Category Archives: Human Rights Abuses

Cops Taser Family Man Again and Again, Up to 27 Times Until He Went Limp and Died

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A left-behind family of a man killed by cops has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against San Bernardino County for excessive force

Filming Cops | February 1, 2015

VICTORVILLE — A left-behind family of a man killed by cops has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against San Bernardino County for excessive force.

Dante Parker was electrocuted as many as 27 times as cops shot him repeatedly with a Taser gun, according to the lawsuit.

Dante’s five children and his wife were devastated when he died after the electrical shock.

The incident occurred when Dante dropped his children off at school.

After he left them in school, he went on a bike ride around 4 PM.

He was riding his bike down Luna Rd when he was stopped by Officer Irwin.

Officer Irwin claimed to be responding to a report about a suspicious black male who was attempting to break into houses.

It is presumed that at some point during the questioning, an argument ensued, though the lawsuit does not specify.

At one point during the interaction, Officer Irwin began shooting Dante with a Taser gun, electrocuting his body and causing his muscles to involuntarily tighten and contract.

Other cops quickly arrived at the scene and began Tasing Dante even more, at least 25 times until his body became limp and he fell to the ground.

The cops then hogtied Dante’s limp body as he begged and said “I can’t breathe.”

They then lifted him up while he was hogtied and pushed him into the back seat of a police car, face down.

The inside of the police car was scorching hot as the weather outside reached almost 100 degrees.

Shortly thereafter, Dante’s heart stopped and he was pronounced dead.

The Sheriff Department’s defense is that Dante was “combative” with the officer, causing the officer to “fear for life.”

But Dante’s family believes the police murdered their father.

The family is suing for an unspecified amount in damages.

 

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The Specter That Haunts America

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They are hardcore leftists who proudly list as their heroes communist agitators from the last century

Thomas DiLorenzo | LewRockwell.com | January 2, 2015

A specter is haunting America. It is a group of influential individuals who harbor an intense hatred of such principles as private property, markets, limited constitutional government, and freedom itself. They are hardcore leftists who proudly list as their heroes communist agitators from the last century. They despise private property and advocate nationalization. They attempt to brainwash young children by distributing trinkets in public schools adorned with sayings by Karl Marx and Che Guevara. They advocate “urban Marxism” for America’s cities and “Third World communism” for the less-developed countries of the world. They employ shady figures from the sixties “protest movement” who admit to having committed violent crimes that caused the death of innocent bystanders. The head of the organization proudly accepted a lifetime achievement award named after an old communist revolutionary.

This organization specializes in waging vicious, malicious, campaigns of libel, slander, and character assassination against virtually anyone who publicly expresses support for private property, free markets, constitutionalism, individualism (as opposed to collectivism), and liberty. This of course is the old classic Marxist/Leninist political strategy.

At the top of their list of smear targets is a private organization that says it defends the principles of “faith, family, tradition, community, private property, loyalty, courage, and honor.” Anyone who says such things must be destroyed, says The Specter.

The Specter mobilized into hyper-smear mode when this same private organization wrote on its Web site that it opposes the state’s “perpetual wars for perpetual peace;” the notion that the U.S. government should “rule the world;” the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and all other offensive wars; and all forms of political correctness. All such talk should be brutally censored, says The Specter.

Another private organization that has been viciously smeared by The Specter is one that lives by the motto that “the legitimate function of government” is to secure our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property because “the nature of government is to usurp the liberty of the people.” They, too, must be marginalized and destroyed says The Specter. Any totalitarian would wholeheartedly agree.

 

The Specter once convinced the Department of Homeland Security to publicly announce that anyone with a “Ron Paul for President” bumper sticker “posed a terrorist threat.” To The Specter, Ron Paul’s well-known views on economics, civil liberties, and foreign policy are bound to incite acts of domestic terrorism. Of course, to the hardcore Marxists employed by The Specter, tax cuts or opposition to socialized medicine (or any other government program) would constitute “domestic terrorism.”

