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Mississippi’s All Up in Your Google Activity

By Samia Hossain, William J. Brennan Fellow & Esha Bhandari | ACLU | August 3, 2015

An overzealous attorney general is trying to police online speech by capitalizing on the reams of data Google stores about its users.

James Hood, Mississippi’s attorney general has issued a whopping 79-page subpoena to Google asking for a massive amount of data about the identities, communications, searches, and posts of people anywhere in the United States who use its services, including YouTube and Google+.

The kicker? The state is asking for all this information for anyone speaking about something “objectionable,” “offensive,” or “tangentially” related to something “dangerous,” which it defines as anything that could “lead to physical harm or injury.” You read that right. The attorney general claims that he needs information about all of this speech to investigate Google for state consumer protection violations, even though the subpoena covers such things as copyright matters and doesn’t limit itself to content involving Mississippi residents.

Earlier this year, a District Court judge froze Mississippi’s investigation into Google. The state appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where we filed a brief today against the attorney general’s attempt to violate the First Amendment rights of the millions of people who use the Internet.

The case has already gotten attention because of Google’s claims that Mississippi is attempting to censor its editorial choices, by dictating what can appear in search results or on YouTube, for example. Our brief attempts to highlight an overlooked aspect of the case – that millions of people’s rights to free speech, anonymity, and privacy are also at stake.

The government is well aware of all the personal information that’s being stockpiled online and often serves subpoenas on private companies for information about individuals and groups under investigation. But the Constitution has established protections that keep the government from getting into our business without just cause, especially when our First Amendment rights to express ourselves freely and anonymously are at stake.

Yet as we’re seeing in Mississippi, the government doesn’t always play by the rules.

We are increasingly seeing efforts by law enforcement to engage in wholesale monitoring of certain groups online. Just a couple of weeks ago, we learned the Department of Homeland Security has been scrutinizing #BlackLivesMatter for constitutionally protected activity. This kind of surveillance chills the exercise of our First Amendment freedoms, especially considering how much sensitive and important speech – like political or human rights advocacy – takes place on the Internet.

Needless to say, “objectionable,” “offensive,” or “tangentially” related to something “dangerous,” are terms that are so broad that they could encompass a huge swathe of content on the Internet – and result in information about millions of people’s online activity being handed over to the government. Virtually any topic could be said to “tangentially” lead to physical harm or injury in certain cases –  from organizing protests to skydiving. Most importantly, the First Amendment protects the right to speak about dangerous, objectionable, and offensive things without fear that the government will be scrutinizing your speech or trying to find out your identity.

And let’s not assume it’s innocuous YouTube videos of skateboarding 6-year-olds, football highlight reels, or fireworks displays that the attorney general wants to waste his office’s time looking through – even though these would be covered by the subpoena. History has shown us that politically dissident and minority groups have been targeted for monitoring, and those are the groups that are most likely to be chilled from speaking. Politically active movements online, such as #BlackLivesMatter, often discuss strategy, organize protests, and post videos of police brutality (which certainly meets the attorney general’s definition of “dangerous”) online.

Not only that, but the right to online anonymity is threatened. Domestic violence support groups can provide a safe space online for victims to speak anonymously and honestly, including about the dangers of violence they face. Yet these activities could be seriously harmed if Mississippi is allowed to collect information about the people who engage in them. It’s no stretch to imagine that people will speak less freely if things like their email addresses, login times, and IP addresses could be handed to law enforcement whenever they say something that could be considered dangerous or offensive.

For these reasons, we’re asking the 5th Circuit to order the state to back off and keep the Internet a place where people can speak freely, without fear of government harassment or investigation.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do The Math: Global War On Terror Has Killed 4 Million Muslims Or More

By Nafeez Ahmed | MintPress | August 3, 2015

118554WASHINGTON — A study released earlier this year revealed the shocking death toll of the United States’s “War on Terror” since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the true body count could be even higher.

Published in March by Physicians for Social Responsibility, the study, conducted by a team that included some Nobel Prize winners, determined that at least 1.3 million people have died as a result of war since Sept.11, 2001, but the real figure might be as high as two million. The study was an attempt to “close the gaps” in existing research, including studies like the Iraq Body Count,” which puts the number of violent deaths in that country at about 219,000 since 2003, based on media reports of the time period.

Investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, writing in April for Middle East Eye, explained some of the ways the previous figures fell short, according to the physicians’ research:

“For instance, although 40,000 corpses had been buried in Najaf since the launch of the war, IBC [Iraq Body Count] recorded only 1,354 deaths in Najaf for the same period. That example shows how wide the gap is between IBC’s Najaf figure and the actual death toll – in this case, by a factor of over 30.

Such gaps are replete throughout IBC’s database. In another instance, IBC recorded just three airstrikes in a period in 2005, when the number of air attacks had in fact increased from 25 to 120 that year. Again, the gap here is by a factor of 40.”

The physicians behind the study also praised a controversial report from the medical journal The Lancet that placed the toll count far higher than that of Iraq Body Count, at closer to one million dead. In addition to the war in Iraq, the PSR study added additional victims from other countries where the United States has waged war:

“To this, the PSR study adds at least 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, killed as the direct or indirect consequence of US-led war: a ‘conservative’ total of 1.3 million. The real figure could easily be ‘in excess of 2 million’.”

These figures may still be underestimating the real death toll, according to Ahmed. These studies only account for the victims of violent conflict, but not the many more who will die as a result of the damage war brings to crucial infrastructure, from roads to farms to hospitals — not to mention devastating sanctions like those placed on Iraq after the first Gulf War in 1991. He continues:

“Undisputed UN figures show that 1.7 million Iraqi civilians died due to the West’s brutal sanctions regime, half of whom were children.

The mass death was seemingly intended. Among items banned by the UN sanctions were chemicals and equipment essential for Iraq’s national water treatment system. A secret US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) document discovered by Professor Thomas Nagy of the School of Business at George Washington University amounted, he said, to ‘an early blueprint for genocide against the people of Iraq.’”

Similar figures for Afghanistan, he reports, could bring totals to four million or more.

