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Assassination, Imprisoning Dissent, Torture, Interventions, Surveillance, and Censorship

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


  • US to UN: We Can Disregard Int’l Human Rights Treaty

    US tells human rights panel that treaty that bans torture, arbitrary killings and detention doesn’t apply to its military operations.

  • Groups: 7 arrested in Iowa after drones protest

    Protesters say seven people have been arrested in Des Moines following an anti-war gathering opposing the use of drones.

  • Reaping the whirlwind

    The seven of us arrested as we stood arm-in-arm facing the closed iron gate, one from a new Catholic Worker House in Duluth, one from Rye House in Minneapolis, two from the Des Moines Catholic Worker, a leader of the national Veterans For Peace movement, and a 85-year old retired Methodist minister from Des Moines joined me in receiving a “ban and bar letter” from the military base and a court date of March 25 to enter a plea on the state criminal trespass charges. We were treated courteously and professionally by the arresting officers of Des Moines STAR (Special Tactics and Response) unit as we reminded them of our vow of nonviolence we recited before we walked down the driveway this morning. We informed them our protest was directed at the arrival of the drones-mission [sic] rather than at them as we were placed under arrest and placed in a “paddy wagon” – how fitting for St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Des Moines rally protests use of military drones

    The Saturday morning rally was organized by the Midwest Veterans for Peace and Catholic Workers. Organizers, including former Des Moines priest Frank Cordaro, described the rally as a civil disobedience action and expected some participants to be arrested.

  • Seven arrested protesting drones in Des Moines
  • Dianne Feinstein Wants Drones Regulated

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, who I had rooted for Vice President, for Walter Mondale, disagrees. She wants to regulate them. “What is the appropriate law enforcement use for a drone? When do you have to have a warrant?…What’s the appropriate government use for a drone?”

  • United Nations Human Rights Committee considers report of the United States


  • Revealed: Inside the Senate report on CIA interrogations

    A still-classified report on the CIA’s interrogation program established in the wake of 9/11 sparked a furious row last week between the agency and Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Now, Al Jazeera has been told by sources familiar with its contents that the committee’s report alleges that at least one high-value detainee was subjected to torture techniques that went beyond those authorized by the Bush administration’s Justice Department.

  • A double standard on torture?

    All the people that President George W. Bush supposedly tortured (which, I guess, is anything more painful than giving blood) are alive and well. President Barack Obama regularly kills the same people with drones, but in your view that is just fine (“A tortuous debate,” March 12). Unbelievable.

  • Poland wrestles with the legacy of a secret CIA torture site

    From a hilltop overlooking a military base in this picturesque village 100 miles due north of Warsaw, a charming country house is just visible across a shimmering blue lake.

  • Philip Mudd: Sitting Across from KSM Was Useful So Waterboarding Him 183 Times Was Too

    Given that he effectively admitted to Steven Colbert back in September, above, he was responsible for inserting the tortured claim from Ibn Sheikh al-Libi that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda, and given that he left government after being denied a promotion because his analysts pushed for more torture, what he likely means is that the Report is going to show very damning evidence about his actions.

Interventions and Ukraine

  • The Implosion of Libya

    The Libyan former prime minister Ali Zeidan fled last week after parliament voted him out of office. A North Korean-flagged oil tanker, the Morning Glory, illegally picked up a cargo of crude from rebels in the east of the country and sailed safely away, despite a government minister’s threat that the vessel would be “turned into a pile of metal” if it left port: the Libyan navy blamed rough weather for its failure to stop the ship. Militias based in Misrata, western Libya, notorious for their violence and independence, have launched an offensive against the eastern rebels in what could be the opening shots in a civil war between western and eastern Libya.

  • Imperialist Hypocrisy on Crimea

    In the conduct of its foreign policy, the United States operates on the principle spelled out by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels that if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough, it will be accepted.