The Specter also spews hatred and slander at police and military officers who have reiterated their pledge to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, anyone who says such a thing is instantly placed somewhere on The Specter’s Hate-O-Meter.

When describing this “specter” I speak of course of the moral conscience of the Washington establishment, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which should more appropriately be labeled the Soviet Poverty Law Center. All of the above facts about its opinions and activities are well documented. See, for example, my LewRockwell.com articles, “Racial Racketeering for Fun and Profit;” “What a Hate Group Hates;” and “The Latest Leftist Smear of Patriots and Constitutionalists.” Think about this the next time you hear that an individual or organization has been placed on the Soviet Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” list, should be considered to be a public enemy, and should be banned forever from the public square.

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Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun

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Paul Craig Roberts
March 30, 2014

It is now apparent that the “Maiden protests” in Kiev were in actuality a Washington organized coup against the elected democratic government. The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country.

Politically Ukraine is an untenable aggregation of Ukrainian and Russian territory, because traditional Russian territories were stuck into the borders of the Ukraine Soviet Republic by Lenin and Khrushchev. The Crimea, stuck into Ukraine by Khrushchev, has already departed and re-joined Russia. Unless some autonomy is granted to them, Russian areas in eastern and southern Ukraine might also depart and return to Russia. If the animosity displayed toward the Russian speaking population by the stooge government in Kiev continues, more defections to Russia are likely.

The Washington-imposed coup faces other possible difficulties from what seems to be a growing conflict between the well-organized Right Sector and the Washington-imposed stooges. If armed conflict between these two groups were to occur, Washington might conclude that it needs to send help to its stooges. The appearance of US/NATO troops in Ukraine would create pressure on Putin to occupy the remaining Russian speaking parts of Ukraine.

Before the political and geographical issues are settled, the Western looting of Ukraine has already begun. The Western media, doesn’t tell any more truth about IMF “rescue packages” than it does about anything else. The media reports, and many Ukrainians believe, that the IMF is going to rescue Ukraine financially by giving the country billions of dollars.

Ukraine will never see one dollar of the IMF money. What the IMF is going to do is to substitute Ukrainian indebtedness to the IMF for Ukrainian indebtedness to Western banks. The IMF will hand over the money to the Western banks, and the Western banks will reduce Ukraine’s indebtedness by the amount of IMF money. Instead of being indebted to the banks, Ukraine will now be indebted to the IMF.

Now the looting can begin. The IMF loan brings new conditions and imposes austerity on the Ukrainian people so that the Ukraine government can gather up the money with which to repay the IMF. The IMF conditions that will be imposed on the struggling Ukraine population will consist of severe reductions in old-age pensions, in government services, in government employment, and in subsidies for basic consumer purchases such as natural gas. Already low living standards will plummet. In addition, Ukrainian public assets and Ukrainian owned private industries will have to be sold off to Western purchasers.

Additionally, Ukraine will have to float its currency. In a futile effort to protect its currency’s value from being driven very low (and consequently import prices very high) by speculators ganging up on the currency and short-selling it, Ukraine will borrow more money with which to support its currency in the foreign exchange market. Of course, the currency speculators will end up with the borrowed money, leaving Ukraine much deeper in debt than currently.

The corruption involved is legendary, so the direct result of the gullible Maiden protesters will be lower Ukrainian living standards, more corruption, loss of sovereignty over the country’s economic policy, and the transfer of Ukrainian public and private property to Western interests.

If Ukraine also falls into NATO’s clutches, Ukraine will also find itself in a military alliance against Russia and find itself targeted by Russian missiles. This will be a tragedy for Ukraine and Russia as Ukrainians have relatives in Russia and Russians have relatives in Ukraine. The two countries have essentially been one for 200 years. To have them torn apart by Western looting and Washington’s drive for world hegemony is a terrible shame and a great crime.

The gullible dupes who participated in the orchestrated Maiden protests will rue it for the rest of their lives.