As Ahmed points out in his article, the majority of those killed in these wars and those suffering most from these wars, statistically speaking, were Muslim — a stark contrast to the common view that radical Muslim terrorists are the deadliest group in the Middle East. Rather, it would seem the American military are the worst killers, and the death toll resembles religious genocide. In 2009, Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard, wrote in Foreign Policy :

“How many Muslims has the United States killed in the past thirty years, and how many Americans have been killed by Muslims? Coming up with a precise answer to this question is probably impossible, but it is also not necessary, because the rough numbers are so clearly lopsided.”

Or, as Ben Affleck famously quipped to Bill Maher last year: “We’ve killed more Muslims than they’ve killed us by an awful lot.”

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | 3 Comments

Shame on UK for Sham Litvinenko Trial

By William DUNKERLEY | Oriental Review | Aug 3, 2015

What started off as a massive fabrication in 2006 just received a great boost from a complicit British government. The mysterious polonium death of reputed former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko is the focus.

An inexplicably long series of official UK hearings on this nearly 9 year old case has just concluded. That’s prompted a new flurry of sensational media reports.

A recent Daily Mail headline reads “Putin ‘personally ordered Litvinenko’s murder.’” The Irish Independent said, “Vladimir Putin should be held responsible for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.” BBC reported, “Vladimir Putin ‘ordered killing’, Litvinenko [official UK] inquiry hears.

They support a premise that’s been around since the beginning. It implicates Russian president Vladimir Putin in the yet-to-be explained death.

You might think that reliable evidence has been presented to back up all the accusations. But careful examination shows the reports are no more than unsubstantiated allegations. No reliable facts are reported. Meanwhile, there is an abundance of evidence that this has been a nefarious witch hunt all along.

The official UK hearing has been made out to be a kind of trial, one aimed at bringing justice in the mysterious death case. The widow Marina Litvinenko told BBC, “The truth has finally been uncovered.”

That’s actually quite the opposite of the truth. Here are some facts:

–The prosecutor in the case was unable to unearth any incriminating factual evidence, only “grave suspicions” about Russian culpability. He never had a sufficient case to bring to trial.

–The current official inquiry has no capability to mete out justice. It hasn’t been a real trial at all. There are accused individuals. But they have no right to question their accusers. The inquiry doesn’t have the ability to convict anybody.

–No coroner has ever ruled that Litvinenko’s death was even a homicide. That leaves open the possibility of accidental poisoning or suicide.

–The KGB spy moniker given Litvinenko in the media is fallacious; he never did espionage work. But it added spice to all the misleading headlines.

–Litvinenko himself is on record believing an Italian named Mario Scaramella poisoned him.

–The “Putin did it” scenario that went mainstream was a highly successful fraud of massive proportion. It was instigated by Putin arch enemy Boris Berezovsky, a Russian robber baron who was hiding out in London from criminal prosecution back home. Berezovsky was angling to see Putin overthrown in a violent revolution and replaced by a monarch. No kidding. I’m not just alleging that. He said so in his own words.

–A rogue coroner dodged his statutory duty to rule on the manner and cause of death, and instead conducted a Berezovskyesque witch hunt for Russian culpability.

–He subsequently was told by Home Secretary Theresa May to cut out the witch hunt and perform his duty to rule on the manner and cause of death. She also told him that any further official inquiry was unnecessary.

–That would have ended the folly for good. But instead Prime Minister David Cameron reversed the Home Secretary and reopened the witch hunt. This came amidst the sanctions frenzy against Putin over the Ukraine crisis. It was a highly politicized move, not a search for justice.

–The result has been the just-concluded hearings, part of Cameron’s official inquiry.

Cameron has charged forward despite the obvious speciousness of the case. It’s not hard to see that fraud has been afoot all along. For instance, there was a widely-reported deathbed statement dictated by Litvinenko. News of it didn’t come out until after Litvinenko’s death. The statement blames Putin for the poisoning.

But I’ve found that Litvinenko never dictated any such statement. The story was a hoax. The hoaxer has even confessed that the words were his own, and that he had no factual basis for his allegation.

Isn’t Cameron aware of these specious claims in the Litvinenko case? If there is a real evidentiary basis, why is the record founded on outright fabrications like the deathbed statement? The case is replete with nonsense like the deathbed hoax.

So the truth that needs to be known is that the Litvinenko case has been a fraud right from the start, and continues as such to this day. I don’t know whether or not Putin or any other Russian had complicity in the death. But I do know that principals behind the accusations have been lying.

The biggest news here is that Cameron has put the weight of the UK government behind the fraud. What an extravagant affront to justice. He should be ashamed of himself.

William Dunkerley is a media analyst and a Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Time for the western media to send real journalists to Russia & Ukraine

By Bryan MacDonald | RT | August 3, 2015

The media’s use of young, inexperienced freelancers in Ukraine has long been a disaster waiting to happen. Last weekend’s obviously fabricated “dirty bomb” nonsense is further proof.

I’ve said it dozens of times. I’ll now repeat it. The western media needs to send qualified, experienced journalists to cover Russia and Ukraine. Especially at this particular moment, when civil war rages in the latter and the former is experiencing significant economic and foreign policy challenges.

The practice of using unskilled, amateur hacks in the region, no matter how noble their intentions, is unfair to readers and viewers. It’s also unjust to the wannabe journalists themselves. As non-staff members (many don’t even have contracts) they lack the usual protections afforded to media professionals on foreign postings. Many working in Eastern Ukraine have only rudimentary Russian-language skills and are unable to afford competent translators and security.

Newsdesks back home will always demand coverage be tailored to certain tastes. However, staff status supplies a safety blanket that empowers them to resist some of the more ludicrous suggestions – particularly those that may endanger them. Freelancers and short-term contract workers don’t have such luxuries. The former are usually paid by the article or appearance, which forces them to desperately hustle to be published. It sometimes encourages them to make up or exaggerate stories.

Decline in standards

Since Ukraine’s Maidan protests kicked off over a year and a half ago now, the western media has dipped in and out of events. Around the time of the 2014 Kiev coup and later following the MH17 disaster, most credible outlets did send competent reporters from their headquarters.

During these periods, coverage improved immeasurably. Sadly, the rest of the time they’ve used local stringers or inexperienced hacks who emerged from the Moscow and Kiev expat press. The standard of these publications is, frankly, laughable. Indeed, they’d compare most unfavorably to many local freesheet rags in the British Isles, let alone paid-for newspapers.

