Sunday, March 27, 2011

Iraq for Sale Film

About the Film
"Regardless of the war, the administration, or the various sophistries for expending human lives as a matter of government policy, profiteering from it universally offends all citizens, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, other parties or no shows." Read more
--Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war. Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so.
Brave New Films are both funded and distributed completely outside corporate America. Over 3000 people donated to make Iraq for Sale, and it is up to you to distribute it. Give copies to co-workers and organize a screening in your neighborhood. Get involved → The film is 75 minutes long.
Buy it on DVD
Screenings worldwide
Keep up with the latest in the movie blog
About the Film
"Regardless of the war, the administration, or the various sophistries for expending human lives as a matter of government policy, profiteering from it universally offends all citizens, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, other parties or no shows." Read more
--Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers is the story of what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war. Acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed and Uncovered) takes you inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so.
Brave New Films are both funded and distributed completely outside corporate America. Over 3000 people donated to make Iraq for Sale, and it is up to you to distribute it. Give copies to co-workers and organize a screening in your neighborhood. Get involved → The film is 75 minutes long.
Buy it on DVD
Screenings worldwide
Keep up with the latest in the movie blog

Obama: Close Guantanamo

OMNI GUANTANAMO NEWSLETTER #2 Compiled by Dick Bennett, March 27, 2011 for a Culture of Peace.   Guantanamo:  An Outrageous Atrocity of the War on Terror and by the US Culture of War.

Contents of #1 March 3, 2011

Film: Worthington, Stories from Guantanamo

Books: Kurnaz; Mayer; Worthington

Transferring Prisoners for Trial

CCR Close Guantanamo Statement

Return Guantanamo to Cuba

No End Soon

Investigative Reporters:   Andy Worthington,  Carol Rosenberg

Chinese Torture Techniques


Violation of Due Process

Wendell Griffin on Habeas Corpus

Contents of #2

Awal Gul, 7th to Die

Close Guantanamo Statement

Witness Against Torture

What Obama Should Have Said and Done

7TH DETAINEE DIES of heart failure: AWAL GUL

Mr. Gul had been detained without charge or trial at Guantanamo for almost nine years!   The Obama administration had designated him  for “indefinite detention,” and had kept his habeas corpus appeal pending.   Yet according to his lawyer documents prove Mr. Gul quit the Taliban a year before 9-11.  

Close Guantanamo with justice now

CEJIL Center for Justice and International Law backs joint statement

At the start of his administration, President Obama signed an executive order mandating the closure of the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba within a year.  Yet the prison remains open, and on January 11, 2011 it enters its tenth year of operation. Failing to fulfill the executive order, the Obama administration has also extended some of the worst aspects of the Guantánamo system by continuing indefinite detentions without charge or trial, employing illegitimate military commissions to try some suspects, and blocking accountability for torture both by refusing to conduct independent and thorough investigations and by attempting to prevent the courts from reviewing lawsuits brought by formerly detained men.

As human rights organizations and people of conscience, we are calling for the closure of Guantánamo and both transparency at all U.S.-run detention sites and accountability for the abuses that happen within them. We oppose secret detention sites, including so-called “filtration” or “screening” sites like the covert “black prison” at Bagram, where even the International Committee of the Red Cross has been denied access and where abusive interrogations are allegedly taking place. We also express our opposition to excessively punitive conditions of confinement in prisons and detention centers inside the United States, and note that prolonged solitary confinement is a form of torture prohibited under international standards for human rights. We reject the continuation of illegal and abusive Bush-era detention and interrogation policies by the Obama administration.

The story of Guantánamo remains the shameful case of the U.S. government rounding up nearly 800 men and boys, indiscriminately labeling them “the worst of the worst,” and throwing them into an island prison designed to exist beyond the reaches of the law, where they would have no right to challenge their detention or abuse. The vast majority of the prisoners at Guantánamo should never have been detained in the first place.  Many were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and were fleeing the chaos of war when U.S. forces entered Afghanistan. Only one in twenty was captured by the U.S. military.  Most were captured by local civilians and authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan and sold to the United States in exchange for substantial bounty. According to Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a senior State Department official who served in the Bush administration between 2002-2005, the Bush administration knew early on that the majority of the men at Guantánamo were innocent but did not release them due to political concerns that doing so could harm support for the government’s push for war in Iraq and the broader “Global War on Terror.”

It is now clear that the Obama administration has no plans to close Guantánamo anytime soon, while opposition from Congress makes that goal even more remote. The prison at Guantánamo continues to exist in violation of both ethical and legal standards, and at risk to our collective safety. President Obama must act decisively or risk making Guantánamo and the Bush detention regime permanent features of the U.S. landscape. We call on President Obama and relevant departments within his administration to:

• Recommit to rapidly closing Guantánamo, and make clear that many of the men there were detained in error. It is by now well established, including by former administration officials, that the majority of the prisoners at Guantánamo should never have been detained. If President Obama were to exercise leadership and acknowledge this, it would help create the political atmosphere necessary to close the prison.

