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Danilow's sometimes daily blog December 2015

 

12/26/2015 final 2015 entry:

This final entry of 2015 once again promotes that uplifting story about last winter's face-to-face meeting in Moscow between Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden—thanks in large part to the efforts of actor John Cusack. Arguably both Ellsberg and Snowden are far more deserving of America's adulation and gratitude than any contemporary members of America's so-called "intelligence" and "defense" organizations.

On November 9, 2015, U.K.'s DailyMail.com revealed that film star John Cusack last winter arranged a meeting in Moscow between Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden and included Indian writer/activist Arundhati Roy in the entourage. When divulging relationships the article noted that "Ellsberg is the co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Cusack and Snowden are two of its board members".

liberty's light

Subsequently with a November 16, 2015, publication date Outlook India released a worthwhile series of very interesting articles written by Ms. Roy and Mr. Cusack. The works informally touch a variety of subjects while gracefully describing the secret Moscow meeting's lifecycle from inception to fruition. For the intellectually aware who are interested in preserving Western civilization's Magna Charta principles these works might be considered essential reading. If for any reason you get bogged-down part way through, don't miss the series' final post located HERE.

John Cusack admirably was an early supporter of Edward Snowden. His essay entitled The Snowden Principle was published June 14, 2013, by Huffington Post. Coincidentally this site enthusiastically had provided essay support for Mr. Snowden two days earlier with a Heroes essay and again the following day with a Snowden essay. Edward Snowden was still in Hong Kong at that time.

12/20/2015 U.S. senate torture report links:

Regarding the 12/14/2015 entry on this page, a reader has pointed out that the "main link to the report appears to have changed to : http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/publications/committee-study-central-intelligence-agencys-detention-and-interrogation-program Sadly, the pdf link on that page does not work: http://www.intelligence.authoring.senate.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CRPT-113srpt288.pdf".

"However, if you change the URL just a little bit you can still find the document here: http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CRPT-113srpt288.pdf. Looks less like a coverup and more like a moron web programmer", says the reader. Nontheless some mistakes are intentional.

12/19/2015 sneaky CISA:

According to RT.COM, "President Barack Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending package which bankrolls the government through next year. While it includes tax breaks for low-wage earners, it also includes a controversial cybersecurity measure slipped in during negotiations...As part of the budget negotiation, Obama also signed into law a large cybersecurity bill, which has been flogged by opponents as an expansion of government surveillance. Labeled the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, it is actually a combination of three bills passed by Congress over the year, including the often-criticized Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA)." U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) was quoted in part like this:"Unfortunately, this misguided cyber legislation does little to protect Americans' security, and a great deal more to threaten our privacy than the flawed Senate version. Americans demand real solutions that will protect them from foreign hackers, not knee-jerk responses that allow companies to fork over huge amounts of their customers' private data with only cursory review."

12/14/2015 prosecuting torture (updated 12/15 and 12/20):

The United States Senate has removed from its web site the 499-page "Senate Summary" of the official Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's "Torture Report". [A reader has pointed out that Senator Diane Feinstein maintains a link to the "Torture Report Summary" at the U.S. Senate's web site. Nonetheless the removal of that report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence remains disturbing.1] Neither of Florida's U.S. Senators has responded2 to my questions as to why this is so. In every case officialdom still seems hell-bent to hide, whitewash, and dismiss egregious wrongdoings of U.S."authorities" under the ludicrous umbrella of "national security".
1clarification added 12/15/2015
2U.S Senator Bill Nelson of Florida responded on 12/18/2015 with the bogus link cited in the 12/20 entry on this page.

Nonetheless on December 1, 2015, Human Rights Watch issued a comprehensive report regarding the lack of U.S. accountability for post-9/11 torture programs. The HRW report summary noted that "[The U.S. government] has an obligation under international law to prosecute torture where warranted and provide redress to victims, but it has done neither". Subsequently the report offers specific recommendations for government actions worldwide. The report is "organized into three parts—credible investigations and prosecutions, redress, and international justice—reflecting different steps the US and other countries should take to pursue accountability for CIA program abuses".It "also considers and rebuts arguments that barriers to prosecution under US law—such as statutes of limitation, certain defenses, or a 'specific intent' requirement—might make it impossible to pursue criminal cases". HRW's report deserves careful scrutiny by anyone interested in seeing American justice rejuvenated.