There are exceptions, notably the BBC, which, to be fair, has humongous resources. Indeed, the Beeb even sent their renowned foreign correspondent Fergal Keane to Donbass for an extended period. Nevertheless, the rest of the UK and American media has left the A-team at home. Instead, we are treated to the best efforts of low-paid beat hacks, many of whom are learning on the job.

Veterans of the late Soviet period and the Yeltsin years, a time when giants of journalism walked Moscow’s streets are, privately, aghast. Following a recent RT op-ed when I questioned the quality of contemporary reportage, I was amazed by how many former Moscow correspondents contacted me.

“Newspapers have no money for translators and drivers and the like. There’s a very small pool of people who can speak Russian and write reasonably well in English,” mused one former British great. An American legend observed: “They are now using the type of guys (sic) we used to use for illness and holiday cover to actually run the bureau. It’s mind-bogglingly silly. Russia is a delicate posting.”

The menace of unreality

Indeed it is. Yet, right now, Ukraine is even more sensitive. An inaccurate report from the country’s eastern war zone could cost lives or raise tensions. Or both. In February, a hoax report in the Washington Free Beacon encouraged US senators to urge the White House to act swiftly to counter a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine. There was a problem. The photographic evidence was years old and predated the Ukraine crisis. It later emerged that the photos had been supplied to Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma by a Ukrainian “delegation” to the US capital.

A US senator from an earlier age, Hiram Warren Johnson, is credited as first observing that “the first casualty when war comes is truth.” During the Ukrainian civil war, Johnson’s theory has been proven countless times, by both sides. Far too often, the western media accepts Ukrainian misinformation as genuine. From estimates of hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers inside the country to, obviously inaccurate, death toll numbers. The Russian press is equally guilty of parroting hyperbolic statements from the rebel side. An infamous example was the allegation that a 10-year-old child had been crucified in Slavyansk last year.

While the various reports of Russian “invasions” can be laughed off, like this hilarious Daily Beast propaganda effort, sometimes the deliberate manipulation of facts is far more sinister. Incidentally, as an example of media negligence on Russia, the Daily Beast employs a “Russia expert” who has never lived in the country and can’t speak the language. Do the outlet’s management even countenance how insulting this is to their readers?

This weekend, in the pages of The Times of London and Newsweek, we saw exactly what happens when media concerns use greenhorn stringers in sensitive situations. Instead of sending an experienced staffer to Ukraine, both have recently collaborated with Maxim Tucker. Tucker, a former Amnesty International activist, who doesn’t hide his pro-Maidan credentials, published the same story in both. The Times version was headlined, “Ukraine rebels ‘building dirty bomb’ with Russian scientists.” Meanwhile, Newsweek went for “Ukraine Says Pro-Russia Rebels Are Building a Dirty Bomb.”

Incendiary stuff. If true, it could feasibly ignite a major diplomatic, perhaps even military, stand-off. Luckily, the story is fiction. This is blindingly obvious to anyone with even a minute comprehension of the region. Newsweek and The Times have embarrassed themselves. At the same time, Tucker has exposed himself as being seriously out his depth. Even his hack-pack colleagues are distancing themselves from this nonsense. Tucker, either knowingly or unwittingly, has fallen hook, line and sinker for Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) disinformation. Unsophisticated misinformation at that. In fact, typically Soviet in its execution, going for the big lie.

Allow me to explain why Tucker’s two, almost identical, pieces are total rubbish. Tucker himself, along with most western hacks in Ukraine, asserts that Russia is backing the east Ukrainian rebels. If this were true, why would the rebels need to “research” dirty bombs? Russia, currently uniquely, can send people into space – such a device would be child’s play to its scientists. Or is Tucker contradicting himself and now alleging that Russia is not arming the insurgents?

There are a few more blatantly obvious holes in the supposition. Tucker writes: “The SBU said it was not clear from those conversations whether the specialists were employees of the Russian state or private individuals. The transcripts of these conversations could not be provided.” Why could the transcripts not be provided? It’s abundantly clear that Tucker’s sole source is the SBU, an organization not noted for fealty to the truth.

Social media war

“The dossier includes three documents, written in Russian, that appear to be military orders from DPR leaders to subordinate commanders at the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry for Emergency Situations, and the Donetsk chemical factory. They were allegedly downloaded with hundreds of others when SBU agents took control of a rebel email address in the first week of July.”

Is Tucker seriously saying that the rebels discussed bombs by email? Why not VKontakte (Russia’s version of Facebook) or Twitter? In fact, if they were that stupid, perhaps they posted a few postcards on the topic too?

Tucker also claims: “The OSCE is believed to have raised the issue with the Kremlin at talks in Minsk on July 21, and is expected to bring in its own specialist to examine the bunker at the plant.” He doesn’t say who believes the OSCE has done this.

However, the biggest sign this article is a piece of low-grade fiction is contained in what Tucker omits. He fails to explain how the SBU believes the rebels would deliver the “bomb.” The Ukrainian rebels have no air force. Hence, the only feasible route would be by truck. If so, how would the vehicle bypass Ukraine’s line of control?

I am sure that Tucker is aware that in 2010 the US paid for the installation of Radiation Portal Monitors at all Ukrainian border posts to prevent the smuggling of radioactive material. As a result, the only places the rebels could use a “dirty bomb” are either inside Donbass or inside Russia. Unless their leadership has completely lost its marbles, this would make no sense.

Newsweek and The Times are among dozens of respectable media outlets who need to send proper, qualified journalists to Russia and Ukraine. Cutting corners insults their readers. Journalism is a serious craft. It mustn’t be left to amateurs, no matter how well intentioned their efforts.

~

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He began his career in journalism aged 15 in his home town of Carlow, Ireland, with the Nationalist & Leinster Times, while still a schoolboy. Later he studied journalism in Dublin and worked for the Weekender in Navan before joining the Irish Independent. Following a period in London, he joined Ireland On Sunday, later the Irish Mail on Sunday. He was theater critic of the Daily Mail for a period and also worked in news, features and was a regular op-ed writer. Bryan also worked in Los Angeles. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT. Bryan is particularly interested in social equality, European geopolitics, sport and languages. He has lived in Berlin, Russia and the USA.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media | , , | 1 Comment

Our “Merciful” Ending to the “Good War”

How Patriotism Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

By Christian Appy | TomDispatch | August 4, 2015

“Never, never waste a minute on regret. It’s a waste of time.” — President Harry Truman

Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I’m wondering if we’ve come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world’s only country to use atomic weapons to slaughter human beings. Will an American president ever offer a formal apology? Will our country ever regret the dropping of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” those two bombs that burned hotter than the sun? Will it absorb the way they instantly vaporized thousands of victims, incinerated tens of thousands more, and created unimaginably powerful shockwaves and firestorms that ravaged everything for miles beyond ground zero? Will it finally come to grips with the “black rain” that spread radiation and killed even more people — slowly and painfully — leading in the end to a death toll for the two cities conservatively estimated at more than 250,000?

