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Political reformers will wallow in futility until they take aim at the real enemy

By Greg Felton | August 31, 2018

According to the Russian proverb, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” This positive message of perseverance and practice is doubtless known to every Russian schoolchild; however, it is a lost on reform-minded American politicians. Those who promise and fail to bring about fundamental reform show little capacity to learn from their failure. Instead, they chant the same slogans and pious incantations and start over as if nothing had happened, as if the promise to reform were enough. This fixation with rhetoric over realism gives rise to another saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Those who pay the price for this insanity are Americans­­ desperate for someone, anyone, to provide a viable alternative to the oligarchic establishment that has turned their country into a police state. Repeated failures are debilitating and disillusioning because they end up destroying hope and perpetuating oligarchic power. Two events illustrate this.

The first took place on Jan. 22, 2009, when President-elect Barack Obama signed an executive order that, among other things, made good on a bold campaign promise to close the Guantánamo Bay torture/detention facility. Throughout out his two terms in office, Obama made this promise repeatedly as if repetition would make it come about. Obama did so even as he approved the Pentagon’s appropriations for the coming fiscal year, knowing full well that it included Congressional obstructions to closing it. To register his disapproval, to say nothing of his acquiescence, Obama appended signing statements to the appropriations orders. Typical is this one from Dec. 31, 2011:

I have signed the [National Defense Authorization Act] … despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. … Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States for any purpose. I continue to oppose this provision, which intrudes upon critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. (emphasis added)

According to Obama, the failure to close the facility was Congress’s fault, but since he tolerated Congressional obstruction, his protestations meant little. To make matters worse, Obama knew all along he had executive authority to close down Guantánamo Bay with or without Congress’s approval, as he implied at a December 2015 press conference:

I think we can make a very strong argument that it doesn’t make sense for us to be spending an extra $100 million, $200 million, $300 million, $500 million, a billion dollars, to have a secure setting for 50, 60, 70 people. And we will wait until Congress has definitively said no to a well-thought-out plan with numbers attached to it before we say anything definitive about my executive authority here. (emphasis added)

Congress had “definitively said no” numerous times, so this feint towards collaborative problem-solving amounted to empty posturing. Obama’s real opposition was not Congress but those who used Congress to sabotage the closure of Guantánamo Bay, which just happens to hold alleged terrorists associated with the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

The second failed promise of reform is most commonly associated with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. On Oct. 18, 2016, less than a month before the election, he announced plans to take action against lobbyists and the unseemly undemocratic power they wield in Washington D.C. Among other things, Trump planned to broaden the definition of “lobbyist” to include consultants and advisors, prevent lobbyists from raising campaign contributions and “bar senior executive branch officials from ever lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.” He saw such people as undemocratic and corrupt, especially the deep-pocketed foreign and domestic interests associated with the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation.

Trump’s campaign rallying cry for this reform was, “It’s time to drain the swamp,” and he seemed to be the ideal person to do it: an outsider who earned the Republican nomination because the party was so intellectually ossified and riddled with incompetents, it was incapable of putting forward a credible candidate. Even though the metaphor of a swamp for Washington D.C. is technically inaccurate, the image of a disease-generating wetland swarming with dangerous, predatory creatures was successful because it depicted the public’s long-standing image of the federal government.

“Drain the Swamp” is not unique to Trump or his party, though. On May 21, 2018, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer used “swamp” against Trump in the run up to the mid-term elections: “The swamp has never been more foul, or more fetid, than under this president.” This, in turn, hearkened back to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s 2006 invocation to “drain the swamp” of Republican government. There are still other repetitions, one going back to Benito Mussolini!

Like Obama’s crusade to close Guantánamo Bay, Trump’s crusade to drain the swamp failed. This was to be expected. In 2000, independent presidential candidate Pat Buchanan gave the definitive explanation: ‘’Neither Beltway party is going to drain this swamp: it’s a protected wetland; they breed in it; they spawn in it.” There can be little doubt who Buchanan meant by “they”. Time and again on the public affairs show The McLaughlin Group, he spelled it out in unambiguous language, as in these excerpts:

  • “There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” (Aug. 26, 1990)
  • “Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory.” (June 15, 1990)
  • “If you want to know ethnicity and power in the United States Senate, 13 members of the Senate are Jewish folks who are from 2 percent of the population. That is where real power is at….” (Feb. 2, 2007)

Israel’s Proxies in Congress:

Note that almost all these legislators are Democrats.
Source:
www.investmentwatchblog.com/89-of-our-senators-and-congress-hold-dual-citizenship-citizenship-with-israel (March 21, 2018).

Buchanan’s observations are common knowledge, as is the fact that U.S. politicians prostrate themselves annually before the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and that scores of legislators are Israel/U.S. dual citizens. Obama’s and Trump’s reforms did not and could not succeed because the U.S.’s Zionist overlords did not allow it. Closing Guantánamo Bay and bringing its inmates to U.S. prisons would have drawn attention to the U.S.’s sadistic treatment of Muslims to cover up Israel’s role in the Sept. 11 attacks. In the swamp, Israel-firsters are the apex predators and overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, so Trump’s promise to drain the swamp was a non-starter because it posed an existential threat to Israel.