When the protests began, I described what the consequences would be and said that I would explain the looting process. It is not necessary for me to do so. Professor Michel Chossudovsky has explained the IMF looting process along with much history here:

One final word. Despite unequivocal evidence of one country after another being looted by the West, governments of indebted countries continue to sign up for IMF programs. Why do governments of countries continue to agree to the foreign looting of their populations? The only answer is that they are paid. The corruption that is descending upon Ukraine will make the former regime look honest.

 

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

DoD’s Lips Are Sealed on Secret Guantanamo Site

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Jack Bouboushian
Courthouse News

February 6, 2014

DoD built a secret cell block for noncompliant detainees, alleges lawsuit.

DoD built a secret cell block for noncompliant detainees, alleges lawsuit.

A document that sheds light on the costs behind Guantanamo Bay’s secret “Camp 7,” which houses the accused Sept. 11, 2001, conspirators, should remain classified, the Defense Department told a federal judge.

Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg had filed her request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) about the Camp 7 costs back in 2009. Among that camp’s 16 “high value” detainees are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other accused Sept. 11 conspirators.

The department replied over a year later that it found just a single page related to the costs of Camp 7, but it withheld that document in its entirety as classified. It then waited over three years to shoot down Rosenberg’s appeal, causing her to then file suit in October 2013.

 

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Greg Weston, Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher

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Tim Wu
New Yorker

January 31, 2014

"White dining hall" at the Florida Industrial School for Boys.

 

“White dining hall” at the Florida Industrial School for Boys.

This week, the remains of fifty-five bodies were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Florida School for Boys, in the panhandle town of Marianna.

The reformatory school, which was operated by the state of Florida, and which closed in 2011, was notorious for its mistreatment of its students. In 1968, Florida’s governor at the time, Claude Kirk, said of the school, “Somebody should have blown the whistle a long time ago.”

There have long been allegations of beatings, torture, and sexual abuse there; it now appears that some students were killed. The total number of bodies buried at the school has not been determined, but the leader of the exhumation effort, the forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, has said that it may exceed a hundred.

Some of the children died natural deaths, but the sheer number of bodies suggests that there may have been many killings, a possibility buttressed by eyewitness accounts. Yet Florida’s prosecutors have yet to file a single criminal charge, or even open a criminal investigation. To pass over crimes of this magnitude without investigation seems the very definition of injustice.

There is no statute of limitations for murder and other crimes causing death, which means that there is no legal bar to bringing charges. In Florida, all capital cases have long had no statute of limitations, and when these crimes were allegedly committed forcible rape was punishable by death.

But there are challenges to prosecuting old crimes: given how much time has passed, it may be difficult to determine who was responsible for the killings, and many of the suspects, meanwhile, have already died, including the school’s longtime superintendent, Lenox Williams, who died in 2010.

Some are still alive, including Troy Tidwell, an instructor at the school, who was accused of abuse in a class-action lawsuit filed by more than two hundred former students in 2009. (Tidwell denies the accusations, and the case was dismissed after a judge ruled that the statute of limitations on the charges had run out.)

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Obama Calls For ‘New Approach’ On NSA Surveillance–Not ‘New’ Enough For Critics

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Andy Greenberg
forbes.com

January 17, 2014

Six months after Edward Snowden began leaking the NSA’s secrets, President Obama has agreed that the way America spies needs to change. But when it comes to the degree of that change, the White House has a long way to go towards pleasing its critics.

In a closely watched address Friday, Obama laid out a plan for reforms to the National Security Agency following Snowden’s leaks revealing the details of NSA surveillance programs that have outraged privacy advocates and some U.S. allies. In his speech, Obama responded with a plan to put greater limits on the use of phone metadata collected from millions of Americans, to add more privacy advocacy to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court debates over the use of data collected on Americans, and to limit the duration of the secrecy around the FBI’s National Security Letter requests for private data from communications companies.<

“I believe it is important that the capability this program is designed to meet is preserved,” Obama said of the  phone metadata collection program, which has been perhaps the most controversial of Snowden’s revelations. “But having said that, I believe critics are right to point out that that without appropriate safeguards this program could be used to yield more information about our private lives and to open the door to more intrusive bulk collection programs in the future.”