  • Obama Issues Executive Order Freezing Assets Of Seven Putin Aides

    As was largely expected, the first retaliation by Obama has arrived, courtesy of a just issued Executive Order by the president, in which he has blocked and frozen “all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person” (i.e. assets) of not only the pre-coup Ukraine president Yanukovich and the Crimean leader Aksyonov, including all Russians that operate in the Russian arms industry, but most notably seven Putin aides. Not Putin himself of course – that would be too “escalatory”…

  • Putin Strikes Back: Russia’s Sanctions List Said To Include US Senators, High Ranking Administration Officials

    Ever since the theatrical announcement of asset freezes and other related sanctions of various Putin aides, Russian military and pro-Russia Ukrainian leaders earlier today by both the US president and the EU, the nagging question was when and how would Vladimir Vladimirovich retaliate, with tomorrow’s Putin address to the joint session of Parliament seeming as a probable time and place. It now appears that Putin’s personal retaliation has been leaked in advance, and according to the Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin, it will involve an in kind response where various US senators and highly placed officials will be banned from visiting Russia, and likely also see their particular assets – if any- in Russian custody promptly frozen.

  • With 79% Turnout, Exit Polls Confirm 93% Of Voters Back Crimea Joining Russia; US,UK, EU Rejects Results
  • The Wrong Referendum, The Wrong Saviour

    But every single one of those things is true of Putin’s Russia, and in fact it is much worse. Wealth inequality is even more extreme. Toleration of dissent and of different lifestyles even less evident, the space for debate even more constricted, the contempt for international law still more pronounced. Putin’s own desire for imperialist sphere of influence politics leads him into conflict with aggressive designs of the west, as for example in Syria and Iran. The consequence can be an accidental good, in that Putin has thwarted western military plans. But that is not in any sense from a desire for public good, and if Putin can himself get away with military force he does. His conflicts of interest with the west have deluded a surprising number of people here into believing that Putin in some ways represents an ideological alternative. He does not. He represents a capitalism still more raw, an oligarchy still more corrupt, a wealth gap still greater and growing still quicker, a debate still more circumscribed. It speaks to the extreme political failure of the western political system, and the degree of the alienation of which I spoke, that so many strive to see something beautiful in the ugly features of Putinism.

  • Is Putin Delusional–or Is NYT a ‘Megaphone for Propaganda’?


  • Iran CIA station stopped functioning
  • CIA suspends Iran operations chief: report

    Jonathan Bank, a career officer with the spy agency, had been placed on administrative leave after an internal probe found he had created a hostile work environment, according to the Times.

    Former officials said employees had been in “open rebellion” over the officer’s management style and that the division, which oversees spying on Iran and its nuclear program, was in a state of disarray, it said.

  • CIA Iran Chief Suspended, Department ‘Was Not Functioning’

    The CIA’s Iran chief of operations was suspended after sending the division that coordinates spying on Iran and its nuclear program into disarray, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

    “Iran is one of most important targets, and the place was not functioning,” said one of three former officials who told the newspaper that the Iran operations division was in “open rebellion,” with several key employees demanding transfers.

  • CIA suspends Iran operations chief for creating ‘abusive and hostile work environment’
  • Chief of CIA division for spying on Iran is suspended over internal mutiny
  • Time to tell spies we, the people, not the enemies

    We now have even more proof that our burgeoning intelligence agencies, which were given unprecedented latitude to wage war against terrorists, are dangerously out of control.

  • The CIA reminds us who’s boss

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a stalwart ally of the nation’s intelligence agencies, says she is appalled to learn they have been spying on her committee, ignoring federal law and possibly trampling on the Constitution in a heavy-handed targeting of innocent people. Hey! Maybe now she knows how the rest of us feel.

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Scared Of The CIA

    Over the past few months, one thing we keep hearing over and over again from defenders of the intelligence community is that everything is under control and “legal” because Congress has powerful oversight. We’ve shown, repeatedly, how that’s something of a joke. The intelligence community has lied repeatedly, has withheld documents and is generally nonresponsive to oversight attempts by Congress. And, with the reports that the CIA spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee, we also find out that for all the bluster and talk of oversight, folks in Congress are actually scared by the intelligence community.

