Saturday, April 30, 2011

UN body calls for Syria crackdown probe - Al Jazeera & Uganda's Novel Approach To Non-Violence Protests "Walk To Work"

Ugandas Novel Approach to Protesting against their government by merely taking the action of "Walking To Work"
This is a lesson in non-violent mass protests -note there are no protest signs etc. Just people walking.

UN body calls for Syria crackdown probe - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Over 500 protesters have been killed in Syria by its security forces
Syria Governments Brutal crackdown continue

Syria Update: 'Death over Dignity'

 In Uganda citizens protesting about rising prices have chosen a novel way to gain attention for their grievances simply by walking to work  rather than holding massive demonstarions and marches.

The Ugandan "Walk to work" protests should be an example to other nations not just in the Middle East and Africa but also in western nations including the USA.

Imagine if you can millions of Americans walking to work to protest against the US governments austerity plans and its further enrichment of the well to do in America or for the ongoing expense of military expenditure in order to defend America's illegitimate Empire.

But as we know most Americans for example are too apathetic or consider any who protest as being too radical or even UnAmerican as for the rest most Americans do not have the conviction or the individual bravery to stand up for a cause in the way that Ugandans, Syrians, Bahrainis, Iraqi, Egyptians , Saudi Arabians have.

These people much maligned by the US government and the US media should be praised and be recognized for their fearlessness in the face of brutal and deadly force meted out by their own governments.

In Uganda citizens protesting about rising prices have chosen a novel way to gain attention for their grievances simply by walking to work rather than holding massive demonstarions and marches.

The Ugandan's governments response is to arrest hundreds of people just for walking to work.
It is an awesomely simple and direct form of non-violent protest which could possibly used in other countries even in western nations .
What government would receive support for arresting people just for walking to work.
Arresting people taking part in such a simple demonstration of protest would be seen as draconian that is without legitimacy.
Legitimate concerns over national security and the functioning of the state would not have much weight when citizens are merely exercising their right to simply walk to work.
In carrying out such a demonstration the citizens of any country could say they are doing so for their own personal health and to reduce pollution by not using cars or public transit.

   " Being hauled up before courts and jailed just because you have chosen to walk to work as a form of protest is something unimaginable in many countries. But in Uganda it happens.

Security forces are harassing and have been locking up opposition politicians and their supporters who are taking part in a protest against spiralling food and fuel prices by walking to work.

The walk-to-work protest, as it is called, began on April 11. A group calling itself Activists for Change (A4C) organised the demonstration and opposition politicians - keen to show they are concerned about people's discontent over rising prices - heeded the call to take part.

But the protest got off to a stuttering start as the leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye, was promptly intercepted by security forces when he was leaving his home in Kasangati near Kampala, the capital. Another politician, Nobert Mao, head of the Democratic Party, and an opposition MP were also picked up.

Besigye, who was arrested for a fourth time on Thursday a day after he was freed on bail on condition that he does not stage more protests, had been given three options: To return to his house or be driven to work in a police vehicle or send for his personal car and drive to work. He chose none.

The tense standoff that ensued and resulted in Besigye getting shot in the right hand - as supporters who were dispersed by police amid plumes of tear gas joined him - shows no sign of easing and has led to more protests.
It is not hard to see the source of the discontent. The government is planning to buy eight fighter jets for $740m when its people cannot afford food. Government officials justify this spending by saying Uganda needs to beef up its defence systems, if it is to protect its newfound oil near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

To add insult to injury, $1.3m will be splashed out on a swearing-in ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni, who won re-election in February. Several heads of state have been invited to grace what promises to be a colourful ceremony.

Sounding ever so defiant, Besigye told a crowd of his supporters shortly after his release that he would stage more walk-to-work protests.
On April 28 security forces resumed their crackdown, smashing the window of Besigye's car as he drove into Kampala and spraying him with pepper before bundling him on the back of a pick-up truck.

The crackdown has so far killed five people, including three in the northern town of Gulu and a two-year-old girl in Masaka, 120km south of Kampala.

"We never knew the government is so threatened to the extent" of shooting innocent civilians, Salaamu Musumba, a former MP and vice-president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the party Besigye heads, told Al Jazeera.
The government blames the violence on the actions of the opposition; the opposition say their right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the constitution. Security forces, they argue, do not have to use brute force to disperse unarmed protesters.

The protesters may be unarmed but Kale Kayihura, the chief of the police, told reporters days after the first protest was dispersed that the opposition were trying to use demonstrators to topple a duly elected government.

That accusation seems to gain credence from the utterances made by Besigye on his campaign trail in the run-up to the February 18 presidential elections that he lost to Museveni. It was his third straight electoral defeat since 2001, when he first had a shot at the presidency"

Al Jazeera reports that Syrian civilians are pleading for international intervention to condemn attocities being committed by Syrian government and its security foces against unarmed protesters. "Where are the international human rights organizations/agencies???"

The south Syrian flashpoint town of Deraa has been hit by fresh shelling and heavy gunfire, as residents bury people killed in Friday's "day of rage" protests against the government, a witness tells Al Jazeera.
The army has been firing at protesters in neighbourhoods in Deraa's old town and at least four houses in the Karak neighbourhood have been damaged by shelling, according to the witness.

The shelling started at 03:00GMT on Saturday, the witness said.

"We are totally besieged. It is a tragedy. Many houses are levelled by shelling from the army. For the past six days we haven’t seen an ambulance," the witness said via telephone, while gunfire rang out in the background.

"We are keeping the bodies of the dead in refrigerator trucks, but many bodies are still lying in the streets. Many of the bodies are bloated and are reeking."
Tanks had been pounding the northern part of Deraa around the Omari Mosque since morning, another witness told Al Jazeera via telephone, the sound of the bombardment audible in the background.
Response so far :
The UN Human Rights Council has endorsed a US call for an investigative mission into the bloodshed in Syria by voting for a resolution that also condemned a violent government crackdown in the country.
The resolution, approved on Friday, "unequivocally condemns the use of lethal violence against peaceful protesters by the Syrian authorities... and urges the Syrian government to immediately put an end to all human rights violations".