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NSA Official: ‘We Are Now a Police State’

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Matt Vespa
CNS News

January 17, 2014

Last year, high-ranking NSA official Bill Binney said, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” Now, Binney says that the U.S. has already become a full-blown police state.

Binney told Washington’s Blog on Wednesday that:

“The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].”

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“These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – because it has been acquired without a warrant.”

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The Biggest Terrorism Scaremongers Are THEMSELVES the Ones Promoting Terrorism

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Washington’s Blog

January 6, 2014

In response to the revelation that the NSA spies on Congress, Congressman Peter King says that the NSA should spy on Congress, to make sure congress members don’t call Al Qaeda.

Congressman Peter King (Wikimedia).

King is a fine one to talk … he supported the Irish Republican Army for decades, even though the IRA was designated as a terrorist group.

The heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees – Diane Feinstein and Mike Rogers – are always yelling ooga booga … saying that the terrorists will get us if we don’t let the NSA spy on all Americans.

Feinstein and Rogers both support Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria.  Rogers supports torture, which has been recognized for thousands of years as a form of terrorism (torture also creates new terrorists.)  And Rogers supports the widespread drone war, even though indiscriminate drone strikes are war crimes – more here and here – oh, and they create more terrorists.

Another leading scaremonger is former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden, who has compared privacy advocates with terrorists. Hayden was one of the main supporters of the torture program, and of the “signature strike” drone assassination program, where strikes are launched purely on the behavior of ground vehicles, with no further evidence of connection to terrorism. Hayden also supported the MEK terrorist group (more on MEK below).

This type of hypocrisy has been going on for some time. We noted in 2011:

The biggest scaremongers regarding the threat from terrorism are themselves promoting terrorism.

Don’t believe me?

Well, Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says that the Bush administration (and especially Dick Cheney) helped to fund groups which the U.S. claims are terrorists (see confirming articles here and here).

And as the New York TimesWashington Post and others are reporting, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey – who all said that the terrorists were going to get us if we didn’t jettison the liberties granted under the Bill of Rights – are now supporting terrorists in Iran.

If you’ve forgotten how shrill these folks were, here’s some background on Giulani (and see this), RidgeTownsend and Mukasey (and see this and this).

As Raw Story reports today:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey all attended a forum organized by supporters of Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).

The MEK is a communist group that helped Saddam Hussein carry out attacks against Iraq’s Shiite population in the 1990s. The group attacked Americans in Iran in the 1980s and helped with the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.

The US designated the MEK a foreign terrorist organization in January 2009.

Sadly, the U.S. has actually become the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism … but the hypocritical fear-monger blowhards who promote such terror only call it terrorism when the other guy does it.

 

 

This is What Really Happens in the Drone Program from an Insider

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libertyblitzkrieg.com
December 31, 2013

Over the weekend, Heather Linebaugh wrote a powerful Op-ed in The Guardian newspaper lamenting the lack of public understanding regarding the American drone program. Heather should know what she’s talking about, she served in the United Stated Air Force from 2009 until March 2012.

She worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

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Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.

Moreover, the many civilians being incinerated without a trial are not the only victims here. So are the actual drone operators themselves, many of whom end up committing suicide. Recall my article from December 2012: Meet Brandon Bryant: The Drone Operator Who Quit After Killing a Child. Of course, our so-called political “leaders” never get their hands dirty, other than to take a lobbyist bribe that is. Now more from Heather:

Recently, the Guardian ran a commentary by Britain’s secretary of state for defence, Philip Hammond. I wish I could talk to him about the two friends and colleagues I lost, within a year of leaving the military, to suicide. I am sure he has not been notified of that little bit of the secret UAV program, or he would surely take a closer look at the full scope of the program before defending it again.