  • Former CIA probers urge new investigative panel on United States intelligence agencies

    Warning of a “crisis in public confidence,” former staffers for an influential 1975 Senate committee that investigated CIA abuses asked Congress and President Barack Obama on Monday to form a new panel to probe missteps by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

  • The latest out of Washington – CIA spies and tortured lies

    “What keeps me up at night, candidly, is another attack against the United States,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said last month in what was, then, her routine defense of the mass global surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies. All that has changed now that she believes that the staff of the committee she chairs, the powerful, secretive Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was spied on and lied to by the CIA.

    The committee was formed after the Watergate scandal engulfed the Nixon administration. The Church Committee, led by Idaho Democratic Sen. Frank Church, conducted a comprehensive investigation of abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies, of everything from spying on anti-war protesters to the assassination of foreign leaders. Thus began the modern era of congressional and judicial oversight of U.S. intelligence.

  • Editorial: Senate report should look at more than CIA

    The Senate panel is putting the finishing touches on a 6,300-page report on the CIA’s use of torture — waterboarding and other techniques — in the interrogations. While reviewing the CIA documents, Senate staffers found a draft of the internal review but have not said exactly how they got it. Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says the internal review is important because it contradicts CIA statements and it documents agency wrongdoing. John Brennan, the CIA director, maintains that the internal review should never have been seen by the committee because it is “sensitive, deliberative, pre-decisional” material protected by executive privilege.

  • Ed Garvey: Is the CIA under civilian control? Do pigs fly?

    Just saying. I was not shocked or even surprised by the revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency may have hacked computers and spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the congressional committee that oversees CIA and National Security Agency operations. What is a poor spook agency to do when the enemy disappears? Look inward perhaps?

Privacy and Surveillance

  • Spinoffs from Spyland

    How America’s eavesdropping agency commercializes technology.

  • A 10-Point Plan to Keep the NSA Out of Our Data

    1) End-to-end encryption. This is the most important technological change, and the one that Snowden emphasized in his talk. End-to-end encryption would help protect data through its entire journey from sender to recipient. Google and other services currently only encrypt data as it makes its way from a user to a given service, where it is may be decrypted. That leaves data vulnerable to collection from the service provider’s servers or from internal data links where it might be unencrypted.

  • 3 Security Tips For Every User From NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

    Snowden appeared live via Google Hangouts to discuss the future of cybersecurity alongside privacy advocates and security gurus Ben Wizner and Christopher Soghoian of the ACLU. His revelations about the American government agency’s mass surveillance tactics shocked the world in June 2013 and exposed the security weaknesses of Google, Apple, Facebook, and many of the other services cybercitizens use every day.

  • How Google Can Repel the Attack of the NSA Quantum Computer
  • ‘Turn Off The Water’ Says Coalition Against NSA Spying

    A coalition of activists is pushing for state legislation that would cut off the water and power to National Security Agency facilities — including the new mega data center in Bluffdale, Utah — that need water to run huge computers.

  • NSA’s malware and spying ops far more powerful than you think

    As the cataract of code words and compromises continues to course from Edward Snowden’s cache of classified information, it’s easy to lose track of what, exactly, the US National Security Agency and its allies can and can’t do. So let’s clarify that — especially given that last week’s revelations make it clear that the NSA’s capabilities go way, way beyond what was previously thought.

  • Guardian editor wins European Press Prize for NSA coverage

    The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, poses in a photo with a mangled piece of metal alongside a story Monday announcing his European Press Prize for leading a team of reporters on their NSA coverage.

  • Ron Miller: NSA can track every email, but it can’t find a plane
  • When a world that’s characterized by ubiquitous data collection and surveillance can lose sight of a jumbo jet, you start to question the worth of all that spying on us
  • The NSA could be using your webcam to spy on you

    Caitlin Tolchin knows she’s far from anonymous when she’s online, but was still shocked to find out how far things are being taken, and who’s behind it.

    With a sigh she throws up her hands. “You start to wonder who’s watching and why?” she says with a note of exasperation to her voice.

  • U.S. Plan for Web Faces Credibility Issue

    The Commerce Department’s decision to step back from its supervision of an Internet policy-making body is an attempt by the U.S. to prove it is serious about Internet freedom at a time when its credibility on the issue is suffering.

