May 8, 2013 - The Constantine Report    
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
Image
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

US Funds Still Supporting Honduran Death Squads

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Lauren Carasik of the Western New England School of Law says that the US must restrict aid to the Honduran government, so long as human rights abuses continue …

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Honduras is plagued by the world’s highest homicide rate. This has been widely reported for the past two years, yet the number of deaths has continued to climb. The UN put the number of homicides in 2011 at 91 per 100,000. The rate has spiked since the illegal coup d’état that ousted the country’s democratically elected president in 2009 and the subsequent breakdown of Honduras’ institutions; in 2008 the homicide rate was 61 per 100,000. A climate of impunity solidified as the generals and others who carried out the coup were rewarded with appointments in the post-coup government rather than prosecuted for their role in the overthrow.

Contrary to what is often suggested in the press, the violence is not just random or drug- or gang-related; some of the most vulnerable sectors in society are frequent targets — those whose rights the US Department of State tells us it considers to be a high priority — women, the LGBT community, journalists, opposition party politicians and Hondurans who opposed the coup. Twenty-five journalists have been murdered in Honduras since the 2009 coup; all but one of them since the current post-coup president, Pepe Lobo, took office in January 2010. At least 53 lawyers were killed between 2010 and 2012.

On my recent trip to the Lower Aguan region of northern Honduras, I visited with campesinos from the San Isidro collective that were occupying land to which they possessed legal title, the patina of legitimacy that has often been wrested away from the campesino collectives through fraud and coercion. This legal title emanated from a rare victory meted out by the notoriously ineffective judicial system that typically favors the agro-oligarchs engaging in brutal land grabs in the region. Those with whom we met spoke eloquently of their intrepid lawyer, Antonio Trejo. He was the only lawyer in the Aguan region that had successfully litigated land rights claims for the campesinos. Trejo was gunned down in September 2012, and his brother was murdered five months later. While some are confident that Trejo’s murder was related to political persecution, alternative apolitical motives for Trejo’s murder have been floated. Irrespective of the motive, Trejo’s untimely death eliminates the one lawyer who had achieved any relief for the beleaguered campesinos of the Lower Aguan. Each murder statistic rattled off is a real person with a real family that will be forever anguished by the loss of their loved ones.

This repression has been aided by US support for the alleged perpetrators of many of these crimes: the Honduran police and military. Concerned US citizens across the country have weighed in with our members of Congress, and Hondurans and other Latinos living in the US have also voiced their concerns about US support for Honduras’ police and military while it continues to kill, kidnap, torture and commit other heinous crimes with impunity. Congress responded to these concerns. In March 2012, 94 members sent a letter [PDF] to the State Department urging it “to suspend US assistance to the Honduran military and police given the credible allegations of widespread, serious violations of human rights attributed to the security forces.” Just this January, 58 members voiced concerns about repression of Honduras’ Afro-indigenous Garifuna community, several of whom were “collateral damage” in a lethal DEA-related counter narcotics operation last May.

The response from the State Department has been tepid at best. When asked about human rights in Honduras, State Department spokespersons speak of “protect[ing] the human rights of all Hondurans,” as they did yet again last month, yet they fail to express concern regarding the many attacks targeting political opponents and other vulnerable groups. Meanwhile, the killings have continued while the perpetrators go free. Partly in response to the lack of urgency on the part of both the State Department and the Honduran government to halt the killings by the police and military, last year Congress halted tens of millions of dollars in aid money under the “Leahy Law” which bars US assistance to units believed responsible for gross human rights abuses.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and his colleagues’ concerns have focused on National Police Director General Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, who has been accused of running death squads in the early 2000s. While it is true that Bonilla was acquitted of a murder charge, the head of police internal affairs at the time, Maria Luisa Borjas, claims that she was threatened and that high-level security officials obstructed investigations into serious allegations against Bonilla regarding murders and forced disappearances. Other pending murder charges against Bonilla have not yet been fully investigated.

US funds for the Honduran police have continued, but State Department officials have said that these are for specially “vetted” units that are not under Bonilla’s control. US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield even committed to increasing security assistance to the tune of $16.3 million during a trip to Honduras over St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

The same weekend, the Associated Press released a major investigative feature examining ongoing death squad activity in the Honduran police, profiling among others the case of a suspected gang member and his girlfriend who were taken into police custody and subsequently disappeared. The AP also noted that other recent incidents — including one caught on video showing the extrajudicial killings of suspected gang members by armed gun men on city streets — fit the modus operandi of police death squads, and that Honduran prosecutors have received over 200 complaints about “death squad style killings” in Honduras’ two largest cities over the last three years.

