Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama: Waterboarding Was Torture

Thursday 30 April 2009
Jennifer Loven, The Associated Press: "President Barack Obama said Wednesday night that waterboarding authorized by former President George W. Bush was torture, and the information gained from terror suspects through its use could have been obtained by other means. 'In some cases it may be harder,' he conceded at a White House news conference marking a whirlwind first 100 days in office."

Leahy Invites Bybee to Testify

Carrie Johnson, The Washington Post: "Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) yesterday invited federal Judge Jay S. Bybee to testify about his role in preparing two Justice Department memos that allowed interrogators to engage in techniques such as simulating drowning and slamming prisoners against a wall. Bybee, who has been a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit for the past six years, previously headed the department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama Calls for "New Beginning with Cuba"

Paul Richter and Peter Nicholas, The Los Angeles Times: "The US and Cuba built sudden momentum Friday toward easing half a century of hostility as President Obama met Havana's willingness to discuss sensitive topics, including human rights, with a declaration that he was ready for a 'new beginning' in relations."

Our worst nightmares come true

Dear Tim,

Shocking evidence from a classified Senate Armed Services Committee report released last week makes the most compelling case to date that senior Bush administration officials intentionally lied about torture.

Under the bright lights of national news cameras, President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld described the horrors of Abu Ghraib as acts committed by a "few bad apples," when in fact, they were actively encouraging the armed forces to torture prisoners at detention centers worldwide.

The details in this and other documents recently released should send chills down your spine. They confirm our worst nightmares about the types of interrogation tactics approved, including slamming suspects into walls, waterboarding 2 individuals a combined 266 times and exploiting another's fear of insects by confining him in a box with an insect.

Horrifying as they are, these details only scratch the surface of what our 50 years of experience interviewing victims of torture tells us. We know that abuse always escalates over time, especially when sanctioned at the highest levels.
The administration's response? Give torturers a free pass. The Obama administration announced recently that it would guarantee immunity to CIA officials and others who carried out clearly illegal interrogation tactics. This action directly contradicts the administration's assertions that nobody is above the law.

The President and others in his administration have begun to change their tune in response to mounting public outcry. And now Obama has signaled that he may leave the door open for further investigation of those in the highest rungs of power in the Bush administration.

This moment represents a crucial opening in the fight for accountability. It's a chance to finally slap the cuffs on those who authorized interrogators to take the gloves off and ensure that those responsible for abuse are held to account for the irreparable harm they've caused.

And most importantly, it's an acknowledgment that accountability is the only way to put an end to the failed policies of detention without trial and detainee abuse.

What happens next will determine whether the whole story about Bush-era torture will see the light of day or remain shrouded in secrecy. We need to ensure that a non-partisan independent commission leads the investigation, and that it's free from political influences, has subpoena power and enough money to pursue the truth.

We've seen decision-makers move from "no" to "maybe" on the question of accountability for torture in less than a week because of public demands for justice. With your continued help, we can get our government to do the right thing.

Njambi Good
Counter Terror with Justice Campaign Director
Amnesty International USA

Syria: UN Rules Dissident’s Detention Illegal

April 29, 2009
(London) - Syrian authorities should immediately free Dr. Kamal Labwani, a prominent political and human rights activist, following a UN finding that his detention is arbitrary and thus unlawful, a group of leading human rights organizations said today. The groups called on nations engaged in dialogue with Syria to make the release of Dr. Labwani and other activists a priority.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Torture Used to Link Saddam With 9/11

Marjorie Cohn, Truthout: "It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush's illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The War Prayer

March 1905
by Mark Twain
Editor's note: Outraged by American military intervention in the Phillipines, Mark Twain wrote this and sent it to Harper's Bazaar. This women's magazine rejected it for being too radical, and it wasn't published until after Mark Twain's death, when World War I made it even more timely. It appeared in Harper's Monthly, November 1916.

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation
God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:
"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory -- must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Profile: Roxana Saberi

When the journalist Roxana Saberi was first arrested in Iran, her family was told it was for buying a bottle of wine - an act banned under the country's Islamic law.

