28 April, 2010

9/11 official story - utter crap

Wednesday, May 6 2009 - Fear Factors

The Truth is Not Enough: How to Overcome Emotional Barriers to 9/11 Truth

by Ken Jenkins May 1, 2009

How many times has this happened to you? You are explaining to someone some of the rational, logical reasons why the official story of 9/11 can't be true, perhaps explaining how WTC 7 fell in the exact manner of a professionally planned controlled demolition -- a job which would typically take weeks to prepare -- when out comes a 'thought stopper' phrase like:

"That's just another conspiracy theory!" or ...

"Do you also believe in Big Foot and tin foil hats?"

Or perhaps the person gets angry and/or agitated. Facts no longer matter at that point, and you can tell the person does not want to hear any more. For example, the following response came from someone after they were given a 20-minute summary of 9/11 Truth information:

"I wouldn't believe that, even if it were true!"

That reaction defies all logic and reason. But it clearly illustrates just how irrational some peoples' defenses can be. Here are a few more honest responses/defenses:

"As long as my wife and kids are fine and we can live the life style we have, the truth is, I don't really care what happened on 9/11."
"I would not want to live in a world where such a thing could be true."
"You can't expect someone to listen to information that turns their world upside down."
"I'm not sure I want to know. If this is true, then up would be down and down would be up. My life would never be the same."
"Look, I have to admit that I seriously resist anyone messing with my worldview!"

Why So Much Resistance to 9/11 Truth?

Ostrich Head in SandSuch reactions are emotionally based. 9/11 is a very emotionally charged issue. The source of the denial and resistance is FEAR. The implications of 9/11 Truth are very scary for most people to take in. Given that a part of our government's job description is keeping its citizens safe, it's terrifying to consider that a secret rogue part of our government will do just the opposite -- mass murder those very citizens, in order to advance dark agendas -- like wars for corporate empire. To further consider that associated 'secret teams' would then put out corporate media cover-up stories, in the form of an elaborate fantasy story backed up with planted evidence, and to think that story was nearly universally accepted without question -- this is the stuff of nightmares.

Then there is the difficulty of accepting the self-image shattering realization that we were duped by such cover story lies. 9/11 Truth suggests a very uncomfortable and disturbing worldview, especially to those new to such concepts. The intensity of fear brought up by these vast implications causes defense mechanisms to take over our rational thought processes. Such denial most often overrides rationality.

What's a 9/11 Truth Activist To Do?

How can we overcome such powerful denial? What knowledge about these emotional barriers can empower us to be more effective in reaching larger numbers of our fellow citizens?

Start out by asking questions to find out what the person you are addressing currently thinks and feels about the 9/11 Truth message. Adjust your approach based on what you hear. Based on their responses, reach out and connect though empathy, to express to them an understanding of their difficult position. It's not that hard to do -- after all, most of us went through a similar process of conversion at some point, when we were in denial and uninformed about 9/11. Let them know about your own doubts, how you had a difficult time believing that the official story was false. Explain how upsetting it was for you to consider the alternative -- those very inconvenient truths. Even for those of us who were not upset by the idea of 9/11 being an inside job, there was often a difficulty in wrapping our heads around the enormity of it all. Talk about your own difficulties in rejecting the official story.

Reasons for Resistance to the Truth

There are a number of valid reasons why many of us resist the truth of 9/11. What follows are some major ones.

A. The Big Lie: I'll start with the 'Big Lie' because it was the main barrier that kept me from fully accepting the truth of 9/11 as I was researching it in the weeks after the event. The sheer audacity of pulling off something so outrageous in broad daylight, thinking they would get away with it, and the large scale of it all kept me doubting for weeks. My turning point was learning about what really happened at Pearl Harbor -- the many warnings that were ignored, the Japanese secret codes that the US had broken, etc. This new understanding, that the attack on Pearl Harbor was clearly allowed to happen, was what finally had me fully accept 9/11 Truth. The comparable number that were deliberately mass murdered, the scale of the event, the audacity, and the 60 years of largely successful cover-up all showed me that a Big Lie had happened before, and worked to fool most of the public, and not all that long ago. It was only later I discovered these quotes:

"The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists." ~ J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI

"The masses indulge in petty falsehoods every day, but it would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths. ... The bigger the lie, therefore, the likelier it is to be believed." ~ Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

B. Major Paradigm Shift: Questioning the official story of 9/11 threatens the foundations of our society, or at least seems to. It challenges our fellow citizens' belief systems regarding the nature of our government, and even the very nature of our nation. Such questioning is far more profound than, say, questioning a war. Accepting the truth of 9/11 is, for many, a major paradigm shift, an inverting of their worldview. Such shifts risk a period of chaos and uncertainty, which many find scary.

C. Blind Nationalist Faith: 9/11 Truth is a confrontation with the self-image that many Americans have -- of their country and of themselves. The self-image Americans have been sold though our school systems and media is that we are the exceptional nation, the good guys wearing the white hats, the bringers of democracy and freedom. Such nationalistic faith can exceed religious faith in its dogmatic blindness. David Ray Griffin has an article on this subject elsewhere in this issue. [See article ps. XX-XX] and, Dr. Griffin also addresses these issues in a DVD titled "9/11 and Nationalist Faith."

D. Projecting Parental Duties on Authorities: In his book As If We Were Grownups, author Jeff Golden's thoughtful assertion is that, "We consistently elect [political] candidates who tell us what children would want to hear. Children want to hear that everything is okay, that little is required of them, that they can go out and play or watch TV, and that they'll be taken care of and protected. In exchange, they are expected to be seen and not heard, to pay their taxes, to take their flu shots, and to not question the authorities."

E. Admission of Gullibility: Anyone we are introducing 9/11 Truth to now has believed the official story for years. To accept 9/11 Truth they have to admit they were duped, deceived, and manipulated for all that time. That brings up questions of gullibility, naïveté, lack of perceptiveness, obliviousness, etc. Most of us have resistance to admitting such shortcomings. Astronomer Carl Sagan sums it up nicely:

"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous [i.e. gullible]."

F. The Rabbit Hole Effect -- Wider Implications: To believe 9/11 Truth, one also has to believe many other difficult truths, such as:

* Parts of our corporate media must be incredibly corrupt to be complicit in such a massive cover-up;
* There must be a powerful, secret, hidden government that is capable of planning and executing such a horrible and unthinkable act;
* Some of our leaders are more corrupt and malicious than most of us would want to believe.

But one has only to remember the words of philosopher and statesman, Edmund Burke, to understand how corruption tends to prosper especially in good times:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

G. Apathy and Complacency: Radio talk show host Mike Rivero sheds some light on why so many people are apathetic and complacent about changing their beliefs:

"Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all."

H. PTSD -- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 9/11 was first and foremost a psyop, shorthand for a Psychological Operation. It is a term used by secret services like the CIA to describe a class of operations that are intended to manipulate the emotions of populations; it is a form of mind control.
The specific intention of 9/11 was to terrorize the American people into supporting the so-called "war on terror," which is a replacement for the cold war's "war on communism." It's a blank check for the US government and the American military-industrial-complex to attack anyone, anywhere they want, anytime they want -- to support the empire.

The psyop initially worked for a vast majority of US citizens, and for many, it is still working.

The terror that so many felt during and after the attacks left many people, particularly in New York City, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- PTSD. To revisit those events, as is necessary to expose the truth of 9/11, can retrigger that stress and add to the other discomforts that are already intrinsic to that same truth we are revealing. The desire to minimize re-experiencing that trauma causes people to back away. We need to go easy on those who exhibit such stress.

I. Lack of Knowledge of Historical Parallels or Patterns: While not strictly an emotional issue, the ignorance most people have about the many false flag events used to justify wars throughout history also has a psychological component. Our ability to conceptualize new information is dependent on having a frame of reference, that is, already knowing something similar, in order to be able to anchor a new thought. The lack of such historical reference points, therefore, can be yet another source of resistance. This blockage is perhaps the easiest one to deal with -- by educating people about the long history of false flag events used for triggering wars.

The Awakening Will Take Time

These are most of the major reasons why so many people resist 9/11 Truth. By understanding them, we can meet people with empathy and understanding, and have more patience with them. Patience is so important because for most, awakening to 9/11 Truth is a gradual process, often taking weeks, months, or even years. In light of that, try to be sensitive when presenting evidence, so as to notice when a person is 'full' -- when they have heard enough for the moment, and need space to digest and absorb the new, and often, disturbing concepts.

The good news is that with all that is happening now in our post-9/11 world, particularly with the public knowledge of the lies about WMDs and Saddam being linked to al Qaeda and 9/11 that led us into war with Iraq, people's minds are opening wider every day. More and more people are waking up to the degree of corruption and deception that is routine in our government. Every day they learn more about how the corporate media have been complicit in lies and cover-ups. Trust in such corporate and governmental institutions is now at an all time low, and dropping. This makes people far more open to the 9/11 Truth message. In a very real sense, our job is getting easier.

The truth alone is not enough, but the truth plus strategic thinking, planning and educating is enough to convince most fence-sitters. As David Hutton, author of The Change Agents' Handbook, says: "You do not have to spend a lot of time and effort on those who strongly resist change. You only have to help and protect those who want to change." Understanding the various emotional obstacles is an essential part of such a strategy.

It's been over seven years for some of us who have been working to expose the truth about 9/11. It will likely take several more years, but we will win -- as long as we work smart and don't give up. The truth will be revealed, and the resultant awakening will lead to the kind of deep changes that are so necessary to create a more positive future.

______________________________

9/11 activist and video producer Ken Jenkins has a degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and has done extensive postgraduate study in psychology. A pioneer in the 9/11 movement, Ken started presenting his PowerPoint and video productions on 9/11 Truth in early 2002, and has since spoken at five national 9/11 conferences. His first video, "Perspective on 9/11" was originally made for those early presentations. He has since produced ten DVDs with leading 9/11 Truth author David Ray Griffin, including "9/11 -- The Myth and the Reality". He is also a partner in 9/11 TV (911TV.org), which has documented speakers from many 9/11 conferences and events. The resulting DVDs are distributed partly through local cable access channels nationwide. By revealing the "false flag" nature of the 9/11 attacks, it is Ken's intention to not only help end the current bogus "war on terror" but to also open the way to ending war as a political option on this planet.

All rights reserved. Copyright belongs to the author. (Permission granted to repost at 911truth.org)

Frequently Asked Questions About 9/11

by Ken Jenkins

What follows are concise answers to the most frequently asked questions and objections related to the 9/11 Truth message.

1. "9/11 is ancient history -- it's time to move on."
Our entire world took a radical and dark turn as a direct result of 9/11. As things stand, the phony "war on terror" will continue to last "for a lifetime" as we were promised, wasting resources -- human, natural and economic -- while justifying empire, repressive police state policies, and keeping people afraid. The Obama administration is shifting the "war on terror" from Iraq back to Afghanistan, and is also now bombing Pakistan. Only 9/11 Truth can reverse this trend of endless war.