It appears that the State Department has not been honest with Congress about whom it is funding. A follow-up AP report reveals that no special “vetted” units exist outside of Bonilla’s control. All Honduran police — according to Honduran officials and legal experts cited in the article — report to the national police chief after all. It is inconceivable that the US State Department was not aware of this chain of command, nor that US funds could easily wind up in the hands of police death squads.

It is outrageous if the State Department is attempting an end run around Congress to fund shady, questionable security forces in Honduras. Such conduct disrespects Congress, and disrespects constituents who have worked hard to have our voices heard regarding what is done in our name, with our taxpayer dollars. Given US complicity in human rights abuses in Central America for decades, we should know better. History has demonstrated our willingness to disregard human rights abuses while advancing US geopolitical interests. In fact, these revelations come just as General Rios Montt finally faces trial for the genocide perpetrated by his scorched earth policies in Guatemala, and the US has apologized for its role in Guatemala’s bloody history. We must not repeat past mistakes that contributed to unspeakable suffering.

There are simply too many concerns, too many red flags, for the US-Honduran relationship to continue on its current path. The State Department’s response to ongoing questions over Bonilla’s dark history should be to exercise the precautionary principle and cut off funding as long as the questions persist. But that cannot be all: more importantly, US support for Honduras’ brutal police and military must cease as long as the rights violations continue and impunity reigns. John Kerry, the new US secretary of state, has signaled before that he is sympathetic to this common sense approach. Let’s hope he maintains that posture in his new capacity.

Lauren Carasik is a Clinical Professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law, where she serves as Director of the International Human Rights Clinic and the Legal Services Clinic. Her areas of interest include poverty law, law and social change, and human rights.

Suggested citation: Lauren Carasik, US Funds Still Supporting Honduras Death Squads, JURIST – Forum, Apr. 22, 2013, http://jurist.org/forum/2013/04/lauren-carasik-death-squads.php

Richard Rashke’s ‘Useful Enemies’ talks about John Demjanjuk case and why some enemies were welcome in U.S. and some weren’t

Using slave labor, the German scientist Wernher von Braun helped produce the V-2 rockets that in 1944 rained added grief — as if the country needed any more — on England. Given more time, the rockets might have changed the tide of World War II.

After the war, the predecessor agency to our National Security Council brought von Braun to America to develop our own rocket program; in 1959, he was given the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service. He said he was a man of science, not a Nazi true believer. As the mordant 1960s piano-playing satirist Tom Lehrer sang, with mock German accent:

“Vunce rockets go up,

Who cares vhere zey come down?

Zat’s not my department,”

Says Wernher von Braun.

The postwar American ambivalence toward former Nazis is part of the subject of Richard Rashke’s “Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America’s Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals.” As he shows, the American government welcomed and protected not just scientists, but also other former Nazis and collaborators who could help in our struggle against communism. Based on their wartime conduct, some of these were, it might fairly be said, hardly human at all — monsters, rather.

And then there was the Ukrainian autoworker John Demjanjuk of Seven Hills, Ohio. He was neither scientist nor Cold War agent; whether he was a monster was the subject of 30-plus years’ worth of litigation that Rashke presents in detail.

The Office of Special Investigations, a unit of the U.S. Justice Department, accused Demjanjuk of being the sadistic Ivan the Terrible, a guard in the Treblinka death camp. As Rashke shows, OSI’s lawyers had grave ethical concerns about their own case. Later, a federal court of appeals, in an opinion written by the great Kentucky judge Pierce Lively, held that they had committed fraud on the court.

Rashke is good at explaining how the Demjanjuk case, first brought in Cleveland, made for bitterness here. Much of the evidence against him came from Soviet files and so was automatically suspect to Ukrainian-Americans, most of whom hated communism. To them, Rashke says, “the Nazi hunt in America had become an OSI-Jewish conspiracy with the KGB pulling the strings.”

