hours’ time without any advance planning. 

 

Federal Judge Orders Release of Names of SOA/ WHINSEC Graduates

Oakland, CA – On April 22, 2013, United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton from the Northern District of California has ruled against the Obama Administration’s secrecy around the multi-million dollar, U.S. taxpayer-funded Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) military training school, and has ordered that access to who trains and teaches at the school be restored. Human rights activists had taken the U.S. government to court over its refusal to release the information, and won.
Read the court ruling here: SOAW.org/judgment

SOA Watch compiled the names, course, rank, country of origin, and dates attended from 1946 to 2004 for every soldier and instructor at the School of the Americas, which was renamed to the Western Hemisphere Institute in 2001. After researchers exposed cases of known human rights abusers attending the WHINSEC (despite claims that the "new" school was committed to human rights), and shared this research with Congressional decision-makers, the Department of Defense (DOD) refused to disclose any future information about students or teachers at the WHINSEC.

In 2010 Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ignored the public's right to know and determined that it is “in the national interest” to deny human rights organizations and the public access to any more information.

The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Hundreds of SOA alumni have been implicated in human rights abuses and the formation of death squads, 11 Latin American military dictators, including Manuel Noriega of Panama, Hugo Banzer of Bolivia, General Rios Montt of Guatemala, attended the school. SOA graduates led the 2002 coup in Venezuela, and the 2009 coup in Honduras, and continue to be involved in repression campaigns in Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico.

“The decision by the court is victory for transparency and human rights, and against government secrecy,” said SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois.

The release of the names is essential for Congress to make decisions about foreign military training. After the upholding of the value of transparency, and the public's right to know, over the Obama Administration’s secrecy, human rights organizations will use this ruling to further expose the negative impact of the SOA/ WHINSEC in Latin America.

SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the SOA/WHINSEC through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work. This November 22-24, SOA Watch will hold its annual vigil at the gates of the SOA in Fort Benning, Georgia. SOA Watch is working on a campaign to call attention to the continued human rights abuses associated with the SOA/ WHINSEC and demand that the school will be shut down.

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Boston offers grim preview of coming attractions: Police State on Display

 

By Dave Lindorff


The Boston Marathon bombing has already demonstrated the best and the worst of America for all the world to see.