Further if you were Amir Meshal you lamentably would understand that contagiously fashionable torture was practiced across the "intelligence" spectrum and consequently the FBI is not completely innocent. For roughly six years Mr. Meshal fought futilely to get his case properly heard. On October 23, 2015, according to CBS News, "The appeals court said the fact that Meshal is a U.S. citizen does not outweigh the court's reluctance to interfere with matters of national security". Obviously the real national security casualties are the Constitution, Magna Charta principle, human rights, and the American system of checks and balances.

12/08/2015 real veterans understand:

Real veterans understand the foolishness and futility of war for perceived subjective gain. UK's Ben Griffin has the right idea and he "served with the Parachute Regiment and SAS in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland". "Our attack on Syria will make things worse. You only need to look at the outcome of our attacks on Iraq and Libya to see that". And here's a worldwide incremental trend: "We have no confidence in the government of this country to do the right thing, so we call on the public to resist participation in the ongoing slaughter".

Coincidentally the Catholic Church's "Year of Mercy" under Pope Francis is just beginning.

12/07/2015 whom to believe?:

According to RT.COM "Damascus has labelled as an 'act of aggression' the US-led coalition's missile strike which killed three Syrian soldiers at an army base in the Deir ez Zor province".

Of course the U.S. denies the strike [as they initially did with the recent Iraqi hospital strike]. According to the article cited, "A US military official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that Washington is certain that Russia is responsible for the airstrike". So whom does one believe? An unidentified U.S. military offical whose #1 spook has a history of public falsehoods—or officials of the offended nation who have every reason to sniff out truth of the transgression and who are closest to the action. And why believe anyone who enters the fray illegally for perceived subjective gains. "The US-led coalition's airstrikes in Syria are in fact illegal, as it has never received permission from Syrian President Bashar Assad to enter the country's airspace."

"In response to the UK's decision to join the bombing campaign in Syria, Assad reiterated in an interview with the Sunday Times that the presence of Britain in Syria is unlawful as neither Damascus nor the United Nations have given London the green light to bomb Syrian territory. 'It will be harmful and illegal and it will support terrorism, as happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so [ago], because this is like a cancer', Assad said.

12/05/2015 more about Gitmo and prosecutions:

Since education is a repetitive process let's take a fresh look at this November 12, 2014, article published by The Nation and written by Murat Kurnaz, a former Gitmo detainee, who was in Geneva to remind the U.N. Committee Against Torture "that not a single person who designed, authorized, executed or oversaw the torture of Gitmo detainees has been prosecuted"—certainly a legitimate gripe inside humane circles professing to uphold individual rights whether human or civil. Toward explaining away the lack of prosecution as being a "practical" approach Eric Posner's Slate article from December 9, 2014, takes a defeatist's attitude and works hard to sell the concept that convictions are impossible in the case of U.S. government officials. Still in 2014 the New York Times pointed out that perhaps they could be convicted in other countries— especially those in which some of the torture occurred.

Symbolic convictions already have been adjudicated in at least one disinterested country. Guilty verdicts from 2011 and 2012 rendered by the impressively staffed Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal (KLWCT) were applauded by this site in December 2013 in the Quid Pro Quo essay which still maintains links to those findings. Symbolically KLWCT found "George W. Bush and key players of his administration, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and others 'On the charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes ... guilty as charged and convicted as war criminals for Torture and Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of the Complainant War Crime Victims'". It's one small step for mankind. Nevertheless rather than champion accountability the U.S. just-us system seems hell-bent to rub salt into the wounds of torture by honoring arguably dishonorable people. Glenn Greenwald did a marvelous job of underscoring that incredible stance in his recent article published by The Intercept.

