Tag Archives: Guantanamo

Closing Gitmo not opening it wide

Not only is the infamous Guantanamo prison camp NOT CLOSING, its criminal record grows, and now the illegal facility is being expanded to lasso Haitian migrants escaping the devastation of Haiti’s earthquake. Will they be tortured as well? The way Obama is moving on civil rights, we may never know.

We have learned that three of the prison’s suicides, the mysterious coordinated attack of suicide-suiciders for which US military spokesmen accused the detainees of asymmetric warfare, were actually deaths at the hands of torturers. Though officials claimed to have discovered the bodies in their cells, camp guards have revealed that the prisoners were actually taken from the interrogation rooms, having suffocated from water-boarding. Coroners trying to establish the causes of death were hampered by the fact that Gitmo physicians had surgically removed key telltale body parts in the interest of national security.

Diverting attention from the murder story are preparations to expand Guantanamo to greet an anticipated wave of Haitian migrant refugees escaping the earthquake devastation. Just part of the militarization of aid giving.

A processing center is being readied at Guantanamo where Haitians can be returned to Haiti nearly as soon as they are intercepted at sea. Ever gracious, the US reveals that some Haitians will be considered for entry to the US. Temporary work permits will be granted to some Haitians, but only those who can show that they were in the US at the time of the January 12 earthquake.

Someone please tell Mrs. Al-Ghizzawi that her husband is cleared for release

Guantanamo legal defense lawyer…if that means anything. It’s a long story, but after waiting eight years locked in Guantanamo, Abdul Hamid Al-Ghizzawi has a tale that could bear listeners. But his lawyer H. Candace Gorman is not allowed to tell it, she’s under court orders to keep mum. Even after details came through the foreign press, a judge ordered that Gorman remove two subsequent posts from The Guantanamo Blog which offered clarification. NMT learned from the Supreme Court Of the United States Blog (SCOTUSBLOG) that Gorman’s articles are still cached. Naturally we have reprinted them here.

Read them and become a state secret yourself.

Just kidding– the information is not ruled to be a state secret, only “protected,” whatever that means. Regardless that the information is already public, Ms. Gorman herself is not permitted to propagate it. You and I can divulge what we wish.

And divulge we must, I’m sure you’ll agree. Whether or not internet mirrors can be penalized, what is this sham of “protected” information? The concept defiles President Obama’s expressed objective of transparent government. This particular information shames our judicial system. Read it and judge for yourself.

You can keep up on Guantanamo attorney Candace Gorman’s latest efforts at gtmoblog.bogspot.com, but you won’t find these two posts: THE MUZZLE IS OFF, and THE MUZZLE IS BACK ON. I’ve also included the text of Judge John Bates’ gag order, and Ms. Gorman’s latest filing. Halfway down I will offer a summary, if you’re in a hurry.

November 17, 2009
THE MUZZLE IS OFF

In June of this year I received a call from a foreign reporter who asked if I could give her a profile of my client Al-Ghizzawi as he was on a list of men whom the US was looking for a new home and her country was considering accepting him. This was the first I had learned that Al-Ghizzawi had been “cleared” by the Obama review team for release. I gave her information about my client and for all I know a story was published about the plight of al-Ghizzawi at Guantanamo, his status as “cleared” and why he needed a country in Europe to take him.

A few days later an attorney from the justice department called to tell me that Al-Ghizzawi was cleared for release and we laughed about the fact that I already knew the information. However the laughing stopped when the attorney told me that the justice department had designated the information as “protected” and I could not tell anyone except my client and those people who had signed on to the protective order (a court document that outlines the procedures for the Guantanamo cases) about his status as “cleared for release.” I told the attorney that he could not declare something “protected” that was already in the public domain. To make a long story short we were not in agreement and the attorney filed an emergency motion with the judge to muzzle me. Despite the fact that the information was in the public domain I was muzzled by the good judge who apparently doesn’t believe that the constitution applies to me. I couldn’t even tell Mr. Al-Ghizzawi’s brother what I thought was good news (I didn’t know then that this was just another stall tactic by the justice department).

Not only was I muzzled but Mr. Al-Ghizzawi’s case was put on hold. The habeas hearing that we had been fighting to obtain literally for years was stayed by the judge despite the fact that the US Supreme Court held in June of 2008 that the men were entitled to swift hearings…. So much for the Supreme Court! The president asked the judges to stop the hearings for those men who were “cleared” for release and the judges have fallen into lockstep, shamefully abandoning their duties as judges.

A few months later when I visited Al-Ghizzawi (at the end of August) he had just received word from his wife that she could no longer wait for his release and she asked him if she would sign papers for a divorce. Bad news is an every day occurrence for Al-Ghizzawi and he was holding up well despite this latest blow.

When I returned from the base I asked the justice department to allow me to contact Al-Ghizzawi’s wife and tell her that he had been cleared for release. I hoped that if she knew he was to be released she would hang in there and not go through with the divorce. I was told they would get back to me. When they didn’t I asked again but they still would not give me the ok. In Court papers I pleaded with the judge to let me tell Al-Ghizzawi’s brother and wife, telling the judge about the wife’s request for a divorce, but the Judge, the same Judge who has apparently decided to ignore the supreme court’s directive for quick habeas hearings, ignored this plea as well.

I seriously thought about disobeying the order and trying to get word to Al-Ghizzawis’ wife and then taking whatever lumps were thrown my way….however, despite the fact that the judicial system has failed Al-Ghizzawi and most of the men at Guantanamo I could not bring myself to blatantly disobey a court order. For five months I have kept this information confidential despite the injustice to both my client, Mr. Al-Ghizzawi, and to what was our rule of law…. until yesterday, when the muzzle was lifted.

This is only part of the story. I will be writing more about this in the future and our friend the talking dog has more to say on this.

Click on the title for his take.

Meanwhile, if you hear from a habeas attorney that his or her case has been stayed you will know about the injustice that their client is continuing to suffer, you will know that the client has been cleared for release, that the attorney cannot discuss that fact and that the judge in that case has abandoned his or her duty to be a judge. You will also know that being cleared for release is just as meaningless as everything else that has been happening to these unfortunate men…. because being cleared for release means nothing.

And the follow-up:

Saturday, November 21, 2009
THE MUZZLE IS BACK ON

Fortunately for all of you….the muzzle only applies to me.

On Tuesday I reported that the Government finally allowed me to discuss matters that had previously been “protected” in regards to my client Al-Ghizzawi. In fact the Government unclassified and allowed for public release a Petition for Original Habeas Corpus that I filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. I released that Petition to the Public in accordance with the Government’s designation of “unclassified.” On Friday the Department of Justice (DOJ) told me that it had made a mistake and that it had apparently violated the Protective Order (an Order that sets out the rules for the DOJ and Habeas counsel in regards to the Guantanamo cases) entered in the case when it “unclassified” and allowed for public release information in the Petition that it wanted to “protect” and that therefore I must remove my post of November 17 because of the DOJ’s mistake. I explained to the DOJ attorneys that the Petition and my Post of November 17th were widely distributed and are available at various sites on the web… they do not seem to care about that ….they only care that I not report about what they are now trying to declare “protected information”…. 5 days after they unclassified the material and made it available for public release.

This is of course outrageous conduct by the DOJ…. in trying to declare something as “protected” after being clearly designated and distributed to the public but what else is new? For those of you who either remember my November 17th post or have it available on your website…. I originally learned of the so called “Protected” information from a public source and the Judge in Al-Ghizzawi’s case still ruled that I could not discuss it. Anyway, later this weekend I will try to provide all of the links that I can find from other sources who properly reported on the petition and my saga regarding it…. for now I am leaving you with these two links…. here and here as I happen to have these easily available.

I also expect several websites and other media outlets to be reporting on this and making the petition available at their websites because they received it from me back when I was allowed to distribute it or otherwise obtained it on the internet. I also provided interviews earlier this week and I expect that those will soon be available too. If any of you have time out there to find some of the websites where this story and petition are published please feel free to provide a link…or if you see it pop up on websites in the coming weeks please provide those links as well.

This is not the end of this story. Under the Protective Order the Government must actually get the Judge’s permission to retroactively keep me (and only me) from publishing and discussion the information that the Government now seeks to “Protect.” The DOJ will have to file a document with the Court explaining why this now very public information should be “protected.” Ultimately it will be the Judge’s decision. If you do not see my post back up that will mean that the Judge agreed with the Government, that I alone cannot talk about those things that you are privy to discuss.

I will just add…. this is just another day in the life of being a habeas counsel.

Are you looking for a summary? Mr. Al-Ghizzawi is among the Guantanamo inmates who have been “cleared for release.” Foreign governments know this, as well as the foreign press. But officially the status is “protected information.” Meanwhile, probably among other tragic developments, Al-Ghizzawi’s wife is seeking a divorce based on her impression that her husband will never be released. And attorney Gorman is forbidden to tell her she knows otherwise.

Except, that being “cleared for release” now has turned out to mean a worse limbo than before. It means all legal motions are suspended, pending a government action that is not forthcoming. Thus Mrs. Al-Ghizzawi’s prediction may be more accurate than the lawyer’s, that her husband is nowhere closer to being released.

And Judge Bates may understand this too.

Below is the Judge’s gag order:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

ABDUL HAMID AL-GHIZZAWI,
Petitioner,
v.
GEORGE W. BUSH, et al.,
Respondents.

Civil Action No. 05-2378 (JDB)

ORDER

Before the Court is [277] respondents’ emergency motion to enforce the protective orders in this case, which was filed yesterday. Respondents ask the Court to order petitioner’s counsel to remove an article from her website that respondents contend reveals protected information. See Resp’ts’ Mot. to Enforce the Protective Orders [Docket Entry 273], at 1. They also request that the Court direct petitioner’s counsel “not to further disseminate ‘protected’ information.” Id. For her part, petitioner’s counsel asserts that the information she posted on her website and used in the article was disclosed by the government before the present dispute. See Pet’r’s Opp’n to Respt’ts’ Mot. [Docket Entry 274], at 5. Accordingly, she offers, “it is an extraordinarily odd situation to permit everyone else in the world to discuss this matter except counsel.” Id. She also suggests that this Court has no jurisdiction to address a filing made in the Supreme Court in petitioner’s original habeas corpus proceeding. See Pet’r’s Supplemental Resp. to Resp’ts’ Mot. [Docket Entry 276], at 2-3.