It’s worth remembering that Trump was not Israel’s choice to be its new American satrap. The swamp had to co-opt him, and it did so successfully. Even though he ran on a campaign of ending counterproductive military aggression, in April 2017 and April 2018 Trump bombed Syria for Israel and received widespread approval in the pro-Israel mass media. He also reversed decades of U.S. policy by acceding to Zionist demands that the U.S. move its embassy to Jerusalem, thereby violating long-standing international law. The appointments of Zionists Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State and John Bolton to National Security Advisor in 2018 essentially confirmed his political surrender to the “swampocracy”.

Unless, a reformer is prepared to attack the impediments to reform instead of talking about its symptoms, any talk of fighting corruption or injustice is a cruel joke. One courageous, principled reformer who stands up to the Zionist imperial machinery is British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. For his efforts, he is vilified and subjected to Zionist-led subversion within his party, but despite these and other vilifications, like the empty, fabricated epithet “anti-Semite,” he will not back down. North Americans have nobody like Corbyn to look up to. It seems that only when politicians are about to leave office and have nothing to lose do they find the courage they lacked when their political careers mattered. As I wrote in The Host & The Parasite––How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America:

On May 20, 2004, retiring Sen. Ernest Hollings unleashed a fusillade from the Senate floor denouncing the coercive and corrosive power of The Lobby: “You can’t have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here… I can tell you, no President takes office—I don’t care whether it is a Republican or a Democrat—that all of a sudden AIPAC will tell him exactly what the policy is, and Senators and members of Congress ought to sign letters… I didn’t like to keep it a secret, maybe; but I can tell you now, I will challenge any one of the other 99 Senators to tell us why we are in Iraq, other than what this policy is here. It is an adopted policy, a domino theory of The Project For The New American Century.” (p. 482)

Taking aim at the Zionist infrastructure entails an element of personal and professional risk, but the price for acquiescence is slavery. Americans, and Canadians, will not regain control of their countries until Zionists are recognized as the enemy, and that entails not letting them get away with conflating “Zionist” with “Jew,” squawking “anti-Semitism” or invoking the “Holocaust ®”. In the next part, I will show how this admonition applies even more strongly to political activists, who seem to prefer flogging their own biases to working for the common good.

August 31, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Opening Gitmo to the World

By Robert Koehler | CounterPunch | July 28, 2017

To read Witnesses of the Unseen: Seven Years in Guantanamo is to run your mind along the contours of hell.

The next step, if you’re an American, is to embrace it. Claim it. This is who we are: We are the proprietors of a cluster of human cages and a Kafkaesque maze of legal insanity. This torture center is still open. Men (“forever prisoners”) are still being held there, their imprisonment purporting to keep us safe.

The book, by Lakhdar Boumediene and Mustafa Ait Idir — two Algerian men arrested in Bosnia in 2011 and wrongly accused of being terrorists — allows us to imagine ourselves at Guantanamo, this outpost of the Endless War.

“‘Take him outside,’ the interrogator told them. They led me up a flight of eight or nine concrete steps to a long gravel drive. It was pitch black out, and completely quiet. There was no one around. One of the soldiers grabbed my left arm, and another took my right. And then they started running.

“I tried to keep up, but my legs were shackled together. First, my flip-flops fell off, and after a few barefoot strides, my legs fell out from under me. The soldiers didn’t even slow down. They kept a firm grip on my arms while my legs bounced and scraped along the ground, gravel biting into them. When the run finally ended, the soldiers brought me back to the interrogation room, bloody and bedraggled.”

This is one fragment, one story of the seven years these two innocent men endured: these two fathers who were pulled away from their wives and children, yanked from their lives, stuffed into cages, interrogated endlessly and pointlessly, humiliated, force-fed (in Lakhdar’s case) . . . and finally, finally, ordered by a U.S. judge to be freed, when their case, Boumediene v. Bush, was at long last heard in a real court and the lack of evidence against them became appallingly clear.

The book is the story of the courage it takes to survive.

And it’s a story that can only be told because of the work of the Boston legal firm WilmerHale, which spent more than 17,000 pro bono hours litigating the case, “work that would have cost paying clients more than $35 million.”

Lakhdar and Mustafa were freed in 2008 and began rebuilding their lives. They eventually decided they wanted to tell their story — to an American audience. Daniel Norland, who was a lawyer at WilmerHale when the case was making its way through the court process (but was not part of the litigation team) and his sister, Kathleen List, who speaks fluent Arabic, conducted more than 100 hours of interviews with the two men, which were shaped into Witnesses of the Unseen.

In October 2011, the two men, who were living and working in Sarajevo, were among six Algerians who wound up being arrested by Bosnian authorities and charged with plotting to blow up the American embassy in Sarajevo. They were held for three months, then released. There was no evidence to back up the accusation.

But this turns out to be the beginning of their story, not the end of it. The men were released not back to their own lives but to an authority more powerful than the Bosnian judicial system: They were released to the Americans, who had begun rounding up Muslims . . . uh, terrorists. Evidence, or lack thereof, didn’t matter. These men were shipped to a new military prison, built at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba — an offshore prison, in other words, unencumbered by the U.S. Constitution. The detainees there allegedly had zero rights. That was the whole point.

Much of what Lakhdar and Mustafa describe is the efficiency of the U.S. military in dehumanizing its prisoners. The beatings and physical pain inflicted by guards, interrogators and even medical personnel were only part of it. The men also endured sexual humiliation, endless mocking of their religion — “I heard . . . that a soldier went into someone’s cell and flushed his Qur’an down the toilet” — and the cruel, teasing “misplacement” or censorship of letters from the prisoners’ loved ones.

