Sunday, April 19, 2009

UN expert says Obama violating international law

Obama is obligated to prosecute by international (as well as by national) law:
UN expert criticizes US torture decision

1 day ago

VIENNA (AP) — An Austrian newspaper quotes the U.N.'s top torture investigator as saying President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA operatives who used questionable interrogation practices violates international law.

Manfred Nowak is quoted in Der Standard as saying the United States has committed itself under the U.N. Convention against Torture to make torture a crime and to prosecute those suspected of engaging in it.

Obama assured CIA operatives on Thursday they would not be prosecuted for their rough interrogation tactics of terror suspects under the former Bush administration.

Nowak also says in the newspaper interview published Saturday that a comprehensive independent investigation is needed, and that it is important to compensate victims.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

House Financial Services Committee gets financial service

Congressmen Hear from TARP Recipients Who Funded Their Campaigns
Published by Lindsay Renick Mayer on February 10, 2009 9:18 PM | Permalink |
Comments (3)
The eight CEOs testifying Wednesday before the House Financial Services
Committee about how their companies are using billions of dollars in bailout
funds may find that the hot seat is merely lukewarm. Nearly every member of
the committee received contributions associated with these financial
institutions during the 2008 election cycle, for a total of $1.8 million.
And 18 of the lawmakers have their own personal funds invested in the

All of the companies represented at the hearing have received millions, even
billions, from the government's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP),
including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of
America, State Street Corporation, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Wells
Fargo. These companies' PACs and employees gave $10.6 million to all members
of the 111th Congress in the 2008 election cycle, with 61 percent of that
going to Democrats.

On the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who is
new to Congress this year and represents a state that is home to many hedge
funds, insurers and other financial institutions, collected the most from
these companies in the 2008 cycle at $195,350, followed by ranking member
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who collected $116,950. JPMorgan has been
Bachus's second-largest donor over time, giving him at least $96,000 since
1989. The eight financial institutions at Wednesday's hearing have given
$63,250 to the chairman of the committee, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and
JPMorgan has given him more money than any other company, union or
organization since 1989. The House Financial Services Committee has
jurisdiction over the housing and financial sectors.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fw: 7 reasons you should join the March on the Pentagon on March 21

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Sent: Monday, February 23, 2009 5:00 AM
Subject: 7 reasons you should join the March on the Pentagon on March 21


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Want information on the March 21st March on the Pentagon?
Go to

7 Reasons You Should Join
the March on the Pentagon
on March 21, 2009

Please post the March 21st event on your Facebook and MySpace pages, and forward it widely to your friends and family.

The war in Afghanistan is expanding and widening. President Obama announced last week that another 17,000 troops are on their way to Afghanistan. Only 18 percent of Afghanis support this escalation and only 34 percent of the people of the United States approve of the added troops despite the president's popularity, according to the Washington Post/ABC poll announced on February 17, 2009. This is a colonial war. The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was not involved in the decision to add more occupying troops into his country. Rather, he was "informed of the deployments in a telephone call with Obama" on February 17, according to the Washington Post (February 18, 2009).

About 350,000 U.S. troops and U.S.-paid private contractors (mercenaries) still occupy Iraq. The Iraqi people want the occupation to end. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is insisting that only two of the 14 combat brigades in Iraq exit in 2009. The war and occupation of Iraq costs $430 million each day. If the U.S. government were to end the military occupation, any and all future Iraqi governments would return to a position of political independence from the economic and political dictates of the United States. Iraq's anti-colonial legacy has created a political reality that prohibits the country from becoming like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia--an out-and-out dependency on U.S. imperialism. That is the real reason that the U.S. government fears a complete disengagement from Iraq and an end to its military occupation.

Israel's Siege of Gaza remains in place, with the full backing of Washington. The U.S. government has continued to fund Israel's war and blockade against the people of Gaza. The Pentagon provided the funding, and technical and logistical support for the establishment of the Israeli war machine, including its massive cluster and white phosphorous bomb arsenal, and the country's large cache of nuclear bombs.

The new Justice Department has announced that it will continue the policy of renditions, meaning the CIA and Pentagon will capture and kidnap individuals anywhere in the world and transfer them to other countries. "The Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard." (LA Times, Feb. 1, 2009)

The new administration has stepped up the air strikes that are killing an increasingly large number of Pakistani civilians. Unmanned drone bombing attacks violate Pakistani sovereignty and are creating an ocean of resentment and anger inside of Pakistan. The U.S. government has no right to carry out these drone bombing strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The people of the United States would not accept the legitimacy of other governments ordering air attacks in the United States. We must openly and loudly reject such tactics by the government that speaks in our name and spends our tax dollars for such aggression.

The real Pentagon war budget is over $1.3 trillion annually. This is greater than the combined total of most of the other countries in the world, including all the NATO countries, and Russia and China. Some label this "waste spending" because it spends precious resources to build exotic and high cost weapons, a new generation of nuclear weapons, and space-based war fighting capabilities, while filling the coffers of the big investors (i.e., the biggest banks) in the war corporations. Pentagon contracting is often based on guaranteed "cost-plus" contracts that reward price gouging since corporate profit is based on a fixed percentage above their expenses. Another label for this process is "extreme corruption" and theft from the public treasury.