Petitioner’s counsel is bound by the various protective orders in this case, whether or not any “protected” information is now available on the internet. Here, despite its apparent inadvertent disclosure, the disputed information remains “protected” material. And accordingly, petitioner’s counsel is precluded from disclosing it. Therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED that respondents’ motion is GRANTED pending further order of the Court; it is further

ORDERED that petitioner’s counsel shall remove the article entitled “The Muzzle is Back On” from her website because it contains “protected” information and derivative material; it is further

ORDERED that petitioner’s counsel shall not disclose “protected” information and information or documents derived from “protected” information as defined by the protective orders in this case; and it is further

ORDERED that the parties may file supplemental memoranda, limited to fifteen (15) pages, addressing this matter by not later than December 7, 2009.

SO ORDERED.

/s/
JOHN D. BATES
United States District Judge

Dated: November 25, 2009

And Gorman’s filing of Nov 25:

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

ABDUL HAMID AL-GHIZZAWI
Prisoner, Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba;
Petitioner,

v.

Barack Obama, et. al.
Respondents.
)

RESPONSE
motion to
No. 05 cv 2378 (JDB)

PETITIONERS SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO THE GOVERNMENT’S MOTION FILED UNDER SEAL

Petitioner Abdul Hamid Al-Ghizzawi (“Petitioner” or “Al-Ghizzawi”) hereby supplements her Response to the Governments Motion under seal as follows:

On November 24th, 2009 Counsel for Petitioner filed a Response to a Motion by the Government despite the fact that she had not actually seen the Motion. Counsel did this because of her well reasoned concern that the Government would wait as long as possible to send Counsel the actual Motion (it was emailed to her 1 ½ hours after the notice went out and one hour after she emailed counsel for a copy) and that it would not fully address all of the facts (as is shown by the Motion). Counsel was preparing and did leave for a family gathering prior to receiving the actual Motion by email. After Filing that Response the Government filed a subsequent “notice of classified filing” and according to an email from the Court Security Office that Motion is entitled “Supplemental Memorandum.” Counsel for Petitioner does not have access to that document, which awaits her at the Secure Facility, has no idea of its contents and is therefore not addressing anything that might be in that supplemental memorandum related to the issues herein.

The issue that Counsel seeks to address herein is surprisingly not addressed by the Government in its Motion and that is the jurisdiction of the District Court to address issues raised in Petitioner’s Supreme Court filing. Counsel does not have the answer to this question although she spent some time on the question over the past few days and had hoped that the Government would explain in its Motion how the District Court could provide a remedy to an issue that occurred in a Supreme Court filing. In essence what the Government is asking this Court to do is to apply district court orders to a Supreme Court case. The Government should have the burden of establishing the District Court’s jurisdiction in this uniquely extraordinary circumstance of attempting to have the District Court enjoin the Supreme Court- As it – as it was the in the United States Supreme Court itself where this document was unsealed. As the Government noted in its Motion, the Petition for Original Habeas Corpus was filed in the Supreme Court on October 2, 2009. Petitioner filed the document under seal. The Government then reviewed the Petition and notified counsel and the Supreme Court that the Petition was declassified for public release. A copy of the Petition was attached to the notice by the Government that noted on each and every page that the document was “declassified for public release.” The history of that document after it was cleared is fully set out in Petitioner’s Response. When the Government later decided that it did not want certain of the information in the Petition released to the public instead of seeking relief from the Supreme Court, where the now declassified petition was filed, it instead has come back to the District Court for relief.

When Counsel for Petitioner filed her original habeas case she simultaneously filed a motion with the Supreme Court to ask that the Petition be filed under seal and it was the Supreme Court that sought a declassified version of the Petition for public filing. Counsel for Petitioner believes that the proper course of action that the Government should have taken would have been to file a Motion with the Supreme Court asking to retroactively “protect” certain information that it “declassified for public release” and which it then later determined it wanted to protect.

Wherefore, for the reasons stated in Petitioners original response and this Supplement Counsel asks this Court to deny the Government’s “emergency” Motion.

Respectfully Submitted,

November 25, 2009

/s/
H. Candace Gorman
Counsel for Petitioner

Law Office of H. Candace Gorman
H. Candace Gorman (IL Bar #6184278)

Another ACORN thought…

DumFox Noose and their Demented Minions (selectively) Strike Again!?
 
Now, I used to work for ACORN. Twice. Once in Texas and registering votes in 2004.?

Since Fox “investigators” tried many times to set-up the ACORN people before finding ONE who would bite, it jogged the ol’ Memory Cache and out popped this notion… ACORN does NOT do background checks on their workers. This is NOT a bad thing. The Pentagon does background checks and look who they hired… George Bush for instance. General Betrays-Us. Lt Calley. Ronald Reagan and John Wayne (to do Pro-War propaganda films). ?All the Torturers at Gitmo, Khandahar, Bagram and Abu Ghraib. “Civilian Contractors” in Egypt and a few rather unsavory NATO countries…

On the other hand, What If DumFox Instigators (my what a difference three little letters makes!), tiring of their attempts to get somebody, anybody, to give them the “goods”, what if they simply had one of their people planted in ACORN?

I mean, it’s not like they’re ABOVE dishonesty in any way.

They lie, steal, cheat, blaspheme and (get other people to) Murder (for them because it violates their Cowardice Policy to do it themselves) all day every day.

Let’s Investigate the Instigators. Who are they, what exact methods did they use to attack ACORN and by association, every decent person in America? Meaning, those of us who don’t take orders from Rupert Murdoch and his Ministry of Lies.

ACORN doesn’t need defending, Fox needs being ATTACKED, using their rules, just not their Lying Tactics.

Military drones mirror public retreat

CLOSE GUANTANAMO is being interpreted literally, meaning close just the facility, but move the detainees to illegal incarceration elsewhere. Likewise, BRING THE TROOPS HOME means pacing a withdrawal with an increased deployment of military drones to keep up the killing. That’s what the antiwar voice gets for pandering to the American preoccupation with only our own casualties. The latest Adbusters juxtaposes these surrogate killing machines with the western public’s retreat into virtual communities.

Pblks‘ Douglas Haddow had this to say in the latest issue, about the increasing use of surveillance attack drones, while the US withdraws “troops” from its militarized war zones.

…when we remove the humans from the equation — when war becomes literally inhuman — what’s left to debate? War crimes will become guiltless: a mere twisting of knobs. Slowly, with each OS update, innocent casualties will be curbed to an acceptable level. The Marine will be replaced by the computer programmer — a meek nerd so far from the action as to be absolved completely of its consequences.

With robots off fighting our wars for us, we’ll have nothing left to do but quietly sip our lattes and liten to our iPods. While somewhere, far off in the distance, a drone may or may not be dropping 50kg units of hellfire on some yet-to-be-named combatants. It’s not even post moral … it’s a Zen algorithm that melts steel.

This is a strange indicator of our retreat into the virtual when you consider that our so-called enemies are willing to sacrifice everything, their own bodies and very existence for a chance to kill one or two of our soldiers. We see their tactics as irrational, and they see us perhaps as we already are: machines.

Yes we can, host the 2016 Olympics

Obama Epcea Now Mr-FishPresident Obama came into office with quite a checklist:
Stop war-making,
Close Guantanamo,
End renditions/torture,
Rescind the Patriot Act,
Restore the rule of law,
Address global warming,
Reform US health care,
Re-regulate bankers,
Talk to Iran, and doubtless many other items, including
Secure the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.
 
Are his handlers staking the measure of his success on the last one?

US soldiers in Cuba before Guantanamo

Life magazine cover showing US marines waterboardingWould you believe this is an issue of Life Magazine dated May 22, 1902? That’s water boarding! How is it that US military spokesmen now pretend our forces learned waterboarding from Korean prisons?
 
The cartoon on its cover depicts US marines waterboarding a captive in their effort to pacify the Cubans they’d just “liberated” from the Spanish. Watching in the background are the traditional western colonizers, often criticized by us for the brutality with which they repressed their foreign territories.

Between them, the Prussian tells the Brit:

“THOSE PIOUS YANKEES CAN’T THROW STONES AT US ANY MORE.”

Cartoons of US soldiers waterboarding a Cuban rebelThere it is in closeup. The arms bound at the elbows, the hands pinned, pressure applied to the stomach, a gun held to the poor Cuban’s head, a funnel put into his mouth, and water poured from a bucket marked “U.S. ARMY.”

Rock Creek Free Press available in COS

The Rock Creek Free Press is available online, but if you want it in print, the DC monthly is available in Colorado Springs at the Bookman, 3163 W. Colorado. The September issue features a speech given by legendary Australian journalist John Pilger on July 4th in San Francisco.

Here’s the RCFP transcript:

Two years ago I spoke at “Socialism in Chicago” about an invisible government which is a term used by Edward Bernays, one the founders of modern propaganda. It was Bernays, who in the 1920s invented public relations as a euphemism for propaganda. And it was Bernays, deploying the ideas of his uncle Sigmund Freud, who campaigned on behalf of the tobacco industry for women to take up smoking as an act of feminist liberation calling cigarettes “tortures of freedom”. At the same time he was involved in the disinformation which was critical in overthrowing the Arbenz government in Guatemala. So you have the association of cigarettes and regime change. The invisible government that Bernays had in mind brought together all media: PR, the press, broadcasting, advertising and their power of branding and image making. In other words, disinformation.

And I suppose I would like to talk today about this invisible government’s most recent achievement, the rise of Barrack Obama and the silencing of much of the left. But all of this has a history, of course and I’d like to go back, take you back some forty years to a sultry and, for me, very memorable day in Viet Nam.

I was a young war correspondent who had just arrived in a village in the Central Highlands called Tuylon. My assignment was to write about a unit of US Marines who had been sent to the village to win hearts and minds. “My orders,” said the Marine Sergeant, “are to sell the American way of liberty, as stated in the Pacification Handbook, this is designed to win the hearts and minds of folks as stated on page 86.” Now, page 86 was headed in capital letters: WHAM (winning hearts and minds). The Marine Unit was a combined action company which explained the Sergeant, meant, “We attack these folks on Mondays and we win their hearts and minds on Tuesdays.” He was joking, of course, but not quite.

The Sergeant, who didn’t speak Vietnamese, had arrived in the village, stood up on a Jeep and said through a bullhorn: “Come on out everybody we’ve got rice and candies and toothbrushes to give you.” This was greeted by silence. “Now listen, either you gooks come on out or we’re going to come right in there and get you!” Now the people of Tuylon finally came out and they stood in line to receive packets of Uncle Ben’s Miracle Rice, Hershey Bars, party balloons, and several thousand toothbrushes. Three portable, battery operated, yellow, flush lavatories were held back for the arrival of the colonel.

