US going from Police State, To Military State

Every America needs to know this.

Make sure you give a copy to all your friends out there.

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

February 11, 2013 

On Wednesday a few hundred activists crowded into the courtroom of the Second Circuit, the spillover room with its faulty audio feed and dearth of chairs, and Foley Square outside the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan where many huddled in the cold. The fate of the nation, we understood, could be decided by the three judges who will rule on our lawsuit against President Barack Obama for signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The section permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.

Section 1021(b)(2) was declared invalid in September after our first trial, in the Southern District Court of New York. The Obama administration appealed the Southern District Court ruling. The appeal was heard Wednesday in the Second Circuit Court with Judges Raymond J. Lohier, Lewis A. Kaplan and Amalya L. Kearse presiding. The judges might not make a decision until the spring when the Supreme Court rules in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, another case in which I am a plaintiff. The Supreme Court case challenges the government’s use of electronic surveillance. If we are successful in the Clapper case, it will strengthen all the plaintiffs’ standing in Hedges v. Obama. The Supreme Court, if it rules against the government, will affirm that we as plaintiffs have a reasonable fear of being detained.

If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.

“The stakes are very high,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who with attorney Bruce Afran brought our case to trial, in addressing a Culture Project audience in Manhattan on Wednesday after the hearing. “What our case comes down to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that is ingrained in the Constitution. It was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society. What the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons. Probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA is that it allows for detention until ‘the end of hostilities.’

Five thousand years of human civilization has left behind innumerable ruins to remind us that the grand structures and complex societies we build, and foolishly venerate as immortal, crumble into dust. It is the descent that matters now. If the corporate state is handed the tools, as under Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA, to use deadly force and military power to criminalize dissent, then our decline will be one of repression, blood and suffering. No one, not least our corporate overlords, believes that our material conditions will improve with the impending collapse of globalization, the steady deterioration of the global economy, the decline of natural resources and the looming catastrophes of climate change.

But the global corporatists—who have created a new species of totalitarianism—demand, during our decay, total power to extract the last vestiges of profit from a degraded ecosystem and disempowered citizenry. The looming dystopia is visible in the skies of blighted postindustrial cities such as Flint, Mich., where drones circle like mechanical vultures. And in an era where the executive branch can draw up secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens, it would be naive to believe these domestic drones will remain unarmed.

Robert M. Loeb, the lead attorney for the government in Wednesday’s proceedings, took a tack very different from that of the government in the Southern District Court of New York before Judge Katherine B. Forrest. Forrest repeatedly asked the government attorneys if they could guarantee that the other plaintiffs and I would not be subject to detention under Section 1021(b)(2). The government attorneys in the first trial granted no such immunity. The government also claimed in the first trial that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF), it already had the power to detain U.S. citizens. Section 1021(b)(2), the attorneys said, did not constitute a significant change in government power. Judge Forrest in September rejected the government’s arguments and ruled Section 1021(b)(2) invalid.

The government, however, argued Wednesday that as “independent journalists” we were exempt from the law and had no cause for concern. Loeb stated that if journalists used journalism as a cover to aid the enemy, they would be seized and treated as enemy combatants. But he assured the court that I would be untouched by the new law as long as “Mr. Hedges did not start driving black vans for people we don’t like.”

Loeb did not explain to the court who defines an “independent journalist.” I have interviewed members of al-Qaida as well as 16 other individuals or members of groups on the State Department’s terrorism list. When I convey these viewpoints, deeply hostile to the United States, am I considered by the government to be “independent”? Could I be seen by the security and surveillance state, because I challenge the official narrative, as a collaborator with the enemy? And although I do not drive black vans for people Loeb does not like, I have spent days, part of the time in vehicles, with armed units that are hostile to the United States. These include Hamas in Gaza and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

I traveled frequently with armed members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador and the Sandinista army in Nicaragua during the five years I spent in Central America. Senior officials in the Reagan administration regularly denounced many of us in the press as fifth columnists and collaborators with terrorists. These officials did not view us as “independent.” They viewed us as propagandists for the enemy. Section 1021(b)(2) turns this linguistic condemnation into legal condemnation.

Alexa O’Brien, another plaintiff and a co-founder of the US Day of Rage, learned after WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, that Stratfor operatives were trying to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals, including al-Qaida, and sympathetic websites as well as jihadist ideology. If that link were made, she and those in her organization would not be immune from detention.

Afran said at the Culture Project discussion that he once gave a donation at a fundraising dinner to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization. A few months later, to his surprise, he received a note of thanks from Sinn Féin. “I didn’t expect to be giving money to a group that maintains a paramilitary terrorist organization, as some people say,” Afran said. “This is the danger. You can easily find yourself in a setting that the government deems worthy of incarceration. This is why people cease to speak out.”

The government attempted in court last week to smear Sami Al-Hajj, a journalist for the Al-Jazeera news network who was picked up by the U.S. military and imprisoned for nearly seven years in Guantanamo. This, for me, was one of the most chilling moments in the hearing.

“Just calling yourself a journalist doesn’t make you a journalist, like Al-Hajj,” Loeb told the court. “He used journalism as a cover. He was a member of al-Qaida and provided Stinger missiles to al-Qaida.”

Al-Hajj, despite Loeb’s assertions, was never charged with any crimes. And the slander by Loeb only highlighted the potential for misuse of this provision of the NDAA if it is not struck down.

The second central argument by the government was even more specious. Loeb claimed that Subsection 1021(e) of the NDAA exempts citizens from detention. Section 1021(e) states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”

Afran countered Loeb by saying that Subsection 1021(e) illustrated that the NDAA assumed that U.S. citizens would be detained by the military, overturning two centuries of domestic law that forbids the military to carry out domestic policing. And military detention of citizens, Afran noted, is not permitted under the Constitution.

Afran quoted the NDAA bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said on the floor of the Senate: “In the case where somebody is worried about being picked up by a rogue executive branch because they went to the wrong political rally, they don’t have to worry very long, because our federal courts have the right and the obligation to make sure the government proves their case that you are a member of al-Qaida and didn’t [just] go to a political rally.”

Afran told the court that Graham’s statement implicitly acknowledged that U.S. citizens could be detained by the military under 1021(b)(2). “There is no reason for the sponsor to make that statement if he does not realize that the statute causes that chilling fear,” Afran told the judges.

After the hearing Afran explained: “If the senator who sponsored and managed the bill believed people would be afraid of the law, then the plaintiffs obviously have a reasonably objective basis to fear the statute.”

In speaking to the court Afran said of 1021(e): “It says it is applied to people in the United States. It presumes that they are going to be detained under some law. The only law we know of is this law. What other laws, before this one, allowed the military to detain people in this country?”