More than 20 million people are now unemployed and under-employed. Nine million families are either in foreclosure or are at risk of foreclosure this year, according to the statistics just released by the government. Forty-seven million people are without health care. College tuition hikes are soaring and millions of students are at risk of being forced out of school. The people want change. They don't want a simple tweaking of Bush's criminal foreign policies. They want to put people's needs before corporate greed. They want an end to wars of aggression that are wreaking havoc, death and destruction abroad, and diverting urgently needed resources in the service of semi-colonialism and Empire.

Get Involved
Go to for more information.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Why would Obama protect missing Bush emails?

Obama administration backs Bush, tries to kill 'lost' White House emails lawsuit

Published: Sunday February 22, 2009

Missing email includes day Cheney's office told to preserve emails in CIA leak case

WASHINGTON -- Welcome to change.

The Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails in a stunning reversal of Obama's rhetoric about Bush secrecy on the campaign trail.

Two advocacy groups suing the Executive Office of the President, including one of the groups that helped derail former House Speaker Tom DeLay, say that large amounts of White House e-mail documenting Bush's eight years in office may still be missing, and that the government must undertake an extensive recovery effort. They expressed disappointment that Obama's Justice Department is continuing the Bush administration's bid to get the lawsuits dismissed.

During its first term, the Bush White House failed to install electronic record-keeping for e-mail when it switched to a new system, allegedly resulting in millions of messages that could not be found.

The Bush White House "discovered the problem" in 2005 and rejected a proposed solution.

The exact number of missing e-mails is unknown, but several days on which e-mails were not archived covered
key dates in a Justice Department inquiry into the roles of Vice President Dick Cheney and his aides in leaking the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

Ironically, Cheney's office is missing emails from the very day President Bush told reporters he'd "take care of" whatever staff member had actually leaked the CIA agent's name.

"If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush said Sept. 30, 2003. "And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of."

No e-mails were archived on the very day the probe was announced and White House officials were ordered to maintain anything that could become evidence in the investigation that ended the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Emails are missing from at least some of 473 days of Bush's presidency.

Obama administration tries to kill e-mail case

Obama administration continues Bush White House effort to kill e-mail case

AP News

Feb 21, 2009 14:33 EST

The Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails.

Two advocacy groups suing the Executive Office of the President say that large amounts of White House e-mail documenting Bush's eight years in office may still be missing, and that the government must undertake an extensive recovery effort. They expressed disappointment that Obama's Justice Department is continuing the Bush administration's bid to get the lawsuits dismissed.

During its first term, the Bush White House failed to install electronic record-keeping for e-mail when it switched to a new system, resulting in millions of messages that could not be found.

The Bush White House discovered the problem in 2005 and rejected a proposed solution.

Recently, the Bush White House said it had located 14 million e-mails that were misplaced and that the White House had restored hundreds of thousands of other e-mails from computer backup tapes.

The steps the White House took are inadequate, one of the two groups, the National Security Archive, told a federal judge in court papers filed Friday.

"We do not know how many more e-mails could be restored but have not been, because defendants have not looked," the National Security Archive said in the court papers.

"The new administration seems no more eager than the last" to deal with the issue, said Anne Weismann, chief counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the other group that sued the EOP.

The Executive Office of the President includes the president's immediate staff and many White House offices and agencies.

Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, noted that President Barack Obama on his first full day in office called for greater transparency in government.

The Justice Department "apparently never got the message" from Obama, Blanton said.

The department defends the government when it is sued.

Source: AP News

 Susan C. Serpa   

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fwd: Obama acted on Day One

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anthony D. Romero, ACLU <>
Date: Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 7:04 PM
Subject: Obama acted on Day One

Because Freedom Can't Protect Itself


Sign the ACLU's "Thank You" message, and urge President Obama to keep leading us towards an America we can proud of.

take action

Dear ACLU Supporter,

Within hours of taking office, President Obama took the important first step to close Guantánamo: halting the unconstitutional military commissions by ordering the prosecution to seek a 120-day suspension.

It's the first step in what we hope will be a series of bold measures to free America from the civil liberties outrages and human rights abuses of the Bush era.

The pundits and political experts told the ACLU we should "hold our horses" -- that it wouldn't be right to expect swift action from Obama. You and half a million ACLU supporters didn't listen to them -- and neither did our new President!

Let's match President Obama's first step forward with a powerful show of support and encouragement.

Sign the ACLU's "Thanks for acting on Day One" message to President Obama.

Tell President Obama how proud you are that he's already beginning to dismantle the Bush system of injustice -- and promise him your support as he keeps taking the actions you and the ACLU have been urging him to take to renew American freedom.

Within the next 120 days, we trust that the President's team will be studying and finalizing plans and a timeline for permanently closing Guantánamo, shuttering the military commissions and ensuring justice is served in the best of American traditions.

Sign the ACLU's "Thank You" message, and urge President Obama to keep leading us towards an America we can proud of.