Given the last seven decades of perpetual militarization and nuclear “modernization” in this country, the answer may seem like an obvious no. Still, as a historian, I’ve been trying to dig a little deeper into our lack of national contrition. As I have, an odd fragment of Americana kept coming to mind, a line from the popular 1970 tearjerker Love Story: “Love,” says the female lead when her boyfriend begins to apologize, “means never having to say you’re sorry.” It has to be one of the dumbest definitions ever to lodge in American memory, since real love often requires the strength to apologize and make amends.

It does, however, apply remarkably well to the way many Americans think about that broader form of love we call patriotism. With rare exceptions, like the 1988 congressional act that apologized to and compensated the Japanese-American victims of World War II internment, when it comes to the brute exercise of power, true patriotism has above all meant never having to say you’re sorry. The very politicians who criticize other countries for not owning up to their wrong-doing regularly insist that we should never apologize for anything. In 1988, for example, after the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf killing all 290 passengers (including 66 children), Vice President George H.W. Bush, then running for president, proclaimed, “I will never apologize for the United States. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”

It turns out, however, that Bush’s version of American remorselessness isn’t quite enough. After all, Americans prefer to view their country as peace-loving, despite having been at war constantly since 1941. This means they need more than denials and non-apologies. They need persuasive stories and explanations (however full of distortions and omissions). The tale developed to justify the bombings that led to a world in which the threat of human extinction has been a daily reality may be the most successful legitimizing narrative in our history. Seventy years later, it’s still deeply embedded in public memory and school textbooks, despite an ever-growing pile of evidence that contradicts it. Perhaps it’s time, so many decades into the age of apocalyptic peril, to review the American apologia for nuclear weapons — the argument in their defense — that ensured we would never have to say we’re sorry.

The Hiroshima Apologia

On August 9, 1945, President Harry Truman delivered a radio address from the White House. “The world will note,” he said, “that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.” He did not mention that a second atomic bomb had already been dropped on Nagasaki.

Truman understood, of course, that if Hiroshima was a “military base,” then so was Seattle; that the vast majority of its residents were civilians; and that perhaps 100,000 of them had already been killed. Indeed, he knew that Hiroshima was chosen not for its military significance but because it was one of only a handful of Japanese cities that had not already been firebombed and largely obliterated by American air power. U.S. officials, in fact, were intent on using the first atomic bombs to create maximum terror and destruction. They also wanted to measure their new weapon’s power and so selected the “virgin targets” of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In July 1945, Secretary of War Henry Stimson informed Truman of his fear that, given all the firebombing of Japanese cities, there might not be a target left on which the atomic bomb could “show its strength” to the fullest. According to Stimson’s diary, Truman “laughed and said he understood.”

The president soon dropped the “military base” justification. After all, despite Washington’s effort to censor the most graphic images of atomic annihilation coming out of Hiroshima, the world quickly grasped that the U.S. had destroyed an entire city in a single blow with massive loss of life. So the president focused instead on an apologia that would work for at least the next seven decades. Its core arguments appeared in that same August 9th speech. “We have used [the atomic bomb] against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor,” he said, “against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans.”

By 1945, most Americans didn’t care that the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not committed Japan’s war crimes. American wartime culture had for years drawn on a long history of “yellow peril” racism to paint the Japanese not just as inhuman, but as subhuman. As Truman put it in his diary, it was a country full of “savages” — “ruthless, merciless, and fanatic” people so loyal to the emperor that every man, woman, and child would fight to the bitter end. In these years, magazines routinely depicted Japanese as monkeys, apes, insects, and vermin. Given such a foe, so went the prevailing view, there were no true “civilians” and nothing short of near extermination, or at least a powerful demonstration of America’s willingness to proceed down that path, could ever force their surrender. As Admiral William “Bull” Halsey said in a 1944 press conference, “The only good Jap is a Jap who’s been dead six months.”

In the years after World War II, the most virulent expressions of race hatred diminished, but not the widespread idea that the atomic bombs had been required to end the war, eliminating the need to invade the Japanese home islands where, it was confidently claimed, tooth-and-nail combat would cause enormous losses on both sides. The deadliest weapon in history, the one that opened the path to future Armageddon, had therefore saved lives. That was the stripped down mantra that provided the broadest and most enduring support for the introduction of nuclear warfare. By the time Truman, in retirement, published his memoir in 1955, he was ready to claim with some specificity that an invasion of Japan would have killed half-a-million Americans and at least as many Japanese.

Over the years, the ever-increasing number of lives those two A-bombs “saved” became a kind of sacred numerology. By 1991, for instance, President George H.W. Bush, praising Truman for his “tough, calculating decision,” claimed that those bombs had “spared millions of American lives.” By then, an atomic massacre had long been transformed into a mercy killing that prevented far greater suffering and slaughter.

Truman went to his grave insisting that he never had a single regret or a moment’s doubt about his decision. Certainly, in the key weeks leading up to August 6, 1945, the record offers no evidence that he gave serious consideration to any alternative.

“Revisionists” Were Present at the Creation

Twenty years ago, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum planned an ambitious exhibit to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. At its center was to be an extraordinary artifact — the fuselage of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress used to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. But the curators and historical consultants wanted something more than yet another triumphal celebration of American military science and technology. Instead, they sought to assemble a thought-provoking portrayal of the bomb’s development, the debates about its use, and its long-term consequences. The museum sought to include some evidence challenging the persistent claim that it was dropped simply to end the war and “save lives.”

For starters, visitors would have learned that some of America’s best-known World War II military commanders opposed using atomic weaponry. In fact, six of the seven five-star generals and admirals of that time believed that there was no reason to use them, that the Japanese were already defeated, knew it, and were likely to surrender before any American invasion could be launched. Several, like Admiral William Leahy and General Dwight Eisenhower, also had moral objections to the weapon. Leahy considered the atomic bombing of Japan “barbarous” and a violation of “every Christian ethic I have ever heard of and all of the known laws of war.”

