U.S., UN , Libya and Israel‏

February 26, 2011


Outside The Law: Stories From Guantánamo – 75min Documentary
See Full Film Here: http://www.tuppashare.com/store?p=4320 A documentary telling the story of Guantánamo: torture, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons. Examining how the Bush administration…
Added on 8/20/10

On the web: http://www.accuracy.org/release/u-s-international-law-libya-and-israel

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

The United Nations Security Council is meeting today regarding Libya. On Friday, the U.S. used its veto on the Security Council to block a resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

PHYLLIS BENNIS,  http://www.ips-dc.org/staff/phyllis
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is author of “Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN.” She said today: “There is no doubt that the military assault on unarmed civilian protesters in cities across Libya constitutes serious violations of international humanitarian law — war crimes — and very possibly crimes against humanity. The UN Security Council should demand an immediate halt to the attacks, call for immediate access for international humanitarian and human rights workers and refer the issue to the International Court of Justice to initiate on an emergency basis a full investigation and prosecution of those responsible. Governments with ties to the Libyan regime — especially those in Europe and the U.S. — should immediately sever all military ties, withholding any military equipment that may be in the pipeline. The U.S. should immediately cancel the $165 million contract reportedly signed by General Dynamics two years ago to arm the Libyan military’s elite Second Brigade.”

Friel recently wrote the piece “The UN Voting Record of Susan Rice on Palestinian Rights, 2009–2010,” which states: “On Friday, February 18, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which, upon condemning Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory, had the unanimous support of the 14 other Security Council members and over one hundred state sponsors. Although Rice’s veto in this instance was certainly outrageous, she is no stranger to voting contrary to U.S. obligations under international law, in support of Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, and against the clear consensus of UN member states, since, as U.S. ambassador, she (or her office) has consistently voted against huge majorities in the UN General Assembly seeking to reaffirm Palestinian rights.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/21-9

Friel is coauthor with Richard Falk of “Israel-Palestine on Record: How The New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East” and “The Record of the Paper: How The New York Times Misreports U.S. Foreign Policy.”

ANDY WORTHINGTON, http://www.andyworthington.co.uk
Worthington just wrote the piece “Revolution in Libya: Protesters Respond to Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash with Remarkable Courage; U.S. and UK Look Like the Hypocrites They Are,” which states: “An adept survivor, Gaddafi came onside in the ‘War on Terror’ after the 9/11 attacks, prompting the most miserably transparent examples of hypocrisy on the part of Western nations, as their leaders queued up to welcome the former pariah as an ally and barely managed to disguise their excitement at having access to Libya’s rich oil reserves.

“In ingratiating themselves with the dictator, both the U.S. and the UK willingly abandoned former opponents of the regime, who had, until then, been regarded as victims of oppression. The U.S. willingly rounded up exiled Libyans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, sending them to Guantanamo and labeling them as ‘enemy combatants.’ Two of these men eventually accepted voluntary repatriation from Guantanamo, but both were imprisoned on their return, and only one of the two, Abu Sufian Hamouda (transferred in October 2007), has been released, while the other, Muhammad al-Rimi (transferred in December 2006), is still held in Abu Salim.

“Both of these men are, however, more fortunate than Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of a training camp in Afghanistan, who was rendered by the CIA to Egypt after his capture in Afghanistan in December 2001, where, under torture, he falsely confessed that two al-Qaeda operatives had been meeting with Saddam Hussein to discuss the use of chemical and biological weapons. Although al-Libi recanted his tortured lie, it was used to justify the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and after al-Libi had been moved around various other secret prisons, he was returned to Libya, where he conveniently died, [allegedly] by committing suicide, in May 2009, just three days before the U.S. reopened its embassy in Tripoli.” http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2011/02/21/revolution-in-libya-protestors-respond-to-gaddafis-murderous-backlash-with-remarkable-courage-us-and-uk-look-like-the-hypocrites-they-are

Worthington is author of “The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.” He is co-director of the film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bTpA59np30

