Tag Archives: violence

Bush’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Witness Found Dead

FROM A.N.S.W.E.R.

The cover-up of Bush-era crimes is taking a shocking but not unexpected turn. A fateful move has been made and it is certain to backfire.

A prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein is suddenly dead. Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch investigators discovered the missing inmate and talked to him. He had been secretly transferred by the administration to a prison in Libya after having been held by the CIA both in secret “black hole prisons” and in Egypt.

Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture. The now famous Torture Memos providing legal cover for the torture were written at the same time starting in the summer of 2002.

Libi’s tortured and knowingly fabricated testimony was the source of information used by Bush to sell the war to the U.S. Senate, and the source for Colin Powell’s bogus and lying presentation to the United Nations in 2003.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.

Having been discovered by human rights investigators two weeks ago, Mr. Libi’s story coincided with the release of the Torture Memos and the growing clamor for criminal prosecutions of Bush officials.

His testimony is the smoking gun that would reveal that the torture regime was not for “national security” but for the personal political aims of Bush and Cheney.

He was Exhibit A in the indictment that alleges that tortured confessions and the contrived legal justifications of torture set up by Justice Department lawyers in July/August 2002 were central to the launch of the war against Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture.

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I Crushed Your Life, Get on With It

torture-cube

Original image from Amnesty International

No apologies.  No legal action.  Anything goes.  Whatever you did in the past is water under the bloody bridge.

US President Obama’s statements regarding the CIA’s treatment of “terrorism suspects” is simply disgusting however you look at it.  It is consistent with what previous US administrations have done in the past century to people within American borders and those living in different parts of the world.  Can you hear the sound of rattling bones?

It seems forgetting is a disease that quickly latches on even the most seemingly pro-human rights political leaders of the world.  Is the time for dreaming and hoping over?

Imagine if the same policy were used throughout the world.  Orwell’s Animal Farm comes to mind.

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Obama accused of “condoning torture”

17 April 2009

US President Barack Obama has been accused of “condoning torture” following his announcement that CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects will not be prosecuted.

Amnesty International has called on the US administration to initiate criminal investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for carrying out acts of torture, including waterboarding, in its “war on terror”.

“President Obama’s statements in the last days have been very disappointing. In saying that no one will be held to account for committing acts of torture, the US administration is in effect condoning torture,” said Daniel Gorevan, of Amnesty International’s Counter Terror with Justice campaign.

“It’s saying that US personnel can commit acts of torture and the authorities will not take any action against them.

Read the rest of the Amnesty International article.
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What We Always Suspected: Innocent Gitmo Prisoners

Taken for a ride: This award winning documentary needs to be seen again.

From a recent Associated Press report we find this:

Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. “There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a “mosaic” of intelligence.

“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather “sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.”

Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to determine “who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation.”

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Yvonne Ridley Reports

Yvonne Ridley reports from Viva Palestina
9th March 2009


GAZA OR BUST

The last 24 hours have probably been the blackest since the Viva Palestina convoy set off from London.

Yesterday the convoy members became the target of an orchestrated wave of violence first started by Egyptian police and then culminating in vicious attacks by unknown thugs.

The end result was a number of peace activists whose only aim is to take humanitarian aid into war torn Gaza were treated in hospital for head injuries.

Mercifully the string of casualties was not too serious but the experience denied us the chance of fulfilling our mission to deliver aid to Gaza yesterday.

And dramatic images of the rioting and attacks could not be relayed to Press TV viewers because someone sabotaged the satellite van by deliberately cutting through a vital cable which would have beamed the shameful attacks across the world.

However, every cloud has a silver lining and I would like to take this opportunity of personally thanking the Egyptian authorities and those dark forces who tried to derail Viva Palestina.

The event has only served to make us stronger, unite and bond us together more and created a wave of international media interest in Viva Palestina.

I think it would be fair to say that when you bring a diverse group of 300 plus people together on a gruelling mission to cover 5,000 miles driving across North Africa the result can result in a less than harmonious state of affairs.

To be frank, there was friction and infighting and some of us generally got on each other’s nerves as you would when you are confined to close quarters with challenging living, sleeping and eating conditions.

However, the deliberate bloody-mindedness of the Egyptian authorities did something we had failed to do for ourselves … it caused us to unite, bond and emerge stronger than ever from underneath the rows of police batons, bricks, bottles and stones.
The trouble began when the police – who were only obeying their orders – tried to break up the convoy into small groups of medical and non medical aid. We were told the first would go through the Rafah crossing while the latter would go through an Israeli checkpoint.

This was never going to be accepted by anyone on board the convoy. Our aim from the outset was simple: Rafah or bust.

Giving aid to the people of Gaza has nothing to do with the Israelis and I do wish they would stop trying to make themselves centre stage in an affair that does not involve Tel Aviv.

As we dug in our heels about the convoy being physically divided, the authorities decided there was only one solution – batter us into submission, after all that is what police states do.