• Charge or release the men detained at Guantánamo. In 2004 and 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prisoners at Guantánamo may challenge their detention in U.S. federal court by means of habeas petitions.  Since then, federal judges have ruled in the great majority of cases that the government lacked evidence sufficient to justify the continued detention of the petitioners.  Other men at Guantánamo have been cleared for release by the U.S. government’s own Guantánamo Review Task Force, which consists of representatives from every government agency with a stake in the matter, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the CIA. All men ultimately cleared for release by the courts or the government should be immediately repatriated or resettled, and all others should be formally charged and tried in a fair and open proceeding.

• Abandon any plan for indefinite detention. The Obama administration has declared it will hold approximately 50 of the men at Guantánamo indefinitely without charge or trial, and plans to formalize indefinite detention through an executive order. The official justification is that these men are “too dangerous” to release but “not feasible” to prosecute, purportedly because there is not sufficient evidence against them that meets the minimum standards of any court; because their trials could compromise intelligence-gathering; or because detainees could challenge evidence obtained through coercion. But federal courts are fully capable of dealing with sensitive evidence, and if the government only has tainted evidence against a detainee, then the only evidence it has is both illegal and unreliable, and does not justify continued detention. The administration’s plan for indefinite detention constitutes a system of pre-emptive incarceration based on the alleged probability of future crime, and not on verifiable past conduct. This plan is flatly inconsistent with the rule of law and should be rejected.

Lift the blanket ban on all repatriations to Yemen. The Obama administration must end its indefinite suspension of all repatriations of Yemeni men at Guantánamo and allow those who have won their habeas cases or been cleared for release by the U.S. government’s own extensive Guantánamo Review Task Force to go home. The Yemeni men, like all detainees, must be individually evaluated on the basis of what they have done, not punished based on their nationality or the alleged actions of others.

• Cease forcible repatriations of men whose safety is threatened by transfer. There are men at Guantánamo who have expressed a strong fear of returning to their countries of origin and who should not be repatriated where there is reason to believe they may be at risk on their return. No detainee should be transferred to a state where credible risks exist to his safety.

• Lift the ban on resettling men into the United States. More than 15 countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Hungary, Belgium, Switzerland, Albania, Latvia and Palau, have accepted detainees for resettlement without incident. The U.S. government should also offer a home to men who have won their habeas cases or been cleared for transfer and have no other safe country to go to. (A federal judge did order the release of clearly innocent Uighur Muslim detainees into the United States, but both the Bush and Obama administrations appealed the case and then Congress acted to bar any resettlement of wrongly detained men to the United States.)  Offering to resettle such men would also encourage other countries to make similar offers and help shut Guantánamo
• Fully investigate the deaths of men who died in detention, including the three who died in 2006. Three detained men who were never charged with any crime died at Guantánamo in June 2006.  Initially reported as suicides, new evidence from four soldiers stationed at the base has raised serious questions about the circumstances surrounding their deaths. Until now, the Obama administration has not only failed to conduct an independent and thorough investigation of the deaths but has opposed inquiry and review by the courts.
• Ensure accountability for crimes. Despite its promise of a new era of accountability and respect for the rule of law, the Obama administration has repeatedly acted to ensure impunity for those under the Bush administration who planned, authorized, and committed torture. The Obama administration must honor its promise by conducting a comprehensive inquiry into well-documented and grave human rights abuses at Guantánamo and elsewhere, including torture. Specifically, the Attorney General should appoint an independent prosecutor with a full mandate to investigate and prosecute those responsible for torture and other war crimes, as far up the chain of command as the facts may lead.  Moreover, President Obama should condemn newly revealed pressure by his own administration to secretly obstruct efforts within the Spanish judiciary to investigate egregious violations of international law, including the torture of former Guantánamo detainees and other individuals who have been subjected to the U.S. torture program, and fully cooperate with the proceedings in Spain.
Take responsibility for the wellbeing of the men after they are released. The U.S. government must not hold men without charge in inhumane conditions for years, subject them to abuse including torture, and then repatriate and resettle them in far corners of the world, leaving their rehabilitation and reintegration to other governments, organizations, and individuals. The government has a responsibility to ensure that the men have adequate support and resources after release.

We also urge the international community to offer safety to men at Guantánamo who cannot leave until third countries come forward to offer them resettlement, and to ensure their rights and wellbeing once resettled. Many of the men resettled have not been granted permission to work, to travel, or to reunite with their families after years of separation and anguish, and the legal status of many remains in limbo.

We invite people of conscience all over the world to work with us to make sure Guantánamo is closed with justice, and recommit to advocating towards this end.

