Category Archives: New World Order

Julian Assange Awakens Secrecy as Repugnant to Freedom

This is an article from the Australian ABC regarding Julian Assange, lawyers, breach of privacy and surveillance.  The article focuses on the recording of Geoffrey Robertson QC a famous Australian barrister, well known by those of us over 40 for the ABC program ‘Hypothetical’.  Geoffrey Robertson demonstrated justice as he challenged influential Australians to respond to controversial issues, scenarios indicating how they would handle a difficult problem. He demonstrated Justice and Inquiry. 

He is a human rights lawyer and his lawyer-client privilege was breached due to powerful interests not driven by Justice but power. 

I felt inspired to give J F Kennedy a voice in this blog which drives to the heart of this problem.  

Transcript: https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/american-newspaper-publishers-association-19610427

The keystone message of Kennedy is as follows:

I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

The important question for US lawmakers and politicians is – Can you face high crimes and misdemeanours and correct mistakes rather than criminalise the messenger?   Wikipedia provides insight into the meaning:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_crimes_and_misdemeanors

When you deeply contemplate the journey of Julian Assange you realise he is a light on the hill as he reminds the US of its true purpose as they have lost their way.  He is a beacon who not only revealed US secrets but awakened the world to what is called the ‘dark side’ of surveillance and political corruption. Justice is not a business deal it is about the truth that sets all free.

Recently I wondered about him. I sent light and protection to him and that he is safe as the US seek to jail him for revealing what is on ‘a need to know basis’

When you have experienced inequality before the law, illegal surveillance, privacy breaches and corruption your Cinderella world view dissolves as you become dis-illusioned.  That is, the illusion falls from your eyes and you see clearly.

2020 (vision) is about clear seeing.

Until you walk in Julian’s shoes you cannot know the sacrifice he made in the public interest, albeit global interest. We are learning about how power operates as distinct to Justice. The lengths people will go to, to win and pervert the course of  justice. The lack of ethics, integrity and use of manipulation of the rule of law is under the spotlight. 

It is noteworthy that those persons exposed crimes and/or breaches to the Constitution are not arrested but the whistle-blowers are pursued as if criminals and rights to Justice undermined.

The Brave New World is a teacher, we are being given glimpses into this possible future and every person is choosing. This is the real universal vote. Complacency (compliance) or democracy?

The surveillance state is increasingly being privatised as contractors are paid by national intelligence agencies accessing secrets themselves.  Secrets (security) are leverage.  Imagine how wide spread is espionage as intelligence becomes private security (business) becomes intelligence in the revolving door of greed where there is always a back door to breach privacy and make money from vulnerability.  Greed is the key issue arising out of a desire to live like the US, yet, must we rob Peter to pay Paul. Debt is another leverage point.

Some key quotes from the ABC article below are worthy of contemplation.

“It’s important that clients can speak frankly and freely in a confidential space with their lawyers in order to be able to protect themselves and ensure that they have the best possible legal strategy and that the other side does not have advance notice of it,” Robinson said.

Referring to a Spanish allegation that the US Government had advance notice of legal conversations in the embassy, she said: “That is … a huge and a serious breach of [Assange’s] right to a defence and a serious breach of his fair trial rights”.

“I wasn’t surprised at all. It’s an occupational hazard for human rights lawyers. You’re bugged, you’re followed by secret police, you’re spied upon,” said Robertson, one of Australia and the UK’s most respected human rights barristers for almost 50 years.

The extradition hearing comes amid a flurry of activity related to Assange: on Friday his legal team also confirmed they will try to seek asylum for the WikiLeaks boss in France, and on Thursday an English court heard that Assange was offered a US presidential pardon if he agreed to say that Russia was not involved in a 2016 leak of Democratic Party emails.

When the ABC asked questions of the US embassy in Canberra, it referred questions to the US justice department, which did not respond by deadline.

The ABC also sent questions to the CIA and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Neither responded by deadline.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/julian-assange-and-his-australian-lawyers-were-secretly-recorded-in-ecuadors-london-embassy/ar-BB10hrG3?ocid=spartandhp

Julian Assange and his Australian lawyers were secretly recorded in Ecuador’s London embassy

Dylan Welch, Suzanne Dredge and Clare Blumer 2 hrs ago

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain January 13, 2020.