Several years into his imprisonment, Lakhdar went on a hunger strike, which meant he was subjected to force-feeding, which the U.N. Human Rights Commission has called a form of torture:

“The soldier brought out an apparatus with a long yellow tube and started measuring out the length of tube he needed. He stopped when he got to a marking somewhere between 45 and 50 inches. That was the amount of tube he was going to insert through my nostril. . . .

“It’s almost impossible to explain what a feeding tube feels like to someone who hasn’t experienced it. I felt like I was choking, and being strangled, and yet somehow still able to breathe, all at the same time.

“The soldier taped the tube in place. I could see the Ensure trickling through the tube, one droplet at a time. It felt cold as it reached my stomach. I later learned that a full feeding normally takes fifteen to twenty minutes, but that first time they went exceptionally slowly. I sat in the clinic, chained to the chair, a tube protruding down my throat, for the rest of the afternoon and all through the night.”

It took no less than a Supreme Court ruling to start ending this nightmare.

In early 2007, a U.S. Circuit Court judge had refused to hear Boumediene v. Bush on the grounds that Guantanamo prisoners had no Constitutional rights. But the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal, and in June 2008 ruled that Guantanamo counted as part of the U.S. and, as Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, the government couldn’t “switch the Constitution on and off at will.”

Thus the case went back to the Circuit Court and a real hearing got underway, leading to one of the most appalling revelations in the book: “Our lawyers had told us, in the days leading up to our trial, about a recent bizarre development in our case: the government had dropped its allegation that we had plotted to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. Just like in Bosnia seven years before, authorities were eager to toss around bomb-plot allegations right up until a court required them to provide evidence.

“Instead, our lawyers told us, the government now said that the reason it considered us ‘enemy combatants’ was that it had evidence — classified evidence that I wasn’t allowed to see — that we had made a plan to fly to Afghanistan and join Al Qaeda’s fight against American forces there. This was the first time I had ever heard this allegation. No one — no police officer, no Bosnian official, no American interrogator — had ever asked me a single question about it.

“And it was a ludicrous allegation. . . .”

And the judge ruled in their favor and they eventually were set free, to reclaim their lives, to see their children for the first time in seven years — and to give their story to the world.

But as long as Gitmo remains open and the Endless War continues — and no one is held accountable — there is no ending to this story, just an open wound.

Robert Koehler is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

BBC Glories in Death

By Craig Murray | February 21, 2017

The BBC appear enraptured by the apparent death of Ronald Fiddler in Mosul fighting for Islamic State forces. Fiddler was a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, so this “vindicates” the War on Terror. The BBC are leading every news bulletin and giving us full spectrum security services propaganda. We have MI6 mouthpiece Frank Gardner, the discredited neo-con chancers of the Quilliam Foundation and the far right professional supporter of military attacks on the Middle East, Afzal Ashraf, all giving us their views every half hour on the BBC.

It has never been disputed that Ronald Fiddler was tortured in Guantanamo, which is partly why he was paid substantial compensation by the British government. It does not seem to have occurred to the BBC as worth any consideration that the fact Fiddler emerged from Guantanamo and apparently became a supporter of violent Islam, does not in any sense prove that he was a violent islamist before being tortured in Guantanamo. Yet that Guantanamo was the cause of his extreme alienation is on the surface highly probable.

The BBC did not interview Moazzam Begg or Clive Stafford Smith or anybody who might have something thoughtful to say on the subject. Instead they went solely for self-reinforcing voices of the right wing establishment, the most pro-invading the Middle East voices that could possibly be found.

750,000 civilians face the assault on Mosul in the next few days. The rebel forces being attacked have precisely the same religion, precisely the same philosophy, and in a significant number of cases belong to precisely the same organisations as the rebels who were driven out of Aleppo by Assad forces and the Russians. Yet the assault on Mosul is apparently a wonderful thing, to be cheered on by the propaganda of embedded journalists, while the precisely analogous assault on Aleppo was an appalling and irresponsible massacre. It must be very strange to stretch your conscience to work in the BBC; a peculiar and remarkable kind of talent.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guantánamo Review Board refuses to release ‘mistaken identity’ prisoner after 9 years

Reprieve | July 23, 2016

A little-known Afghan prisoner has been refused clearance to leave Guantánamo Bay, despite an apparent case of mistaken identity by the U.S. government.

Guantánamo’s Periodic Review Board (PRB) ruled this week that Haroon Gul, 33, must continue to be detained indefinitely without charge or trial because his plan for what he would do post-release was insufficient. The Board also seemed unimpressed by Mr. Gul’s insistence that the government’s allegations against him are false.

The Board’s hearing was the first time in nine years that Mr. Gul has been given the opportunity to defend himself. Yet the process was inadequate and unfair. Neither Mr Gul’s attorney nor his military representative were allowed to discuss the allegations with him under attorney-client privilege, nor was he given the chance to rebut the classified allegations against him before the Board.

Mr Gul, who has never been charged nor received a trial since arriving at Guantánamo Bay in 2007, was originally passed to the US military by local Afghan forces, according to a report by Al Jazeera. His wife and young daughter now live in a refugee camp, the report says, but little more is known to the world about him.

