News Releases

Call to End the War on Terror at Home

CHIP GIBBONS, chip@RightsAndDissent.org, @rightsdissent
    Gibbons is policy director for Defending Rights & Dissent which recently wrote an open letter to Biden: “President Biden: End The War on Terror At Home!” which calls for:

“Repeal the AUMF: The 2001 AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force] was a blank check for war. In addition to being used to circumvent Congress’s Constitutional war powers, it has also been used to justify curtailing civil liberties at home. With the ground war in Afghanistan ended, there is no justification for the AUMF. It must be repealed without a replacement to prevent further abuses.

“The U.S. is Not A Battlefield: You must repudiate any legal theories that seek to treat the domestic U.S. as a battlefield and allow the president to conduct surveillance or detention based on wartime authorities.

“Close Guantanamo Bay: Military detention at Guantanamo Bay was justified based on the AUMF and pursuant to the law of war. However, just as we cannot tolerate a ‘forever war’ we cannot tolerate ‘forever prisoners.’ The prison must be closed and individuals held there must either be tried in a court of law or released.

“Rollback The Surveillance State: Since 9/11, the government’s powers to conduct surveillance have been dramatically expanded. At times the executive branch has operationalized mass surveillance within the United States without any authorization from Congress or the courts, like the President’s Surveillance Program or the creation of terror watchlists. …

“Dismantle DHS: The Department of Homeland Security was created after 9/11. Far from keeping Americans safe, it has facilitated abuses of civil liberties and should be dismantled.

“End the Countering Violent Extremism Program: The discredited Countering Violent Extremism program has been repackaged and renamed as the CP3 program (Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships). Like CVE, CP3 continues to arrogate trusted community members and organizations to identify potential terrorists based on protected First Amendment activity. …

“Rein in the FBI: In the years after 9/11, multiple Attorneys General rolled back guidelines that checked the FBI’s ability to abuse its investigatory powers. The FBI escalated its practice of using its counterterrorism authorities to investigate political speech, and subjected the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American communities to suspicionless surveillance. The FBI began the practice of deploying agent provocateurs to find people, entice them to agree to participate in fictitious terrorist plots, and then arrest them in controversial ‘stings.’ …

“Dissent is Not Disloyalty, Whistleblowers Are Not Spies: … The Espionage Act must no longer be used against whistleblowers and journalists, and those charged under it for exposing U.S. war crimes must receive full pardons.

“Transparency and Accountability: … Your recent executive order needs to be the first step of many to promote meaningful transparency, including declassification, into the War on Terror.”

Report: CIA Plotted to Assassinate WikiLeak’s Assange

Yahoo! News just published an in-depth report: “Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks.”

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin@shadowproof.com, @kgosztola
    Managing editor of Shadowproof, Gosztola has extensively covered legal proceedings Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange. He said today: “What the Yahoo! News report confirms is that the CIA’s plot to destroy WikiLeaks went up to the highest levels. After the ‘Vault 7’ materials were published, CIA director Mike Pompeo was obsessed with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He had the CIA label WikiLeaks as a ‘hostile entity.’ He proposed kidnapping Assange. He considered putting Assange on a rendition flight to the United States. And CIA officials even sketched out plans for assassinating a publisher.

    “According to the report from Yahoo! News, the Justice Department was fearful of the CIA’s plans to kidnap or even kill WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But rather than go to Congress or leak certain details to the press, the Justice Department decided it was best to indict Assange so the CIA would no longer be able to mount aggressive operations in the shadows. They ignored the conclusions of lawyers under Attorney General Eric Holder that there was a ‘New York Times problem’ and Assange could not be prosecuted without exposing editors of newspapers that published WikiLeaks documents to potential charges. It is as perverse as anything CIA director Mike Pompeo wanted agents to do to Assange.

    “There were no criminal prosecutions for anyone in the CIA when they operated a torture program. The White House under President Barack Obama fully embraced a drone program that involved targeted assassinations. And now we learn the CIA has appointed itself the authority to redefine journalists as ‘information brokers’ and media organizations as ‘hostile entities’ to help them justify offensive operations intended to disrupt journalism. This is exactly why so many advocates did not think it was acceptable to move forward and not look backward.”

