CIA crucified Abu Ghraib prisoner


This video says about itself:

Janis Karpinski, the former commander of Iraq‘s Abu Ghraib prison who was demoted in the wake of the revelations of abuse there, tells Al Jazeera about her reaction to a report that says senior Bush administration officials were involved in approving torture.

From Crooks and Liars in the USA:

New Yorker Magazine Buries Major Abu Ghraib Abuse On Page 6 Of CIA Story

By Sherwood Ross, on Scoop in New Zealand:

Wednesday, 1 July 2009, 11:53 am

Report: CIA Crucified Captive In Abu Ghraib Prison

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

“A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.

“No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.

An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hendren reported that one Manadel Jamadi died “of blunt-force injuries” complicated by “compromised respiration” at Abu Ghraib prison “while he was with Navy SEALs and other special operations troops.” Another victim, Abdul Jaleel, died while gagged and shackled to a cell door with his hands over his head.” Yet another prisoner, Maj. Gen. Abid Mowhosh, former commander of Iraq’s air defenses, “died of asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression” in Qaim, Iraq.

“There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,” says Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable. America must stop putting its head in the sand and deal with the torture scandal.” At least scores of detainees in U.S. custody have died and homicide is suspected. As far back as May, 2004, the Pentagon conceded at least 37 deaths of prisoners in its custody in Iraq and Afghanistan had prompted investigations.

Nathaniel Raymond, of Physicians for Human Rights, told The New Yorker, “We still don’t know how many detainees were in the black sites, or who they were. We don’t fully know the White House’s role, or the C.I.A.’s role. We need a full accounting, especially as it relates to health professionals.”

Recently released Justice memos, he noted, contain numerous references to CIA medical personnel participating in coercive interrogation sessions. “They were the designers, the legitimizers, and the implementers,” Raymond said. “This is arguably the single greatest medical-ethics scandal in American history. We need answers.”

The ACLU obtained its information from the Pentagon through a Freedom of Information suit. Documents received included 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of people seized in Iraq and Afghanistan. An ACLU statement noted, “This covers just a fraction of the total number of Iraqis and Afghanis who have died while in U.S. custody.” (Italics added).

Torture by the CIA has been facilitated by the Agency’s ability to hide prisoners in “black sites” kept secret from the Red Cross, to hold prisoners off the books, and to detain them for years without bringing charges or providing them with lawyers.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, denounced the Obama administration for considering “prevention detention,” The New Yorker’s Mayer wrote. Roth said this tactic “mimics the Bush Administration’s abusive approach.”

From all indications, CIA Director Panetta has no intention of bringing to justice CIA officials involved in the systematic torture of prisoners. Panetta told Mayer, “I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt…If they do the job that they’re paid to do, I can’t ask for a hell of a lot more.”

Such sentiments differ markedly from those Panetta wrote in an article published last year in the January Washington Monthly: “We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don’t. There is no middle ground.”

One way to discern who really runs a country is to look to see which individuals, if any, are above the law. In the Obama administration, like its predecessors, they include the employees of the CIA. Crucifixions they execute in the Middle East differ from those reported in the New Testament in at least one important respect: Jesus Christ had a trial.

See also here.

The US Justice Department is again delaying the release of an internal CIA report on the agency’s secret detention and interrogation program during the Bush administration: here.

Veterans Press for Complete Withdrawal of Troops from Iraq: here.

Anti-war dissent grows in the US military: here.

U.S. Says It Will Preserve Secret Jails for Terror Case: here.

Dodo research on Mauritius starts again


This video says about itself:

In this episode we travel to Mauritius to meet the endangered Pink pigeon.

From the Dodo Expedition Weblog 2009:

For the fourth time the international dodo research team will depart to Mauritius.

In this (Dutch) weblog the expedition members share their experiences about working in the mud in the Mare aux Songes. In October last year the team found for the first time bones smaller than one millimeter. Since then the Mare aux Songes dodo collection is worlds most important dodo collection! The researchers are hoping to expand this collection with more discoveries.