© REUTERS/Henry Nicholls WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain January 13, 2020. Barrister Geoffrey Robertson’s shuffles into the entrance to Ecuador’s embassy in London, a camera recording the sound of his shoes echoing on the hard tiles.

It’s just after 7:00pm on January 12, 2018.

The camera rolls as Robertson stops at the front door, unbuttons his overcoat and removes his cap.

Once inside the embassy, other cameras follow him as he’s ushered into a meeting room, where the storied Queen’s Counsel is offered a cup of tea.

After a few minutes, he is greeted by the embassy’s most famous resident, Julian Assange.

The camera continues to roll, recording every word of the confidential legal conversation which follows.

While this may be typical surveillance at a secure diplomatic property, what Robertson did not know was he and a handful of other lawyers, were allegedly being targeted in a remarkable and deeply illegal surveillance operation possibly run at the request of the US Government.

Pictures: The case of Julian Assange (Showbizz Daily)

And recordings such as Robertson’s visit are at the heart of concerns about the surveillance: privileged legal conversations between lawyer and client in a diplomatic residence were recorded and, later, accessed from IP addresses in the United States and Ecuador.

Robertson was only one of at least three Australian lawyers and more than two dozen other legal advisers from around the world that were caught up in the surveillance operation.

Long-time WikiLeaks adviser Jennifer Robinson was one of the other Australian lawyers caught in the spying operation.

“It’s important that clients can speak frankly and freely in a confidential space with their lawyers in order to be able to protect themselves and ensure that they have the best possible legal strategy and that the other side does not have advance notice of it,” Robinson said.

Referring to a Spanish allegation that the US Government had advance notice of legal conversations in the embassy, she said: “That is … a huge and a serious breach of [Assange’s] right to a defence and a serious breach of his fair trial rights”.

On Monday evening (Sydney time), Assange will face an extradition hearing relating to US criminal charges against him for his role in the WikiLeaks releases of classified US Government material.

The extradition hearing comes amid a flurry of activity related to Assange: on Friday his legal team also confirmed they will try to seek asylum for the WikiLeaks boss in France, and on Thursday an English court heard that Assange was offered a US presidential pardon if he agreed to say that Russia was not involved in a 2016 leak of Democratic Party emails.

The offer of a pardon was allegedly made by the US congressman Dana Rohrabacher when he visited Assange in the embassy in August 2017. Rohrabacher has denied he was making the offer on behalf of Donald Trump.

‘It’s an occupational hazard for human rights lawyers’

The surveillance was uncovered via a very public investigation into the Spanish company contracted by the Ecuadorian Government to provide security at the embassy, UC Global.

WikiLeaks Spanish lawyer, Aitor Martinez, told the ABC the surveillance came to light after Assange was arrested, when former UC Global employees provided a large file of material.

“This consisted of recordings from cameras installed in the embassy and hidden microphones; recordings made with secret microphones placed inside the embassy; hundreds of secret copies of the passports of Mr Assange’s visitors; multiple emails exchanged between the company owner and the employees,” Martinez said.

The recording of lawyers and legal conversations was not accidental, according to the Spanish criminal case, which is now investigating UC Global and its owner, former Spanish Navy marine David Morales.

“David Morales was justifying himself by saying that he had been expressly asked for this information, sometimes referring to ‘the Americans’,” a UC Global employee turned prosecution witness said.

“He sent on several occasions — via email, by phone and verbally — some lists of targets in which we had to pay special attention … they were mainly Mr Assange’s lawyers.”

“I wasn’t surprised at all. It’s an occupational hazard for human rights lawyers. You’re bugged, you’re followed by secret police, you’re spied upon,” said Robertson, one of Australia and the UK’s most respected human rights barristers for almost 50 years.

Robinson — also an Australian citizen — was spied on while providing confidential legal advice to Assange.

“It is incredibly troubling that our secret and privileged legal conversations with Julian Assange were recorded and apparently handed to US authorities,” she told the ABC.

“It is one of the most fundamental principles of protecting attorney-client relationships that we are able to have confidential and private meetings, to discuss legal strategy.”

The concerns about illegal monitoring of confidential legal discussions may become part of his defence, with his lawyers expected to argue that the espionage has denied Assange his basic legal rights.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne did not respond to ABC questions about the Spanish case. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) also declined to discuss it, only noting that it had previously sought assurances that Assange would be treated appropriately under UK law.

