CIA No Longer Can Defend The Indefensible—Its Torture Program

Demonstrators at the International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo in 2007. The rally was held in Washington, D.C. (takomabibelot / Flickr)

By John Kiriakou for Truth Dig – James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two contract psychologists who were the masterminds of the CIA’s torture program, are in for a heap of trouble. They are defendants in two major lawsuits accusing them of designing, implementing, overseeing and personally participating in the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. That they did exactly that is not in doubt. Indeed, Mitchell has written proudly of his work in a new book. But what makes these cases newsworthy is that the CIA has apparently turned its back on the two, offering no support and even cooperating with the plaintiffs by voluntarily turning over documents and refusing to supply CIA officers to serve as defense witnesses. (This is not out of the goodness of the CIA’s heart. But we’ll get to that later.) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the first suit in January in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Washington state, where Mitchell and Jessen based their company, on behalf of three former CIA detainees—Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the estate of Gul Rahman, a suspected Afghan militant who was tortured and who died in CIA custody in 2002. The second suit was filed on behalf of Abu Zubaydah in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The suit holds that Abu Zubaydah was tortured relentlessly by the CIA, which held him in a series of secret prisons around the world.

Statement Of Support For Civic Strike In Buenaventura, Colombia

Mass action closing down port in Buenaventura, Colombia May 21

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Popular Resistance has been closely following and reporting on the civic strike in the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia. As the strike is suspended we are issuing this statement of support and solidarity. We applaud the political clarity and the uncompromising demands of the people of Buenaventura in response to the long-term prejudice and mistreatment of Afro-Colombians. The organization that the civic strike showed, especially in the face of harsh treatment by the security state in Colombia, demonstrated great strength and courage which made the strike successful. Your effort has brought massive attention to the indifference of the Colombian government to centuries of racism that has led to abject poverty and mistreatment of black people in Colombia. The agreement that led to the suspension of the strike is a clear victory for Afro-Colombians in Buenaventura.

Filipinos Rally Outside NY Consulate, Condemn Duterte’s Martial Law

Philippines protest

By Staff for Bayan. Filipinos from around New York and New Jersey are coming together on Monday, June 5th to condemn martial law and increasing U.S. counterinsurgency and intervention in the Philippines. The demonstration demands that martial law be immediately revoked from Mindanao and that the GRP-NDFP peace talks resume. In the wake of attacks on May 23rd between the Maute group and the Philippine military in Marawi City, the entire southernmost island of Mindanao has been placed under martial law. President Duterte has suspended the writ of habeas corpus, meaning arrests can now happen without a warrant throughout the island. Habeas corpus is vital in protecting the right to liberty and preventing torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance.Hundreds of Moro men began being rounded up in Davao City on the day before Ramadan started, and Duterte is threatening to expand martial law to the entire country.

Peaceful Strikers Being Attacked By Armed Police

1col

By Esther Ojulari for Black Alliance for Peace. Buenaventura, Colombia – “I know you’re fighting a just cause…We go all round the country and we see people fighting just causes all the time…But this is our job…our role here is to attack, so that’s what we do.” These were the words my friend was told when he engaged in conversation the other night with an agent of the ESMAD (Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron) on the streets of Buenaventura, Colombia, in the context of the ongoing civic strike. The mainly Afro-descendant and indigenous community of Buenaventura on the Pacific Coast of Colombia has been on a civic strike now for 16 days. 16 days in which business, banks, shops and schools have been closed down and taxis and buses have stopped working to demand that the national government fulfills its basic human rights obligations to its citizens.

