CIA torture island Diego Garcia and the British government


This video says about itself:

Stealing A Nation‘ (2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base. The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Come clean on US torture complicity, lawyers tell William Hague

Saturday 12th April 2014

Reprieve writes to foreign secretary following allegations that Britain let the CIA set up an interrogation ‘black site

Lawyers told Britain to come clean yesterday on whether it let the US run a secret torture site on an overseas territory.

Legal action charity Reprieve has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague following reports that the CIA set up a “black site” on Diego Garcia.

Al-Jazeera said this week that a secret US Senate intelligence committee report found “that the CIA detained some high-value suspects on Diego Garcia, an Indian Ocean island controlled by the United Kingdom and leased to the United States.”

And classified CIA documents showed it was run with Britain’s “full co-operation.”

After repeated denials the government finally admitted in 2008 that two rendition flights carrying detainees refuelled on Diego Garcia in 2002.

But it continues to deny that any prisoners were held that or that that a secret CIA prison existed.

Reprieve said that in 2004 anti-Gaddafi militant Abdulhakim Belhadj and his wife were rendered back to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation and, according to a CIA flight plan found following the toppling of Gaddafi, were scheduled to be flown via Diego Garcia.

But in December 2011 Foreign Minister David Lidington told Parliament: “No flights with a detainee on board landed on Diego Garcia in March 2004.”

He added that, apart from the two cases in 2002, the US government had confirmed no other US intelligence flights had landed “in the UK, our overseas territories or the crown dependencies with a detainee on board since September 11 2001.”

Reprieve director Cori Crider said: “We need to know immediately whether ministers misled Parliament over CIA torture on British soil.

“If the CIA operated a black site on Diego Garcia then a string of official statements — from both this and the last government — were totally false.

“Were ministers asleep at the wheel or, as the report suggests, have we been lied to for years?”

When asked for comment, a Foreign Office spokeswoman referred the Star to the department’s previous statements.

See also here.

UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret ‘black site’ prison: here.

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Roman Catholic Church admits ultra-conservative bishop abused little boys


Bishop Gijsen

Translated from RTL TV in the Netherlands today:

Diocese admits: Bishop Gijsen abused little boys

The diocese Roermond acknowledges that its former Bishop Jo Gijsen, deceased last year, abused two boys.

They do this in a statement from the diocese. [Present] Bishop Frans Wiertz apologizes to the victims and expresses his sorrow that “the later ecclesiastical and role model position of former Bishop Jo Gijsen has been damaged.”

Two underage boys

The statement follows a report by the Katholiek Nieuwsblad [Catholic Newspaper] earlier in the evening that Gijsen had groped the genitals of two minor boys between 1958 and 1961.

The newspaper reports that it is a one time fondling of a former student of the boys’ boarding school in Kerkrade and repeatedly fondling a boy (9-10 years old) from the parish in Valkenburg where Gijsen was chaplain until 1959. This boy is also said to have been forced to perform oral sex. He says he was also repeatedly raped by Gijsen.

In December 2011 the complaints committee of the Roman Catholic Church has ruled that the former bishop had acted during the late 1950s at the Rolduc seminary “in an unseemly way” and had violated the privacy of a former student there ‘grossly’.

There are still more abuse accusations against Gijsen (not sorted out yet).

Like Gijsen was in a sexual abuse scandal in Iceland while being bishop there.

Joannes Gijsen had become bishop in Roermond, the Netherlands, as one of several ultra-conservative Vatican appointees, against the wishes of most Roman Catholics in the diocese. His position in the Netherlands became untenable because of various issues, including sexual abuse at a seminary founded by Gijsen because he considered existing seminaries to be too liberal. The Vatican then moved Gijsen to Iceland, where there are few Roman Catholics.

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German militarism coming back


This video about Adolf Hitler’s armed forces is called War crimes of the Wehrmacht – Hannes Heer.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

German government planning major military build-up

11 April 2014

The German government is using the mounting conflict between NATO and Russia to massively rearm the military. This is underscored by an article in the latest edition of the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

The title page of the article sums it up. Defence minister Ursula Von der Leyen stands before a tank smiling, surrounded by German army soldiers armed to the teeth. This is the gruesome smile of German militarism, which is attempting to return to the world stage after two world wars and horrific crimes.

