Sunday, March 24, 2013


OMNI NEWSLETTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS #3, March 24, 2013, Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice. (#1 June 8, 2008;#2 Feb. 5, 2012)


Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:  See OMNI’s newsletters on bill of Rights Day, Civil Liberties, Drones, Guantanamo, Human Rights Day, War on Terror, Torture, and related subjects.
 For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change. Informed citizens demanding a constitutional democracy.


 From its beginning OMNI celebrated Human Rights, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the U.S. Bill of Rights, Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and our Human Rights Committee has actively opposed the death penalty and other human rights violations.  Let us widen and deepen this commitment in the years to come by supporting the “emerging global ethos that says to the worst perpetrators of human-rights atrocities: ‘Think twice before you kill or torture.’” 

CONTENTS of #1  June 8, 2008
     Human Rights Organizations
II.         USA and HUMAN RIGHTS
US Withdraws from UN Human Rights Council
        US Exceptionalism   
        Guantanamo (3)
        US and Habeas Corpus
        [For remaining contents go to]
        Death Penalty: ABA
        Death Penalty: NWA, John Threet
        Human Rights Week 2008 at UA
        Graffiti Prosecutions

Contents #2
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute’s newsletter, Human Rights Now!
Human Rights Treaties = US Law
US Mercenaries
Sexual Abuse
Moyn, Human Rights in History
Right to Die Film on Jack Kevorkian
US in UN Human Rights Council 2010
Accountability Improving Globally
Human Rights Education
China, Indonesia, Philippines

Contents of #3   March 24, 2013
Local ACLU Human Rights Forum
Amnesty International
Argentina Prosecutes Old HR Criminals
Lehman College Human Rights and Peace Center
Universal Rights and Realities
Bahrain:  No Weapons to Human Rights Abusers
Chomsky, Others Did It Not Us
Peck, US Co-opts Human Rights?  Oh No.
Kathryn Sikkink, Human Rights Prosecutions
Large Scale Interventions
Chile: Pinochet
Universal Rights
Bricmont, Humanitarian Imperialism
Murdering Human Rights Advocates in the Philippines

From: William Schreckhise
Date: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 8:23 PM
Subject: ACLU Forum on National Security and Civil Liberties


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Argentina begins prosecution of military-era human rights abuses    Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:14 pm (PDT) . Posted by:
* ³This is a huge step to achieve the truth internationally,² says Atilio
Borón, an Argentine political scientist who studies social movements and
democracy. Human rights have become a cornerstone of Argentine politics
since Néstor Kirchner, the predecessor and late husband of current President
Cristina Kirchner, overturned impunity laws.

* Eyes Wide Open (2010)
Jonathan Gilbert, Christian Science Monitor / MinnPost
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Steve Clemens

In 1980, a young, left-wing Argentine militant named Horacio Campiglia was
abducted in Rio de Janeiro and then taken to a military base in Buenos
Aires, never to be heard from again.
In the southern cone, Mr. Campiglia's story is a familiar one ­ he is one of
tens of thousands of dissidents who were "disappeared" ­ abducted and
murdered ­ by military dictatorships in the region in the 1970s and 1980s.
Now, the former government officials responsible for those disappearances
are being put on the stand for the first time.

Full story...


Eyes Wide Open (2010), Democratic Underground
After 500 years of exploitation and repression, Latin America is at a
turning point in its history: a series of socialist leaders has come to
power. Can they satisfy their peoples' hunger for change?

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Promoting Social Justice and Human Dignity

The Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies advances social justice and human dignity in an interdisciplinary fashion through active involvement of faculty, students, and community in research and teaching.

About the Center

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The Center builds on Lehman College’s unique history: the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights began at Lehman College when the United Nations met at the College. Lehman College students, often immigrants and the first in their families to access higher education, engender a broad understanding of human rights. The Center unites student and faculty engagement on local and global rights issues in New York and the greater world community.
The Center emphasizes intrinsic linkages between human rights and peace. Not merely the absence of war or conflict, human security necessitates community building, safety, promotion of tolerance, environmental sustainability, expanded life chances, freedom of expression, movement and association, and equal access to resources across gender, ethnic, class, national, and other socio-economic divides.