Mr. Gul has previously had no defense attorney during his nine years at Guantanamo, despite his desperate and persistent attempts to find one. He was represented at his Periodic Review Board hearing by Reprieve U.S. attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who met him for the first time only four days before the hearing.

His file will become eligible for review in six months time.

Commenting, Reprieve U.S. attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis said:

“We have reason to believe that Haroon is one of the many proven cases of mistaken identity, but without a lawyer, he had no capacity to challenge his detention in federal court, as others did. He was given less than three hours out of the last nine years to prepare with an attorney for this hearing that determined his fate. This is status-quo justice in Guantánamo.

“When I met this bright-eyed, chatty young man I was blown away by his attitude. He was smiling and laughing and making American cultural references that even I didn’t get.

“This denial is slap in the face to Haroon’s persistent efforts to toe the line the government has drawn for its prisoners. Haroon has learned English from scratch; he learned math and science and computers; he has played soccer with fellow detainees and been kind to the guards that lock his cage at night. To this day, he says he does not understand why he’s in there. ‘Why me?’ But day after day he makes the very best of his situation and treats those who have wronged him charitably.

“Haroon is not a bad man, Haroon is not even an irritable or ill-tempered man. He is a man who was tortured into speaking against himself and held captive by my government for nine years without an attorney.

“The allegations against our clients in Guantánamo, to this day, include information that the government admits is wrong. We are still relying on this torture-evidence to keep men hundreds of miles from their families for years on end.

“I went to law school to be a part of the American justice system, but in Guantánamo, I cannot find it.”

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

US ‘has no evidence’ against illegally imprisoned ‘Guantanamo Diary’ author – lawyer

RT | June 13, 2016

Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been locked up in Gitmo without charge for 14 years, but the US government “has no evidence” against him, his attorney told RT. Tortured and beaten, both ordeals exposed in his memoir from behind bars, Slahi is now hoping for release.

On June 2, Slahi appeared in a 17-minute hearing before the prison’s Periodic Review Board (PRB) that essentially holds his fate in its hands. It is the PRB that examines the risk of releasing a detainee and is set to decide whether to clear Slahi. He is the 22nd detainee to go before the board this year.

“There is no reason for him not to be cleared. He has never committed any hostile act to the United States. There is no evidence against him,” Slahi’s attorney, Nancy Hollander, told RT in its GTMO 2016 special report.

Together they have been fighting for Slahi’s freedom since 2005, when Hollander first met him in Guantanamo. She says she spends “probably third of a year” in Guantanamo to be with her client.

A native Mauritanian, Slahi’s story is an unusual one. He did not arrive at Guantanamo the way the majority of detainees did.

The primary reason for his illegal detention is not related to 9/11, but has its roots in the 1990s, when Slahi pledged allegiance to the group that would eventually become known as Al-Qaeda. He stopped his engineering studies in Germany to go fight along with the mujahideen against the communist government in Afghanistan.

At the time, the Islamist group and its leader Osama bin Laden enjoyed the support of the US in its fight against the Soviets.

Slahi claims he had “broken ties” with Al-Qaeda in 1992 to return to his studies in Germany. Nearly ten years after, when Al-Qaeda became Washington’s top enemy, Slahi turned himself in for questioning to Mauritanian authorities.

On November 1, 2001, he was interrogated in relation to the so-called 2000 millennium attack plots, a series of foiled attacks, including the one at a Los Angeles airport planned for late December 1999.

It appeared that when Slahi lived in Canada in 1999, he crossed paths with Ahmed Ressam, a convicted perpetrator of the thwarted attacks. The two prayed in the same mosque in Montreal.

After Ressam’s arrest, Slahi was questioned several times, including by the FBI and each time cleared for release.

That was not the case at his last meeting with Mauritanian authorities. Slahi was detained and then handed over to Jordan, where he spent eight months. After subsequent chain of custody transfers, he was put in Guantanamo.

Now, 14 years later, Slahi is one of the most prominent prisoners among 80 remaining Guantanamo detainees.

“He is a very funny person, a very empathic, very curious and of course as everyone has seen now a very gifted writer,” Nancy Hollander said of Slahi, describing their work together as “a very warm relationship.”

Shali has gone through torture, beatings, death threats and sexual humiliation, all of which he exposed in details in his bestselling book, ‘Guantanamo Diary,’ written in his single cell.

“There is no doubt that he was tortured during early years, 2003-2004,” Hollander told RT. “Finally, they realized that they were not going to learn anything from him they did not already know because he had nothing else to tell him. They began then to rehabilitate him.”

At one point, his captors tried to trick him by showing him a forged letter from his mother, but the ploy failed for two reasons. One is that the forgery misspelled Slahi’s name and, second, because unbeknownst to his jailers, his mother was illiterate.

He eventually became friends with his guards. In April 2016, one of the guards submitted a letter to the PRB, speaking of his very pleasant impression of Slahi.

“Based on my interactions with Mr. Slahi while in Guantanamo, I would be pleased to welcome him into my home,” the guard wrote.

In 2010, federal judge James Robertson reviewed Slahi’s profile, the same one the government submitted to the PRB, and granted him his habeas corpus petition, ordering him released.

However, the decision was appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Now, Slahi has his hopes high for the PRB to rule on his release.

“I believe, I hope that Mohamedou will be cleared, there is no reason for him not to be and then for the State Department to start working with Mauritania. The country of Mauritania has said they would welcome him home. That’s where his family is,” Hollander told RT.