And when the colonel arrived that evening, the district chief was summoned and the yellow, flush lavatories unveiled. The colonel cleared his throat and took out a handwritten speech,

“Mr. District Chief and all you nice people,” said the colonel, “what these gifts represent is more than the sum of their parts, they carry the spirit of America. Ladies and gentlemen there’s no place on Earth like America, it’s the land where miracles happen, it’s a guiding light for me and for you. In America, you see, we count ourselves as real lucky as having the greatest democracy the world has ever known and we want you nice people to share in our good fortune.”

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, even John Winthrope sitting upon a hill got a mention. All that was missing was the Star Bangled Banner playing softly in the background. Of course the villagers had no idea what the colonel was talking about, but when the Marines clapped, they clapped. And when the colonel waved, the children waved. And when he departed the colonel shook the Sergeant’s hand and said: “We’ve got plenty of hearts and minds here, carry on Sergeant.” “Yes Sir.” In Viet Nam I witnessed many scenes like that.

I’d grown up in faraway Australia on a cinematic diet of John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Walt Disney, and Ronald Reagan. The American way of liberty they portrayed might well have been lifted from the WHAM handbook. I’d learned that the United States had won World War II on its own and now led the free world as the chosen society. It was only later when I read Walter Lippmann’s book, Public Opinion, a manual of the invisible government, that I began to understand the power of emotions attached to false ideas and bad histories on a grand scale.

Now, historians call this exceptionalism, the notion that the United States has a divine right to bring what it calls “liberty” to the rest of humanity. Of course this is a very old refrain. The French and British created and celebrated their own civilizing missions while imposing colonial regimes that denied basic civil liberties. However, the power of the American message was, and remains, different. Whereas the Europeans were proud imperialists, Americans are trained to deny their imperialism. As Mexico was conquered and the Marines sent to Nicaragua, American textbooks referred to an Age of Innocence. American motives were always well meaning, moral, exceptional, as the colonel said, “There was no ideology” and that’s still the case.

Americanism is an ideology that is unique because its main feature is its denial that it is an ideology. It’s both conservative and it’s liberal. And it’s right and it’s left. And Barack Obama is its embodiment. Since Obama was elected leading liberals have talked about America returning to its true status as, “a nation of moral ideals”. Those are the words of Paul Krugman, the liberal columnist of The New York Times. In the San Francisco Chronicle, columnist Mark Morford wrote,

“Spiritually advanced people regard the new president as a light worker who can help usher in a new way of being on the planet.”

Tell that to an Afghan child whose family has been blown away by Obama’s bombs. Or a Pakistani child whose house has been visited by one of Obama’s drones. Or a Palestinian child surveying the carnage in Gaza caused by American “smart” weapons, which, disclosed Seymour Hersh, were re-supplied to Israel for use in the slaughter, and I quote; “Only after the Obama team let if be known, it would not object.” The man who stayed silent on Gaza is the man who now condemns Iran.

In a sense, Obama is the myth that is America’s last taboo. His most consistent theme was never “change”, it was power. “The United States,” he said, “leads the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. We must lead by building a 21st century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people.” And there is this remarkable statement, “At moments of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world; that we stood and fought for the freedoms sought by billions of people beyond our borders.” Words like these remind me of the colonel in the village in Viet Nam, as he spun much the same nonsense.

Since 1945, by deed and by example, to use Obama’s words, America has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, and crushed some 30 liberation movements and bombed countless men, women, and children to death. I’m grateful to Bill Blum for his cataloging of that. And yet, here is the 45th (sic) president of the United States having stacked his government with war mongers and corporate fraudsters and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, promising, not only more of the same, but a whole new war in Pakistan. Justified by the murderous clichés of Hilary Clinton, clichés like, “high value targets”. Within three days of his inauguration, Obama was ordering the death of people in faraway countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan. And yet, the peace movement, it seems, is prepared to look the other way and believe that the cool Obama will restore, as Krugman wrote, “the nation of moral ideals.”

Not long ago, I visited the American Museum of History in the celebrated Smithsonian Institute in Washington. One of the most popular exhibitions was called “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War”. It was holiday time and lines of happy people, including many children, shuffled through a Santa’s grotto of war and conquest. When messages about their nation’s great mission were lit up; these included tributes to the; “…exceptional Americans who saved a million lives…” in Viet Nam; where they were, “…determined to stop Communist expansion.” In Iraq other brave Americans, “employed air-strikes of unprecedented precision.” What was shocking was not so much the revisionism of two of the epic crimes of modern times, but the shear scale of omission.

Like all US presidents, Bush and Obama have very much in common. The wars of both presidents and the wars of Clinton and Reagan, Carter and Ford, Nixon and Kennedy are justified by the enduring myth of exceptional America. A myth the late Harold Pinter described as, “a brilliant, witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

The clever young man who recently made it to the White House is a very fine hypnotist; partly because it is indeed extraordinary to see an African American at the pinnacle of power in the land of slavery. However, this is the 21st century and race together with gender, and even class, can be very seductive tools of propaganda. For what is so often overlooked and what matters, I believe above all, is the class one serves. George Bush’s inner circle from the State Department to the Supreme Court was perhaps the most multi-racial in presidential history. It was PC par excellence. Think Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell. It was also the most reactionary. Obama’s very presence in the White House appears to reaffirm the moral nation. He’s a marketing dream. But like Calvin Klein or Benetton, he’s a brand that promises something special, something exciting, almost risqué. As if he might be radical. As if he might enact change. He makes people feel good; he’s a post-modern man with no political baggage. And all that’s fake.

In his book, Dreams From My Father, Obama refers to the job he took after he graduated from Columbia in 1983; he describes his employer as, “…a consulting house to multi-national corporations.” For some reason he doesn’t say who his employer was or what he did there. The employer was Business International Corporation; which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA with covert action and infiltrating unions from the left. I know this because it was especially active in my own country, Australia. Obama doesn’t say what he did at Business International and they may be absolutely nothing sinister. But it seems worthy of inquiry, and debate, as a clue to, perhaps, who the man is.

During his brief period in the senate, Obama voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He voted for the Patriot Act. He refused to support a bill for single payer health care. He supported the death penalty. As a presidential candidate he received more corporate backing than John McCain. He promised to close Guantanamo as a priority, but instead he has excused torture, reinstated military commissions, kept the Bush gulag intact, and opposed habeas corpus.

Daniel Ellsberg, the great whistleblower, was right, I believe, when he said, that under Bush a military coup had taken place in the United States giving the Pentagon unprecedented powers. These powers have been reinforced by the presence of Robert Gates – a Bush family crony and George W. Bush’s powerful Secretary of Defense. And by all the Bush Pentagon officials and generals who have kept their jobs under Obama.

In the middle of a recession, with millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes, Obama has increased the military budget. In Colombia he is planning to spend 46 million dollars on a new military base that will support a regime backed by death squads and further the tragic history of Washington’s intervention in that region.

In a pseudo-event in Prague, Obama promised a world without nuclear weapons to a global audience, mostly unaware that America is building new tactical nuclear weapons designed to blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war. Like George Bush, he used the absurdity of Europe threatened by Iran to justify building a missile system aimed at Russia and China. In another pseudo-event, at the Annapolis Naval Academy, decked with flags and uniforms, Obama lied that America had gone to Iraq to bring freedom to that country. He announced that the troops were coming home. This was another deception. The head of the army, General George Casey says, with some authority, that America will be in Iraq for up to a decade. Other generals say fifteen years.

Chris Hedges, the very fine author of Empire of Illusion, puts it very well; “President Obama,” he wrote, “does one thing and brand Obama gets you to believe another.” This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they make you feel. And so you are kept in a perpetual state of childishness. He calls this “junk politics”.

But I think the real tragedy is that Obama, the brand, appears to have crippled or absorbed much of the anti-war movement – the peace movement. Out of 256 Democrats in Congress; 30, just 30, are willing to stand up against Obama’s and Nancy Pelosi’s war party. On June the 16th they voted for 106 billion dollars for more war.

The “Out of Iraq” caucus is out of action. Its member can’t even come up with a form of words of why they are silent. On March the 21st, a demonstration at the Pentagon by the once mighty United for Peace and Justice drew only a few thousand. The out-going president of UFPJ, Lesley Kagen, says her people aren’t turning up because, “It’s enough for many of them that Obama has a plan to end the war and that things are moving in the right direction.” And where is the mighty Move On, these days? Where is its campaign against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? And what, exactly, was said when Move On’s executive director, Jason Ruben, met Barack Obama at the White House in February?

Yes, a lot of good people mobilized for Obama. But what did they demand of him? Working to elect the Democratic presidential candidate may seem like activism, but it isn’t. Activism doesn’t give up. Activism doesn’t fall silent. Activism doesn’t rely on the opiate of hope. Woody Allen once said, “I felt a lot better when I gave up hope.” Real activism has little time for identity politics which like exceptionalism, can be fake. These are distractions that confuse and sucker good people. And not only in the United States, I can assure you.

I write for the Italian socialist newspaper, Il Manifesto, or rather I used to write for it. In February I sent the editor an article which raised questions about Obama as a progressive force. The article was rejected. Why, I asked? “For the moment,” wrote the editor, “we prefer to maintain a more positive approach to the novelty presented by Obama. We will take on specific issues, but we would not like to say that he will make no difference.” In other words, an American president drafted to promote the most rapacious system in history, is ordained and depoliticized by important sections of the left. It’s a remarkable situation. Remarkable, because those on the, so called, Radical Left have never been more aware, more conscious of the inequities of power. The Green Movement, for example, has raised the consciousness of millions, so that almost every child knows something about global warming. And yet, there seems to be a resistance, within the Green Movement, to the notion of power as a military force, a military project. And perhaps similar observations can also be made about sections of the Feminist Movement and the Gay Movement and certainly the Union Movement.

One of my favorite quotations is from Milan Kundera,

“The struggle of people against power is [the] struggle of memory against forgetting.”

We should never forget that the primary goal of great power is to distract and limit our natural desire for social justice and equity and real democracy.

Long ago Edward Bernays’ invisible government of propaganda elevated big business from its unpopular status as a kind of mafia to that of a patriotic driving force. The “American way of life” began as an advertising slogan. The modern image of Santa Claus was an invention of Coca Cola.

Today we are presented with an extraordinary opportunity. Thanks to the crash of Wall Street and the revelation, for many ordinary people, that the free market has nothing to do with freedom. The opportunity, within our grasp, is to recognize that something is stirring in America that is unfamiliar, perhaps, to many of us on the left, but is related to a great popular movement that’s growing all over the world. Look down at Latin America, less than twenty years ago there was the usual despair, the usual divisions of poverty and freedom, the usual thugs in uniforms running unspeakable regimes. Today for the first time perhaps in 500 years there’s a people’s movement based on the revival of indigenous cultures and language, a genuine populism. The recent amazing achievements in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay represent a struggle for community and political rights that is truly historic, with implications for all of us. The successes in Latin America are expressed perversely in the recent overthrow of the government of Honduras, because the smaller the country, the greater is the threat of a good example that the disease of emancipation will spread.

