Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is It Time For A Massive Revolt In America? Yes; It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up!

Is It Time For A Massive Revolt In America? Yes; It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up!

Chomsky: "What has to be done is what's happening in Madison, or Tahrir Square. If there's mass popular opposition, any political leader is going to have to respond. READ MORE

If A People Refuse To Obey Government Tyranny In Any Form; That Government Will Fall! (Ed.)

Last updated at 2:58 PM on 24th February 2011

Order: Julian Assange will be extradited to Sweden, a judge ordered The founder of whistle-blowing website Julian Assange will be extradited to Sweden to answer sex attack allegations, a judge ruled today.

The 39-year-old Australian is accused of sexually assaulting one woman and raping another during a week-long visit to Stockholm in August.

He denies any wrongdoing and has sought to fight the case on the grounds that if he is sent to Sweden, he could ultimately be sent to the U.S. where he claims he could face the death penalty for leaking diplomatic secrets.

However, the judge at Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London said he would have to answer the allegations in Sweden.

Announcing his decision, District Judge Howard Riddle said extraditing Assange to Sweden would not breach his human rights.

He also disagreed with defence lawyers' claims that what Assange is accused of doing would not actually amount to rape in this country.

And he dismissed the argument that the whistleblower would not receive a fair trial, despite a certain amount of negative publicity surrounding the case.

This publicity includes allegedly damaging comments said to have been made by the Swedish prime minister about Assange.
Judge Riddle said: 'The defense refers to the alleged denigration of the defendant by the Swedish prime minister.

'For this reason and other reasons it is said Mr Assange will not receive a fair trial.

'I don't accept this was the purpose of the comment or the effect.'

Celebrity supporters: Jemima Khan arrives at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, followed by Bianca Jagger, right 

Appeal: Assange, pictured outside the court with lawyer Jennifer Robinson, will take his case to the High Court

Assange will appeal against the ruling at the High Court, his barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC told the court in legal argument.

One woman claims that she consented to sex only with a condom, but that Assange intentionally broke it and continued to have sex with her. 

The second alleges he had unwanted, unprotected sex with her while she slept. Both acts would run afoul of Sweden’s strict consent laws if proven.

Speaking outside court afterwards, Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said the judge's decision came as no surprise.

Activists: Assange gets support from campaigners outside the court
'This was, I think, reasonably to be expected,' he said. 'It reaffirms the concerns that we had about the form of tick-box justice that is the European Arrest Warrant...

'What the judge has done is confirm that system is just that.'
But he did not blame Judge Riddle, suggesting instead that he was 'hamstrung'.


Lawyers for Julian Assange will now lodge an appeal within seven days of today's hearing,

The appeal will be heard before judges at the High Court and if unsuccessful Assange could be extradited within 10 days to Sweden.

In Sweden, Assange would face questions from police and if he is charged or not, could theoretically face extradition proceeding to the U.S. where he could be questioned over the leaking of diplomatic cables.

The ultimate sanction for the transmission of classified military secrets in the U.S. is execution.

He said: 'We're pretty sure the secrecy and the way (the case) has been conducted so far have registered with this judge.'

But Assange and his legal team remain confident that the matter will be resolved in Britain, he added, saying they are hopeful there will be an appeal.

He went on: 'We have to remember that at this point Julian remains uncharged.'

Assange has had to shell out a huge sum to defend himself so far, with the cost of translating material alone amounting to more than £30,000, his lawyer said.

'That's a cost the prosecution should be bearing,' he added. 'The prosecution should be translating everything into a language he understands.'

Any appeal against the extradition ruling must be lodged in the next seven days.

Assange was later given bail on the same conditions as before.

At today's hearing, Lady Caroline Evans and Professor Patricia David told the court they were prepared to stand £20,000 surety for him.

Others who have offered financial guarantees against him skipping bail include Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith at whose country house he has been staying.

After the hearing, Assange hit out at the extradition process.

Hitting out: Mark Stephens, lawyer of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, addresses the press outside Belmarsh Magistrates Court
He said: 'The magistrate here today felt that he was constrained, that he was unable to consider anything that was not on those two pages.

'His finding was he did not need to look off the face of the warrant.

'We need a system in Europe where the justice system of our 26 countries can be scrutinised by any one country.'

