Tag Archive: Human Rights Infringement

Fascist America: Student tazered as Kerry looks on

If there are still those among my American friends who believe that they live in a free and democratic society, I strongly suggest that they watch the following video.

Filmed by students at a John Kerry speech on September 17, Constitution Day, it shows 21-year old journalism student Andrew Meyer being denied his rights to free speech and constitutional protection at the hands of police stormtroopers, while a United States Senator looks on.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Read article by Paul Craig Roberts

You must have heard of the rotten apple fairy tale. You know how it goes. It’s the standard establishment explanation for corruption or incompetence: He/she’s a rotten apple in an otherwise clean barrel. According to this theory, rotten apples are either weak assholes in the guise of human beings who have slipped through organisational screening processes and succumbed to the temptations inherent in positions of power, or deviant individuals who continue their deviance in an environment that gives them ample opportunity so to do.

Police departments, governments and the military tend to use the rotten apple theory, or some variation of it, to minimize public backlash after every exposed atrocity or act of corruption or incompetence.

Another approach is the occupational socialization explanation, the polar opposite of rotten apple theory — rotten barrel theory, if you will. According to this view, the very structure of front-line agencies of the state provides ample opportunity to learn the entrenched patterns of deviant power-based conduct that have been passed down through generations.

A functional explanation may be closer to the truth: corruption and institutionalised barbarism may be inherent in society’s attempts to enforce unenforceable laws and undesirable hegemonies.

The footage below pertains to the current US adventure in Iraq but it could, mutatis mutandis, be about Vietnam, Somalia, or the war against the American people at home.

Click here to watch it.

Slippery Slope

(First published in May 2006)

Imagine there’s a small town somewhere out in the boondocks. Call it Raggedy End or Shimmering Stone, Dodge City or Nottingham, London, Barnsley, New York…

I’ve got it – let’s call it Slippery Slope.

Now let’s take it out of the boonies and place it in the secret centre of Your Town Anywhere, USA, UK or U Name It.

It exists, it’s a city within a city, it’s Cop Town and the potential for gradual deterioration of moral inhibitions hits you as soon as you arrive, the perceived sense of permissibility for deviant conduct is in the air you inhale at the coach stop as you wait to collect your bags.

There are cops everywhere. This is where they live, where they rest, where they internalise the conditions in which they work, conditions that don’t measure up to the rigours of the usual comfort zones, the ones to which we normal people have become accustomed.

In Slippery Slope cops can be cops.

Undercover work?

False identity and crime inducement?

Every day activities, son, like taking the kids to school or mowing the lawn.

Feeding disinformation to the media?

Making false promises to hostage takers and kidnappers?

Interviewing witnesses with a hidden agenda?

Employing deceptive interrogation techniques?

Making all kinds of excuses to avoid responding to “difficult to solve” crime reports?

Trading days off?

Selling desireable work assignments?

All quotidian aspects of life as a cop in Slippery Slope.

Imagine being a cop: you don’t make much money but you’ve got a heck of a lot of power.

So you learn how to play the game, how to angle yourself into cases requiring court appearances so you can put in for the overtime, how to strain the truth in order (at first) to protect loved ones and crime victims to whom you’re sympathetic, how to bend those skills towards more profitable activity.

Come on, all the guys do it, it’s called being a cop, for feck sake what you gonna do?

You come across more cash on a narcotics bust than the gross national product of some small countries… You gonna hand it over?

No way, my friend, I’ll tell you what your gonna do, what you gotta do.

It’s called the Four-way Shakedown. First you secure the cash, spread some of it around to make sure your buddies are sweet; then you seize the product; then you sell the product; then you arrest your customers for buying the product…

That’s what cops do, son, and in Slippery Slope you don’t have to feel bad about it, any of it.

Routine invasion of privacy via covert surveillance?

It’s like going to the bathroom.

Behaviour inconsistent with norms, values or ethics?

What norms? What values? What ethics?

Forbidden acts involving misuse of office for gain?

Oh yeah!

Wrongdoings, violations of departmental procedure?

Only way to get the job done, son.

Unfair bias towards family or friends?

Well if you can’t look after your own, right…?  

“Pillow Angel” or “Ghostly Flower”?

Like anyone with a modicum of compassion and humanity I am moved by the tragedy of the Ashley X story. I think of my own children and how I would cope.

And, whilst unsure about the ethics regarding such aggressive medical and surgical interventions as high-dose oestrogen therapy, hysterectomy and breast-bud removal, I cannot help but be respectful of her parents’ apparent pragmatism.