Indeed, right across the world social movements and grass roots organization have emerged to fight free market dogma. They’ve educated governments in the south that food for export is a problem, rather than a solution to global poverty. They’ve politicized ordinary people to stand up for their rights, as in the Philippines and South Africa. Look at the remarkable boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign, BDS, for short, aimed at Israel that’s sweeping the world. Israeli ships have been turned away from South Africa and Western Australia. A French company has been forced to abandon plans to build a railway connecting Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli sporting bodies find themselves isolated. Universities in the United Kingdom have begun to sever ties with Israel. This is how apartheid South Africa was defeated. And this is how the great wind of the 1960s began to blow. And this is how every gain has been won: the end of slavery, universal suffrage, workers rights, civil rights, environmental protection, the list goes on and on.

And that brings us back, here, to the United States, because I believe something is stirring in this country. Are we aware, that in the last eight months millions of angry e-mails, sent by ordinary Americans, have flooded Washington. And I mean millions. People are outright outraged that their lives are attacked; they bear no resemblance to the passive mass presented by the media. Look at the polls; more than 2/3 of Americans say the government should care for those who cannot care for themselves, sixty-four percent would pay higher taxes to guarantee health care for everyone, sixty percent are favorable towards Unions, seventy percent want nuclear disarmament, seventy-two percent want the US completely out of Iraq and so on and so on. But where is much of the left? Where is the social justice movement? Where is the peace movement? Where is the civil rights movement? Ordinary Americans, for too long, have been misrepresented by stereotypes that are contemptuous. James Madison referred to his compatriots in the public as ignorant and meddlesome outsiders. And this contempt is probably as strong today, among the elite, as it was back then. That’s why the progressive attitudes of the public are seldom reported in the media, because they’re not ignorant, they’re subversive, they’re informed and they’re even anti-American. I once asked a friend, the great American war correspondent and humanitarian, Martha Gellhorn, to explain the term “anti-American” to me. “I’ll tell you what anti-American is,” she said in her forceful way, “its what governments and their vested interests call those who honor America by objecting to war and the theft of resources and believing in all of humanity. There are millions of these anti-Americans in the United States, they are ordinary people who belong to no elite and who judge their government in moral terms though they would call it common decency. They are not vain; they are the people with a waitful conscience, the best of America’s citizens. Sure, they disappear from view now and then, but they are like seeds beneath the snow. I would say they are truly exceptional.” Truly exceptional, I like that.

My own guess is that a populism is growing, once again in America evoking a powerful force beneath the surface which has a proud history. From such authentic grass roots Americanism came women suffrage, the eight hour day, graduated income tax, public ownership of railways and communications, the breaking of the power of corporate lobbyists and much more. In other words, real democracy. The American populists were far from perfect, but they often spoke for ordinary people and they were betrayed by leaders who urged them to compromise and merge with the Democratic Party. That was long ago, but how familiar it sounds. My guess is that something is coming again. The signs are there. Noam Chomsky is right when he says that, “Mere sparks can ignite a popular movement that may seem dormant.” No one predicted 1968, no one predicted the fall of apartheid, or the Berlin Wall, or the civil rights movement, or the great Latino rising of a few years ago.

I suggest that we take Woody Allen’s advice and give up on hope and listen, instead, to voices from below. What Obama and the bankers and the generals and the IMF and the CIA and CNN and BBC fear, is ordinary people coming together and acting together. It’s a fear as old as democracy, a fear that suddenly people convert their anger to action as they’ve done so often throughout history.

“At a time of universal deceit,” wrote George Orwell, “telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Thank you.

There is no License to Kill

“Licensed to Kill” was an Ian Fleming invention. His friend Richard Meinertzhagen dropped Fleming’s phrase for guests to infer he was a secret agent. RM’s routine of arriving at diner parties with a smoking gun reinforced whispers that he had been the inspiration for James Bond. Meinertzhagen turned out to be a flake, but the authority to play god is still coveted by espionage idolators. Federal statutes prohibit identifying covert CIA operatives, regardless what they’ve done. Is that the same thing? A mythical supra legem indemnity? Sorry Virginia, nemo est.

Okay, some today are above the law, notable examples being Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woo, et al. The jury is still out on who will atone for the Bush Co crimes. But should the Neocon exemption cover assassination squads and torturers too?

The US Department of Justice is up in arms -Fox News probably more than anybody- having learned that defense lawyers for terrorist suspects in US custody, have shown their clients photographs of CIA and private contractor interrogators, to learn which of them might have engaged in harsh techniques defined by the rest of the world as torture.

The John Adams Project, run jointly by the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is an effort to document the US torture in Guantanamo and our secret prisons around the globe. The ACLU assures all indignant patriots that asking the detainees to identify their torturers is completely legal.

Researchers for the project have been snapping pictures outside the homes of retired and active, CIA and intelligence industry interrogators. No names have been released except Deuce Martinez, who’d already been outed by the NYT. Martinez was the agent responsible for interrogating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, although accounts soft-pedal his participation in the harsher techniques.

That’s the pattern of exposes about torture, those named always claim to have left the room. A remarkably similar motif accompanied the account of CIA interrogator John Kiriakou.

Two well-known names were doctors who attended to the tortured, later opening a consulting firm to train CIA interrogators.
Dr. Jim Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen specialized in maximizing harsh interrogation, and making sure the victim didn’t die.

The defense lawyers have circulated the photographs of 60 suspected perpetrators, but have named only Martinez so far. How are torturers and murderers to be brought to justice, if they are not unmasked?

Can Clinton charm Obama into freeing civilians falsely accused in Guantanamo?

You’d think the international community could have thought to do it. Ambassadorship 101: send convivial fat man to make entreaties. The US has enjoyed outrageous success springing its non-combatant innocent- trespasser media-propagandists from Iran and North Korea. The so-called axes of evil have granted special pardons to accommodate air-brained Americans, lest our public opinion start crying for blood. Evil has more grace than the US has shown for its innocent detainees in Guantanamo, which it force-feeds through hunger-strikes as they protest indefinite and wrongful internment. But when our enemies release their captives, we call it saving face.

Now of course Iran is faced with the capture of three more itinerants, hikers Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal. And lo, Bauer is now revealed to be a journalist for New American Media. Easily confused with Laura Ling and Euna Lee’s “Current Media LLC?”

[UPDATE 1: NOW TWO of the hikers are known to be journalists, having reported about Genocide in Darfur and the Golan Heights, among other US State Dept approved stories.
UPDATE 2: NOW media mouthpieces are expressing fears that delicate information carried by Laura Ling and Euna Lee about North Korea escape routes was uncovered by their NK captors. Meaning… uh, Ling and Lee were actually working against NK interests after all?]

The three –how improbable– Berkeley grads were apprehended where the US military has long admitted to be operating special forces. Are we to expect that all US commandos do not have a media-ready cover? What are the Delta Forces but American recreation nuts, crazy for outdoor hardship and manly games with knives and balaclavas?

Only Burma stand obstinate, determined that Mormon-playing-idiot John Yettaw, is more a bumbling Hasenfus than an Aung San Suu Kyi groupie. The bumbling, epileptic ideologue archetype serves America well when its intelligence agents are apprehended. Was Yettaw trying to spring Suu Kyi, or was he there to trip the wires and send the iconic freedom worker to prison?

Afghan Taliban set high POW standard

Army private bowe bergdahlThere it is. The Afghans have captured a POW, we’ve been sent his image in RGB with a personal message to the American public. US military spokesmen are calling the video a violation of the laws of war. Secretary of State Clinton is calling it “just outrageous and a real sign of desperation and inappropriate criminal behavior.” She’s probably right about the desperation. But showing no signs of nudity, degradation, brutalization or rigor mortis, Army Private Bergdahl is faring better than any US detainee.

And think of the example we’ve set for the Taliban. Bagram AFB, and other unlisted US detention centers in Afghanistan, are purportedly even worse than Club Guantanamo. What happened in 2001 to Taliban forces who surrendered to the Northern Alliance is still trying to come to light, despite a desperate US cover-up. You’ve heard it by now, although the graves have been moved, the shell casings disappeared, and the witnesses killed. Over two thousand Afghan POWs were suffocated in shipping containers, those who survived were finished off by US special forces as they hastily emptied the containers at Dasht-e Leili.

Problem solving by U.S. assassination

Word is out, confirming Seymore Hersh’s alarming report of last year, about the Cheney/Bush special forces tasked with assassinating terrorism suspects. Where others do it, such paramilitary raids are called “death squads.” While their existence is being admitted, Congress is upset they weren’t told sooner about the extra-judicial homicide plans. But didn’t President Bush put us all on notice in his 2006 State of the Union Address? What did you think he was snickering about when he said:
 
“All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.”

George Bush received an ovation from both sides of the aisle with that punch line. From the same politicians who are insisting they didn’t know the US was killing whoever they couldn’t imprison. The same Democrats and Republicans who are eager to report that the nefarious Bushco devices –being pinned on Dick Cheney– thankfully never went operational.

And we don’t have secret prisons. And we don’t torture.

President Obama is closing Guantanamo Prison. As soon as we figure out where to incarcerate its every last detainee.

No. 1 domestic terrorist Daniel McGowan

The Huffington Post published a letter by ELF/ALF political prisoner Daniel McGowan, who is allowed to send one letter per week from CMU36, the controversial “Communication Management Unit” whose cover-name is USP Marion. According to McGowan, prison guards call it the “I Unit,” which probably does not stand for illegal.

As of May 2009, I have been at USP Marion’s “Communication Management Unit,” or CMU, for roughly nine months and now is a good time to address the misconceptions (and the silence) regarding this unit. I want to offer a snapshot of my day-to-day life here as well as some analysis of what the existence of CMUs in the federal prison system implies. It is my hope that this article will partially fill the void of information that exists concerning the CMU, will help dispel rumors, and will inspire you to support those of us on the inside fighting the existence of these isolation units — in the courts and in the realm of public opinion.

It is best to start from the beginning — or at least where my story and the CMU meet. My transfer here is no different from that of many of the men here who were living at Federal Correctional Institutions (normal prisons) prior to the genesis of the CMUs. On May 12, 2008, on my way back from a decent lunch, I was told to report to “R&D” (receiving and discharge). I was given two boxes and half an hour to pack up my meager possessions. After complying I was placed in the SHU (secure housing unit or “hole”) and put on a bus the next day. There was no hearing and no information given to me or my attorneys — only after a day was I told I was on my way to Marion, Illinois’ CMU.