2. "Yes, but Bush & Company have left office. Not much we can do, is there?"
9/11 Truth has less to do with the perpetrators than with a corrupt set of systems, which allow psychopaths like Cheney and the neocons to pull off a scam like 9/11. The problems are far more deep and profound than a few bad actors.

3. "How could the whole of the mainstream media be complicit?"
A few gatekeepers at the top control the corporate media. Consider this quote from former CIA Director William Colby: "The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) owns everyone of any significance in the major media." Google "Operation Mockingbird" to learn some of the history of the controlled corporate media. Mockingbird was a secret CIA campaign to influence domestic and foreign media in the 1950s, made public in 1975 during the Church committee investigation. Soon after Mockingbird was implemented, it was assessed to be a 'spectacular success.'

4. How could such a large conspiracy be kept secret for so long? It must have involved thousands of people?
The conspiracy was not all that large. Most likely, only a few dozen people were central to the plot. Others involved were compartmentalized dupes who were not in on the planning. Also, our government has kept many far bigger major operations secret for many years, such as the Manhattan Project (1939-1946.) That Top Secret program was designed to develop the first atomic weapon before the Nazis did during WWII and employed 130,000 people.

5. "What about the guys who you claim 'wired' the buildings? Wouldn't they have spoken up by now?"
They are guilty of being part of a mass murder and would likely get the death penalty. They were likely well paid and now living in luxury, most likely outside this country. What would be their incentive for speaking up? If they did so, they'd be instantly silenced by the others.

6. "What happened to all the passengers?"
They died. That part of the official conspiracy theory is true.

7. "So, if you don't believe the official story, what really happened then?"
All we know for certain is that the official story cannot be true. We don't know all the details of what happened. That's why we want a real investigation -- with subpoena powers -- to find out what really did occur.

8. "Not even the Bush administration would do something so evil."
These are the same guys responsible for over a million deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus hundreds of deaths of first responders at Ground Zero. A few thousand more mean little to such psychopaths.

9. "The Bush administration was too incompetent to pull off such a complex plan."
The Bush administration only ordered the operation; it was designed and implemented by professionals behind the scenes. Plus, these are the same people who pulled off the major scam of taking us to war with Iraq based on lies, with help from the complicit corporate media. They avoided impeachment for over 50 impeachable offenses. They stole two elections. This is hardly incompetence.

10. "But isn't terrorism a real threat?"
The answer to this is best described by former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook: "The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called al Qaeda. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive the TV watcher to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US ..."

11. "Didn't Osama bin Laden confess to doing 9/11?"
No. Right after 9/11 he denied any involvement, and later repeated this message. The one alleged confession video has been shown to be a fake, with an imposter, a look-alike playing bin Laden. Also, bin Laden is not even wanted by the FBI for 9/11, due to "a lack of evidence", according to FBI spokesperson, Rex Tomb.

12. "This sounds like just a conspiracy theory to me."
The official story is a conspiracy theory. It's by definition a conspiracy because more than one person was involved in planning a crime. And the official story is just a theory because it has never been proven, in a court of law or anywhere else.

13. "Didn't the 9/11 Commission prove the case?"
No, not at all, it didn't even attempt to. The 9/11 Commission Report started with the assumption that the official story was true. Commission Director and Bush administration insider, Philip Zeikow, wrote a detailed outline for the report before the Commissioners even met, and was in charge of every aspect of the Commission, including writing the final report. They did not consider alternative theories. The report did not even mention the collapse of WTC Building 7.

14. "What possible motivation would the Bush administration have for ordering the 9/11 scam?"
The motivation is revealed by the very results that were implemented right after 9/11 (qui bono? -- who benefits?). It is now known that the Bush administration started discussing how to start wars with Afghanistan and Iraq during their first month in office. 9/11 gave them the pretext for those wars (with some additional lies about WMDs to kickstart the invasion of Iraq). They wanted and got far more power and control. They got all the things that the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) said they wanted in the year 2000. Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Jeb Bush, as well as most of the leading neocons were all members of the PNAC, and signatories on the paper Rebuilding America's Defenses, which specifically called for "a catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor."

If we are well prepared to answer these types of questions whenever they come up, we can then be more effective in educating skeptics about the real truth. The most ardent skeptics often make the best Truthers once converted. And once converted, a person rarely, if ever, turns back to believing the big lie that is called the 'official story.'

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posted by u2r2h at Wednesday, April 28, 2010 0 comments links to this post

26 April, 2010

Voice of Africa .. clear CIA CRIMES

Nigerian Voice gives daily news updates of the country
Nigeria The following article, Obama Brings International
State Terrorism to Ghana, was written by Sekou Nkrumah,
Chairman of the Pan African Improvement Organization.
Sekou Nykrumah, has also authored two books: Repatriation
and Pan Africanism, the Suppression of Two Movements and
Notes on White Supremacy and Capitalism. This article was
written as a critique of Obama's trip to Ghana in 2009.
Upon reading it, I couldn't help but think about how
apropos Nirvana's song, Rape Me, was in the analysis of
the plunder of my Africa.

Just a quick sidebar before you read this article. If
we don't take the time to base our actions on a scientific
objective analysis, we are destined to be duped time and
time again by those who plan to oppress us. People, we
must stop taking militant stances for ignorance like
T-Pain's response to unknowingly pushing a conservative
agenda with Sean Hannity. As the song D*** Riding For
Obama, becomes more and more popular in anticipation of
The Boondocks Season 3, our opposition to Imperialism
can't be founded in a catchy song that sounds cool and
rebellious; I mean hell, wasn't it singing WILL.I.AM's Yes
We Can! song, one of the reasons millions felt compelled
to vote for Obama. Scientific objective anaylsis, must be
utilized by people of color as the weapon of choice
against Imperialism, not one rooted in emotion; emotions
are good to have but to be lead by them has catastrophic
consequences*i.e. OHHHHBAMMMA! And now, it is time for our
feature article, enjoy!

Obama Brings International State Terrorism to Ghana

Unfortunately many Ghanaians are being deceived by
Barack Obama's presidency and his scheduled tour to Ghana
. Many Ghanaians think that Obama will be coming to help
develop the country, provide money or establish friendly
relationships with Ghana . All three reasons are far from
the truth. The truth of the matter is the U.S. has
economic interest in Ghana , which they must guard
militarily. This economic interest and military action
presupposes political control. The implementation of U.S.
political control of Ghana is predicated upon terrorizing
the leadership, and consequently the Ghanaian masses out
of their resources.

Terrorism is defined as the use of organized
intimidation systematically to evoke extreme, intense and
overpowering fear with violence or the threat of violence.
Obama represents a country, from its inception that waged
state and international state terrorism against African
countries and Ghana , aimed at intimidating them to the
point of dispensing of their human and material resources;
through slave raiding.

Through the Africa Command (Africom) which became fully
operational October 2008, by the Bush administration,
terrorism is now being carried out by Obama in Africa .
Although the U.S. foreign policy makers have stated,
'Africom is about helping Africans build greater capacity
to assure their own security the actual fact is the U.S.
plans to manipulate African militaries against their own
people and interest.

Assuring African security is another fabrication of the
truth because the U.S. has never helped Africans, much
less African countries, become more secure. Africans in
America have been terrorized by such groups as the Klu
Klux Klan for over 100 years, and the U.S. government
never took one step, passed one law, outlawing the
organization, or ending the violence committed against
African people. Even after chattel slavery the U.S.
government facilitated the Black Codes, which supported
the Klu Klux Klans reign of terror on African people.

The U.S. was conceived in terrorism by murdering over
100 million 'Indians Indigenous People of the Western
Hemisphere, and by destroying families and villages
throughout Africa with the slave raid. As a consequence,
Africans were enslaved for over 300 years and over 100
million Africans lost their lives in Africa, during the
middle passage, and on America 's plantations * NAKED
TERRORISM!!!

The U.S. has supported Mobutu of Zaire (1965-1997),
Houphet Boigny of Cote D'Ivoire (1960-1993), Ian Smith of
Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe (1953-1980), Said Barre of Somalia
(1978-1991), Arap Moi of Kenya (1978-2003), Hastings Banda
of Malawi (1962-1995), Omar Bongo of Gabon (1967-2009),
and the military support given to the racist apartheid
regime of South Africa (1910-1994) in which hundreds of
thousands of Africans were tortured, raped, and murdered
in cold blood.

The (CIA) Central Intelligence Agency of the U.S. has
trained and armed reactionary movements that have murdered
millions of Africans. These movements are and were
directed toward the overthrow of legitimate governments in
Africa . For example, Jonas Savimbi of UNITA in Angola,
Afonso Dhlakama of Renamo in Mozambique, and the Selous
Scouts in Zimbabwe. Since 1950, there have been 186
military coups in Africa , and 26 wars with many of them
inspired by the CIA. In 1966, the CIA violently overthrew
our first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Today
Obama is covering up the torture by CIA interrogators in
Guantanamo Bay , Cuba .

The CIA murdered Congolese Prime Minister Patrice
Lumumba and aided BOSS, apartheid South Africa's secret
service, in the capture of Nelson Mandela which took 27
years of his life and forestalled the ending of apartheid.
The irony of this is the U.S. labeled Nelson Mandela and
other African National Congress (ANC) leadership as
terrorists, while they were supporting the Apartheid
government's terrorism against Africans in Azania South
Africa .

The CIA sought to overthrow the Revolutionary Republic
of Guinea in 1970, by aiding the Portuguese invasion of
the country, which was aimed at murdering President Sekou
Toure and co-President of Guinea at the time, Dr. Kwame
Nkrumah. They planned to also murder the Pan Africanist
and Revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral, of the African
Independence Party of Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands
(PAIGC), Kwame Ture of the All African People's
Revolutionary Party and leader of the Black Power Movement
in the U.S., and his wife Miriam Makeba, Africa's premier
revolutionary songstress*who recently died, may her soul
rest in peace.

The U.S. shot down two Libyan jets on August 21, 1981,
and bombed Tripoli and Benghazi on April 14, 1986, in an
attempt to kill Qaddafi. The bombing killed Qaddafi's
daughter, Hanna, and were attempts to destabilize Libya
(the country with the highest living standard in Africa ).
In 1989, the U.S. shot down two Libyan jets. In August
1998, the U.S. launched a number of cruise missile attacks
on Khartoum , Sudan , killing innocent women, children,
and babies. In December 1992, the U.S. invaded Somalia
with 28,000 troops, slaughtering innocent women, children,
babies, and elderly people, looking for a fictitious
warlord who never raised one finger against America . In
April 2007, the U.S. bombed Somalia from off its coast,
along with using Meles Zenawi in the same year to invade
Somalia , causing untold damage to the country and the
loss of many lives. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on
Zimbabwe because Africans have taken their land back from
a white racist illegal settler regime. Obama has continued
the sanctions against Zimbabwe 's elected government,
while he hasn't imposed sanctions on the illegal military
coup makers in Honduras , lead by General Romeo Vasquez,
who was trained by the U.S. military in the 'School of the
America 's.