This was a question Judge Lohier, at Afran’s urging, asked Loeb during the argument. Loeb concurred that the NDAA was the only law he knew of that permitted the military to detain and hold U.S. citizens.

Via Truth-Dig Source

Chris Hedges: NDAA Lawsuit Update

Bad enough Americans already have people being Entrapped.

Inside the FBI’s ‘Terror factory’

You could be sent to anyone of these Countries.

CIA used 54 countries for detaining prisoners for toture

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen,

and Zimbabwe. Must not forget Cuba. Cuba did not help, but did have the US prison there. Guantánamo Bay. Source

Now the Military can help with all of this.

You can bet many of those countries still help the CIA.

Like many who were sent to prison from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other countries of course.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, administered by the United States Department of State offers monetary compensation for individuals who volunteer information that leads to the location, capture, and trial of suspected terrorists. The program also seeks information relevant to finances, assets, and plans of terrorist organizations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) work closely with the Department of State to investigate all information garnered through the Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program. In 1998, after the bombing of United States embassies in East Africa, the Department of State raised the maximum reward for information to $5 million.

The rewards program not only offers monetary rewards for information aiding anti-terrorism operations, but also promises confidentiality and anonymity for the informant. The United States government further promises to aid and relocate informants whose disclosure of information places themselves, and their family, in jeopardy.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program is now a part of a larger anti-terrorism operation, the Rewards for Justice Program. The program pays for information relevant to the arrest and capture of wanted terrorists, both domestic and foreign. As part of the Patriot Act of 2001, the secretary of state can pay rewards greater than $5 million for information leading to the arrest of suspected terrorists. To date, the program has paid $9.75 million to 24 individuals who aided government antiterror investigations.

The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, as part of Rewards for Justice, has had several key successes. Information received through the program led to the arrest and eventual conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Yousef. The highest current priority of the rewards program is information leading to the capture of al-Qaeda front man, Usama bin Laden, and others with suspected involvement in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Source

Have a beef with one of your neighbours.
Turn them in and get a reward. They will of course be tortured until they confess, not to worry.
By the way how do your neighbours feel about you?  You could be sent to a black hole never to return.
If the NDAA is accepted you will have  no rights at all.
This is what a witch hunt looks like.
Rather reminds me of what is done to Palestinians in Gaza and especially the West Bank. They live under the same rules as the NDAA.
Here is a must read Article.

Max Blumenthal: How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests

New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.

At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.

The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.

The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.

“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”

Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct. “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”

Changing the way we do business

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is at the heart of American-Israeli law enforcement collaboration. JINSA is a Jerusalem and Washington DC-based think tank known for stridently neoconservative policy positions on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians and its brinkmanship with Iran. The group’s board of directors boasts a Who’s Who of neocon ideologues. Two former JINSA advisors who have also consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, went on to serve in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush, playing influential roles in the push to invade and occupy Iraq.

Through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), JINSA claims to have arranged Israeli-led training sessions for over 9000 American law enforcement officials at the federal, state and municipal level. “The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey,” Richard Fuentes, the NJ State Police Superintendent, said after attending a 2004 JINSA-sponsored Israel trip and a subsequent JINSA conference alongside 435 other law enforcement officers.

During a 2004 LEEP trip, JINSA brought 14 senior American law enforcement officials to Israel to receive instruction from their counterparts. The Americans were trained in “how to secure large venues, such as shopping malls, sporting events and concerts,” JINSA’s website reported. Escorted by Brigadier General Simon Perry, an Israeli police attaché and former Mossad official, the group toured the Israeli separation wall, now a mandatory stop for American cops on junkets to Israel. “American officials learned about the mindset of a suicide bomber and how to spot trouble signs,” according to JINSA. And they were schooled in Israeli killing methods. “Although the police are typically told to aim for the chest when shooting because it is the largest target, the Israelis are teaching [American] officers to aim for a suspect’s head so as not to detonate any explosives that might be strapped to his torso,” the New York Times reported.

Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”

Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.

PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.

Lessons from Israel to Auschwitz

Besides JINSA, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has positioned itself as an important liaison between American police forces and the Israeli security-intelligence apparatus. Though the ADL promotes itself as a Jewish civil rights group, it has provoked controversy by publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights, and for condemning a proposal to construct an Islamic community center in downtown New York, several blocks from Ground Zero, on the basis that some opponents of the project were entitled to “positions that others would characterize as irrational or bigoted.”

Through the ADL’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, over 700 law enforcement personnel from 220 federal and local agencies including the FBI and CIA have been trained by Israeli police and intelligence commanders. This year, the ADL brought 15 high-level American police officials to Israel for instruction from the country’s security apparatus. According to the ADL, over 115 federal, state and local law enforcement executives have undergone ADL-organized training sessions in Israel since the program began in 2003. “I can honestly say that the training offered by ADL is by far the most useful and current training course I have ever attended,” Deputy Commissioner Thomas Wright of the Philadelphia Police Department commented after completing an ADL program this year. The ADL’s relationship with the Washington DC Police Department is so cozy its members are invited to accompany DC cops on “ride along” patrols.

The ADL claims to have trained over 45,000 American law enforcement officials through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which “draws on the history of the Holocaust to provide law enforcement professionals with an increased understanding of…their role as protectors of the Constitution,” the group’s website stated. All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are required to attend the ADL program, which is incorporated into three FBI training programs. According to officialFBI recruitment material, “all new special agents must visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to see firsthand what can happen when law enforcement fails to protect individuals.”

Fighting “crimiterror”

Among the most prominent Israeli government figure to have influenced the practices of American law enforcement officials is Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service and current member of Knesset who recently introduced legislation widely criticized as anti-democratic. During the Second Intifada, Dichter ordered several bombings on densely populated Palestinian civilian areas, including one on the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza that resulted in the death of 15 innocent people, including 8 children, and 150 injuries. “After each success, the only thought is, ‘Okay, who’s next?’” Dichter said of the “targeted” assassinations he has ordered.

Despite his dubious human rights record and apparently dim view of democratic values, or perhaps because of them, Dichter has been a key figure in fostering cooperation between Israeli security forces and American law enforcement. In 2006, while Dichter was serving at the time as Israel’s Minister of Public Security, he spoke in Boston, Massachusetts before the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seated beside FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Dichter told the 10,000 police officers in the crowd that there was an “intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists.” Dichter declared that American cops were actually “fighting crimiterrorists.” The Jerusalem Post reported that Dichter was “greeted by a hail of applause, as he was hugged by Mueller, who described Dichter as his mentor in anti-terror tactics.”