It also "requests the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a mission to the Syrian Arab Republic to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law," according to the text released by the United Nations.

Eileen Donahoe, the US human rights ambassador, said that the fact-finding mission would look into violations committed by Syrian forces.

"The international community strongly condemns the behaviour demonstrated by the Syrian authorities with respect to peaceful protesters in their own country," Donahoe said.

"Opening live fire, sending in snipers and tanks to quell demonstrations is unacceptable."

Although the western resolution was watered down, the vote managed to rally crucial African and Latin American support to overcome Russia and China's powerful opposition to international condemnation of Syria.

Several Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, also abstained or were absent when the vote was called, despite Syria's warnings that the resolution "sent the wrong message" to violent protesters.

Twenty-six countries voted for the text, including some African and Latin American nations that had voiced qualms during the special session on Syria, while nine voted against.

and so it goes,

The GITMO Leaks Detainees Mostly innocent or mere footsoldiers & Not The Worst of the worst

Friday, April 29, 2011

WikiLeaks Exposes Gitmo-The Young Turks Cenk Uygur

In case you missed it -US media ignores the real story about Wikileaks documents revelations???

WikiLeaks' Assange Slams NYT's Handling of Afghan Diaries

In this post 9/11 environment even the New York Times is terrified of the US gov't and the pentagon.
Given Obama's reaction they were right to be afraid-free press not so free in the USA.

Not much better than Saddam -Iraq: Widening Crackdown on Protests | Human Rights Watch

Iraq: Widening Crackdown on Protests | Human Rights Watch

USA Backed regime in Iraq looks more and more like the old Saddam Regime-Can you tell the difference???
No protest allowed
The arrest and incarceration of thousands of innocent Iraqis including protesters, journalists, bloggers and anyone who criticizes the new Regime.

While in America the free you can be arrested for watching Al Jazeera or daring to question the incarceration and ongoing abuse of Bradley manning.

Protesters Sing Bradley Manning Song to Barack Obama (Camera 1)

In case you missed it-protesters ignored , patronized or arrested-
The New Regime looks more and more like the old regime
And President Obama blames his troubles on progressives and liberals who are his base.

Obama Don't mention Bradley Manning or elseWhite House Threatens to Blacklist Paper for Covering Protest | Common Dreams

White House Threatens to Blacklist Paper for Covering Protest | Common Dreams

The San Francisco Chronicle is apparently in trouble with the White House for posting video of a protest against the White House's treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. The Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead reports:

The White House threatened Thursday to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.

PressTV -Syria, Bahrain A Tale Of Western Double Standards - Royal Wedding & Monarchs Who Oppress

Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain - Killing his own subjects to defend the Divine Right of Kings

                    " A Man's A Man for a'that and a ' that"
 see video at sidebar of Paoli Nutini performing Robbie Burns anthem.

British anti-monarchy campaign group Republic hit out at inclusion of royals from not only Bahrain but also Saudi Arabia, Oman, Brunei, Qatar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Bhutan and Kuwait.
"This guest list reads like a 'Who's Who' of tyrants and their cronies," Republic chief Graham Smith said.
"Whatever happened to William's supposedly strong social conscience? He must take personal responsibility for this and rescind the invitations immediately."
St James's Palace said earlier it had sought advice from Britain's foreign ministry on guests from abroad.
from Bahrain crown prince to miss royal wedding By Europe correspondent Philip Williams,Updated Mon Apr 25, 2011

Time to man the barricades!!!
While millions in a dozen countries rise up against Monarchs and other Tyrants the West pays homage to the Royal Family of the UK.
Is this a sign that the struggle over the last two centuries is being undone by the rich and powerful who insists that the lower classes should know their place and not try to go beyond their station???

Les Miserables - Do You Hear the People Sing?

Why should anyone pay homage to someone just because of an accident of birth.
The Royal Family in the UK are given financial support by the UK government and its people.
It's just another form of glorified welfare for those who believe themselves superior to everyone else.
As we have seen in the USA for all their blather about democracy the government in its infinite wisdom and folly has spent billions to bail out the rich and powerful while cutting back on government help for the poor and the so-called lower classes who are sent into the streets to beg.

Paying homage to Royalty in the UK while their fellow monarchs and dictators in the Middle East and Northern Africa who still have absolute power oppress their people ie Saudi Arabia , Bahrain,
The only good thing one can say about the Royal family in the UK is just that they no longer have any legal power or political influence over the government or their so called subjects.

Is the Royal Wedding just a harmless bit of fuzzy nostalgia or does such an event show that there are those individuals or class which are still considered superiour than those who are part of the lower classes.

In the USA the Bush Regime extended the powers of the presidency making the president into a virtual king . Obama has even further increased the power of the executive since it appears he too wants to be able to act like royalty .Day in and Day out there is a constant ongoing attack on America's democratic principles and laws.

In our society homage is paid on a daily basis to the rich upper class and the political elite.

PressTV -Syria, Bahrain A Tale Of Western Standards
April29, 2011

Syria, Bahrain: A tale of Western double standards by presstv

Given the support Bahraini protesters are getting in a number of countries including Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan America and the West in their hypocrisy and double standards and propaganda are now making more enemies in the Muslim world.
Is the West in their actions helping to create a whole new generation of extremists and terrorists since the West led by the USA are only concerned about democratic reform where the USA has strategic /geopolitical interests and taking control of oil producing states.

Is the USA and the West refusing to take action against Bahrain and Saudi Arabia because they support the Divine Right of these Royal Families.
Didn't the USA fight a war against the UK Royals in order to create a more democratic society???