Obama is obligated to continue this U.S. foreign
policy, which is international state terrorism, because he
represents the American capitalist class, who has
tentacles of exploitation in countries world wide. It is
this interest of the capitalist class and the protection
of their profits, which is the reason for all of the
terroristic violence that has plagued Africa, which is
what Obama will advance when he tours Ghana .

When Israel invaded Palestine in January 2009, it was
with Obama's full approval. Over 1,500 Palestinians died
in one week, and hundreds of thousands have been
systematically murdered and tortured over the years at the
hands of the illegal white supremacist settler colonialist
Zionist state of Israel . Obama even laid a reef at the
holocaust memorial in 2009 for Jews that were murdered
during WWII by Hitler, although Hitler murdered them with
the help of some Zionist organizations and agencies who
are running the state of Israel today (read Ben Hecht's
book, Perfidy). In the same vein he has no remorse for the
Palestinians who are being massacred by the terrorist
state of Israel . This provides evidence of how Obama
supports racism, even against African people, because he
refused to allow American participation in the 2009 U.N.
World Conference Against Racism, in Geneva Switzerland ,
because of possible condemnation of Israel for its crimes
against the Palestinians and the demand for reparations by
Africans for the U.S. crime of enslavement.

Obama has stepped up his war in Afghanistan by
providing an additional 20,000 troops in search of the CIA
trained Al Qaeda, while killing untold numbers of Afghan
women, children, and babies. Obama was shooting Drone
missiles into Pakistan while bribing President Zardari,
which forced him to break a truce and wage a war against
his own population near the Afghanistan border, in search
of the Taliban. All of this is a result of U.S.
international state terrorism, to satisfy the unquenchable
thirst of the U.S. oil cartel. In Iraq Obama is no where
near his campaign promise of pulling out U.S. troops, who
are killing Iraqi's like flies. There are hundreds of
thousands that have been raped, tortured, defiled, and
have lost their lives, and millions of Iraqi's scattered
throughout the Middle East as refugees.

Likewise it is clear, through Africom that Obama is
planning to turn Africa into a war zone, by using
international state terrorism to crush any movement by the
people to take control of their resources in Africa , and
distribute them equitably to the African working masses.

This is the same type of terrorism that Obama and the
U.S. will bring to Ghana . By 2015, America plans on
getting 50% of its oil from Africa . The Bush
administration and Obama has continued his policy, which
defines African oil as a 'strategic national interest.
This policy has caused, among capitalists, Africa's status
to go up in U.S. national policy and military affairs.
That is, the U.S. is prepared to go to war over Africa 's
resources in the interest of their national security. The
inference is that taking Africa's oil in the interest of
U.S. national security is more important than Africa's
resources being used to provide food, clothing, housing,
education and health care for Africa 's own citizenry.

There are over 25 different U.S. military programs
organized throughout Africa which are now combined under
Africom. It is established under the Pentagon with direct
access to the Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates) and
Joint Chiefs of Staff (Mike Mullen), which centralizes the
entire operation, but causes the militarization of Africa
and as a result carries out terrorism on the continent.
The military programs that set Ghana up for Obama's
terroristic activities are:

1) Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance
Program (ACOTA) - This is a program designed to engage in
police operations against unarmed civilians and
conventional military operations against the military of
other countries.

2) International Military Education Training Program
(IMET) - It brings Ghanaian military officers to military
academies in the U.S. for training.

3) U.S.S. Fort McHenry's Port of Call - To train Ghanaian
forces in port and oil platform security.

4) Base Access Agreements for Cooperative Security
Locations and Forward Operating Sites - The U.S. has
gained access to Ghana's military bases and other
facilities as operating bases for combat, surveillance and
other military operations.

5) Africa Center for Strategic Studies - This
indoctrinates Ghanaian military officers - It is the
notorious "School of the America's" for Africa.

6) Foreign Military Sales Program - The U.S. government
provides loans to Ghana to purchase equipment through
Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF). If Ghana carries
out U.S. foreign policy in the country, the U.S. waives
the loan.

7) Gulf of Guinea Initiative U.S. Navy Partnership Program
Security - This program trains African militaries in port
and offshore oil platform security.

8) Exercise Reception Facility (ERF) - Established to
facilitate troop deployments throughout the region. This
facility is a direct result of the U.S./Ghana Fuel Hub
Initiative. The facility is managed by the U.S. military
and located at Accra Air Force Base.

The ultimate proof that Obama is bringing international
state terrorism to Ghana with Africom is recorded from a
Presidential Town Hall Meeting Questionnaire in October
2007. Obama said that Africom "should serve to coordinate
and synchronize our military activities with our other
strategic objectives in Africa." And "there will be
situations that require the United States to work with its
partners in Africa to fight terrorism with LETHAL FORCE."
Obama continued by saying, "having a unified command
operating in Africa will facilitate this action." Thus
Obama will not hesitate to kill, terrorize and bomb
Africans in Ghana if the people rise up to take control of
their resources, which will be a threat to U.S. national
security interest. The Trojan horse is in place with Ghana
harboring the largest U.S. embassy in Africa, and every
embassy in used as a CIA headquarters to provide
information to destabilize governments if they refuse to
carry our U.S. foreign policy.

Ghana is indebted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank (WB), which imposes austerity measures
that require raising fuel cost periodically. U.S. bankers
who also own most oil companies have a 35% controlling
interest in these international financing agencies. The
companies Mobile, Exxon, and Shell, etc., distribute the
oil for fuel in Ghana. Whenever the banking industry is
losing money they can easily force the increase in petrol
to retain their profits. This is neo-colonialism and
international state economic terrorism which is
superimposed on Ghana, and explains why President Atta
Mills had to raise the price of petrol as soon as he
assumed the presidency. The U.S. is experiencing a banking
industry crisis and is on the brink of collapse.

The U.S. also has a vested interest in the oil that was
found off the coast of Ghana. Their companies Kosmos
Energy and Anadarko Petroleum, along with a British
company, Tullow, will be taking 90% of the profits in oil
revenue. This in conjunction with the 90% profits Anglo
American Gold expropriates from Ghana's gold mines to the
U.S. These are the main reasons Obama is coming to Ghana.
He is coming to oversee U.S. capitalist investments in
loans, military weapon sales, oil and gold. The
destruction of Ghanaian rice farmers and poultry
producers, with the help of the past New Patriotic Party
(NPP) regime ensures a market for American government
subsidized rice growers and chicken producers. This
sabotage of Ghana's agriculture is imperative for a
failing U.S. economy riddled with unemployment, a home
loan crisis that has millions of people homeless in the
U.S., and trillions of wasted taxpayer's dollars used to
bailout the U.S. collapsing private banks. Therefore,
Obama's impossible task of preventing the unavoidable
collapse of America's capitalist economic system becomes
the motive behind U.S. foreign policy. Therefore, as head
of the CIA and Africom his upcoming tour is to terrorize
Ghana out of its resources.

If the strangling and controlling of Ghana's economy is
not enough, forced IMF/World Bank loans, the manipulation
of and training of Ghana's Armed Forces against its own
people, U.S. Navy warships off its coast, the
establishment of makeshift military bases on Ghana's soil,
and the sale of military weaponry in not enough, then the
looming threat of the use of nuclear weapons and weapons
of mass destruction is the final component in the U.S.
diabolical designed system of international state
terrorism directed at intimidating Ghana out of its
resources. Obama is the Commander in Chief of the U.S.
world wide systematic way of terrorizing Ghana at a state
level.

Ghana has never attacked another nation. There has never
been a terrorist attack inside Ghana, and a terrorist
attack has never been launched against another country
from Ghana's soil. So the essential question is why is the
Ghanaian military involved in so many military programs
with the U.S.? The answer is clear, Obama and the U.S.
military is using state terrorism by asserting Africom's
control over Ghana's Armed Forces against other African
countries and its own people to secure America's
investments and control over Ghana's resources.

The U.S. track record of foreign domination and
neo-colonialism in Ghana, along with the CIA overthrow of
our first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the
foremost advocate of the liberation and unification of
Africa, is a clear display of international state
terrorism. This was done to prevent President Nkrumah's
plan to form a continental government for Africa to
control Africa's resources and to free African people
worldwide from coming into fruition. Today Obama uses
international state terrorism to intimidate the current
African leader from fulfilling Nkrumah's vision of an
African Union Government. This means we should welcome
Obama in the same way paid agents of the CIA welcomed
President Nkrumah on February 24, 1966, when he was on a
peace mission to stop the U.S. war of aggression against
the Vietnamese people.

There is no way Obama's visit can deceive those of us who
have eyes and are conscious of his actual motives. Obama
is a 21st century house slave* doing the bidding for the
European White Supremacist Capitalist class of an illegal
settler colonial state seeking to maintain Ghana under
foreign domination. Obama is no political messiah or
saint, friend of Ghana or a friend of peace. He is a
warmonger and a terrorist par excellence of the highest
order.


*Obama is defined as a 21st century house slave because he
is the only head of state in the annals of history who is
defending a constitution that defines his wife and
children as 3/5 of a human being. With a U.S. Supreme
Court pen stroke his wife and her people can be turned
into second class citizens.

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, April 26, 2010 0 comments links to this post

OBAMA 57 states - RIDDLE SOLVED

He meant 47 states.. its clear from the context.
I must have held speeches until his brain fell out.

During the election rallies...

Analysis: It's true that during a May 9, 2008 campaign stop in Oregon, Barack Obama said he had visited 57 states. The exact quote, as transcribed in the LA Times "Top of the Ticket" blog (and viewable on YouTube), went as follows:

"It is wonderful to be back in Oregon," Obama said. "Over the last 15 months, we.ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I.ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it."

Not to excuse the gaffe, but it's clear from the context that the candidate intended to say he had been in 47 (or perhaps 48) states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Obama acknowledged the mistake later in the day by poking fun at his own "numeracy problem."

The rest of this email can either be taken as a joke or a smear, depending on how amusing one finds yet another reference to Obama's rumored secret adherence to the Muslim faith.

Are there exactly 57 Islamic states in the world? It depends on how you're counting. There are 57 member states in the above-mentioned Organization of the Islamic Conference, which roughly coincides with the number of countries currently boasting a Muslim majority population (estimates generally range from 55 to 57). If, however, the criterion for "Islamic state" is full-blown Muslim rule, the number is significantly smaller than 57.