I have visited her father’s website, however, and I have to say that I find it extremely odd. The saccharine “Pillow Angel” sobriquet infantilises Ashley and suggests the sinister proposition that eternally small and cuddle-some disabled people are more acceptable (and perhaps less troublesome and easier on the eye) than ugly grown-up ones. 

Were I in this man’s position, I doubt that I could find enough faith in current medical opinion to accept entirely, as he seems to have done, the hopelessness of my child’s condition; I feel strongly that I would want to cling on to any (be it ever so slight) possibility that she might in some way develop beyond the “Pillow Angel” stage. Such a desire, I believe, arises out of my nature as a human being. 

“Our daughter Ashley had a normal birth, but her mental and motor faculties did not develop. Over the years, neurologists, geneticists and other specialists conducted every known traditional and experimental test, but still could not determine a diagnosis or a cause. Doctors call her condition ‘static encephalopathy of unknown etiology’…and one that will not improve.” (my italics)

Everything that has been done to Ashley is legitimised by the contention that the primary purpose is to increase her quality of life. The ethics committee that sanctioned the treatment reached its decision based on the medical opinion that she would not develop beyond the mental age of three months.

But the combined might of the medical establishment “could not determine a diagnosis or cause”.

If they can’t determine a cause how can they say with certainty that the condition will not, even marginally, improve? Such a prognosis is no more than a speculation. The assumption that because she has not changed so far she never will is not one I find 100% reliable. It’s a theory not a fact.

And who is to say that some medical advance in Ashley’s lifetime won’t make it possible for her to live a more “normal” adult life?

There are more questions of this nature but it’s pointless to ask them because it’s too late now, isn’t it?



UCLA tazer attack by campus cops video

Albert Einstein said: 

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing…”

Mirza Tahir Hussain is to have his death sentence commuted by President Musharraf (click source). This is great news. However, questions remain.

Why did it take Musharraf so long?

Will Mirza receive any compensation for the eighteen years of his life that were taken from him on the strength of an unsafe conviction under a dubious legal system (Sharia Law)?

Why was it eighteen years before his case came to the attention of the media and the UK political establishment?

When will state sponsored murder be universally abolished?

The long wait for “justice”

December 1988 — Mirza-Tahir Hussain, 18, flies from Leeds to Pakistan, where he is arrested after death of taxi driver near Rawalpindi. He claims that he shot driver in self-defence.

September 1989 — A sessions court in Islamabad sentences him to death.

November 1992 — The High Court orders a retrial.

April 1994 — A sessions court in Islamabad sentences him to life. 

May 1996 — The High Court acquits him of murder but a month later refers the case to the Federal Sharia Court.

May 1998 — The Sharia court sentences him to death by two votes to one.

December 2003 — The Supreme Sharia Court of Pakistan rejects the appeal.

May 2006 — President Musharraf issues the first of three stays of execution. The last expires on October 1.

October 26 — Ramadan and Eid end, meaning Hussain can be hanged at any time.

November 15 — Reprieved.

America the Tyranny

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic, commentator, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by Authorhouse.com. His articles appear regularly at various alternative news websites around the globe.

His essay, America The Tyranny, is a remarkable big-picture account of the process of transformation from US-led hegemony to global American fascism that has been on-going for decades and which is now horrifically close to completion.

“The road to fascism is being paved at a clandestine yet alarming velocity, across valleys, prairies and forests, surrounding cites, towns and states, from Atlantic to Pacific, immersing 300 million individuals into a fog of engendered tyranny, who without a care or whisper or concern remain trapped by comfortable surroundings born through perpetual indebtedness. Even as their rights and freedoms and liberties are made to disappear, even as their Constitution is burned, even as their nation hangs on the precipice of despotism, even as their collective destiny is being destroyed those residing inside the belly of the beast hear no evil, see no evil and feel no evil, preferring to gossip about pedophile politicians and celebrity failings than informing themselves to the last throes of the American republic.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety

They want your soul

The Middle-East wars were planned before 9/11 by the Project for the New American Century.

Many things have changed since 9/11. For example, your constitution has been dismantled (we in the UK have never had one) and democracy has been destroyed. There is no freedom of the media; all outlets are now controlled by 5 mega corporations (and that includes our entertainment).

We are now free to do as they tell us.

Why? Because we have refused and continue to refuse to see the simple truth — they want our souls.