That was in January 2009. Iranian prosecutors then accused her of working as a journalist without a valid press card, before on 8 April she was finally accused of spying for the US.
Between January and March, Ms Saberi was only able to contact her family in the US twice, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.
She told them she was not being physically harmed but was finding life difficult in Evin prison, near Tehran.
Diverse heritage
Ms Saberi, 31, was born in the US and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Reza Saberi, who was born in Iran, and his wife Akiko, who is from Japan.
In 1997 she was chosen as Miss North Dakota and was among the top 10 finalists in Miss America 1998.
When she received her Miss North Dakota title, Ms Saberi said that her aim was to encourage other people to appreciate cultural differences - an ambition that eventually led her into a career in journalism.
She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with degrees in mass communication and French.
Ms Saberi also holds a master's degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago and another master's degree in international relations from Cambridge University in the UK.
She is currently working on yet another masters degree in Iranian studies.
Ms Saberi moved to Iran six years ago and worked as a freelance journalist for various news organizations, including the BBC, before her press credentials were revoked.
Her father said she had been determined to go to Iran, although he had expressed his concerns.
Mr. Saberi said that despite losing her press status, his daughter had stayed on to finish a book on Iran and to study. He said she had planned to return to the US later this year.
Shock arrest
But then came her arrest.
The development surprised former BBC Tehran correspondent Frances Harrison, who remembers her as a very careful person.
"She was a very cautious person and the kind of person who wore a headscarf even in diplomatic functions where there were no restrictions," she said.
"She was careful about her reputation being a young, single woman living in Iran."
She added: "She would know as a journalist that she would be under a lot of scrutiny - her phone would be listened too and she would be watched."

Iran convicts Fargo journalist of spying

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI , Associated Press
Last update: April 18, 2009 - 7:13 AM
TEHRAN, Iran - An American journalist jailed in Iran has been convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison, her lawyer said Saturday, dashing any hopes for her quick release.
The verdict was the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of spying, and it was unclear how the conviction would affect recent overtures by the Obama administration for better relations and engagement with Washington's longtime adversary.
Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation, charging her with spying for the United States.
She appeared before an Iranian court behind closed doors on Monday in an unusually swift one-day trial. The Fargo, North Dakota native had been living in Iran for six years and had worked as a freelance reporter for several news organizations including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.
"Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in jail. I'll definitely appeal the verdict," lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshahi told The Associated Press. It was not immediately known when she was convicted.
The United States has called the charges against Saberi baseless and has demanded her release, and the conviction and prison sentence could put strains on efforts to improve ties.
President Barack Obama has said it wants to engage Iran in talks on its nuclear program and other issues — a departure from the tough talk of the Bush administration.
Iran has been mostly lukewarm to the idea, but on Thursday Iran's hard-line president gave the clearest signal yet that the Islamic Republic was also willing to start a new relationship with Washington.
In a speech Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran was preparing new proposals aimed at breaking an impasse with the West over its nuclear program.
But it was uncertain how Washington would react to Saberi's conviction. On Thursday, the State Department said Saberi's jailing was not helpful and that Iran would gain U.S. good will if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.
The United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran after its 1979 Islamic revolution and takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized Iran for arresting journalists and suppressing freedom of speech. The government has arrested several Iranian-Americans in the past few years, citing alleged attempts to overthrow its Islamic government through what it calls a "soft revolution." But they were never put on trial and were eventually released from prison.
Iran has released few details about the charges against Saberi. Iranian officials initially said she had been arrested for working in the Islamic Republic without press credentials and she had told her father in a phone conversation that she was arrested after buying a bottle of wine.
An Iranian investigative judge involved in the case charged that Saberi was passing classified information to U.S. intelligence services.
Her parents, who traveled to Iran from their home in Fargo in a bid to help win their daughter's release, could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cost of War

We bring you "Cost of War," part three of our Rethink Afghanistan documentary, which delves into the financial costs of this broadening military conflict. Do we really want to spend over $1 trillion on a war that could last a decade or more, while millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes? The Obama administration has taken some smart steps to counter this economic crisis with its budget request, but that effort will be wasted by expanding military demands. Watch Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and journalists, military and foreign policy experts, leading economists, and many more explain just how much the war in Afghanistan will cost us over how many years.