Finally, is Barack Obama a secret Muslim? If you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention.


Is Barack Obama a Muslim?

Summary: Email rumor alleges that U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim who has lied about his religious background, including his claim to being a devout Christian.

Comments: We are asked to believe that Senator Barack Obama, who for 20 years has professed to be a practicing Christian and has spoken publicly of his "personal relationship with Jesus Christ," is in fact secretly a Muslim and has lied all along about his true religious affiliation.

No proof is offered by those who make these claims -- no sightings of Barack Obama attending a mosque, no pictures of him reading the Koran, praying to Mecca, or observing Islamic holidays with his family. The entire case, such as it is, rests on a confused and error-ridden recitation of Obama's upbringing and purported childhood influences. It also rests on -- or exploits -- a deep fear and mistrust of the Muslim faith.

Virtually everything we do know about Obama's parentage and upbringing, it should be stipulated, comes from the senator himself. Obama told the story of his search to uncover his African heritage in Dreams from My Father (Three Rivers Press, 2004), and shared further autobiographical details in The Audacity of Hope (Crown Publishers, 2006). He spoke at length about his Christian beliefs in a 2004 Chicago Sun Times interview with Cathleen Falsani. Must we take his word for all of it? Not necessarily. But in the absence of contrary evidence we have no reason to doubt Obama's own candid account of his life story.

Was Obama's father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a "radical Muslim who migrated from Kenya to Jakarta, Indonesia?"

No. Though Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. was raised a Muslim, he had lost his faith and become a "confirmed atheist" by the time he attended college, according to his son. Obama's parents separated when Barack was two, his father moving not to Jakarta, but to the United States, where he attended Harvard. Eventually he returned to Kenya.

Did Obama's mother go on to marry another Muslim named Lolo Soetoro who "educated his stepson as a good Muslim by enrolling him in one of Jakarta's Wahabbi schools?"

Yes and no. When Obama's mother remarried, it was indeed to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro, whom his stepson describes as a "non-practicing" Muslim. But it was his "secular" mother who supervised his education, Obama has written, sending him to both Catholic and Muslim primary schools after the family moved to Jakarta. There is nothing on record to indicate Obama attended a madrassa (Muslim religious school) run by Wahabbists, and in any case it's unlikely his mother would have chosen to expose him to such an extreme form of Islam given her stated abhorrence of religious closed-mindedness and her stated goal of giving him a well-rounded education, including in matters of faith.

(Update: CNN has tracked down the school in question, the Basuki School in Jakarta, which a deputy headmaster described as a "public school" with no particular religious agenda. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment," he told CNN. A classmate of Obama's described the school as "general," with students of many religious backgrounds attending. Obama entered the school at the age of 8 and attended for two years.)

Is it true that "Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim?"

Once a Muslim? When? Unless I missed it while skimming Obama's two books and sundry news interviews, the senator has never mentioned being a Muslim at any point in his life. Yes, he lived in a Muslim country during part of his childhood and briefly attended a Muslim school there, but he certainly wasn't raised a Muslim and has never been, so far as I have been able to determine, a practitioner of that faith.

That anyone, let alone a sitting U.S. senator with designs on the highest office in the land, would conceal being a Muslim for twenty-odd years while going through the outward motions of practicing Christianity (or vice-versa, for that matter) is a bizarre accusation. I would be tempted to dismiss it as paranoid lunacy if it weren't so obviously a crass, politically-motivated smear.

Is it true that when Obama was sworn into office he used the Koran (Qur'an) instead of the Bible?

No. According to news accounts Barack Obama placed his hand on his personal Bible during his Senate swearing-in ceremony, which was conducted by Vice-President Dick Cheney. Those making this allegation have apparently confused Obama with Congressman Keith Ellison, who actually is a Muslim and was sworn in on January 4, 2007 using a copy of the Koran.

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, April 26, 2010 0 comments links to this post

25 April, 2010

USA media - stalinist pravda about Cuba

Media Distortion regarding Cuba's Humanitarian Actitvites in Haiti

by Emily J. Kirk and John M. Kirk and Norman Girvan

Cube-L Analysis - 2010-04-16

The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused some 230,000 deaths, left 1.5 million homeless, and has directly affected 3 million Haitians ... 1/3 of the population. On March 31, representatives of over 50 governments and international organizations gathered at the United Nations Haiti Donor Conference to pledge long-term assistance for the rebuilding of Haiti. At the conference, Cuba made arguably the most ambitious and impressive pledge of all countries ... to rebuild the entire National Health Service. While the efforts of other government have been praised, those of Cuba, however, have largely been ignored in the media.


The aim of Cuba.s contribution is to completely reconstruct the Haitian health care system ... and to do so in a sustainable manner. The new system will be based on the Cuban model, embracing primary, secondary and tertiary health care, in addition to the training of additional Haitian doctors in Cuba. In summary:

The primary level will include 101 clinics to treat annually an estimated 2.8 million patients, perform 1.3 million emergency operations, deliver 168,000 babies, and provide 3 million vaccinations.

The secondary level will be provided through 30 community hospitals. They will have the capacity to treat annually 2.1 million patients, and provide 1 million emergency surgeries, 54,000 operations, 276,000 electro-cardiograms, 107,000 dental exams, 144,000 diagnostic ultrasounds, and 487,000 laboratory tests. In addition, due to the high numbers of poly-traumatized patients, the 30 rehabilitation rooms will be included throughout the country and will provide 2.4 million therapeutic treatments for some 520,000 patients.

The tertiary level of health care will be delivered by the Haitian Specialties Hospital, staffed by 80 Cuban specialists. It will contain various clinical departments, and will be used for research and teaching, as well as the further training of Haitian professionals who will gradually replace the Cuban professionals.

Finally, 312 additional medical scholarships are to be provided for Haitian students to study in Cuba.[1]

What is also significant point is that these are not just .pledges. from Cuba, but rather a development of medical assistance which has been provided over the last eleven years, and dramatically increased since the earthquake. A Cuban medical brigade has been in Haiti since 1999 and has "a presence in 127 of the 137 Haitian communes, saved 223,442 lives, treated 14 million people, performed 225,000 operations and delivered 109,000 babies."[2]

Furthermore much of the promised programme is already in place, as "post-quake, 23 of these primary care health centers, 15 community reference hospitals and 21 rehabilitation rooms are up and running."

The cost of the Cuban programme over a ten-year period is estimated at $690.5 million ... using 50 percent of international prices for services of this kind.[3] This is an enormous amount for a small developing country (11.2 million population); and moreover one that has been under a crippling economic blockade from its powerful neighbor for nearly half-a-century.[4]

It is even more notable when compared to those of other governments, particularly those of industrialized countries.

For example, Cuba.s contribution in relation to its GDP is 155 times that of the United States, which pledged $1.15 billion.[5] Among other G-7 countries, France, the former colonial power, pledged $188.93 million, Germany $53.17 million, Japan $75 million, and Canada $375.23 million, while Italy and the United Kingdom, though not specifically listed, were probably included in the $203.19 million pledge that was made in the name of "EU Remaining" group of countries.[6]

Hence in absolute terms the monetary value of Cuba.s contribution is almost 4 times that of France, 12 times that of Germany, and almost twice that of Canada. Indeed, excluding the U.S., Cuba.s contribution is more than the rest of the G7 countries combined, as well as 35% more than the contribution of the World Bank ($479 million). In all, 59 pledges were made from governments, regional blocs and financial institutions.

In other words, while other countries are pledging money, Cuba is actively creating an entire sustainable health care system which will treat 75% of the Haitian population, and save hundreds of thousands of lives.[7]

And yet, in spite of the extraordinary value of this commitment, it has been largely ignored by the principal North American media.

Media Representation of United Nations Haiti Donor Conference,
Including Cuba and the United States. Contributions [8]


News Agency

FIRST LINE Posts regarding the UN Haiti Donor Conference

SECOND LINE Posts stating US Monetary Contribution following Conference

THIRD LINE Posts regarding the UN Haiti Donor Conference that Mention Cuba


CNN

8

3

0

New York Times

4

3

0

Boston Globe

3

1

0

Washington Post

12

7

0

Miami Herald

11

8

1

Total

38

22

1

As we can see from the accompanying Table, of 38 posts on the Haiti Donor Conference in five major U.S. media on the ten days following the Conference, only one mentioned the Cuban contribution ... and that only briefly. Moreover, CNN, New York Times, Boston Globe, and the Washington Post entirely ignored Cuba.s contribution. The amount of media coverage is also instructive in indicating the gradual decline in media interest following the disaster.

That said, the UN Haiti Donor Conference was clearly worthy of widespread attention, with a major gathering of some of the world.s leading decision-makers ... yet there was noticeably little published about it, and especially about Cuba.s extraordinary contribution.

In addition, our analysis of the first fifty results in Google News for .United Nations Haiti Donor Conference,. generated only two articles that mentioned Cuba.s role. One of these focused on the rarity of Cuban and United States officials working together. By contrast, 31 of the 50 articles discuss the contributions of developed countries at the Donor Conference, and 21 specifically discuss that of the United States ... 9 of which mention the $1.i5 billion pledged by the US government.

Indeed a content analysis of the articles reveals that their main theme was the importance of the role of the United States in helping Haiti. The dollar amount pledged was repeatedly stated, and the U.S. effort was often described as being equally (or more) important than that of the UN.

According to one article, "The biggest contributions came from the United States and the European Union."[9] Even if one compares the absolute amounts pledged, this is simply not true ... as the Venezuelan pledge was for $2.4 billion.

Another article singles out the United States, explaining "Over 140 nations, including the United States, have provided immediate assistance and relief to millions of Haitians,"[10] and in media coverage the United States consistently headed the list of contributing countries. Another article lists the United States as having a more important role than the United Nations, noting "Haiti.s friends, as they are called -- including the U.S., France, Brazil, Canada, the UN and the Red Cross". [11]

In sum, while relief efforts in Haiti were/are an international affair, the media have largely focused on contributions made by the United States.

Another common theme in coverage was the lack of assistance from other countries. Hence, when the assistance of the United States was not praised, those of other countries were denigrated. As one article states, "The United States pledged $1.15 billion, in addition to the $900 million it has already given. By comparison, China pledged $1.5 million yes, you read it right, million with an "m" ... in addition to the nearly $14 million it has already given."[12]

Thus, there is a consistent pattern of disproportionately positive representation by the media of the role of the United States, one that both emphasizes the actual pledge and ignores blatantly the significant Cuban pledge.