Truman did not seriously consult with military commanders who had objections to using the bomb.  He did, however, ask a panel of military experts to offer an estimate of how many Americans might be killed if the United States launched the two major invasions of the Japanese home islands scheduled for November 1, 1945 and March 1, 1946. Their figure: 40,000 — far below the half-million he would cite after the war. Even this estimate was based on the dubious assumption that Japan could continue to feed, fuel, and arm its troops with the U.S. in almost complete control of the seas and skies.

The Smithsonian also planned to inform its visitors that some key presidential advisers had urged Truman to drop his demand for “unconditional surrender” and allow Japan to keep the emperor on his throne, an alteration in peace terms that might have led to an almost immediate surrender. Truman rejected that advice, only to grant the same concession after the nuclear attacks.

Keep in mind, however, that part of Truman’s motivation for dropping those bombs involved not the defeated Japanese, but the ascending Soviet Union. With the U.S.S.R. pledged to enter the war against Japan on August 8, 1945 (which it did), Truman worried that even briefly prolonging hostilities might allow the Soviets to claim a greater stake in East Asia. He and Secretary of State James Byrnes believed that a graphic demonstration of the power of the new bomb, then only in the possession of the United States, might also make that Communist power more “manageable” in Europe. The Smithsonian exhibit would have suggested that Cold War planning and posturing began in the concluding moments of World War II and that one legacy of Hiroshima would be the massive nuclear arms race of the decades to come.

In addition to displaying American artifacts like the Enola Gay, Smithsonian curators wanted to show some heartrending objects from the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima, including a schoolgirl’s burnt lunchbox, a watch dial frozen at the instant of the bomb’s explosion, a fused rosary, and photographs of the dead and dying. It would have been hard to look at these items beside that plane’s giant fuselage without feeling some sympathy for the victims of the blast.

None of this happened. The exhibit was canceled after a storm of protest. When the Air Force Association leaked a copy of the initial script to the media, critics denounced the Smithsonian for its “politically correct” and “anti-American” “revision” of history. The exhibit, they claimed, would be an insult to American veterans and fundamentally unpatriotic. Though conservatives led the charge, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Smithsonian for being “revisionist and offensive” that included a tidy rehearsal of the official apologia: “The role of the Enola Gay… was momentous in helping to bring World War II to a merciful end, which resulted in saving the lives of Americans and Japanese.”

Merciful? Consider just this: the number of civilians killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki alone was more than twice the number of American troops killed during the entire Pacific war.

In the end, the Smithsonian displayed little but the Enola Gay itself, a gleaming relic of American victory in the “Good War.”

Our Unbroken Faith in the Greatest Generation 

In the two decades since, we haven’t come closer to a genuine public examination of history’s only nuclear attack or to finding any major fault with how we waged what Studs Terkel famously dubbed “the Good War.” He used that term as the title for his classic 1984 oral history of World War II and included those quotation marks quite purposely to highlight the irony of such thinking about a war in which an estimated 60 million people died. In the years since, the term has become an American cliché, but the quotation marks have disappeared along with any hint of skepticism about our motives and conduct in those years.

Admittedly, when it comes to the launching of nuclear war (if not the firebombings that destroyed 67 Japanese cities and continued for five days after “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki), there is some evidence of a more critical cast of mind in this country. Recent polls, for instance, show that “only” 56% of Americans now think we were right to use nuclear weapons against Japan, down a few points since the 1990s, while support among Americans under the age of 30 has finally fallen below 50%. You might also note that just after World War II, 85% of Americans supported the bombings.

Of course, such pro-bomb attitudes were hardly surprising in 1945, especially given the relief and joy at the war’s victorious ending and the anti-Japanese sentiment of that moment. Far more surprising: by 1946, millions of Americans were immersed in John Hersey’s best-selling book Hiroshima, a moving report from ground zero that explored the atomic bomb’s impact through the experiences of six Japanese survivors. It began with these gripping lines:

“At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.”

Hiroshima remains a remarkable document for its unflinching depictions of the bomb’s destructiveness and for treating America’s former enemy with such dignity and humanity. “The crux of the matter,” Hersey concluded, “is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good might result?”

The ABC Radio Network thought Hersey’s book so important that it hired four actors to read it in full on the air, reaching an even wider audience. Can you imagine a large American media company today devoting any significant air time to a work that engendered empathy for the victims of our twenty-first century wars? Or can you think of a recent popular book that prods us to consider the “material and spiritual evil” that came from our own participation in World War II? I can’t.

In fact, in the first years after that war, as Paul Boyer showed in his superb book By the Bomb’s Early Light, some of America’s triumphalism faded as fears grew that the very existence of nuclear weapons might leave the country newly vulnerable. After all, someday another power, possibly the Soviet Union, might use the new form of warfare against its creators, producing an American apocalypse that could never be seen as redemptive or merciful.

In the post-Cold War decades, however, those fears have again faded (unreasonably so since even a South Asian nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India could throw the whole planet into a version of nuclear winter).  Instead, the “Good War” has once again been embraced as unambiguously righteous. Consider, for example, the most recent book about World War II to hit it big, Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Published in 2010, it remained on the New York Times best-seller list in hardcover for almost four years and has sold millions of copies. In its reach, it may even surpass Tom Brokaw’s 1998 book, The Greatest Generation. A Hollywood adaptation of Unbroken appeared last Christmas.

Hillenbrand’s book does not pretend to be a comprehensive history of World War II or even of the war in the Pacific. It tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a child delinquent turned Olympic runner turned B-24 bombardier. In 1943, his plane was shot down in the Pacific. He and the pilot survived 47 days in a life raft despite near starvation, shark attacks, and strafing by Japanese planes. Finally captured by the Japanese, he endured a series of brutal POW camps where he was the victim of relentless sadistic beatings.

The book is decidedly a page-turner, but its focus on a single American’s punishing ordeal and amazing recovery inhibits almost any impulse to move beyond the platitudes of nationalistic triumphalism and self-absorption or consider (among other things) the racism that so dramatically shaped American combat in the Pacific. That, at least, is the impression you get combing through some of the astonishing 25,000 customer reviews Unbroken has received on Amazon. “My respect for WWII veterans has soared,” a typical reviewer writes. “Thank you Laura Hillenbrand for loving our men at war,” writes another. It is “difficult to read of the inhumanity of the treatment of the courageous men serving our country.” And so on.