Organizational Signatures: The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR); Amnesty International U.S.A. (AI-USA); Witness Against Torture (WAT); International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH); National Lawyers Guild; Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL); Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC-Yemen); Human Rights Information & Training Center (HRITC-Yemen); Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS-Egypt); La Ligue Algerienne pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (LADDH-Algeria); Comite de Accion Juridica (CAJ-Argentina); Liga Argentina por los Derechos del Hombre; Observatorio Ciudadano (OC-Chile); La Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos (INREDH-Ecuador); Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España (APDHE-Spain); Scotland Against Criminalising Communities; Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT-Turkey); Finnish League for Human Rights (FLHR); Galway Alliance Against War (Ireland); The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights; Human Rights Association (IHD-Turkey); Cageprisoners-UK; Physicians for Human Rights; Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASCC); The Program for Torture Victims; Metro NY Religious Campaign Against Torture; Guantanamo Justice Center-UK; Progressive Democrats of America; Project SALAM; Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Appeal for Justice: A Human Rights Law Practice; Center for Justice and Accountability; South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), Action for a Progressive Pakistan; Pakistan Solidarity Network; Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC); Defending Dissent Foundation; No More Guantánamos; War Resisters League; Friends of Human Rights; National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF); Global Exchange; Alliance for Justice; Human Rights Defense Center; CODEPINK for Peace; WESPAC Foundation; International Justice Network; United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ); Amnesty International Ithaca Group 73; Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild; Disbar Torture Lawyers; Casa Esperanza; New Security Action; Historians Against the War; NC Immigrant Rights Project; womenstanding; Peace and Justice Task Force at All Souls Unitarian Church; Society of Jesus- New York Province; Iraqi Refugees Assistance Connection; Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma Country (CA); WBAI Local Station Board; San Miguel County Board of Commissioners; Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Theater Three Collaborative; Progressive Peace Coalition of Columbus, Ohio; Peace Action of Montgomery County, MD; Peace Action New York State; Pax Christi Metro New York; Western New York Peace Center; White Rose Catholic Worker; Women in Black, Idyllwild CA; World Can't Wait; Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action;;; The Make Agency; Justice Through Music; Justice for the Newburgh Four; War Criminals Watch; BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Bethlehem, West Bank); Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR-Gaza); Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO-Lebanon); Committees for the Defense of Democracy Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (CDF-Syria); Kurdish Organization for the Defense of Human Rights and the General Liberties in Syria (DAD-Syria); The Human Rights Organization in Syria (MAF-Syria); The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria (AOHRS-Syria); National Organization for Human Rights in Syria (NOHR-Syria); The Kurdish Committee for Human Rights in Syria (KRDCHR-Syria); Civil Liberties Organization (CLO-Nigeria); Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS-Syria); Committees for the Defense of Democracy, Freedom, and Human Rights in Syria (CDY-Syria); Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos-Bolivia (APDHB-Bolivia); Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional (CCDHRN-Cuba); La Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos A.C. (Limeddh-Mexico); La Fundación Diego Lucero A.C.; La Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones de Derechos Humanos en México; El Observatorio Nacional de Prisiones México (ONP México); La Red Universitaria de Monitores de Derechos Humanos (RUMODH); El Centro de Derechos Humanos Coordinadora 28 de Mayo A.C.; La Asociación de Derechos Humanos del Estado de México (ADHEM-Mexico); Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristobal de las Casas - México; La Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU-Ecuador); El Centro de Capacitación Social de Panama; Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH-Perú); Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA-Venezuela); Acción Solidaria en VIH/Sida - Venezuela; Comité de Familiares de las víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC-Venezuela); Vicaría Episcopal de Derechos Humanos de Caracas - Venezuela; Oficina Jurídica para la Mujer de Cochabamba (Bolivia); Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" (IDHUCA- El Salvador); Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (OVP-Venezuela); Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU- Ecuador); Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos "Segundo Montes Mozo S.J." (CSMM- Ecuador); Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Democracia y Desarrollo; Malta Association of Human Rights; International Muslim Women's League-Europe; Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre Inc. (FKCLC-Australia), Unione Forense per la Tutela dei Diritti Umani (UFTDU – Italy); Reforest the Earth, UK; Save Shaker Aamer Campaign- Last UK Resident in Guantanamo (SSAC); Brighton Against Guantanamo (UK); Worthing Against War (UK); Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE); Lewes Amnesty International Group (UK); Hellenic League for Human Rights Individual Signatures: Ann Wright (Ret. U.S. Army Colonel and State Department Official); Ray McGovern (Former US Army Intelligence Officer; CIA analyst); Ray Abourezk (Former U.S. Senator, South Dakota); Karen Greenberg; Chris Hedges (Journalist and Author, Pulitzer Prize Winner); Tom Hayden (Peace and Justice Resource Center); Yusuf Alatas (Vice President, FIDH); Manuel Olle Sese (Professor of Criminal Law, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid. Member of the Human Rights Association of Spain); Luis Acebal-Monfort (Board Member, Human Rights Association of Spain); Omar Deghayes (Legal Director of Guantánamo Justice Center; formerly detained at Guantanamo); Julie Weiner (M.S., Licensed Mental Health Counselor); Moazzam Begg (Director of Cageprisoners; formerly detained at Guantánamo); Andy Worthington (Journalist, Author, Filmmaker); Raji Sourani (Director, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights); Ariel Dorfman (Chilean author, Duke University); Leili Kashani (Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative, Center for Constitutional Rights); Frida Berrigan (Witness Against Torture); (Pardiss Kebriaei, Habeas Counsel, Center for