June 13, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

‘US govt, MSM give no evidence to confirm ex-Gitmo detainees reengage in terrorist activities’

RT | June 12, 2016

The US government isn’t providing any evidence to confirm reengagement of former Guantanamo detainees in terrorist activities. They give numbers they allege are accurate but provide no facts, said Andy Worthington of the Close Guantanamo group.

The US government’s greatest fears about releasing Guantanamo Bay prisoners are that inmates might re-emerge on the ‘battlefield’ and re-engage in terrorist activities. Seventeen percent of former detainees, or 118, are confirmed to have re-engaged in militant activity, while 13 percent, or 86, are suspected of re-engaging.

Author of “The Guantanamo Files” and co-founder of the group Close Guantanamo, Andy Worthington, told RT America’s Simone Del Rosario that the US government isn’t supplying any evidence to confirm their fears.

RT: You’ve dedicated a chunk of your life to documenting files and stories from Guantanamo not as an attorney, but as an investigative journalist. After all of your research, what do you consider to be the most pressing reason to close Guantanamo for good? 

Andy Worthington: From the very beginning it’s been a bad idea. If you’re going to deprive people of liberty, there are only two ways to do that, if you claim to respect the rule of law. That is that you either charge them with a criminal offence and put them on trial in a Federal court – that would be in the US; or they’re soldiers protected by the Geneva conventions and you can hold them until the end of hostilities.

But after 9/11 the US did neither of those things. So the men held in Guantanamo were held initially without any rights whatsoever. Human beings deprived of all rights, which is a really shocking thing. Although, over the years there have been various efforts to give them legal rights – going up to the Supreme Court, the situation still is that the people held in Guantanamo are effectively prisoners of the political system – we can almost describe them as political prisoners. There is no recognizable justice in their cases. The releases from Guantanamo end up being down to a political process. That is just an unfair way for a country like the US, which claims to be founded on the rule of law and to respect the rule of law, to behave.

RT: As Obama’s term comes to a close are you finding yourself more or less hopeful that he will fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo Bay?

AW: I am certainly more hopeful than I was a few years ago. There was a period in the middle of Obama’s presidency when he’d faced a lot of abstraction from Congress; he was unwilling to spend political capital overcoming that. And for a period of nearly three years only five men were released from Guantanamo.

In 2013, a massive prison-wide hunger strike brought Guantanamo back into sharp focus and put pressure on President Obama to do something about it. Since then he has been releasing many prisoners. We are now in the best position that we’ve been in during his presidency – only one tenth of the men held in Guantanamo is still held there – just 80 men. Thirty of those men have been approved for release by a variety of review processes under President Obama. We have a promise from the administration that they will be released by the end of the summer. Of the rest of the men – so the other 50 – just 10 are facing trials, or have had trials. The other 40 are undergoing this latest review process called the periodic review boards. We don’t know how many of those are going to be approved for release, but at the current rate of the reviews three out of four of the men have been recommended for release – there are currently 24 out of 33 men recommended for release.

Now these are men who were initially described as “too dangerous to release,” but the Task Force that looked at their cases said there was insufficient evidence to put them on trial; or they are men who were initially put forward for prosecution by a Task Force that President Obama set up in his first year in office. But the basis for prosecution has since collapsed. Appeals Court judges ruled that the war crimes for which the majority of the men were being convicted had actually been invented by Congress and were not internationally recognized. That is just a little summing up of the extraordinary ways in which Guantanamo is a shame and embarrassment on every level.

RT: A Washington Post article came out citing the Obama administration and the Pentagon saying that at least 12 released Guantanamo detainees are implicated in attacks on Americans that have resulted in American deaths. Do some of those Congressional members, who are against the closure, have a point in wanting to keep some of these men locked up? 

AW: I think, first of all, they would have to provide us with evidence and they never do. In the early days of the defense department providing information on prisoners who they said have returned to the battlefield, or … have engaged in some kind of anti-American activity. They would provide information about who these men were. For around five years now they have provided nothing. They tell us numbers that they allege accurate, but they don’t provide any further information so that people can do some investigation to judge whether the information is correct or not. They have people that they say are confirmed of engaging in anti-American activities and ones that are suspected. Those figures generally get lumped together by the right-wing lawmakers and by most parts of the mainstream media – very irresponsibly… But, as I said, they don’t provide the information. This latest article in the Washington Post is unfortunately yet another lazy example of propaganda masquerading as journalism, without giving us the facts how are we supposed to accept that there is any truth to this.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Brother of ‘Guantanamo Diary’ author denied entry to US

Yahdih Ould Slahi holds up a photo of his brother Mohamedou in a May 2016 video by American Civil Liberties Union © acluvideos

Yahdih Ould Slahi holds up a photo of his brother Mohamedou in a May 2016 video by American Civil Liberties Union © acluvideos / YouTube
RT | May 24, 2016

US authorities detained, interrogated and sent back a German citizen flying in to campaign for the release of his brother – author of the best-selling “Guantanamo Diary,” who has been imprisoned and tortured at the US camp since 2002.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir, heavily redacted by government censors, was published in 2015 and quickly became a best-seller. The Mauritanian native was arrested in 2001 and rendered to Jordan for interrogation by the CIA. He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay the following year.

His younger brother Yahdih, a German citizen, has campaigned for Mohamedou’s release for years. Yahdih was supposed to attend a number of events in the US this week, seeking to persuade Guantanamo’s Periodic Review Board to set Mohamedou free at the June 2 hearing.