Under the cynical title “Leopards live longer,” a reference to the German tanks of that name, the article provides an insight into the West’s military plans. NATO is to be transformed into an anti-Russian alliance and significantly expand its influence in Eastern Europe. Germany is playing a central role in this. Leading German politicians and military strategists are calling for a massive programme to rearm the army. “The debate cannot be stopped, and the arms industry senses an opportunity for good business,” according to Der Spiegel.

The article first investigates the fundamental policy decisions by the imperialist powers that are once again turning to open confrontation with Russia. Then it describes the consequences for Germany that will arise from this.

“The cooperation firmly established with Russia over the years was officially abandoned last week,” Der Spiegel states. “As a result, Moscow is no longer a partner, but an opponent. This determines the next step, even if it leads back to the past: how does military deterrence, a concept which has not been heard in Western Europe for so long, work in 2014?”

The authors consider tanks and military equipment, and determine that the “deterrence potential” of the German army has been sharply reduced in recent years through its transformation from a “defensive” into an “intervention force.”

“Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, deterrence was based on the potential destruction by nuclear weapons of differing ranges, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers with heavy equipment, mainly tanks,” the article notes. At that time, the German army alone “even during peacetime had around 495,000 men in uniform,” in addition to 4,100 Leopard tanks and almost 600 planes.

But since then, the military budget was “cut from 3 percent to 1.2 percent of gross domestic product. The German army has just 185,000 men, is to be cut further and is equipped more for rapid foreign interventions than for territorial defence.” Instead of “tank divisions and field guns at the Fulda Gap,” there are “paratroopers and helicopters for Kosovo, Afghanistan or a crisis country in Africa.”

The message, which is appearing with increasing frequency in the German media, is unmistakable: After years of reducing troop numbers and heavy military equipment, it is now time to rearm!

Der Spiegel cited the head of the Kiel-based Institute for Security Policy, Joachim Krause, who stated, “Defence policy has focused on peace missions under relatively favourable conditions. The current crisis has made it painfully clear that this was perhaps too one-sided and naïve. Therefore the defence ministry has to fundamentally reconsider its purchasing plans.”

Social Democrat (SPD) defence policy spokesman Rainer Arnold struck a similar tone, saying, “We have to consider whether the uncontrolled reduction of our tank fleet within NATO was correct. In Europe, we need to jointly develop drones as quickly as possible. The decision about the ‘Euro-hawk’ drone should also be reconsidered.” This was in reference to a German government-sponsored project to develop drones, which was abandoned last year.

According to Der Spiegel, the defence ministry is already working on the build-up of NATO in Eastern Europe. Defence minister Von der Leyen ordered “top generals to review what further support can be provided through the alliance for the eastern member states.” It appears as though they “will propose joint military exercises with the Polish and Baltic armies,” the countries that are the strongest advocates of an aggressive role for NATO in Eastern Europe. Just last Tuesday, Polish foreign minister Radoslav Sikorski called for the stationing of two NATO brigades (around 10,000 soldiers) in Poland.

Der Spiegel reported on NATO plans that would effectively be a declaration of war against Russia. “Important military sources in NATO are appealing internally for an increased readiness of western land and air combat forces. Currently it would take 180 days for the vast majority to mobilise and be ready to intervene. This timescale is to be reduced. This will have an impact on at least 10,000 German army soldiers. In addition, according to the military sources, tank divisions were to be strengthened and munitions dumps replenished. It would be the comeback of the German ‘leopard’ tank.”

At the same time, Der Spiegel sought to portray German politicians as being forced to act by events rather than driving them. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier understood Germany’s policy on Ukraine as “pure diplomacy” and advocated a “course of de-escalation.” The defence minister was opposed to sending heavy military equipment and permanent troops to Eastern Europe. The German government viewed the NATO strategy with “extreme scepticism and would prefer to ignore the issue.”

This is utter nonsense. In reality, the plans of NATO to rearm express the new direction in German foreign policy, which is supported by all parliamentary parties. At the beginning of February, defence minister Von der Leyen, Steinmeier and President Joachim Gauck announced the end of military restraint at the Munich security conference. The German bourgeoisie now views the crisis in Ukraine, which it provoked, and the NATO offensive against Russia as an opportunity to turn to German imperialism’s traditional sphere in the east and rearm.