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The Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies hosts a rich program of human rights events for both the Lehman community and the broader public throughout the year. Recent events include:
·                         Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies Spring 2012 Conference
Lehman College
East Dining Room
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Time: 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Last modified: Apr 17, 2012


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o                                                        PEN American Center
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o                                                        The Washington Office on Latin America
o                                                        MADRE
o                                                        Guatemala Human Rights Commission
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o                                                        New York State Youth Leadership Council
o                                                        Center for Gender and Refugee Studies
o                                                        Cultural Survival
o                                                        International Association of Genocide Scholars
o                                                        Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW)
o                                                        CUNY School of Law International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic

My new op-ed on Rios Montt Trial and President Otto Perez Molina's denial of genocide "Genocide is not an 'Armed Confrontation'"

2:27 PM (28 minutes ago)

to Vdlsanford, bcc: me
Dear Friends,

The historic Rios Montt genocide trial began on Tuesday, March 19 in Guatemala City despite every move you can imagine (including defense lawyers abandoning Rios Montt) to try to delay the trial.

I am sending you links to an op-ed I wrote entitled "El genocidio no es una confrontacion armado" for El Faro which has just been published by Plaza Publica in Guatemala.  It would be great if you could add these links to your facebook page if you do facebook or just share with friends.  Below these links are some others that may be of interest to you about the trial.

NPR did a nice piece that you can link to here:

For ongoing trial summaries, commentary and analysis, see a new Website launched by the Open Society Justice Initiative in partnership with the National Security Archive, the International Center for Transitional Justice, CEJIL and the Guatemalan on-line news site Plaza Pública:

And, last but not least, you can read about the first day of the trial in the attached documents written by the Association for Justice and Reconciliation AJR
Center for Human Rights Legal Action CALDH-- the two NGOs who have been instrumental in moving the case forward and are representing the victims as querrellantes adhesivos - lawyers working with the prosecutors to prosecute the case on behalf of the victims.

Please circulate widely.
Many thanks,
Victoria   Victoria Sanford, PHD  Director
Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies
Professor of Anthropology  Lehman College & the Graduate Center
City University of New York
 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Book CoverUniversal Rights Down to Earth

A path-blazing lesson on how to reconcile lofty human rights ambitions with political and cultural realities.More

*Action: Arming human rights abusers in Bahrain? There oughta be a law!
Under current U.S. law as interpreted by the Obama Administration, the U.S. can arm a brutal dictatorship if it can be argued that the particular weapons won't be used for human rights abuses and the units being armed don't have a history of documented human rights abuse. Rep. Grijalva's bill would change that, and raise the bar for arming rights abusers. Urge your Rep. to support the Grijalva bill.    [How many human rights abusing nations does the US arm?  --Dick]

"Somebody Else's Atrocities"
By Noam Chomsky, Nation of Change, posted June 7, 2012

IDEAL ILLUSIONS: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights By James Peck

From the Cold War to the War on Terror, a historian and foreign-policy analyst charts the rise of human rights and the U.S. government's appropriation of the doctrine for its own ends. Read full review

---------- Forwarded message ----------

The Justice Cascade

How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

The Norton Series in World Politics

Kathryn Sikkink (Author)
Acclaimed scholar Kathryn Sikkink examines the important and controversial new trend of holding political leaders criminally accountable for human rights violations.  Sikkink tells how international courts originated in domestic courts and developed in the 1990s, leading up to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002.
Grawemeyer Award winner Kathryn Sikkink offers a landmark argument for human rights prosecutions as a powerful political tool. She shows how, in just three decades, state leaders in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have lost their immunity from any accountability for their human rights violations, becoming the subjects of highly publicized trials resulting in severe consequences. This shift is affecting the behavior of political leaders worldwide and may change the face of global politics as we know it.

Drawing on extensive research and illuminating personal experience, Sikkink reveals how the stunning emergence of human rights prosecutions has come about; what effect it has had on democracy, conflict, and repression; and what it means for leaders and citizens everywhere, from Uruguay to the United States. The Justice Cascade is a vital read for anyone interested in the future of world politics and human rights.   Rev. The Nation (March 19, 2012) by Samuel Moyn (author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History).

