Open Letter to Congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, and to Sen. Jim Webb On Inhuman CIA Torture- Interrogation

August 27th, 2009

Peter Chamberlin

Congressman Paul, we are writing you concerning the investigation into the abusive inhuman torture tactics used for interrogation by the US Army, under the direction of the CIA. Widespread public outrage over the official “unofficial” hypocrisy of fighting a “war on terror,” driven on torture-based intelligence, demands that these investigations are both legitimate and transparent, and not just another cover-up or whitewash, like the 911 “investigation.”

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Saudi Arabia - human rights abuses in the name of fighting terrorism

August 27th, 2009

Amnesty International

Saudi special forces outside the hotel where the Counter
Terrorism International Conference. Riyadh, February 2005.
© AP/PA Photo/Hasan Jamali

We were afraid that something bad might have happened to him, that he might have been tortured. We called the prison but they would respond: "Be patient, the investigation is not finished." I cried: "Let me just hear my husband’s voice". His disappearance was so sudden…me and my family kept asking ourselves: why is it happening? -Wife of Khalil 'Abdul Rahman 'Abdul Karim al-Janahi who was arrested at Riyadh airport in April 2007.

The Saudi Arabian authorities have launched a sustained assault on human rights under the façade of countering terrorism, Amnesty International said in a new report on Wednesday.

Thousands of people have been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy, while others have been killed in uncertain circumstances. Hundreds more people face secret and summary trials and possible execution. Many are reported to have been tortured in order to extract confessions or as punishment after conviction.

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Appeasing Israel—At What Cost?

August 27th, 2009

by Jeff Gates

Barack Hussein Obama’s June 4th speech in Cairo was awaited with keen anticipation by a global population of 1.3 billion Muslims outraged at the abuse that Zionism has long inflicted on its neighbors—with U.S. support. Ten weeks have since passed. The potentially positive impact of his remarks was immediately offset when he appeared the next day at the Buchenwald death camp in Germany. The timing of that Holocaust photo-op resolved all doubts about who stage-manages this presidency.

Media attention immediately shifted back to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the lead-up to the Cairo speech, Obama’s White House handlers enabled this right-winger to proclaim—from the White House—that peace with the Palestinians ranked a distant second to Tel Aviv’s concerns about Iran. Soon after the Cairo speech, Netanyahu reluctantly referenced a “two state solution”—though only under duress from Middle East envoy George Mitchell. Obama quickly portrayed as an “important step forward” this grudging referral to an agreed-to strategy.

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Israeli Nuclear Weapons and Western Hypocrisy

August 27th, 2009

Yusuf Fernandez

Israel got three nuclear-armed Dolphin class submarines from Germany at a very low price.

Once again, Arab states have announced that this year they will submit a resolution at September’s general assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to force Israel to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open up its secretive military nuclear programme to international inspections. Amr Moussa, secretary general of the 22-nation League of Arab States, has sent a letter to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to ask him to support the resolution entitled “Israel's Nuclear Capabilities.” Currently, Sweden holds the European Union’s rotating presidency. Other letters have been sent to the other 26 EU member countries. The Arab resolution is expected to be put up for a vote at the IAEA general assembly.

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Remember Ted Kennedy

August 27th, 2009

by Doug Drenkow

Love him or loathe him, Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy was an undeniably great public figure. But his greatness did not spring from who he was -- the surviving one of four, larger-than-life brothers of a powerful American family -- but from what he did -- champion the rights of all Americans, including those not born to such wealth and privilege.

Ted Kennedy was not African American, Hispanic American, Native American, or Asian American. But he championed the Voting Rights and Fair Housing laws, immigration laws, and other legislation advancing civil rights, what he called "the still unfinished business of America."

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Rights groups mourn the loss of Ted Kennedy

August 27th, 2009

Mary Shaw

Human rights and civil rights groups are mourning the death of their staunch ally Senator Edward ("Ted") Kennedy.

At its 2008 annual dinner, Human Rights First had honored Senator Kennedy as a lifelong champion of human rights. Upon his death this week, Elisa Massimino, the group's First Chief Executive Officer, shared the following comments:

"Human Rights First mourns the passing of our cherished friend Senator Ted Kennedy, and extends our deepest condolences to his family, his colleagues, and his many friends. Senator Kennedy spent nearly 50 years championing the cause of human rights. He was a voice for the voiceless and a true advocate for the fundamental rights of all people -- Americans, as well as those beyond our shores, including refugees and immigrants, victims of armed conflict, and political prisoners in all corners of the globe. Senator Kennedy's belief in the inherent dignity of all people, combined with his drive to ensure that the United States lived up to its potential to advance that concept at home and throughout the world, animated every battle he fought in his long and distinguished career. We have lost a tireless ally, but the lessons we all learned from him -- about perseverance, principle, and how to make progress towards a world in which all people can live in dignity and freedom -- will ensure that his legacy lasts forever. We will miss him greatly."

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Afghan war to be escalated in open defiance of public opinion around the globe

August 27th, 2009

James Cogan

A major increase in American and NATO troop numbers in Afghanistan is on the agenda in the wake of last week’s corrupt and illegitimate election in that country. The ballot—which witnessed a mass voter boycott—has underscored the widespread opposition within the country to the ongoing US-led military occupation.

Over the coming weeks, General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and NATO occupation forces, is scheduled to present the White House with an assessment of the military and political situation. Defence Secretary Robert Gates stated on August 13 that the review will not include “specific recommendations or requests for more forces”. What it will include, however, has been largely leaked to the media by US military commanders and foreign policy analysts.

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And Then They Came For Me

August 27th, 2009

Ahimsha Wickrematunge, Sunday Leader [Editorial]

Sri Lankan Journalist Ahimsha Wickrematunge wrote an editorial only to be release upon his death. He was murdered in January. This is his story.

No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.

I have been in the business of journalism a good long time. Indeed, 2009 will be The Sunday Leader's 15th year. Many things have changed in Sri Lanka during that time, and it does not need me to tell you that the greater part of that change has been for the worse. We find ourselves in the midst of a civil war ruthlessly prosecuted by protagonists whose bloodlust knows no bounds. Terror, whether perpetrated by terrorists or the state, has become the order of the day. Indeed, murder has become the primary tool whereby the state seeks to control the organs of liberty. Today it is the journalists, tomorrow it will be the judges. For neither group have the risks ever been higher or the stakes lower.

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Scientists Confirm the Effectiveness of The Big Lie - People Will Go To Extraordinary Lengths to Create False Justifications for Government Misdeeds

August 27th, 2009

Washington's Blog

Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:

All this was inspired by the principle--which is quite true in itself--that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

Similarly, Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, wrote:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one's secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

Science has now helped to explain why the big lie is effective.

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