World Torture Series

I think this is worth reposting and pointing out the US is below average in it’s objection to torture-

Via Mahatma X Files. Poll details Here. PDF here or hosted onblog here.

Chutzpah

From Muzzlewatch

Harley Eagle works with First Nations peoples with the Mennonite Central Committee in Canada. I was stunned to learn that he has been approached on multiple occasions by Canadian Jewish groups who identify as aboriginal. “They come to us and tell us ‘our paths are similar. We have gotten our land back. We hope the same for you. We are cut of the same cloth.’” (I wrote about former Canadian AG Irwin Cotler’s Jews-are-aboriginal formulation here.)

Harley says they tend to target Christian aboriginal people as well as inter-tribal political groups to form a larger political body.  They invite people on trips to Israel.

But Harley’s group had already been doing an exchange program with Palestinians. “For we younger First Nations people who haven’t experienced colonialism and being put on reservations directly, the Palestinian program helps us remember what our people went through. It’s very powerful, but for the Palestinians, visiting Native American reservations is shocking because they see the future of their own people.”

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Crackdown On Draft Resistors in Israel

Throughout this Ynet piece they call if draft dodging, ho hum-

Six suspects, one of them a 70-year old woman, were detained for questioning and released Sunday on suspicion that they preached in favor of dodging the IDF’s draft. Police say more suspects have been located and will be detained. 

Police have been following the activities of two websites called Target 21 and New Profile, which encourage youths to dodge the mandatory draft. Officers used IP addresses to locate computers outputting information to the sites and arrived at the owners’ homes Sunday morning to search the premises.

New Profile, on its part, stated that it was a public and fully legal establishment and that the interrogation violated freedom of speech. “The militarization of Israeli society harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of speech, and political freedom. For people who thought that only Israeli-Arabs were being framed for criminal political activity, this morning was proof that none of us can be sure of the permission to express ourselves freely regarding the failings of Israel’s society and regime,” the statement said.

Below is the video of Bassem Aburahma being killed by the IDF. Those who resist the draft are moral people, no surprise the government wants to attack them, just as the US and Neocon Canadian governments attack their resistors.

FreeGaza.org– Bassem Aburahma (nick-named ElFeel, the elephant, for he was always thought of as a giant among his peers) is seen pleading with Israeli soldiers to wait…wait… (saying Raiga in Hebrew) as Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals protested the land confiscation and building of the apartheid fence on vilage land. The soldiers then shoot Bassem point blank with a high velocity gas grenade which kills him within five minutes.  The white-haired man protesting to the Israeli military thugs is also Israeli, outraged at what his own country is doing to the Palestinians. Although the dialogue is in Arabic and Hebrew, you don’t need much translation to be appalled.

It is also the reason why those concern rolls doing the ‘Whither the Palestinian Gandhi?’ nonsense can have a nice steaming cup of STFU, their wilful ignorance is grating. There is a great deal of non violent resistance, so why are you unaware of it, and the US support of the IDF? Philip Weiss says it nicer here.

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Oink Oink

In case you weren’t clear about the voracious greed & irresponsibility of the financial class-

City bankers and financiers are scooping bumper pay rises to compensate for losing multimillion pound bonuses in a controversial development that will trigger fresh “reward for failure” rows.

The Observer has learnt that UBS, the stricken bank that last year received a £40bn Swiss government bailout, is paying London staff increases of between 15% and 20% at a time when many workers in Britain are forced to take wage freezes.

Though it is understood some equity traders at UBS have even enjoyed a doubling of salary to over £250,000, bank sources indicate these were “exceptional cases rather than the rule”. But senior City headhunters confirmed that basic pay rises for senior bank staff were rising sharply, with US banks seeing big hikes.

Bosses of Britain’s biggest companies enjoyed huge increases in the value of their pension pots last year, despite the onset of recession and the downfall of major banks such as Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS.

Two directors have already amassed pension funds which will pay them more than £1m a year on retirement. Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, has accrued a nest egg worth almost £1.2m; Todd Stitzer, boss of theCadbury confectionery group, could pick up almost £1.5m a year, not counting any further sums they accumulate between now and stepping down.