Hearing the term “CMU” made my knees buckle as it drummed up some memory I had of the infamous “control units” at Marion (closed in 1995 and replaced by Florence ADX: the lone Federal “Supermax” prison). Then it hit me. The lawyers, in challenging the application of the terrorist enhancement in my case, made the prescient argument that if I receive the enhancement, the Bureau of Prisons (BoP) would use that to place me in the CMU at FCI Terre Haute, Indiana (at the time just 5 months old). In fact, on the way to FCI Sandstone in August 2007, I not only saw the CMU but met one of its residents while in transit. Let me back up and offer a brief history of the Communication Management Units.

The CMU I reside in, at USP Marion, received its first prisoner in May 2008 and when I arrived, held about 17 men, the majority of whom were Muslim. Currently, the unit has 25, with a capacity of 52 cells. In April 2009, we received seven new people, all of whom were from the CMU at FCI Terre Haute. The unit is overwhelmingly Muslim with 18 men identifying as such. Most, but not all of the prison, have so-called terrorism cases. According to a BoP spokesperson, the unit “will not be limited to inmates convicted of terrorism-related cases through all of the prisoners fit that description.” Others have prison disciplinary violation or allegations related to communication and the misuse of telephones etc. Here, almost everyone has a terrorism related case — whether it is like my case (destruction of property characterized as “domestic terrorism”) or conspiracy and “providing material aid” cases.

Before the Marion CMU opened, there was the original CMU, opened in December 2006 at the former death row at FCI Terre Haute. According to early articles, the unit was intended for “second tier terrorism inmates, most of them Arab Muslims and a less restrictive version of the Supermax in Florence, Colorado.”

Additionally, BoP Director Harley Lappin, in a July 2008 hearing on the 2009 BoP budget request, said of the CMUs, “A lot of the more serious offenders, terrorists, were housed at ADX Florence. So, we are ramping up two communications management units that are less restrictive but will ensure that all mail and phone calls of the offenders are monitored on a daily basis.”

Terre Haute’s CMU has 36 men (27 of whom are Muslim) and is roughly comparable to Marion’s CMU. The rest of this place focuses on the latter, in which I have resided and of which I have seen firsthand.

You may be curious about just what a CMU actually is. From my correspondence, I can tell that many correspondents do not know much about what goes on here. I hope this can clear up any misperceptions. According to the BoP,

The CMU is [sic] established to house inmates who, due to their current offense of conviction, offense conduct or other verified information, require increased monitoring of communication between inmates and persons in the community in order to protect the safety, security, and orderly operations of Bureau facilities and protect the public…The CMU is a self-contained general population housing unit.

There are, of course, alternate views to the above definition including the belief that the CMUs are Muslim units, a political prisoner unit (similar to the HSU operated by the BoP in the 80’s, and a punishment unit.

The CMUs have an extremely high Muslim population; here at Marion, it is 65-75%. An overrepresentation of any one demographic in a prison raises constitutional issues of equal protection as well as safety issues. Nowhere in the BoP will you find any group represented in such extreme disproportion. To counter these claims, the BoP brought in a small number of non-Muslims to be used as proof that the units are not strictly Muslim (an interesting note is that some of the Muslim men here have cases unrelated to terrorism). Does the inclusion of six people that are non-Muslim really negate the claim of segregation though? What are the criteria for determining who comes to the CMU? The BoP claims there are 211 international terrorists (and 1000 domestic terrorists) in their system. Yet, the CMUs have no more than 60 men at the present time. Where are the rest of these people? How does the BOP determine who of those 1200 are sent to a CMU and who to normal prisons? These are questions that need to be asked — in court and in the media.

Many of the men here (both Muslim and non) are considered political prisoners in their respective movements and have been engaged in social justice, religious organizations, charities and humanitarian efforts. Another conception of the CMU is that it is a location designed to isolate us from our movements and to act as a deterrent for others from those movements (as in “step outside the line and you too will end up there”). The intended effect of long-term housing of this kind is a profound sense of dislocation and alienation. With your mail, email, phones, and visits monitored and no human touch allowed at the visits, it is difficult to feel a connection to “the streets.” There is historical evidence of the BoP utilizing political prisons — despite the fact that the Department of Justice refuses to acknowledge the concept of political prisoners in US prisons, choosing to call us “criminal” instead.

The Lexington High Security Unit (HSU) was one such example. Having opened its 16-bed facilities in 1988 and housing a number of female political prisoners, the HSU functioned as an isolation unit — underground, bathed in fluorescence, and limited interaction with staff. In the opinion of Dr. Richard Korn, speaking on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, the unit’s goal was “…to reduce prisoners to a state of submission essential for their ideological conversion. That failing, the next objective is to reduce them as efficient, self-directing antagonists. That failing, the only alternative is to destroy them by making them destroy themselves.”

After an arduous campaign by human rights advocates and supporters, the BoP capitulated, stating it would close its facility (when it did not, it was sued). The judge ruled that the plaintiffs were illegally designated based on their past political affiliations, statements and political beliefs. The unit was closed and the women were transferred to other prisons.

The correlations between the HSU and CMU are many and seem to have some of the same goals as well as methods used to designate us here. Knowing they are dealing with people committed to ideals and the movements they are a part of, we were placed here in order to weaken those connections and harm our relationships. An example is the horrendous strain that the CMU puts on our familial relations — especially our marriages. It was certainly considered by the architects of the CMU that preventing visits that allow human touch for long-term prisoners would have a disastrous impact on our relationships and would lead to weaker inmates.

Finally, the CMU can be viewed as “the stick” — a punitive unit for those who don’t play ball or who continue to express political beliefs anathema to the BoP or the US government. Although I am not aware of the BoP’s criteria for sending people here (due to their refusal to release specific CMU information), it is curious who is and who is not here. Out of roughly 18 codefendants in my criminal case, I am the only one at a CMU (the remainder of them are at low and medium security prisons). The same goes for a member of the SHAC7 campaign, Andrew Stepanian, one of 6 defendants in his case who was sent here for the last 6 months of his sentence. Other men here have codefendants at the Terre Haute CMU while others have codefendants at normal federal prisons. Despite numerous Freedom of Information Requests, the BoP refuses to grant the documents that specify the rules governing transfer to the CMU. Remember, hardly any of the men here have received any disciplinary violations and some have been in general population over 15 years! How can someone be okay in general population for that long and then one day be seen as a communication threat?

So, I have hypothesized about the goals of the CMU. Let me discuss the many problems and injustices associated with the existence of the CMUs.

Due process
More appropriately, a lack thereof. A term I never thought much about before my imprisonment, due process is:

…the conduct of legal proceedings according to established rules and principles for the protection and enforcement of private rights, including notice and the right to hearing before a tribunal [my emphasis] with the power to decide the case.

I was moved from FCI Sandstone, against my will and at a moment’s notice, with no hearing and thus no chance to contest the reason for my transfer. A FOIA request recently received states I was redesignated May 6th, my transfer was signed the next day and I was moved on May 13th with the reason given as “program participation”. Since I got here, I have not had a hearing to contest the claims made in the “Notice to Inmate of Transfer to CMU, ” some of which were woefully inaccurate. Instead, I was told I can utilize the administrative remedy process (which I have done to no avail) and request a transfer after 18 months of “clear conduct”.

The irony is that all prisoners who violate prison rules are subject to a series of disciplinary hearings in which they could offer their defense. For legal units such as Florence ADX (Supermax) or the control unit program, there exists a codified set of rules and hearings for transfer to these locations. The BoP has deliberately ignored this process and has instead transferred us to this special, brand-new CMU without due process. My notice of transfer was given to me 12 days after I arrived!

Similar to the callous disregard for due process (and the US Constitution), there is no “step down” process for the CMU. Unlike the ones that exist at Florence ADX, control units or even the gang units, the CMU has no stages, no requisite amount of time we are to spend here before being sent back to a normal prison.

Because these preceding programs are specifically for prison misbehavior, there is a logical and orderly way to finish the program and eventually transfer. For us, the BoP has set up a paradox — if we are here for our offense conduct, which we cannot ever change, how can we reasonably leave the unit? In its “Admissions and Orientation” guide for Marion’s CMU, here is what they say:

Every new commitment to the CMU will be evaluated by his unit team regarding his suitability for incarceration in this institution. If, for some reason, the inmate is deemed not acceptable for confinement in this unit, he will be processed as expeditiously as possible…

[I am still roughly 10 months from my 18-month period in which I must wait before requesting a transfer. Considering the fact that all my remedies have been denied, I am not hopeful about this.]

CMU as Secret
In addition to the due process and transfer issues, there is the secretive and illegal manner that the CMU was created (Note: for historical perspectives, it needs to be stated that the CMU was established roughly halfway through the second term of George W. Bush and his Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.)

In April 2006, the BoP proposed a “Limited Communication for Terrorist Inmates” policy, which suggested new restrictions for “terrorists” and “terrorism related inmates” such as:

1) One 6-page letter per week.

2) One 15-minute phone call a month.

3) One 1-hour visit a month.

A coalition of civil rights organizations signed a letter of protest criticizing the proposed rules and raising numerous constitutional, practical and ethical objectives. The outcry appears to have caused the BoP to reconsider it and just 6 months later, open the CMU at FCI Terre Haute quietly. Since the BoP never sought public comment on the new CMU, it certainly appears to be a violation of the Administrative Procedural Act (APA), an argument a federal judge in Miami raised in response to a prisoner’s legal challenge to transfer to the CMU.

The unit is functionally an open secret. While the BoP circumvented the standard public comment (and feedback process), it has sought to get around this by describing the CMU as a “self-contained general population unit,” implying that the unit is legally and penally no different than a normal unit at an FCI. There is no mention of the CMU on the BoP’s website (ww.bop.gov) or USP Marion’s subpage on the same site. You will not find extensive Congressional hearings on the subject — other than a July 2008 subcommittee hearing in which it appears that the BoP director was not fully forthcoming on the CMU36. Letters here are stamped “USP Marion,” not CMU, and the unit is called “I Unit” by staff. (An interesting anecdote: while on transit in Winter 2009, I met men from the FCI here and asked them what they knew about I Unit. Without hesitation, they said, “That’s where the terrorists are.” They informed me this is what BoP Staff routinely told them.)

Media queries are met with silence or vague information. Requests by the media to interview me by coming to Marion have been denied — due to it “being detrimental to the safety, security and good order of the institution.” There still is no Program Statement on the CMU — a legal requirement, outlining the specific rules of the CMU and its designation criteria.