A year after Dichter’s speech, he and then-Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum pledging security collaboration between America and Israel on issues ranging from airport security to emergency planning. In 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano authorized a new joint memorandum with Israeli Transport and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz shoring up cooperation between the US Transportation Security Agency – the agency in charge of day-to-day airport security – and Israel’s Security Department. The recent joint memorandum also consolidated the presence of US Homeland Security law enforcement personnel on Israeli soil. “The bond between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” Napolitano remarked at a recent summit of AIPAC, the leading outfit of America’s Israel lobby, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Demographic Unit

For the New York Police Department, collaboration with Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus became a top priority after 9/11. Just months after the attacks on New York City, the NYPD assigned a permanent, taxpayer-funded liaison officerto Tel Aviv. Under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, a one-sided attack that left over 1400 Gaza residents dead in three weeks and led a United Nations fact-finding mission to conclude that Israeli military and government officials had committed war crimes.

Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed “demographic threats.” After Kelly appeared on stage, the Herziliya crowd was addressed by the pro-Israel academic Martin Kramer, who claimed that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was helping to reduce the numbers of “superfluous young men of fighting age.” Kramer added, “If a state can’t control these young men, then someone else will.”

Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret “Demographics Unit” designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city. The unit was developed with input and intensive involvement by the CIA, which still refuses to name the former Middle East station chief it has posted in the senior ranks of the NYPD’s intelligence division. Since 2002, the NYPD has dispatched undercover agents known as “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” into Pakistani-American bookstores and restaurants to gauge community anger over US drone strikes inside Pakistan, and into Palestinian hookah bars and mosques to search out signs of terror recruitment and clandestine funding. “If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn,” the Associated Press reported. “The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny.”

The Israeli imprimatur on the NYPD’s Demographics Unit is unmistakable. As a former police official told the Associated Press, the Demographics Unit has attempted to “map the city’s human terrain” through a program “modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank.”

Shop ‘til you’re stopped

At Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, security personnel target non-Jewish and non-white passengers, especially Arabs, as a matter of policy. The most routinely harassed passengers are Palestinian citizens of Israel, who must brace themselvesfor five-hour interrogation sessions and strip searches before flying. Those singled out for extra screening by Shin Bet officers are sent to what many Palestinians from Israel call the “Arab room,” where they are subjected to humiliating questioning sessions (former White House Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala encountered such mistreatment during a visit to Israel last year). Some Palestinians are forbidden from speaking to anyone until takeoff, and may be menaced by Israeli flight attendants during the flight. In one documented case, a six-month-old was awoken for a strip search by Israeli Shin Bet personnel. Instances of discrimination against Arabs at Ben Gurion International are too numerous to detail – several incidents occur each day – but a few of the more egregious instances were outlined in a 2007 petition the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed with the country’s Supreme Court.

Though the Israeli system of airline security contains dubious benefits and clearly deleterious implications for civil liberties, it is quietly and rapidly migrating into major American airports. Security personnel at Boston’s Logan International Airport have undergone extensive training from Israeli intelligence personnel, learning to apply profiling and behavioral assessment techniques against American citizens that were initially tested on Palestinians. The new procedures began in August, when so-called Behavior Detection Officers were placed in security queues at Logan’s heavily trafficked Terminal A. Though the procedures have added to traveler stress while netting exactly zero terrorists, they are likely to spread to other cities. “I would like to see a lot more profiling” in American airports, said Yossi Sheffi, an Israeli-born risk analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Israeli techniques now dictate security procedures at the Mall of America, a gargantuan shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota that has become a major tourist attraction. The new methods took hold in 2005 when the mall hired a former Israeli army sergeant named Mike Rozin to lead a special new security unit. Rozin, who once worked with a canine unit at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, instructed his employees at the Mall of America to visually profile every shopper, examining their expressions for suspicious signs. His security team accosts and interrogates an average of 1200 shoppers a year, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

One of the thousands who fell into Rozin’s dragnet was Najam Qureshi, a Pakistani-American mall vendor whose father accidentally left his cell phone on a table in the mall food court. A day after the incident, FBI agents appeared at Qureshi’s doorstep to ask if he knew anyone seeking to harm the United States. An army veteran interrogated for two hours by Rozin’s men for taking video inside the mall sobbed openly about his experience to reporters. Meanwhile, another man, Emile Khalil, was visited by FBI agents after mall security stopped him for taking photographs of the dazzling consumer haven.

“I think that the threat of terrorism in the United States is going to become an unfortunate part of American life,” Rozin remarked to American Jewish World. And as long as the threat persists in the public’s mind, Israeli securitocrats like Rozin will never have to worry about the next paycheck.

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.

Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”

“After 9/11 we had to react very quickly,” Greenberg remarked, “but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold. If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”

This article is cross-posted from Al-Akhbar.com with permission from the author Max Blumenthal.

You can read more of Max Blumenthal at MaxBlumenthal.com. He is the author of Republican Gomorrah, published by Nation Books.

Source

 

Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya

November 15 2011

As of June 2011 NATO had exacted 26,000 sorties and nearly 10,000 airstrikes. The number of actual Airstrikes is much higher, as the bombing continued up until October 2011.  

At least 30,000 people were killed and 50,000 wounded in Libya’s six-month NATO war. The numbers may be higher.

As of today there are at least 7,000 prisoners held by the NTC/Rebels  at this point in time probably more.

Libya: detainees and the dead must be respected

October 27 2011

Following the recent fighting, particularly in Sirte, Georges Comninos, who heads the ICRC delegation in Libya, gives an update on the immediate humanitarian priorities and on problems that have recently been the subject of debate, in particular the public display of detainees and the dead.

What will the ICRC’s priorities be in the coming days?

Many people are still being arrested. Obtaining access to people newly detained, in particular those captured following the recent fighting in Sirte and Bani Walid, is a priority. In the framework of a constructive dialogue with the transitional authorities, we have visited 6,000 detainees in Tripoli, Misrata and other cities nearby over the past two months. So we have reason to be optimistic about obtaining access to people recently arrested. That being said, in order to be able to check on the treatment they are receiving and on the conditions in which they are being held, the visits will have to take place without delay.

International Committee of the Red Cross  (ICRC) delegates have returned to Sirte several times over the past few days. The fighting was extremely fierce, as can be seen by the large-scale destruction. The city is almost deserted; only a small number of families are starting to return.

At least 200 corpses have so far been found in Sirte. The staff of the National Commission for the Missing, a doctor from Ibn Sina Hospital and civilian volunteers are currently involved in the retrieval and temporary burial of unidentified bodies. The ICRC provided them with advice in order to facilitate the process of having the deceased identified by members of their families.

In the light of information obtained in Sirte, we are also going to intensify our dialogue with the authorities concerned on the conduct of recent hostilities and on compliance with other rules of international humanitarian law.