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167


Wisconsin and Egypt: Waves of Protests and Solidarity 2/22

February 26, 2011

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

KAMAL ABBAS, TAMER FATHY, http://www.ctuws.com
Abbas is general coordinator for the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services in Egypt. Fathy is international relations coordinator for the group, which is an umbrella advocacy organization for independent unions in Egypt. It has been awarded the French Republic’s Human Rights Prize, suffered repeated harassment and attacks by the Mubarak regime and critically joined the protests against Mubarak in early February. Labor mobilization has been a driving force against the Mubarak regime for several years; the April 6 movement gets its name from labor support actions among Egyptian youth. Abbas has recorded a video statement in solidarity with the protesters in Wisconsin: http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/must-read/statement-kamal-abbas

ROBERT KRAIG, http://www.citizenactionwifund.org
Kraig is executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. He is at the Capitol in Madison and is closely following developments. He recently wrote the piece “Walker’s National Guard comments a thinly veiled threat against workers.” http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/article_80e238ad-c9e9-5a3b-ae65-9623cd005beb.html

BEN MANSKI,  http://wisconsinwave.org
Manski is executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and a spokesperson for the new umbrella group Wisconsin Wave. He is a lifelong Wisconsinite and a public interest attorney. Manski said today: “This is what Wisconsinites face: the loss of our unions, the selling off of our universities, the elimination of our health services, the end of our middle class. No wonder Wisconsinites are rising in a wave of protest.”

KABZUAG VAJ,  http://aboutfreedominc.com
Vaj is a co-founder and current co-executive director of the group Freedom Inc. She is a long-time advocate for women of color and a Hmong refugee. Vaj and her family have been active community members in Madison for more than 25 years. She said today: “This anti-union bill includes serious threats to Medicaid — it would give broad authority to the Department of Health Services and supersede statutory provisions, which is expected to limit eligibility. On its heels, we expect further cuts to life-saving services, discriminatory voter ID legislation and Arizona-type anti-immigrant proposals.That’s why we are part of a wave of resistance with union workers, low-income families and communities of color across this state.”

Kutler just wrote the piece “What Gov. Walker Won’t Tell You,” which states: “There is a kernel of truth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim of a ‘budget shortfall’ of $137 million. But Walker, a Republican, failed to tell the state that less than two weeks into his term as governor, he, with his swollen Republican majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. There is your crisis.” http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_gov_walker_won’t_tell_you_20110220
Kutler is the author of “The Wars of Watergate” and other writings. He taught constitutional and legal history for 35 years at the University of Wisconsin.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Nuke U How the University of California is helping to blow up the world By Norman Solomon

August 6, 2010

On my way to the Los Alamos National Laboratory a few years ago, I found it listed in a New Mexico phone book—under “University of California.”

Since the early 1940s, UC has managed the nation’s top laboratories for designing nuclear bombs. Today, California’s public university system is still immersed in the nuclear weapons business.

Sixty-five years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the University of California imprimatur is an air freshener for the stench of preparations for global annihilation. Nuclear war planners have been pleased to exploit UC’s vast technical expertise and its image of high-minded academic purpose.

During most of WWII, scientists labored in strict secrecy at the isolated Los Alamos lab in the New Mexico desert, making possible the first nuclear weaponry. After the atomic bombings of Japan, UC continued to manage Los Alamos. And in 1952, when the government opened a second nuclear bomb generator, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory east of San Francisco, UC won the prize to manage operations there, too.

A few years into the 21st century, security scandals caused a shakeup. UC lost its exclusive management slots at Los Alamos and Livermore, but retained major roles at both laboratories.

In mid-2006, the Los Alamos lab went under a new management structure, widened to also include Bechtel and a couple of other private firms. A year later, a similar team, likewise including UC and Bechtel, won a deal to jointly manage Livermore.

At Los Alamos, I learned that the new management team was, legally speaking, an LLC, a limited liability corporation. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of “limited liability” for managers of a laboratory that designs nuclear weapons.

Weird, huh? But not any stranger than having the state of California’s top system of higher education devoted to R&D for designing better ways to blow up the planet.

Yes, those laboratories do some nifty ecological research and other laudable things. But nuclear weapons remain central to the labs’ mission. And, lofty rhetoric aside, the federal government is pouring billions more dollars into the continuous high-tech pursuit of nuclear weapons “modernization.”