“The Australian Government cannot intervene in any extradition request for Mr Assange, which is a matter for the UK authorities,” a DFAT spokeswoman said.

Robinson said that she believed Canberra had not done enough to protect Assange, an Australian citizen.

“This is a case in which an Australian citizen is facing 175 years in prison in the United States for the same publication for which he won a Sydney Peace Prize and the Walkley award for the most outstanding contribution to journalism,” she said, referring to WikiLeaks’ publication in 2010 and 2011 of confidential US documents that revealed, among other things, war crimes and illegal spying on world leaders.

“His Australian lawyers — all of us Australian citizens — have [also] had our rights as lawyers and our ability to give him a proper defence superseded by the US and potentially the UK Government.

“This is something that the Australian Government ought to be taking very seriously and ought to be raising both with the UK and with the United States. It is time the Australian Government stands up for this Australian citizen and stops his extradition.”

The file

The ABC has obtained hundreds of internal UC Global documents, videos, audio files and photos tendered in the Spanish case, which commenced in April last year days after Spanish newspaper El Pais published videos and audio of Assange and guests being spied on in the embassy.

The files reveal the remarkable and expanding secret surveillance targeting the WikiLeaks boss and his guests.

In an email from September 2017, Morales ordered UC Global staff to find out what the walls around Assange’s bedroom were made of, and to photograph the embassy’s rooms and its furniture.

Then in December, UC Global updated the embassy’s camera system, installing audio-capable cameras.

A month later, and under instructions from Morales, they installed a listening device in the false base of the meeting room’s fire extinguisher.

They also installed a microphone in the women’s bathroom — a place where Assange would regularly hold sensitive legal meetings.

The case is being investigated by Spain’s federal court, the Audencia Nacional, which is examining whether Morales and UC Global are guilty of breaching both Assange’s privacy and lawyer-client privilege, as well as crimes relating to misappropriation of funds, bribery, and money laundering.

“From 2015 to mid-2018, when UC Global lost the embassy’s security contract, a battery of illegal espionage measures was deployed, with massive interference in the privacy of [Assange], in his communications with his [legal] team, in meetings with his doctors, and in general against everyone close to him,” a criminal complaint filed by Assange’s Spanish lawyers stated.

“In those years the defendants created a sort of ‘Big Brother’ in which all the movements of Mr Assange and the people close to him were monitored.”

The case commenced after a group of Spanish citizens contacted senior WikiLeaks employees and demanded a significant sum of money in return for what they said was voluminous proof of the espionage.

A former UC Global employee — who cannot be identified for legal reasons — also separately approached WikiLeaks, wanting to reveal what they saw as the illegal behaviour of their former company.

WikiLeaks referred the case to Spanish courts, who launched an investigation and arrested Morales. He was later released on bail.

“This spying did not only affect Mr Assange’s lawyers, it also affected all of his visitors, including journalists,” Martinez said.

“It got to the point where, during a visit to Mr Assange, the head of Ecuador’s intelligence service [Rommy Vallejo, on December 21, 2017] was also spied on,” Martinez added.

“In the meeting between Mr Vallejo and Mr Assange the possible release [from the embassy] of Mr Assange in a few days later was discussed.”

Within hours of that secret meeting, which was known to only a few people, the US Ambassador to Ecuador complained to Ecuadorian authorities, and the next day the US issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, Martinez said.

“That leads us to believe that the conversation was urgently sent to the US authorities and that they urgently issued the international arrest warrant the next day,” he said.

Martinez was himself spied on while having legal meetings with Assange at the embassy.

“Mr Assange began to suspect that he was being spied upon … so he asked us to hold the most sensitive meetings in the women’s toilet at the back of the building,” Martinez recalled.

“We honestly thought it was an exaggerated step to hold our legal meetings in the women’s toilet, where he would even open the water tap to avoid anyone listening.

“It was interesting to find out that Mr Assange was, in fact, correct: the material before the court proves that UC Global knew the meetings were held inside the women’s toilet, as they proceeded to install an additional microphone [there].”

‘It goes to the heart of client-lawyer privilege’

While the case made headlines in Europe and the UK, there has been little to no discussion here about what it means for the Australian citizens and lawyers caught up in the alleged espionage operation.