In cooperation with Libyan Red Crescent volunteers, we will be pressing ahead in the coming days with the delivery of aid to tens of thousands of people displaced from Sirte and Bani Walid. Unexploded munitions in those cities constitute a danger and a further obstacle to the return of the people who fled. It will therefore also be necessary to raise people’s awareness of the danger posed by these explosive remnants of war.

The public display of detainees and of mortal remains has triggered a great deal of reaction and debate in recent days. What is the ICRC’s view of these issues?

Over the past few days, people with their hands tied have been put on display on vehicles, interrogations of detainees have been filmed by local media, and mortal remains have been exposed to public curiosity…

Our view of these issues is based on the applicable rules of international humanitarian law, for which we endeavour to ensure respect.

In each individual case, the parties concerned must refrain from subjecting persons in their power to treatment incompatible with respect for their honour and dignity – in particular, to humiliating and degrading treatment. They must treat them humanely, without any adverse distinction. International humanitarian law also contains rules concerning respect for the dead, such as the obligation to search for, collect and evacuate the dead without adverse distinction, to prevent the dead from being despoiled or mutilated, and to bury the dead with respect.

These rules concerning respect for persons deprived of their freedom and for mortal remains also apply in connection with their display to the general public via the media.

There have recently been numerous allegations of summary executions in places where fighting has taken place, particularly in Sirte. What do you have to say on this topic?

We will not cease to point out that international humanitarian law prohibits at any time, and in any place whatsoever, violence to the life and person of anyone no longer taking an active part in hostilities. Violations of this prohibition by any party involved in the conflict are grave breaches of international humanitarian law which, once established, must be punished.

On issues like this, the ICRC gives priority to bilateral and confidential dialogue with the parties. Source

Unfortunately the Red Cross have not told us how the prisoners are being treated.

Red Cross Statement on Abuzaid Dorda

Nov 14, 2011

Abuzaid Dorda is a very famous Libyan, Once the Prime Minister, and the permanent representative to the UN. Since being arrested in good health, he now has broken bones and his health is in jeopardy, in the last days there are videos on this channel with his brother and his son.

Libya’s former UN ambassador fears for life in jail spoke to Dorda’s family who confirmed that prison guards threw Dorda from a second floor and beat him.

NTC officials deny the allegation and say Dorda incurred injuries including two broken legs whilst either attempting to escape or commit suicide.
Considering the barbaric behavior of the Rebels, I believe the man was brutalized by the Rebels.
Here are just a few reports from Detainees.

Because the detainees expressed fear of reprisals, including some who said they might face beatings for talking with a Human Rights Watch researcher, Human Rights Watch is withholding their real names.

A dark-skinned Libyan, Abdulatif, said that guards in one Tripoli detention facility used electric shock to force him to confess to crimes he said he had not committed:

The rebels were taking turns. There were too many to count. Every day, there was a new face. They zapped me with an electric stick on my legs and on my arms. They did that twice. They asked me questions when they did this…. They asked me again and hit me. I said “No, I swear I didn’t,” so they started electrocuting me. They wanted me to confess but in the wrong way. They hit me every day. They used falaga [beating on the bottom of the feet] and hit me on my back, all over my body, and slapped my face. They did this three times.

Another dark-skinned Libyan, Juma, showed Human Rights Watch his wounds and talked of his interrogation at a large Tripoli prison:

They used cables and engine belts [to beat me]…. They hit me every day. The first days, they beat me for six to seven hours. I fainted. They beat me until I lost consciousness. They were still beating me, but I couldn’t feel it. They poured a bucket of water on my head twice, so I woke up. When I woke up, they would leave me alone, but then they started beating me again.…They put the electric stick on my side, my thighs, my shoulder, my back. If you fall, they put it on your body, anywhere. They use it right away when you fall. I can’t tell you how many times they did this.

The pronounced scars he showed Human Rights Watch were consistent with his claims. ­

One sub-Saharan African, Mohammed, wept as he showed Human Rights Watch welts on his arms, back, and neck that he said were from beatings by guards at a small detention center. Another African migrant said that guards twice extinguished a cigarette on his arm. “Every day they frighten me,” he told Human Rights Watch. “They say they will slaughter me.”

One Libyan detainee, Ahmed, described daily beatings and mistreatment while he was held at a neighborhood detention center that Human Rights Watch did not visit:

They took an electric cable and started hitting me with it. They didn’t use electricity, but they said that if I didn’t talk, they would…They hit me with a butt of the Kalashnikov (a type of rifle). They kicked me in the face and in the chest. One scratched me with the knife [bayonet] of the Kalashnikov.”

Ahmed showed Human Rights Watch scars on various parts of his body, including from cigarette burns.

There are also children held in those prisons as well, but no one is reporting how many.

I guess the CIA taught them well.
Under Libyan law, which obviously doesn’t apply anymore now that the NTC/Rebels have taken over. the police must have a warrant to make an arrest. The police can hold a person for up to 48 hours, and the prosecution has up to six days to file charges, although a judge can extend this period for up to 30 days. Defendants have the right to be informed of the charges against them and to have access to a lawyer from the moment of arrest.

Obama’s War Incited by CNN, Al Jazeera & Co Leaves Thousands of Libyan Children Handicapped or Dead

This is what happened to many children in Libya Not for the faint of heart. Warning it is very graphic, but it is the truth. What did these children ever do to anyone? This is the true face of the US/NATO war against Libyans. If this does not make you angry then there is something wrong with you. What does it take to make you say NO MORE WAR? Imagine this is your children.

No one in Libya will thank you for this. This is American Freedom.

Despite the evidence of ‘mission creep’, NATO leaders seem determined to bet against a future Nuremberg-style war crime action against them, and continue to pound the city of Sirte by night, to ‘break the ground’ for their daytime sniper-fodder ‘relief team.’‬

‪During a two day so-called truce in early October the Red Cross tried to enter Sirte to provide humanitarian aid. On the first day they managed to visit a hospital on the southern outskirts, bringing in a few needed supplies, but the hospital came under NTC rebel attack, and they were not able to inspect the whole building let alone get into the city proper and visit other areas.‬

‪On the second day the Red Cross tried to take two large aid trucks into the city. But the rebels began firing and so the Red Cross backed up quickly and abandoned their attempt. Preventing access for aid, another war crime.‬

Forever announcing their ‘final’ assault on Sirte, the NTC rebels have not yet quite managed to achieve it. NATO is now firing missiles from helicopters onto the city. They continue their murderous siege of 100,000 people, maybe more people because many from other towns months ago sought harbor in Sirte, maybe fewer because many have died or fled. Whatever the number, the people of Sirte are defending themselves and their city against NATO’s military might.‬

‪The Human Rights groups and United Nations community are being tested. On whether the international member nations have the moral courage to stand up to the powerful NATO nations, point out the illegality of the war on Libya, and insist that their ambassadors take that message to the UN. Meanwhile Gaddafi is proven right yet again, when he observed years ago that the UN did not provide fair treatment for its smaller and less powerful member nations.