Last spring, the White House announced plans for this decade that include investing $80 billion “to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex”—in addition to “well over $100 billion in nuclear delivery systems to sustain existing capabilities and modernize some strategic systems.”

In fact, the U.S. government is now on a jag to boost spending for its nuclear arsenal. As the Livermore-based organization Tri-Valley CAREs noted weeks ago, “the 2011 budget request for nuclear weapons is the largest in our nation’s history; bigger than under George W. Bush and a whopping 40 percent higher than the amount spent for nuclear weapons activities on average during the Cold War.”

Credit where due: the UC-managed laboratories for nuclear bombs have been on the cutting edge of digital advancement. Their record recalls a comment from Martin Luther King Jr., who noted the proliferation of “guided missiles and misguided men.”

When I interviewed Los Alamos press officer Kevin Roark, he explained that “this laboratory has been at the forefront of computing research and development” from the Manhattan Project days of slide rules and punch cards to the lab’s present-day computers, with one able to do upwards of 100 trillion calculations per second.

An official website of the University of California boasts that “UC has been involved in the management of these laboratories since their inception—a relationship spanning seven decades—as a public service to the nation.” With a lab on the UC Berkeley campus included in the mix, “the three laboratories have a combined workforce of more than 21,000 and operate on federally financed budgets totaling more than $4 billion.”

For sure, there’s plenty of money sloshing around to reward the masters—and academic servants—of the nuclear weapons industry. But should the University of California be managing laboratories that design the latest technologies for nuclear holocaust?

Norman Solomon is national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign and the author of many books, including ‘War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.’ He lives in Marin County.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 700 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

Byrd, Kagan Hearings and the Constitution 7/1/10

July 1, 2010

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

CBS News reports: “The Senate Judiciary Committee will suspend Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday while the late-Sen. Robert Byrd lies in state at the Capitol.”

Byrd famously made a habit of carrying a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his shirt pocket. In 2004, he succeeded in passing legislation that deemed September 17 “Constitution Day.” http://www.ma.fairvote.org/sen-byrd-and-constitution-day

Byrd is prominently featured in the 2007 film “Body of War” by Phil Donahue.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoFbc3yOAo0&feature=related

During the Kagan hearings, several Republicans urged Kagan to be a “strict constructionist” (Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.). Meanwhile, many Democrats argued she would “uphold the Constitution” (Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.). Several legal analysts however warn that both Democratic and Republican administrations have been violating basic Constitutional rights.

Available for interviews:

SHAHID BUTTAR, http://www.bordc.org
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, which recently wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/498/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3836

Professor of law at the University of Illinois, Boyle is author of “Tackling America’s Toughest Questions.” He said today: “After 9/11 Sen. Byrd made repeated appearances in the Senate condemning violations of the Constitution, the war against Iraq and the Bush police state tactics. During the same period, Kagan was remarkably silent and has supported most of those Bush policies in her capacity as U.S. Solicitor General. As Dean of Harvard Law, she hired Jack Goldsmith who wrote torture memos for Bush and is testifying on Kagan’s behalf.”

Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan and is author of the forthcoming book, “American Empire: Before the Fall.” He raises four major ways that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are being violated:

“1. Violations of due process: Detentions of enemy combatants indefinitely without accusation or trial; military commissions that combine judge, jury, and prosecutor in a single branch; detentions at Bagram prison with no right to habeas corpus; listing of organizations and individuals as global terrorists based on secret evidence; targeting American citizens abroad for assassination based on the President’s say-so alone.

“2. Fourth Amendment violations: Interceptions of U.S. email and phone communications without individual warrants under new FISA amendments; Patriot Act acquisition of business records without probable cause.

“3. Secrecy: Executive branch refusals to respond to congressional subpoenas or claims of executive privilege to conceal from Congress such practices as waterboarding or enhanced interrogations techniques or targeting methodology for predator drones that indiscriminately kill militants and innocents alike.