The Law Council of Australia told the ABC the alleged surveillance operation was “deeply disturbing”.

“The allegations that Julian Assange’s conversations with his lawyer were being recorded are really serious,” the council’s president, Pauline Wright said.

“If you can’t have that full, frank discussion without fear that that’s being recorded and potentially released to the authorities … it erodes trust in the whole system.

“It goes to the heart of the client lawyer privilege.”

The file also reveals that Morales’ surveillance project — dubbed Operation Hotel — did not just observe Assange and his guests. Internal UC Global documents reveal staff also stole or illicitly photographed visitors’ belongings.

The file includes photos of passports, mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices owned by dozens of activists, journalists, lawyers and public figures that visited Assange.

The file also reveals a growing desire, on Morales’ part, for ubiquitous surveillance of Assange and his visitors.

Morales directed UC Global to scrutinise particular people visiting Assange, whom he refers to as “el huesped” (the guest).

“We must … create or improve the following profiles (personal data, relationship with the guest, phones, emails, number of visits, et cetera) of these regular visitors or collaborators of the guest,” he said.

He lists nine people, one of whom is Robinson.

“We must do everything to know their data … I want a person completely dedicated to this work, so if you have to hire someone for it, tell me,” Morales said.

“All this must be considered top secret.”

UC Global staff sometimes resisted their boss’s more intrusive requests. In December 2017, Morales allegedly directed an employee to steal the used nappy of a baby who sometimes accompanied his mother when she visited Assange.

The theft was necessary, Morales said, to DNA test faecal matter to establish if the child was Assange’s son.

“I decided to talk to the mother of the child,” the employee said in his statement to the court.

“When we were outside of the embassy, I told her that she must not take the child to the embassy anymore because they planned to steal her baby’s diapers to prove whether he was the son of Julian Assange.”

‘Amigos americanos’

The Spanish criminal complaint states the turbo-charged surveillance operation began after Morales travelled to Las Vegas in 2015 for a security fair. There, he signed a contract with Las Vegas Sands, a company owned by billionaire Trump donor Sheldon Adelson, according to the complaint.

Ostensibly, the contract was to provide security services to Adelson on his mega yacht, the Queen Miri.

But, when Morales returned to Spain, he told UC Global staff they were now “playing in first division”, according to two witness statements tendered in the case.

“[Morales] said he’d gone to the ‘dark side’, referring to himself as a casual collaborator with US authorities, and he said that as a result of this collaboration, ‘The Americans will get us contracts all over the world’,” one witness said in his statement.

Throughout the operation, the employees were repeatedly told by Morales that the surveillance operation was being directed by people he referred to as “amigos Americanos” (American friends).

Concerned about the increasingly illegal behaviour, the UC Global associate pressed Morales on the euphemistic references to “Americans”, demanding to know exactly who they were working for.

According to the statement, Morales replied: “la inteligencia de Estados Unidos” (United States intelligence).

“However, when I asked him who was the particular intelligence person he was meeting to provide them information, Mr Morales ended the conversation and told me that this topic was handled exclusively by him outside the company,” the UC Global associate told prosecutors.

The associate told the court he had repeated and heated discussions with Morales about the operation and who was behind it.

Once such conversation ended with Morales making the gesture of opening his shirt and saying: “I’m a mercenary!”

US action

At first, Morales collected the surveillance footage and delivered it by hand to unknown people in the US.

Later, he asked staff to create a file server and then a secret website to stream the embassy cameras.

A UC Global employee responsible for running the secret website told the Spanish court he noted at least one visitor to the site with an American IP address.

In a Spanish interview, Morales said neither he nor UC Global staff installed any listening devices in the embassy and suggested WikiLeaks had placed the microphones around the embassy.

When the ABC asked questions of the US embassy in Canberra, it referred questions to the US justice department, which did not respond by deadline.

The ABC also sent questions to the CIA and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Neither responded by deadline.

Silencing Peace

A poem I felt inspired to write.

I feel the person I felt inspired to write this for, will know.

Silencing Peace

Are you thinking about how to silence me?

Are you thinking about collateral damage?

Are you monitoring me with a team of lawyers?

Are you at war with diversity?

Or can you sit in the silence and remember,

Who you really are,

For you are me.