For Jews, on the other hand, “the trial evoked memories of pogroms and Ukrainian militiamen helping the Nazis” — not to mention the horrors of the concentration camps.

Useful Enemies” weaves the Demjanjuk affair together with a history of American use of war criminals by agencies such as the Army’s intelligence branch, the CIA and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. According to Rashke, they did so knowingly, often falsifying naturalization papers or engaging in cover-ups to protect their new hires — and to protect the agencies themselves.

The Demjanjuk case was “a perfect diversion for the American intelligence establishment with secrets to hide,” he says.

Deported in 1986, Demjanjuk was tried and sentenced to death in Israel (whose Supreme Court, in an act of significant judicial courage, reversed his conviction in 1993). In 2011 in Germany, he was convicted of being an accessory to 28,060 murders — in other words, of facilitating the killings — as a guard at another camp, Sobibor.

It was the first time, Rashke says, that a German court convicted a Nazi-era war criminal without evidence that he had killed anyone.

Through exuberance, or high indignation that verges into stridency, the intensity dial on Rashke’s prose is usually cranked up to 11. One might say, for instance, that American policy on allowing European Jews entry to the United States was shameful; to him, it was “blatantly selfish, timid, callous, and discriminatory.” The adjectives (and adverbs, too) are always flying all over the place.

And he is undisciplined, as well, in other ways. The depth of his research appears impressive, but his citation of source materials is cavalier — some assertions and quotations are cited, some not.

Cribbing from a 1987 newspaper article, for example, he quotes an Israeli teacher explaining why it was important for young Israelis to attend what would be the last major World War II war crimes trial — except that in the original it was a student, not a teacher, and Rashke gets the quotation wrong.

These errors, and others, are small glitches, but they distract from Rashke’s bigger themes — that the United States employed Nazis not by accident, but as deliberate policy; and that the accusations against Demjanjuk, in Cleveland, Jerusalem and Munich, were motivated by politics.

Though told in a sometimes exasperating form, “Useful Enemies” is a fascinating story, abounding in irony and irony’s bad twin, hypocrisy. Rashke is good at finding those: Demjanjuk, neither German nor a Nazi, was convicted, in Germany, of being a guard at Sobibor, when four German SS officers who ran that camp, and issued the orders, were acquitted by a German court long ago.

As for facilitating the killing, Rashke points out, there were many others who were never prosecuted at all. Including some useful rocket scientists.

Mark Gamin is a Cleveland lawyer and critic.

http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2013/04/richard_rashkes_useful_enemies.html

U.S. drone strikes are creating cadres of anti-American fighters, furious over the killing and wounding of thousands of civilians. Far from keeping drone attacks “on a very tight leash,” as President Obama has claimed, they have generated widespread terror across Muslim populations in the attack regions, disrupting civilian lives and literally driving people mad.

According to an article in the UK Guardian, Zamir Akram, Pakistani ambassador to the UN,  charged that more than 1,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes. The use of drones, he said, “leads to greater levels of terror rather than reducing them.” Other estimates put the Pakistan death toll from drone attacks much higher—between 2,000 and 3,500 killed.

Author Gregory Johnsen told McClatchy News Service that the drones attacks in Yemen are “exacerbating and expanding” resistance. “We have seen AQAP (al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula) expanding from 200-300 fighters in 2009, when the U.S. bombing campaign began, to more than 1,000 fighters today.” Johnsen is author of The Last Refuge, a new book on Yemen and al-Qaeda.

And retired Marine General James Cartwright told The Nation magazine the drones cause anger, bitterness and resentment among Muslim populations, and predicted their use will cause “blowback” attacks against America.

Yet both President Obama and his new CIA Director John Brennan have claimed the drone attacks are not indiscriminate assassination efforts but carefully selected strikes. Obama claimed the program is “kept on a very tight leash” and Brennan said it has “rigorous standards and process of review.”

The Administration has also claimed the human targets are only against “specific senior operational leaders of al-Qaeda and associated forces,” who are plotting “imminent” violent attacks against USA, McClatchey News Service reported.

However, McClatchey’s Jonathan Landay writes, sifting through U.S. intelligence reports shows “that drone-strikes in Pakistan during a four-year period didn’t adhere to those standards.”

The Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (Stanford Clinic), which has made an intensive study of the drone controversy, finds that drones have not only been launched against specific suspected terrorists—-they have also been fired at first responders.