But there is more: this year the team will for the first time dig in the dodo-polder itself. Last year we investigated 68 patato bags with fossil soil that was left over from the 2007 expedition, this year we will investigate exactly how the bones are laying in the ground. The way the bones are situated in the ground will tell us more on how the dodos died.

Therefore the team will – layer after layer – dig and investigate the dodo-polder. Our biggest wish is of course to find a whole dodo skeleton.

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O.A.S. ultimatum to Honduras dictators


http://www.popmodal.com/nvplayer.swf?config=http://www.popmodal.com/nuevo/econfig.php?key=c69352c859c1faa28787

This BBC video says about itself:

Police and soldiers in Honduras have clashed with protesters demonstrating over the ousting of the president, Manuel Zelaya.

From the New York Times in the USA:

O.A.S. Issues Ultimatum on Honduras

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: July 1, 2009

WASHINGTON — Honduran coup leaders have three days to restore deposed President Manuel Zelaya to power, the Organization of American States said Wednesday, before Honduras risks being suspended from the group.

OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza delivered what he called ”an ultimatum” as OAS talks regarding the crisis dragged into the early-morning hours. The talks began Tuesday afternoon.

In a sharply worded resolution, the OAS said it vehemently condemned the coup and ”the arbitrary detention and expulsion” of Zelaya.

The coup, the resolution said, has produced an ”unconstitutional alteration of the democratic order.” The envoys demanded Zelaya’s immediate and safe return to power.

Calling Zelaya’s overthrow an ”old-fashioned coup,” Insulza said: ”We need to show clearly that military coups will not be accepted. We thought we were in an era when military coups were no longer possible in this hemisphere.”

The 72-hour period appears designed to cover plans for Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup Sunday, to go home, accompanied by the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador, and seek restoration of his authority. However, Roberto Micheletti, named by Honduras’ Congress as the new president, said Tuesday that Zelaya could be met with an arrest warrant.

Zelaya met Tuesday night with envoys to the OAS to discuss what Argentina’s foreign minister called an urgent and dangerous situation in Honduras.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana and other Western Hemisphere ambassadors waited for 3 1/2 hours as Zelaya made his way from New York, where earlier Tuesday the U.N. General Assembly denounced the military coup that drove him from power Sunday. They demanded his immediate return to office.

Taiana, who presided over the special session of the 34-nation assembly, said if the diplomatic approach does not prevail, ”we have to take the decision to suspend Honduras in its rights and duties in this organization.”

When Zelaya arrived at the OAS building on Constitution Avenue, within blocks of the White House, he met first with Insulza. Zelaya has called the coup the work of ”a small group of usurpers” who carried out ”an act of aggression attacking the democratic will of the people.”

Albert Rambin, the OAS’ assistant secretary-general, said Micheletti intended to send a Honduran delegation to the OAS, but it would not be accepted. Insulza, asked if he would meet with such a delegation, said: ”I do not plan to. I do not intend to.”

The U.N. adopted a resolution calling on all 192 U.N. member states not to recognize any government in Honduras other than Zelaya’s.

At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs said there are no plans to recall the U.S. ambassador to Honduras.

The United States said it saw no acceptable solution to Zelaya’s ouster other than returning him to power. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters that the U.S. was still reviewing whether to cut off aid to the Central American nation.

The difference between the new Obama administration and the old George W. Bush administration in the USA is that Bush would immediately have praised the Honduran wannabe Pinochet coup plotters and merchants of violence against journalists and against Honduran pro democracy demonstrators, as “heroes” etc; like he supported the 2002 putsch in Venezuela against the elected president.

The difference between the new Obama administration and an administration which would have completely broken with the bad old Bush days is that it takes the State Department extremely long to decide that a coup is indeed a coup and that, of course, all aid, especially military aid, to the illegal junta in Honduras should have been cut off immediately.

From Xinhua news agency:

2 dead, 60 injured in Honduras anti-coup protests

TEGUCIGALPA, June 29 — The death toll from protests against the interim Honduran government installed after a military coup increased to two on Monday after a protestor died in hospital.