U.S. Policy on Haiti Branded Racist, Humanitarian Crisis Caused by Interventions

© Rémi Kaupp, CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons

AJAMU BARAKA, ajamubaraka2@gmail.com@ajamubaraka
JEMIMA PIERRE communications@blackallianceforpeace.com, @Blacks4Peace
    Haitian-born Jemima Pierre is coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace’s Haiti and the Americas Committee. She just wrote the piece “Borders, Blackness, and Empire” for Black Agenda Report.

    National organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, Baraka said today: “Seeking asylum by individuals who may be facing prosecution, imprisonment and even death because of political affiliation or membership in racial, national, sexual or religious groups is a recognized requirement under international law.

    “That the Biden administration has ordered federal authorities to mass deport thousands of Haitians, which will probably have the effect of driving many of them who will resist deportation back into Mexico and Central and South America, is both massive in its scope and fundamentally racist.”

    The group added: “If successive U.S. administrations had not undermined Haitian democracy and national self-determination, there would be no humanitarian crisis in Haiti or on the U.S. border. George W. Bush greenlit the 2004 coup against elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide. The UN sanctioned the coup with a full-scale military occupation. The Obama administration installed Michel Martelly and the Duvalierist PHTK party. And the Biden administration upended democracy in Haiti by supporting Jovenel Moïse despite the end of his term. All of these imperialist interventions have ensured that thousands would have to seek safety and refuge outside of Haiti. The U.S. policy response? Imprisonment and deportation. The United States has created an endless loop of dispossession, depravity and despair.”

    Baraka tweeted today: “You have questions as to why border police would assault Haitians, the story from the absence of the major white colonial powers from the day-long UN event on race is a good indicator of where the U.S. & its allies stand on white supremacy.” See CNN report: “The United Nations held a major meeting on race. Why the U.S. and UK skipped it.”
Also, see: “Center for Constitutional Rights to President Biden: If You Attempt to Warehouse Haitian Refugees at Guantánamo We Will Sue.”

Behind Biden’s Rhetoric of Peace at UN: U.S.’s 750 Bases Around the World

DAVID VINE, vine@american.edu
    Vine is co-author of the just-released report “Drawdown: Improving U.S. and Global Security Through Military Base Closures Abroad.”

    He said today: “While President Biden’s UN speech promised some additional humanitarian assistance globally and had some nice words about diplomacy, global unity, and not wanting a new Cold War, many of his actions internationally — other than withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan — have been downright awful.” Vine noted Biden is “perpetuating the United States’ endless wars” in countries including “Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen” and escalating “war-like tensions with China with a military buildup with Australia and the UK.” Vine also just wrote the piece “Not just about subs, AUKUS expands U.S. military footprint in Australia, too.”

    Among the findings of the just-released report:

• The United States has nearly three times as many military bases abroad (750) as U.S. embassies, consulates, and missions worldwide (276).

• While there are approximately half as many installations as at the Cold War’s end, U.S. bases have spread to twice as many countries and colonies (from 40 to 80) in the same time, with large concentrations of facilities in the Middle East, East Asia, parts of Europe, and Africa.

• The United States has at least three times as many overseas bases as all other countries combined.

• U.S. military bases abroad cost taxpayers an estimated $55 billion annually.

• Construction of military infrastructure abroad has cost taxpayers at least $70 billion since 2000, and could total well over $100 billion.

• Bases abroad have helped the United States launch wars and other combat operations in at least 25 countries since 2001.

• U.S. installations are found in at least 38 non-democratic countries and colonies.

The report was published by the Quincy Institute and World BEYOND War. Vine is a professor at American University. His books include The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State (University of California Press, 2020).

The report notes: “The Pentagon, since Fiscal Year 2018, has failed to publish its previously annual list of U.S. bases abroad. As far as we know, this brief presents the fullest public accounting of U.S. bases and military outposts worldwide.”

Generals: Space War “All But Inevitable” as U.S. Blocks UN Effort to Stop Weaponization of Space

The annual United Nations General Assembly opens Tuesday; Biden is scheduled to address it in the morning. See Institute for Public Accuracy news release from Saturday: “Ban Killer Drones: Kabul Drone Atrocity Latest in Ongoing U.S. Drone Killing Cover-up.”