The crisis has become so dire in Pakistan that those wounded by the drone attacks often lie unaided because first responders are fearful they will become targets of a follow-up strike. It seems incredible that CIA officials launching the drone strikes would go after first responders—-medics, fire fighters, etc.—-but there are numerous reports of this.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on the issue told a Geneva conference that the CIA strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere “would encourage other states to flout long-established human rights standards,” The Guardian said. Heynes described the CIA strikes as attacks on “international law itself.”

According to the Stanford clinic, “the constant presence of U.S. drones overhead leads to substantial levels of fear and stress in the civilian communities. One man said the sound of the drones causes people to scream in terror. Another person interviewed for the Stanford report said, “God knows whether they’ll strike us again or not. But they’re always surveying us, they’re always over us, and you never know when they’re going to strike and attack.”

Still another interviewee who lost both legs in a drone attack told Stanford, “Everyone is scared all the time. When we’re sitting together to have a meeting, we’re scared there might be a strike. When you can hear the drone circling in the sky, you think it might strike you. We’re always scared. We always have this fear in our head.”

Akhunzada Chitan, a parliamentarian who travels to his family home in Waziristan, said people there “often complain that they wake up in the middle of the night screaming because they are hallucinating about drones.”  Other residents have been driven mad and must be kept under lock and key. Some children have dropped out of school because they cannot focus.  Merchants fear to open their doors and shoppers fear to go to market, while parents commonly do not let children outside to play.

Distress in Pakistan is so widespread that the U.S. has become more hated there than India, polls indicate. “The U.S. has gone far beyond what the U.S. public—and perhaps even Congress—understands the government has been doing and claiming they have a legal right to do,” says Mary Ellen O’Connell, a Notre Dame Law School professor who contends that CIA drone operations in Pakistan violate international law,” Landay wrote in The Miami Herald April 10th.

(Sherwood Ross formerly reported for the Chicago Daily News and several major wire services. Reach him at sherwood.ross@gmail.com)

The Stockholder in the Sand

Excerpt from Vanity Fair

… The ties between Alwaleed and Murdoch run deep. Alwaleed owns 56.2 million shares of Murdoch’s News Corporation; News Corporation, in turn, owns a 19.9 percent stake, worth around $150 million, in Rotana, Alwaleed’s privately held pan-Arab media conglomerate, based in Bahrain. As much of the world knows by now, last year was not a good year for Murdoch. Due to a phone-hacking investigation into his British newspapers, he was forced to close the major London tabloid News of the World, abandon his bid for control of the satellite network BSkyB, shunt aside his younger son and heir apparent, James, and testify before Parliament about the company’s abuses of power. Some 32 people, most of them former and current News Corp. employees, have been arrested since the phone-hacking scandal was uncovered.

The scandal upset Alwaleed deeply. On Bastille Day 2011, speaking on a BBC television program, he said Rebekah Brooks, then the C.E.O. of News International (the British newspaper division of News Corporation), “has to go. You bet she has to go.” The next morning Brooks, who was subsequently arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, resigned. “I was the first one that said Rebekah had to resign,” Alwaleed told me with pleasure.

But since then, Alwaleed has not called for any more heads. He remains supportive of 40-year-old James. “James is not my partner only in News Corp.,” Alwaleed said. “He’s also my partner in the Rotana. . . . He’s a highly ethical, professional, decent man. I think of his honesty. I’m thinking of him. I know him very well.” They are texting pals, and James is on his speed dial.

Alwaleed believes too much has been made of the scandal—“Let’s not blow this out of proportion,” he advised me as tea was served. “Mistakes do happen. We correct them and life goes on.” He is impatient that the whole mess be resolved. “I don’t like what happened,” he admitted, “and that’s why I go to the members of the board and tell them we have to get this behind us as quickly as possible . . . I cannot tell you everything is fine. No. I want these issues behind us as fast as possible. I say the message to them confidentially, and I say it now on the record. Definitely.” He takes some satisfaction that the News Corporation stock price is up some 50 percent in the last year. “One rotten apple, a small apple, is not going to ruin the whole batch, and the shareholders in News Corp. are still accepting the situation, and they have not penalized the company at all,” he continued. …

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2013/03/myth-prince-alwaleed-bin-talal-saudi