When Yahdih Slahi arrived at the John F. Kennedy airport in New York on Saturday, however, he was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents, questioned for hours, and sent back to Germany the following day, The Intercept reported.

“He was asked questions about his family, his brother, and what he knew about why his brother was in Guantánamo,” said Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union. “It was a harrowing, stressful, and exhausting experience.”

Yahdih Slahi is a German citizen who lives in Düsseldorf, and would have been able to enter the US under the visa waiver program that Germany participates in. The CBP gave no explanation for denying Slahi entry.

In his memoir, Mohamedou Slahi described being held in isolation and subjected to beatings, extreme cold, sleep deprivation, sexual abuse, a simulated kidnapping, and a simulated execution. At one point, his captors tried to trick him by showing him a forged letter from his mother, Yahdih recounted in 2015. The ploy failed because the forgery misspelled Slahi’s name – and because, unbeknownst to his jailers, Slahi’s mother was illiterate.

Mohamedou Slahi admits that he fought in Afghanistan in the early 1990s with what became Al-Qaeda– when the organization was backed by the US in its struggle against the socialist government in Kabul. While he had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda since 1992, Slahi did stay in touch with his cousin and former brother-in-law, Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, who served as a lieutenant to Osama Bin Laden.

Slahi was never charged with any crime, but the 2010 decision to release him has been held up by government appeals.

“The judge said there was no evidence in 2010 to hold him. There’s certainly not evidence now. The Chief Prosecutor said when he resigned in 2007, that there was no evidence then,” Slahi’s attorney Nancy Hollander told RT in January 2015.

Slahi’s family and friends hope the Periodic Review Board will recommend his release at the June 2 hearing. The inter-agency panel ruled on Monday to set free an Afghan man, known only as Obaidullah, who was held at Guantanamo for 14 years.

It took a decade of fighting with the government for the Guantanamo Diary, written in 2005, to see the light of day. Slahi is the first Guantanamo prisoner to publish a memoir while still at the camp. He has not been allowed to receive a copy of his book.

May 24, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Government Secretly Destroyed Evidence in Trial of Accused “9/11 Masterminds”

By Derrick Broze | Activist Post | May 21, 2016

In another setback for the death penalty trial of the five men accused of aiding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, two defense lawyers for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed say the U.S. government secretly destroyed relevant evidence.

On May 11, defense lawyers for the accused mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks asked for judge Col. James Pohl and the prosecution team to be recused from the trial, and for the case to be shut down. Defense lawyers David Nevin and Maj. Derek Poteet say that the U.S. government destroyed evidence related to the case, according to the New York Times. The two men are unable to provide further details because the issue is classified, but Mr. Nevin said the evidence was “favorable” to the defendants.

Major Poteet also told the Times that the defense was first informed in February that Colonel Pohl would provide them with a “summary of a substitute” for the original, classified evidence. The defense requested Colonel Pohl to preserve the evidence for the record and Pohl complied. Or so they thought.

“But they learned in February, they said, that about 20 months earlier, and without their knowledge, prosecutors had obtained from Colonel Pohl a secret order that reversed his previous decision,” the Times writes. “By the time they found out, the government had already destroyed the evidence, giving them no opportunity to challenge the move.”

Major Poteet said the situation created the appearance that Colonel Pohl was “colluding with the government.” The Times reports that the original, now destroyed evidence, may have been related to one of several foreign black site prisons operated by the Central Intelligence Agency in Thailand, Poland, Romania, Lithuania and Afghanistan, and at a secret site at the Guantánamo base. KSM was tortured for several years at one of these sites before being transferred to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba in 2006.

The accusations are likely to delay upcoming scheduled hearings from May 30 to June 3. If there is a delay it will be latest in a long line of interruptions to this alleged pursuit of justice. Most recently, Col. Pohl canceled two weeks of hearings that were scheduled to begin on Friday, April 1st.

“The whole thing is really odd to me. I thought it was an April Fools’ joke,” said Chicago defense attorney Cheryl Bormann, who was already in Washington to travel to Guantánamo this weekend to represent alleged 9/11 plot deputy Walid bin Attash.

The destruction of evidence is, unfortunately, not the first controversy this trial has faced. Another conflict of interest became an issue in 2014 when the defense attorneys for Mohammed and the four alleged co-conspirators said they believed they were being spied on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Foreign Policy reported,

the FBI had secretly conducted an investigation into possible wrongdoing on the part of one or more members of the five separate defense teams (one for each defendant). Such an investigation could put defense team members in the untenable position of having to provide information to defend themselves or others against possible criminal action — information that could be used against the interests of their own clients.

There was also the issue of interference from outside sources during the hearings. FP continues:

In January 2013, the court’s audio-visual feed, visible to a small set of commission observers, was abruptly cut off by someone other than Judge Pohl; previously, Pohl was believed to be the only person with the authority to use the unique-to-Guantanamo “kill-switch.”

Later, a clearly annoyed Pohl learned that something called the Original Classification Authority (OCA) — which is likely the CIA given that most of the information subject to censorship in the case is related to the agency’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program — had hit the kill switch. Judge Pohl promptly cut off their privileges.