Poetry is not automated,

I am not AI,

I am spontaneity, impulse, passion alive,

I am infinite potential without limit,

I can feel the natural world crying out in great pain,

As she has been maligned, poisoned, cut and burned,

She is shaking up eruptions of disruption as she wants the violence to stop,

For the feminine has been suppressed for a long time,

And she is rising to meet with all challenges,

In peace.

Our world is dividing without doubt,

Our world is like the great stream parting,

For the waters are opening up,

The commandment is to bring my people Home,

And this is not biblical,

This is not Koranic,

This is not Buddhism,

Or New Age,

Or part of an ancient lineage,

It is reality,

Asserting intelligent design into this illusion,

As leylines (songlines) move into a crystalline grid of infinite beauty,

Crop circles embed codes,

For as the Dreaming Awakens,

To change The Way,

Home.

As I reach out to touch your he art,

I reach out to comfort your pain,

To heal the wound you covered up,

I understand the desire to control what is uncontrollable,

To feel certainty in a life that is uncertain,

To predict what appears random,

To tame what is wild and free,

Yet so many are out of control as they feel power-less,

So many are starving when the few throw out excessive food,

So many seek for shelter when there is an oversupply of houses,

So many are becoming sick as biotech affects healthy systems,

So many are dying of cancer as EMF disrupt healthy cellular bonds,

For we are dying to live.

Technology can never be the panacea to real connection,

As intimacy (in-to-me-see) feels for the future that is not ready for automated life,

As the problem is not solved by science, technology, education or maths,

Nor a fourth and final revolution,

For you cannot STEM the magic of Harry Potter,

As magic shape changes what you see,

It is only the truth that sets you free,

Before you think change has arisen as another truth,

For you are not in control of universal life,

As this is natures perfect storm front,

And she is changing her frequency to enlighten what is dark,

Her oscillation is not to mm waves,

Not to sub 9 megahertz,

Not to roll out 5G but expand to 5D,

Evolution is no-it-u-love,

For we are both a wave and a possibility,

And peace is nature’s selection,

Nature only selects that which harmonises with the whole,

And industry is not in harmony with the whole when corrupt,

No matter the spin of sustainable development goals,

Industry is making holes in nature’s etheric field,

Disrupting the mantle as the axis is XX, XY not Y,

You exist in roles of master servant not a master class,

That understands the natural force yields,

When the force is with you, you will let go of control and trust life.

The universe reverberates as all is intra-connected,

Not like an IoT but as the hand connects to the arm,

As the breath connects to prana,

Circulation is the waters of life serving every organ, corpuscle and blood vessel,

Intelligence permeates every cell seeking for disharmony or disruption at the root,

Intelligent design is homeostasis rebalancing what is out of sync,

For the natural order is symmetrical not linear,

The sum of the parts IS the whole united,

Not one excluded and another included,

Not choosing one part as useless and another part of value,

For the sum of the parts IS the whole blending contrasting fields,

Magnetic fields attract and repel to adjust natures song line,

For when your specialise you tinker at the parts not knowing the whole,

When you reengineer the god spark to unplug,

It is like a child playing with matches,

This can set fire to many houses as St Elmo’s fire breaches banks,

It is putting the proverbial finger into the live plug,

A bolt shoots from the socket as electricity seeks to ground,

For the lighting strikes are grounding the imbalance of ions,

As the temperature is not a frequency dial to be turned on as if a tap,

It is a thermostat of infinite precision beyond scientific instruments,

Pressures intimately regulates not to benefit one part of the ecosystem at the expense of another,

But to maximise optimal tolerance in service to the species system as a whole,

For each thrives in a frequency band of overlapping life force energy 3.14159 (23),

Pi is the algorithm of the Greek Agora of constant equality in sine waves,

Fibonacci spirals firing from universal blueprints of geometric harmonic convergence,

Appearing random yet logarithmic scales are constant as golden spirals expand Pi,

For the entire system is balanced in perfect pitch on trajectories of growth potentials,

Life knows every iteration, function, change, adaptation sending signals in real time,

Life is not controlling every individual organism but ensuring the conditions are perfect,

As thriving is surviving in a diversity of whirling dervishes spinning the central sun,

And this awareness sings ‘all for ONE and ONE for all’ as the uni-verse expands possibilities.