Constitutional Rights); Abdeen Jabara (Center for Constitutional Rights, Fmr. President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee); David J. Cynamon (Attorney, Signing on behalf of Kuwaiti Detainees Fawzi al Odah and Fayiz al Kandari); Candace Gorman (Habeas Counsel); Matthew J. O'Hara (Attorney); E. Victor Mereski (Ret. US Navy, E9); Kristiina Kouros (Secretary General, Human Rights League); Ellen Schrecker (Yeshiva University, Dept. of History); Todd Gitlin (Columbia University, Professor of Journalism and Sociology); Noam Chomsky (Author, Former Institute Professor, MIT); Danial Saoud (President, Committees for the Defense of Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria); Mustafa Osso (President, Kurdish Organization for the Defense of Human Rights and the General Liberties in Syria); Mahmoud Merai (President, The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria); Ammar Qurabi (President, National Organization for Human Rights in Syria); Radeef Mustafa (The Kurdish Committee for Human Rights in Syria); Judith Butler (Author, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley); John D'Emilio (The University of Illinois at Chicago, Gender & Women's Studies and History); Almerindo E. Ojeda (The Guantánamo Testimonials Project); Ozturk Turkdogan (General President, Human Rights Association-Turkey); Yavuz Onen (Former President of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Human Rights Activist); Fr. Bob Bossie (SCJ, 8th Day Center For Justice); Michael P. Seng (Professor, The John Marshall Law School); Medea Benjamin (CODEPINK Women for Peace); Leonard Goodman (Attorney); Michael Berube (Pennsylvania State University, Director – Institute for the Arts and Humanities); Alice Kessler-Harris (Columbia University, Dept. of History); Gregory Fried (Suffolk University, Department of Philosophy); Paul A. Passavant (Hobart and William Smith Colleges); Nancy Fraser (The New School, Dept. of Political Science); Anna Marie Smith (Cornell University, Dept. of Government); Richard Flacks (University of California at Santa Barbara, Dept. of Sociology); Eli Zaretsky (The New School, Dept. of History); Maurice Isserman (Hamilton College, Professor of History); Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith College, Dept. of Political Science); William Blum (Author); Andrew Arato (The New School, Dept. of Politics); Richard Bernstein (The New School, Dept. of Philosophy); Lawrence Wittner (The State University of New York at Albany, Dept. of History); David Newbury (Smith College, Dept. of History); Van Gosse (Franklin and Marshall College, Dept. of History); Jinee Lakoneeta (Drew University, Dept. of Political Science); Nicola Foote (Florida Gulf Coast University, Latin American and Caribbean History); Timothy Patrick McCarthy (Harvard University, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy); Jay Bernstein (The New School, Dept. of Philosophy); Paul Apostolidis (Whitman College, Dept. of Political Science); Timothy Kaufman-Osborn (Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Whitman College); Stephen Duncombe (The Gallatin School, New York University, Media Studies); Neil Gordon (Author, The New School, Dept. of English); Jeremy Varon (The New School, Dept. of History); Michael S. Foley (Sheffield University, UK, Dept. of History); Alyson Cole (Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, Political Science Department and Women’s Studies Program); Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz (California State University, Professor Emerita); Oz Frankel (The New School, Department of History); Ian Lekus (Harvard University); Cyrus Bina (University of Minnesota, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics); Ben Sheperd (City University of New York, Department of Sociology); William Ayers (University of Illinois at Chicago, Distinguished Professor of Education); Dan Berger (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania); Amy Kaplan ( University of Pennsylvania, Department of English); Victoria Langland (University of California at Davis, Department of History); Lauren Goodlad (Director, Unit for Criticism, The University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana); John Morefield (Educational Consultant); Romand Coles (Northern Arizona University, Program for Community, Culture and Environment); Robert Shaffer (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Department of History); Mark Hatlie (University of Maryland University College, Department of History); Robby Cohen (New York University, Department of Teaching and Learning); David Lelyveld (William Patterson University, Department of History); Michael J. Sullivan III (Drexel University, Professor of History and Politics); Michael Hanagan (Vassar University, Department of History); A. Tom Grunfeld (Empire State College, Distinguished Teaching Professor); John M. Shaw (Portland Community College, History Instructor); Nicolas J S Davies (Author); Scott Laderman (University of Minnesota, Duluth, Department of History); Avery Gordon (University of California at Santa Barbara); Dick Bennet (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Professor Emeritus of English); Keith Carson (Atlantic Cape Community College, Department of History); E. Wayne Ross (University of British Columbia, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy); Michael C. Batinski (Department of History, Emeritus); Marc Becker (Truman State University, Professor of History); Marian Mollin (Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech); Takao Takahara (Meiji Gakuin University, Japan, International Politics and Peace Research); Bruce Cohen (Worcester State University, Department of History); Judith Abbott (Sonoma State University, Department of History); Stan Nadel (University of Portland); Harriet Alonso (City College of New York, Department of History); Ralph Summy (University of Sydney, Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies); Kevin P. Clements (University of Otago, New Zealand, National Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies); Brad Simpson (Princeton University, History and International Affairs); Astra Taylor (Independent Filmmaker); Sam Green ( Independent Filmmaker); Joan Wile (Founder and Director, Grandmothers Against the War); Jeff Mangum (Musician, Neutral Milk Hotel); Andrew Boyd (The Other 98% and Agit-Pop Communications); Mitchel Cohen (Brooklyn Greens/Green Party); Robert Avila (arts journalist); Hilton Obenzinger (Author); Doug Rossinow (Metropolitan State University); Paul C. Mishler (Associate Professor of Labor Studies, IU Program in Labor Studies- IUSB); Richard Fedder (Civil Rights Attorney); Connie Hammond (Progressive Peace Coaliton of Ohio); Toby Lieberman (Affordable Housing Loan Program Director, Opportunity Fund, San Jose, CA); Elsie Monge (CEDHU-Ecuador); Cesar Duque (CEDHU-Ecuador); Carolina Pazmiño (CEDHU- Ecuador); Milton Vargas (CEDHU-Ecuador); Consuelo Cano (CEDHU-Ecuador); Alicia Granda (CEDHU-Ecuador); Luisana Aguilar (CEDHU-Ecuador); Susana Díaz (CEDHU-Ecuador); Mario Chuquimarca (CEDHU-Ecuador); Carl Schieren; Afaf Mahfouz; Roger Leisner (Radio Free Maine)