“4. War powers: Congress’ delegating to the President or acquiescing in the President’s decision to initiate war in Iraq, Pakistan, etc. The Founding Fathers unanimously agreed that only Congress had the power to authorize the initiation of war because the President would inflate danger to commence war to capture more power and leave a mark on history.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858

Unanimous Conformity in the Senate By Norman Solomon 7/1/10

July 1, 2010

For the warfare state, it doesn’t get any better than 99 to 0.

Every living senator voted Wednesday to approve Gen. David Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Call it the unanimity of lemmings — except the senators and their families aren’t the ones who’ll keep plunging into the sea.

No, the killing and suffering and dying will be left to others: American soldiers who, for the most part, had scant economic opportunities in civilian life. And Afghans trapped between terrible poverty and escalating violence.

The senatorial conformity, of course, won’t lack for rationales. It rarely does.

An easy default position is that the president has the right to select his top military officers. (Then why is Senate confirmation required?) Or: This is a pivotal time for the war in Afghanistan. (All the more reason for senators to take responsibility instead of serving as a rubber stamp for the White House.)

In today’s Senate, the conformity is so thick that it’s almost enough to make you nostalgic for the Senate of four and a half decades ago. At least there were a couple of clear dissenters from the outset — first and foremost, Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska, who in August 1964 voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that “authorized” the horrors of the U.S. war on Vietnam.

Within a couple of years, appreciable dissent was coming from William Fulbright, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Frank Church and George McGovern. Then Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy and other senators.

The process of getting off the war train was pitifully slow, in view of the wholesale deadly ferocity of the Vietnam War — and in view of the fact that Congress, like the U.S. news media, lagged so far behind the clarity of opposition emerging from many millions of Americans. Whatever good happened on Capitol Hill was a direct result of the anti-war movement and more generalized public sentiment against continuing the war.

In the Senate of 2010, the baseline of conscience and courage is at an abysmally low level.

When the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, said he’s “deeply concerned” about the course of the Afghan war, his tactical objections dodged the fundamentals of the escalating conflagration. And so, Levin dutifully declared that Petraeus will “bring highly experienced leadership and a profound understanding of the president’s strategy in Afghanistan.”

Chiming in was Sen. John McCain, who lauded the general as “one of the finest military leaders our country has ever produced.” McCain has long been appreciative of Petraeus’ record, including his services as a military spinmeister for President George W. Bush’s Iraq war policies midway through the decade.

In 2007, a notable ad from MoveOn.org described Petraeus as “a military man constantly at war with the facts.” There’s no reason to believe that Petraeus is more candid these days. At any rate, the policy from the White House is what really matters, not the proclivities of any particular general.

Like mice who won’t try to bell the chief-executive cat, senators complain but keep on purring. That explains their unanimous vote for a general pledging to stay the course in Afghanistan.

Every few months, I take another look at footage of Sen. Morse, directly challenging the war president, a man of his own party. It’s inspiring — yet painful to watch, because of the sharp contrast with today’s mealy-mouthed senators.

A growing number of House members are lining up against the Afghanistan war, although they’re far short of a majority. Meanwhile, the Senate is a bastion of bluster. The overarching congressional problem is a pattern of doing what the war machinery requires — most importantly, voting to pay for the war. Until that stops, the war won’t stop.


Norman Solomon is national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of America. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For more information, go to: http://www.normansolomon.com

Repression Increasing One Year After Honduras Coup 6/28

June 28, 2010

On the web: http://accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=2277

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

One year ago today, Manuel Zelaya was overthrown as president of Honduras. A general strike and other activities are expected today.

ADRIENNE PINE,  http://quotha.net,https://nacla.org
Assistant professor of anthropology at American University and author of “Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras,” Pine has been in Honduras for the last month. She just wrote the piece “Honduras celebrates tense anniversary of unresolved military coup,” which states: “Much is at stake on this Monday’s first anniversary of the coup — or, as it is also called within the broad-based resistance movement, ‘the awakening of the people and the death of the two-party system.’ Ongoing efforts — led by Hillary Clinton — to secure Honduras’s reentry to the Organization of American States and other regional bodies like the Central American Integration System, depend on a narrative of stability and reconciliation. … But opposing narratives come from all sides, and carry the weight of the bloody evidence accumulated in the months since the inauguration of president Pepe Lobo. …