TORONTO CONFERENCE Sept 9, 2011, The Truth about Libya and NATO’s “Humanitarian” Military Road Map – Cynthia McKinney, Mahdi Nazemroaya and Michel Chossudovsky speak at Friends Place in  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – Independent journalist who just returned from Libya, and Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization – GLOBAL RESEARCH

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 1

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 2

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 3

The Truth about Libya TORONTO CONFERENCE – PART 4

Related

ICC to Probe NATO, NTC War Crimes in Libya War

US, NATO and Rebel war crimes in Libya

The Libya American’s never saw on Television

Cost of war to Libyans about $200 Billion

Over 800 Bodies Dumped in Libyan Cemetary by Rebels

Racist murders in Libya at the hands of rebel forces Also The US and NATO are backing two terrorist organizations in Libya        Al-Qaeda being one of them.  The Rebels are actually terrorist groups.

Libya war lies worse than Iraq

UN chief Ban alarmed over rising civilian toll in Libya

(Libya 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

UN Member States Must Demand Action Against NATO War Crimes

Criminal State – A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism  Israel coned the US to attack Libya before.

Recent

New leaders in Greece, Italy are BANKERS

US is lobbying nations to bring Cluster Bombs back “NO” would be my Answer

Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

The Prison Industry in the United States Costs Taxpayers Billions

The Iran you will never see on American Television

Published in: on November 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm  Comments Off on Over 7,000 prisoners are held in Libya  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Families Cry Out for Palestinian Prisoners

By Eva Bartlett

“We could enter the Guinness book of records for the longest running weekly sit- ins in the world,” Nasser Farrah, from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association, jokes dryly. Since 1995, Palestinian women from Beit Hanoun to Rafah have met every Monday outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Gaza City, holding photos and posters of their imprisoned loved ones, calling on the ICRC to ensure the human rights of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel’s 24 prisons and detention centres.

Since 2007, the sit-ins have taken on greater significance: Gaza families want Israel to re-grant them the right – under international humanitarian law – to visit their imprisoned family members. This right was taken from Gaza’s families in 2007, after the Israeli tank gunner Gilad Shalit was taken by Palestinian resistance from alongside the Gaza border where he was on active duty.

The sit-ins have grown, with over 200 women and men showing up weekly. On July 11, ICRC and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) helped facilitate a demonstration from the ICRC office to the unknown soldier park, Jundi, to protest the ban on Palestinians from Gaza visiting their imprisoned loved ones.

“We can’t send letters, we can’t see him, we can’t talk to him,” says Umm Ahmed of her 32-year-old son. Ahmed Abu Ghazi was imprisoned four years ago and sentenced to 16 years in Israeli prison.

“Because we have no connection with him, every Monday we go to the Red Cross. But nothing changes. Last week we slept outside the Red Cross, waiting for them to help us talk to our sons and daughters,” Umm Ahmed says.

“While our sons are in prison, their parents might die without seeing them again.”

For Palestinian prisoner Bilal Adyani, from Deir al-Balah, such was the case. On July 11, Adayni’s father died, after waiting for years to see his son again. The ICRC reports that over 30 relatives of Palestinian prisoners have died since the prison visits were cut.

Umm Bilal, an elderly woman in a simple white headscarf, walks among the demonstrators, holding a plastic-framed photo of her son when he was 16. The teen wears a black dress shirt, has combed and gelled hair, and smiles easily to the camera.

“Twenty years, ten months, he’s been in prison. I haven’t been allowed to visit him in eight years,” says Umm Bilal.

“The prison canteen should sell phone cards, clothes, or food, but Israel is making it difficult now. He wanted to study but in prison but he hasn’t been allowed.”

In December 2009, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled with the Israeli government to deny families from Gaza visitation rights to prisoners in Israeli prisons. Among the stated reasons for the Court’s decision were that “family visits are not a basic humanitarian need for Gaza residents” and that there was no need for family visits since prisoners could obtain basic supplies through the prison canteen.

In June, 2011, Israeli Prison Service is reported to have taken away various rights of prisoners, including that allowing prisoners to enroll in universities, and blocked cell phone use.

“The world is calling for Shalit to be released. But he is just one man, a soldier,” says Umm Bilal. “Many Palestinian prisoners were taken from their homes. Shalit was in his tank when he was taken. Those tanks shoot on Gaza, kill our people, destroy our land. Take Shalit, but release our prisoners.”

According to Nasser Farrah, “there are over 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including nearly 40 women and over 300 children. Seven hundred prisoners are from the Gaza Strip.”

Other estimates range from 7,500 to 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. “The ‘over 7000’ does not include the thousands of Palestinians who are regularly taken by the Israelis in the occupied West Bank, and even from Gaza, as well as those held in administrative detention for varying periods,” Farrah notes.

Under administrative detention, Palestinians, including minors, are denied trial and imprisoned for renewable periods, with many imprisoned between six months to six years.

According to B’Tselem, as of February 2011, Israel is holding 214 Palestinians under administrative detention.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prevents forcible transfers of people from occupied territory. But Israel has been doing just that since 1967, and has imprisoned over 700,000 Palestinian men, women and children according to the UN.

Aside from denial of family visits, higher education, and canteen supplies, roughly 1,500 Palestinian prisoners are believed to be seriously ill, and are denied adequate healthcare.

Majed Komeh’s mother has many years of Monday demonstrations ahead of her. Her son, 34 years old, was given a 19-year sentence, of which he has served six years.

“For the last four years I haven’t heard from him,” Umm Majed says. “He has developed stomach and back problems in prison, but he’s not getting the medicine he needs.”

Nasser Farrah says this is a serious problem. “Many have cancer and critical illnesses. Many need around-the-clock hospital care, not simply headache pills.”

A 2010-2011 report from the Palestinian Prisoners Society said that 20 prisoners have been diagnosed with cancer, 88 with diabetes and 25 have had kidney failures. “Over 200 prisoners have died from lack of proper medical care in prisons,” the report says.

One of the ways ill Palestinians end up in prison is by abduction when passing through the Erez crossing for medical treatment outside of Gaza.

“The Israelis give them permits to exit Gaza for treatment in Israel or the West bank, but after they cross through the border Israel imprisons many of them,” says Farrah.

“We are a people under occupation. We have no other options to secure our prisoners’ rights but to demonstrate in front of the ICRC. It’s their job to ensure prisoners are receiving their rights under international humanitarian law.”

Source

Israel Intensifies Suppression of Palestinian Prisoners

TEHRAN (FNA)- A prominent figure of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), who was imprisoned by Israel for 6 years, disclosed that the Zionist regime of Israel has intensified tortures and suppression of the Palestinian prisoners.