However, the drive to war within the ruling class is meeting broad opposition. The latest poll by public broadcaster ARD illustrated that a policy of increased security in Eastern Europe was opposed by the majority of the German population. Only four in ten spoke out in favour of strengthened air surveillance in Eastern Europe, while 53 percent opposed it. “German army involvement in related measures would be very unpopular here,” according to the poll. “Only one in three (35 percent) believed German engagement was correct, while 61 percent rejected this.”

The pollsters did not dare to ask about the sending of NATO troops to Eastern Europe, the reintroduction of conscription or the massive rearming of the German military. All of these plans are currently being discussed by the ruling elite, but are even more decisively opposed by the population.

Plans to deploy the army domestically in the future must be seen in this context. On Monday it was announced that the interior ministry would soon be seeking to change article 35 of the constitution, in order to make it easier to shoot down “terror planes.” In conditions of immediate danger, the defence minister is to give the order alone for the intervention of the air force, Spiegel Online reported.

The timing of this attempt makes clear that the German government is not concerned with a struggle against terrorism, but the use of the army domestically, which is strictly limited by the constitution. Should these limits be overcome in one instance, the military could once again be used to suppress social opposition.

In recent months and weeks the government has not once given a concrete warning of a terror attack. But they have initiated an aggressive course in foreign policy that is opposed by the vast majority of the population. The massive military build-up must be seen as doubly threatening. In order to return to an imperialist foreign policy on a global scale, Germany’s bourgeoisie is prepared to brutally suppress all domestic political and social opposition.

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Blind African refugee beaten up in Britain


This video from England says about itself:

Who killed Jimmy Mubenga? Protest outside G4S AGM, London 6 June 2013

By Ryan Fletcher in Britain:

Friday 11th April 2014

A disabled asylum-seeker told the Star yesterday that he was beaten by staff tasked to deliver him to Heathrow airport for deportation.

Alain Kouayep Tchatchue was delivered to Heathrow early on Saturday from nearby Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

Visually impaired Mr Tchatchue claimed that when he refused to board a flight to Cameroon, from which he fled because he is bisexual, he was attacked.

He alleged that the two staff responsible for taking him to the airport dragged him back to the transportation van, punched him repeatedly in the ribs and then left him in the van for over three hours with his hands and feet tied.

Mr Tchatchue claimed that the two staff told him “they were just doing their job.”

Speaking to the Star from the detention centre yesterday, he said: “I couldn’t see properly and was screaming ‘please help me.’

“They tied my feet together and handcuffed me. I could feel them putting pressure on my neck.

“They untied my feet after three hours but I was handcuffed for over four.”

Eventually Mr Tchatchue was returned to the detention centre after it was decided he was too ill to travel.

He has subsequently put in a complaint to the police, but said he was still suffering with mobility problems in his shoulder for which he has needed painkillers all week.

He told the Star: “I am very scared and upset. Even now I can’t sleep. This is a very difficult time in my life.”

Mr Tchatchue fled Cameroon after having a relationship with a man and said that reports about his sexuality had appeared in the local press there and he would be in danger if he was deported.

Manchester Metropolitan Church pastor Andy Braunston has been campaigning on Mr Tchatchue’s behalf.

He said: “Alain is a blind man who uses a white stick to get around and who has fled here because of fear of the violence of the state in Cameroon.”

The Metropolitan Police and the Home Office were unavailable for comment.

Britain: We musn’t lose the gains made by black workers over the last decade in an austerity-led backlash, says GLORIA MILLS: here.

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German nazis abuse Sesame Street Cookie Monster


This video is called Modern Nazi Murderers in Germany (Full Documentary).

After British nazis abusing an anti-fascist song by the Manic Street Preachers … and abuse of Sesame Street music for torture in Guantanamo Bay … now this.

From NBC News in the USA:

Cookie Monster Corrupted by Neo-Nazis to Lure Kids

MAINZ, Germany — Cookie Monster is being used by two neo-Nazis in eastern Germany to spread right-wing ideology among students in a local high-school, according to police.