Bahrain's Royal Family Not Champions of Democratic Reform
Four Bahraini Protesters Sentenced To Death

Four Bahraini Protesters Sentenced to Death by tvnportal

Afghans Rally In Support Of Bahraini Protesters

Afghans rally in solidarity with Bahrainis by presstv

US media either ignores the protests for reform in Bahrain or write off these protests as part of a conspiracy by Iran.
Otherwise the turmoil in Bahrain is seen as a sectarian struggle and therefore not news worthy.

Iran: UN Must Protect Shiites in Bahrain

Iran: UN Must Protect Shiites in Bahrain by NewsyVideos

Pakistanis stage solidarity rally with Bahrainis

Pakistanis stage solidarity rally with Bahrainis by presstv

Iraqis Hold Rally in Support of Bahraini Protesters

Iraqis hold rally in support of Bahraini... by presstv

Kiev Protesters Slam Saudi Intervention in Bahrain

Kiev protesters slam Saudi intervention in Bahrain by presstv

Crackdown In Bahrain inflames International Press

Crackdown in Bahrain inflames intl. media by presstv

and so it goes,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Laura Flanders & America's Royalty Obama Gives Military Support To Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc. & Trump Wants to See Obama's University Records ???

1. * It looks like Donald Trumps election bid as president is going to focus on Obama's Birth certificate and whether he as been forthright about how well he did in university or in pre-school- Did Obama not deserve the marks he received etc.
Yes in deed I have been critical of Obama's promises and his failure to deliver with subatantive legislation but this other side-show is just that .
Is Donald Trump though making these claims based on Obama's color/ethnicity -was Obama given a pass because he is black.

2. *The Obama administration is still supporting various repressive regimes including Yemen , Saudi Arabia, Bhrain and so on while expending a great deal of effort to take out Qaddafi -for the oil, the geopolitical and strategic reasons ie to have more control over the Gulf Region and Northern Africa to make up for the possible loss of Egypt .

3. *Laura Flanders Time to admit America has its own group of Royals to whom most Americans bow to that is the wealthy .

4. Laura Flanders criticizes Obama for abandoning his election promises and has given in time and again to the GOP even when he had clear majority . He now appears to once again want to appease the Uberconservatives, the Tea Party Gang and the GOP rather than the liberals and progressive who put him into power.
Having produced the long form of his birth certificate now Donald Trump is questioning the legitimacy of Obama's university degrees and wants to see his university records -next Trump and others will want to see Obama's high school, Junior High and elementary school records. For all we know Obama may have cheated even in his finger painting class or was in some other way given a passing grade inspite of irregularities.

These are just tactics being used to undermine Obama's character his integrity and honesty rather than talk about important issues.

Trump: Obama Wasn't Qualified for Ivy League via The Raw Story

First here's Laura Flanders at Grittv:The "F" Word Dailymotion analysis of the interests and obsession over the upcoming Royal Wedding. But she says only 7% of Americans are keeping up with the daily news on the wedding.

Many Americans are erroneouly convinced that unlike the UK believe that America is a classless society She argues that the super wealthy in America are in fact America's royalty -they pay little taxes and are subsidized in various ways by the government -bailouts etc.

She notes that the USA is in fact a class based society in which the top 1% are in control of some 34% of America's wealth and are more often than not in control of the governments domestic and foreign relations.

GRITtv: The F Word: Let's Admit The Truth About ... by grittv

Obama is ignoring his supporters and is taking his cues from the GOP Tea Party rightwing and so adopts the GOP's concerns over deficits and continuing tax breaks for the rich and those in the upper income brackets.

Meanwhile Democrats and other Americans are more concerned about jobs and stimulating the economy without major hand outs to businesses.
The GOP is more interested in defending the wealthy and couldn't care less about average Americans let alone the unemployed, average families being crushed by debt filing for bankruptcy or the poor , the homeless or even Iraqi vets who have been abandoned by the GOP and the wealthy class.

Just a sidebar rant: its odd how uberconservatives in the USA (and here in Canada)are so gung-ho about supporting the troops but when they are against paying the troops better wedges or benefits and abandon them once they arrive back home and yet the mainstream media avoids this part of the story as best it can. Even after Obama was elected not much has been done to improve the situation of the troops via wages, benefits, medical care , housing , education and so on.

GRITtv: The F Word: Time For Obama To Join the Fight

GRITtv: The F Word: Time For Obama To Join the... by grittv

- The Obama administration make impressive speeches about spreading democracy but they are selective about which people in which country are deserving of democracy, freedom and basic civil and human rights.

Whereas Libya is permitted to struggle for a better government the people of Yemen, Bahrain , Saudi Arabia not so much.

"Hueys Over Yemen: Is U.S. Aid Suppressing Another Mideast Freedom Struggle?" by Nick Turse Tomdispatch April 28, 2011

In recent weeks, Yemeni protesters calling for an immediate end to the 32-year reign of U.S.-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been met with increasing violence at the hands of state security forces. A recent pledge by Saleh to step down, one of many that haven’t met demonstrators’ demands, has yet to halt the protests or violence by the troops backing his regime. During a demonstration earlier this month in the city of Taiz, protesters marching down a central street were confronted by security forces and Saleh supporters, while government helicopters flew overhead. “The thugs and the security forces fired on us with live gunfire,” Mahmud al-Shaobi, one of the protesters told the New York Times. “Many people were shot.”

In the days since, more demonstrators have been attacked by government forces -- with the death toll now estimated to exceed 130. Witnesses have also been reporting the increased use of military helicopters in the crackdown. Some of those aircraft may be recent additions to Saleh’s arsenal, provided courtesy of the Obama administration as part of an $83-million military aviation aid package.

