There’s been a lot of discussion in the last few days about the long-awaited (and twice-delayed) release of the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s Report, which, as Glenn Greenwald explained on Tuesday, “aggressively question[s] both the efficacy and legality” of the Bush administration’s interrogation tactics in the “War on Terror.” As Greenwald also explained,
In anticipation of the release of that report, there is an important effort underway — as part of the ACLU Accountability Project — to correct a critically important deficiency in the public debate over torture and accountability. So often, the premise of media discussions of torture is that “torture” is something that was confined to a single tactic (waterboarding) and used only on three “high-value” detainees accused of being high-level al-Qaeda operatives. The reality is completely different.
The interrogation and detention regime implemented by the US resulted in the deaths of over 100 detainees in US custody — at least [see “Command’s Responsibility,” a Human Rights First report from 2006, PDF]. While some of those deaths were the result of “rogue” interrogators and agents, many were caused by the methods authorized at the highest levels of the Bush White House, including extreme stress positions, hypothermia, sleep deprivation and others. Aside from the fact that they cause immense pain, that’s one reason we’ve always considered those tactics to be “torture” when used by others — because they inflict serious harm, and can even kill people. Those arguing against investigations and prosecutions — that we “Look to the Future, not the Past” — are thus literally advocating that numerous people get away with murder.
Those who study signs and omens may find the conjunction of Father’s Day and the summer solstice on the very same day—a mere 13 days before the onanistic, self-congratulatory celebrations of the birth of our lost Republic, with its concomitant nod to the “wisdom” of the “Founding Fathers”—a matter for concern, or whimsy … or fantastic speculation and extrapolation. The rest of us will mutter “mere coincidence,” rush to the malls to remember dear old dad, fire up the grills, and wonder perhaps if time is shrinking?
After all, wasn’t it just a few days ago, on “Memorial Day,” that we unfurled the flags, honoring the Empire’s liveried fallen? That was for a war that started 95 years ago and seems never to have ended—since the “enemy” is still at the gates and threatening anew our long lost Republic.
The ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is expected to meet with US diplomats in Washington today before attempting to return to Honduras Thursday, five days after being deposed by a military coup. Meanwhile, the streets in Honduras remain tense, and the crackdown on the media has reportedly not been lifted. We go to Honduras to speak with human rights activist, Dr. Juan Almendares. [includes rush transcript]
Dr. Juan Almendares, Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist. He is the president of the Honduran Peace Committee, as well as the past secretary of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations. He was an opposition candidate with the Democratic Unification Party during the last presidential elections.
On June 30, the government of Israel committed an act of piracy when the Israeli Navy in international waters illegally boarded the “Spirit of Humanity,” kidnapped its 21-person crew from 11 countries, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Laureate Mairead MaGuire, and confiscated the cargo of medical supplies, olive trees, reconstruction materials, and children’s toys that were on the way to the Mediterranean coast of Gaza. The “Spirit of Humanity,” along with the kidnapped 21 persons, is being towed to Israel as I write.
Gaza has been described as the “world’s largest concentration camp.” It is home to 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven by force of American-supplied Israeli arms out of their homes, off their farms, and out of their villages so that Israel could steal their land and make the Palestinian land available to Israeli settlers.
“So while Washington’s reaction has been strong and swift, when it comes to statements, its actions have so far been measured.
Now you may wonder why the BBC chose the word ‘measured’ to describe the US’ response to the military coup d’etat? Not only why but how? The following para explains,
“This is a signal that Washington is not keen to use its clout to help Mr Zelaya return to power, shying away from any action that could be seen as interventionism in a region where the US has a long, complex history.”
Written by Free Gaza Team Freegaza
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 13:22
On June 30th 2009 Israeli Occupation Forces forcibly boarded the Free Gaza boat, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, and kidnapped 21 human rights workers and journalists who were on their way to deliver much needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to besieged Gaza. Those abducted by Israel include Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Since their kidnapping, tens-of-thousands of people around the world have mobilized to demand their immediate and unconditional release. The Free Gaza Movement would like to thank everyone who has made a phone call, sent a fax or email, written a letter, or organized a demonstration on behalf of our 21 imprisoned friends.
Washington’s criticisms of the June 28 military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras lack any element of sincerity or historical truth. Washington is uneasy at the ouster of Zelaya, a conservative-turned-populist allied to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, because it reveals all too clearly the character of US foreign policy.
President Barack Obama’s condemnation of Zelaya’s overthrow as a “terrible precedent” is belied by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s refusal to characterize it as a coup. Under US laws, such a designation would force the government to cut off tens of millions of dollars in aid to Honduras and its armed forces. Clinton also declined to call for Zelaya’s reinstatement, saying, “We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives.”
Zelaya was overthrown because his populism was seen as a threat both to conservative sections of the bourgeoisie in Honduras and to US strategic interests in Latin America and the Caribbean.
On May 1st at Fort Hood in central Texas, Specialist Victor Agosto wrote on a counseling statement, which is actually a punitive U.S. Army memo:
“There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect.”
Ten days later, he refused to obey a direct order from his company commander to prepare to deploy and was issued a second counseling sta
tement. On that one he wrote, “I will not obey any orders I deem to be immoral or illegal.” Shortly thereafter, he told a reporter, “I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong. It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with.”
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement regarding the announcement that U.S. troops have left the cities and towns of Iraq and turned over formal security to Iraqi security forces.
“The withdrawal of some U.S. combat troops from Iraq’s cities is welcome and long overdue news. However, it is important to remember that this is not the same as a withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors from Iraq.
We are blind to what is truly going on in the world, it is an unexplained mystery. After all that has happened in the last decade, how will politicians, religious leaders and financial institutions ever to regain our trust? The answer is simple, they don’t have to. From the point of view of the masses, after the propaganda machine went on, they never lost our trust. We are blissfully unaware of what truly happened since we only read and watch the mass media.