 

Americans’ 91% Opposition to Syrian War Insignificant to Technocrats

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Rogue government moves toward war despite American’s opposition

Julie Wilson
Infowars.com

August 27, 2013

What better way to lift the veil of distraction from the government’s recently exposed domestic spy program than a brand new war?

Photo: Turkish Naval Forces via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Turkish Naval Forces via Wikimedia Commons

America is most likely going to war with Syria this week in what would be history’s most unpopular war yet. According to Reuters, Americans adamantly oppose Syrian intervention with only 9 percent believing Obama should attack the nation.

The poll reveals Americans would be more inclined to support the war if provided actual facts indicating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did in fact use chemical weapons against his people.

In a period of 7-10 days, American’s support for the war has fallen from 30.2 percent to 25 percent, and those opinions stand only if proof of a chemical weapons attack is provided. Despite the people’s opposition, the US is still aggressively positioning themselves for attack.

The claim Assad used chemical weapons against his people is asinine considering the country’s awareness that a Western assault would soon follow. Syria has consistently expressed reluctance to become entangled with the United States military.

Despite blatant war propaganda including photographs of dead women and children who allegedly succumbed to a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb this week, Americans still aren’t convinced.

 

NBC News reports that the US could strike Syria with three days worth of missiles in an attempt to “send a message” rather than cripple Syria’s army. Warplanes and military transporters are assembling on Britain’s Akrotiri airbase on Cyprus, which is likely to serve as a hub for the air campaign.

Sources say unidentified snipers fired at a vehicle carrying UN inspection team members, further delaying the investigation. The team only needed to travel 15 minutes to get from their hotel to the Mouadamiya district of west Ghouta in Damascus, where the chemical weapons attack is said to have taken place, but they arrived on the scene 4 hours late in a vehicle riddled with bullet holes.

 

The Guardian’s report said doctors traveling with the UN team took blood and urine samples and recorded video statements from more than 20 victims. The team also collected samples of soil where the chemical rocket allegedly landed, but were unable to access the main six sites where the majority of the chemical rockets allegedly had fallen. The Syrian regime asked them to leave immediately and could not guarantee the team’s safety if they remained.

Dr. Abu Akram confirmed his clinic had 2,000 victims of the gas attack in which 500 were in critical condition. “Eighty people were pronounced dead at the hospital and I now have 20 victims in intensive care,” he said.

The victims told the UN inspection team that they had been sleeping in their homes when the attack occurred.

According to the Guardian, a US military strike on stockpiles of chemical weapons could widely disperse neurotoxins causing far more harm than the alleged previous attack.

As of today the positioning of Navy destroyers and submarines in the Mediterranean Sea will enable the US military to launch Tomahawk missile strikes at Syria with the precision of hitting not just buildings but specifically targeted windows.

Russia and China have both warned the US against attacking Syria before the UN inspection team’s investigation is complete. Both nations made it clear they would be “deeply displeased” if the US proceeds with an attack.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin described the West as “acting in the Islamic world like a ‘monkey with a hand grenade.’” Russia has subsequently sent aircraft into Syria in an attempt to evacuate their people.

A report by Paul Joseph Watson states that the West’s decision to attack Syria was made over a year ago. The US government’s decision to move forward with an attack on Syria in spite of Americans being heavily against it, further illustrates how out of control our criminal political system has become.

However, this time around Americans are waking up to the rogue government’s war propaganda, noticing it as Obama’s diversion to the tyranny that’s arrived on American soil under the domestic spy program carried out by paramilitary forces now acting domestically.

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Assad: Syria Is A Sovereign Country Fighting al-Qaeda

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Syrian president says that the recent American wars have only destabilized the Middle East and other parts of the world.

 

Kit Daniels
Infowars.com

August 27, 2013

In a recent interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stressed that Syria is not a puppet state and that the majority of rebels that his government is fighting are connected to al-Qaeda.