Since the beginning of 2011, under a program run by the U.S. Department of Defense, the United States has overseen the delivery of several new Bell UH-1Hs, or “Huey II” helicopters, current models of the iconic Huey that served as America’s primary gunship and troop transport during the Vietnam War. Although these helicopters are only the latest additions to a sizeable arsenal that the Pentagon has provided to Yemen in recent years, they call attention to how U.S. weapons and assistance support regimes actively suppressing democratic uprisings across the Middle East.

...In January, as freedom struggles were spreading across the region, President Barack Obama publicly avowed support for “certain core values that we believe in as Americans[,] that we believe are universal: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, people being able to use social networking or any other mechanisms to communicate with each other and express their concerns.” Just days earlier, however, his government had transferred military equipment to the security forces of Yemen’s so-called president for life.

Under the terms of a $27 million contract between the Pentagon and Bell Helicopter, Yemen received four Huey IIs. Prior to this, 12 Yemeni Air Force pilots and 20 maintenance personnel were trained to fly and service the aircraft at Bell’s flight instruction facility in Alliance, Texas. "The swift execution of the Yemen Huey II program demonstrates that the military departments -- in this case the U.S. Army -- can quickly deliver defense articles and services to U.S. partners with the cooperation of U.S. industry," said Brandon Denecke of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the branch of the Pentagon that coordinates sales and transfers of military equipment to allies.

The recent helicopter deal is just the latest example of Pentagon support for the forces of the Yemeni dictator through its so-called “1206 program,” a Congressionally-authorized arrangement that “allows the executive branch to rapidly provide foreign partners with military equipment and training...” Named for section 1206 of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, the program allows the Pentagon to enhance the capabilities of foreign military forces for “counterterrorism and stability operations.”

...All told, over the past five years, the U.S. has provided more than $300 million in aid to Yemen’s security forces, with the dollars escalating precipitously under the Obama administration. In 2008, under President George W. Bush, Yemen received $17.2 million in baseline military assistance (which does not include counterterrorism or humanitarian funding). In 2010, that number had risen to $72.3 million while, overall, Yemen received $155.3 million in U.S. aid that year, including a “$34.5 million special operations force counterterrorism enhancement package.” These funds have provided Yemen’s security forces with helicopters, Humvees, weapons, ammunition, radio systems, and night-vision goggles.

Additionally, U.S. special operations troops (along with British and Saudi military personnel) have been supporting, advising, and conducting training missions with some of Yemen’s elite forces -- including the Republican Guard, Special Operations Forces, and the National Security Bureau -- which are commanded and staffed by Saleh’s sons and other close relatives.

and so it goes,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wikileaks Gitmo Files U.S. Media Ignores Blatant Human Rights Violation ie Torture - Compare To Obama At Gitmo-Cartoon Steve Bell at The Guardian

UPDATE: 7:22 PM, & 8:13 PM  April 27, 2011.

Posted by Picasa

So the takeaway in the US will remain “dangerous terrorists!” and Guantanamo will most likely remain open three years after the President vowed to close it, while overseas the rest of the world will continue to wonder why the country that claims to love freedom so much is continuing to imprison and torture innocent people. Laura Flanders , April 25, 2011. Gitmo Files & The Media 

American media coverage of the Gitmo Files is at odds with British and European Media's Coverage .
US media appear uncomfortable with the use of the word "Torture" or references to the human rights violations and possible crimes committed by the USA and its treatment of POWs.
Most of the US media is concerned with defending either the Bush Regime or the Obama Regime.

Obama supporters want to put all the blame on the Bush Regime ignoring the role the Congress played and that of the US media which has redefined torture in a way which falls in line with the Bush Regimes characterization of torture as that which causes organ failure or death. So they include torture techniques such as waterboarding, electric shocks to the testicles or beating a prisoner until they are unconscious but they don't include torture techniques such as sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation,sensory overload,solitary confinement, insults, humiliation, threats , or even sodomy which the Americans characterize as harsh but as not qualifying as torture.

As John Yoo the legal architect for the use of torture by the Bush Regime appears to represent most Americans as he explains such notions as humiliation, attacks on someone's dignity or inhumane treatment are all too vague to be even taken seriously .

And yet the United Nations the International Criminal Court, human rights groups appear to use these terms and are agreed upon about their meaning.

This is why President Obama who outlawed Waterboarding and other cruder forms of torture at times appears to gloss over that the harsh techniques which are still being used are also forms of torture . Sleep deprivation will eventually lead to mental confusion, an inability to focus or accomplish simple tasks and can lead to delusional thinking, paranoia, hallucinations, a mental breakdown ie psychotic break and various psychological and physical symptoms which may become permanent.During prolongated sleep deprivation or solitary confinement and other techniques on their own or used along with a number of other such techniques.

The literature shows that in the vast majority of cases the Intel received is unreliable and does not produce actionable intelligence.

laura Flanders :Guantanamo Files Show Media Priorities

'Extraordinary' Guantanamo Documents Shed New Light on Detainees
PBS Newshour

"Some were guilty some were not" no big deal???
The intelligence agencies the US military and the CIA are shown to be rather careless , capricious or just incompetent in their rounding up and incarcerating suspects.
It almost seems as if they were under pressure to bring people in IE roundup the usual suspects but had not used a more rigorous vetting process to be able to categorize prisoners as being of little threat to those who ere of a high threat level or those for whom evidence was dubious and those for which there was solid reliable intel.

It was a matter arrest them all and sort out the guilty from the innocent later but this process failed abysmally.

Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Golberg
Goldberg defends Wikileaks as being a news agency which is protected by the freedom of the press.

Should U.S. Prosecute WikiLeaks?

" The Sting of the Scorpion... Egypt's Darkest Corner was the forerunner to Guantanamo" By Yvonne Ridley at Foreign Policy via "Information Clearing House" April 26, 2011 --

...The Scorpion Prison is a hellish institution that former prisoners told me was the blueprint for America's Guantanamo, the world's most notorious jail. It is reasonable to say that this is Egypt's very own Guantanamo.