There is a dramatic contrast between the cover-up of Cuba.s extraordinary contribution to Haiti by mainstream US media and the enormous attention by the same media on alleged human rights abuses in that country. Literally dozens of articles on this topic have appeared in recent weeks. Of particular media interest was the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo (a jailed "dissident" with a criminal record who refused food for 80 days before dying) and the hunger strike of Guillermo Fariñas. The death of Zapata as a result of the hunger strike continues to be written about and discussed. Indeed it has been used consistently as a springboard to increase criticism of the Cuban government. The table below illustrates the extent of this coverage.

Media Coverage of Hunger Strikes in Cuba between February 10 and April 9 [13]


Stories about the Hunger Strikes in Cuba

CNN

5

New York Times

7

Washington Post

13

Boston Globe

4

Miami Herald

48

Total

77

In analyzing the coverage of these two Cuba-related stories, the difference in the number of articles is quite striking, and reveals a clear disinterest in providing any positive information on Cuba, while at the same time maintaining a significant appetite to criticize Cuba. The comparison of the two in the following table is telling.

Comparison between Media Coverage of Hunger Strikes in Cuba
and Cuba.s Contribution at the United Nations Haiti Donor Conference
from February 10 to April 9.

News Agency

FIRST LINE Stories About the Hunger Strikes In Cuba February 10 -- April 9

SECOND LINE Posts Regarding the UN Haiti Donor Conference that Mention Cuba March 31 -- April 9

CNN

5

0

New York Times

7

0

Washington Post

13

0

Boston Globe

4

0

Miami Herald

48

1

Total

77

1

As a result, instead of reporting on an enormously important and topical story on a programme aimed at improving the lives of 75% of Haiti.s population, the media have chosen to focus on the individual cases of two men who have consciously and deliberately decided to embark on a suicidal course.

It does not take much to work out that the aim is to embarrass the Cuban government by following these "human interest" stories about two individuals who oppose the Cuban government, presenting them as martyrs. It is also obvious that there is a clear media filter, one which seeks to prevent any media coverage that could be construed as being positive of Cuba ... in this case seen in the government.s commitment to the reconstruction of Haiti.

In examining the media.s representation of Cuba.s role in Haiti.s development and the stories of two "dissidents", it is clear that politically biased "infotainment" has won out. Sadly (but perhaps predictably), in their coverage of Cuba, the media in the "developed world" have focused on the latter while ignoring Cuba.s remarkable offer that will surely and significantly improve the lives of millions of Haitians, (while at the same time highlighting the role and contribution of the United States).

Yet again we have an example of selective commendation and selective indignation in the North American media.s presentation of Cuba.

Notes

[1] "Pledge Statements". United Nations International Donors. Conference Towards A New Future For Haiti". 2010. Retrieved 6 April, 2010 fromhttp://www.haiticonference.org/pledges-statements.html

[2] From the statement by Foreign Minister Rodriguez.

[3] The total "includes the medical services provided, calculated at 50% of international prices; the sustainability of these services and the personnel providing them; and the training of a further 312 Haitian doctors in Cuba". Whereas the Official Text of the Cuban Statement published on the UN website refers to this cost "over four years," the text of Foreign Minister.s Bruno Rodriguez.s speech as published by Granma International refers to this cost over ten years (see Overseas Territories Review).

[4] Speech given at the United Nations by Cuban foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla. See "Declaración del Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba en la Reunión de Donantes a Haití".

[5] Cuba.s contribution is approximately 1.22 percent of its GDP ($56.52 billion in 2009); that of the U.S. amounts to 0.00785 percent of its 2008 GDP (14,204, billion)

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] See search results for "United Nations Haiti Donor Conference" ...

Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from www.miami.com

Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from www.thestar.com

Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from www.washingtonpost.com

Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from www.boston.com

Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from www.nytimes.com

Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from www.cnn.com

[9] "UN Haiti Donor Pledges Surpass Target of Almost $10 Billion". BBC. 1 April, 2010. Retrieved 10 April, 2010 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8596080.stm

[10] Esther Brimmer. "Rebuilding Haiti: A Global Response to a Global Crisis". The Huntington Post. 12 April, 2010. Retrieved 12 April, 2010 fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-brimmer/rebuilding-haiti-a-global_b_528790.html

[11] Wilnetz, Amy. "Renew Haiti From The Ground Up". NY Daily News. 12 April, 2010. Retrieved 12 April, 2010 fromhttp://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/04/12/2010-04-12_renew_haiti_from_the_ground_up.html

[12] Andres Oppenheimer." China Should Be Ashamed of Its Aid to Haiti". Miami Herald. 3 April, 2010. Retrieved 10 April, 2010 fromhttp://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/03/1562417/china-should-be-ashamed-of-its.html#ixzz0ktnhldAK

[13] See search results for "Hunger Strike, Cuba" ...

Retrieved 6 April, 2010 from www.miami.com

Retrieved 6 April, 2010 from www.thestar.com

Retrieved 6 April, 2010 from www.washingtonpost.com

Retrieved 6 April, 2010 from www.boston.com

Retrieved 6 April, 2010 from www.nytimes.com

Retrieved 6 April, 2010 from www.cnn.com

This commentary was written for Cuba-L Analysis. It is published here by kind permission of the authors.

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posted by u2r2h at Sunday, April 25, 2010 0 comments links to this post

24 April, 2010

USA CIA Torture floating Prison Ships

Torture

More Than Two-Dozen Countries Complicit In US Torture Program

By Sherwood Ross The Public Record Apr 1st, 2010

Twenty-eight nations have cooperated with the U.S. to
detain in their prisons, and sometimes to interrogate and
torture, suspects arrested as part of the U.S. "War on
Terror."

The complicit countries have kept suspects in prisons
ranging from public interior ministry buildings to "safe
house" villas in downtown urban areas to obscure prisons
in forests to "black" sites to which the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been denied access.

According to published reports, an estimated 50 prisons
have been used to hold detainees in these 28 countries.
Additionally, at least 25 more prisons have been operated
either by the U.S. or by the government of
occupied-Afghanistan in behalf of the U.S., and 20 more
prisons have been similarly operated in Iraq.

As the London-based legal rights group Reprieve estimates
the U.S. has used 17 ships as floating prisons since
2001, the total number of prisons operated by the U.S.
and/or its allies to house alleged terrorist suspects
since 2001 exceeds 100. And this figure may well be far
short of the actual number.

Countries that held prisoners in behalf of the U.S. based
on published data are Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia,
Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya,
Kosovo, Libya, Lithuania, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan,
Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia,
South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan,
Yemen, and Zambia. Some of the above-named countries held
suspects in behalf of the Central Intelligence
Agency(CIA); others held suspects in behalf the U.S.
military, or both.

Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the
University of Illinois, Champaign, termed the detention
policies used by the U.S. "Crimes against Humanity":

"These instances of the enforced disappearances of
human beings and their consequent torture, because they
are both widespread and systematic, constitute Crimes
against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute for the
International Criminal Court, which have been ordered by
the highest level officials of the United States
government."

Referring to President Bush and his principal advisers,
Boyle continued, "Since these criminal activities took
part in several states that are parties to the ICC Rome
Statute, that renders these U.S. government officials
subject to prosecution by the International Criminal
Court on the grounds of territoriality of the offense,
even though the United States is not a party to the Rome
Statute."

According to Human Rights Watch, as of Jan., 2004, the
U.S. held detainees from 21 different countries including
Algeria, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israeli-occupied Gaza
and West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman,
Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Sweden, Tunisia,
Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Yemen.

The nations that cooperated with the U.S. to detain these
prisoners have done so even though detainees commonly
were held . in the words of an Associated Press report of
Sept. 18, 2006 ."beyond the reach of established law."
Efforts by this reporter to learn from the Pentagon the
total number of prisoners held captive and related
information proved futile.

However, in Feb., 2005, Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, Army
Provost Marshal General, said, "In all, roughly 65,000
people have been screened for possible detention, and
about 30,000 of those were entered into the system, at
least briefly, and assigned internment serial numbers."
Possibly, to date, the U.S. and its allies have detained
100,000 suspects or more.

It is not known whether the customary legal rights of any
of these tens of thousands of captives have been honored.
But given the absence of due process, trials, and
convictions compared to the vast numbers of those
detained, the "War on Terror" takes on the appearance of
a monumental fraud.

As Jane Mayer wrote in "The Dark Side" (Anchor Books),
"Seven years after the attacks of September 11, not a
single terror suspect held outside of the U.S. criminal
court system has been tried. Of the 759 detainees
acknowledged to have been held in Guantanamo,
approximately 340 remained there, only a handful of whom
had been charged. Among these, not a single .enemy
combatant. had yet had the opportunity to cross-examine
the government or see the evidence on which he was being
held." Similarly, Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com reported
U.S. intelligence officials themselves estimated that
70-90% of prisoners detained in Iraq "had been arrested
by mistake."

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel in a Dec. 10,
2005, article: "It is likely that nobody will ever know
how many terror suspects abducted by the CIA have died in
the torture chambers of Egyptian, Algerian, Syrian, or
Saudi Arabian prisons."

It was "because of the gruesome treatment of prisoners
that made it expedient to remove suspects as much as
possible from the responsibility of American judges. This
practice gave birth to the Guantanamo prisoner camp, as
well as a whole range of so-called black sites, or secret
interrogation areas, where the CIA keeps its most
valuable prisoners under continuous observation," Der
Spiegel said. Writing in The Washington Post on Nov. 2,
2005, Dana Priest put it this way: "It is illegal for the
government to hold prisoners in such isolation in secret
prisons in the United States, which is why the CIA placed
them overseas, according to several former and current
intelligence officials and other U.S. government
officials. Legal experts and intelligence officials said
that the CIA.s internment practices also would be
considered illegal under the laws of several host
countries, where detainees have rights to have a lawyer
or to mount a defense against allegations of wrongdoing."

In a concise observation that appears to summarize the
U.S. campaign of detention, Patrick Quinn of the
Associated Press wrote, "Captured on battlefields, pulled
from beds at midnight, grabbed off streets as suspected
insurgents, tens of thousands now have passed through
American detention, the vast majority in Iraq. Many have
said they were often interrogated around the clock, then
released months or years later without apology,
compensation, or any word on why they were taken."

Clive Stafford Smith, legal director of British human
rights group Reprieve, told the UK Guardian June 2, 2008:
"By its own admission, the US government is currently
detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret
prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been
.through the system. since 2001. The US government must
show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by
immediately revealing who these people are, where they
are, and what has been done to them." Note: The UN
Commission on Human Rights asserts prolonged
incommunicado detention itself can "constitute a form of
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or even torture."