Because of this, and the general refusal of the BoP to hand over relevant documents through FOIA, it is impossible to determine the specific reasons why one is sent here — and thus, how to contest this process. In effect, the CMU was created on the fly, with no eye toward legality; they are free to operate it in whatever manner they choose.

Communication Management (The Promotion of Isolation and Alienation)
The most painful aspect of this unit, to me, is how the CMU restricts my contact with the world beyond these walls. It is difficult for those who have not known prison to understand what a lifeline contact with our family and friends is to us. It is our link to the world — and our future (for those of us who are fortunate enough to have release dates). Prison authorities and architects are well aware that those with strong family ties and in good communication with their loved ones are well behaved and have significantly lower rates of recidivism. The BoP, in theory, recognizes this by claiming they try to situate us within 500 miles of our homes. Mostly, this is a cruel farce for many prisoners — I have not been within 1000 miles of my family in 2 years.

The most Orwellian aspects of the CMU are in how they manage our communications:

A) Telephones- at my previous prison, I was able to use the phones for 300 minutes a month — days, nights, weekends and holidays — basically at any point I was not in my housing unit (6am-10pm). Here, we receive one 15-minute phone call a week. The call can only take place between 8am and 2:30pm, never on weekends or holidays and must be scheduled one and a half weeks in advance (we can choose a back-up number to call but if neither picks up, we don’t get a call). The call is live-monitored and recorded. Not only do we receive one fifth of the minutes granted to other federal prisoners but the call is also very trying for our families — all of whom have day jobs and many of whom have children in school. The CMU requires calls be made in English only — a difficult demand considering over half of the men here speak English as a second language (this restriction is not present at other federal prisons).

B) Visits- At FCI Sandstone, I received up to eight visiting days a month (56 hours) — contact visits in which I could embrace my wife, play cards with my nieces and share vending machine food with my visitors. These visits were my lifeline. I got about twelve of them in eight months and it aided in my adjustment to prison.

The CMU restricts our visits to one four-hour non-contract visit a month. One short visit through two inches of plate glass with cameras hanging overhead and my visitors stuffed in a four-and-a-half by three-and-a-half-foot stuffy booth — a tight squeeze for two. The visits can only take place on weekdays from 8am-2pm — no more Christmas or Thanksgiving visits — and worse, no physical contact (Consider what it would be like to have no contact with your loved ones. What if you couldn’t hug or kiss your lover, partner, wife, husband? What would that do to you?) I find myself riddled with guilt when I ask friends to spend $500 to fly across the country, drive three hours (and repeat) for a four-hour non-contact visit. I’m lucky though, having people who will do this. Many of the men here can’t afford it or don’t want to subject their children to this reality.

C) Mail- We can only send out mail once a day and we cannot visit the mail room to send out packages. We are one-hundred-percent reliant on the one staff person who deals with our mail to do so and sending a box home is a laborious procedure. We must leave our envelopes unsealed so that staff can read, copy, scan and send to whatever other agency studies our correspondence. A letter to NYC takes roughly seven to nine days (which should take five). Letters sent abroad, especially those not written in English, could take a month or more — a common complaint of some of my fellow prisoners.

Staff here has an interesting reading of the rules governing legal mail leading to the charge that they open our legal mail (this is the subject of an administrative remedy I filed with the BoP Central Office in Washington DC). The rule states that the lawyer’s name must be clearly identified and that the envelope must say “Special Mail- Open only in the presence of inmates” and yet staff has opened my legal mail that said “Law Offices of Jane Doe” stating that it should have said, “Jane Doe, Attorney at Law”! The staff looks for any reason to disqualify our legal mail as protected and gather intelligence this way. In doing so, they violate the sanctity of the attorney-client confidentiality principle.

Most of my violations have been petty — a package has more than twenty pieces of paper or a friend kindly enclosed stamps. A few instances though amount to censorship and a limiting of political expression and dialogue. See Appendix B for a detailed discussion of these instances.

D) Media Contact- Although requests have been made to interview people in the CMU, none have been granted to date. This is a violation of the spirit of the BoP’s own media policy. There is an imperative on the Bureau’s part to control and ultimately suppress information on the CMU from making it to a mass audience.

Daily Life at the CMU
Neither one of the two CMUs were built for long-term habitation. The Marion CMU was the site of the Secure Housing Unit (SHU), the USP that closed here in 2005. Terre Haute’s CMU is in “D-wing” — the site of the former federal death row.

The CMU was seemingly converted to its current use with the addition of televisions, steel tables, and new wiring and yet it is not suitable for long-term use due to its “open cell” design (i.e. with bars). With 25 prisoners, our movements are restricted to two housing ranges (hallways about 100 by 12 feet); a recreation range where we also eat (consisting of seven cells with a computer, typewriter, barber shop, religious library, social library, art room and recreational equipment); and a small rec yard (all concrete, a lap equals one-eighteenth of a mile, four cages with two basketball hoops, one handball court, a weather awning with tables and some sit-up benches). We are lucky to be visited daily by a resident bird population of doves and blackbirds, and overhead, the occasional hawk or falcon (ironically, as I write this, I overhear warnings from staff that if we continue to feed the birds, we will receive violations). The appearance of the yard with its cages, concrete, and excessive barbed wire has earned it nickname “Little Guantanamo” (of course a punitive unit with seventy-five percent Muslims also contributes to the name as well).

The conditions here are not dire — in fact, the horror stories I have heard over the last two years have convinced me it is far worse at many prisons and yet, I believe it is important to be descriptive and accurate — to dispel fears (about violence, for instance) but also to demonstrate just how different life is for us at the CMU.

There are many things we lack here that other prisons in the federal system have to offer:

1- A residential drug/alcohol program- despite at least one person here having completion of it ordered by the court.

2- Enough jobs for the prisoners here- There is not nearly enough jobs for all the men here and most are extremely low paying.

3- UNICOR- This is Federal Prison Industries which has shops at many federal prisons (including this one outside the CMU). These jobs pay much more, allow men to pay their court fees, restitution and child support and, as the BoP brags, teaches people job skills.

4- Adequate educational opportunities- Until recently, we did not have GED or vocational programs. Due to inmate pressure and persistence, we now have both of those as well as a few prisoner-taught classes but no college courses at all.

5- Access to staff on a daily basis- At other federal prisons, you are able to approach staff members at lunch every day, including the Warden. Here, we get (at most) two quick walk-throughs a week, usually taking place early in the morning. You are often left waiting days to resolve a simple question.

6- Law library access- We have a very small law library here with only twenty-five percent of the books required by law. We can only request books twice weekly and those are only delivered if the other nine hundred prisoners at the adjacent Medium are not using them. We lack Federal Court and Supreme Court reports as well as books on Immigration Law (fifty percent or more of the men here face deportation). This lack of access makes for an arduous and ineffective research path.

7- Computers- We have four computers for our email system (two for reading, one for printing and one that we were told would be for legal but it still isn’t working). Unlike my previous prison, where we had forty computers with a robust computer-class program, or like other prisons that teach a vocational computer course, we have no such thing.

8- Access to general population- Being in an isolation unit makes for a situation in which we cannot have organized sports leagues and tournaments due to not having enough people at all. This may not seem crucial but sports are a very useful diversion from the stress of prison life and separation.

After reading the preceding sections, perhaps like me you are wondering what really is the purpose of the CMU. In short, the SMU is Florence ADX-LITE for those men whose security points are low and present no real problems to staff. From my interactions with the men here, I can say with certainty, that people here are remarkably well-behaved and calm — many without any disciplinary violations. If these men, like myself, don’t get in trouble, and have been in the system for some time, why are we here? Consider my case.

My short time in prison prior to coming to the CMU consisted of two months at MDC Brooklyn and eight months at FCI Sandstone. I had never gotten in trouble and spent my days as a clerk in psychology, working toward a Master’s degree, reading, writing and exercising. My goal was to get closer to home and my loved ones. In April 2008, I filed a “hardship transfer” request due to my mother’s illness and her inability to travel to Minnesota to visit me. I had my team meeting, and my security points were lowered. Weeks later, I was moved to the CMU.

The irony is that I was moved to the CMU to have my communication managed, but what changed in that one year to justify this move? If I was a danger, then why did the BoP house me in a low-security prison? The same applies to many of the men here– some have been in general population for twenty years and then suddenly a need to manage their communication is conjured up. During my pre-CMU time, I had used 3500 phone minutes and sent hundreds of letters. If there was a problem with my communication, shouldn’t the BoP have raised this with me? My notice stating their rationale for placing me here attributed it to me “being a member and leader in the ELF and ALF” and “communicating in code.” But if this is true, then shouldn’t I have been sent to the CMU as soon as I self-reported to prison in July 2007?

The CMUs were crafted and opened under the Bush administration as some misguided attempt to be tough on the “war on terror.” This unit contains many prisoners from cases prosecuted during the hyper-paranoid and over-the-top period after 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act.44 The number of prosecutions categorized as terrorism-related more than doubled to reach 1,200 in 2002. It seemed that every other week, there was some plot uncovered by overzealous FBI agents — in Lackawanna, NY, Miami, FL, Portland, OR, and Virginia and elsewhere (never mind the illegal wiretaps and unscrupulous people used in these cases). These cases may not be headlines anymore but these men did not go away — they were sent to prison and, when it was politically advantageous for Bush, transferred to the CMUs. The non-Muslim populations of these units (although definitely picked judiciously) were sent there to dispel charges that the CMUs were exclusively Muslim units.

The codified rationale for all prisoners being transferred here are “contact with persons in community require heightened control and reviews” and “your transfer to this facility for greater communication management is necessary to the safe, secure, and orderly function of Bureau institutions…” Should an increase in monitoring of communication mean a decrease in privileges? If the goal is to manage our contact with the outside world, shouldn’t the BoP hire enough staff so that we can maintain the same rights and privileges as other prisoners (since the party line is that we are not here for punishment)? The reality is the conditions, segregation, lack of due process and such are punishment regardless of whether the BoP admits it or not.

Forward!
Where to from here, then? Does the new President and his Attorney General take issue with segregation? Will Obama view the CMU, as he did with Guantanamo Bay, as a horrible legacy of his predecessor and close it? Many people are hopeful for an outcome like that. On April 7th, 2009, Mr. Obama, while in Turkey, said, “The United States will not make war on Islam,” and that he wanted to “extend the hand of friendship to the Muslim world.” While that sounds wonderful, what does that look like in concrete terms? Will he actualize that opinion by closing the CMU? Or will he marry the policy of Bush and condone a secret illegal set of political units for Muslims and activists? What of the men here? Will he transfer us back to normal prisons and review the outrageous prosecutions of many of the CMU detainees? If it can be done with (former) Senator Ted Steven’s case, it can be done here.