The maximum security jail is two kilometres from the main entrance to the official Tora cluster of prisons where former government ministers now reside in comparative comfort. Some of the monsters who served Mubarak and are now behind bars will even have authorised the torture endured by the Scorpion inmates whose daily routine is quite different to those such as Mubarak's sons.

Many of the detainees have been held for years without trial or charge - very like thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails - simply for being critical of Mubarak's regime in speeches or articles. Others were convicted of trying to overthrow Israel's good friend Mubarak; the irony is that they did far less than those who rallied bravely in Tahrir Square just weeks ago.

But while the revolutionaries are rewarded for their heroism with hard won freedoms and liberties, the Scorpion 100 continue to languish behind its high walls, fearing that they have been completely forgotten. Their voices remain unheard in the forbidding complex hidden behind an imposing seven-metre high wall that is protected by heavily fortified, armour-plated gates.

According to the Muslim Brotherhood website, Al'aqrab was the brainchild of a group of officers who spent five years training in the US with the FBI. On their return to Egypt, The Scorpion and its H blocks were built; they opened on 30 May 1993.

Prison staff have the power to cut off water, light and electricity, and close individual windows at the flick of a switch, as punishment. Twenty cells are used purely for solitary confinement. It seems that the 'American inspiration' behind Scorpion was so succesful that it was replicated in the spring of 2002 at the US military base of Guantanamo Bay in Occupied Cuba.

It seems the ‘American idea’ worked so well that the Scorpion model was replicated in the spring of 2002 at the US military base Guantanamo Bay in Occupied Cuba.

As I relayed the description of its interior to Moazzam Begg, Director of the London-based NGO Cageprisoners, he winced in recognition. The layout was, indeed, familiar to the former ex-Guantanamo detainee who spent three years in the American version of The Scorpion.

Mubarak’s Ministry of Interior moved detainees from Liman, Istekbal Tora, and Abu Zaabal to the new supermax jail, and it is thought at one point around 20,000 so-called enemies of the state were being held without trial or charge.

But there could be other political prisoners held elsewhere in the prison system in Egypt—at this stage, we simply don’t know.

But rumors abound of what has gone on behind the high walls of The Scorpion even today, and include harrowing tales of torture, abuse, and years of solitary confinement without sunlight.
While all of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political prisoners have now been released from across Egypt, the agony continues for the inmates of The Scorpion Prison that is so well hidden from the nearby Cairo-Alexandria desert highway, and which is about 20 kilometers south of the Egyptian capital.

Harrowing, firsthand accounts, of torture and abuse meted out in The Scorpion Prison against members of the Brotherhood can be found the Ikhwan website.

Most of the men still inside The Scorpion belong to the now defunct group Talae al-Fatah, Jihad, al-Gama’h Al Islamia, and other Islamic groups; and although the majority signed so-called “adoption of repentance papers” years ago, they are still held with little or no prospect of a trial.

Some have gone years without family visits, whipping, flogging, and electric shock treatments, as well as collective punishment; this has defined the “Scorpion Experience”. Of the 20,000 or so who have passed through its gates, around 15 percent are believed to have died.

also see Guantánamo Bay files: Al-Qaida assassin 'worked for MI6' • Leaked Guantánamo papers link UK to Algerian militant At least 123 prisoners incriminated by one informer " By Declan Walsh in Islamabad, David Leigh, Jason Burke and Ian Cobain The Guardian via Information Clearing house April 26, 2011
April 26, 2011 " The Guardian" -- An al-Qaida operative accused of bombing two Christian churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan in 2002 was at the same time working for British intelligence, according to secret files on detainees who were shipped to the US military's Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

...The Guardian and the New York Times published a series of reports based on the leaked cache of documents which exposed the flimsy grounds on which many detainees were transferred to the camp and portrayed a system focused overwhelmingly on extracting intelligence from prisoners.

A further series of reports based on the files reveal:

• A single star informer at the base won his freedom by incriminating at least 123 other prisoners there. The US military source described Mohammed Basardah as an "invaluable" source who had shown "exceptional co-operation", but lawyers for other inmates claim his evidence is unreliable.

• US interrogators frequently clashed over the handling of detainees, with members of the Joint Task Force Guantánamo (JTF GTMO) in several cases overruling recommendations by the Criminal Investigative Task Force (CITF) that prisoners should be released. CITF investigators also disapproved of methods adopted by the JTF's military interrogators.

• New light on how Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora as American and British special forces closed in on his mountain refuge in December 2001, including intelligence claiming that a local Pakistani warlord provided fighters to guide him to safety in the north-east of Afghanistan.

Close Guantanamo with Justice Now | Common Dreams

Close Guantanamo with Justice Now | Common Dreams

April 26, 2011
12:19 PM

CONTACT: Witness Against Torture

Matt Daloisio – 201-264-4424,
Jeremy Varon - 732-979-3119,

Close Guantanamo with Justice Now

Wikileaks files reveal corrupt system of detention

WASHINGTON - April 26 - The hundreds of classified “Joint Task Force” documents distributed by Wikileaks to The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Telegraph, McClatcheys and other news organization confirm what critics of the detention camp at Guantanamo have long maintained: that men are detained there based on a patchwork of insinuations, Orwellian double-think, and pseudo-evidence contaminated by torture and an internal system that rewards detainees for speaking against their fellow captives. The prison should therefore be closed, with a fair judicial process – and not the notoriously unreliable assessments of the US military — used to weigh actual evidence in determining the fate of the detained men.

"The Wikileaks documents further reveal Guantanamo as a full systems failure that spans two administrations and implicates every branch of government,” says Matt Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “If there is any hope to ending the Guantanamo nightmare, it must be found in a time tested system of law instead of fear-driven politics that has led the Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary to imprison innocent men, justify cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and fail at holding anyone accountable."