WikiLeaks: US Lied About Bala Baluk Massacre, Red Cross Concealed Truth [ 75264 ] -

Kevin Gosztola

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has published an article on NATO, US, and the Red Cross and the Bala Baluk massacre on May 4, 2009. The article features a cable that shows the Red Cross put together a report that raised significant doubt about military reports on the number of civilians killed. The cable reveals how a PR campaign kicked into gear to sell the idea that the deaths were not intentional and to skew coverage of the event to fit the interests of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan.

The June 13, 2009 cable describes a remarkable meeting that took place at the US Embassy in Kabul. Leader of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, Reto Stocker, has compiled a report with exact figures on the deaths of civilians in an attack that just took place in the village of Bala Baluk Grenari region. US and NATO forces, which contend they were attacking Taliban, dropped bombs leaving a mosque in ruins. They turned the village into "an inferno of screaming, mangled and bloody people."

In the aftermath, the Taliban and Afghan officials claimed "over 140 civilians had been killed." Karl W. Eikenbarry, US ambassador in Kabul, said at a news conference, "We will never know the exact number" of those killed. Red Cross commander Reto Stocker said, "'Dozens’ of people were killed."A commission investigated the incident and concluded, "26 civilians and 78 Taliban fighters were killed."
The claims by the US and other military forces were blatant lies, according to the cable. On top of that, the Red Cross did not challenge the lies.  . . .

In the cable, Stocker visits Ambassador Eikenberry and delivers a copy of a report on the Bala Baluk massacre on June 13. He describes the process for putting the report together:

ICRC representatives visited Bala Baluk 3 times after May 4 to gather information, interview local residents, and get the lay of the land. They interviewed more than 50 villagers in Ganjabad and Gerani over a period of 13 days. They avoided compiling lists of victims, but did provide a complete list of interviewees in their report. They also did not use graves as evidence since many of the villagers described finding only body parts that were not suitable for normal burial.

Upon presenting the report, he concedes power in the meeting, clarifying to the ambassador that he does not believe the Red Cross is "an investigative body" and that the report "was prepared to assist the authorities in their own investigations. Having minimized the Red Cross’ potential to be a watchdog organization, Stocker then says he is confident in the report’s findings that 89 civilians were killed and another 13 injured:

In a detailed discussion with the Ambassador on the sequence of events, Stocker agreed with U.S. military officials that the first group of individuals hit with the first bomb from the B-1 near the mosque were insurgents. He found no villagers who alleged that civilians were killed in that strike. 

However, he did not agree that subsequent lines of people observed moving rapidly between structures were insurgents. He showed photos of narrow paths where the movements took place, saying they tied in with the aerial video, and described multiple accounts by witnesses of families fleeing the battle with parents carrying children in their arms. Stocker said that 47 and 42 residents were killed in the second and third strikes, respectively. In support of this claim, he made the case that it would have been illogical for insurgents not killed in the first bombing to continue to gather in groups that could be targeted from above, whereas it would have been logical for civilians to have sought shelter away from the fighting.

Ambassador Eikenberry thanks Stocker for the review and says he will continue to follow the official investigation (which will later conclude the number of deaths is much lower than the figure in the Red Cross report). Eikenberry notes the "low-key and subdued discussion of the events of May 4 by the villagers who were most affected by it," and suggests the "low-key reaction may indicate that casualties were lower than reported by other sources." (Of course, that could also be a result of villagers being afraid of soldiers from forces that just bombed their village.)

The diplomat that wrote the cable writes in the comment section, "Reto Stocker is one of the most credible sources for unbiased and objective information in Afghanistan, and has 4 years of experience as head of the ICRC mission here. The ICRC survey of local villagers is certainly exhaustive, and the report finds significant consistency in the testimonies provided. At the same time, Stocker twice mentioned that they had placed a great deal of confidence in the statements of one particular source, later noting that the Red Crescent had an office near where the evening’s fighting took place. The list of interviewees mentions no one associated with the Red Crescent."

The last couple sentences seem like a feeble attempt to cast a bit of suspicion on the process for putting together the report. Clearly, the diplomat believes Stocker was likely telling the truth, otherwise, why end with the comment that was written? Why not call into question specific details?

Sadly, Stocker abrogated his duty and chose to not release the truth to the public. When Aftenposten asked the Red Cross about why the Red Cross hadn’t gone ahead and released the report, a spokesman for the International Red Cross in Geneva told the newspaper, "This was a confidential report in which we took up our humanitarian concerns directly with the authorities or the parties to the conflict."