As long as the U.S. is the world's economic powerhouse and the dollar the world's reserve currency, unchallenged military might coupled with the ruthlessness necessary for its unfettered use allows America to romp around the planet with its well-lubricated killing machine doing pretty much as it pleases with impunity. But they say there is a time for every purpose under heaven, perhaps even successful prosecutions of official wrongdoers. Time will tell. For additional background information about U.S. torture this site recommends purchasing Alex Gibney's 2007 award winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. It's an extremely worthwhile work.

12/02/2015 closing Gitmo:

U.S. "authorities" and lame-stream have repeatedly warned us that the "detainees" at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, (or Gitmo) are highly dangerous freedom-haters and can't be released anywhere near American soil. Further we're constantly assured that those who remain at Gitmo are the most dangerous since lesser offenders gradually have been sent home. Consequently some of us feigned surprise today when we learned that at least one Gitmo detainee is still being held by mistake.

Most American have no clue that an estimated 86% of the detainees at Gitmo were obtained by bounty or "purchase" and only an estimated 5% were captured by U.S. forces. The effectiveness of America's buy-a-terrorist-from-the-Taliban program is best illustrated in the works of Chicago-based attorney Leonard Goodman who has defended detainees. The saga of Shawali Khan is exemplary, heart-wrenching, and fairly well-known. Khan was released in December 2014 after more than 12 years unjust imprisonment by U.S. "authorities".

One of the primary misleading arguments Republicans have used to oppose closing the Gitmo is that "Too many detainees released from Guantanamo are re-engaging in terrorism" as noted back in January by Lauren Carroll. John McCain was quoted as saying "about 30 percent". However in the same article professor Thomas Mockaitis quite lucidly points out that "it is not clear how much their going back to terrorism mattered" and the work ends by stating "We rate McCain's claim Mostly False". Nevertheless anyone knowing ALL the facts likely could understand and sympathize if the recidivism rate were 100%.

Another January writer, Chris Anders, an ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel, pointed out that "if there's non-coerced evidence to support prosecution, they [the detainees] should be tried. Otherwise, they should be released. That is the American way"—more precisely, Chris, that used to be the American way.

Nowadays the politicians who want Gitmo closed seem to think that moving the detainees elsewhere will mitigate U.S. wrongdoings and somehow nullify the edge Gitmo's existence hones for terrorism recruiters. Nonetheless it's not the physical location so much as the unjust and indefinite imprisonments and needless tortures that Gitmo opponents—especially jihadists—deplore. POTUS reportedly has said "Guantanamo continues to serve as a recruitment tool for jihadists, it is something we need to stop". and that article goes on to say "Over the summer, in response to a congressional request, a small team of Pentagon officials was researching the most suitable place to house the remaining prisoners in the US, as well as the costs involved in doing so. The plan would reportedly include transferring nearly 50 detainees to US prisons for indefinite detention without trial. Another group of 10 detainees would be prosecuted by military commissions...". Under that DoD plan no one would be unjustly held at Gitmo any longer. Problem solved? Ask a jihadist.

12/01/2015 Ellsberg, Snowden, Cusack, and Roy:

On November 9, 2015, U.K.'s DailyMail.com revealed that film star John Cusack last winter arranged a meeting in Moscow between Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden and included Indian writer/activist Arundhati Roy in the entourage. When divulging relationships the article noted that "Ellsberg is the co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Cusack and Snowden are two of its board members".

Subsequently with a November 16, 2015, publication date Outlook India released a worthwhile series of very interesting articles written by Ms. Roy and Mr. Cusack. The works informally touch a variety of subjects while gracefully describing the secret Moscow meeting's lifecycle from inception to fruition. For the intellectually aware who are interested in preserving Western civilization's Magna Charta principles these works might be considered essential reading. If for any reason you get bogged-down part way through, don't miss the series' final post located HERE.

John Cusack admirably was an early supporter of Edward Snowden. His essay entitled The Snowden Principle was published June 14, 2013, by Huffington Post. Coincidentally this site enthusiastically had provided essay support for Mr. Snowden two days earlier with a Heroes essay and again the following day with a Snowden essay. Edward Snowden was still in Hong Kong at that time.

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