Thursday, October 23, 2014

A momentous victory for justice and transparency at Guantánamo

“Fairness” is not a word often associated with Guantánamo Bay, with its hope-starved prisoners who have sat in steel cells, away from their families, for 12 years. “Openness” is not a concept typically applied to the infamous camp, about which President Barack Obama’s administration has hidden more information than even the George W. Bush administration did — down to the current number of hunger strikers protesting their continued detention without charges.

Last week my hunger-striking client Abu Wa’el Dhiab — with the help of an engaged public — managed to win victories for both openness and fairness at Guantánamo. In a pitched court battle, on Thursday we stopped a last-minute bid by the government to hold the first-ever trial of abusive force-feeding at the prison almost entirely in secret. Per Judge Gladys Kessler’s decision on Thursday, the public has the right to hear in court on Monday about the suffering our client endures every day.

Then on Friday afternoon, in perhaps the most significant Guantánamo decision in years, Kessler ordered the release of videotapes showing the cell extractions and force-feedings of Dhiab. For the first time, public knowledge of Guantánamo will not be restricted to U.S. government press releases. Everyone will be able to view and judge for themselves the daily treatment of innocent men such as Dhiab.

It was a long road to get here. More than a year has passed since Dhiab first went to court to try to stop horribly abusive force-feeding techniques used to punish him for his peaceful hunger strike. Arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and eventually transferred to Guantánamo, Dhiab has never been charged with a crime and has been cleared for release since 2009. During his 12 years of imprisonment, one of Dhiab’s sons died, and his family fled the violence of their homeland, Syria. Abu Wa’el means “father of Wa’el,” his preferred name after his son’s passing. Dhiab does not want to die and does not oppose being fed if his health demands. But he will not stop protesting his unjust detention by hunger strike and should not suffer in silence the inhumane methods of his force-feeding...

Carlos the Jackal faces new France trial

A self-styled professional revolutionary from Venezuela, he is accused of throwing a grenade in Paris that also left 34 people wounded.

Carlos the Jackal's real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.

After years on the run, he was caught in 1994 and jailed for life.

An investigating judge specialising in anti-terror cases had ordered the latest prosecution, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Tuesday.

Ramirez, 64, had admitted carrying out the 15 September 1974 attack on the Drugstore Saint-Germain in an Algerian newspaper five years later, French media said.

He has already been given a life sentence for killing 11 people and wounding another 150 in four attacks dating back to the early 1980s...

The Hidden Government Group Linking JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra and 9/11

Deep State Event—Deep View. New York City, 9/11. NASA Photo

For some time now, I have been analyzing American history in the light of what I have called structural deep events: events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, are mysterious to begin with, are embedded in ongoing covert processes, have political consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records.

The more I study these deep events, the more I see suggestive similarities between them, increasing the possibility that they are not unrelated external intrusions on American history, but parts of an endemic process, sharing to some degree or other a common source.

For example, one factor linking Dallas, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11, has been the involvement in all four deep events of personnel involved in America’s highest-level emergency planning, known since the 1950s as Continuity of Government (COG) planning, or more colloquially inside the Pentagon as “the Doomsday Project.” A few of these actors may have been located at the top, as overseers of the secret COG system. Others – including some I shall talk about today – were located further down in its secret communications network.

I see this planning group as one among many in what I have chosen to call the American deep state, along with agencies like the CIA and NSA, the private groups like Booz Allen Hamilton to which more than half of the US intelligence budget is outsourced, and finally the powerful banks and corporations whose views are well represented in the CIA and NSA. But if only one group among many, the COG planning group is also special, because of its control of and access to a communications channel, not under government control, that can reach deeply into the US social structure. I discuss these matters at some length in my next book, The American Deep State, due out in November...

Special report: America's perpetual state of emergency

WASHINGTON — The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.

Thirty separate emergencies, in fact.

An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.

Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying "widespread violence and atrocities" in the Democratic Republic of Congo "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will...