August 6 2011

“The Zionist regime is misusing developments in the region and the regime’s office in charge of governing prisons has intensified punishments and suppression of the prisoners,” Hassan Youssef, who is also a member of the Palestinian parliament told FNA in Ramallah on Saturday.

Hassan Youssef, who was released from an Israeli prison on Thursday, added that the number of the Palestinian prisoners kept in solitary confinement is on the increase, cautioning that these prisoners are living in totally inhuman conditions.

He reminded that 19 Palestinian lawmakers, including 17 Hamas-affiliated MPs, are in Israeli prisons, and called on legal bodies and institutions to play a stronger role to set them free.

Palestinian prisoners have always voiced complaint about the torturing and mistreatment of prisoners by Israeli guards.

In July, more than 20 Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli Negev jail were poisoned after eating meals served in the prison’s canteen, prisoners reported.

They explained that after eating burger sandwiches from the canteen the prisoners suffered from diarrhea and vomiting after which they were carried to the prison’s clinic but the administration did not tell them about their condition.

They asked the Red Cross to intervene and demand their transfer to hospital for adequate checkup.

Also in July, thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israel staged a mass hunger strike to defend prisoners’ rights and protest against Israeli guards’ inhumane behavior.

Over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails described the strike as the beginning of a fight to defend prisoners’ rights and dignity against the unprecedented measures adopted by the Tel Aviv regime against them. Source

 

Recent

NATO raids kill 85 civilians in Libya

“Tortured” veterans to sue Donald Rumsfeld

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: High Radiation Levels In America! Oklahoma City

Israel’s middle class launches mass protest at rising cost of living

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm  Comments Off on Families Cry Out for Palestinian Prisoners  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

By Bill Quigley

July 27, 2010

The biggest crime in the U.S. criminal justice system is that it is a race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.

Saying the US criminal system is racist may be politically controversial in some circles. But the facts are overwhelming. No real debate about that. Below I set out numerous examples of these facts.

The question is – are these facts the mistakes of an otherwise good system, or are they evidence that the racist criminal justice system is working exactly as intended? Is the US criminal justice system operated to marginalize and control millions of African Americans?

Information on race is available for each step of the criminal justice system – from the use of drugs, police stops, arrests, getting out on bail, legal representation, jury selection, trial, sentencing, prison, parole and freedom. Look what these facts show.

One. The US has seen a surge in arrests and putting people in jail over the last four decades. Most of the reason is the war on drugs. Yet whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales, at roughly comparable rates – according to a report on race and drug enforcement published by Human Rights Watch in May 2008. While African Americans comprise 13% of the US population and 14% of monthly drug users they are 37% of the people arrested for drug offenses – according to 2009 Congressional testimony by Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project.

Two. The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites. In New York City, where people of color make up about half of the population, 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos. When whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked. When blacks and Latinos are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD. The same is true most other places as well. In a California study, the ACLU found blacks are three times more likely to be stopped than whites.

Three. Since 1970, drug arrests have skyrocketed rising from 320,000 to close to 1.6 million according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice.

African Americans are arrested for drug offenses at rates 2 to 11 times higher than the rate for whites – according to a May 2009 report on disparity in drug arrests by Human Rights Watch.

Four. Once arrested, blacks are more likely to remain in prison awaiting trial than whites. For example, the New York state division of criminal justice did a 1995 review of disparities in processing felony arrests and found that in some parts of New York blacks are 33% more likely to be detained awaiting felony trials than whites facing felony trials.

Five. Once arrested, 80% of the people in the criminal justice system get a public defender for their lawyer. Race plays a big role here as well. Stop in any urban courtroom and look a the color of the people who are waiting for public defenders. Despite often heroic efforts by public defenders the system gives them much more work and much less money than the prosecution. The American Bar Association, not a radical bunch, reviewed the US public defender system in 2004 and concluded “All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if they are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights or what is occurring…The fundamental right to a lawyer that America assumes applies to everyone accused of criminal conduct effectively does not exist in practice for countless people across the US.”

Six. African Americans are frequently illegally excluded from criminal jury service according to a June 2010 study released by the Equal Justice Initiative. For example in Houston County, Alabama, 8 out of 10 African Americans qualified for jury service have been struck by prosecutors from serving on death penalty cases.

Seven. Trials are rare. Only 3 to 5 percent of criminal cases go to trial – the rest are plea bargained. Most African Americans defendants never get a trial. Most plea bargains consist of promise of a longer sentence if a person exercises their constitutional right to trial. As a result, people caught up in the system, as the American Bar Association points out, plead guilty even when innocent. Why? As one young man told me recently, “Who wouldn’t rather do three years for a crime they didn’t commit than risk twenty-five years for a crime they didn’t do?”

Eight. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported in March 2010 that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same crimes. Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project reports African Americans are 21% more likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences than white defendants and 20% more like to be sentenced to prison than white drug defendants.

Nine. The longer the sentence, the more likely it is that non-white people will be the ones getting it. A July 2009 report by the Sentencing Project found that two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-white. In New York, it is 83%.

Ten. As a result, African Americans, who are 13% of the population and 14% of drug users, are not only 37% of the people arrested for drugs but 56% of the people in state prisons for drug offenses. Marc Mauer May 2009 Congressional Testimony for The Sentencing Project.

Eleven. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes that the chance of a black male born in 2001 of going to jail is 32% or 1 in three. Latino males have a 17% chance and white males have a 6% chance. Thus black boys are five times and Latino boys nearly three times as likely as white boys to go to jail.

Twelve. So, while African American juvenile youth is but 16% of the population, they are 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of the youth in juvenile jails and 58% of the youth sent to adult prisons. 2009 Criminal Justice Primer, The Sentencing Project.

Thirteen. Remember that the US leads the world in putting our own people into jail and prison. The New York Times reported in 2008 that the US has five percent of the world’s population but a quarter of the world’s prisoners, over 2.3 million people behind bars, dwarfing other nations. The US rate of incarceration is five to eight times higher than other highly developed countries and black males are the largest percentage of inmates according to ABC News.

Fourteen. Even when released from prison, race continues to dominate. A study by Professor Devah Pager of the University of Wisconsin found that 17% of white job applicants with criminal records received call backs from employers while only 5% of black job applicants with criminal records received call backs. Race is so prominent in that study that whites with criminal records actually received better treatment than blacks without criminal records!

So, what conclusions do these facts lead to? The criminal justice system, from start to finish, is seriously racist.