So go back to bed, America, “Big Government” is in control. The two parties have merged into one system, have become a neo-con hybrid.

But what are they trying to conserve?


The Guantanamo Letter

The illegal detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was opened by the USA in 2002 and currently holds approximately 460 prisoners, none of whom have recieved a proper trial (most have yet to be charged), though they have been held for over four years.

A report by the UN Committee Against Torture has concluded that interogation techniques employed at the camp are prohibited by international conventions.

However, a request from the British Medical Association (BMA) in June, demanding “direct and unfettered access” for independent doctors to examine the health of detainees was ignored by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In an open letter published in the Times today 120 doctors and other UK medical professionals accuse the British Government of collusion in “a war crime” and calls for an independent investigation to determine the medical needs of the detainees.

Under our political system the government is elected by the British people; we are, therefore, as a nation, a partner in this collusion. 

Sir, The recent US Supreme Court decision that the Guantanamo tribunals were illegal did not address the pressing medical concerns of the detainees (Foreign Editor’s Briefing, Sept 14).

Recently the BMA proposed that an independent group of British doctors visit Guantanamo to assess their medical treatment. Several UK residents remain incarcerated there. The Foreign Office has refused to act on this request. Further it has come to our attention that, in more than four years, neither the pro bono medical nor legal panels have ever discussed Guantanamo. These two Foreign Office committees were set up specifically to assist the Government when there is serious concern for the medical or legal status of British prisoners overseas. Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, has told us that “where consular officials are aware of a serious legal problem, they seek to solve this at local level before the use of either panel is considered”.

Our Government’s excuse is that it does not wish to set a precedent to act for British residents, rather than British citizens. We find this morally repugnant. The Foreign Office can and does act differently when circumstances suit, for example seeking to overturn a death sentence on an Afghan Christian convert, Abdul Rahman. Yet it feels unable to take any action for UK residents held illegally in Guantanamo.

Finally, given that the US military has awarded medals for doctors involved in the care of Guantanamo detainees (for medical treatment that would warrant a criminal investigation if carried out in Britain), we have no confidence in the proposed investigation of the recent suicides.

It is clear that an independent scrutiny is urgently required by physicians outside the US military. The silence of the Foreign Office is shameful and reflects the collusion of this country in a war crime (Click here for the list of signatories).

In December 2003, after a row with his wife, Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, took a tour bus from Ulm in southern Germany to Macedonia. At the border crossing his name was flagged by a police computer: it was identical to that of one of the 9/11 hijackers. He was removed from the coach and handed over to three US intelligence agents.

He was held in a hotel in Skopje for several weeks before being flown to Kabul and put in prison for five months. He was then flown back to Europe in May 2004, dumped in a remote forest area between Albania, Serbia and Macedonia, without money or papers, and told to “walk in that direction and don’t look back”.

Documents provided by Eurocontrol showed the plane transferring him from Macedonia to Afghanistan flew from Algeria to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on January 22; from Palma de Mallorca to Skopje, Macedonia, on January 23, and from Skopje to Kabul via Baghdad overnight on January 24.

Binyam Mohamed sought political asylum in Britain in 1994 and was given leave to remain while his case was dealt with. He remained in Britain for 7 years during which time two sets of lawyers were dismissed from his case for failing to pursue his claims in a timely manner.

He developed a drug habit, which he only managed to overcome when he rediscovered his religious faith. He decided to leave Britain to escape London’s drug scene and to learn more about his religion in Afghanistan.

When the war started, he decided to leave the region but his travel documents had been stolen and he couldn’t get to the British Embassy, as it was surrounded by Pakistanis keen to abduct ‘foreigners’ for whom the Americans were offering bounty payments.

A British friend agreed to lend him a passport so he could get back to Britain, but he was arrested at the airport by a Pakistani immigration unit who turned him over to the FBI. He asked what crime he had committed, and insisted on having a lawyer if he was going to be interrogated. The FBI told him, ‘The rules have changed. You don’t get a lawyer.’

On 21st July 2002 Binyam was transferred to Morocco in a CIA plane, where he was held for 18 months. When he refused to confess to being an Al-Qaida agent, he was tortured:

‘One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony, crying, trying desperately to suppress myself, but I was screaming… They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over.’

In January 2004 he was transferred to the “Dark Prison” in Kabul, then to Bagram Airforce base, and finally on to Guantanamo Bay in September 2004, where he remains.

These stories form the core of a must-see documentary video about rendition and torture, which you can see by clicking here.

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