Green party in England/Wales against the coup: here.

London protest against Honduran coup: here.

USA: Minneapolis protest against Honduran coup: here.

US-HONDURAS: Dictatorships and Double Standards Revisited: here.

AFL-CIO on Honduras: here.

The UN general assembly has roundly condemned the coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and demanded his immediate return to power: here.

Update: President Zelaya said:

My return to Honduras is scheduled for the weekend.

US seeks deal between Honduran coup leaders and deposed president: here.

Fossil monkey discovery in Myanmar


This video is called New Fossil Links Humans, Lemurs.

From ScienceDaily:

New Fossil Primate Suggests Common Asian Ancestor, Challenges Primates Such As ‘Ida

(July 1, 2009) — According to new research published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) on July 1, 2009, a new fossil primate from Myanmar (previously known as Burma) suggests that the common ancestor of humans, monkeys and apes evolved from primates in Asia, not Africa as many researchers believe.

A major focus of recent paleoanthropological research has been to establish the origin of anthropoid primates (monkeys, apes and humans) from earlier and more primitive primates known as prosimians (lemurs, tarsiers and their extinct relatives).

Prior to recent discoveries in China, Thailand, and Myanmar, most scientists believed that anthropoids originated in Africa. Earlier this year, the discovery of the fossil primate skeleton known as “Ida” from the Messel oil shale pit in Germany led some scientists to suggest that anthropoid primates evolved from lemur-like ancestors known as adapiforms.

According to Dr. Chris Beard–– a paleontologist at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a member of the international team of researchers behind the Myanmar anthropoid findings––the new primate, Ganlea megacanina, shows that early anthropoids originated in Asia rather than Africa. These early Asian anthropoids differed radically from adapiforms like Ida, indicating that Ida is more closely related to modern lemurs than it is to monkeys, apes and humans.

The 38-million-year-old Ganlea megacanina fossils, excavated at multiple sites in central Myanmar, belong to a new genus and species. The name of the new species refers to a small village, Ganle, near the original site where the fossils were found, and the greatly enlarged canine teeth that distinguish the animal from closely related primates. Heavy dental abrasion indicates that Ganlea megacanina used its enlarged canine teeth to pry open the hard exteriors of tough tropical fruits in order to extract the nutritious seeds contained inside.

“This unusual type of feeding adaptation has never been documented among prosimian primates, but is characteristic of modern South American saki monkeys that inhabit the Amazon Basin,” says Dr. Beard. “Ganlea shows that early Asian anthropoids had already assumed the modern ecological role of modern monkeys 38 million years ago.”

Ganlea and its closest relatives belong to an extinct family of Asian anthropoid primates known as the Amphipithecidae. Two other amphipithecids, Pondaungia and Myanmarpithecus, were previously discovered in Myanmar, while a third, named Siamopithecus, had been found in Thailand.

A detailed analysis of their evolutionary relationships shows that amphipithecids are closely related to living anthropoids and that all of the Burmese amphipithecids evolved from a single common ancestor. Some scientists had previously argued that amphipithecids were not anthropoids at all, being more closely related to the lemur-like adapiforms.

The discovery of Ganlea strongly supports the idea that amphipithecids are anthropoids, because adapiforms never evolved the features that are necessary to become specialized seed predators. Indeed, all of the Burmese amphipithecids appear to have been specialized seed predators, filling the same ecological niche occupied by modern pitheciine monkeys in the Amazon Basin of South America. During the Eocene when Ganlea and other amphipithecids were living in Myanmar, they inhabited a tropical floodplain that was very similar to the environment of the modern Amazon Basin.

Fossils of Ganlea megacanina were first discovered in Myanmar in December 2005. The fieldwork is a long-term collaboration by scientists from several institutions in Myanmar; as well as the University of Poitiers and the University of Montpellier in France; Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA; and the Department of Mineral Resources in Bangkok, Thailand. Funding was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France.

“Ida” “not related to monkeys”: here. And here.