Best-selling author Rory Stewart and political economist Gerald Knaus examine the impact of large-scale interventions, from Bosnia to Afghanistan.   More

1.     Book CoverA Nation of Enemies

"This will stand as the definitive work on Chile under Pinochet for many years to come."-Library JournalMore

DEMAND OBAMA’S memos justifying the targeted execution of U.S. citizens without trial.
Dear Dick,
President Obama feels your Constitutional right to "due process" can be what ever secret process he makes up.
Yesterday, US Attorney General Eric Holder reiterated the administration's support for their controversial program of secretly targeting US citizens for execution without notifying them of the accusations against them, officially charging them with a crime or offering them the opportunity to respond. Since the whole world is a battlefield in the vague 'war on terror,' the only due process afforded to someone who has been targeted for extrajudicial execution is a secret 'review' by the executive branch.
Just as the public demanded the release of the Bush Administration's Torture Memos to expose the ludicrous rationale behind their secret torture program, we too must demand to know the legal rationale for a program that allows our president to unilaterally choose to deprive someone of life and liberty - without the victim even being charged with a crime.
Holder's speech was a cheap attempt to feign transparency without actually releasing the legal memos that define the administration's execution policy.1 We need your help to demand the Obama administration release these memos immediately. Can you please sign our petition demanding the Obama administration release the Execution Memos?
The administration's refusal to even outline this non-judicial 'due process' that allows US citizens to be secretly put on a kill list is beyond troubling to say the least.
As Salon writer Glenn Greenwald put it: "the 'process' which Eric Holder yesterday argued constitutes "due process" as required by the Fifth Amendment before the government can deprive of someone of their life: the President and his underlings are your accuser, your judge, your jury and your executioner all wrapped up in one, acting in total secrecy and without your even knowing that he's accused you and sentenced you to death, and you have no opportunity even to know about, let alone confront and address, his accusations; is that not enough due process for you?"2
The ACLU, New York Times and others have been suing the Obama administration for months in hopes of securing the release of the Execution Memos, but as one of the least-transparent administrations in recent history, they have repeatedly blocked their release.3
If left unchallenged, this secretive program could continue to expand under Obama and future presidents, and further erode America's most basic principles of justice. Without the memos we do not know exactly how far the Obama administration believes this unprecedented power extends. We need your help to build a groundswell of pressure to force the release of any and all legal justification for the targeted killings program so there can be an open debate in this country about our president's unilateral authority to kill.
This is a serious and dangerous precedent, and anyone who took issue with the Bush Torture Memos should be even more concerned about this latest power grab by the president. I hope you'll join us in fighting to release these memos.
Deepest Thanks,
Brian Sonenstein
Director of Online Activism,
1. Holder's Regressive Defense of Targeted Killings, Kevin Gosztola, FDL's Dissenter, 3/6/2012.
2. Attorney General Holder defends execution without charges, Glenn Greenwald,, 3/6/2012.
3. The Worst Administration on FOIA, Kevin Gosztola, FDL's Dissenter, 3/5/2012.

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Humanitarian Imperialism:  Using Human Rights to Sell War
by Jean Bricmont.   Monthly Review P, 2006.
Humanitarian Imperialism
Paperback, 176 pages
ISBN: 1-58367-147-1