And so, when the police tried to get physical, the convoy members followed their natural instincts and used passive resistance to defend themselves.

Egyptian police are obviously not used to confronting stroppy westerners in such large numbers and so they retreated while a second wave was sent in. Hundreds of riot squad officers, wearing visors, carrying shields and batons tumbled in to one of the two car parks in a large town centre compound in the port of al Arish and set about the unarmed peace activists.

They too were heroically repelled and what followed was an uneasy stand off as some convoy members received medical attention.

The net result was scores of vehicles had been able to escape the compound in which they were being held behind metal police barriers.

It was a minor victory and what followed was a very British response – the lads decided to have a game of football. I did try to persuade the Egyptian police to join in stressing they would have much more fun kicking a ball instead of kicking my comrades, but they seemed reluctant to let go of their batons.

As the night drew in the convoy leader George Galloway who was 40 kilometres down the road, was made aware of the battle of al Arish and so he refused to cross the Rafah Border in to Gaza and returned to the convoy.

It was a hard call to make as the international media had gathered at Rafah for a party that never happened. As usual the Israelis also played to stereotype by shelling and bombing parts of Gaza.

By the time Britain’s best known parliamentarian reached the compound night had fallen and bright stadium-style lights illuminated the two car parks.

Suddenly the area was plunged into darkness by a powercut which coincided with a brick, bottle and stone attacks on the convoy members by youths in their late teens and 20s. Seconds before the lights went out some convoy members saw a couple of unidentified men scrawling anti-Hamas slogans on lorries.

The lights remained out for some minutes, during which time the vicious attack was unleashed – the whole proceedings failed to warrant one single Egyptian police officer to swing his baton into action.

Those who had wielded their sticks with such a passion before, stood impassively by and watched the onslaught.

The power kicked back in again and the bright lights illuminated the scene to reveal several convoy members lying dazed and confused, blood dripping from gaping head wounds.

While they were ferried to hospital for treatment, there was a second powercut and a repeat of the violence.

Once again the police stood by and watched the thugs launch their attacks on unarmed and defenceless members of Viva Palestina.

Galloway, incandescent with rage held an urgent meeting with the governor of the region and secured assurances this would not happen again. He also secured a pledge that the convoy would be allowed to make its way to the Rafah crossing for 6am on Monday.

We’re now only a few hours away from that deadline and it remains to be seen if the governor will keep his word.

But regardless of what he decides I want to thank him for pulling every single member of Viva Palestina into one, united front.

Thanks to him and the cack-handed police operation, Viva Palestina has emerged refocussed and stronger than ever with one, determined goal: Rafah or bust.

And it will happen, inspite of the best efforts of Tel Aviv meddling and Egyptian authorities’ bullying.

The people united can never be defeated.

Gaza, next stop.

* British journalist Yvonne Ridley and award-winning film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani are on the Viva Palestina convoy making a documentary about the journey from London to Gaza. her website is http://www.yvonneridley.org and you can follow her updates by Twitter or Facebook


War on Terror: Demand the Truth

Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands

Terror becomes a pair of Bushy hands. U.S. President George W. Bush hands back a crying baby that was handed to him from the crowd as he arrived for an outdoor dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Trinwillershagen, Germany, July 13, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (GERMANY)

Avaaz is calling for signatures for this campaign.

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This week the US government is debating whether to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ tactics. This could have major ramifications all the way up the chain of command.

Key US Senators, leading this call for justice, need a massive global endorsement to ensure that the Commission is set up and has real teeth. But there are powerful interests that want to cover up the truth about torture, secret detention and other unlawful abuse.

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Your voice counts!


To An Israeli Soldier Facing a Sleeping Baby at a Checkpoint

You are in full military gear.
He is wrapped in a blue blanket, serene.

The barrel of your gun is close to his feet.
His grandfather holds him steady, to keep his sleep.

This moment will pass or come to an end.
The measure of fear is in that distance, closing in.

Dear soldier, tell me
Did you choose your own womb?

-o-

Here is the photo that prompted this piece.


The Good Neighbour

Bang!  There he goes again, repeatedly taking aim
Until he hits whatever it is he’s been missing.
Sure of eye even when he falters.
He smiles and waves as we shudder.

It has been a while since we let him
Silence our worries with his hobby.

Our neighbourhood has grown used to this
Night and day, good or bad weather.
Everyone hides a fear of the gun collector.

On days when he fancies something new
From one of us, we grow restless.

Maybe, as we whisper
Among ourselves, we are just imagining it.
No, he’s not really interested in this thing of mine,
You think?  He already has his own, from someone else.

Extra care must be taken that he doesn’t feel
Violated by our talk in our own homes.
It is undeclared but true, his claim
Lies beyond his yard.
Soon enough we’ll know who’s next.

-o-

This poem was written in September 2008.  It is an acrostic.