Unbroken devotes a page and a half to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, all of it from the vantage point of the American crew of the Enola Gay. Hillenbrand raises concerns about the crew’s safety: “No one knew for sure if… the bomber could get far enough away to survive what was coming.” She describes the impact of the shockwaves, not on the ground, but at 30,000 feet when they slammed into the Enola Gay, “pitching the men into the air.”

The film version of Unbroken evokes even less empathy for the Japanese experience of nuclear war, which brings to mind something a student told my graduate seminar last spring. He teaches high school social studies and when he talked with colleagues about the readings we were doing on Hiroshima, three of them responded with some version of the following: “You know, I used to think we were wrong to use nukes on Japan, but since I saw Unbroken I’ve started to think it was necessary.” We are, that is, still in the territory first plowed by Truman in that speech seven decades ago.

At the end of the film, this note appears on the screen: “Motivated by his faith, Louie came to see that the way forward was not revenge, but forgiveness. He returned to Japan, where he found and made peace with his former captors.”

That is indeed moving. Many of the prison camp guards apologized, as well they should have, and — perhaps more surprisingly — Zamperini forgave them. There is, however, no hint that there might be a need for apologies on the American side, too; no suggestion that our indiscriminate destruction of Japan, capped off by the atomic obliteration of two cities, might be, as Admiral Leahy put it, a violation of “all of the known laws of war.”

So here we are, 70 years later, and we seem, if anything, farther than ever from a rejection of the idea that launching atomic warfare on Japanese civilian populations was an act of mercy. Perhaps some future American president will finally apologize for our nuclear attacks, but one thing seems certain: no Japanese survivor of the bombs will be alive to hear it.

Christian Appy, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, is the author of three books about the Vietnam War, including most recently American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Viking).

Copyright 2015 Christian Appy

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Japan to temporarily halt preparation work on new US base

Press TV – August 4, 2015

Japan is set to suspend preparation work for the construction of a new US military base on the southern island of Okinawa, a government official says, amid widespread local protests against the facility’s relocation.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Tokyo had decided to halt the work for a month starting August 10, Japanese Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.

Suga further said that during the month-long period, Tokyo plans to hold “intensive consultations” with the regional government in Okinawa Prefecture in an attempt to settle the standoff over the controversial plans to relocate the military base.

The official made the announcement ahead of a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga in the capital, Tokyo, on Friday.

The prospective outpost, which is planned to be constructed in the Henoko district of the city of Nago in the north of the island, would take over the functions of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, also known as MCAS Futenma.

MCAS Futenma, which is based in the city of Ginowan in Okinawa Prefecture, houses several thousand US military personnel.

Okinawans have been calling for the base to be closed and American troops to be moved completely off the island.

Unpopular presence

The plan for the construction of a new military base for the United States is a key part of a bilateral agreement to realign the US military presence in Japan.

US presence in Japan has been embroiled in controversy, with American military personnel having reportedly been involved in more than 1,000 sex crimes between 2005 and 2013 in the country.

Onaga, the Okinawa governor, has said he will rescind his predecessor’s approval of land reclamation work off Nago, which is required to get the construction work off the ground. By so doing, Onaga would eliminate the legal basis for the central government’s project to build the outpost.

A third-party committee, set up by Onaga, compiled a report on July 16, pointing to “legal defects” in the processing of the central government’s application for reclaiming the area.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror

By Gary Corseri | CounterPunch | August 4, 2015

gazaunsilencedWhen I received a copy of Gaza Unsilenced in the mail, about a week ago, the first thing that struck me was the amazing cover photo. Now, I think I’m as wary of judging a book by its cover as the next reader/reviewer; and I read through the entire book before ever thinking of starting a review in this way. Does the book justify this sort of cover? Most assuredly it does!

The face on the cover is that of a girl—somewhere between 10 and 13, I’d guess. She has a marred, but beautiful face, striking dark eyes, and she almost seems to be smiling, acknowledging, at once, the onlooker, the photographer, and her own resilience, her capacity to survive. It is a haunting picture because her face is pockmarked by shrapnel in dozens of places—perhaps caused by the illegal “flechette” dart-bombs used unsparingly in “Protective Edge”; or glass fragments, or chips of concrete?

The book tells a story that is almost impossible to tell: the victims’ view of the 51-day, 2014 War on Gaza, euphemistically called, “Operation Protective Edge” by Israel. One element that disturbed me at first, but which I came to appreciate, is the way the narative gyrates chronologically. Sometimes, we are at the beginning of the war, a few pages more and, with another narrator, we are surveying the rubble at the end of the war; a few more pages, and we’re back in the middle of the unfolding horrors.

And why wouldn’t this be the best way to render the way war shatters everything—even our sense of time? Here, this structure seemed especially appropriate; for, in reality, “Operation Protective Edge” was just the latest outburst of a war that began in 1948 with the “Nakba” (Catastrophe), with Israeli massacres in Palestinian villages like Deir Yassin, leading to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, their native land. As awful as things have been in the West Bank and other parts of Palestine, the situation has been most dire in Gaza—a strip of land about the size of Atlanta, Georgia, hugging the Mediterranean, with about 1.8 million people (Atlanta has about ½ million) who have been “under siege” for more than 8 years in a Sartre-like hell with “No Exit,” surrounded by impassable “buffer zones,” with 60% unemployment rates, a frazzled infrastructure, bombed-out hospitals and schools, and half the population children and/or students!

More than 2200 Palestinians were killed during the 51 days of bombardment and invasion. About 70 percent of those who died were unarmed, undefended civilians—mostly women and children.

This is an anthology unlike any I’ve read. An English major, I’ve read my share of literary anthologies; a professional-and-citizen-journalist, I’ve read and learned from collections of work by master-journalists and social and political commentators. The power of Gaza Unsilenced is that it is a symbiosis: “you-are-there” journalism (including “blogger” twitter notes), combined with piercingly beautiful, unforgettable, cherishable essays, poems and photos. (One of Yeats’ phrases ran through my mind as I read the book: “A terrible beauty is born.”)

Other words, phrases, ideas were reiterated: “resilience”; “complicity”; “betrayal”; “human shields”; “de-humanization.”