A brief look at the prison operations of America.s
accomplices follows:

AFGHANISTAN: Human Rights First says since Nov., 2001,
the U.S. has operated approximately 25 detention
facilities in Afghanistan. Secret prisons at Bagram Air
Force Base include the "Dark Prison" and "Salt Pit." It
was in Salt Pit in Nov., 2002, that guards stripped an
Afghan prisoner naked, chained him to the concrete floor
and left him in below-zero temperatures all night. He was
dead in the morning, Der Spiegel reported. Other prisons
include Rissat and Rissat2, north of Kabul, and Prison
Number 3. At Kandahar Air Force Base, U.S. army officers
hung prisoners from the ceiling for days. At times, the
prison held up to 40 detainees. Other Afghan sites
include transient facilities near Asadabad, Gereshk,
Jalalabad, Tycze, Gardez, and Khost. A federal Grand Jury
in North Carolina indicted CIA contractor David Passaro
for allegedly beating detainee Abdul Wali to death at
Khost in June, 2003. Officials there also told the family
of Sher Mohammed Khan he was killed by snakebite when his
body showed marks of abuse. Another base, according to
the Feb. 15, 2010, issue of The Nation, is Rish-Khor, an
Afghan army facility atop a mountain overlooking Kabul.
The magazine also reported there are nine Field Detention
Sites the Red Cross is aware of that "are enveloped in a
blanket of official secrecy." There may, however, "be
other sites whose existence on the scores of U.S. and
Afghan military bases that dot the country have not been
disclosed," writes the magazine.s Anand Gopal. At Bagram,
Gopal wrote, former detainees allege they were "regularly
beaten, subjected to blaring music twenty-four hours a
day, prevented from sleeping, stripped naked and forced
to assume what interrogators term .stress positions." It
is routine to hold prisoners at Bagram for two or three
years without access to lawyers, Red Cross, or their
families. And the official U.S. detention center in
Kandahar is known among former inmates as "Camp Slappy."

AZERBAIJAN: prisoners have been detained in behalf of the
U.S. in Baku, the capital. The country is known for
imprisoning journalists and other critics, some of whom
have been tortured and murdered by authorities.

ALGERIA: The U.S. transferred prisoners there from
Guantanamo. Amnesty International has warned against
transfer of prisoners to Algeria based on the country.s
history of torture and warned "Algeria has become a prime
ally of the United States (US) and other governments
preoccupied with the so-called War on Terror." According
to Wikipedia, Manfred Nowak, a special reporter on
torture, has catalogued in a 15-page U.N. report that the
United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other nations
have violated international human rights conventions by
deporting terrorist suspects to countries such as
Algeria.

BOSNIA: the Eagle Base in Tuzla is a black site. The
British Telegraph said Eagle is part of a U.S. military
facility where alleged Al-Qaeda members were tortured.

DIEGO GARCIA(UK): a British possession in the Indian
Ocean the U.S. has transformed into a powerful military
base to dominate the Middle East and Asia. Reportedly,
the CIA has a facility there that was used in 2005-06 to
hold Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, a Syrian-Spanish national.
According to Reprieve, "the UK has a significant military
and administrative presence on Diego Garcia, which has
its own independent administration run by the East Africa
Desk of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London."
Reprieve further stated, "In October, 2003, Time Magazine
cited interrogation records from the US prisoner Hambali
that had reportedly been taken on the island, while
respected international investigators at the Council of
Europe and the United Nations expressed similar
suspicions. US officials went on to make seemingly
careless public statements confirming the use of Diego
Garcia for secret detentions."

DJIBOUTI: said to have three CIA-run prisons, according
to the UK Guardian. The former French foreign legion base
Camp Lemonnier is a U.S. facility at Djibouti-Ambouli
International Airport.

EGYPT: said to operate six prisons in behalf of the CIA,
where numerous victims have been rendered, one of them
being the General Intelligence Directorate in Cairo. U.S.
officials are alleged to have participated in
interrogation/torture sessions there where prisoners are
hung from hooks and electrical shocks administered. On
June 13, 2004, the UK Observer reported, "Egypt has also
received a steady flow of militants from American
installations." The paper also identified Mulhaq al-Mazra
prison as a facility used in behalf of the U.S.

ETHIOPIA: has held detainees on behalf of CIA. U.S.
agents interrogated one man there for three months. An
investigation by the Associated Press published April 3,
2007, found, "CIA and FBI agents hunting for al-Qaida
militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating
terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret
prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and
abuse." Three prisons are used for such purposes, the
report said.

GAMBIA: in Banjul, the capital, safe houses in a
residential area were used to jail Bisher Al-Rawi. He was
also jailed in Guantanamo where he was said to be
subjected to cold temperatures and had his prayer rug
taken away when he tried to use it as a blanket.

GUANTANAMO: In addition to Camp Delta, a military prison,
this base is the site of "Camp No" about a mile to the
north, that is either CIA or under Joint Special
Operations Command. It was to this camp, according to
Harper.s, where three prisoners were taken and never
again seen alive. In 2006, the UN called for closing
Guantanamo. According to The Miami Herald.s Carol
Rosenberg, (Jan. 29, 2010) Guantanamo has held about 770
prisoners since it opened eight years ago and nearly 580
have been released over the years. What.s more, a review
by DOD and five other agencies agreed unanimously that
"roughly 110" more are eligible for release, meaning
there was not enough evidence on 690 of the 770 prisoners
to prosecute them.further proof, if any is needed, of the
fraudulent nature of the War on Terror. Amnesty
International called for Guantanamo detainees to be
either released from their "super max" high security
cells or allowed to stand trial. Irene Khan, Amnesty
International.s general secretary, termed Guantanamo "the
gulag of our time."

IRAQ: The U.S. and its allies have operated at least 20
prisons. In 2006, Human Rights First documented 98 deaths
in U.S. custody there, including five in CIA custody.
Every detainee in Iraq "is detained because he poses a
security threat to the government of Iraq, the people of
Iraq, or coalition forces," said a spokesman for U.S.-led
detainee operations in Iraq, Army Lt. Col. Keir-Kevin
Curry. This statement is hard to credit as virtually all
of the tens of thousands of persons arrested have never
been charged with an offense and the vast majority of
them have been let go. Scott Horton wrote in Harper.s
that the U.S. "is holding 19,000 Iraqis at its two main
detention centers, at Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca."
Horton noted Iraqi law requires any detention to be
justified before a magistrate in a matter of only a few
days but the U.S. has "complete contempt for the
requirements of Iraqi law." It should be noted that Iraqi
Prime Minister al-Maliki.s government complained U.S.
detention violates Iraq.s national rights. In March,
2006, UN Secy.-Gen. Kofi Annan said the extent of
arbitrary detention in Iraq is "not consistent with
provisions of international law governing internment on
imperative reasons of security." Since, as of this
January, the U.S. is said to hold only 5,000 detainees in
Iraq, apparently tens of thousands of persons have been
released without ever being charged. Between June, 2004,
and Sept., 2006, alone, the U.S. released some 18,700
Iraqi detainees, according to a reliable source.

This points to a massive conspiracy to deprive innocent
people of their rights by the U.S. on a scale not seen
since the U.S. interned its own Japanese-American
population during World War II. "It was hard to believe
I.d get out," Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi,
told the Associated Press after his release, without
charge. "I lived with the Americans for one year and
eight months as if I was living in hell." It was in the
U.S. Forward Operating Rifles Base in Al Asad where Abdul
Jaleel was murdered in Jan., 2004, after being beaten and
tied by his hands to the top of a door frame. At the U.S.
detention facility in Al Qaim, Baghdad, former Iraqi
Major-General Abed Hamad Mowhoush, was tortured and
smothered to death in Nov., 2003. At Camp Bucca, in the
southern desert, said to hold 9,500, detainees were
forcibly showered with cold water and exposed to cold
air. At Site 4, a prison run by Iraq.s Ministry of
Interior and which in May, 2006, held some 1,431
detainees, there was evidence of systematic physical and
psychological abuse and in a prison in the Green Zone run
by Baghdad Brigade detainees suffered severe ill
treatment.

At the notorious Abu Ghraib, Ms. Umm Taha, an Iraqi woman
detainee, told of tortures she witnessed. Soldiers made
prisoners stand one leg "then they kicked them to make
them fall to the ground." She said she watched GI Lynndie
England use a rubber glove to snap the detainees on their
genitals. "The soldiers also made all the men lay on the
ground, face down, spread their legs, then men and women
soldiers alike kicked the detainees between their legs. I
can still remember their screaming." Ms. Taha was
interviewed by Nagem Salam, an American journalist,
according to Islam Online of June 14, 2004. At its peak
occupancy in 2004, Abu Ghraib, also known also known as
the Baghdad Central Correctional Facility, was said to
hold 7,000 prisoners. At Al-Jadiriya prison, in Baghdad
many prisoners were detained off the books, and at least
168 unlawfully detained were abused there. Among the main
detention facilities in Iraq are Camp Redemption and Camp
Ganci, both located at Abu Ghraib, as well as Camp
Cropper, near the Baghdad Airport. Other major facilities
include Camp Bucca in Umm Qasr and Talil Air Force Base
south of Baghdad, also known as Whitford Camp. Additional
Iraqi bases where prisoners were held included Al-Rusafa,
Al-Kadhimiyya, and Al-Karkh, in Baghdad and Camp Falcon,
near Baghdad; the Al-Diwaniyya Security Detainee Holding
Area; Ashraf Camp MEK near Al-Ramadi; FOB Tiger in Anbar
province; an FOB near Al-Asad, outside Mosul; a temporary
holding camp near Nasiriyah; an FOB in Tikrit, in
northern Iraq; Al-Qasr al-Jumhouri and Al-Qasr al-Sujood.
Another facility, Camp Sheba, is under British command.

According to GlobalSecurity.org, Camp Whitehorse is a
Marine-run detention site near Nasiriyah in Southern
Iraq: "Prisoners were held at Whitehorse until they could
be interrogated by a Marine .human exploitation team,.
which would determine whether the detainees should be
released or transferred elsewhere. Prisoners were forced
to stand 50 minutes of every hour, in heat sometimes
topping 120 degrees, for up to 10 hours at a time.
Prisoners were forced to stand until interrogators from
the Human Exploitation Team arrived. If the team failed
to get the information it wanted, prisoners were forced
to continue standing."

GlobalSecurity.org reported further, "In October 2003 the
US military charged eight US Marine reservists, including
two officers, with brutal treatment of Iraqi prisoners of
war that may have resulted in the death of one Iraqi man.
The eight fought in Iraq as part of the First Marine
Division and were detailed to guard prisoners at Camp
Whitehorse. Military prosecutors allege that an Iraqi man
named Nagem Sadoon Hatab died at Camp Whitehorse in early
June 2003 following a possible beating by US guards."

ISRAEL: "Thanks to the Israeli paper Haaretz," wrote
Reporter Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch.com of Nov. 2,
2006, "we learned for the first time that at least some
CIA rendition flights stopped at Ben-Gurion International
Airport in Tel Aviv on their way to and from Cyprus,
Jordan, Morocco, and other spots east and west, north and
south . and that the first case .of the United States
handing Israel a world jihadi suspect. in a rendition
operation has been confirmed."