“After months of investigation, we were able to arrest a well-known right-wing extremist dressed in a Cookie Monster costume, while he and an accomplice were handing out leaflets that read “To Be German is Cool’ at a local school in Senftenberg,” Ines Filohn, a police spokeswoman in the state of Brandenburg, told NBC News.

Following the incident, police searched the homes of the two extremists in the cities of Cottbus and Schwarzheide and confiscated computers with other neo-Nazi material. Pending official charges and further investigations, the two men –– both in their thirties — were released by police.

According to reports in Britain’s Daily Mail, one image found on one of the suspect’s computers included a picture of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster standing next to Adolf Hitler with the caption “Who ate my cookie?”

“We are presently trying to identify whether the two men can be linked to 20 other incidents that involved the Cookie Monster,” Filohn said.

Since the end of September, German police have been searching for the makers of short comic-like Internet videos showing the Cookie Monster and were investigating at least one case in which unknown suspects had plastered posters on school walls that read: “In 2030, the last Germans.”

Experts say that neo-Nazi groups and individual extremists have been searching for new ways to draw attention to racist ideologies and in particular are promoting their “Volkstod,” or “National Death” campaign, which is used by right-wing extremists to describe what they perceive as the degradation of the German race in a multicultural society.

The police spokeswoman in Cottbus expressed concern over the manipulation methods used by the neo-Nazi duo.

“These extremists are trying to trivialize their dangerous ideology by using simple language, by creating ironic cartoons and by increasingly using social media to reach adolescents,” Filohn said.

“The hardcore extremist scene is small, but very well connected,” Filohn added. “And, they are cleverly using this type of provocation to gain broader attention, especially in the media.”

- Andy Eckardt

First published April 8th 2014, 4:40 pm

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Free Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja


This video from Ireland says about itself:

On September 15, 2011 more than 130 human rights defenders from over 80 countries protested outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Dublin, Ireland for the freedom of their colleague Abdulhadi Al Khawaja from Bahrain.

From the International Federation for Human Rights:

9 April 2014

BAHRAIN: Third Anniversary of Arrest: Calls for the Release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja

The undersigned civil society organizations express their serious concern for the health and well-being of imprisoned Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. Mr. Al-Khawaja was arrested three years ago today, on 9 April 2011, and continues to require medical attention for injuries sustained during his arrest and subsequent torture.

Former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Mr. Al-Khawaja was sentenced to life in prison in June 2011 by a military court as part of a group of human rights activists and political leaders known as the Bahrain 13. We believe that Mr. Al-Khawaja is being unjustly persecuted for his legitimate human rights activity.

In its September 2012 decision, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Mr. al-Khawaja’s arrest was due to his exercise of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. According to the Working Group, the charges against Mr. al-Khawaja—including membership in a terrorist organization— were “vague” and “raise doubts as to the actual purpose of detention.” The Working Group also concluded that throughout Mr. Al-Khawaja’s arrest, detention, and trial, “the Government violated numerous international norms to the right to fair trial.”

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) further concluded that Mr. Al-Khawaja was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment during his arrest and detention. Mr. Al-Khawaja was severely beaten, resulting in a broken jaw, and later spent two months in solitary confinement where he was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual torture. A full testimony from Mr. Al-Khawaja regarding his torture can be found here.

Mr. Al-Khawaja continues to be denied adequate medical attention and suffers from severe medical complications as a result of his mistreatment in detention. Mr. Al-Khawaja has reported that he has cramps in his facial muscles from metal plates and screws that were set in his jaw after it was broken by security officials in four places in 2011. Mr. Al-Khawaja also continues to experience acute pain due to an injury to his coccyx sustained during torture in 2011.

Mr. Al-Khawaja and his family have repeatedly requested that the various operations he is in need of are performed by an independent doctor due to legitimate concerns about the impartiality of the doctor appointed by the Bahrain Defense Force Hospital, Dr. Al-Muharraqi, who in 2011 stated that Mr. Al-Khawaja was not subjected to torture. It is also deeply alarming that during his most recent examination, Dr. Al-Muharraqi informed Mr. Al- Khawaja that his entire medical file had gone missing from the system. Mr Al-Khawaja’s lawyers have been requesting a copy of his medical files since 2011, as it would serve as evidence of the multiple injuries and medical conditions caused by torture.