Pour more rain on Ida’s parade. Last May, a team of researchers announced that the 47-million-year-old lemurlike fossil represented a missing link between primitive primates and humans. Many paleoanthropologists were skeptical, however, and shortly thereafter a new find challenged Ida’s status. Now, another skeleton has come out of Ida’s closet: a younger relative from Egypt that shows Ida’s resemblance to apes and humans is only superficial: here.

Algeripithecus: here.

In an article now available online in the Journal of Human Evolution, four scientists present evidence that the 47-million-year-old Darwinius masillae is not a haplorhine primate like humans, apes and monkeys, as the 2009 research claimed: here.

Mammals’ genomes: here.

Messel fossils: here.

British army torture in Iraq


This video is called Sexual abuse and torture by British troops in Iraq.

From British daily The Independent:

Army faces 20 more abuse claims from Iraqi civilians

High Court to hear cases against soldiers accused of shootings and beatings

By Robert Verkaik, Home Affairs Editor

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The British Army faces 20 fresh claims of torture and abuse of Iraqi civilians in a series of damaging cases being prepared by human rights lawyers in the High Court in London.

These new claims lend support to the accusation that the ill-treatment of scores of detainees in Iraq in the first four years after the invasion was systemic rather than the work of a few “rotten apple” soldiers.

Next month a public inquiry will begin hearing evidence about the killing of a 26-year-old Basra hotel worker, Baha Mousa, who was kicked and beaten to death by British soldiers in 2003. The Ministry of Defence has already paid nearly £3 million to Mr Mousa’s family and nine other victims of abuse detained at the same time.

The new cases could lead to a similar-sized Government pay-out for loss of life, personal injury and abuse. Among the claims is an allegation that a group of eight Iraqi men were “violently beaten” when a home was visited by British soldiers in August 2003.

The following year a son and his father allege they were shot and wounded by soldiers after a raid on their home. The son subsequently died of his injuries and his father lost his arm. Eight of his other sons were beaten “so ferociously by the soldiers that at least one brother lost consciousness,” say the lawyers who took witness statements from the men this year.

In 2006 it is alleged that three more Iraqi civilians, held in separate incidents, were arrested and violently beaten.

In March 2008, the former Defence Secretary, Des Browne, admitted to “substantial breaches” of the European Convention of Human Rights over the killing of Baha Mousa. In July the same year the Ministry of Defence agreed to pay £2.83 million in compensation to Mr Mousa’s family and nine other men. …

A statement from Public Interest Lawyers said: “In May of this year, lawyers from PIL travelled to Beirut to take witness statements from a number of other Iraqis who allege to have been ill-treated, arbitrarily detained and in some cases religiously humiliated and sexually abused by the British military. The cases documented span from the start of hostilities in March 2003 through to 2007 and it is understood that there are many more cases which are yet to be documented.”

Phil Shiner, of PIL, said: “The details of the abuse and the use of coercive interrogation techniques (hooding, stressing, food and water deprivation) are all too familiar. With the ever-mounting evidence of repeated systemic abuse, the protests that these atrocities have been caused by a few rotten apples ring ever more hollow.”

Mr Shiner now wants a broader judicial inquiry that will investigate all the allegations of abuse and the military practices used to arrest and detain Iraqis in the years after the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Said Mr Shiner: “On 15 June 2009, the Prime Minister announced the long-awaited inquiry into British involvement in Iraq. There has been very little comment since then of the need to address officially-sanctioned mistreatment and torture of detainees. This issue should not escape attention.

It is essential to evaluate what is now known of British military and intelligence practices in Iraq and elsewhere, so that they can be altered and further breaches forestalled.”

Mr Shiner claims that the case of Baha Mousa exposed the “deficiencies in the military investigative apparatus and justice system.” He says: “Soldiers investigating other soldiers’ crimes only to be prosecuted by other soldiers before a panel of yet more soldiers is an insufficient way to satisfy modern calls for accountability.”

Baha Mousa died in British custody in September 2003 after suffering 93 separate injuries including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

Mr Mousa’s children, who were aged five and six at the time of his death were both left orphaned as their mother had died from cancer only a short time before his arrest.