Criminal Regrets Getting Caught

Trust the Washington Post to allow a war criminal to begin his defence in the public sphere with ‘friends’ speaking for him (some anonymous! Ooh those hard hitting hacks, they don’t even get the man to speak and let the quotes come from anonymous ‘friends’). What is clear from the end though is- Bybee took the OLC gig, wrote what was needed of him, signed off on what was wanted of him to get the job he wanted as a judge. So he committed war crimes in the name of his career, what a guy. An absolute copy of Hannah Arendt’s observations of Eichmann except this time a US paper is propagating the coward’s pathetic rationalisations. Or.. read his anonymous friends telling how he loves kittens, sunrises, God and is full of regret (or something my eyes glazed over after a while)…now he might lose his job (or heaven forfend get prosecuted). He’s a smart and corrupt lawyer, this is the opening of his defence and the WaPo is shill enough to cooperate, as ever. I would expect a lot more of these humanising the torturer elite pieces over the next few years, after all they’ve already parlayed the ‘Support the troops’ patrio-imperio-porn (with a healthy unexamined side of racism) into feeling sorry for the agents who actually did the torture.

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Reza Saberi & Context

I wonder how Britons would feel if another country had engineered a coup in Britain that led to a repressive regime? That had a secret police force that killed & tortured hundreds of people, and that country was now part of a group of belligerent nations that imposed sanctions and denied it sovereign control of its resources. That in fact backed terrorist attacks in Britain. And then to cap it all expected Britain to bow down to its demands and ultimately install a government friendly to this outside influence. Because simply starting from zero with criticising Iran is not remotely accurate, context is needed otherwise the stench of a bad imperialist hangover is strong. So Iran has had a different history to us (duh) and we have played a large role in destroying democracy in a nation that unlike us and our allies has not attacked or invaded another nation for 300 years.

And so we get to the case of Reza Saberi which clearly shows up the problem of the authoritarian establishment in Iran (gleefully reported by Voice of America). She is likely to become a bargaining chip and in the West where our political prisoners are almost never talked about the ease of painting Iran as repressive while we are freedom incarnate is remarkably easy for our press and government. For that reason such dynamics never help a nation in the public mind of westerners drip-fed corporate media. Everyone else is evil and has political prisoners, not us, and to suggest so is an unpatriotic socialist trouble making treason! Except…We have a special forces soldier gagged from telling the truth about our role in torture, we have civil servants who were jailed for letting us know the lies of govt to facilitate the war crime of Iraq, we lock up hundreds of people without trial simply for being foreign, our security forces kill people in broad daylight and those responsible are praised by their superiors (who get promoted) for doing a great job.

So nobody’s perfect.

Saberi remaining in Iran is also because she was in a relationship with award-winning film director Bahman Ghobadi. I’m sure many Britons while travelling have exceeded the terms of their visa and again in the UK we have jailed people for similar non-crimes. Which is to say people who jump to decry another nation for having poor human rights need to also be engaged in the fight for human rights in their own country. Human rights as a tool a patriotism, imperialism or national pride are a con game for morons. It begins at home, then you are able to also talk about similar injustices elsewhere, for most of the media and the dupes who consume it that is not the case and Saberi will be nothing more than a propaganda stick to beat the enemy du jour with. However to those with real concern who fight for human rights wherever they may be being abused, in Yarl’s Wood or Evin, her plight is a genuine concern. As she is on hunger strike she should be moved to a hospital and an appeal quickly granted, I’m sure there is no shortage of defence lawyers who can demolish the state’s case as it seems to have been built on an arrest for lapsed press credentials that was talked into a bigger case by tricking Saberi with promises of a quick release. Again not so different to how our police operate.

The Legal Other

Yeah, change, whatever…

In its first filing on detention and torture under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice filed briefs in March urging the Court of Appeals to reject any constitutional or statutory rights for detainees. The Obama Justice Department further argued that even if such rights were recognized, the Court should rule that the previous administration’s officials who ordered and approved torture and abuse of the plaintiffs should be immune from liability for their actions.

“This is a question about accountability for torture and abuse. It’s a disgrace to have a U.S. court stating that Guantánamo detainees are not persons. It would be a shame to have our new President supporting such a position in the Supreme Court. It was bad enough for the Obama Administration to take this position at this stage. We hope that they reconsider,” stated Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). “Boumediene acknowledged that the fundamental rights we take for granted apply to persons in U.S. custody at Guantanamo. This decision runs directly counter to that principle.” 

Friday! Santigold- L.E.S. Artistes

Or indeed Santogold (explanation involving wrestling-themed science fiction flick, with aliens from the planet Zoran fighting the US and USSR by a jeweller, filmmaker and infomercial-based salesman and his stoopid court case). I heard her and Lady Gaga’s albums this week and her album Santogold beats the entertaining but ultimately facile Lady Gaga into a groovy beat filled cocked hat.

The Lives of Others

I would think the fuzz here were exaggerating to make a ‘sale’ but nonetheless the arrogance to assume this role of social control is not to be tolerated in a democracy. They are out of (our) control (if the police ever were).

Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash-in-hand payments, according to evidence handed to the Guardian.

In the material, the police claim to have infiltrated a number of environmental groups and say they are receiving information about leaders, tactics and detailed plans of future demonstrations.

The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers, claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and Matilda Gifford, an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid. The officers attempted to recruit Gifford as a paid spy after she was released on bail after a protest at Aberdeen airport last month.

Gifford, 24, said she recorded the meetings in a bid to expose how police seek to disrupt the legitimate activities of climate change activists. She had two meetings with the officers, who said they were a detective constable and his assistant. During the taped discussions, the officers:

• Indicate that she could receive tens of thousands of pounds to pay off her student loans in return for information about individuals within Plane Stupid.

• Say they will not pay money direct into her bank account because that would create an audit trail that would leave her compromised. They say the money would be tax-free and add: “UK plc can afford more than twenty quid.”

• Accept that she is a legitimate protester, but warn that her activity could mean she will struggle to find employment in the future and result in her receiving a criminal record.

• Claim they have hundreds of informants feeding them information from protest organisations and “big groupings” from across the political spectrum.

• Explain that spying for police could assist her if in the future she were arrested. “People would sell their soul to the devil,” an officer says.

• Warn her that she could be jailed alongside “hard, evil” people if she received a custodial sentence.

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Welsh Riding

Thirteen former and current police officers have appeared in court charged over the investigation into the murder of Cardiff prostitute Lynette White. They appeared at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.Ms White, 20, was found stabbed to death on Valentine’s Day, 1988.

The Lynette White murder case became one of Britain’s most notorious miscarriages of justice and in 1992 the convictions of three jailed men, Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris, were quashed and they were freed. Two other men – cousins Ronnie and John Actie – were also charged with murder along with Mr Miller, Mr Abdullahi and Mr Paris, but they were acquitted at the trial at Swansea Crown Court in 1990.

In 2003, Jeffrey Gafoor, a client of Ms White admitted her murder in 2003. The security guard from Llanharan, near Bridgend was sentenced to life imprisonment.

…but it’s just a few rotten apples, not for example indicative of institutional dysfunction.

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Ian Tomlinson Had Head Injury

Tomlinson Head Wound

I don’t think a matter of great public interest means Sky can claim this picture as an exclusive for themselves, but there it is, big red Murdochian ‘Exclusive’ all over it.

Guardian:- A photograph emerged today apparently showing the newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson with a head injury before his death during the G20 protests. The latest blurred image, broadcast on Sky News, showed what appeared to be large bruising on the right of Mr Tomlinson’s forehead, said Sky.

It was consistent with video footage that has already revealed how his head hit the ground after being pushed over by a police officer. The footage showed he was walking away from police with his hands in his pockets when he was hit from behind by the Metropolitan police officer.

Asked today if it would form part of an investigation, an IPCC spokesman said: “We’re looking at lots of CCTV and images from various places, but we’re not going to give a running commentary on an ongoing criminal investigation.” The home affairs select committee member David Winnick told Sky News: “It is coming out in dribs and drabs. It must be very disturbing for his immediate family.

“And therefore I would have hoped that as much information could have been given initially, instead of what is happening at the moment.”

I think Winnick has a good point, this must be hell for the family but it seems it is the only way because the police, most media and establishment were intent on covering up or downplaying the killing. And…how did the first post mortem ‘miss‘ it? The importance to all citizens is if we are intimidated from protesting on our own streets by a police force that can get away with murder then there is little to protect us from anything the government might choose to do, it is that simple. And bear in mind this is a government currently covering up torture and has committed an aggressive invasion (facilitated with lies), the “supreme crime” as it was called at Nuremberg.

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Pig Ignorant

It’s not so much what this plod posted to Facebook

“Rob Ward can’t wait to bash some long haired hippys up @ the G20.”

Twenty minutes later another Facebook user posted a reply that said: “Dats bad but good in da same way lol [laugh out loud].”

But that the culture of the police led him to think it was a funny and acceptable thing to write. Also it’s nice to see their pejorative nomenclature is around 40 years out of date, fascists eh?

After Escaping Burma, Migrants Face Brutal Exploitation

(IPS) – The mistreatment of Burmese migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia is the focus of a report released Thursday by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

After receiving disturbing reports of trafficking in 2007, committee staff conducted a year-long review of the allegations. The report, “Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand,” is based on first person accounts of extortion and trafficking in Malaysia and along the Malaysia-Thailand border. Committee information comes from experiences of Burmese refugees resettled in the United States and other countries.