Professor Michelle Alexander concludes that it is no coincidence that the criminal justice system ramped up its processing of African Americans just as the Jim Crow laws enforced since the age of slavery ended. Her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness sees these facts as evidence of the new way the US has decided to control African Americans – a racialized system of social control. The stigma of criminality functions in much the same way as Jim Crow – creating legal boundaries between them and us, allowing legal discrimination against them, removing the right to vote from millions, and essentially warehousing a disposable population of unwanted people. She calls it a new caste system.

Poor whites and people of other ethnicity are also subjected to this system of social control. Because if poor whites or others get out of line, they will be given the worst possible treatment, they will be treated just like poor blacks.

Other critics like Professor Dylan Rodriguez see the criminal justice system as a key part of what he calls the domestic war on the marginalized. Because of globalization, he argues in his book Forced Passages, there is an excess of people in the US and elsewhere. “These people”, whether they are in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib or US jails and prisons, are not productive, are not needed, are not wanted and are not really entitled to the same human rights as the productive ones. They must be controlled and dominated for the safety of the productive. They must be intimidated into accepting their inferiority or they must be removed from the society of the productive.

This domestic war relies on the same technology that the US uses internationally. More and more we see the militarization of this country’s police. Likewise, the goals of the US justice system are the same as the US war on terror – domination and control by capture, immobilization, punishment and liquidation.

What to do?

Martin Luther King Jr., said we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. A radical approach to the US criminal justice system means we must go to the root of the problem. Not reform. Not better beds in better prisons. We are not called to only trim the leaves or prune the branches, but rip up this unjust system by its roots.

We are all entitled to safety. That is a human right everyone has a right to expect. But do we really think that continuing with a deeply racist system leading the world in incarcerating our children is making us safer?

It is time for every person interested in justice and safety to join in and dismantle this racist system. Should the US decriminalize drugs like marijuana? Should prisons be abolished? Should we expand the use of restorative justice? Can we create fair educational, medical and employment systems? All these questions and many more have to be seriously explored. Join a group like INCITE, Critical Resistance, the Center for Community Alternatives, Thousand Kites, or the California Prison Moratorium and work on it. As Professor Alexander says “Nothing short of a major social movement can dismantle this new caste system.”

Bill Quigley is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Source

Racism and maybe a lot of greed. One has to wonder how many others are like these people. I bet there are many more they just haven’t been caught as of yet is all. There are a lot of for profit prisons in the US.

Ex-US judge pleads guilty to child prison scam

Conahan received bribes from a for-profit juvenile detention centre after closing a county-run facility

July 23 2010

Former Pennsylvania judge Michael Conahan has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge for helping put juvenile defendants behind bars in exchange for bribes.

He is accused along with former judge Mark Ciavarella of taking $2.8m (£1.8m) from a profit-making detention centres. Mr Ciavarella denies wrongdoing.

The two pleaded guilty last year but a federal judge tossed out part of the plea agreement for being too lenient.

Conahan faces up to 20 years in jail.

US District Judge Edwin Kosik rejected the 87-month jail term set out last year in Conahan’s agreement. Under that deal, the former judge would have been able to back out if he was dissatisfied with his sentence.

Judge Kosik has accepted Conahan’s current plea agreement with prosecutors, which has no such get-out clause.

Cash for kids

Prosecutors in a federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Conahan had closed a county-owned juvenile detention centre in 2002, just before signing an agreement to use a for-profit centre.

Prosecutors say Mr Ciavarella, a former juvenile court judge, then allegedly worked with Mr Conahan to ensure a constant flow of detainees.

The two men were originally charged in early 2009 with accepting money from the builder and owner of a for-profit detention centre that housed county juveniles in exchange for giving children longer, harsher sentences.

A spokeswoman for the non-profit Juvenile Law Center alleges that Mr Ciavarella gave excessively harsh sentences to 1,000-2,000 juveniles between 2003 and 2006.

Some of the children were shackled, denied lawyers, and pulled from their homes for offences which included stealing change from cars and failure to appear as witnesses.

The indictment was part of a larger probe into corruption in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, which has so far implicated more than 20 others. Source

Two US judges charged with taking more than $2m (£1.4m) in kickbacks from a privately-run detention centre have pleaded guilty to fraud.

February 13 2009

Prosecutors say Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took the money in return for giving young offenders long sentences to serve in the centre.

The deal allowed PA Child Care LLC and a sister company to receive extra government funds, they say.

The judges in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, have both been suspended.

They have pleaded guilty to honest services fraud and tax fraud.

The plea agreements provide for prison sentences of more than seven years.

Mr Conahan had shut down a county detention centre in 2002 and signed a deal with PA Child Care LLC to send offenders to its new centre, prosecutors say.

They said Mr Ciavarella sent youths to the detention centre while taking money in return, though the judge has specifically denied sending youths to jail for cash, the Associated Press news agency reports.

‘Disgraced’

Campaigners have complained that Mr Ciavarella gave out overly harsh sentences for minor offenses.

A spokeswoman for the non-profit Juvenile Law Center said 1,000-2,000 juveniles who came before the judge between 2003 and 2006 received excessively harsh sentences.

Many of the children were first-time offenders and had no lawyers to defend them.

The judge sent a quarter of his juvenile defendants to detention centres from 2003 to 2006, compared with a state average of one in 10, the AP reported.

“Your statement that I have disgraced my judgeship is true,” Mr Ciavarella wrote in a letter to the court, Reuters news agency reports.

“My actions have destroyed everything I worked to accomplish and I have only myself to blame.”

Mr Conahan made no comment. Source

Recent

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Mental illness rising among US troops

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases

By Carol Rosenberg
May 5 2010

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed more than 100 habeas corpus lawsuits filed by former Guantanamo captives, ruling that because the Bush and Obama administrations had transferred them elsewhere, the courts need not decide whether the Pentagon imprisoned them illegally.

The ruling dismayed attorneys for some of the detainees who’d hoped any favorable U.S. court findings would help clear their clients of the stigma, travel restrictions and, in some instances, perhaps more jail time that resulted from their stay at Guantanamo.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote that he was “not unsympathetic” to the former detainees’ plight. “Detention for any length of time can be injurious. And certainly associations with Guantanamo tend to be negative,” he wrote.

But the detainees’ transfer from Guantanamo made their cases moot. “The court finds that petitioners no longer present a live case or controversy since a federal court cannot remedy the alleged collateral consequences of their prior detention at Guantanamo,” he wrote.

Hogan’s ruling, issued last Thursday, but not widely publicized, closed the files on 105 habeas corpus petitions, many of which had been pending for years as the Bush administration resisted the right of civilian judges to intervene in military detentions. The U.S. Supreme Court resolved that issue in 2008, ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that the detainees could challenge their captivity in civilian court. Since then, judges have ordered the release of 34 detainees while upholding the detention of 12.