SpaceNews, a mainstream specialty publication, reports: “U.S. generals planning for a space war they see as all but inevitable.”

KARL GROSSMAN, karlgrossman42@gmail.com
    Professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Grossman’s books include Weapons in Space. His recent pieces include “Automation of Space Warfare” and “The Russia/China Space Weaponization Treaty” published by CounterPunch.

    He said today: “The world is at a crossroads as to war in space. President Biden has not pulled back on the Trump-initiated U.S. Space Force which Trump demanded to ‘have American dominance in space.’ Russia and China (and U.S. neighbor Canada) have long pressed for the PAROS (Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space) treaty. It would ban all weapons in space. The PAROS treaty would expand the landmark Outer Space Treaty of 1967 put together by the U.S., Great Britain and Soviet Union and which has wide support of nations around the world. The Outer Space Treaty sets aside space ‘for peaceful purposes’ and bans weapons of mass destruction in space. Russia and China have recently reiterated their call for no weapons in space. But the U.S. has blocked the PAROS treaty at the UN.

    “Meanwhile, last year the U.S. Space Force unveiled its admittedly ‘first offensive weapon’ — and more are in development. Russia and China — despite their decades of pressing for the PAROS treaty — can be expected to respond in kind. Other nations will move up into space with weaponry. The heavens will be turned into a war zone, and there will be no going back.

    “Is war in space indeed ‘inevitable?’ It is not inevitable if the scheme of a U.S. Space Force and its aim of seeking American ‘dominance’ of space is pulled back. Through diplomacy — and a strong system of verification — space should be kept for peace.”

Occupy Wall Street’s Legacy

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

ARUN GUPTA, arun.indypendent@gmail.com, @arunindy
    Gupta’s work has appeared in dozens of outlets including The Intercept, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Nation and The Washington Post. He co-founded The Occupied Wall Street Journal in 2011, which the New York Times called “a professionally produced … document of the demonstration.” He just wrote the piece “Occupy Wall Street Trained a Generation in Class War” for In These Times.

    He said today: “In 2011, Occupy Wall Street captured the public imagination. Thousands of demonstrators camped on the doorstep of Wall Street, chanting, ‘Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.’ They crystallized public anger against powerful corporations and a political system they said was rigged toward the 1% and against the 99%. Occupy spread rapidly around the country and world with hundreds of protest camps. But as quickly as it appeared it was swept away by paramilitary-style police action in city after city. Critics declared it an ‘abject failure.’

    “With the tenth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, it is clear that the movement was far from a failure.” Gupta was the only journalist to cover Occupy across the country, reporting from 41 occupations in 26 states over the course of a year. He says Occupy Wall Street influenced the last decade of dramatic protests and shifted the political conversation.

    “Occupy Wall Street flipped the script from the Tea Party’s economic austerity to economic inequality. It introduced the ideas of the 99% and 1% that paved the way for the history-making presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s ascendancy to a political superstar,” says Gupta.

    “More than that, Occupy Wall Street has affected every progressive movement of the last ten years. There is the low-wage workers movement and ‘Fight for $15’ that put the idea of reducing economic inequality into action. Occupy ICE was a key part of immigrant-rights organizing in 2018. The Standing Rock pipeline blockade in 2016 was centered around an occupation in the Dakotas that swelled to more than 10,000 people. The movement for racial justice and Black Lives Matter have been influenced by OWS with physical camps in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland protesting police violence in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd. ‘The Squad’ in Congress and the explosive growth in the Democratic Socialists of America are also outgrowths of Occupy Wall Street.”

Ban Killer Drones: Kabul Drone Atrocity Latest in Ongoing U.S. Drone Killing Cover-up

In a “Friday news dump” the Pentagon finally admitted that a Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan killed 10 civilians.

NICK MOTTERN, nickmottern@gmail.com
KATHY KELLY, kathy@vcnv.org
    Mottern and Kelly are with the Ban Killer Drones campaign; many members of the group have gone to Afghanistan multiple times. Kelly just wrote the piece “To Counter Terror, Abolish War.”