The newspaper correctly asks in its article on the WikiLeaks cable, "Is it not in the Red Cross’ interest that the truth of such an event becomes publicly known?" Apparently, the spokesman tells the newspaper, "This is standard procedure to ensure maximum protection in the short and long term, both for civilian and other parties affected by the hostilities."

Aftenposten also reports "former UN Special Representative in Afghanistan Kai Eide said that he refrained from publishing a highly critical statement about the Bala Baluk after a meeting with the American general who investigated the massacre."

- In our investigations we came to 64 killed, but when we included only women and children. We did not expect some men, since it could be a possibility that some of them were Taliban members. I met with General Raymond A. Thomas, who led the American investigators. He showed several hours of video footage from the fighting and the attack, and his conclusion was that nothing wrong had happened. I did not send out the statement in the belief that the general spoke true."

Eide acknowledges that what he believed turned out not to be true and that he no longer has the confidence in the military forces that he had when he was a UN Special Representative. But, why didn’t he note how commanders time and time again since at least July 2007 were making pledges to change rules of engagement, to take more care and be cautious, but yet the murder of Afghan civilians continued to occur?

That was the note that Brave New Films made when it called into question the US and NATO’s handling of public relations in the aftermath of the Balu Baluk massacre. They noted how the statements of regret from officials would seem to be sincere but given the chronic failure to adjust rules of engagement it was clearly no longer genuine to say things like, "This is something I worry about a lot. If we lose the Afghan people, we have lost the war."

The massacre was just another incident that called into questions the actions of US and NATO forces. The Nawabad massacre on August 21, 2008, which concluded with the deaths of ninety civilians, including sixty children and fifteen women, had been just as atrocious. Yet another atrocity was the Kunduz massacre on September 4 2009 when two tank cars that rebels took were bombed by US fighter jets called in by German ISAF troops resulted in seventy to ninety, mostly civilians, being killed.

Hours after Aftenposten published this article, there are no articles on the web reporting this revelation.

Paul Jay: Here's an alternative "something has to give" plan for Wisconsin

Stop The Chamber And VR Filed Bar Complaint Against
U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Lawyers For Participating In
Dirty Tricks Spying Plot Against Us Complaint Ties Leaked
Emails To A Dozen Criminal Violations And Intentional Torts

Yesterday, we filed a lengthy bar complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility in Washington D.C. against Hunton & Williams attorneys Richard Wyatt, John Woods and Robert Quackenboss for their participation in a dirty tricks campaign against us. The complaint can be viewed here. Two weeks ago, 71,000 emails created by investigators working for Hunton & Williams were leaked by the hacktivist network Anonymous. They showed that the lawyers, on behalf of their clients, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, solicited and conspired with the investigators to engage in a long list of criminal conduct and intentional torts against reporters, NGOs and Unions, including us. This has been reported widely in the national press, including the Washington Post, and by VR co-founder Brad Friedman who was a named target.

“The Chamber lawyers were negotiating a $12 million campaign to discredit us because we are being successful in our campaign exposing the Chamber,” said our attorney Kevin Zeese who filed the complaints. “It is astounding that prominent lawyers from Hunton & Williams would conspire and solicit in writing to commit such nefarious activity against us. Our complaint shows that these lawyers were willing to cross ethical boundaries to stop us from engaging in protected First Amendment activity. The emails show that they would stop at nothing to keep us from exposing questionable activities of the US Chamber of Commerce. Our complaint lays bare for all to see just how egregiously the lawyers violated the Rules of Professional Conduct on behalf of a wealthy corporate client. Not only will this complaint now be reviewed in various legal and law enforcement forums, but average citizens will get to see how far the Chamber will go to maintain its grip on power.”

The complaint quotes from dozens of leaked emails and documents showing that the lawyers actively conspired with the investigators to engage in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation,” through the use of “false documents,” “fake personas,” “false information,” and “attacks” to “discredit” NGOs, unions and reporters, including us. The complaint, by cross referencing these emails with criminal statutes listed by the Department of Justice in its manual on “Prosecuting Computer Crimes,” demonstrates that the lawyers “solicited, conspired with and counseled three of its investigative private security firms to engage in domestic spying, fraud, forgery, extortion, cyber stalking, defamation, harassment, destruction of property, spear phishing, destruction of property, identity theft, computer scraping, cyber attacks, interference with business, civil rights violations, harassment, and theft.”