Several of the authors wrote about the resilience of these Gazans who have endured so much, but re-plant themselves, as they re-plant their olive trees in the dry soil. Resilience is undeniable, but two words they eschew are “heroism” and “victimhood.” They do not want to be depicted as “heroes” or as “victims” by a global media infected with reductionism, always reaching for the simplistic explanation. Certainly, there were many heroes among the dead and wounded—those who risked their lives and gave their lives to save and help others. The victimization will continue for lifetimes. One American doctor who visited Gaza some months after the last bombs fell and the last bullets were fired, described the people as living—not with PTSD, but with “continuous, traumatic, stress disorder.”

Editor/writer/educator Refaat Alareer writes unforgettably about the death of his brother, Mohammad, and how his brother’s 4-year old daughter has been so unnerved by her father’s failure to keep his promise to return to her, she has retreated into a fantasy world—talking to herself, imagining her father giving her presents.

There is that kind of pity-evoking work here, and it may be cathartic for thoughtful, sensitive readers to read it, animating them to learn more about this ongoing crisis. Several of the authors stress that, while Gaza, and Palestine in general, constitute humanitarian crises, we must understand the “deep roots,” the “political” nature of this conflict, of this imbroglio—if we are ever to untangle it.

“Betrayals” have occurred on many fronts, and there has been the “complicity” of the global mainstream media, and the political hacks in Israel, the United States, Europe, and in Arab states like Sisi’s Egypt as well, and even with the West Bank’s Palestine Authority where the default position is, invariably, to blame those who resist the Occupation, and the depredations of war: physical and psychological destruction.

Editors Alareer and Laila El-Haddad have done a masterful job compiling this book. “What else can we do?” the survivors of the onslaughts wonder when journalists and human-rights advocates inquire how they manage to continue, to rebuild. They are rooted to their land, like their olive trees, planted and re-planted for thousands of years.

But, considering these stories, these flashes of insight, these twittering reflections, superlative essays, poems, articles and photos…, and considering that shrapnel-pock-marked face of the child in the mirror we gaze at on the front of this book, we also wonder, “What else can we do?”

How much time we spend dehumanizing the Other! And we go to war, and pay our taxes like good, little citizens, so that those who pander in lies and delusions can advance themselves, gain power and privilege in their narrowly-scoped worlds, shutting us and the Other out!

Is there a way to “re-humanize,” editor Laila El-Haddad wonders in her final essay. “There are no easy answers, but the quest begins by asking the right questions and knowing where to look…. We hope to have provided you a starting point in this book.”

El-Haddad and Alareer, and the mighty contributors here, have provided truth-seekers and truth-tellers with much more than a starting point. They have provided us with a mirror of our shattered human family.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

More proof that Western bombing in Syria and Iraq is massacring civilians

A US-led air strike in October 2014 in Kobani, Syria
Stop the War Coalition | August 4, 2015

The bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has killed at least 459 civilians, including 100 children, in 52 air strikes, according to a new report by Airwars, a project by a group of independent journalists.

Commenting on the supposed precision of air strikes against Isis, the Airwars project leader Chris Woods has told the Guardian that this “hasn’t been borne out by facts on the ground”.

This is one of the first reports examining the number of civilian casualties which have resulted from the savage bombing campaign against Isis militants. The lack of official interest in and support for investigating these casualties means that their number may actually be far higher. The violence on the ground also greatly impedes the verification of casualties.

It took years before the full scale of mass murder in the Second Iraq War came to light. A recent study by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War has established that around a million people have died as a result of that war.

The UK is the second-most active participant in the bombing campaign against Isis. The British government’s claims about its commitment to avoiding civilian casualties are negated by facts.

Chris Woods from Airwars has stated that bombing Isis fighters in their strongholds means that the focus is on bombing cities. 40% of civilian casualty reports came from the city of Mosul in Iraq. “You can’t have an air war of this intensity without civilians getting killed or injured,” said Woods.

Western intervention in Iraq and Syria is adding fuel on the fire of a savage war. As the experience of more than a decade of terroristic “war on terror” shows us, Western intervention contributes to a vicious cycle of brutalising violence. It increases suffering and is a major cause of bitterness against the West.

This underscores the need to oppose resolutely the proposed full-scale UK military intervention in Syria, which will lead to more of the same: more misery, more hatred, more death and more destruction. Humanity can be more creative than that.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Senior Iranian cleric proposes conference between top Shia and Sunni scholars

Press TV – August 4, 2015

Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi has welcomed a call by the Grand Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque, Egypt’s top Muslim authority, for a unity meeting of leading Sunni and Shia scholars.

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has sent a letter to al-Azhar’s Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, proposing a conference between top Shia and Sunni scholars “to review the most important obstacles in the way of Islamic unity” and “to set forth the most significant, necessary measures for reinforcing Islamic unity,” the Iranian cleric’s international affairs adviser Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini Qazvini told reporters on Monday, without specifying the date the letter was sent.

The call by Tayeb had been aired on Egypt’s state TV on July 22 at the end of a series of programs during the holy month of Ramadan.

Stressing the necessity of “coexistence and peace” between Shia and Sunni Muslims, Tayeb had urged Sunni scholars to issue a fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting the killing of Shia Muslims.

He had also called on Shia scholars to issue a similar fatwa banning the killing of Sunni Muslims.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Qazvini said Ayatollah Shirazi had included principal issues in his letter and is awaiting Tayeb’s response.

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Statement from Palestinian Activist Amer Jubran on Being Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison by Jordan’s State Security Court

Amer Jubran Defense Campaign

On Wednesday, July 29, Amer Jubran was sentenced by Jordan’s State Security Court along with 8 other defendants. The rest of the defendants were given sentences of 2-3 years; for his refusal to cooperate, he was singled out for excessive punishment, and given a 15 year sentence (reduced by his lawyers to 10 years). The verdict comes after 15 months in detention–the first 3 months without charges.

He was able to get a call out of the prison where he is being held in Jordan to make a statement about his trial and sentencing. An audio recording is available at the following link:

https://archive.org/details/AmerStatement

We include a full transcript below:

“Last Wednesday on July 29, 2015, I was issued a verdict of 15 years in prison which was reduced to 10 years later. This verdict was issued by a military court, a martial tribunal court made of three judges. The trial lasted for about 1 year and over thirty sessions, through which my legal defense team has proven beyond doubt false charges of terrorism. There were 10 charges and our defense amounted to zero effect on the outcome of that trial, as I was given a maximum punishment, while everybody else in the group were given 2-3 year sentences. It is clear that I am being targeted as a person, and such decisions had completely put aside law and justice and replaced that with politics and vengeance.