    The campaign just issued a statement: “The Pentagon’s and Biden administration’s efforts to cover-up the truth about the slaughter of 10 civilians in Kabul on Aug. 29, seven of them children, is simply an example of the on-going cover-up of killer drone atrocities that have been perpetrated by every U.S. administration since the first U.S. drone attack, in Afghanistan, on October 7, 2001, the day the U.S. invaded that tortured nation.

    “The difference here is that the drone slaughter happened right under the noses of the international press rather than in remote areas in which reporters have not had the ability to immediately interview witnesses and to gather evidence at the scenes of the attacks.

    “Chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, called the Aug. 29 drone attack ‘righteous’, but, in fact, no drone attack is ‘righteous.’ All drone attacks violate international law and morality by, among other things, bringing indiscriminate, unacceptable harm to civilians.

    “Documents exposed by whistleblower Daniel Hale, who was recently sentenced to 45 months in jail for his truth telling, prove that the U.S. government is aware that 90 percent of its drone strike victims are not the intended targets.

    “We, as world citizens, must understand that drone killing violates international law and leads to more war. The only path forward is to establish a global treaty to ban weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance, all which lead inevitably to what we have just witnessed in Kabul.”

After 9/11: When Bioweapons Attacked Congress

ERIC NADLER, nadleric@gmail.com
BOB COEN, bob@ahkkuvision.com
    Journalists Coen and Nader produced the documentary “Anthrax War” which was aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    Beginning Sept 18, 2001, letters bearing the date “9-11-01” and the words “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great” were mailed to members of Congress and others. They spread fear across the country. Congress was closed down for a period. Then, amid this state of panic, the Patriot Act was passed. See accuracy.org news release from last month: “How the 2001 Anthrax False Flag Attacks Paved Way for Afghanistan and Iraq Invasions.”

    The attacks killed five people. The high grade anthrax, the Ames strain, was developed by the U.S. military.

    The FBI would claim that Fort Detrick Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins was the sole person responsible for the attacks. He would die of an alleged suicide, so there was never a trial. “Anthrax War” features Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the targets of the attacks, telling then-FBI head Robert Mueller: “I do not believe in any way, shape or manner, that he is the only person involved in this attack on Congress and the American people. I do not believe that at all. I believe there are others involved either as accessories before or accessories after the fact. I believe there are others that can be charged with murder.”

    The documentary also features Leahy asking Mueller: “These weapons that were used against the American people — and they’re weapons; they’re weapons — the weapons that were used against the American people and Congress — are you aware of any facility in the United States that is capable of making the weapons that were used on Congress and the American people besides Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, and the Battelle facility in West Jefferson, Ohio?” Mueller would not respond in public.

    “Anthrax War” quotes noted scientists, like Jonathan King, a professor of molecular biology at MIT: “The response to the anthrax attacks and the bioterrorism initiative has been to launch a nationwide billion-dollar campaign to, quote ‘defend us from unknown terrorists.’ But the character of this program is roughly as follows. You say well, what would the terrorists come up with? What’s the nastiest, most dangerous, most difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat, microorganisms that we can think of? Well, let’s go bring that organism into existence, so that we can figure out how to defend against that. The fact of the matter is, it’s indistinguishable from an offensive program in which you would do the same thing.”

    “Anthrax War” features Putin charging that, as a result of U.S. government actions: “It’s now obvious that a fresh round of a new arms race has started.”

    Additional material is at AnthraxWar.com. Coen and Nadler wrote the book Dead Silence: Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail. They run Transformer Films and their work has been featured on ARTE Europe, NHK Japan, Al Jazeera, National Geographic and PBS.

10 Years on — How Occupy Wall Street Ended: Clampdown by Obama that Trump Emulated

DAVE LINDORFF, dlindorff@gmail.com
    In September 2011, the nonviolent Occupy Wall Street movement swept the nation, deploring policies that benefit the richest “one percent” and framed a public dialogue about priorities along the lines of “Wall Street vs. Main Street.”