Credit: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom via Wikimedia Commons

 

When asked what parts of Syria remain under rebel control, Assad said that his government has been dealing with an “influx of large amounts of terrorists from other countries – estimated in the tens of thousands at the very least.”

“The majority of those we are fighting are Takfiris, who adopt the al-Qaeda doctrine,” he said.

Assad further emphasized that American politicians should listen to the American people rather than try to install “puppet leaders” across the world to satisfy their own political objectives.

“Today there are many Western politicians, but very few statesmen,” he said. “Some of these politicians do not read history or even learn from it, whilst others do not even remember recent events.”

“Have these politicians learned any lessons from the past 50 years at least?”

Assad further stated that the U.S. has waged many wars since Vietnam but has failed to achieve its political objectives from any of them.

“Have they not learned that they have gained nothing from these wars but the destruction of the countries they fought, which has had a destabilizing effect on the Middle East and other parts of the world?” He asked. “Have they not comprehended that all of these wars have not made people in the region appreciate them or believe in their policies?”

 

His statements aren’t surprising considering the comprehensive documentation that support his claims, including admissions by U.S. government officials.

Last December, Paul Joseph Watson reported that at least 29 different Syrian rebel groups are pledging allegiance to the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate group responsible for killing American troops in Iraq.

“Syrian rebels have been responsible for a plethora of atrocities, from terrorist attacks and massacres, to forcing people to become suicide bombers, to attacks on Christian churches and making children carry out grisly beheadings of unarmed prisoners,” Watson wrote.

 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has even admitted to BBC that these Syrian rebels on the same side as the U.S. in Syria are terrorist groups.

“We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition in Syria,” Clinton said.

 

President Obama has been openly supporting the Syrian rebels since at least June when he said he would provide military support to them.

 

 

 

Military Cyber Strike Teams Will Soon Guard Private Networks

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Aliya Sternstein nextgov.com March 21, 2013

Cyber Command aims to deploy by September all 13 cyberwarrior teams capable of striking adversary networks to deflect assaults on U.S. private computers, Pentagon officials said this week.

Last week, Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the command, provided lawmakers with a vague timeline for fleshing out three cyber forces, each with distinct functions.

“The intent is to roughly stand up one-third of those, the first third, by the end of September of this year; the next third by September of the next year, 2014; and the final third by September of 2015,” he testified at a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart now tells Nextgov that “the general was referencing the 13 cyber national mission forces teams when he said the ‘first third’ will be established by September 2013.” National mission forces will thwart incoming digital threats to American “critical infrastructure” sectors through offensive cyber-attacks.

 

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Obama turning to executive power to get what he wants

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Anita Kumar McClatchy Newspapers March 20, 2013

President Barack Obama came into office four years ago skeptical of pushing the power of the White House to the limit, especially if it appeared to be circumventing Congress.

Now, as he launches his second term, Obama has grown more comfortable wielding power to try to move his own agenda forward, particularly when a deeply fractured, often-hostile Congress gets in his way.

[…]

While his decision to send drones to kill U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism has garnered a torrent of criticism, his use of executive orders and other powers at home is deeper and wider.

He delayed the deportation of young illegal immigrants when Congress wouldn’t agree. He ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence, which Congress halted nearly 15 years ago. He told the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, deciding that the 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. He’s vowed to act on his own if Congress didn’t pass policies to prepare for climate change.

 

 

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Hell Holes: Torture, starvation and murder the norm at world’s worst gulags

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Perry Chiaramonte Fox News March 3, 2013

The imprisonment of American Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran’s infamous Evin prison has sparked an international outcry and shined a spotlight on one of the world’s cruellest gulags.

But Evin is just one of many prisons where conditions exist that would shock medieval jailers, and where the level of human misery is incalculable. Prisoners brazenly carrying guns and machetes, guards rousting inmates in the night for mock executions and captives forced to stand in water up to their noses for 24 hours when they’re not being worked literally to death are common at the world’s most draconian dungeons. Most operate in rogue nations, beyond the influence of human rights organizations or appeals from Western nations. The few who have escaped or been freed carry the scars from their imprisonment for the rest of their lives.