While recording detainees’ minor transgressions of camp policy, the files make scant mention of the abuse — including physical torture — that many suffered at American hands. They describe as suicides the deaths in 2006 of three detained men that, independent evidence suggest, may have been the result of torture. And they reveal that the testimony of unreliable witnesses and informants has repeatedly been used to justify continued detentions.

“Internal assessments like these have been terribly unreliable, as case after case has shown, and as the high percentage of successful habeas challenges suggests,” says Jeremy Varon on Witness Against Torture. “It’s time to turn the page on this dreadful interrogation camp. It can never be reconciled with the law and the values Americans profess. It must close.”

Witness Against Torturedemands:

  • Close the prison at Guantánamo Bay;
  • Free all prisoners who have been cleared for release, ensuring their safe resettlement and providing asylum in the U.S. for those unable to go elsewhere;
  • Produce charges against all other prisoners and prosecute them in U.S. courts;
  • Open all detention centers to outside scrutiny. That includes accepting the oversight of the International Committee of the Red Cross of all facilities; and
  • Conduct a comprehensive criminal inquiry against all those who designed and carried out torture policies under the Bush administration.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Andy Worthington: WikiLeaks Documents Reveal US Knowingly Imprisoned 150...& USA Still A Rogue Nation Ignoring The Geneva Conventions etc.

UPDATE: 6:45 PM. April 26, 2011.

"America does not torture" President Obama??? Reuters Feb. 24,2009 (so he parrots Bush and lies GORD.)

"It was like being in a zoo, with people coming to stare and laugh at you. Such a prison has never existed in the history of mankind. Why did they keep a man for two years with no reason? Why? They caught me and kept me as a prisoner of war. What war, may I ask? When was I involved? I was sleeping when they came and dragged me out of my bed." Former Gitmo detainee Abdullah Kafkas via
" How Guantánamo Bay Became Kafkas's Trial:The WikiLeaks files story of one detainee, Abdullah Kafkas, reveals the extrajudicial phantasmagoria of Guantánamo Bay " by Pratap Chatterjee The Guardian UK, April 25, 2011

Democracy Now! Andy Worthington: WikiLeaks Documents Reveal US Knowingly Imprisoned 150...
Amy Goodman interviews Andy Worthington via Common April 25, 2011.

The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has begun releasing thousands of secret documents from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay that reveal the Bush and Obama administrations knowingly imprisoned more than 150 innocent men for years without charge. In dozens of cases, senior U.S. commanders were said to have concluded that there was no reason for the men to have been transferred to Guantánamo.

Among the innocent prisoners were an 89-year-old Afghan villager and a 14-year-old boy who had been kidnapped. Some men were imprisoned at Guantánamo simply because they wore a popular model of Casio watches, which had been used as timers by Al Qaeda. The documents also reveal that the journalist Sami al-Hajj was held at Guantánamo for six years partly in order to be interrogated about his employer, the Al Jazeera network. Al-Hajj’s file said he was sent to Guantánamo in order to "provide information on ... the al-Jazeera news network’s training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan." For more we speak with journalist Andy Worthington, author of, “The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison."

The American government and military and the US mainstream media and a large segment of the American public have no sympathy or concern for so called detainees whether they are or are not guilty.

They are also more accepting now of the abuse of prisoners and see little wrong with mistreatment or even the torture of prisoners. So the American public would just prefer not to know about this darkside to America's Empire as it were.

There are those in America who were concerned about these issues when the Republican party and George W. Bush was president but unfortunately once the power shifted to the democratic party and president Obama they like Obama decided this was all part of America's pat and so should be forgotten about even without any serious substantive independent investigations into these allegations of wrongdoing.

To many of Obama's supporters when Obama says he has put an end to mistreatment and torture of POWS these supporters are convinced or want to believe that if Obama says so it must be true.
So when George Bush said America does not torture this was a lie but when Obama says it we are supposed to believe him .

The US public and media are more concerned with Hollywood scandals such as what's going on with Charlie Sheen or they are more interested in the upcoming Royal Wedding.

We can see that little has changed since the Bush Regime was defeated for instance the media is still defending the detaining of large numbers of individuals . As far as they and the public are concerned the criticisms of Gitmo and other US prisons is just a matter of UnAmerican "bleeding heart liberals".
For instance in a recent story at a major network on the release of these files used as one of its experts on these issues the notorious John Yoo who is considered the architect of the Bush Regime's legal veneer for the use of torture and indefinite detention.

 So John Yoo who should have been  disbarred instead is now a highly respected Professor of Law so the torturers and their enablers such as Dick Cheney and others are doing quite well for themselves.

WikiLeaks Guantanamo Files Reveal Faces, Lives of 'Enemy Combatants'

ABC journalist have been so taken in by government and military & Homeland Security that they take as irrefutable facts anything the military tells them. OMG the detainees are even allowed to sit in a Lazy-boy armchair which in fact looks brand new along with other pieces of furniture. Are American journalist as naive as the public at large or is this just the role they believe they are required to take on in order not to upset the American public.

Also note after this piece the ABC news aired an attack piece on Wikileaks & Julian Assange as a Way to discount most of what is revealed by leaked documents to Wikileaks and those leaked by other Media outlets. What matters is not Assange's personality or personal motives but rather what these documents reveal. For instance Woodward and Berstein 's motive in pursuing the Watergate affair maybe questionable but what matters how accurate were their reports and its fallout. The same can be argued about Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers four decades ago which led to an increase in the number of American's who wholeheartedly still supported the War in Vietnam.

ABC so-called journalist who are just shills for the status-quo and the rich and powerful in America.

This media piece is an attempt to downplay the release of more documents by Wikileaks.
The reporter doesn't challenge John Yoo's idiotic attempt to split hairs about torture, and inhumane treatment. Yoo sounds more like a first year law student who confuses debating points with the "rule of Law".