About Witness Against Torture

Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay and attempted to visit the detention facility. Once we returned from that journey, we began to organize more broadly to shut down Guantanamo, working with interfaith, human rights and activists' organizations.
We have planned a series of nonviolent direct actions to expose and decry the administration's lawlessness, build awareness about torture and indefinite detention amongst Americans and forge human ties with the prisoners at Guantanamo and their families.
December 5-17, 2005: Walk to Guantanamo to Visit the Prisoners.
March 1, 2006: March in Washington, DC for Ash Wednesday. A theatrical march as prisoners at Guantanamo from the Supreme Court, to Congress, to the Justice Department, to the White House. Nonviolent direct action at the White House.
April 29, 2006: The Anti-Torture Bloc marches in United for Peace and Justice "March for Peace, Justice and Democracy." More than 100 activists wearing orange t-shirts emblazoned with "Shut Down Guantanamo: End Torture." We walked behind a cage on wheels that held a hooded orange jump-suited prisoner-- representing the prisons where 100s of men remain tortured, abused and incarcerated.
May 1, 2006: Interfaith action to "Condemn Torture and Demand Justice for those Imprisoned at Guantanamo." More than 100 people participated in the Interfaith Service consecrating our day of action against torture. And then we began a silent, solemn procession to call on UN Ambassador John Bolton to join the growing consensus to shut down Guantanamo. With religious leaders of different faiths heading the procession, more than two hundred people walked across New York City to condemn the use of torture, mourn its victims, and resist its continuance.
July 15, 2006: International Day to Shut Down Guantánamo, called by Witness Against Torture organized demonstrations in a dozen cities around the country.
And then, between giving talks, holding trainings and developing relationships with other groups, we began to organize for January 11, 2007 -- the date that the first "war on terror" prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay in 2002.
January 11, 2007: A day which marked five years of illegal detention, torture and abuse at Guantanamo—we worked with other groups including the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Network and the Center for Constitutional Rights to organize an international day of action to shut down Guantanamo. From Birmingham, Alabama to Birmingham, UK; from Warsaw to Wichita; in Bahrain and Baltimore; people heeded the call and organized demonstrations to draw attention to the prisoners at Guantánamo.
In Washington, DC, where the largest action took place, nearly 100 people entered the Federal Court House where the cases of Guantanamo detainees should be heard. We read the names of the men who have lost five years of their lives; we read their stories and testimonies of their torture. Most of us did not carry identification—choosing to symbolically and literally walk with a prisoner at Guantanamo through the legal processing once we were arrested.
January 11, 2008: Eighty members of Witness Against Torture were arrested at the Supreme Court demanding that habeas corpus rights be granted the detainees, giving the names of detainees when they were arrested.
In the resulting trial in Washington, D.C. in May 2008, the defendants put Guantánamo itself and Bush's torture policies on trial.
January 11, 2009: On this date, Witness Against Torture began a nationwide, nine-day fast in protest of Guantánamo and in recognition of the detainees' hunger strikes there. More than 90 people participated.
We then launched "The 100 Days Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo and End Torture" on January 22, the day that President Barack Obama was inaugurated.
During the 100 Days Campaign, Witness Against Torture activists from all over the U.S. maintained a daily vigil at the White House, brought protest signs to confirmation and other congressional hearings, lobbied lawmakers to change detention policies, and hosted numerous lectures and other public events in the Washington, D.C. area.
Witness Against Torture will continue its activities until torture is decisively ended, its victims are fully acknowledged, Guantánamo and similar facilities are closed, and those who ordered and committed torture are held to account.
* * *
About this Site
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance our understanding of torture and how it is depicted in the mainstream media. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

What Obama Should have Said in His State of the Union Address, that made no mention Guantanamo—in honor of those who remain in Guantanamo, whose protest within the prison on January 22, 2011  was a rebuke to President Obama’s broken promise January 22, 2010 to close the torture center.