JORDAN: Abducted men rendered by CIA were held in
Jordan.s General Intelligence Department (GID) in Amman.
One detainee said his experience was "beyond
description." On June 13, 2004, the UK Observer reported
prisoners were also held "in desert locations in the east
of the country." Al Jafr Prison, in the southern
Jordanian desert, has held prisoners for the U.S. In the
Israeli publication Ha.aretz, an article in Oct., 2004,
said the CIA was holding 11 high-level Al Qaeda prisoners
incommunicado in Jordan. The Jordanian government flatly
denies there are any U.S. detention facilities in Jordan.
One of the 11 is said to have been Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the hijacked airliner
attacks on New York and Washington. Citing international
intelligence sources, Ha.aretz said: "Their detention
outside the U.S. enables CIA interrogators to apply
interrogation methods that are banned by U.S. law, and to
do so in a country where cooperation with the Americans
is particularly close, thereby reducing the danger of
leaks."

KENYA: Detained 84 captives for the U.S. in Nairobi with
no opportunity to challenge their detention. One captive,
Mohamed Ezzoueck, a Britsh national, was detained at
three different police stations in Nairobi, and also at a
military police station located near Kiunga. Suspects
"disappeared" in 2007 in the region were believed to have
been interrogated by the CIA and FBI.

KOSOVO: CIA-operated Camp Bondsteel, a black site; was
said by some, including an official of the European
Commission on Human Rights, to be similar in design to
Guantanamo. The British Telegraph reported alleged
members of Al-Qaeda were questioned and tortured at
Bondsteel.

LIBYA: Since 2004, for example, the CIA has handed five
Libyan fighters to authorities in Tripoli. Two had been
covertly nabbed by the CIA in China and Thailand, while
the others were caught in Pakistan and held in CIA
prisons in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe and other
locations, according to Libyan sources, Craig Whitlock
reported in The Washington Post of October 27, 2007.

LITHUANIA: The CIA operated a prison in a riding academy
in Antaviliai, on the outskirts of capital Vilnius.
Lithuania held eight terror suspects there for the CIA.

MAURITANIA: CIA reportedly operated one detention
facility there. In an article in the June 25, 2007, The
New Yorker, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote:
"I was told by the former senior intelligence official
and a government consultant that after the existence of
secret C.I.A. prisons in Europe was revealed, in the
Washington Post, in late 2005, the Administration
responded with a new detainee center in Mauritania. After
a new government friendly to the U.S. took power, in a
bloodless coup d.état in August, 2005, they said, it was
much easier for the intelligence community to mask secret
flights there."

MOROCCO: Held CIA detainees at a prison in al-Temara. The
CIA rendered Binyam Mohamed, a British citizen, to
Morocco, where he was moved around to three different
prisons. Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian and Moroccan,
was tortured at al-Temara. The prison is located in a
forest five miles outside of Rabat, the capital. It was
in Morocco that Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British
resident arrested in Pakistan in 2002 was tortured by
interrogators who sliced his penis with a scalpel and
later transferred him to Guantanamo Bay. He was freed in
Feb., 2009, without charge and allowed to return to
England. The London Sunday Times reported Feb. 12, 2006,
that Morocco "is one of America.s principal partners in
the secret .rendition. programme in which the CIA flies
prisoners to third countries for interrogation." The
paper said Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch
have compiled dossiers "detailing the detention and
apparent torture of radical Islamists at the DST.s
current headquarters, at Temara, near Rabat." DST is the
Moroccan secret police.

PAKISTAN: Human Rights Watch said men claimed the U.S.
tortured them when detained there in behalf of the CIA.
Several hundred suspects were seized in Pakistan in
2001-2002 and held in prisons in Kohat and Peshawar.
Prisoners also held in an old fortress outside of Lahore;
in the military barracks in Islamabad. It was in
Islamabad that Moazzam Begg was held and severely
tortured. At one villa in central Peshawar run by U.S.
authorities, prisoners were beaten regularly. Another
facility in Peshawar was underground where Americans did
all the interrogating. A black prison was also reported
to be in Alzai. Seymour Hersh received a report in May,
2005 of "800-900 Pakistani boys 13-15 years of age in
custody."

POLAND: The CIA operated a black prison from 2003 to 2005
where eight "high value" detainees were held in the
village of Kiejkuty. One of them was said to be Khalid
Sheik Mohammed, alleged 9/11 mastermind, who was severely
tortured.

QATAR: The UK Observer reported on June 13, 2004, "Scores
more (terror suspects) are thought to be at a US airbase
in the Gulf state of Qatar."

ROMANIA: Three CIA detention centers operated there,
including one in downtown Bucharest and one in Timisoara.

SAUDI ARABIA: Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted in U.S.
federal court in Nov., 2005, on charges of conspiracy to
commit terrorism. Amnesty International said his trial
was flawed as prosecution relied largely on evidence
obtained when he was flogged and beaten by the Saudi
Arabian Ministry of Interior.s General Intelligence while
imprisoned with apparent U.S. knowledge. In Saudi Arabia,
the UK Observer reported on June 13, 2004, "CIA agents
are allowed to sit in on some of the interrogations."

SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC: The CIA rendered a number of
captives to Far Falestin prison. Canadian Maher Arar was
held there were he was tortured with cables and
electrical cords. When the Canadian government found Arar
was tortured, the Prime Minister apologized to him and
Canada paid him $10.5-million in compensation plus legal
fees. UK Observer reported June 13, 2004, "In Syria,
detainees sent by Washington are held at .the Palestine
wing. of the main intelligence headquarters and a series
of jails in Damascus and other cities."

SOMALIA: Suleiman Abdallah, never charged, was arrested
in Somalia and held there for a short time by warlord
Mohammed Dere, allegedly working for the U.S., and later
interrogated by CIA and FBI. Another captive, Mohamed
Ezzoueck, a British subject, was held at the Army base in
Baidoa, Somalia, but never charged.

SOUTH AFRICA: UK Guardian reported Jan. 23, 2009, that
South Africa has two CIA "black sites."

THAILAND: One of the first CIA black sites known as
"Cat.s Eye" is located outside of Bangkok. Al-Qaeda
operatives were flown there to be interrogated and
tortured, including waterboarding. Abu Zubaydah and Abd
al-Rahim al-Nashiri were videotaped there. Some 92
videotapes were made and stored and subsequently
destroyed by the CIA. In 2005 ABC News reported Zubaydah
was held in an unused warehouse on an airbase where he
was made to stand in a cold cell and waterboarded.

UZBEKISTAN: The New York Times reported in May, 2005, the
U.S. had sent dozens of suspects to Tashkent.

YEMEN: U.S. handed over prisoners, including some from
its Bagram prison, to Yemen, where they allegedly were
tortured.

ZAMBIA: According to UK.s Guardian Jan. 23, 2009, Zambia
is one of countries with a CIA secret prison facility.

In addition to the prisons in the above-cited nations,
the U.S. operates a number of illegal floating prisons.

U.S. PRISON SHIPS: On June 2, 2008 UK.s Guardian
reported, "The US has admitted that the Bataan and
Peleliu were used as prison ships between December 2001
and January 2002?. According to Reprieve, the U.S. may
have used 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001.
Detainees are interrogated on ships and may be rendered
to other, undisclosed locations. Reprieve expressed
concern over the time the U.S.S. Ashland spent off
Somalia in early 2007. According to The Guardian, "At
this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and
Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving
regular interrogations by individuals believed to be
members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100
individuals were .disappeared. to prisons in locations
including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and
Guantanamo Bay. Reprieve believes prisoners may have also
been held for interrogation on the USS Ashland and other
ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time."

The U.S. Navy, through a spokesman, said, "There are no
detention facilities on US navy ships" but Commander
Jeffrey Gordon told The Guardian some individuals had
been put on ships "for a few days" during initial days of
detention.

Reprieve quoted one prisoner released from Guantanamo who
was on one of the U.S. ships who said there were 50 other
prisoners in cages in the bottom of the ship and they
were beaten even more severely than in Guantanamo. Clive
Stafford Smith, Reprieve.s legal director, is quoted as
saying, "They choose ships to try to keep their
misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the
media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost
prisoners with their legal rights."

From all of the above, it would be difficult to conclude
anything other than that the U.S., with the help of a
score of other nations, illegally seized and then
processed countless innocent persons from the Middle East
who were held incommunicado in scores of facilities where
they were abused, tortured, denied all legal rights, and
where approximately 100 of them that we know of died in
Iraq alone, probably the victims of homicide.

Professor Boyle of the University of Illinois said he
would submit the findings of this article to the
Prosecutor of the ICC in support of his previous
Complaint calling on the ICC to open "an international
criminal investigation of these (President George W.
Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, etc.) former U.S.
governmental officials."

Ross express his gratitude to the journalists whose works
he quoted for their original research that exposed the
conditions in prisons described above, and particularly
to the Associated Press.

Sherwood Ross is an award-winning journalist who formerly
reported for the Chicago Daily News and worked as a
columnist for several wire services. He can be reached at
sherwoodross10-at-gmail

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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, April 24, 2010 0 comments links to this post

20 April, 2010

comparative history - new scientist article

Natural experiments: Working in the history lab

* 29 March 2010 by Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson

SOMETIME around AD 1600, Galileo Galilei is supposed to have climbed to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa and dropped two cannonballs of different sizes and weights over the edge. The point was to test Aristotle's hypothesis that the speed at which objects fall would be proportional to their weight. If Aristotle was correct, a cannonball 10 times as heavy as another would fall 10 times as fast.

Galileo, in fact, believed that in the absence of air resistance both balls would fall at the same speed. Of course there was air resistance in Pisa, but the densities and weights of the two balls made this effect so small that they hit the ground at almost the same time. Galileo was right and Aristotle was wrong.

Though this story may well be apocryphal, it is used as a defining example of an early scientific experiment. The experimental method is the basic technique by which scientists test hypotheses. To molecular biologists, chemists and physicists, experiments are synonymous with manipulative, controlled experiments like Galileo's. They involve examining in a controlled environment the consequences of manipulating the particular variable whose effect you want to investigate.

Now take a different case, the story of what happened in 1854 when a serious outbreak of cholera hit the Soho district of London. John Snow, a local doctor, did not accept the prevailing theory that the cause of cholera was "bad airs" or "miasmas". Instead, he believed the disease was caused by unknown bacteria transmitted in the drinking water. Snow drew a map plotting cholera deaths in Soho, and showed that they clustered around a particular water pump in Broad Street. But how to prove that it was polluted water from this pump that caused cholera? After all, everyone taking water from the pump also breathed the same air, so miasmas were a viable alternative hypothesis.