    Lindorff has examined the reasons for the movement’s collapse. In 2012 in “Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?” he reported on a trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which “reveal ‘intense involvement’ by the DHS’s so-called National Operations Center (NOC). In its own literature, the DHS describes the NOC as ‘the primary national-level hub for domestic situational awareness, common operational picture, information fusion, information sharing, communications, and coordination pertaining to the prevention of terrorist attacks and domestic incident management.’

    “The DHS says that the NOC is ‘the primary conduit for the White House Situation Room’ and that it also ‘facilitates information sharing and operational coordination with other federal, state, local, tribal, non-governmental operation centers and the private sector.'”

    Charged Lindorff: “A better description for a fascist police state network could not be written. …”

    “The documents among other things expose the massive hypocrisy of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party, which … have tried to co-opt and claim as their own the anti-fat-cat theme of the ‘We are the 99%’-chanting Occupiers, while actually acting in the interest of Bank of America and its fellow financial sector mega-firms in trying to crush the movement itself.”

    In 2020, Lindorff reported in “Tear Gas and Clubs in Lafayette Square Were Just the Beginning,” that Trump and Barr turned to the “Occupy model” to crush the protests against police brutality.

    Lindorff quoted Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), who recalled of Occupy Wall Street: “The government wanted to suppress it, to shut it down. … That’s why you saw encampments wiped out by police with over 7,000 arrests.”

    Lindorff reported on a leaked transcript of a conversation with both Trump and Attorney General William Barr talking to governors referring in glowing terms to the way the Obama administration had crushed the Occupy movement.

    Reported Lindorff: “Trump told the governors, many of whose states were experiencing massive protests against police brutality in the wake of the brutal videotaped police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, ‘This is like Occupy Wall Street. It was a disaster until one day somebody said, “That’s enough.” And they just went in and wiped them out. And it’s the last time I heard the name Occupy Wall Street. …’

    “Trump was followed at that point in the call by Attorney General Barr, who told the assembled governors that the Trump administration planned to use the same Fusion Centers and Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) the Obama administration had relied on to spy on and then crush the Occupy Movement to shut down the current wave of urban uprisings and protests over police brutality.

    “As Barr put it, ‘The structure we’re going to use is the Joint Terrorist Task Force, which I know most of you are familiar with. Tried and true system. It’s worked for domestic and homegrown terrorists, and we’re going to employ that model.’”

Is AFRICOM a Military Coup Incubator?

The New York Times reports: “American Special Forces flew to Guinea to train an elite military unit. But before the course was over, the Guineans stormed the presidential palace and violently seized power.”

The Special Operations Forces Report just published the piece: “U.S. Green Berets Were Training Guinea’s Special Operations Troops at the Time of the Coup.”

NETFA FREEMAN, netfa@ips-dc.org@Netfafree
    Freeman recently wrote the piece “Guinea and the Military Coup Incubator, AFRICOM,” which notes: “West Africa has just experienced its fourth attempted coup in just over a year, and seven coups over the last 13 years were carried out by African troops trained by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). One was directly carried out by AFRICOM forces — Operation Odyssey Dawn against Libya in 2011, its first major military operation.

    “On Sunday, September 5, 2021 soldiers detained Guinean President Alpha Condé and claimed control of the government. They suspended the constitution and closed all of the country’s borders. In a video recorded in the capital Conakry, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya of the Guinean Armed Forces (GAF) announced that the National Assembly had been dissolved.”Doumbouya, deemed the primary leader of the coup, was trained by the French military in France and, before turning against him, was called in 2018 by Condé to head a new Special Force Unit. Doumbouya and many others in the Guinean military also had AFRICOM training in Operation Flintlock 19. Operation Flintlock 19 occurred in early 2019 and, with participation from 34 African and other partner nations, was the largest annual exercise hosted by AFRICOM.”

    Freeman notes that while “the coup in Guinea has been widely condemned by the U.S., the UN, the AU [African Union], ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], and others,” it is “reminiscent of the coup in Mali that took place in May of this year” and that “Guinea seems to validate AFRICOM as an incubator of military coups in Africa.”

    Freeman is an organizer in Pan-African Community Action and is on the coordinating committee of the Black Alliance for Peace. Netfa is also co-host/producer of the WPFW radio show and podcast “Voices With Vision.”

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