In February 2013 it was revealed that listening devices were hidden within smoke detectors, possibly infringing upon attorney-client privileges. The defense also claimed their emails and work files were disappearing. Former defendant Ramzi Bin al-Shibh was also removed from the trial by the judge in an attempt to speed the process along after so many delays. However, critics argue that al-Shibh was removed because he refused to be quiet, complaining loudly of sleep deprivation.

Is this trial really about truth, justice, and upholding law and order? If the military court hopes to find something close to the truth they should open the hearings to the public, end the spying on the defense team, and be transparent about the treatment of the alleged hijackers. Only by allowing the truth to be released will the wounds of 9/11 begin to heal.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter.

May 24, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK suppresses documents on Gitmo ‘torture collusion’

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Press TV – March 6, 2016

The British government is withholding key documents which could shed light on allegations of UK’s involvement in the torture of detainees in Guantanamo prison, according to a new report.

A number of files have been recently found which reveal confidential exchanges between top former US and UK authorities on the torture and rendition of detainees.

Based on a lawsuit by a British parliamentary group, the US administration is obliged to make public documents which relate to Britain’s involvement.

Former Guantanamo detainees have previously said British officials have either been present at, or submitted questions for, “extreme” interrogation by US officials, according to the Independent.

The documents indicate that former UK prime minister Tony Blair and former US president George W. Bush had been in consultation about the treatment of detainees at the US-run prison in Cuba.

Now, the US State Department is said to have reported that all related documents have been withheld from public disclosure.

At least 12 documents, found in the US State Department’s search, relate to interventions by British politicians and officials over the treatment of detainees and torture techniques.

The State Department has reported, “After reviewing the documents, the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office requested that all 12 documents be withheld in full from public disclosure.”

Guantanamo was established by former president Bush in 2002 as a prison for alleged foreign terrorism suspects following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the US.

As many as 775 suspects are said to have been brought to the facility ever since its establishment.

US President Barack Obama had promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in his 2008 election campaign, citing its damage to America’s reputation abroad. However, he has so far failed to deliver on that pledge due to stiff opposition from Congress.

A US Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA used a wide array of torture as part of its interrogation methods against Guantanamo prisoners.

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

President Obama, When It Comes to Human Rights, We Need More Action, Not Words

By Jamil Dakwar | ACLU | March 2, 2016

The Obama administration this week made new pledges and commitments to protect “human rights and fundamental freedoms” to the United Nations in advance of the U.S. re-election to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Yet while the U.S. has used its first six years of HRC membership to advance human rights overseas, its participation has had little direct bearing on human rights at home. Lack of accountability for torture and cooperation with U.N. human rights experts are just two examples of such double standards.

When he took office, President Obama promised to disavow many of the disastrous Bush administration policies, including by closing Guantánamo and ending the use of torture. Obama also promised to reassert U.S. global leadership on human rights by joining the HRC later that year.

While the president issued an executive order on his second day in office ending the CIA’s secret detention and torture program, he declined to support any meaningful measures of accountability for crimes that had taken place. His policy of “looking forward rather than backward,” as well as his administration’s continuing fight against transparency and any attempts to reveal the whole truth about Bush administration torture policies, will undoubtedly stain his human rights legacy.

That’s why it was surprising when the U.S. government released the following statement earlier this week:

“The United States is committed to upholding our international obligations to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The United States supports the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Committee Against Torture, and in 2015, the United States was proud to become a participant in the Group of Friends of the Convention Against Torture Initiative.”

This kind of rhetoric is emblematic of the Obama administration’s hypocrisy and cherry-picking when it comes to U.S. international legal obligations. The U.S. is obligated under the Convention Against Torture not only to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. It is also obligated to hold accountable those who ordered or perpetrated acts of torture and to provide legal redress to victims. On these fronts, our government’s record has been abysmal. Yesterday Human Rights Watch and the ACLU submitted a response to the U.S. one year follow-up report to the U.N. Committee Against Torture, which details the United States’ failure to meet its legal obligations to fully investigate acts of torture during the Bush administration.

When it comes to torture, the gap between rhetoric and action isn’t limited to the Bush administration’s record. While it is encouraging to see the U.S. expressing support for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, consider the ways the U.S. has directly prevented this critically important institution from effectively doing its job.

The current special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, is about to end his six-year term. Since the early days of his mandate, he has repeatedly asked to visit U.S. prisons and detention facilities in order to examine the widespread use of solitary confinement, which often causes mental and physical suffering and can amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment — even torture. However, the U.S. has consistently stonewalled his requests and has so far failed to provide him with the minimum standards of access required by U.N. protocol for such visits. It is very likely that Mr. Mendez won’t be able to carry out his visit before the end of his term, which is exactly what the U.S. likely intended in delaying and dragging out the process. It’s simply outrageous that the United States won’t provide basic access to its domestic detention facilities, especially given that the U.S. is perhaps the only Western democracy that doesn’t have a permanent and independent monitoring system of all detention facilities.

American leadership on the world stage suffers when the country presents such a stark double standard on human rights and denies independent human rights monitors access to U.S. facilities abroad, like Guantánamo, and here in the United States.

This coming November, the U.S. will be on the ballot for a new three-year-term membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council. The Obama administration has another opportunity to demonstrate to the world that U.S. commitment to the universal prohibition against torture is serious and long-lasting. By upholding U.S. human rights obligations through action in addition to rhetoric, the Obama administration can send a strong message to future presidents that there will be consequences for breaking the law and more effectively press other governments to end torture abroad.