Attorneys for the ex-detainees were deciding Monday whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said Shayana Kadidal, an attorney at New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights, which has taken the lead in championing Guantanamo habeas petitions.

The former prisoners who’d filed the dismissed suits ranged from “people who disappeared in Libyan prison to people who are home living with their family and can’t get a job,” Kadidal said.

The “vast, vast majority” of former Guantanamo prisoners are under some form of travel restriction, he said, as a result of either transfer agreements between the United States and where they now live or the stigma of having spent time in U.S. military custody.

“If you want to do haj at some point in your life,” he said, referring to a Muslim’s duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a freed detainee would need to get those restrictions lifted.

Moreover, he added, CCR affiliated attorneys have tracked former captives to prison at Pol-i-charki, Afghanistan, that was once run by the U.S. military. He said “the U.S. may be pulling the puppet strings” of their continued captivity.

In the case of two men sent home to Sudan, according to an affidavit filed by an investigator with the Oregon Federal Public Defender’s office, which is representing them, the United States required as a condition for their release that Sudan seize their travel documents and prevent them from leaving the country.

Hogan said the attorneys for the former detainees hadn’t offered enough proof that other countries were operating essentially as U.S. proxies. “Petitioners are short on examples, except for the fact that former Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan transferred back to Afghanistan have been detained at a detention facility built by the United States,” he wrote.

Of the 183 men currently held at Guantanamo, 22 have had their habeas cases resolved — 10 who were ordered released, but are still being held and the 12 whose detentions were upheld.

It was unclear, however, how many of the other 161 might have cases pending. Some detainees have refused American lawyers’ offers to sue on their behalf, apparently rejecting the authority of any U.S. court to sit in judgment on them. An Obama administration panel has determined that about 50 of those should be held indefinitely without charges.  Source

This of course is American Justice.  No Justice at all.

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’

US Senate votes to ban big bank ‘bailouts’

Canada: McTeer accuses Tories of putting women’s lives at risk

TIME SQUARE BOMB HOAX, Israeli Intel Group Shows It’s Hand

May Day protests draw millions worldwide

Can You Pass The Iran Quiz

NATO troops kill Again! This time three Afghan women

Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out

Published in: on May 7, 2010 at 3:41 am  Comments Off on Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mentally Ill Inmate Gets Nine Months in Solitary

October 30 2008

Frank Horton spent nine months in solitary confinement  — without getting exercise, taking a bath or seeing a doctor.

Word of what happened in the prison leaked out a few months ago.

But, until now, we could only imagine how horrible it must have been. Our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams obtained video from inside the walls.

And you can decide for yourself: was it punishment — or was it torture?

It occurred at the Metro Nashville Detention Facility. Operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America, it’s home to some 1,100 inmates.

The video shows one of those inmates, a mentally ill man emerging after nine straight months of solitary confinement — no longer able to speak a language anyone could understand.

“The man’s hair, his beard was matted up,” said Patrick Perry, the correctional officer who blew the whistle. “I had never seen an inmate live in those kinds of conditions.”

Originally convicted on drug charges, Frank Horton failed to check in with his parole officer.  That’s how he ended up at the CCA facility in December 2005.

Horton’s mother couldn’t believe her ears when she heard about her son’s condition. “They could be talking about someone else, not my son,” Cytherea Braswell said.

His grandmother was equally shocked. “We never heard nothing else other than ‘Well, he’s in there and he’s doing OK,'” said Mary Braswell.

But one video clip — a month after his arrival — shows the first signs of trouble. After a fight with a then-cellmate, CCA reports show that the cellmate told officers that Horton was “hearing voices” and believed people were “trying to kill him.”

“An actual CCA intake form noted that Mr. Horton had had a history of psychological and mental illness and probable schizophrenia was noted on those forms,” said the family’s attorney, John Ray Clemmons of the law firm Blackburn & McCune.

So guards locked him up in solitary, and Horton became more and more difficult to control. Finally, as another video clip shows, he began to refuse to leave his cell at all.

Clemmons said, “Instead of treating Mr. Horton for the illness which was causing him to act in this manner, they punished him.  They sprayed him with chemical agents. They put him in solitary and segregated confinement for extended periods of time with no medical treatment.”

Video clips — obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates — show Horton repeatedly being sprayed with inflammatory chemical agents.

Then, in May 2007, they stopped trying to force him out.

“Frank Horton went from being a beast to being, you know, barely able to speak to me,” the former correctional officer, Patrick Perry, testified in a videotaped court deposition.

Perry was CCA’s overnight supervisor at the facility. He says the inmate spiraled downward, as the days in his darkened, filthy cell turned into months.

Still, prison officials refused to forcibly remove him. Perry claimed it was because they feared too many incidents involving force could jeopardize their yearly bonuses.

“They would go to Frank’s door, look in on Frank, [ask] ‘Frank, you all right?’ As long as he was living and breathing in that cell, they kept moving.”

Horton’s grandmother, Mary Braswell, added, “I would call every so often and talk to the counselor. And she always said, ‘Well he’s doing OK.'”

She said that Horton’s family kept being told he had not authorized them to visit him.

Then, one night, Perry stopped by Horton’s cell. “I tried to converse with him, and he was speaking gibberish to me.  And, at that time, that’s when I made up my mind to go the Health Department.”

Finally, Horton was brought out of solitary — after health officials intervened and after the family, who’d gotten wind of the situation, hired an attorney to go see him.

Clemmons recalled, “Mr. Horton was walking in circles around the cell, completely nude with nothing but what I would call an old barn quilt, just a thick blanket draped over him.”

CCA officials refused to answer questions about exactly what happened.

But get this: after Perry went outside the company to get help for Horton, CCA suspended him — eventually giving him a choice to accept a transfer or resign.

Perry resigned, and CCA paid him a severance to keep quiet.

“Frank’s situation was the tip of the iceberg,” Perry said, under oath. He explained that there were also other mentally ill inmates who, like Horton, were neglected.

Still, prison bosses pressured guards to keep secrets from the government monitor assigned to the facility. “Yeah, I made a mistake of talking to [Davidson County Sheriff’s Department monitor] Jimmy Hale one time about something. I got my ass chewed for it royally,” Perry added.

Mary Braswell echoed, “To me — they didn’t want anybody in there to see.”

And Frank Horton’s family said they believe there’s a good reason CCA didn’t want anyone to see what become of their loved one.

“They was treating him worse than an animal because if it was an animal somebody would have went to his rescue,” Braswell said.

CCA has replaced the warden at that facility. But a spokesperson said that, because the company faces a lawsuit, they can’t comment on whether they think what happened to this inmate was right or wrong.

Horton’s lawyer got a court order to have him moved to a state prison hospital.  He’s now on medication and, the family said, showing signs of recovery.

Source Video at the site.