 

CAMP 22 and the North Korean gulag system:

Also known as Hoeryong concentration camp, and part of a large system of prison camps throughout the communist dictatorship, Camp 22 is an 87-square-mile penal colony located in the North Hamgyong province colony where most of the prisoners are people accused of criticizing the government.

Inmates, most of whom are serving life sentences, face harsh and often lethal  conditions. According to the testimony of a former guard from Camp22, prisoners  live in bunk houses with 100 people per room and some 30 percent bear the  markings of torture and beatings — torn ears, gouged eyes and faces covered  with scars.

 

Prisoners are forced to stand on their toes in tanks filled with water up to  their noses for 24 hours, stripped and hanged upside-down while being beaten or  given the infamous “pigeon torture” — where both hands are chained to a wall at  a height of 2 feet, forcing them to crouch for hours at a time.

Tiny rations of watery corn porridge leave inmates on the brink of  starvation, and many hunt rats, snakes and frogs for protein. Some even take the  drastic measure of searching through animal dung for undigested seeds to eat.  Beatings are handed out daily for offenses as simple as not bowing down in  respect to the guards fast enough. Prisoners are used as practice targets during  martial arts training. Guards routinely rape female inmates.

“The conditions are brutal,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asian  Division of Human Rights Watch, told FoxNews.com. “These people are constantly  hungry and constantly scavenging.”

 

At Camp 22 and most other prisons in North Korea, getting locked up means a  death sentence.

“It’s considered a one-way ticket,” Robertson said. “They send you there to  work you to death.”

 

Kang Cheol Hwan was the rare exception. Imprisoned at Camp 14 for a decade  beginning at age 9, his crime was being the grandson of a man who allegedly  criticized the government.

“In North Korea, if one person is condemned of betraying the Kim dynasty,  then all family members until the third generation can be sent into prison,”  Hwan, who is now executive director of the North Korea Strategy Center, told  FoxNews.com through a translator.

 

Prisoners toiled 15 hours a day in mines, at lumber mills or in  manufacturing, according to Hwan.

“Prisoners worked every day from 5 a.m and only had two days to rest a year,”  he said. “They barely had any food to eat, the food was mostly based on corn and  it wasn’t sufficient. This is why most people were eating whatever they could  find, including rats. At a young age I realized the benefits of breeding  rats.

 

“I was lucky to have learned how to survive and stay strong,” he added. “But  I had to watch many people die out of starvation and sickness.”

 

La Sabaneta, Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called it “the gateway to the fifth circle  of hell.” At La Sabaneta prison, some 30,000 inmates live in a facility meant  for 15,000. There’s just one guard for every 150 prisoners, and gun-toting gangs  led by “pranes” run protection rackets. Poor inmates pay them for everything  from a place to sleep to protection from murder.

At the low-end of the inmate hierarchy, are los anegados, or “the  unwanted ones.” These prisoners have recently taken to stitching their mouths  shut, taking literally the longstanding La Sabaneta code that says, “When one  sews his own lips, no one can kill him.” And inmates do get killed, with  shocking frequency. In 1994, 130 La Sabaneta inmates were burned or slashed to  death with machetes during a gang fight. The following year, more than 200  inmates died in other incidents and another 624 were severely injured.

“It’s a place where you literally have to keep your wits about you, or you  could end up dead,” Kay Danes, advocate and founder of the Australian-based  Foreign Prisoner Support Service said to FoxNews.com. “Violence is prevalent,  even rape a common occurrence. Human dignity means very little and for  foreigners, a single day can seem like a life sentence. It’s a place where one  mistake may be your last.”

 

Black Beach Prison, Equatorial Guinea:

Located along the coast in the capital city of Malabo, Black Beach Prison is  known as one of the most notorious prisons in Africa and has an infamous  reputation for neglecting the basic needs of inmates.