During the interrogation period, I was told by the GID that any decision made about me is involving (quote) ‘our American and Israeli friends’ (end-quote). All started when I refused to be a sell-out and work against the Lebanese resistance. I was told then that I will be sent behind the sun for such a refusal. And frankly it is very easy for me to disappear behind the sun rather than to be well outside but a sell-out and traitor.

Please use this information to spread to everyone among our activist media who are interested. Especially media that is pro-resistance in Lebanon. And anybody you think is worthy to take this information to. Also please tell my love and my respect to everybody who stood by me among our friends and brothers and sisters where you are. And I thank you deeply from my heart and please do not forget Palestine.”

***

In conversation, Amer further clarified that all 10 of the original charges were disproved by his defense team, but a new charge was manufactured at the time of the verdict. He also clarified that his refusal to be a “sell-out and work against the Lebanese resistance” was a refusal to work as an infiltrator and informant.

We are releasing this statement along with a call for activists to renew pressure on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, demanding an independent review of Amer’s trial and the flagrant violations of human rights involved in his imprisonment. It is now 13 months since our initial open letter to the High Commissioner–an appeal that is still unanswered. (For the text of our letter, see:  https://freeamer.wordpress.com/action-calls ).

It has been clear from the outset that Amer was targeted for his activism and political speech on behalf of Palestine. The lengthy proceedings before the State Security Court were a sham trial, before a court with no political independence, acting as a rubber-stamp for the GID (General Intelligence Directorate).

Amer’s statement confirms what many of us have suspected from the beginning: his arrest and detention–and now his sentencing to 10 years of imprisonment–have taken place in coordination with the US and Israel.

Please take the time to forward Amer’s statement. You can support justice for Amer by sending letters, faxes and e-mails over the next week (8/5/15-8/12/2015) addressed to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein at the following address:

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: (41 22) 917 0008 (If faxing from US: 011-41-22-917-0008)
E-mail: registry@ohchr.org

And please cc the following:

Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Abdullah Ensour
Fax number 962-6-464-2520 (If faxing from US: 011-962-6-464-2520)
e-mail: info@pm.gov.jo

Minister of Interior
Salamah Hammad
Fax number 962-6-560-6908 (If faxing from US: 011-962-6-560-6908)
e-mail: info@moi.gov.jo

Minister of Justice
Bassam Talhouni
Fax number 962-6-464-3197 If faxing from US: 011-962-6-464-3197)
e-mail:  Feedback@moj.gov.jo

***

Our open letter is below:

Open Letter to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
email registry@ohchr.org
August 3, 2015

Dear UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein:

We wrote to you in July of 2014 to ask you to intervene in the case Amer Jubran of Jordan.* Mr. Jubran at that time had been detained for two months without charges, and you, at that time, were the UN High Commissioner-Elect. Now you occupy that office, and Mr. Jubran has been convicted. On July 29, 2015 he was sentenced by the Jordanian State Security Court, a military tribunal, to ten years in prison on charges of terrorism. These charges were proven false by Mr. Jubran’s defense team, but a decision was made against him nevertheless.

We saw no sign that you acted to intervene in this case in 2014. Perhaps if you had this sham trial would not have proceeded. But now that it has come to its predictable conclusion we ask you again to intervene to question why such a harsh sentence could be handed down without evidence of any crime. As High Commissioner for Human Rights we believe it is your responsibility to act to review this case. Amer Jubran is an internationally known activist, speaker, and writer on Palestinian human rights, and a critic of US and Israeli policies in the Arab world. These are the reasons he was targeted, not for terrorism. Though Jordan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the human rights violations of its General Intelligence Directorate and State Security Court  are well known. This is a problem that, as a Jordanian and as Human Rights Commissioner, you have every reason to be concerned about. The unjust sentence against Amer Jubran should be overturned immediately.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

The Amer Jubran Defense Campaign
defense@amerjubrandefense.org

*See our previous letter at https://freeamer.wordpress.com/action-calls/

cc:

Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Abdullah Ensour, e-mail: info@pm.gov.jo
Fax number 011-962-6-464-2520

Minister of Interior: Salamah Hammad, e-mail: info@moi.gov.jo
Fax number 011-962-6-560-6908

Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni, e-mail:  Feedback@moj.gov.jo
Fax number 011-962-6-464-3197

***

Amer Jubran Defense Campaign
freeamer.wordpress.com | defense@amerjubrandefense.org

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 2 Comments

TALK: We Are NOT Charlie Hebdo – Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11

“We Are NOT Charlie Hebdo! Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11” is a new book edited by Dr. Kevin Barrett, in which leading authors and activist challenge the official account of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, France on January 7, 2015.

Dr. Barrett spoke in Denver about this book on Sunday, July 19th, 2015. This is the talk.

Only one version of the Charlie Hebdo affair made the mainstream media: “Muslim extremists kill cartoonists and Jews.” An officially-orchestrated response – “je suis Charlie” – immediately followed.

But is there another side to the story?

Disturbing facts quickly emerged. Politicians, big media, the security industry, and arms manufacturers all rushed to cash in. And freedom of speech in France – the supposed target of the terrorists – was rolled back by the French government. Even as millions marched for Charlie, millions more sensed that something was very, very wrong.

In We Are Not Charlie Hebdo, twenty leading public intellectuals refuse the invitation to identify with “Je Suis Charlie.” Jews, Muslims, Christians, Protestants, Catholics, atheists, people of the left and right, progressives and traditionalists, people from many different countries and ethnicities – all have united to say “we are NOT Charlie Hebdo.” Most suspect the whole affair was a false flag operation or psy-op. (Evidence for that interpretation is presented in the book.) Others merely dissent from the official, mythic false consensus.

If you question what governments tell you… if you doubt the mainstream media version of events… if you are NOT Charlie Hebdo… then this talk is for you.

Dr. Kevin Barrett, an Islamic Studies expert, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. His website is http://www.TruthJihad.com

http://www.WeAreNotCharlieHebdo.blogspot.com

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 2 Comments