Archive for April 30th, 2012

Bush still hounded for human rights violations

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm by

Who the hell let him into Canada?Two human rights groups have filed a report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture alleging that the Canadian government failed in its obligation to “investigate and prosecute former President George W. Bush for torture, during his visit to Canada in the fall of 2011.” Both the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) are requesting that the committee “investigate the case and make specific recommendations to Canada regarding future compliance.”

We call upon the Committee Against Torture to take this opportunity to remind Canada—and other signatory States—of their obligation to investigate and prosecute torturers present in their territory, even when the alleged torturer is the former president of the United States,” said CCR senior staff attorney Katherine Gallagher. “Only when States comply with their obligations will the Convention Against Torture serve as an effective tool to end impunity and deter torture.

The request arises from George W. Bush’s visit to Canada in late 2011. According to Matt Eisenbrandt, legal director of CCIJ, the crux of the issue is that

the Canadian government violated its international obligations and forced these men to initiate their own legal proceedings. Those efforts were then thwarted by government officials, blocking all hopes for the survivors to get justice and allowing Mr. Bush to visit Canada with impunity.

What’s really great is that “more than 50 human rights organizations from around the world and prominent individuals signed on to a letter in support of the call for George W. Bush’s prosecution, including former UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and Nobel Peace Prize winners.”

We know that the constant hounding does have an adverse affect on Bush’s current lifestyle.

In February 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other human rights organizations attempted to initiate criminal proceedings against Bush during a private speaking engagement in Geneva, but he canceled reportedly after news of the planned prosecution came to light.

This intense pressure has to be kept up until Bush and his partners are finally held accountable for their egregious actions.

News Digest 04/30/12

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm by

Current News

4/30, Barry Eisler, Huffington Post, Interrogators Speak Out: Why Not a Torture Turing Test?

4/30, Tenth Amendment Center, Stop the NDAA in your State, County and Town

4/29, Jameel Jaffer and Nathan Freed Wessler, New York Times, The C.I.A.’s Misuse of Secrecy

4/29, David Dishneau, Times Union, Ruling coming on gravest charge in WikiLeaks case

4/29, Anna Palmer, Politico, Brennan: Congress complicates Gitmo shutdown

CISPA and likelihood of passage explained

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm by

262223-facebook-cispaOver at ProPublica, there is an article that explains the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Basically, it’s a “rundown on the debate and what CISPA could mean for Internet users.” It attempts to explain exactly what CISPA is, what it does, and why we should care.

An interesting chart displays corporate (and public) groups’ stances on both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and CISPA.

At Truthdig, Alexander Reed Kelly proposes that without corporate opposition, CISPA is most likely to pass.

Why are other companies not banding together to fight CISPA as they did against SOPA? Probably because only the privacy of Internet users is at stake: The law would not directly interfere with any company’s ability to do business. Divided from the powerful corporations that once spoke for them, opposing CISPA seems to be in the urgent interest of American citizens alone. And without the resources and organization required to wage an aggressive public battle, it seems a certainty that lawmakers who back the legislation will prevail.

Ergo, if it doesn’t negatively affect the corporate structure there is no corporate interest in the legislation. If the bill does pass, the indication is that ordinary citizens lack the pull to oppose the powerful forces at work on our legislature.

Bob Woodward calls for journalistic due diligence to address “problem of secret government”

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 9:51 am by

Bob Woodward Journalist Bob Woodward (pictured) recently addressed an audience of 200 at Union College, emphasizing the constant need for journalistic due diligence by the press in their reporting, particularly when covering government agencies and activities. In his speech last Thursday, April 20, Woodward noted, “What we should worry about the most is secret government. All of the other problems—immense and giant and seemingly insurmountable as they are—pale in comparison to the problem of secret government.”

Bob Woodward is famous for his diligence in uncovering the Watergate scandal with Washington Post colleague Carl Bernstein. His statement reflects the significance of deep, investigative reporting that does not afford a government as large and powerful as the United States’ the option of sweeping everything under the rug. Instead, Woodard underscored the importance of speaking to different sources, over and over, “to peel back the layers of what is going on.” He explained, “You get inside information from human beings, quite frankly.”

Unfortunately, this type of extensive, investigative reporting and journalism has little place in the Internet media age, where quick and current headlines reign—better still if you can fit it in 140 characters.

Woodward also discussed the difficulties of diligent reporting when, for example, conditions surrounding presidential campaigns favor money and entertainment over a truer representation of the candidates. With the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, authorizing unlimited corporate contributions, Super PACs end up controlling and dictating the media portrayal of candidates. Woodward asked, “Can we collectively sort through and present authentic pictures of who these candidates are?”