“Since January, nine journalists, most of them critical of the coup and its beneficiaries, have been killed in targeted assassinations. Death squads have disappeared, tortured and killed dozens of resistance leaders and their family members. Photographic evidence of this circulates among the population, provoking widespread fear and fury — pictures of the mutilated body of Oscar Geovanny Ramirez, an unarmed 16-year-old land worker killed a week ago in an ongoing land dispute between indigent members of several land cooperatives and multi-millionaire coup financier and large landowner Miguel Facussé, by police and military working on behalf of Facussé, are among those recently making the rounds.” See photos: http://quotha.net/node/1016

Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda is at the Central American Studies Program at California State University, Northridge and is originally from Honduras. She said today: “One year after the coup d’état, Hondurans are living in a threatening environment where human rights violations have doubled; we are talking about persecution, selective kidnappings, torture and assassinations circa the 1980s. The cases are not investigated nor pursued and there is no justice for victims of the heinous attacks against their constitutional civil guarantees. Campesino leaders, teachers, labor union members, Garifuna communities, LGBT communities and women are the most vulnerable sectors, many of them receiving threatening phone calls, death threats via phone text; many have had to flee their homes when military police dressed as civilians hunt them down and interrogate their neighbors. The Honduran people know this is not democracy nor reconciliation government; anyone perceived to be a sympathizer of the resistance to the coup has been fired from their post, exiled or persecuted.

“What we are seeing that is positive is the organizations of popular groups, the consolidation of transnational networks and peaceful responses to a threatening environment; the biggest challenge now is to continue to organize towards a National Constitutional Assembly.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

G20 Gets a “D” 6/25

June 27, 2010
  • Institute for Public Accuracy
  • 980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
  • (202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
  • ___________________________________________________
  • Leaders of the G8/G20, including President Obama, are meeting in Toronto beginning Friday.
  • CLAYTON THOMAS-MULLER, http://www.globaljusticeecology.org
  • DALLAS GOLDTOOTH, http://climatevoices.wordpress.comhttp://www.ienearth.org
  • Currently in Toronto, Thomas-Muller is Tar Sands Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He said today: “The G20 is continuing down a road of business as usual for big oil. The Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada is an enormous project with a devastating impact on indigenous people, other rural people and virtually all life in the area. It’s like a massive slow-motion oil spill.” Photos of the Alberta Tar Sands are available at:http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=alberta+tar+sands&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
  • Goldtooth is at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, a gathering of activists; he is media coordinator for the Network and is able to connect media to other indigenous activists, including from the Gulf affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.
  • LIDY NACPIL, via Hayley Hathaway, http://www.jubileesouth.org
  • The Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of 75 religious denominations and faith communities, labor, environmental, and human rights groups and development agencies, just issued a progress report titled “Making the Grade? The G20’s Commitment to the World’s Poorest.” The report finds that G20 leaders “have made shockingly little progress since their last summit on development commitments and calls on leaders to take bold action to support the world’s poorest at a gathering of world leaders this week.”
  • According to the group: “The scorecard evaluates the G20’s progress toward key commitments made at the conclusion of its first summit on the global economic crisis in April 2009. New analysis shows that, in the past nine months since the G20’s September summit in Pittsburgh, only $1.2 billion in additional money has been clearly accounted for and delivered to low-income countries — an amount equivalent to money spent by the Canadian government for the upcoming three-day G8/G20 summits.”
  • St. Louis is deputy director of the Jubilee USA Network. For the full report and a news release from the group, “G20 Gets ‘D’ Grade for Breaking Commitments to the World’s Poorest,” see the group’s web page:http://www.jubileeusa.org
  • Nacpil, who is based in the Philippines, is with the affiliated Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development. She said today: “We believe that any process to address the global economic and financial crisis should include the voices of all affected peoples and nations. The G20 is not that process. However, as long as the biggest economies of the world are meeting, they should use their time to address the flaws of the global economic and financial system and take bold steps to transform the system.” Nacpil is currently in Detroit at the U.S. Social Forum. http://www.ussf2010.org
  • For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
  • Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858

Hello world!

October 30, 2009

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!