Despite his incarceration, Mr. Al-Khawaja and his colleagues continue to be the target of defamation campaigns. On the 27 February, 2014, a 12 minute video published on YouTube accused Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, activist Zainab Al-Khawaja, BCHR President Nabeel Rajab and BCHR Acting President Maryam Al-Khawaja of inciting terrorism, “taking the country hostage” and branding them as racists. The video included footage that could have only been obtained from official authorities, including the use of an interview with a police officer which requires the approval of the Ministry of Interior. The video unjustly targets the four human rights defenders as a result of their legitimate activities and could be seen to incite violence against them given the accusations presented.

In an attempt to test the legal procedures of combating defamation of human rights defenders in Bahrain, Mr. Al-Khawaja submitted a complaint to the Jaw Prison Administration which was then submitted to the Public Prosecutor in response to a degrading article about Mr. Al-Khawaja published on 28 May 2013 in the Gulf Daily News (GDN). In response, the GDN published a letter on 22 May 2013 accusing Mr. Al-Khawaja of “instruct[ing] rioters to attack military bases in Bahrain and is one of the master planners for an armed military coup.” Nearly a year later, no steps have been taken to address Mr. Al-Khawaja’s complaint.

The undersigned civil society organizations call for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja as well as immediate access to independent medical examination and treatment. In addition, we urge the Bahraini authorities to cease harassment and persecution of human rights defenders including unwarranted defamation campaigns.

The co-signed organizations are:

AMAN Network for Rehabilitation and Defending Human Rights
Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO)
Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS)
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Bahrain Interfaith
Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO)
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR)
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
CEARTAS – Irish Lawyers for Human Rights
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
European Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)
Front Line Defenders
Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)
Gulf Civil Society Associations Forum (GCSAF)
Human Rights First (HRF)
International Media Support (IMS)
Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)
LuaLua Center for Human Rights (LCHR)
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ)
PEN American Center
Pen International
The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND)
The National Lawyers Guild International Committee
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT)
Tunisian Initiative for Freedom of Expression
Vivarta

On 3 April 2014 a Bahraini Court of Appeal ruled to uphold a sentence of one year’s imprisonment issued by the Third Criminal Court in Bahrain against human rights defender and medic Dr Saeed Al Samahiji: here.

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the 30-month jail sentence that a Bahraini court passed on the blogger Ali Maaraj on 8 April on charges of “insulting the king” and “improper handling of information technology”: here.

Someone should really write a book or paper about why the majority of Bahrain’s security forces are comprised of foreign nationals. I mean there is something really strange about a regime that needs to import people to defend it.  On a similar note, here‘s an article in AlAkbar about political naturalization in Bahrain. Again why is it that the Bahraini regime feels the need to change the demographics of the country? What kind of regime simply wants to replace its own citizens? Here.

While there are differences in tone and length (the UK barely fills a side, while the U.S. version is 49 pages long), both of the reports from Bahrain’s two strongest western allies are critical of the regime’s failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice. The UK report agrees with the U.S. assessment that there are problems around impunity for Bahrain’s security forces “…regarding the accountability of police personnel, and the investigation and sentencing of those alleged to have committed torture and mistreatment”. The criticism in the UK report, however, is generally tepid, saying with predictable understatement that “…some areas of reform have been slower than we would have hoped”: here.

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Racist murder of refugee in the Netherlands


This video is called Never Before Seen Footage – Somalia war.

In Somalia, there is bloody war. Not to promote human rights, like imperialists usually claim about their wars; but war about oil.

Many Somalis try to flee the bloodshed. Sometimes, they land in a torture jail in NATO’s ‘brave new’ Libya. Sometimes, they drown in the Meditteranean.

If Somali refugees manage to reach a country like the Netherlands, are their problems over then? No, they may be falsely accused of and arrested for terrorism.

They may become homeless.

They may be murdered.

Translated from NOS TV:

Suspect of killing Somali arrested

Wednesday 9 May 2014, 11:30 (Update: 09-04-14, 11:41)

Police have arrested a suspect in a deadly assault in Groningen. He is a 23-year-old resident of Leek.

A 40-year-old homeless Somali man this Monday was beaten up in Groningen. He was seriously injured and died yesterday from his injuries.

Information from witnesses who were in the vicinity of the assault led the police to the man from Leek. The police arrested him overnight in his house.

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