Torture and starvation are the norm at Black Beach, with many victims being  denied medical care after being beaten. Food is so scarce many prisoners have  died of starvation. Inmates are kept in their cells and shackled at their feet  for more than 12 hours a day.

 

A large number of the current prison population are part of a failed coup  d’état against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in 2004. South African arms  dealer and mercenary Nick du Toit, who spent five years in Black Beach, told  Rapport that prisoners were tortured with electric shocks and burning  cigarettes. One coup plotter suffered a fatal heart attack while being tortured,  he said. In an article he penned entitled “My prison hell,” du Toit  wrote  of how his handcuffs cut down to the bone and were left to rust in place. He  lost more than 80 pounds before he was suddenly pardoned in 2009.

 

Tadmor Prison, Syria:

Rising up from the desert sands in eastern Syria, Tadmor Prison occupies a  former military base. Known for some of the most horrific human rights  violations in the world, with torture and summary executions occurring every  day, the prison houses dangerous criminals side-by-side with political  prisoners.

The most infamous episode in Tadmor’s bloody history came on June 27, 1980,  when all 500 inmates were shot dead by the forces of Rifa’al Assad, brother of  then-President Hafez al-Assad and uncle of current President Bashar al-Assad.  The ultimate penalty, dished out indiscriminately and brutally, was for a failed  assassination attempt on Hafez al-Assad by the Syrian Branch of the Muslim  Brotherhood.

Bara Sarraj, who spent nine years at Tadmor after being arrested in 1984 as a  student in Damascus, believes the death toll was much higher than 500.

“Tadmor has no trace of life,” Sarraj told Voice of America. “There are no  books, no radios, nothing. They don’t even have salt to spray over your food.  Sometimes there are no needles to sew our clothes. It’s indescribable, and the  constant torture, that was unique to that place. At all times, even during  the night.”

 

Sarraj, now an immunologist at Northwestern School of Medicine in Chicago,  has a chillingly lyrical name for the prison where he spent nearly a decade:  “Symphony of Fear.”

The prison was shut down in 2001 but was re-opened in June 2011. Guards at  Tadmor are given free reign in handling prisoners and often dole out beatings,  torture, hangings, and even chop off body parts of anyone considered a  traitor.

 

Evin House of Detention, Iran:

Nicknamed Evin University for the large amounts of academic and political  prisoners held there, Evin prison is one of the world’s most brutal detention  facilities.

Beatings, torture, mock executions and brutal interrogations are routine for  the estimated 15,000 inmates housed in the low-slung and drab house of horrors  on the outskirts of Tehran. Evin was built during the reign of Mohammad Reza  Pahlavi — known to Americans as the Shah of Iran. Before he was ousted from  power in the 1979 revolution, the prison housed some of the very radicals and  sympathizers who would one day rule the Islamic Republic. During the 10-year  reign of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, thousands of political prisoners were  systematically murdered at Evin.

“When you clear the gates, you are immediately blindfolded and brought  underground,” Marina Nemat, a former inmate, told FoxNews.com in a previous  article about Evin. “They take you for interrogation. They take you to a  hallway and sit you down. You are there for a long time. If you move or say  anything you are beaten. You must sit perfectly still, while still blindfolded,  and you can wait for hours, days or even weeks.”

 

Nemat, who is a writing instructor at the University of Toronto, added most  captors are taken to an interrogation room where the goal is anything but  forcing the truth out of an inmate.

“They are not looking for information,” said Nemat, now a instructor at  University of Toronto and author of “Prisoner of Tehran,” a 2007 book detailing  her ordeal and a second memoir entitled, “After Tehran.” “What they want is for  you to admit that you affected the national security of Iran.”

 

Former inmates tell of being rousted from their cells in the night,  blindfolded and taken before firing squads, only to get a last minute  “reprieve,” and be returned  to their cages. Closed-circuit televisions  show religious propaganda and recorded confessions from the leaders of  opposition groups who had broken under torture, and food is scarce.

 

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