Believing pump water to be the cause, Snow would have considered it immoral to test his hypothesis by using manipulative experiments: in this case, dispensing Broad Street water to a group of Londoners remote from the pump, and then comparing their subsequent health to that of a control group who were not given Broad Street water. But Snow could use a "natural experiment": an experiment-like natural variation in the variable (drinking Broad Street pump water) whose effect he wanted to investigate.

He detected such an opportunity at the brewery on Broad Street. The men working there breathed the same air as everyone else in the area, but they drank only the beer they brewed or water from the brewery's well. This constituted natural variation in exposure to Broad Street water, holding constant other factors, such as the air. Crucially, working at the brewery was completely unrelated to people's inherent propensity to contract cholera. Lo and behold, Snow found that the brewery workers weren't getting sick with the cholera that was killing other citizens in the surrounding area. This was a crucial clue in a long and ultimately successful bid to show that miasmas were not to blame, and that specific bacteria were.

Snow's form of the experimental method is the rule in many areas of science now.

In Snow's case the difficulty was not that manipulative controlled experiments were impossible or illegal, but that they were immoral. In other sciences, manipulative controlled experiments are impossible, so, for example, astronomy, evolutionary biology, epidemiology and historical geology all use natural experiments. If you are studying planets, volcanoes or glaciers, you cannot manipulate them. The same goes for dinosaurs or other things that existed or happened in the past, so manipulative experiments are ruled out in such historical sciences as palaeontology, too. In social sciences such as economics, political science and sociology, manipulative, controlled experiments are ruled out on all three grounds - they are either impossible, or they are immoral or illegal. Investigators have no choice but to test hypotheses using naturally occurring experiment-like variations.
In many areas, controlled experiments are impossible, illegal or immoral

Yet there is one field where natural experiments could be used but seldom are: most historians resist them. That is odd because, after all, many of the sciences that use natural experiments are deeply historical.

Consider a question that has been front-page news this year: why is the average income of Haitians only one-sixth that of the citizens of the Dominican Republic, when the two countries are neighbours on the island of Hispaniola? One important practical result of this disparity has been that Haiti's government lacks the resources needed to repair the devastation caused by the recent earthquake.

The environmental differences between the eastern (Dominican) side of Hispaniola and the western (Haitian) side are only a minor part of the explanation. The main reasons for the different economic and social outcomes stem from their strikingly different colonial histories, and of being ruled during the 20th century by dictators who behaved in strikingly different ways. Those differences constitute a natural experiment resulting from human actions.

Through an accident of history, Spain established its colonial capital in the east of Hispaniola and French pirates their bases in the west. The island became permanently divided between a Spanish colony in the east and a French colony in the west, eventually (after independence) called the Dominican Republic and Haiti respectively. In the 18th century, France was richer than Spain, so it transported many Africans to work as slaves in its part of Hispaniola and developed a slave plantation economy. Spain did not, choosing instead to concentrate on its more profitable colonies of Mexico and Peru.

The plantation economy on the French half of Hispaniola led to massive deforestation and soil erosion, as ships bringing slaves departed for Europe with timber. It also created a distinct Creole language, isolating most Haitians from the rest of the world. After a ferocious revolt, Haiti achieved independence in 1804, the only nation born of a slave revolt and the first republic established by people of African ancestry.

Haiti became further isolated by its well-founded distrust of Europeans, who found obstacles placed in the way of their owning land and investing there. At the same time, the new nation suffered from European and American fears of seeing a country of former slaves succeed. The Dominican Republic, on the other hand, did receive immigration and investment that gradually enabled its economy to catch up with and overtake Haiti's.

Then, in the 20th century, Haiti's dictator François "Papa Doc" Duvalier did little to develop his country, while the economy of the Dominican Republic was being developed - in order to enrich its equally malign dictator, Rafael Trujillo. After Trujillo was assassinated in 1961, the Dominican Republic became increasingly democratic, presidents lost re-election bids and retired peacefully, and construction and exports boomed. None of this happened in Haiti, and the divergence resulted in today's glaring social and economic differences between the two countries.

As another illustration of the potential power of natural experiments, consider the long-standing debate among historians about whether the French revolution and Napoleon were good or bad for economic growth, technological change and industrialisation in 19th-century Europe. Although the period of the French revolution, between 1789 and 1799, and the Napoleonic wars of 1799 to 1815 caused great loss of life and chaos, they also prompted fundamental reforms favourable to economic growth, such as the abolition of feudalism and guilds, and the enshrining of equality (among men at any rate) before the law.

Historians selecting and describing different case studies have come to diametrically opposed views about the net effect of both the revolution and the wars. But an all-powerful extraterrestrial visitor equipped with a time machine could quickly settle matters with a manipulative experiment. The extraterrestrial would merely have to dial the year 1800 on the time machine, sprinkle Napoleonic armies at random over the map of Europe, and allow the Napoleonised patches to undergo Napoleonic-style chaos and institutional reform. He would return 50 years later to measure whether the Napoleonised or the non-Napoleonised patches were more developed economically.

Luckily for us, history carried out a similar natural experiment. True, the patches of Europe under Napoleonic influence were not selected at random, but controlled randomisation is only one way to guarantee that the designation of particular patches to receive the "experimental treatment" is not related to factors that influence the outcome of interest. Napoleon's conquests in Europe were instead based mostly on immediate political considerations and were unrelated to factors associated with later 19th-century economic performance.

In fact, in Germany the Napoleonised patches were initially less rather than more developed economically than the non-Napoleonised patches. But by around 1850, out of 29 areas of Germany, the Napoleonised areas had pulled ahead of the non-Napoleonised areas. So while Napoleon initially created a mess, his institutional reforms enabled the areas he conquered to industrialise more rapidly as the industrial revolution spread across Europe several decades later.

This conclusion could never have been reached by the individual case studies beloved of historians, because of the many confounding factors in each case. Only a large-scale simultaneous comparison of many cases permits us to extract Napoleon's signal from the background noise.

There are obvious complications of natural experiments compared to manipulative experiments. A chemist accustomed to taking two otherwise identical test tubes and adding a test compound to just one of them would be horrified at the inelegance of allowing Napoleon to select for conquest his own patches on the non-uniform map of Europe.

Moreover, both the Napoleon and the Hispaniola experiments are "blunt" in the sense that the experimental "manipulation" involved a whole vector of attributes. Haiti differed from the Dominican Republic in its European colonising power, language, proportion of slaves in the population, views of and by Europeans and Americans, and the behaviour of its 20th-century dictators.

The natural experiment of Hispaniola shows us that the combined effect of those multiple factors was enormous, but further information must be added in order to establish their relative importance. Natural experiments always require scrutiny to assess whether the "selection" of patches to be manipulated or not manipulated was truly arbitrary with respect to the perturbing manipulation, and whether the resulting "experimental variation" observed was really due to the perturbation itself or else to other associated or omitted factors.

Our new book Natural Experiments of History describes eight natural experiments which illustrate a range of approaches. They can be classified into two types: experiments in which the initial conditions are similar among the societies compared, and the key difference in outcome involves some societies experiencing a perturbation and others experiencing no perturbation (or different societies receiving different types of perturbation); and experiments in which the initial conditions differ among the societies compared, but the perturbations are similar among the societies compared.

The first type is exemplified by the two halves of Hispaniola, and by the 29 patches of Germany. Of our other two cases of this type, one natural experiment attempts to address the familiar debate about the effects of British colonial rule on India, by comparing 233 parts of India which the British formerly managed, using three different systems of tax collection.

The other case concentrates on the equally familiar debate over the effect of the former slave trade on modern African economies, by comparing the slave trade (or its absence) in 52 African countries. It turns out that African countries that were sites of high slave exports tend to have low incomes today - even after taking account of potentially confounding variables such as geographic location, climate, coastline, Islamic influence, natural resources, and the identity of the European ruler.

We also have four examples of the second type of experiment, where there are differing initial conditions. Two of them involve comparisons of different sets of Pacific islands, with different physical environments, all subjected to Polynesian colonisation, with varying outcomes of deforestation and sociopolitical complexity.

The third experiment compares economic cycles in seven 19th and early 20th-century non-European frontier societies around the world, including the American West, Canada, Argentina and Siberia, all characterised by explosive settlement by Europeans. The last experiment involves comparing three former colonies in the Americas - the US, Brazil and Mexico - which all needed banking systems after they became independent.

Natural experiments have become a familiar methodology in anthropology, archaeology, economic history, economics, political science and sociology. So why are historians still so sceptical or even hostile to them? We think there are a number of contributing factors. First, many historians see themselves as storytellers and non-scientists rather than as scientists. Students choosing to become historians rather than economists, political scientists or sociologists often do so to avoid having to learn mathematics, statistics and scientific methods. Multi-authored research collaborations, which allow scholars to pool their complementary strengths, are virtually unknown among historians.

Then there is the fact that most historians devote their careers to studying one geographic area and one slice of time. They might, say, study the American civil war, but not the American revolution or the Spanish civil war as well, and certainly not civil wars in general. Historians who pride themselves on having acquired an understanding of the American civil war after 40 years of study wouldn't dare discuss the Spanish civil war to which they had not devoted such study, and would bristle at a historian of the Spanish civil war having the temerity to discuss the American civil war. That's sad, because no historian can claim to understand the American civil war if she or he cannot explain why its course was so different from that of the Spanish, English, Russian, Mexican, Chinese and Japanese civil wars.

Yet another problem is that American historians in particular point to a school of quantitative history termed cliometrics, which was at its peak in the days of mainframe computers. Its methods were heavily criticised, and its "weaknesses" were then - inappropriately, we think - generalised to quantitative methods of all kinds. Today, we hear historians responding to suggestions that they use quantitative data and statistics by saying something like: "The cliometricians already tried that several decades ago, and we know it doesn't work."

Finally, historians feel that human history and motives are uniquely complicated and can't be expressed in numbers. But it makes no sense to maintain this position when psychologists and other scholars of human behaviour somehow manage to find ways to measure human motives in numbers.

Our concern, and that of many historians, is that the study of human history is suffering as a result of methodological rigidity and narrowness, and that economists, political scientists and sociologists are encroaching increasingly on its traditional territory. Historians tell us they receive few and small research grants, and they feel undervalued by their college deans and presidents, who, in turn, say the average salaries they pay to historians in the US are below those paid in most of the other social sciences.

We believe historians could become more effective and valued by adding natural experiments, quantitative methods and statistics to their traditional expertise. Scientific purists in labs might also benefit from accepting that natural experiments are not an inferior, second-class science but a necessity for the scientific understanding of important disciplines that do not lend themselves to lab methods.

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posted by u2r2h at Tuesday, April 20, 2010 0 comments links to this post

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