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02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
02.11 'People Shouldn't Be Going Bankrupt and Dying': Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.09 The potato solution: how the Guardian switched to biodegradable packaging [Non-recyclable products should be illegal]
News Media Matters
02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.15 Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan 'Astonishingly Strong' [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.14 Pentagon Fears Climate Crisis, w/ Billions in Damage to US Bases & Societal Upheaval [In maniacally twisted capitalist countries inconvenient truths are ignored or harshly ridiculed, and Trump's stupid Wall obsession dominates the news instead.]
02.13 'We Will Be That Lantern on the Shore': Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley Rally With TPS Holders Outside Trump White House [Empathy and fairness are scarce when your President is a psychopath]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]
02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]
02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]
International & Futurism
02.15 Who Is Really A Socialist? [Who is really a Republican, etc.?]
02.14 House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen [Congress does something good again!]
02.14 Millions Flowed From Venezuelan Oil Firm to Small Bulgarian Bank [Transactions like Manafort performed for Trump. Which Venezuelan political leader is likely behind this—Maduro or Trump-supported Guaidó?]
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE:
Obama's Torture HypocrisyOriginally published on June 29, 2009
President Barack Obama just announced that the U.S. government "must stand against torture wherever it takes place," but it’s clear that his pledge does not apply to torture committed by officials from the Bush administration.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Obama quietly released a statement on Friday in which he said, “My administration is committed to taking concrete actions against torture and to address the needs of its victims.”
Obama's statement left out his decision to “look forward, not backward” on the issue of Bush-era torture or how he has discouraged any investigation of former President George W. Bush, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials involved in sanctioning and practicing torture, brutal tactics that human groups claim killed at least 100 prisoners in U.S. custody
Instead, in his statement, Obama simply declared that “today, we join the international community in reaffirming unequivocally the principles behind that Convention, including the core principle that torture is never justified.”
The 1984 Convention Against Torture was approved by 145 nations, including the United States which signed it in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. He hailed the treaty as "a significant step" in preventing torture, "an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today."
The Convention declares that: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
Moreover, the Convention says individuals who resort to torture cannot defend their actions by saying they were acting on orders from superiors and it mandates that torturers be prosecuted wherever they are found. According to that provision, "each state party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."
In a May 20, 1988, message to the U.S. Senate, Reagan noted, "the core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.'"
Evading the Treaty
It was this Convention, ratified by the Senate in 1994, that Bush administration officials sought to bypass with legal memos, many drafted by John Yoo of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
Obama’s declaration on Friday comes at a time when the international community has become acutely aware of the policy of torture implemented by the Bush administration – and of Obama’s resistance to any type of comprehensive investigation whether it be by a congressional committee, a blue-ribbon commission or the Justice Department.
It’s also clear that the United States is guilty of many of the offenses that the U.S. government has in the past accused “rogue regimes” of committing, such as hiding torture victims from human rights monitors. For example, under the Bush administration, the military routinely hid prisoners in U.S. custody from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In a Jan. 2, 2004, memo drafted for military police and interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and signed by Col. Marc Warren, the top legal adviser to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, was entitled “New plan to restrict Red Cross access to Abu Ghraib.” The contents of that memo have never been released.
In 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that at the request of then-CIA Director George Tenet, he authorized the U.S. military in the fall of 2003 to hide an Iraqi prisoner from the ICRC and other organizations that monitor the treatment of prisoners.
Rumsfeld told reporters at a June 17, 2004, press briefing that Tenet sent him a letter asking the U.S. military to imprison the Iraqi who was believed to be a high-ranking member of Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish terrorist group suspected of links to al-Qaeda. Tenet further told Rumsfeld to be sure the detainee was kept off the prisoner rolls, which he was for six months.
"We were asked not to immediately register the individual, and we did that," Rumsfeld told reporters at the time.
Documents obtained by the Senate Armed Services Committee go even further. Minutes of an Oct. 2, 2002, meeting at which Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, then the chief military lawyer at Guantanamo whose responsibilities included working with the ICRC, discussed concealing abusive interrogation tactics when ICRC officials visited.
Jonathan Fredman, who was the chief counsel for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, noted that the "the CIA is not held to the same rules as the military" when it comes to using aggressive techniques to interrogate detainees.
Beaver interjected: "We will need documentation to protect us."
Taking office in January, Obama announced that his administration would not condone or practice torture, but he also opposed holding Bush administration officials accountable out of fear that his actions might be deemed vindictive. He has held to that position although Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA Director Leon Panetta both agreed that the near-drowning experience of waterboarding was torture.
Bush’s Justice Department lawyers also approved a list of other torture techniques to be used against so-called “high-value” prisoners, including beatings, sleep deprivation for 11 consecutive days, placing insects inside a confinement box to induce fear, exposing detainees to extreme heat and cold, and shackling prisoners to the ceilings of their prison cells or in other painful “stress positions.”
Under the Convention Against Torture, the clear record that the Bush administration used waterboarding and other brutal techniques should have triggered the United States to conduct a full investigation and to prosecute the offenders. If the United States refused, other nations would be obligated to act under the principle of universality.
Instead, Obama’s high-minded declaration on Friday substituted words for action.
Jason Leopold has launched his own Web site, The Public Record, at www.pubrecord.org.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on June 22, 2009.