Breaking Federal Law, U.S. Army Used “Psychological Operations” on McCain, Other Senators Visiting Afghanistan 

Washington, February 24, 2011 / EIN News / U.S. senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed and Al Franken, Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Czech ambassador and the German interior minister have all been targeted by "psychological operations" during their visits to Afghanistan. The campaign, ordered and carried out by the U.S. army, was aimed at forcing them to support more troops and funding for the increasingly unpopular Afghan conflict. 

According to a Rolling Stone article, the orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general. When the intelligence operations unit resisted the orders, on the grounds that they were illegal, its leader received an official reprimand. 

To follow this breaking news story go to: 

EIN News Military Industry Today - 
Lt. Gen. William Caldwell News - 

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The Craziest Wingnut in America Wants to Criminalize Unauthorized Vaginal Bleeding 

With the rise of the Tea Partiers, there's intense competition for the title of Craziest Wingnut Holding Public Office. 
But Georgia state rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, has to be considered the top contender. He was the one who proposed a law that would require rape and sexual assault victims -- but not the victims of any other crimes -- to be called "accusers" unless there was a conviction in their cases.
Then Franklin introduced a bill that would do away with drivers' licenses, arguing that they “are a throw back to oppressive times.” As CBS reported:
In his bill, Franklin states, "free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right."
(More details on both measures here.)
Now Lindsay Beyerstein brings us word of Franklin's latest:
A Georgia Representative has introduced a bill to investigate all unsupervised miscarriages as crime scenes. Don't believe me? Here's the relevant language from HB 1, downloadable from legislature's website:
When a spontaneous fetal death required to be reported by this Code section occurs without medical attendance at or immediately after the delivery or when inquiry is required by Article 2 of Chapter 16 of Title 45, the ‘Georgia Death Investigation Act,’ the proper investigating official shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall prepare and file the report within 30 days[...]
Beyerstein adds that the bill "is radical even by the standards of people who think fertilized ova are people." That's an understatement -- according to MoJo, "Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death."
One has to conclude that Bobby Franklin doesn't need a challenger so much as a decent shrink.

Ga. Law Could Give Death Penalty for Miscarriages

It's only February, but this year has been a tough one for women's health and reproductive rights. There's a new bill on the block that may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness. Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence "victims" into "accusers"—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any "prenatal murder" in the words of the bill, including "human involvement" in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death. Basically, it's everything an "pro-life" activist could want aside from making all women who've had abortions wear big red "A"s on their chests.

I doubt that a bill that makes a legal medical procedure liable for the death penalty will pass. The bill, however, shows an astonishing lack of concern for women's health and well-being. Under Rep. Franklin's bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was "no human involvement whatsoever in the causation" of their miscarriage. There is no clarification of what "human involvement" means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly what causes miscarriages. Miscarriages are estimated to terminate up to a quarter of all pregnancies and the Mayo Clinic says that "the actual number is probably much higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn't even know she's pregnant. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn't developing normally."

Holding women criminally liable for a totally natural, common biological process is cruel and non-sensical. Even more ridiculous, the bill holds women responsible for protecting their fetuses from "the moment of conception," despite the fact that pregnancy tests aren't accurate until at least 3 weeks after conception. Unless Franklin (who is not a health professional) invents a revolutionary intrauterine conception alarm system, it's unclear how exactly the state of Georgia would enforce that rule other than holding all possibly-pregnant women under lock and key.

I've seen a lot of anti-woman, hate-filled bills this year, but this one takes the cake. And it's not just anti-woman, it's anti-logic. The bill contends that Georgia is exempt from upholding Supreme Court decisions like Roe v. Wade because the Constitution's Article I only governs five crimes: counterfeiting, piracy, high seas felonies, offenses against the law of nations, and treason. According to the bill, since murder is not one of those five crimes, it should be solely governed by the state. The bill also mandates that doctors must try to save the mother and the fetus, even though as we know, there are many situations in which both cannot be saved. It also changes medical terminology, re-designating all zygotes, embryos, and concepti as fetuses. In the bill's logic, a fertilized egg is the same as a person, and its destruction is murder. Sometimes even a fertilized egg will fail to adhere to the uterine lining, so would that make a uterus a murderer? At least the bill doesn't propose instituting pro-life Stork Bucks or outlawing "space abortions"...yet.

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