I pledge to free those who have been cleared, as I promised.

I will end my ban and release the Yemenis who face no charges.

I will order the Justice Department no longer to block habeas corpus  due process and/or release.

I will try to end the legal barrier established by Congress against resettling and transferring men to stand trial in the US.

I will end the legal black hole of Bagram by providing proper oversight.

I will ensure that anyone who employed the “enhanced interrogation” methods will be examined for possible prosecution.

I will order the Justice Department to investigate all who authorized torture and to prosecute to the furthest extent of the law.

I will initiate a full criminal inquiry into the torture regime under the Bush administration and continued under mine.

I will order the full application of US law for the prisoners remaining at Guantanamo.

I will order that henceforth only civilian trials will operate for the prisoners, and military commissions will end. 

I will allow the creation of a formal system of indefinite detention without charge or trial.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Newsletter #2 on Causes and Prevention of Wars

OMNI NEWSLETTER #2 ON LIBYA AND OTHER WARS, CAUSES AND PREVENTION,  3-26, 2011   Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace. 

Contents of #1 Feb. I, 2011
Old Men in Power
  General Smedley Butler
   Merchants of Death
Climate Change: Refugees
   Empathy, Forgiveness
   Refuting Lies, Myths, Illusions
   Graphic Truth of Combat

Contents of #2

and US (7 Essays):
Kucinich: Stop the Funding
More Essays: Stop the Bombing
Libya Petition
Libya: Code Pink

Causes and Prevention of Wars
Books:  Corporate-Pentagon-Congressional-White House-Corp. Media Complex: 
      Lockheed Martin by Bill Hartung and Eisenhower by James Ledbetter
      Climate Change:    Global Warring By Cleo Paskal,
William Blum, Anti-Empire Report, Deception by Leaders
Lessons Learned from War by a Japanese

LIBYA  (7 essays)
Kucinich: “NATO War Still a Bad Deal”
 Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Reader Supported News
Intro: "Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today wrote to fellow members of Congress that NATO's role in the war in Libya would not shield Americans from the costs of the war. Kucinich's letter responded to the announcement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that NATO would take over command of the no-fly zone in Libya. In his letter, Kucinich pointed to United States' dominant role in the funding of NATO and called for Members to support his amendment which would eliminate US funds for the military intervention in Libya."

Just Foreign Policy News on the Web:

“Action: Pressure Congress to Debate Libya
Whatever one thinks of the ongoing U.S. military intervention in Libya, President Obama has set a dangerous precedent by embarking on a major military operation in Libya without Congressional authorization. Eight Members of the House have brought forward H. Con. Res. 31, a bi-partisan resolution affirming that the President must obtain specific statutory authorization for the use of U.S. armed forces in Libya. Ask your Representative to join them in affirming that U.S. military action in Libya must have Congressional authorization.

‘The Upcoming Congressional Debate on Libya Is Key
President Obama has dropped a bomb on the War Powers Resolution. It's essential for future efforts to constrain the war-making of Presidents that Congress push back. There are plenty of things Congress can do: explicitly prohibit the introduction of ground forces, prohibit the overflight of Libya by US planes, establish a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces, place a cap on what the Administration can spend. There are plenty of good historical precedents, including the efforts to limit the Clinton Administration's wars in Yugoslavia.

‘Francis Boyle: UN Resolution on Libya Allows Invasion
Professor of international law Francis Boyle stresses that while the UN Security Council resolution expressly forbids a "foreign occupation force," it does not prohibit an "invading force."

‘Yoweri Museveni Criticizes Western Military Intervention in Africa
The President of Uganda on why he opposes the Western military intervention in Libya and what he thinks should happen now.

Liberal Democrats in Uproar Over Libya Action
John Bresnahan and Jonathon Allen, Politico
By: John Bresnahan and Jonathan Allen
March 19, 2011 04:27 PM EDT
John Bresnahan and Jonathon Allen report: "A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of US missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday."
Robert Greenwald | Day One: Obama Drops 100 Million Dollars on Libya
Robert Greenwald writes: "The administration launched this new war (and yes, it is a war) with no official congressional authorization, little public debate and with a vague, possibly even non-existent, endgame in mind. It's as if the lessons of the last decade are completely lost on policymakers in the United States."

A Petition Against Quagmire in Libya  AND TO RETHINK US FOREIGN POLICY from Tom Hayden

[Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.]
At least ten thousand Americans are expected to sign the following petition against a quagmire in Libya, which is to be delivered to the White House and by local activists to their elected representatives. The campaign against a Libyan quagmire flows out of continuing grass-roots pressure against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The petition is being circulated by the Peace and Justice Resource Center, directed by Tom Hayden, an author and critic of the "Long War" for the past decade, and a leader of the anti-Vietnam movement of the 1960s. The PJRC is an online network affiliated with clusters in over 50 American cities as well as peace groups in NATO countries. The petition is meant to promote local discussion and serve as an organizing tool in anti-war outreach and advocacy before elected officials. 