Breaking news: Torture memos released

Dear ACLU Supporter,
In response to an ACLU lawsuit, the Justice Department just released four memos that provided the basis for the Bush administration's illegal torture program.

We'll have more to say about the horrific content of these memos in the days ahead, but in the meantime we commend the Obama administration for making good on its commitment to transparency. We also commend concerned citizens like you who have supported and fought alongside the ACLU’s legal team in the long struggle to get these crucial memos released.

But exposing the truth is only the first step. It’s now imperative that the Justice Department investigate issues of criminal responsibility for the crimes that took place in the CIA’s secret prisons.

The ACLU has been fighting for the truth about torture and detainee abuse for more than five years. This is a major breakthrough, but we must continue to demand a thorough criminal investigation.
The torture memos should never have been written -- the actions they justified violated domestic and international law and damaged America’s reputation in the world. They authorized interrogators to use the most barbaric interrogation methods, including methods that the U.S. once prosecuted as war crimes. It’s now the Justice Department’s responsibility to make sure that the architects of the torture program are held accountable. Senior officials who authorized torture should not be shielded from investigation.
We are hopeful that by releasing these memos, the Obama administration has begun to turn the page on an era in which the Justice Department became complicit in some of the most egregious crimes.


Jameel Jaffer
Director, National Security Project

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An American journalist jailed in Iran

An American journalist jailed in Iran and charged with espionage stood trial behind closed doors and a verdict is expected within weeks, the country's judiciary spokesman said Tuesday.
Undated photo released by The Miss North Dakota Pageant, Roxana Saberi is shown on the right, in North Dakota. Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation on Wednesday, charging her with spying for the United States.
(AP Photo/The Miss North Dakota Pageant)

Monday, April 13, 2009


Drop us note . Speak your peace. LOVE & PEACE Tim Nolan

Capitalism is Organized Crime

You are invited to attend
a conference taking place on
Sunday, April 19 in Washington, D.C.
The ANSWER Coalition encourages its members and supporters to attend an exciting educational event taking place in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, April 19.
Please see below for the list of featured speakers.

The "Capitalism is Organized Crime" conference will take place from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm at the Festival Center, located at 1640 Columbia Rd. NW, between 16th and 17th Sts. (green line metro to Columbia Heights).
Guest Speakers, Panels & Discussion
Capitalism is a form of organized crime. The U.S. government is greasing the system's wheels to ensure that banks and big corporations get trillions in bailout funds. Meanwhile, millions of workers are losing their jobs and homes. Deep cuts are gutting public education, making health care even less accessible and decimating much-needed social programs. Police brutality and racial profiling are rampant. Working-class people are being hit from all sides.
The conference will link the struggles against war and militarism with the fight
for economic justice. This conference will be an important opportunity for political activists to meet, analyze, discuss and propose solutions. The conference organizers believe that a radical reorganization of society is necessary to meet the needs of the people rather than to maximize the profits of bankers and corporate executives who have driven society onto the path of endless war and economic suffering.
Featured speakers at the April 19th Conference will include: Marcos García, labor attache at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney and co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Hodari Abdul-Ali, Chair of the Social Justice Task Force for MANA, the Muslim Alliance in North America
Eugene Puryear, Howard University student, PSL 2008 Vice-Presidential Candidate
Prof. Zachary Wolfe, George Washington University, chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee of the National Lawyers Guild
Maurice Carney, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the Congo
Muna Coobtee, ANSWER Coalition and Free Palestine Alliance
Frances Villar, Senator and Senate Parliamentarian of Bronx Community College Student Government, Vice Chair for Legislative Affairs for University Student Senate of City University of New York (CUNY)
James Circello, Iraq war veteran and co-coordinator of the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition Crystal Kim, PSL 2008 Candidate for D.C. Council At-Large Schedule for the day
11:00 am: Doors open for registration

12:00 noon - 2:00 pm: Panel I
Capitalism is Organized Crime

2:30 - 4:00 pm: Panel II
The Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism and for National Liberation

4:30 - 5:15 pm: PaneIII l Is Socialism Possible in the United States?
Click here to Pre-Register for the April 19th Conference.
$20 donation requested. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Childcare available. Please call to reserve.