Yoo for instance compares what happens in US prisons to its military and its secret Gulags without discussing that it may in fact be that the procedures followed in civil prisons in the USA may also be seen by others as being a violator off the basic human rights of all prisoners.
The Rule of law according to most legal minds engaged in the philosophy of law is that there is the literal law but also the notion of the "Spirit of the Law".

They do not bother to mention that indefinite detention, the use of extended solitary confinement, psychologically abusing prisoners , humiliating them in various ways as an ongoing pattern is considered abuse by other nations and by the United Nations and various International Agreement even including agreement that America has signed onto.

So as far as we can conlude the USA for over a decade now has been contravening a number of International Lawas including the Geneva Conventions and is therefore still a "Rogue Nation"
which by its policies have destroyed the physical and psychological health of thousand of people whom they imprisoned besides the several million people killed and millions of others living as refugees in its war on terror including the Iraqi and Afghan people.

But as even a loyal American such as Ted Koppel points out in this clip that the US government has only agreed to abide only to one section of the Geneva Conventions and not all of the articles of the Geneva Convention . So the US government under Bush and Obama believe they can cherry pick what they will abide by and what it will ignore. But the notion that the US Supreme Court can decide which parts apply to the US government and military maybe in a literalistic sense legal but it can be argued that these actions contravene and go against the essence and spirit of the Geneva conventions.

Koppel also points out most of the people detained at Gitmo are there because the US government and military have determined that though they have no substantive evidence against them the US and its government has no idea what to do with them.

And legal expert John Yoo once again tosses into the mix his same old tired line used by the Bush administration that supposedly the Geneva Conventions and other International Agreements are in his view too vague and ambiguous.

The reason for this can be explained in part by realizing that John Yoo is a literalist when it comes to the law and ignores what is accepted in many legal decisions as an important element in any law which is that of "the spirit of the law'.

The mainstream Media in the US tend to highlight what they are publicly told by PR spokespersons for the Obama or the Bush administration as opposed to what government documents and videos expose when they have been released to the press.

We should also note the jounalists in the USA accept as fact that all those still in Guantanamo are high risk while other media have pointed out that somewhere around 150 are being held for whom there is no evidence pointing to their guilt. But again we shouldn't be too critical of the US media insistence of ignoring reality or facts to get in the way of American propaganda.

To have John Yoo interviewed as if he were some sort of impartial observer should be seen as outrageous and yet the American public and media treat hima sas some sort of hero and as a victim of the Liberal media and Americans who are seen as more concerned over detainee's rights than about fighting terrorism.

The whole notion of the rule of law etc. is just another empty piece of rhetoric in the USA. Or to put it another way the rule of law in a literal sense is more important to legalist than doing what is morally and ethically right.

So President or Bush or Presient Obama can appeal to the Rule of Law and yet be defending the indefensible such as torturing detainees because they have their quizling toadys who will willing bend the law as such to fit the needs of their president or of the US military or CIA etc.

In this piece it strikes one as odd that the representative of Human Rights Watch has little in the way of substantive criticism of the way 'detainees' have been treated not just at Gitmo but how they are treated in America's secret gulags where prisoners are arrested with the flimsiest evidence and once in the system enter a nightmarish and Kafaesque world in which justice , evidence and facts are twisted to accomodate those in charge of the prisons. The real world has no sway over such a malleable system which aims at creating false statements and false confession .

Any decent American lawyer and the American Bar Society should be disgusted and be ashamed of themselves that this weasly character who claims he was just obeying orders is not punished and instead is rewarded as are the MDs, psychologists, psychiatrists and others who took part in these tortures all climing they too like the Nazis were just following orders.

This defense was tossed out by the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War but now in America it is revived as a legal defense .But we saw this all before for instance in the trial of Lt. Cally in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam which many Americans believed to have been unfair since he was just doing his duty even when he shot a toddler in the head point blank .

We also saw this defense in the Iran/Contra scandal in which Oliver North said he was just doing his duty in taking part in illegal activities which had been approved of by his superiors. These activities included the smuggling of guns, drugs and cash . The Reagan administration treated these investigations as just an attack on President Reagan orchestrated by disloyal traitorous Americans.

The Contras were supposed to be Nicaraguans who were fighting against the socialist government of the Sandinista of Nicaragua.  They were stationed in El Salvador and would  cross the border into Nicaragua attacking  not just the military but also attacking and terrorizing the civilian population by way of massacres, kidnappings, torture and rape and yet we are told they were heroes of the so-called "Free World". When America butchers, massacres, rapes, tortures its so called enemies this we are told is permissible but not when others do the same things.

The Contras military were for the most part mercenaries and few were Nicaraguans but they were supported and paid by the US government and were praised as Freedom Fighters even when they attacked and massacred whole towns or when they brutally torture innocent civilians. This we are told over and over again is part of America's glorious history as a champion of freedom.

So issues such as whether or not prisoners at Gitmo or elsewhere are treated humanely or whether or not they are guilty of any crime are seen as too esoteric for the American public to be bothered about.
Once again the attitude in America is that America is an exceptional country which is divinely guided and so is incapable of making mistakes.
President Obama it appears has now bought into this bit of chicanery that America can do no wrong and that International laws do not apply to America.
The Obama administration is more concerned about incarcerating Whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning than allowing investigations by neutral parties into allegations of prisoner abuse and torture.

So it is a bit hypocritical and disingenuous for the Obama administration to point a finger at other nations for their human rights record when the US itself when confronted with evidence showing criminal behaviour on the part of its troops or security forces or agencies rather than deal with the issue instead focuses on the leakers and whistleblowers calling them traitors and unAmerican and even anti-American and therefore pro-terrorists.

The release of documents by Wikileaks concerning the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo reveals that many prisoners were or are now being held for whom the government knows are completely innocent or are prisoners of a low priority.
Once individuals enter America's Gulags whether Gitmo or dozens of other American prisons in Iraq or Afghanistan there is no real effort made to make distinctions between those who are in fact innocent and those who are guilty of taking part in terrorist or insurgency activities. There is also confusion about those who were linked to Al Qaeda and those who mere soldiers employed for instance by the Taliban.