The full text of the petition follows:
The United States cannot afford a deepening quagmire in Libya. We call on President Obama to seek authorization from the U.S. Congress for his Libyan bombing campaign, including a mission statement limited to protecting Libyan civilians, a viable diplomatic strategy, an exact cost projection, and a timeline for the rapid withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops before the war becomes another quagmire.

We believe that Col. Quaddafi is an autocratic ruler who has controlled Libyan lives for far too long. But we also believe a military escalation to remove him would be seen as a violation of Libyan sovereignty and a subversion of United Nations authorization 1973. Col. Quaddafi can be contained, forced into exile, or removed by the force of his own people.

We call for a responsible White House plan to end the unaffordable trillion dollar wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya. The pro-democracy movements sweeping the Middle East and North Africa deserve American diplomatic, economic and political support, but cannot become the platform for another decade of military intervention.

We support the Democratic National Committee's recent resolution calling for a significant and substantial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning this July, and the transfer of funds for war to rebuilding our economy at home.

We further call for the most serious effort of our generation to speed the transition to energy conservation and renewable resources with the same urgency with which our government takes us to war.

It is time for a great re-thinking of American foreign policy, and a stronger movement for peace, jobs and environmental sanity.


Tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Use Diplomacy to Bring About a Ceasefire in Libya
Read Instead of Bombing Dictators, Stop Selling Them Bombs by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis on Huffington Post
Join us in conversation with women from war zones
“One Woman’s Journey Toward Peace in Iraq”
Tune in on Saturday, May 14th at 11:00am PST/2:00pm EST - we will be talking with Rashad Zaydan in Iraq!

March 24, 2011
Dear Dick,
We know that Muammar Gaddafi is a dictator and we support Libyan people who are rising up to oust him. But bringing in the cruise missiles to the “rescue”? No way! Our government’s involvement should be to use creative diplomacy, negotiations, and international pressure, not war. The best thing the U.S. can do to support democracy in the Middle East is: Stop arming dictators.
 Please join us in telling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—a key player pushing for war in Libya—that we want an end to the bombing, an immediate ceasefire in Libya and an end to U.S. arms sales to the region’s dictators.
Western nations were selling Gaddafi the weapons his regime has been using to suppress the Libyan people. In 2009 alone, European governments — including Britain and France — sold Libya more than $470 million worth of weapons. The Obama administration was working to provide the Libyan dictator another $77 million in weapons, on top of the $17 million it provided in 2009 and the $46 million the Bush administration provided in 2008. What is the message we send by bombing Gaddafi’s forces while continuing to support brutal regimes in countries such as Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia?
The repressive government in Yemen has received more than $300 million in military aid from the U.S. over the last five years. U.S. military sales to Bahrain since 2000 total $1.4 billion. The monarchy of Saudi Arabia is set to receive $67 billion worth of weapons – the largest weapons deal in U.S. history.
The U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles fired into Libya are reportedly killing innocent civilians. According to The New York Times, European and US warplanes with “brutal efficiency” bombed “tanks, missile launches and civilian cars, leaving a smoldering trail of wreckage that stretched for miles.” The truth is that wars, even so-called humanitarian ones, entail destroying people and places. And innocents pay the price.
There’s an easier, safer way to protect civilians from dictators than aerial bombardment: stop arming and propping up dictators. Send that message to Hillary Clinton, along with the call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya.
Once again, it's our job to be the voice of sanity that says, loudly and clearly, "War is not the answer."
Ali, Alli, C.J., Chelsea, Dara, Farida, Gayle, Janet, Jean, Jodie, Kristen, Medea, Nancy K, Nancy M, Natalia, Rae, Sanaa, Shaden, and Tighe
P.S. Join us in conversation with women from war zones

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In light of unfolding events in Libya, North Aftrica, and the Middle East, we are sending another "mass mailing" we hope will be helpful. We include in full a new in depth article from Gilbert Achcar, and also links to a number of other pieces that have gone up online on ZNet today. We hope you will visit regularly in this best and worst of times...
Vijay Prashad: Intervening in Libya
Merip Editors: Of Principle and Peril
Robert Naiman: When the House Comes Back...
Patrick Cockburn: Bombing Libya


--Bill Hartung.  Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.  Nation Books, 2011.
--James Ledbetter.  Unwarranted Influence: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military Industrial Complex.  Yale UP, 2011.


Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map

by Cleo Paskal As told by: Cleo Paskal  Key Porter Books | December 7, 2009 | Hardcover
The Cold War was never this hot!We live in interesting times. The biggest western economic institutions are crumbling, what were once marginalized voices are now dominating international negotiations, and touchstone climate events, such as the …+ read more
The Cold War was never this hot!