Barack Obama understood that it would be unconscionably wrong to let the shameful military commissions go on for a single day.

And the ACLU isn't just waiting for additional concrete steps. We've provided the White House, Attorney General designate Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates -- among others -- with clear plans and proposals for renewing American freedom.

Right from the start, President Obama has made it clear that he means business. Make sure he knows that ACLU members across the country appreciate this first major step and stand ready to help him accomplish more in the days ahead.


Anthony D. Romero
Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

P.S. If rumors circulating in the media are true, an upcoming Barack Obama executive order closing Guantánamo Bay could soon result in another victory on a key ACLU priority. Thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do to set the stage for this remarkable beginning to the Obama presidency.

take action
take action

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fwd: Let Gaza Live! DC Action Needs YOU!

If you want to go, please reply to Ardeshir Ommani If you want to get another bus or van, please let Ardeshir and me know so that we can inform other people of the existence of another vehicle. 
Richard Duffee 203-588-0161 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ardeshir Ommani <>
Date: Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 10:44 PM
Subject: Let Gaza Live! DC Action Needs YOU!
To: Ardeshir Ommani <>

Dear Friends!  Please consider joining us in our trip to Washington, DC, to march with the Arab-Muslim Community to oppose the assault by Israel on the Palestinian people in Gaza and Palestine.  We have a 15 passenger van that will leave from the Westchester-White Plains, NY area and go to Washington.  If you wish to be included, please RSVP IMMEDIATELY, as seats are filling fast.  The van will make one stop in New Jersey, in the Fort Lee area, so if you want to be picked up there, let us know!  The round-trip cost is $30.00, leaving NY at 6:00 AM Saturday, January 10th and returning Saturday evening, January 10th, around 8-9 PM. 

Regards, AIFC

National March on Washington
Saturday, January 10

Assemble at the White House (north side) at 1:00 PM

New Sponsors   ~   Endorse   ~   Organize Transportation


Gaza wounded child 1.4 cropped
A man carries his wounded child
into a hospital in Gaza City.

A doctor in Gaza's main hospital reported that children make up 30 percent of the casualties, among the dead and wounded, in the second day of the ground invasion. The time to act is now! Local marches have taken place all over the country. Now is the time to bring the outrage of the people right to the steps of the White House.

We are sending a message to both Bush and the incoming Obama administration: This war of aggression must end immediately! People all over the world will be marching in their country's capital cities on Saturday, January 10. The people of this country will come together in Washington, D.C., to say NO to the government that speaks in their name and uses their tax dollars to fund Israel to the tune of over $15 million per day.

Please see below for important updates on the Saturday, January 10 LET GAZA LIVE National March on Washington.

Gaza Chicago 1.2.09

Tens of thousands have marched across the country.
Above: Chicago, January 2

New Sponsors

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), American Muslim Task Force (AMT), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA), Voters for Peace (VFP) and many others have become sponsoring organizations of the January 10 Let Gaza Live National March on Washington, along with the ANSWER Coalition, Muslim American Society Freedom (MASF), Free Palestine Alliance (FPA), National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), Al-Awda - International Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and hundreds of others.

Become an Endorser

Click here
to add your individual or organizational endorsement.

Organize Transportation to DC

Buses are being organized to bring people to Washington, D.C., from across the East Coast, Midwest and South. Now is the time to stand together in DC in solidarity with the people of Gaza!

If you are organizing transportation, fill click here to fill out the Transportation Form. This will allow others to find out about transportation options, and it will ensure that you receive important logistical information regarding the plans for Saturday.

Plan for Saturday, January 10

The Saturday, January 10 LET GAZA LIVE National March in Washington, D.C., will gather at the White House (north side, Lafayette Park) at 1:00 PM. The protest will be located between the Bush White House and the Hay Adams Hotel, where President-Elect Obama is now residing, which is located on the north side of Lafayette Park.

There will be coinciding West Coast demonstrations in San Francisco (11 am at Civic Center) , Los Angeles (12 noon at Westwood Federal Building), San Diego (details TBA) and elsewhere.

Help Spread the Word

Click here to view a flyer for the demonstration. It is a 8.5x11 inch PDF that you can view, print and reproduce. If you are in the Washington, D.C., area, you can pick up flyers from the ANSWER Coalition office at 1247 E St. SE.

Please spread the word online through Facebook, Myspace, email, listserves, blogs and bulletin boards; and talk to your family, friends, co-workers, classmates and people you meet on the street!

Calendar of Emergency Demonstrations Taking Place This Week

Statements from the Free Palestine Alliance

The Free Palestine Alliance, a member group of the ANSWER Coalition National Steering Committee, has been writing daily statements about the Gaza Strip Massacre. These are important statements of political orientation from the Palestinian-American community. Click here to read the statements issued by the Free Palestine Alliance.

Send a letter to the State Department and Congress

Join with people around the country and around the world who are demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel. This is an urgent situation and we must all act now. You can send a letter with our easy click and send system demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Without U.S. aid, the Israeli military attacks, siege and blockade of Gaza could not be continued. Click this link now to send a letter to the State Department and elected officials in Congress.