So my friend you cannot STEM the world when power is imbalance,

For the only power that sustains recalibrates tipping points back to zero point,

For creation created you and you did not create her,

For s/he is the zero point field of endless energy that requires no genie or bottle.

Life naturally anchoring duality in polarities of:

Matter and anti-matter,

Negative and positive,

Yin and the yang,

Alpha and the omega,

Femi-nine and mascu-line,

Inhaling and exhaling,

As rhythm is a flow not a fact.

Homeostasis rebalancing pyramids as triads:

Mind, body and spirit,

Subconscious, conscious and supra conscious,

Truth, love and joy,

Father/mother, son/daughter and holy spirit,

Life, liberty and happiness,

In an infinite orchestra of feeling directing creativity,

As this is the innovation of human potential reaching for the stars.

The message of duality and triads derive the triple bottom line,

Casting a future Hexagram forecasting:

(59) Dispersion

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dispersion.jpg

Line 1: You can see the very beginning of discord. This is fortunate indeed, for it is far easier to reunify and overcome separation when it first arises. Good fortune.

Line 2: Your problems originate from within. You must modify your attitudes and overcome any feelings of alienation. If you can improve your opinions and feelings toward your fellow man you will find peace of mind and avoid unnecessary suffering.

Line 6: Avoidance of danger is necessary at this time, both for yourself and especially for those of your concern. This should be accomplished in whatever way possible. Depart the situation if necessary. You will not be blamed for such action.

(3) Difficulty

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is difficulty.gif

Overall: Difficulty indicates progress and success through firm correctness. Action should not be undertaken lightly, and it is wise to seek help.

For re-member the real disruption is dispersion,

Disunity is separation that does not hold firm,

For the underlying attitude is not peace,

As intolerance flips the balance into instability,

Disrupting the fabric of the human family,

As difficulties cannot be forced,

As wisdom councils are roundtables looking within for discord,

As the architects are not Future Ready,

For one cannot silence the fool,

But find one’s inner fool in the silence,

To step out of compliance and into self reliance is a master number,

That leads by example,

For love is the ONE that leads all

To surrender,

In peace.

Links:

Does Cellphones Radiation from ‘Chronic Use’ Lead to Cancer and Mass Legal Action?

Smart Cities:
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/dec/17/truth-smart-city-destroy-democracy-urban-thinkers-buzzphrase

The rhythm of the universe: https://wpas.worldpeacefull.com/2014/02/the-rythmn-of-the-universe/

Inner peace: https://wpas.worldpeacefull.com/2012/07/experiencing-peace-in-meditation/

The genie: https://wpas.worldpeacefull.com/2019/04/israels-genie-filling-the-gold-mans-energy-sachs-in-Syria/

 

 

Law, Donald Rumsfeld and Abu Ghraib

In the public interest.

https://supreme.findlaw.com/legal-commentary/rumsfeld-and-abu-ghraib.html

Rumsfeld and Abu Ghraib

By JOANNE MARINER

Monday, Apr. 25, 2005

A year ago, when the first photos appeared of U.S. soldiers beating and sexually humiliating detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, President George W. Bush expressed horror and disgust. Recognizing the damage that the abuses had done to the image of the U.S. abroad, he promised, in an interview broadcast to the Arab world via the Pentagon-funded TV station Al-Hurra, that the crimes would not go unpunished.

In the coming months, he affirmed, “those mistakes will be investigated, and people will be brought to justice.”

And, indeed, investigations have been conducted, court martials have been held, and a few perpetrators have been convicted. One soldier, army reservist Charles Graner, Jr., was sentenced to a ten-year term of imprisonment, the heaviest penalty to date.

But these results represent partial justice, at best. Notably, with the exception of one major personally implicated in abuse, only low-ranking soldiers — privates and sergeants — have been held to account.

Thanks to the Abu Ghraib photos, Graner became the smiling face of American brutality. Yet there is no ignoring the fact that while he and other underlings have faced prosecution, those beyond the camera’s frame — those who made policies, gave orders, and condoned or ignored abuses — have not.

If this is justice, in President Bush’s view of things, it comes awfully close to scapegoating. For the evidence shows that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not isolated and aberrant acts and that, in fact, the worst perpetrators may not have been those whose faces were captured on camera.