Once again these new documents provide proof of the mistreatment of detainees and that once someone enters the system they are treated as being guilty even without any substantive and reliable evidence. The US government and its military and CIA and other security agencies are unwilling to admit to having arrested and incarcerated numerous individuals who are in fact innocent in part because this may cause the agency embarrassment .

In other words according to the Obama regime as it was in the time of the Bush regime the attitude is that the US government and its security forces do not make mistakes therefore anyone being held in American prisons from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to Bagram to dozens of secret US run secret prisons or Gulags must be guilty of something otherwise they wouldn't be there.

" How Guantánamo Bay Became Kafkas's Trial:The WikiLeaks files story of one detainee, Abdullah Kafkas, reveals the extrajudicial phantasmagoria of Guantánamo Bay " by Pratap Chatterjee The Guardian UK, April 25, 2011

Hundreds of prisoners were captured in Afghanistan and flown to Guantánamo Bay in early 2002, where they spent years in limbo unable to speak for themselves. Their situation can only be described as a surreal equivalent of the famous short story Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, in which a traveling salesman finds himself transformed into a giant insect, unable to talk and trapped in his bedroom.

Among the 779 men that spent time in Guantánamo was a Russian with the unfortunate pseudonym of Kafkas. Born Rasul Kudayev in the north Caucasus in 1984, he adopted the name of Abdullah Kafkas and traveled to Central Asia to further a career in wrestling.

In November 2001, according to the Guantánamo files released Sunday by WikiLeaks, Kafkas traveled to Kunduz, Afghanistan, where he "worked in an Arab medical clinic for foreign fighters". Kafkas was arrested in Afghanistan and transferred to a prison in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and then selected for detention in Guantánamo on or about 12 February 2002. Once he arrived in Cuba, however, military interrogators quickly came to the conclusion that Kafkas was "not affiliated with al-Qaida or as being a Taliban leader", and that "the information obtained from and about him (was) not valuable or tactically exploitable".

Indeed, the dossier on Kafkas, which is signed by Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the prison and dated 28 March 2002, states that Joint Task Force Guantánamo had determined that Kafkas "has no further intelligence value to the United States, and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes". Yet it took almost exactly two years for Kafkas to be released to the Russian government, on 27 February 2004. Today, over nine years after Kafkas was arrested and detained, the confirmation that he was an innocent abroad is cold comfort.

The new Guantánamo files from WikiLeaks provide proof that at least 150 people imprisoned in Guantánamo were innocent Afghans or Pakistanis, including farmers, chefs and drivers. Another 380 people were assessed as lower-level foot-soldiers. (Most of these were released in the waning years of the Bush administration.)

Take the case of Mukhibullo Abdukarimovich Umarov, born in Alisurkhan, Tajikistan, and Mazharudin, a Tajik who was born in Pajpai, Pakistan. Both men were arrested while studying at a small library in Karachi, Pakistan on 19 May 2002. Both Umarov and Mazharudin have one-page files; the two files are almost identical. They state:

"It was undetermined as to why the detainee was transferred to GTMO (Guantánamo). Since his arrival at GTMO it has been determined that this detainee is not an al-Qaida or Taliban member. There, after reviewing all relevant and reasonably available information, it is GTMO's assessment that this detainee is not an enemy combatant."
Both men were released in March 2004. In 2006, a journalist named McKenzie Funk from Mother Jones magazine accidentally heard about Umarov while traveling in the Pamir mountain region of Tajikistan and went to interview him. Funk's story, "The Man Who Has Been to America: One Guantánamo detainee's story", is a remarkable tale and very different from the cold, one-page military file that was held at Guantánamo. Umarov told Mother Jones:

"It was like being in a zoo, with people coming to stare and laugh at you. Such a prison has never existed in the history of mankind. Why did they keep a man for two years with no reason? Why? They caught me and kept me as a prisoner of war. What war, may I ask? When was I involved? I was sleeping when they came and dragged me out of my bed."

It is almost 100 years since Franz Kafka published his tale of Gregor Samsa, the traveling salesman who was transformed into an insect and trapped in his bedroom. In Kafka's tale, only sympathetic family members kept Samsa from being squashed and killed. Today, WikiLeaks, anti-war activists and many journalists have played the role of the family members to try and explain the lives of the men who have – through no fault of their own – been transformed into insects with no voices of their own.

Ironically, Abdullah Kafkas is still trapped in a Kafkasque nightmare – this time in Russia, where he was re-arrested in 2005 and transferred to in FBU IZ-7/1, a remand centre in Kabardino-Balkaria republic in Russia. Amnesty International reported on 11 March 2011 that Kafkas' health recently took a turn for the worse with the development of a high fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Doctors who provided treatment to Kafkas' lawyer were "apparently subjected to several hours of questioning recently and this presumably has increased local doctors' reluctance to become involved in the case".

Several questions still hang over every Guantánamo prisoner: will the detainees ever be truly cleared of guilt? Will the abuse of their human rights ever end? Will the prison ever close?

Now, thanks to the WikiLeaks files from Guantánamo, we know that men like Kafkas and Umarov were never guilty in the first place, even by the standards of their interrogators. Sadly, though, the answer to the latter question still appears to be no. The Washington Post has a lengthy story on how the Obama administration has now quietly scuttled its plans to try the remaining prisoners in a court of law and close Guantánamo.

Indeed, in March President Obama signed an executive order mandating that dozens of detainees in Guantánamo be imprisoned indefinitely without any charges – even though the government remains unsure of who some of the men are, let alone what, if anything, they did. One affected individual is another Tajik, Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev. His file, released by WikiLeaks, merely notes: "Detainee's identity remains uncertain."

and so it goes,