Many Burmese migrants, escaping extensive human rights abuses perpetrated by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the Burmese military junta, travel to Malaysia to register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for resettlement to a third country, according to the report.

Once in Malaysia, Burmese migrants are often arrested by Malaysian authorities, whether or not they have registered with the UNHCR and have identification papers. Burmese migrants are reportedly taken by Malaysian government personnel from detention facilities to the Malaysia-Thailand border for deportation.

Upon arrival at the Malaysia-Thailand border, human traffickers reportedly take possession of the migrants and issue ransom demands on an individual basis. Migrants state that freedom is possible only once money demands are met. Specific payment procedures are outlined, which reportedly include bank accounts in Kuala Lumpur to which money should be transferred.

It has become commonplace for the authorities to use the vigilante RELA force to periodically arrest and “deport” Rohingyas, a Muslim minority, but since Burma does not recognise them as citizens, the practise is to take them to the Bukit Kayu Hitam area on the Thai-Malaysia border and force them to cross over into Thailand.

Migrants state that those unable to pay are turned over to human peddlers in Thailand, representing a variety of business interests from fishing boats to brothels.

Human rights activists have long charged that immigration, police and other enforcement officials, have been “trading” Rohingyas to human traffickers in Thailand who then pass them on to deep sea fishing trawler operators in the South China Sea.

“People seeking refuge from oppression in Burma are being abused by Malaysian government officials and human traffickers,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The committee has received numerous reports of sexual assaults against Burmese women by human traffickers along the border. One non-profit organisation official states that “Most young women deported to the Thai border are sexually abused, even in front of their husbands, by the syndicates, since no one dares to intervene as they would be shot or stabbed to death in the jungle.” Women are generally sold into the sex industry.

“(The Burmese refugees) are treated as a commodity and frequently bought and sold and we have been condemning this practise for a long time,” Irene Fernandez, executive director of Tenaganita, a non-profit group that protects migrant workers, told IPS in January. “Our demands have always fallen on deaf ears despite the accumulating evidence of the involvement of uniformed officials in the trade.”

The report, the first of three, states that Malaysia does not officially recognise refugees, due in part to concern by the government that official recognition of refugees would encourage more people to enter Malaysia, primarily for economic reasons. Also, Malaysian officials view migrants as a threat to Malaysia’s national security.

“Malaysia does not recognise key international agreements on the protection of refugees and foreign nationals. Nor does it apply to foreign migrants the same rights and legal protections given to Malaysian citizens,” Fernandez said.

Foreign labor is an integral building block of Malaysia’s upward economic mobility. While Malaysia’s total workforce is 11.3 million, there are approximately 2.1 million legal foreign workers and an additional one million illegal workers, though no accurate information is available.

While Malaysia accepts the presence of Burmese and others from outside of the country for the purpose of contributing to the work force, persons identified as refugees and asylum seekers on their way to a third country are viewed as threats to national security.

In an interview with The New York Times, RELA’s director-general, Zaidon Asmuni, said, “We have no more Communists at the moment, but we are now facing illegal immigrants. As you know, in Malaysia, illegal immigrants are enemy No. 2.”

[more]

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Nice Try Neoliberal Scum

The Institute for Fiscal Studies founded by a banker, an investment trust manager, a stockbroker and a tax consultant can Fuck Off. Take their piece of shit report and stuff if up their biased right wing financier arses. You feel me?

Met Commissioner Tries Stand Up

It’s really the most absurdist lacerating satire-

“Part of the headlines should be … astonishing operation pulled off by the Met who did a first-class job,” he said.

Please stop, oh my aching sides, is this a new method of delivering police brutality?

“The overwhelming majority of officers, whatever the stress or provocation, carried out their duties in a professional manner and I want to give them credit for what they achieved.”

The provocation of doing their job without thumping people? Oh you cheeky monkey.

Stephenson said the Met had never misled anyone in the aftermath of Tomlinson’s death.

Now this one I think needs an extra line maybe- except with a fake post mortem! Ta-da!

Picking out the territorial support group (TSG) – which is at the centre of two IPCC investigations into Ian Tomlinson’s death and an assault on a woman protester – Stephenson said it was a specialist unit the Met relied on.

…to kill people!

Stephenson said he had received acknowledgment from police forces internationally for what the Met achieved during the G20.

I think they cut this one short, I’m sure he goes on to say, forces in Zimbabwe, North Korea and Burma!

Well don’t give up the day job ‘Sir’ Paulie but there is hope, even a fascist buffoon can be mayor nowadays! Meanwhile the Manchester force are staging a farce showing terrorists are so cunning these days they escape punishment by not being terrorists, the blighters!