We're Sorry
Since the end of the Cold War, the idea of human rights has been made into a justification for intervention by the world’s leading economic and military powers—above all, the United States—in countries that are vulnerable to their attacks. The criteria for such intervention have become more arbitrary and self-serving, and their form more destructive, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan to Iraq. Until the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the large parts of the left was often complicit in this ideology of intervention-discovering new “Hitlers” as the need arose, and denouncing antiwar arguments as appeasement on the model of Munich in 1938.
Jean Bricmont’s Humanitarian Imperialism is both a historical account of this development and a powerful political and moral critique. It seeks to restore the critique of imperialism to its rightful place in the defense of human rights. It describes the leading role of the United States in initiating military and other interventions, but also on the obvious support given to it by European powers and NATO. It outlines an alternative approach to the question of human rights, based on the genuine recognition of the equal rights of people in poor and wealthy countries.
Timely, topical, and rigorously argued, Jean Bricmont’s book establishes a firm basis for resistance to global war with no end in sight.
In this stimulating book, Jean Bricmont effectively deconstructs ‘humanitarian interventionism’ and makes a good case that leftists who support it are the ‘useful idiots’ of imperialism. He also provides a broader critique of the Western left and offers a number of constructive suggestions. This insightful book is chock full of enlightening case studies and provocative arguments.  —Edward S. Herman, Professor Emeritus of Finance
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Jean Bricmont’s provocative and carefully argued book deserves to be widely read and debated in the progressive, ecological, peace, and human rights movements. It may not be the last word on this subject but the issues Bricmont raises cannot be ignored.
—Alan Sokal, Professor of Physics, New York University
Jean Bricmont is professor of theoretical physics at the University of Louvain, Belgium. He is the author of Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science (with Alan Sokal) and other political and scientific publications.
Dick:  See OMNI Newsletters on Arab Spring uprisings and Western interventions.

December 8, 2012
 For reference: Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general (017-3162831)

International concern for rights defenders in the Philippines grows

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) raised the alarm on the continuing human rights violations in the country under the Aquino government, particularly cases of extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders.  
OMCT noted “the attacks on human rights defenders in a climate of pervasive impunity” especially those fighting for their land rights and the protection of the environment.   “A climate of pervasive and systematic impunity is at the heart of this alarming situation,” said the OMCT delegation in a statement.

The OMCT conducted a mission in the Philippines on November 11 to 17, 2012, to investigate the situation of rights defenders.  Two members of OMCT General Assembly, Ms. Vrinda Grover, a prominent human rights lawyer (India), and Ms. Claudia Samayoa, Coordinator of the Unit for Protection of Human Rights Defenders of Guatemala, led the mission. They met with leaders and network of Karapatan, indigenous peoples, farmers groups, lawyers, faith-based organisations, as well as government officials, foreign embassies and representatives of a transnational mining company in Manila and Mindanao.

The OMCT mission statement particularly cited the indigenous peoples who are “at risk in areas where conflict over land and natural resources has been aggravated by activities of national and transnational companies engaged in acquisition of land for mining and/or agro-industry.”

More than 70 farmer and indigenous peoples leaders and environmental advocates are currently in Metro Manila, the ManiLakbayan, to call the government’s attention for the same issues raised by the OMCT mission.

“The ancestral rights of indigenous people over land and natural resources are being brazenly violated often through the use of private security guards, paramilitary and the military. Indigenous human rights defenders resisting peacefully the violations and asserting their lawful and ancestral claims face extrajudicial killings, vilification and threats,” said the OMCT. 

The OMCT initial mission report noted the recent killing of indigenous leader Juvy Capion and her two minor children on October 18, 2012, in Tampakan, by members of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippines Armed Forces, saying that it “exemplify the dangerous and violent conditions in the area sought for gold – copper mining by Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) and transnational company Xstrata.”

The relatives of Juvy Capion, led by sister-in-law Erita Capion, are among the ManiLakbayan delegates who arrived in Metro Manila on Nov. 30 for a series of activities and protest actions to call the government’s attention to the killings due to counterinsurgency operations of Oplan Bayanihan, and also to quell people’s protests against large-scale mining.

The OMCT mission did not fail to notice the presence and activities of “legalized paramilitary groups such as the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and the Investment Defense Unit, as well as the large scale possession and availability of dangerous arms and weapons, are contributing to the climate of impunity for human rights violations including the attacks on human rights defenders.” 

The OMCT has taken to task the Aquino government to “demonstrate its intent to respect and protect the rights of those that continue to struggle for human rights even in a climate of stigma and fear,” adding that “plethora of laws and institutional mechanisms, purportedly for advancement of human rights, does not inspire confidence, as in their actual working and practices those in position of political, economic and military power continue to enjoy impunity.”

Among the recommendations of the mission emphasized the “role of command responsibility in Government and among forces in the security sector should also be diligently scrutinized in the perpetuation of impunity.”

*Attached is a copy of the complete press statement of the international factfinding missions of the OMCT and FIDH with their preliminary recommendations.

Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.


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