While lawsuits have been filed in both Illinois and Indiana federal courts, what is needed urgently is for these units to be dragged out into the open. I am asking for your help and advocacy in dealing with this injustice and the mindset that allows a CMU to exist. Please pursue the resource section at the end of this article and consider doing something. I apologize for the length of this piece — it was suggested to me (by people way smarter than myself) that it would be best to start from the beginning and offer as many details as possible. I hope I gave you a clearer idea of what’s going on here. Thank you for all your support and love — your letters are a bright candle in a sea of darkness.

Private Funding to close down the Concentration Camp?

gitmo-new-rules-of-warThis is a question for the Legal Eagles…
 
Since the only real issue left in getting rid of this huge albatross around our collective national neck… (the one that’s tied to the even larger Boat Anchor)… Is one of funding the venture…

What would block President Obama and his supporters such as us from attempting to secure private funding for dismantling Guantanamo Torture Center?

Solicit donations in small or large amounts, doesn’t matter much about the amounts because it’s Not Campaign Funding…

Nor would the funding have to come only from U.S. citizens nor only from people the State Department considers “friendly” which is a polite term for “compliant to the point of subservience”.

If the fund is maintained with a certain amount of glaznost (up to the point of “short of announcing names of individual donors”) by the International Red (religious symbol of choice here) People for the American Way and the ACLU…

I’m going to put this question to the local ACLU in an open letter on a local website and in the Colorado Springs Independent, also Same in the Ft Worth Independent and the Dallas Observer.

Since the opposition comes from so-called “fiscal conservatives”, that $80 million should be hanged around THEIR collective neck as a sign of Shame.

There’s a 4-mile stretch of road-to-nowhere proposed here in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs which begins and ends at Public Bus Stops.

At a cost of $260,000,000 (TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY MILLION) USD.

Then there’s the much higher cost of keeping Guantanamo OPEN. A cost which is classified so we’ll never know the true amount.

But it’s in the range of more than a Billion per annum.

Let’s see, $80 Million to close out the account permanently, or 12x (TWELVE TIMES) the amount Annually to keep the sucker running.

Waiting for the Next Dictator in Chief to replace Democracy and President Obama with Bush Regime, Part II and re-start the whole cycle of state-sponsored Terrorism over again. (I constructed that sentence awkwardly deliberately and on purpose because triple repetition is more effective than mere redundancy.)

And the cost incurred by giving REAL Terrorists an(other) actual issue to use against not only the Socially Retarded Animated Sphincters but against EVERY American by association.

Note to the S.R.A.S.s: Shock and Awe has failed Miserably. so has the policy of “Let them hate as long as they fear … Oderint dum Metuant and here I’ll point out that was the motto of Gaius Julius Caesar II (Caligula)

The overwhelming evidence is that policy has given them a very legitimate reason to hate and obviously, they don’t actually Fear along with it.

In the case of “Shock and Awe” there’s two synonyms for “Fear” explicitly included, and using Fear as a weapon of war fits the classic definition of Terrorism.

Free those illegally imprisoned at Gitmo

Close Guantanamo and end military CommissionsWhen human rights organizations have called for CLOSING GUANTANAMO, they don’t mean AND CARRY ON ELSEWHERE. “Gitmo” is about the illegal detention and torture of human beings. What kind of rubes are we dealing with?

Guantanamo is an illegal entity. It’s location outside US dominion, and outside Cuba’s border, on technicalities, has been used to pretend there’s a gray area outside the rule of international law. What’s being done inside Guantanamo, holding people indefinitely without bringing charges against them, torture, military commissions, is expressly illegal. Calls to shut Guantanamo down are calls to end the charade of a legal loophole, but they are primarily demands that the immoral behavior be stopped.

We don’t shut down brothels while arranging for their captives to work elsewhere. Polluters aren’t expected merely to shift their poison pipelines into other streams. We don’t make arrangements for drug dealers to relocate before we close a crack house or meth lab.

UN wants entry to Israel’s Facility 1391 an Israeli GITMO hidden torture center

facility 1391 Yesterday was a rather bad day for the Zionist Republic of Jewish Domination, more commonly known as just the Jewish State of Israel. The United Nations condemned it for its attacks on UN facilities in Gaza where the IDF dumped White Phosphorus down on the civilians hiding below, and then the UN also said that it wanted to investigate the hidden Israeli torture center called ‘1391.’

You see, Israel, just like the US, once used much more torture openly and frequently on its held POWs but also got bad press for doing so. So just like now we have a Barack Obama trying desperately to convert US policy use of torture back toward covert policy rather than overt, Israel also had a similar semi reversal of policies. They started to hide their torture use away in a much more clandestine manner. That’s where ‘1391’ comes in, so it’s really annoying to the new Israeli Administration to have the United Nations stumbling towards them and asking Netanyahu if they can ‘see’ inside?

If they have nothing to hide, then why are they hiding 1391 away from view? Actually the whole world knows that US use of torture on Muslims was tried and tested by the Israeli military on Zionist held POWs. So Bow-Wow, Benjy. Let the UN see what sort of dogs you have working there at ‘1391’?

See UN Wants Red Cross Access To Alleged Secret Israeli Prison That would be Israel’s GITMO.

Cheney and other Perverted Torture Freak Scum…

There’s a standard, a psychological finding used to determine
when somebody is a serial killer, and determine whether he is
worthy of the death penalty.
The prosecution doesn’t actually NEED it in many cases, but they
always do the testing and make the determination.

It’s a level of sociopathy wherein one has a fetish for causing
pain, or even death, and becomes sexually aroused by it.

The same standard can be applied to torturers.

Those who do the “dirty work” themselves, and those who direct
their actions, such as George Bush and Richard Cheney.

Their clones John and Sarah as well, and those who, knowing the
bastards were engaged in these unholy perversions, supported them
anyway.

There’s another Legal standard, “accomplice before and/or after the fact”.

This has also been often used in Death Penalty cases, sometimes the
“first to squeal, gets the deal” will be the one who actually
pulled the trigger.

And get a life sentence while his partners in crime get the needle,
or the gas in California or the bullet in Utah.

The standards for determining “torture” and “war crimes” used to
convict the Nazis, and lately Saddam Hussein and many of his
friends and family, also convicts Richard Cheney and his
meat-puppet George Bush.

…and the people who support them.

People like Bobby Jindal and Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, the people
who VOTED for them.

I’m often told that this is overly harsh, people say stupid crap
like the Torturers keep us safe.

But the only way a Torturer can accomplish his job is if he or she enjoys it.

On an extremely basic sexual level.

Torture, like serial murder, is a vicious form of rape.

People tell me “How dare you say that! My son, daughter, husband,
father—whoever— works at Abu Ghraib or Khandahar or Guantanamo”

Hey, the fact that the Perverts are related to the whiners who say
that doesn’t make the Perverts any less guilty.

Your son or daughter works at one of the Torture Centers, your son
or daughter is a Rapist. It is EXACTLY that simple.

The Torturers keep us safe? Are you sure?

Do you REALLY want to trust the future governance of our nation to
Perverts who get their rocks off to killing or hurting people?

They’re “only doing their jobs”? They’re not forced to take the
job. They seek out the job because it gives them an opportunity to
exercise Ultimate Control over another human being, and, because
they, like Bush and Cheney and Jindal and Gingrich, are physical
cowards… they have to have helpless victims.

They have to have their Gang back them up on everything.

They took the job not out of Patriotism or a sense of Duty, nothing
nearly that noble. They took the job because they enjoy doing it,
and some Dumbass Dubya appointee hired them to do it and gave them
immunity.

The only substantial difference between them and the dude strapped
to a table with a needle in his arm, THEY have the support of “our”
Government.

And enough people who are Stupid enough to support them unconditionally.

One other thing,..

A determination of somebody being a habitual killer is strengthened
if the person attributes his actions to God.

Like George and Sarah do…

And their good friend Erik Prince, the Murderer in Chief of the
Blackwater mercenaries does…

For those of you who do support those types of action, there’s an
excellent description from Professor Churchill:

Little Eichmanns.

Just following orders, right(wing)?

Red, White, and Blue cowardice- These colors do run!

American flagFor years now, the majority of Americans have allowed their country’s leaders to murder, torture, and lie in their name, with hardly a protest against it. They allowed their Constitution to be defiled by remaining silent as their government held innocents in solitary confinement without charges and tortured them for years, all the while many of them obtusely said that no torture was involved at all as for as they were concerned.

These lies and this complicity, by politicians of both parties, with US Federal government torture and mayhem now lie open and exposed, but does the common American want to correct and apologize for their support of crimes against humanity? Do all these ‘little Eichmanns’ feel any guilt and wish to atone for it now that it has been thoroughly exposed? Read 75% Oppose Release of Guantanamo Inmates in the United States and you decide.

And remember… these are our flag-waving dumb-cluck neighbors here. Instead of facing their acts done with flag in hand, they run! That’s our society’s Red, White, and Blue cowardice on display to the world once again! This poll shows that Americans are a nation of bullies and cowards.

President Obama can’t even buy a dog

Portuguese Water DogNATO CONFERENCE, STRASBOURG- The subject came up again –how cute– when President Obama took questions from European students in Strasbourg, about whether the White House has gotten its dog. Obama’s answer was still “not yet,” sidestepping more substantive topics. Let’s play into Obama’s sleight of hand for a moment because there is something telling about this dog-less pony show. Everyone thought it was our sky-high expectations which made Obama appear stuck at the gate. We count the days for his administration to do this, and undo that, meanwhile Barack Obama can’t even buy a dog.

It takes only bipartisanship of the domestic variety to establish whether a household can handle a pet, and once the decision is made, who can’t go buy a dog before lunch?

Obama wants a year to close Guantanamo, more to get out of Iraq. He’s on a negative schedule with Afghanistan. Ditto with righting his predecessor’s unconstitutional acts. Despite a landslide election and his party’s majority in both House and Senate, Obama’s insistence on consensus with his Republican adversaries stands in the way of passing anything, as long as the American public accepts that excuse.

What is Obama’s excuse for not having found a dog, except that keeping the issue up in the air means it remains a convenient doe-eyed diversion? Since his announcement in Grant Park, that his daughters could get a dog, Obama has been able to soften his media appearances with the kitschy sideshow.

US soldier sadists get kicks in quick at Guantanamo

abu-ghraibExclusive: Lawyer says Guantanamo abuse worse since Obama So it’s not just Not My Tribe that writes about the bad character of most US soldiers, but rather Reuters does so as it informs the whole world of these facts about American soldier jailers. The US military is simply full of many sick, hateful, and sadistic people, as are the various local policing agencies within our country. That simply should be absolutely not surprising to anybody around the world, since these soldiers and police are in charge of enforcing racist, imperialist, war mongering domestic and foreign policies of the US government. The Whole World continues to watch.