We live in interesting times. The biggest western economic institutions are crumbling, what were once marginalized voices are now dominating international negotiations, and touchstone climate events, such as the monsoon, are failing. Everywhere you look economic, geopolitical and environmental assumptions are being shaken to the core. The world is changing. Fast.
Global Warring examines these trends by combining insightful economic and political analysis with the most likely environmental change scenarios. It identifies problem areas that could start conflicts (access to water and resources in Asia), economic trends that are shifting the balance of power (China's policy of nationalistic capitalism), and geopolitical realignments (the burgeoning strategic partnership between the United States and India).
Award-winning writer and geopolitical expert Cleo Paskal makes sense of this overwhelming topic by dividing it into five sections: how seemingly impervious western nations, such as the United States, are shockingly vulnerable to hurricanes, storm surges and rising sea levels, and what that could mean for their internal stability and economic development; how the thawing Arctic is opening up a whole new arena for power politics as some of the world's biggest countries wrangle for control over vast resources, strategic shipping routes such as the Northwest Passage and geopolitical leverage; how changing precipitation patterns, extreme weather and water shortages are creating severe disruptions in India and China, and how that could affect their relations with each other, and the world; how rising sea levels may shift borders and alter the very notion of statehood, potentially challenging international law to the breaking point; and, finally, what could happen in coming decades, and how to avoid the worst of it.
Paskal combines ten years of research; the latest findings from the Hadley Centre and the United Nations; and interviews with top political, security and economic strategists with her own extensive travel as a foreign correspondent. The result is a penetrating, accessible, compelling, and chilling reminder that Global Warring is not only coming, it's here.
"In a clear, comprehensive and alarming analysis, Cleo Paskal underlines the geopolitically disruptive potential of climate change. Arguably this is the biggest challenge to human society since the Ice Age or the Black Death and it is not clear we are any readier  to respond adequately to ours than were our unfortunate ancestors to theirs." -- Guy Stanley, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.


Anti-Empire Report, March 1, 2011 empire's deep dark secret

"In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined," declared US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on February 25.
Remarkable. Every one of the many wars the United States has engaged in since the end of World War II has been presented to the American people, explicitly or implicitly, as a war of necessity, not a war of choice; a war urgently needed to protect American citizens, American allies, vital American "interests", freedom, or democracy. Here is President Obama speaking of Afghanistan: "But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity." 7
This being the case, how can a future administration say it will not go to war if any of these noble causes is seriously threatened? The answer is that these noble causes are irrelevant. The United States goes to war where and when it wants, and if a noble cause is not self-evident, the government, with indispensable help from the American media, will manufacture it. Secretary Gates is now admitting that there is choice involved. Well, Bob, thanks for telling us. You were Bush's Secretary of Defense as well, and before that 26 years in the CIA and the National Security Council. You sure know how to keep a secret.

 “Lessons learned from war” 0de Magazine
I have many fond memories of sitting in a small room in my wife’s grandmother’s house, sipping tea, and giving obaa-chan the space to say whatever was on her mind.
When I asked her about World War II, here’s what she had to say:
"The death of loved ones, natural disasters, wars, and divorces. All of these events give us cause to stop and reflect on our lives.
World War II taught me a lot. It seems to me that in all wars, both sides tend to be correct in standing up for their values, and quite short-sighted in denying their shortcomings.
I think this is also true in personal relationships that aren’t going well. People fail to realize and acknowledge their own shortcomings, and this prevents them from recognizing there are always two people responsible for the failing.
When the war ended I was grateful to still be alive and I was ready to redirect my life. Having withstood the war I was pretty certain I could withstand everything life had to offer.
A lot of precious lives were lost and many people died at a very early age. The war broke my heart and caused me to reexamine everything I thought I knew. I was pretty certain my heart would break a few more times before I died, and I needed to take the time to better understand how life is full of suffering and joy, love and hate.
I found myself wondering what all the killing had accomplished. What truths had the war revealed? What lessons were to be learned by every Japanese person? Surely our culture needed to redirect itself, and I wondered how this would be accomplished, and if indeed it would be accomplished. Before the war life had a certain familiarity that felt comfortable: up early every morning to start the day, and work well into the evening, all with a sense of an endless rhythm and flow, with one day leading to the next. By the end of the war, everything had been turned upside down. Everyone was so busy rebuilding shattered lives and attempting to make up for lost time, that few people took the time to sit and reflect.
I realized I was going to have to let go of great sadness in order to begin the next stage of my life. Having seen so many people die, I found it important to place the focus of my attention on the newborn babies in our neighborhood. Watching them grow, and flourish, under the gaze of a loving mother. Life was indeed continuing to spring forth and I knew it was important to focus on the positive.
The war led me to understand the world is being destroyed by the anger and resentment that is stirred up by our leaders. Beneath all the bad feelings lies a deep fear that is big enough to destroy all of life. When our fear, anger, and resentment overflows into war, it squeezes the love from our hearts and there are no winners. Only survivors.
God is the Spirit that lives within each of us and gives us life. Who we are, depends to a large extent on how we love. We need to nurture our fear and our anger with kindness, so that hope, health, and compassion will spring forth in each of us. Regardless of the country we were born in, or the values we hold dear.
There is a great deal of fear and anger in the world today. Please consider how you can nurture with kindness all those you meet and enter into relationship with."