Strike In Buenaventura For People Centered Human Rights

Buenaventura strike

By Esther Ojulari for Black Alliance for Peace. Since the Buenaventura port was privatized in 1991, the vast majority of income generated goes straight into the pockets of private business owners from outside of the city, while the community suffers from a lack of investment and neglect. 64% of the population lives in poverty and 9.1% in extreme poverty. The child mortality rate in Buenaventura is 27.6 per 1000. The sewage system covers only 60% of the city, and only 76% receives running water. For most of the population that water arrives in homes for only a few hours a day and in some communities only a couple of times a week. The city’s public hospital was closed in 2015 leaving the population with access only to primary health care and meaning that patients often have to travel to other cities to receive adequate medical attention. Only 22% of the population have access to secondary education, and schools not only lack materials and infrastructure but resources to provide a culturally relevant education. The privatisation of the port contributed to a rise in unemployment as many of the jobs were given outsiders leaving an unemployment rate today of 62%. Much of the working population are engaged in informal labour, with lack of job security and safe working conditions.

Punishment For Human Rights Abusers Is Achievement For Argentine Society

Argentine

By Daniel Gutman for Nation of Change – What at first was terrible news that outraged a large proportion of Argentine society, who see the conviction and imprisonment of dictatorship-era human rights violators as an irrevocable achievement for democracy, became a cause for celebration a week later. An unexpected ruling handed down by the Supreme Court on May 3 initially opened the door to hundreds of members of the military and civilians in prison for crimes against humanity committed during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship to seek a reduction of their sentences, which would in some cases even allow them to immediately be released. However, the wave of outrage that arose in human rights groups spread in the following days throughout society, leading to changes that came about at a dizzying pace that made it unlikely for the court ruling, which applied to one particular case, to be used as a precedent for other human rights abusers to obtain a reduction in their sentences. “It won’t go any farther than this. In the Argentine justice system, the Supreme Court’s decisions are not binding on lower courts.

First Hundred Days Of Human Rights Violations

1flyspy

By Amie Stepanovich for Access Now. In the final years of the Obama Administration, we frequently took issue with the negative impact the administration’s actions were having on our human rights, tackling issues from surveillance to encryption and beyond. However, nothing we saw then could have prepared us for what we have witnessed in the first few months of 2017. Simply put, when President Trump hits the 100th day benchmark on Saturday, April 29, he and his administration will have taken — or prepared to take — a series of actions with massive negative consequences for human rights all around the globe, some of which will darken the U.S. human rights record for generations to come. Below we detail five that are related to our mission of defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk, and describe what we’re doing to fight back.

Monsanto’s Activities Have Negative Impact On Basic Human Rights

Screenshot 2017-04-20 at 11.06.51 AM

By Staff of Monsanto Tribunal – The judges conclude that Monsanto has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. On top of that Monsanto’s conduct is negatively affecting the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research. The judges also conclude that despite the development of many instruments to protect the environment, a gap remains between commitments and the reality of environmental protection. International law should be improved for better protection of the environment and include the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if such a crime of Ecocide were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide. In the third part of the advisory opinion, the Tribunal focusses on the widening gap between international human rights law and corporate accountability. It calls for the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. A set of legal rules is in place to protect investors rights in the frame of the World Trade Organization and in bilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free-trade agreements.

Monsanto Tribunal Judges Slam Monsanto Over Violation Of Human Rights

International_Monsanto_Tribunal-644x363

By Staff of Sustainable Pulse – Today the five international judges for the Monsanto Tribunal presented their legal opinion, which include key conclusions, both on the conduct of Monsanto and on the need for important changes to international laws governing multinational corporations. The judges conclude that Monsanto has engaged in practices that have impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. Additionally, Monsanto’s conduct has a negative impact on the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research. The judges also conclude that despite the development of regulations intended to protect the environment, a gap remains between commitments and the reality of environmental protection. International law should now precisely and clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if ecocide were formally recognized as a crime in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide. In the third part of the advisory opinion, the Tribunal focuses on the widening gap between international human rights law and corporate accountability.

SOA Watch Spring Days of Action

honor of Berta Caceres

By Staff of SOA Watch. SOA Watch’s 2017 Spring Days of Action are now through May 12, 2017! During the next month, we want you king you to contact your Representative and/or take part in actions in honor of Berta Caceres and in support of Central American asylum-seekers. Between April 11-21, and May 8-12, Members of Congress will be having “in district” work weeks. Our two lobby asks are for your Representative are to co-sponsor HR 1299, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act AND to oppose Trump’s supplemental budget request for more detention, deportation, fear, and his wall of hate that damages border communities and does nothing for “security”. As we said at the Encuentro, we need to #BuildBridgesNotWalls!