Jail the jailer! Throw Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Federal Prison

Joe ArpaioGuantanamo is just the tip of the iceberg for taking down the work of the Bush-Cheney Klan that now continues to infiltrate positions of power at all levels throughout the US. Racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio has already murdered some of his prisoners, tortured many more of them, and is himself nothing more than a common criminal. He belongs in jail but just not his own one. He needs to be taken out of power first of all, but then thrown in a Federal Prison where he most certainly does belong!

Arizona needs to do some real soul searching to figure out what it is about the place that produces these assholes like, Joe Arpaio? Too much Injun killing in the past perhaps? See Chained Immigrants Paraded By Arizona Sheriff

US ‘suppressing torture evidence’ says top British government official

Binyam MohamedThe Pentagon has been suppressing the press. ‘Mr Davis said a High Court ruling, which pointed to complicity by the UK and US authorities in his torture, was prevented from being published after the US put pressure on the UK.’ Tory MP demands torture statement be made against the British Labor government’s support of US torture, and thus against the US government’s use of torture, also.

This is a welcome development as the Obama government has decided to continue rendition flights to have Pentagon held POWs tortured in other countries for the US government. MP David Davis is throwing a thorn in the side of the cover-up underway to help try to save the Bush Klan from prosecution.

Obama wants to renounce the use of torture and continue to use it more clandestinely. We should not allow him to get away with this maneuvering. That is a photo of Binyam Mohamed, the man who was tortured at Guantanamo by the US.

Eric Holder, ‘First Black’ or just another reactionary appointee by Barack Obama?

corporate-lawyer
Another Black Face to cover up the reactionary government of Barack Obama, Eric Holder has just been appointed US Attorney General. He was Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General after Clinton picked him up from Ronald Reagan’s team where he was one of Ronnie’s appointed judges. He also was part of the George Bush Senior team as well.

According to the Washington Post, Holder obtained his ‘critical support from a broad base of federal and state law enforcement groups as well as a bipartisan coalition of former Justice Department leaders, including one time deputy attorney general James B. Comey, former FBI director Louis J. Freeh and President George W. Bush’s terrorism and homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend.’

Here he is talking in an interview 12 years ago in an interview with BNET Business Network…

Insight: What did you do to change the wave of violence that has overwhelmed the nation’s capital?

Eric Holder: I have taken a lot of grief for my attempt to make selling marijuana a felony in the district (Wash D.C.), not just a misdemeanor. I introduced the legislation in December that would make distribution and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana a five-year felony. I’ve been criticized for it by reporters in various publications, saying things like I have “reefer madness.” But what we found was that in 1991 about 11 percent of all juveniles who were arrested in the district tested positive for drugs. In 1996, we found that 62 percent of those who were arrested were now testing positive for drug use and that it was largely marijuana. And that is something we can change. Hearings are scheduled for April and I am hoping that we have enough support to push it through. (from A new sheriff at Justice)

As current Steering Committee member of The George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute, Holder’s Black face will be seen as a key component of the effort by Barack Obama to convince the world that the illegality of the Bush Klan has come to a halt. But look at the policy statements, the links, and the structure of the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) and you see clearly that Holder will be nothing more nor less than a continuation by Obama of ex-President George Dubya Bush’s so-called ‘Global War on Terrorism’ (GWOT) agenda. Minus Guantanamo perhaps?, but still with injustice for all. Eric Holder is nothing more than just another reactionary appointee by Barack Obama and a corporate lawyer (Covington & Burling LLP) whose presence will change very little.

Guantanamo highlights the colossal collapse of legality in US legal system

cooking kosher(Judge) Leon declared… “Simply stated, faithfully serving in an al-Qaeda-affiliated fighting unit that is directly supporting the Taliban by helping prepare the meals of its entire fighting force is more than sufficient to meet this Court’s definition of ‘support.’” He added, “After all, as Napoleon was fond of pointing out, ‘An army marches on its stomach.”

Thus, Judge Lion declared in his Wonderland ruling that the cook was a terrorist cook! Blame the Chef- How Cooking for the Taliban Can Get You Life in Gitmo By ANDY WORTHINGTON

Humpty Dumpty has fallen and cannot be put together ever again, Barack, at least not with you as Head of State. You cannot restore accreditation for The US Establishment to the US Legal System now after 7 years of US torture and illegal jailing there of POWs. Sleight of hand just won’t do it and the whole world is watching.

Instead of doing away with the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) nonsense of calling POWs ‘enemy combatants, you are seemingly continuing the entire illegality of the fallen US Legal Establishment. How about a new classification for the POW cook? You can now call him an ‘enemy non-combatant’, and there are many others jailed and tortured by the government you head up now who fall into just this category.

And further, since you are supporting Israel’s terrorist definition of ‘terrorism’, why not just go ahead and classify the children of Hamas as ‘enemy combatants’ and enemy ‘non-combatants’ as well? No need to change American Law to do that since the American Legal System is already totally on board with the Wonderland approach.

I bet you a lot of those murdered IDF Palestinian children in Gaza were cooks, too? Cooking for Hamas would certainly be ruled on by American Judge Leon as terrorist participation and grounds for torture and elimination. Yeah, that’s right! And Israel was right to legally use White Phosphorus to light up the situation in a legal manner so that these tiny terrorists might be stopped in their shoes (though some might have well been bare foot). Terrorists should be seen for just what they are, even if they are tiny cooks, too!

Obama, I know that you can’t turn America around just like that. I’m willing to give you time to show how sweet and good you are. Will 4 years be enough time now for you? Or will you need 8?

Guantanamo highlights the colossal collapse of all but pretense of legality in the American Legal System. There is no real reality now, since America is without real law in the land, as nothing but money and might now rule. Barack Obama’s bought Presidency is part of all that. It is part of the cooking.

US media campaign to help Pentagon defend its use of torture on POWs

George Bush on water boardingThere is a growing effort to defend the use of torture on POWs by the US military, and it centers around the Pentagon’s and the corporate media’s effort to convince the American people that some Guantanamo inmates have become terrorists post discharge. These POWs were discharged because they were found to be innocent of ‘terrorism’, but now the Pentagon and US media want to paint a picture of US military incompetence, all to bolster a campaign to defend those that tortured these POWs when they were at the US run torture concentration camp called Guantanamo (Gitmo).

The corporate media campaign is based on utterly superficial and flimsy ‘evidence’, which is because basically it is Pentagon propaganda and lies. The following gives a link to this so-called ‘evidence’ printed out today in The Christian Science Monitor and scattered throughout today’s US propaganda industry’s coverage of the issue of ‘closing down’ Guantanamo. Ex-Guantánamo inmates return to militancy in Yemen

What is seen quickly, is that all the ‘evidence’ comes from the Saudi government, a dictatorship heavily invested into torturing prisoners. The fact that the US corporate media and the Pentagon turn these American held POWs to these world class criminals and then has the utter gall to report their stewardship over these prisoners as virtual reality and TRUTH really takes the cake! In fact, it is an endorsement of the Saudi torture regime itself, and a use of this foreign torture regime to help justify US military torture in place under Bush, and now Barack Obama.

Per the ‘evidence’ of the Christian Science Monitor stuff, all of the evidence of a supposed return of POWs found innocent and released to supposed criminal activity comes from the word of Saudi government spokesmen! Sick!

Much of American society wants to find a way to justify using torture on other people. They revel in it, and have spent years pretending that torture is not happening, torture is not torture, and in a myriad of ways supporting the use of torture while pretending not to be. This is the latest effort on their behalf by the Pentagon and corporate media, and is utterly a ghost fantasy script written for them, with the aid and assistance of one of the most reactionary regimes in the world, the Saudi Arabian government. This fact alone shows how unembarrassed much of America is about its own criminal use of torture, and this campaign may be used by Barack Obama to step back from actually even making he effort to clean up the US government’s world image by transferring Guantanamo POWs elsewhere?

The use of torture runs deep inside the entire American business of jailing and abusing its own population, too. Guantanamo hardly even begins to be the tip of the iceberg at this point, in uncovering and terminating abuse of prisoners of any kind. We are a very sick country, and many resist the CHANGE needed to turn things around. It is certain that we have a very long way to go to even begin to address these issues, let alone change things for the better. Do not let the corporate media’s lies on behalf of Pentagon use of torture convince you to change your views. America, you simply are not under any sort of threat from ex-jailed Guantanamo POWs.

Obama The Sweeper Man

street-sweeperWhat a dirty image the US government now has after 8 years of the Bush Klan in power alongside their sidekick cohorts, the Democratic Party assisting alongside and to the side. But now the sidekick has the reign in the White House at hand once again, or is it just a broom?

Where to hide all Dubya’s dirt? Perhaps Obama can get the European Union to help him out some? That would be so nice… Take some POWs, they are free to all ‘responsible parties’! Closing out sale on POWs held at Gitmo! Show some kindness now!

Meanwhile the US government campaign of terrorism goes on unchecked as Barack bombs Pakistan, Barack moves troops to Afghanistan, Barack talks tough to Iran…. and so on. We will be tough, tough, tough.

Now to the economy where some major sweeping of America’s public image needs to be done but fast. Barack will sale the growing bankruptcy of Federal Treasury to, to the American people. We”ll give you $300, Old Timers on Social Security! We’re going to look for better ways to give you pennies as we give the top corporations tens and hundreds of billions! Get on board and help us out with the Give Out Express! Don’t worry about the National Debt, you can pay for that later! Everybody qualifies for this credit card! Zero down, Zero percent interest! It’s cleanup time!

Sweep, Sweep, Sweep! It’s time to clean the dirt on the stained American image everywhere! The Sweeper Man is now in D.C. and look how clean he plans to make it all? Sparkle and Shine! Drop a bomb here or there, but do it judiciously, not like say?… Israel in Gaza just did. Need a trillion? …Just come and get it! Bombs away, Guys!

Obama The Sweeper Man. We all wish him well to a certain extent, but we know just what and who he is sweeping for. Not the POWs. Not the American working class. Not the Black Community even. He’s sweeping for Them, the guys who paid him to sweep. This place is a mess they say, and we do agree!

Who’s The Sweeper Man sweeping for though? This I think you probably know already…. since it is not for you and me. But is it just the dirt that needs to do? To me, it looks like the furniture and house itself have gone bad? I don’t see how you can clean this mess up by just sweeping the worst of it under the rug? …. a raggedy rug at that.