The April 19 "Capitalism is Organized Crime" Conference is hosted by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). The PSL is a member group of the ANSWER Coalition. Click here for more information, emai: , or call 202-543-4900.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

US Soldier Killed by Bomb Blast North of Baghdad

Agence France Presse: "A US soldier was killed in a bomb blast that targeted a convoy north of Baghdad on Sunday, a US military statement said, taking the number of American soldiers killed in recent days to six."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Bush Six

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker: "About a year ago, a book came out in England that made a fascinating prediction: at some point in the future, the author wrote, six top officials in the Bush Administration would get a tap on the shoulder announcing that they were being arrested on international charges of torture."

Protesters Shut Down Southeast Asian Summit

Charles McDermid, The Los Angeles Times: "Thousands of protesters smashed through a glass entrance and stormed a hotel complex today during a key meeting of regional heads of state. Thailand has declared a state of emergency in the summit's host city Pattaya and the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been called off."

NYC Police Arrest 22 at New School

Javier C. Hernandez and Al Baker, The New York Times: "More than 20 people occupied a building on the New School campus in Greenwich Village on Friday, demanding that the school's embattled president, Bob Kerrey, be ousted. But unlike a similar protest in December that was peacefully negotiated to an end after 30 hours, Friday's ordeal was concluded in a few hours after the school asked the police to remove the protesters."
Check the police action caught on the video.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On Anniversary of Saddam's Fall, Iraqi Protesters Vent Against US

Jane Arraf, The Christian Science Monitor: "Tens of thousands of Iraqis crowded into the square Thursday where Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled, along with his regime, six years ago. Waving posters of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and demanding that President Obama fulfill his promise to withdraw US troops, their presence underscored the eagerness of many Iraqis to see the US leave - but also their apprehension about what comes next, especially after a week of bombings that have marred months of relative calm."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Protect Freedom of Speech

Dear Supporter,

The Senate & House have introduced a terrible bill, one that will directly weaken one of American citizens’ most important constitutional rights. The bill has made it to the Minnesota Senate floor and awaits a vote.

This bill chips away at Minnesota's anti-SLAPP suit law, a law that protects citizens' right to participate and influence government policy without fear of reprisal. SLAPP stands for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. Because of the anti-SLAPP law, when the ACLU sues the government, it does not have to fear a civil suit from the interest groups that pushed the government to adopt unconstitutional policies in the first place.

Since 1791, all citizens have had the constitutional right to petition government, including filing a lawsuit. In order to protect this right, and to ensure citizens can exercise it freely, citizens must be shielded from SLAPP suits whether they win or lose the petition, so that they are not intimidated by some industry demanding millions because of alleged lost business opportunities. If major moneyed interests could sue us (citizens) whenever we ask our government to enforce a law or pass one, it would chill our willingness to exercise that fundamental right.

Minnesota's anti-SLAPP law (Minn. Stat. § 554) strengthens the constitutional legal right to petition government by providing protection from retaliation and intimidation when we petition government, including when we go to court to challenge a governmental decision that is contrary to law. SF1130/HF1557 would weaken the law by eliminating protections for legal challenges to governmental decisions.
Take Action
Senate File 1130/HF 1557 is an assault on citizens’ First Amendment constitutional right to petition government. It deletes protection for people who sue to reverse a bad governmental decision. It would expose citizens to real and threatened lawsuits just for going to court to try to enforce the law. Rather than Minnesota’s anti-SLAPP law strengthening constitutional rights, it would effectively weaken those rights. Citizens and their watchdog groups would be vulnerable to industry lawsuits any time they challenge an apparently bad government decision. Please contact your legislators today and tell them to oppose this bill. Sincerely,