Opioid Crisis: Public Health Crisis Rooted In Poverty

1opio

By Sarah Jaffe for In These Times. It is hard, because all of us have lost people, I will say that. I have lost people that I love to this and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. When we are talking about it, it is deeply personal for people because we are literally watching our communities die and that is really rough. To be in a moment where people are dying from using drugs and we are also shrinking whatever public safety net has been left, to me it is so ridiculous to live in a place where people don’t see that this is a public health crisis that has its roots in poverty. Also, I would say, in the white denial. People not wanting to believe that this could be such a big problem with white people. I would say that it is not just the Republican folks who have been pushing law enforcement over increasing access to care. Here in Portland, we have an all-Democratic City Council that chose to shut down one of the premier, in the country, clinics that had a needle exchange, that had an HIV positive program and did STD testing and counselling, that was serving folks on the street, really low income people, had incredible relationships to their providers.

China Report On Human Rights Violations In US At Home And Abroad

image

By Staff of Tele Sur – The colonial history, enslavement, segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S. remained a serious challenge,” the report noted. On Thursday, China’s State Council Information Office released a human rights report on the U.S., noting that while that country continues to act as “the judge of human rights” it continues to ignore its own “terrible problems.” The report, called “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2016,” cites both international and U.S. academic and NGO sources focussed on that country’s domestic and international human rights record. “Wielding ‘the baton of human rights,’ (the U.S.)

Honduran Farmers Sue World Bank Group For Human Rights Violations

image

By Valentina Stackl for Earth Rights – EarthRights International (ERI) filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of Honduran farmers charging two World Bank Group members with aiding and abetting gross violations of human rights. The suit arises out of the substantial financial support two World Bank entities, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the IFC Asset Management Corporation (IFC-AMC), invested in Honduran palm-oil companies owned by the late Miguel Facussé. His companies – which exist today as Dinant – have been at the center of a decades-long and bloody land-grabbing campaign in the Bajo Aguán region of Honduras.

Malcolm X & Human Rights In The Trump Era: Transcending The Masters tools

Malcolm X, addresses a rally in Harlem in New York City on June 29, 1963. AP

By Ajamu Baraka for Popular Resistance. For those of us who operate within context of the Black Radical Tradition, Malcolm’s political life and philosophy connected three streams of the Black Radical Tradition: nationalism, anti-colonialism and internationalism. For many, the way in which Malcolm approached those elements account for his appeal. Yet, I think there is something else. Something not reducible to the language of political struggle and opposition that I hear when I encounter people in the U.S. and in other parts of the world when they talk about Malcolm. I suspect it is his defiance, his dignity, his courage and his selflessness. For me, it is all of that, but it is also how those elements were reflected in his politics, in particular his approach to the concept of human rights. Malcolm showed us how to deal with Trumpism, and the People Centered Human Rights movement that we must build will move us to that place where collective humanity must arrive if we are to survive and build a new world. And we will – “by any means necessary.”

Putting Human Development At The Center Of Policy

Wall mural urging put socialism to flight.

By Karin Baker for Solidarity. For Lebowitz everything comes down to creating a society where people can become fully developed human beings: 1) Everyone has the right to share in the social heritage of human beings — an equal right to the use and benefits of the products of the social brain and the social hand — in order to be able to develop his or her own potential. 2) Everyone has the right to be able to develop their full potential and capacities through democracy, participation, and protagonism in the workplace and society — a process in which these subjects of activity have the precondition of the health and education that permit them to make full use of this opportunity. 3) Everyone has the right to live in a society in which human beings and nature can be nurtured — a society in which we can develop our full potential in communities based upon cooperation and solidarity.