    The U.S. government said Friday it wants to transition away from its relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann—the organization that manages Internet names and addresses—to a multilateral structure where engineers, nonprofits and other stakeholders make decisions about how the Internet is managed.

  • Watchdog group declares United States an ‘enemy of the Internet’

    Watchdog group Reporters Without Borders publishes its updated “Enemies of the Internet” list each year. The report looks to shed light on the current state of the Internet, revealing which countries across the globe stand in the way of unfettered access to the wealth of information the Web has to offer. Places like North Korea and China are regulars on the list, as you might have guessed, but the 2014 version of this important report includes a troubling new addition: America.

  • German parliamentary inquiry NSA revelations to open in April

    A German public inquiry into surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in Germany is to open in April, parliamentary officials said in Berlin Tuesday.

    A eight-member parliamentary commission of inquiry is to look into what the German intelligence agencies knew about US wiretapping starting in 2001.

  • US defends mass surveillance at UN

    Representatives for the United States government defended the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance programs before a hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland last week.

    The US is one of 74 signatories that has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and as a result must be scrutinized every five years by an 18-person UN panel that focuses particularly on allegations of human rights abuses. That process involved a question-and-answer session between the UN committee members and representatives for the US last week, and the disclosures about the NSA’s broad surveillance abilities ended up being brought squarely into the discussion.

  • New House Plan Props Up NSA Surveillance of Phone Calls

    Regarding oversight of National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless wholesale collection of telephone metadata, Reprsentative Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) has decided to stick a toe in the constitutional waters, but it’s little more than that.

  • Wyden to Speak on NSA Fight

    Senator Ron Wyden speaks Tuesday night in Portland, the first of four lecturers in a series marking the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

  • Wyden’s battle against NSA continues

    Wyden’s battle may not have been as lonely as that of Wayne Morse, who was one of just two opponents of the congressional resolution that led to a broad U.S. military involvement in Vietnam 50 years ago — and more than 50,000 American deaths. Wyden’s Democratic colleague from Oregon since 2009, Jeff Merkley, has taken his side, as has Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado and others.

  • Public apathy over GCHQ snooping is a recipe for disaster

    The lack of public alarm at government internet surveillance is frightening, but perhaps it’s because the problem is difficult to convey in everyday terms

  • Dear Facebook and Googleplus, be honest, it’s just a datagrab!
  • US Relinquishes Oversight of Internet, China and Russia May Gain Control

    The Obama administration on March 14 announced the final step to privatize oversight of the Internet’s core systems. While on the surface it appears the Internet is moving toward a more independent model, however, the changes could allow authoritarian regimes in China and Russia to gain stronger influence over the global Internet.

  • Targeting Dissent is the Real Purpose of NSA Programs

    When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia briefly let the mask slip during recent comments to University of Hawaii law students it was a rare moment of openness as to reveal the pathology of the leadership class here in The Homeland . During an exchange over a World War II era case involving Japanese Americans who were rounded up and placed in internment camps such as the infamous Manzanar Scalia stated that “”you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again” and “In times of war, the laws fall silent.” Times of war such as the permanent war on terror that is now in its thirteenth year running and still picking up steam, especially so with the rampage towards a newly rebooted Cold War. With the ultimatums of Kerry and Obama, goaded on by a corrupt media with an insatiable thirst for blood and a resurgent neocon menace we now stand on the edge of great peril as the oppressive apparatus of the power of Leviathan that has been exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will find refuge in the climate of paranoia and fear that will be triggered anew. Time is short and we all must do our part to now apply immense pressure to ensure that the illegal programs of the surveillance state are exposed before the hydra is allowed to reconfigure behind the looming war to end all wars.

  • NSA intrusions must be stopped

    It is time to end the extensive surveillance by the National Security Agency, gathering phone records, metadata and searching Internet communications of innocent Americans.

  • [Satire] Brave NSA agent goes beyond line of duty, wiretaps his mother
  • Compare the NSA’s Facebook Malware Denial to its Own Secret Documents


Human Rights

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