Carolyn Jackson
Lobbying Coordinator
ACLU of Minnesota

Ex-President Convicted of Death Squad Killings

April 9th, 2009
Dear Tim,
As I’m sure you have seen in recent news, the former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, was found guilty by the Peruvian Supreme Court on charges involving serious human rights violations. After years of evading justice, Fujimori is finally being held accountable for some of his crimes.
For a decade, from 1990 to 2000, the Fujimori government used bribery, extortion, and intimidation to concentrate power in the presidency, subverting the democratic process and eliminating checks on government abuses. In the trial, Fujimori was convicted of the killings of 25 people in two massacres in 1991 and 1992, carried out by a specialized squad of military intelligence officers. Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Maria McFarland was in the courtroom for the ruling’s announcement.
In 2005, Human Rights Watch released a report that documented Fujimori’s abuses and presented evidence linking him to the perpetrators, helping build a case against him. We are proud that our report contributed to this important verdict. The court’s ruling is important because it demonstrates the crucial role an independent national tribunal can play in addressing past human rights abuses, even against a former head of state.
The landmark decision is part of a global trend of increasing accountability for former heads of state and other high-level abusers. Human Rights Watch is playing a leading role in seeing this change through, with the help of our supporters. And make no mistake – it is your support that enables us to expose the truth and apply pressure, bringing about the kind of deep rooted change that promotes global justice. Sincerely, Kenneth Roth Executive Director
Peru: Fujimori Verdict a Rights Victory
Q & A: Trial of Former President Alberto Fujimori of Peru

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yes We Can Ban Nuclear Weapons Petition Your Senators

"Today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

~President Barack Obama, Prague, April 5, 2009
Dear Tim Nolan,
Yesterday, in Prague, addressing Europe and the world, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to declare that the U.S. will seek peace and security in "a world without nuclear weapons." The president, in his Palm Sunday speech, said that the building blocks of nuclear disarmament will include a new national security strategy free of nuclear weapons, a new agreement with Russia to cut the size of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
President Obama needs your support; he cannot do this alone. Please sign a petition urging your senators to speak out in favor of nuclear disarmament. Ask three friends to sign as well.
Although many prominent analysts of both major political parties have embraced Obama's call for nuclear disarmament, already some in Congress are saying that total nuclear disarmament is unrealistic. FCNL's lobbyists have learned that some senators are moving to block ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and other components of the president's nuclear disarmament goal.
Ask your senators to speak out publicly in support of President Obama's call for a world free of nuclear weapons.
In the coming weeks and months, FCNL will be lobbying senators to advance a world free of nuclear weapons.

Read or watch the president's speech.
Last summer, FCNL examined what the new administration would need to do to advance nuclear disarmament. Read the article from our July/August Washington Newsletter.
Read a Wall Street Journal op-ed from George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn urging a "global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world."
Find out more about FCNL's lobbying for nuclear disarmament.
Stay Tuned for More
We'll keep telling you about opportunities to support ratification of new arms control and disarmament treaties in the weeks to come. Please stay tuned.
Joe Volk
Executive Secretary

Doug Feith a "Major Player" in Torture Policies

Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Doug Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy, is best known for cooking up bogus prewar Iraq intelligence linking Iraq, al-Qaeda and 9/11. But in addition to his duties to his duties stove piping phony intelligence directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney, Feith was also a key member of a small working group of Defense Department officials who oversaw the implementation of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' at Guantanamo Bay that has been widely regarded as torture."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Will the Dumbocrats Wise Up and Drive a Stake Through Cheney's Heart?

Why Their Only Hope Is a War Crimes Tribunal

By Kevin Barrett,

There are many good reasons to drive a stake through Dick Cheney's heart, assuming he has one.

First, Cheney's hypothetical heart is so black and oily that the penetration of a sharpened stake-tip might release a spurting gusher of oil sufficient to meet America's energy needs for the rest of the century.

But more importantly, busting Cheney for war crimes, including the 9/11 inside job, would help Obama avoid the mistake John F. Kennedy made in the early years of his presidency.

Obama--whose Irish-American heritage, youthful good looks, and vapidly inspirational speechifying make him seem the second coming of Kennedy--is already clashing with the same forces that removed JFK from office with extreme prejudice. Those forces, of course, are the extremist wing of the military-industrial complex and its representatives in the military and intelligence communities.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy fired CIA chief Allan Dulles, who had lied to Kennedy about the real objective of the Bay of Pigs operation. Outraged by such duplicity, JFK threatened to tear up the CIA and scatter it to the winds--a project he was working on at the time of his assassination. Then in 1962, JFK fired another imperial extremist, Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lemnitzer had drafted a document, subsequently signed by every member of the Joint Chiefs, calling for U.S. forces to covertly murder hundreds of Americans in false-flag "terrorist" bombings, including the sinking of a U.S. ship, to be blamed on Cuba. That plan, called Operation Northwoods, was intended to prepare the American public for an invasion of Cuba. As this official document put it, casualty lists published in American newspapers would create "a helpful wave of indignation." The plan was rejected by President Kennedy.

Kennedy's mistake was to simply fire Dulles and Lemnitzer, without publicly revealing their crimes and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law. Even out of office, Dulles and Lemnitzer were able to work with their fellow psychopaths in the secret government of the National Security State and effect the removal of an elected president. Had JFK revealed that the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff was conspiring to murder hundreds of innocent American citizens in a false-flag war-trigger event, and demanded the prosecution of the conspirators, history might have unfolded in a different and more positive direction.

Fast-forward half a century: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today, Obama is taking heat from today's version of Lemnitzer -- a nasty little man named Richard Cheney.

Since the FBI cleared Osama Bin Laden, Cheney has become the leading suspect in the 9/11 attacks. Peter Dale Scott's The Road to 9/11, the first 9/11 truth book published by a top-shelf American university press, shows, by way of meticulous scholarship, that the 9/11 Commission Report systematically distorted its findings in order to conceal evidence suggestive of Cheney's complicity; and that Cheney has, since the 1970s, been at the heart of a secret government that has been undermining American democratic institutions and carefully preparing for the State of Emergency that was declared on 9/11 and never rescinded.

Cheney, the top suspect in the 9/11 crimes against humanity, has a disturbing habit of threatening to commit even bigger crimes. In the final phase of the 2004 presidential election, you may recall, Cheney announced that if John Kerry won, the U.S. would be in danger of another, bigger 9/11. Ironically, the satirical newspaper The Onion ("Cheney Vows To Attack U.S. If Kerry Elected") was the only American newspaper that got it right.

And now Cheney is predicting (threatening?) more catastrophic terrorism. In an article headlined "Cheney warns of new attacks," we learn: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a 'high probability' that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed."

As long as Dick Cheney is on the loose, and the rogue network responsible for 9/11 is still at large, there will indeed be a "high probability" of another massive false-flag attack. Such an attack could, as Tommy Franks predicted, lead to martial law, with the President and Congress sidelined in favor of the secret government of military and intelligence hardliners that Peter Dale Scott describes in The Road to 9/11.

What makes this even more likely is the dispute between Obama and his top military chiefs about the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. One of my favorite radio guests, Dave Lindorff, recently published a warning headlined "Generals' Revolt Threatens Obama Presidency." According to Lindorff, the Pentagon pushback against a quick Iraq withdrawal represents a "dangerous act of insubordination" that could doom Obama's presidency. The best way to nip the military hardliners' revolt in the bud, as Lindorff advocates, would be to prosecute former Bush Administration officials and top military commanders for war crimes, including the supreme war crime of aggression as well as the act of mass murder on 9/11 that triggered the aggression.

Alongside the foreign-policy pushback by military hardliners and Cheniacs, Obama is facing a wave of deceptive attacks by Republicans out to make political hay from the economic collapse they created with their insanely expensive, criminal wars. Since the Democrats are in power, they are in a position to be blamed for the coming years of continuously unfolding economic doom. Obama, who was elected on a platform of "hope" for a "change" in the terrible economic situation, will not be able to fulfill his implicit promises, and the Democrats will be massacred in the 2010 midterm elections--assuming that those elections have not been cancelled due to martial law--unless they expose and prosecute the worst crimes of the Bush Administration.

For their own survival--political and perhaps even physical--Obama and the Democrats must re-open the 9/11 investigation, instigate war crimes tribunals, and prosecute the Bush Administration war criminals.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Big torture breakthrough?

Dear ACLU Supporter,
For five long years, the ACLU has been fighting to unearth government documents that would show the origins and scope of the Bush administration’s torture program.

In two weeks, we may finally get some of the crucial documents we’ve been asking for.

As a result of a critical ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the Justice Department agreed on Thursday to consider an April 16th public release of key memos that authorized the CIA to torture detainees.

As we move closer and closer to the truth, it is essential that you and other ACLU supporters reinforce the demand that those responsible for illegally authorizing torture are held accountable.

Sign the ACLU's petition demanding that Attorney General Holder appoint a special prosecutor for detainee abuse.
There are still crucial sets of memos that must be revealed, including the infamous Bybee and Bradbury memos.

The first, written in August 2002 by the head of the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jay S. Bybee, was the cornerstone of the CIA torture program.

The second set of memos, written by OLC lawyer Steven Bradbury in May of 2005, authorized the CIA to subject prisoners to torture methods including waterboarding. They were written in anticipation of Congress’s decision to make it clear that laws against cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment applied to the CIA.

Collectively, these memos supplied the framework for an interrogation program that permitted the most barbaric forms of abuse, violated domestic and international law, alienated America's allies and yielded information that was both unreliable and unusable in court.

Using national security as a pretext, the Bush administration managed to suppress these memos for years. If these memos are released on April 16, it will be due to your consistent support of the ACLU. And the facts revealed in these memos will only heighten the demand for a thorough criminal investigation.

Call on the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor.

A special prosecutor can follow the facts wherever they may lead -- from Justice Department memos to White House torture meetings to secret government torture cells around the globe.

No one is above the law. And if we want to restore our country to an America we can be proud of again, we must know the truth about what our government did in our name.

Thank you for supporting the ACLU as we continue to drive towards the truth and for joining us in the next step -- demanding accountability.

Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director

Friday, April 3, 2009

'Letter to the Editor'

Actual 'Letter to the Editor' from the February 5th edition of the Wichita Falls, Texas Times Record News…
Dear IRS,
I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to pay taxes owed April 15, but all is not lost. I have paid these taxes: accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capitol gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, Colorado property tax, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico sales tax, and many more that I can't recall but I have run out of space and money. When you do not receive my check April 15, just know that it is an honest mistake. Please treat me the same way you treated Congressmen Charles Rangel, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and ex-Congressman Tom Daschle and, of course, your boss Timothy Geithner. No penalties and no interest.
P.S. I will make at least a partial payment as soon as I get my stimulus check.
Ed B Wichita Falls

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).

Dear Tim,
This Thursday, April 2, countries around the globe will
commemorate World Autism Awareness Day. It’s a time to
shine a light on autism, to awaken public understanding of
the crisis, and to accelerate support for research and services.
Events to celebrate the day will be held in countries on six
continents and at the United Nations . And
visit our site to find television coverage of WAAD events around
the globe.
You can participate in World Autism Awareness Day with a gift to Autism Speaks. Your support will help:
Build Awareness of the autism crisis
Support scientific research
Provide services to families
Join the global effort to combat autism. Donate now.

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for helping my neighbors with their mortgage payments. You know the one's down the street that in the good times refinanced their house several times and bought SUV's, ATV's, RV’s, a pool, a big screen, 2 Wave Runners and a Harley.
I was wondering, since I am paying my mortgage and theirs, could you arrange for me to borrow the Harley now and then?

Richard Ford
Queen Creek AZ

P.S. They also need help with their credit cards, when do you want me to start making those payments?
P.P.S. I almost forgot - they didn't file their income tax return this year. Should I go ahead and file for them or will you be appointing them to cabinet posts?

Sarah Palin joins us for Mother's Day!

April 1, 2009
Dear Tim,

We never thought it would happen, but Sarah Palin has joined forces with CODEPINK! "My eyes have been opened, goshdarnit," she told us. "As a mother, it suddenly hit me that war is bad for children all around the world, you know what I mean? I want my son, Track, to come home from Iraq, and I don't want him to be sent to Afghanistan, either, doggonit." We asked if she would come to Washington, DC for our Mother's Day peace vigil and she winked and said "You betcha-I still have a pretty snazzy pink suit, thanks to the RNC!" She even cancelled a moose hunting trip just to join us!
But we have invited comedy writer, actor and mother Tina Fey, who played Sarah Palin so brilliantly on Saturday Night Live, to stand with us in front of the White House on Mother's Day weekend, May 9 and 10. Won't you join us, too? Check out our rockin' Mother's Day page for more info!