As Human Rights Watch described yesterday, in an important new report, the abuses at Abu Ghraib are part of a broader picture. They fit a pattern of brutality and mistreatment, evident at Guantanamo, in Afghanistan, and in dozens of U.S. detention facilities worldwide, that “did not result from the acts of individual soldiers who broke the rules. It resulted from decisions made by the Bush administration to bend, ignore, or cast rules aside.”

Rumsfeld’s Possible Legal Responsibility

Human Rights Watch’s exhaustively-documented report names the top officials, both civilian and military, that it believes should be investigated for crimes against detainees. Its list starts with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and goes on to include George Tenet, the former CIA director; Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, U.S. military commander in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004; and Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the U.S. military commander at Guantanamo.

While the report does not reach any conclusions as to the ultimate guilt or innocence of these officials, it argues that abundant evidence exists to justify their investigation. Under both U.S. and international law, it explains, civilian officials and military commanders may be held criminally liable if they order, induce, instigate, aid, or abet in the commission of a crime. In addition, under the doctrine of “command responsibility,” individuals who are in positions of civilian or military authority may be criminally liable for the crimes of those under their command.

Secretary Rumsfeld, the report asserts, may well be liable under both of these theories. He may have directly instigated abuses when, on December 2, 2002, he approved a list of inhumane interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo.

These techniques — which include the use of hoods, stress positions, isolation, stripping, deprivation of light, removal of religious items, forced grooming, and dogs — violate not only the Geneva Conventions but also legal prohibitions on torture and other ill-treatment. The techniques later “migrated” to Iraq and Afghanistan, where they figured prominently in abuses against detainees there. In Iraq, moreover, Rumsfeld approved the hiding of detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross, a practice likely to facilitate abuse.

Journalist Seymour Hersh has alleged, in addition, that Secretary Rumsfeld approved a secret program that encouraged the physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners.

Rumsfeld may also bear command responsibility for abuses against detainees. To be liable under the doctrine of command responsibility, a superior must have known, or have had reason to know, that a subordinate was committing a crime, and the superior must have failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the crime or to punish the perpetrator.

Rumsfeld clearly had the necessary knowledge. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo, Secretary Rumsfeld had access to military briefings, ICRC reports, human rights reports, and press accounts that would have put him on notice that U.S. troops were committing war crimes, including torture. Yet, despite receiving abundant warning of abuses, there is no evidence that Rumsfeld ever exerted his authority to protect prisoners from mistreatment.

The Need for an Independent Counsel

Yet while soldiers like Charles Graner, Jr. and Lynndie England are put on trial, Rumsfeld is not. Indeed, if there were any doubts as whether legal liability for Abu Ghraib abuses might eventually be traced up the chain of command, a high-level Army investigation whose findings were announced last Friday probably put them to rest.

Conducted by the Army Inspector General, a subordinate to Secretary Rumsfeld, the new investigation exonerated four of the five top Army officers in charge of detention policies and operations in Iraq. To Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups that have documented military abuses, it provided further proof of the need for an independent counsel to look into allegations of abuse.

For when President Bush told the world that the perpetrators of crimes at Abu Ghraib would be brought to justice, he didn’t not qualify his claim. He didn’t say that a handful of low-level perpetrators would be brought to justice.

And we shouldn’t, in retrospect, have to say it for him.


Joanne Mariner is an attorney with Human Rights Watch in New York. Her piece is based on a just-released Human Rights Watch report, “Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees,” written by Human Rights Watch special counsel Reed Brody.

New World Order Depopulation???

In the public interest.

I was seeking the Club of Rome and found this. It is worth investigating. I found the reference to brotherhood (occult) interesting. I thought of secret societies and oaths keeping secret plans and alliances. Our world requires openness and transparency.

There is a significant questioning of climate change and if it is real. It is funny I recall when this happened by some energy industrialists I knew, at the time I thought it was climate denial (which it probably was). However, today I am open to exploring the changes that are human induced to create conditions for greater change. I do believe there are cosmic events happen, I do believe we live out of balance with the planet, I do believe our commercial activities are extracting more than we need and our materialistic ethos as the core issue. However, structural changes to cities is not the solution, it is to change the entire paradigm of greed and false need. We need to heal the past and awaken peace within ourselves in order to evoke homeostasis. My sense is the inner environment is the direct cause of the outer environment. So those who have no connection to humanity will see it statistically in terms of depopulation not the false conditions that created false wealth.

We all get to choose.