March 2, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama regime moves to suppress Gitmo force-feeding footage

Reprieve – January 21, 2015

foot-draggerThe U.S. Government has moved to suppress footage of a Guantanamo detainee being force-fed, appealing against a US federal judge’s order to release the tapes.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli filed the appeal today, January 21st, just one day before the seven year anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the Executive Order to close Guantanamo. Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the tapes be released in October 2014, after sixteen major US media organizations, including the New York Times, AP, and McClatchy newspapers, asked for the tapes to be made public under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

The tapes show the force-feeding and ‘forcible cell extraction’ of Abu Wa’el Dhiab, who has since been released. Mr Dhiab is represented by international human rights NGO Reprieve. Reprieve lawyers are virtually the only people outside government to have seen the footage and have described it as ‘disturbing’, but are forbidden under classification rules from revealing its contents.

Eric Lewis, attorney and Chair of Reprieve US, said: “It is wrong to hide behind national security concerns when the Government wants to hide its mistaken actions from public view. Our national security requires the release of these tapes, and accountability for the cruel treatment imposed on men trying to call attention to their endless and lawless detention without trial.”

Cori Crider, Reprieve attorney for Guantanamo detainees, said: Make no mistake – the force-feeding tapes would make your blood run cold. One assumes that is why they have fought so hard to keep it secret. We’ll keep pushing for the truth in the Court of Appeals.”

January 21, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Where’s the Rule of Law in Our War on ISIS?

By L. Michael Hager | CounterPunch | December 11, 2015

The San Bernardino massacre has elicited from politicians and others many calls for stronger military action and even demands for travel restrictions on Muslims and the closing of mosques.

In his oval office address to the nation on December 6, President Obama rightly called on Americans “to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently.” He assured the nation that our success in defeating terrorists “won’t depend on … abandoning our values.”

Yet in a seeming contradiction, he promised to hunt down terrorist plotters “in any country where it is necessary” and use air strikes to “take out ISIL leaders and their infrastructure in Iraq and Syria.”

Before 9/11 our “common values” included respect for the rule of law. Not any more, it would seem. Over the past decade and a half, we have witnessed increasing disrespect for the rule of law. Preemptive strikes, targeted drone killing and the torture, sexual humiliation and forced feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo violate basic legal norms for human rights and the conduct of war– norms which the U.S. helped establish in the wake of World War II.

The main obstacle to the rule of law today is Guantanamo. As a continuing monument to such prison abuses as torture, forced feeding and indefinite detention, Guantanamo is a valuable resource for ISIS in its radicalization and recruitment of young Americans.

Despite President Obama’s first day in office pledge to close it down, Guantanamo continues to confine many innocent prisoners, claim huge sums from taxpayers and shame all Americans by what it represents to the world.

According to the nonprofit organization Human Rights First, 107 prisoners remain in Guantanamo (down from the total number of 780). The current roster includes:

* Detainees approved for release: 48,

* Detainees convicted by military commission: 3,

* Detainees currently being tried by military commission: 7,

* Detainees being held without charge or trial: 49.

Of the current Guantanamo population, 90 (84% of the total) have been imprisoned for more than ten years.

It costs US taxpayers approximately $387 million a year to operate Guantanamo (an annual cost of more than $3 million per prisoner).

According to Andy Worthington (closeguantanamo.org), the group of prisoners recommended for prosecution includes Mohamedou Ould Slahi, author of the recent bestseller, Guantanamo Diary.

Given Slahi’s “extraordinary account of rendition, captivity and torture” and the apparent failure of his captors to elicit evidence of wrongdoing despite more than 15 years of interrogation and imprisonment, his continuing incarceration raises a serious question: are the CIA and DOD continuing to detain him in order to continue to block disclosure of the names of his torturers (redacted from his published account)?

Sadly, the ongoing affront to the rule of law has raised few eyebrows in the media or in government institutions charged with legal oversight. Rarely, do we hear reference to law or legal norms by our elected officials. Indeed, the Department of Justice appears complicit in the torture scandals of Bush/Cheney.

TV anchors and newspaper reporters blithely echo the demands of political candidates that the U.S. “carpet bomb” Islamist targets and “take out suspected terrorists” anywhere in the world. They ignore international laws and conventions that put a strict limit on preemptive strikes and prohibit the endangering of civilians.

More distressing is the general failure of our religious institutions, universities and bar associations to speak out against the current degrading of the rule of law. Why has there been no strong outcry from the nation’s premier law schools as they witness military strikes that violate the UN Charter and international conventions? Why do they ignore the lack of due process, indefinite detention and the inadequacies of jerrybuilt “military commissions?”

Why have our churches, synagogues and mosques not questioned human rights violations (some detailed in the recent Senate report summary) including the now regular use of drones for targeted killing and the reliance on torture and force-feeding?

Bombing, drone strikes and internal restrictions on the freedom of religion and movement are more likely to breed terrorists than build security. If we should, as our President suggests, avoid abandoning our values—values that include respect for the rule of law– we should accelerate the Periodic Review Boards (PRB) process, free Guantanamo prisoners approved for release and try the remainder in U.S. courts.

Before his term of office ends, the President must fulfill his promise of 2009 and close Guantanamo, with or without Congressional support.

L. Michael Hager is cofounder and former Director General, International Development Law Organization, Rome.

December 11, 2015 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment