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No member of any U.S. government intelligence agency should be above the lawMartin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The U.S. intelligence community is imbued with an incredible amount of resources and leeway with how, when and where they aim their power. We have seen that the rule of law does not apply to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Mr. Clapper committed a felony when he lied to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with regards to the NSA spying upon American citizens. Yet, Mr. Clapper was not subject to criminal charges as would have been any given citizen throughout the country. This essentially has formed an area of lawlessness within the United States and that area of lawlessness must be reeled back in. All persons, regardless of their job placement and title, must know that they are subject to the rule of law or victims of their crimes will have no recourse in seeking justice.
Tell U.S. to Let Craig Murray into the CountryThe U.S. government, for no stated reason, and after having approved his entry in the past, has denied Craig Murray the usual approval to enter the United States without a visa that is given to UK citizens. Craig Murray was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004. Murray was forced out of the British public service after he exposed the use of torture by Britain's Uzbek allies. Murray is scheduled to chair the presentation of this year's Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, and to speak about diplomacy as an alternative to war at a World Beyond War conference planned for September 23-25 in Washington, D.C. In 2006 Murray was himself awarded the Sam Adams Award, and the citation included the following: "Mr. Murray learned that the intelligence authorities of the UK and the U.S. were receiving and using information extracted by the most sadistic methods of torture by Uzbek authorities. He protested strongly to London, to no avail. He was forced out of the British Foreign Office, but has no regrets. There are more important things than career…Mr. Murray's light has pierced a thick cloud of denial and deception. He has set a courageous example for those officials of the 'Coalition of the Willing' who have first-hand knowledge of the inhuman practices involved in the so-called 'war on terror' but who have not yet been able to find their voice." Shocked by the denial of approval to enter the United States without a visa, Murray stated: "I shall apply for a visa via the State Department as suggested but I must be on a list to be refused under the ESTA system, and in any event it is most unlikely to be completed before the conference." "It is worth noting," Murray added, "that despite the highly critical things I have published about Putin, about civil liberties in Russia and the annexation of the Crimea, I have never been refused entry to Russia. The only two countries that have ever refused me entry clearance are Uzbekistan and the USA. What does that tell you? "I have no criminal record, no connection to drugs or terrorism, have a return ticket, hotel booking and sufficient funds. I have a passport from a visa waiver country and have visited the USA frequently before during 38 years and never overstayed. The only possible grounds for this refusal of entry clearance are things I have written against neo-liberalism, attacks on civil liberties and neo-conservative foreign policy. People at the conference in Washington will now not be able to hear me speak. Plainly ideas can be dangerous. So much for the land of the free!" The following joint statement has been signed by members of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence listed below: News that former British Ambassador Craig Murray has been denied entry to the United States under the regular visa waiver program is both shocking and appalling. We Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) had invited Craig to be Master of Ceremonies at our award ceremony honoring John Kiriakou, the CIA torture whistleblower (more details at samadamsaward.ch ), this September as part of the 'No War 2016' conference. Now we're wondering which agency's long arms have reached out to disrupt our ceremony and to try to silence Craig. Whatever they intend, it will be bound to backfire, since it only makes the U.S. government look like some sort of monolithic repressive apparatus out to mimic the world's worst despotic regimes. Ambassador Murray notes in his blog that Uzbekistan -- whose government apparatchiks are notorious for torturing its citizens -- is the only other country to have barred his entry. Even Russia - which Ambassador Murray criticizes freely - allows him to travel there trouble-free. What are the implications for U.S. democratic values? We strongly urge the State Department to reverse its decision and allow Ambassador Murray freedom of travel and freedom of expression without hindrance in the United States of America. William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.) Frank S. Grevil, former intelligence analyst with FE, the Danish equivalent of the CIA and NSA Katharine Gun, former analyst, GCHQ (the NSA equivalent in the UK) Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq, & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan Larry Johnson, CIA and State Dept. (ret.) John Brady Kiesling, former U.S. diplomat John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (ret.) David MacMichael Ph.D., CIA, U.S. Marine Corps captain (ret.) Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst & presidential briefer Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.) Todd E. Pierce, Maj, JA, USA (ret.) Diane Roark, former staff, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (ret.) Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) J. Kirk Wiebe, Senior Analyst, NSA (ret.) Larry Wilkerson, Col., U.S. Army (ret); Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat World Beyond War, the organization behind the No War 2016 conference at which Murray is scheduled to speak, has created this petition to the State Department. David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War, said "This attempt to prevent a truth-teller from speaking in support of nonviolence is absolutely shameful. This is not a policy created to represent any view of the U.S. public, and we are not going to stand for it." This petition has been signed by: Roger Waters, Peter Kuznick, Norman Solomon, Scott Ritter, Kathy Kelly, Daniel Ellsberg,
Summer Heat Serves Texas Prisoners an Early Death SentenceIn the recent summer months, an unreleased number of heat-related deaths have taken place throughout Texas state prisons. With internal temperatures reportedly reaching up to 140 degrees on some days and only 30 of the 109 Texas state prisons having facility-wide air-conditioning, a number of incarcerated men and women have died by means of heat stroke, asthma attacks, extreme dehydration, and various other heat-related illnesses. “Prisoners look upon the summer months in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) with dread and trepidation. For one is acutely aware that one may not survive another summer. Many do not.” -- Benny Hernandez, Price Daniel Unit, Dallas, Texas The Texas Department of Criminal Justice houses more than 146,000 inmates and is currently in the middle of a lawsuit over what many prisoners and prison activists have described as "deadly heat" in its facilities. Instead of making plans to install central-air systems inside of the prisons, TDCJ officials have taken steps to minimize costs and accountability by placing fans in common areas and increasing ice distribution throughout the day. “Prison guards are suffering also. They too are exposed to the deadly extreme heat, which causes tension and conflict between guards and inmates.” -- Keith “Malik” Washington, H. H. Coffield Unit, Tennessee Colony, Texas At the Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, prisoners have to choose between drinking water contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic or becoming dehydrated because of the extreme summer heat. Despite widespread knowledge of the cancer-causing pollutants, prison officials have continued to encourage inmates to drink at least two gallons a day. Those who are aware of the dangerous water situation try their best to drink bottled water only, when available at commissary. “It routinely feels as if one’s sitting in a convection oven being slowly cooked alive.” -- Benny Hernandez, Price Daniel Unit, Dallas, Texas This attitude of reckless indifference exhibited by prison authorities and Texas officials is a violation of basic human rights as well as the 8th constitutional amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Sign this petition demanding that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice immediately enforce the guidelines of the Texas Prisoners’ Civil Rights Manual by implementing air-conditioning systems throughout all housing units in Texas state prisons and enforcing maximum temperature guidelines. Deadly Heat in U.S. Prisons is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits: https://theintercept.com/2016/08/24/deadly-heat-in-u-s-prisons-is-killing-inmates-and-spawning-lawsuits/
Last Chance to STOP Anti-BDS Bill in California!AB 2844 chills free speech by falsely associating legal and time-honored boycotts for human rights with unlawful discrimination, and by creating a vague new crime in the process. The bill could cost California taxpayers over $140 million (Senate Committee on Appropriations Analysis estimate) and unknown additional sums for fielding complaints and lawsuits. Although the title and some of the content of AB 2844 have changed over time, its intent remains the same: to stigmatize and suppress protected political speech, especially advocacy for Palestinian human rights through the nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Stop this attack on Californians’ free speech. Veto AB 2844.
Haiti: Justice for Davidtchen Siméon! Protect Labor and Human Rights Organizers!On Saturday August 13th at 3:30 p.m., in the working-class neighborhood of Fort National, Port-au-Prince, as he was leaving a meeting of the Movement of Liberty, Equality of the Haitians for Fraternity (Mouvement de Liberté, Égalité des Haïtiens pour la Fraternité, or MOLEGHAF), a group of armed men including police officer Jean Maxime assassinated Davidtchen Siméon, a 23-year-old youth organizer with the popular progressive organisation MOLEGHAF, which is deeply engaged in the struggle against imperialism, the oppression of the workers by transnational capital, and the UN's occupying forces (MINUSTAH). A few days before this despicable killing, on Wednesday, August 10th and Thursday August 11th, Davidtchen had been violently attacked and threatened by police officers. This barbaric act was perpetrated against Davidtchen after he spoke out publicly and forcefully against the UN agency UNOPS' decision to locate a construction project including some buildings and a road in his neighborhood, and later he denounced the miserable wages of the construction workers on this project. It is a well-known fact that, in Haiti under the occupation, UN or government "projects" in poor communities are often implemented undemocratically, without consulting the local population. And when community opposition inevitably develops, thugs are brought in to silence and intimidate local leaders through violence, threats and intimidation. MOLEGHAF, the organisation to which Davidtchen belonged, is known in Haiti for its fight to defend national sovereignty and for the withdrawal of MINUSTAH troops from Haiti, which MOLEGHAF considers the major precondition for the exercice of real democracy. Regardless of our diverse political opinions on these issues, the assassination of Davidtchen must be condemned in the strongest terms by all those who are defenders of democracy and fundamental human rights. Therefore, we, the Plenum of the Conference on the Problems of the Occupation in Haiti, convened in Port-au-Prince this Friday August 19th, 2016, at the seat of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) (International Lawyers’ Bureau), at #3, 2eme impasse Lavaud, Lalue, call for national and international solidarity from all peoples organisations, to take a stand towards the competent authorities, particularly the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, the Office for the Protection of Citizens (OPC) and the General Prosecution to the National Police of Haiti (PNH), to demand that the backers and the perpetrators of Davidtchen Siméon’s killing be identified and condemned. Down with the UN Occupation! Down with Barbarism! MINUSTAH Out of Haiti! In defense of democracy, against barbarism: Punish those responsible for murdering our comrade Davidtchen Siméon! UPDATE: Last week, David Oxygène, a Haitian revolutionary leader and organizer was threatened at gunpoint by a police officer. The same police officer is one of the individuals accused of murdering Davidtchen Siméon. Send your messages (with copies to the initial signatories) to: Ministère de la Justice et de la sécurité publique (MJSP): Av. Charles-Summer 18, Port-au-Prince Inspection Générale de la Police Nationale d'Haïti (PNH) : 07 Autoroute de Delmas (zone Delmas 2, Haïti) L'Office Protecteur Citoyen (OPC): Ave. John Brown, Lalue (Port-au-Prince), tels (+ 509) 2940 3065/ 3702 0656, email : firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com Forward messages to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Initial Signatures: Confédération des Travailleurs des Secteurs Public et Privé (CTSP) : firstname.lastname@example.org Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI): email@example.com Syndicat National des travailleurs de l’Art (SYNTART) : firstname.lastname@example.org Mouvement des Étudiants pour Libérer Haïti (MELA) : email@example.com Résistance Benoit Batraville Association des victimes du choléra de Boucan-Carré SESP-Syndicat USCPH-Union Syndicale des Constructeurs Professionnels d'Haïti – affiliée à la CTSP Regroupement des victimes du choléra de Lachapelle : 3871 9112 MOLEGHAF : firstname.lastname@example.org Message from David Oxygene: Mwen salye tout manm, patizan ak senpatizan MOLEGHAF yo. Mwen vle esplike nou 2 bagay. Premye bagay la se yon gwo zak agresyon mwen sibi ye dimanch lan ve 6 ze 30 PM,kote mwen te soti nan yon reyinyon politik ak plizye kamarad MOLEGHAF. Moun ki fe agresyon an sou mwen se menm moun ki te asasine kamarad nou DAVITCHEN SIMEON jou ki te samdi 13 out 2016 lan nan fo nasyonal, se yon polisye ki rele JEAN MAXIME. Pendan mwen sot nan rankont politik la ye dimanch lan, lem rive nan ri Icare zon ki kole ak legliz sentantwan, lem rive nan ri Icare polisye ki rele Jean Maxime lan agresem, li frapem, li pwomet mwen lap touyem epi menm moman li tire yon katouch anle ak yon pistolet kalib 9 mm. Apre li pwente zam lan sou mwen pou tirem. mwen denonse zak asasina sa ki fet sou mwen an kote mwen rive konpran n lapolis la tounen yon rezo teworis pou asasine militan kap goumen toutbonvre. Map mande pou komise gouvenman sezi dosye sa, pou enspeksyon lapolis idantifye polisye Jean Maxime epi mete l nan yon pozisyon pou lajistis ka tandel, map made pou oganizasyon dwa moun yo pote kole ak mwen ki nan yon yon sitiyasyon difisil politikman. Dezyem bagay mwen vle di, se yon demanti fomel MOLEGHAF vle pote ak yon ban m detrakte ki vle fe kwe MOLEGHAF ap bay yon konferans pou lapwes jodi a pou sipote politik senate youri a. MOLEGHAF demanti sa. dapre tout enfomasyon mwen genyen yo vle fe konnen se ekip nasyen premye minis Lamothe kap frape MOLEGHAF. yo fe konnen se yon konferans MOLEGHAF ap oganize nan otel LE PLAZA a 11 ze maten an. se manti total, MOLEGHAF pa gen konferans maten ditou. se traktasyon politik, matrakaj politik, divesyon politik pou kapab kraze gwo batay MOLEGHAF ap mennen an.
Prisoners in Namibia Need Water -- And You Can HelpContinuous efforts to cut back on water waste has turned into a political battle over water access in Namibia's Windhoek Central Prison, located near the center of the sub-Saharan desert. In late 2015, experts discovered multiple underground pipe-leaks throughout the prison's water system. About 70% of the water traveling through the prison each day is wasted due to these pipe-leaks. The Windhoek city government is traditionally responsible for paying for water services at the prison. Since the discovery of the underground pipe-leaks, the Windhoek city government has repeatedly asked the Namibian Correctional Service to fix the pipes at Windhoek Central Prison. Namibian prison officials, however, claim that there are no funds to do so. The city government has since limited the amount of water routed to Windhoek Central Prison, and on one occasion, completely shut off the prison's water supply until forced by the municipal court to turn it back on. Still, no resolution or plan of action has been made by city or prison officials. In reality, the only people physically affected by this petty political battle are the 3,500 Namibian prisoners who are in constant fear of waking up to no water. You can help them by signing this petition.
Prove Guccifer LivesThe US Government is attempting to hide and cover up the existence of Guccifer. He is a key player in the Clinton extravaganza and was murdered by them to keep him silent. The FBI is complicit in covering this up as well, to no ones surprise. The main stream media is involved in not reporting the truthful news and exposing that he has been murdered and his importance to the Clinton case, since he is the only reason we know any of it to begin with. We demand Guccifer.
Reform the Olympics to be true to its authentic past!This would be congruent with the historic past when Greek city states would cease war making to gather for athletic competitions. It would empower the current Olympic Committee Members to incentivise justice and peace for governments of the world to be able to participate in Olympic Competition. Truly ruling bodies (the International Olympic Committee) MUST use their rule making authority to promote the betterment of their constituencies, as did the track and field governing body regarding anti-doping enforcement.
North Carolina Body Cam Law Breaches Trust and Transparency in Local CommunitiesLast month, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 972 into law, officially restricting public access to voice and video footage from police dash and body cameras. The new law states that access to police camera footage is to be restricted to local police departments and court officials. According to the law, if anyone outside of that realm wants access to footage of community interactions with law enforcement via dash or body cam (including the families of those affected), they would need to obtain either approval from the local Police Department Chief or a superior court order from a state judge. Among other quirks, the law also includes the implementation of a “Blue Alert” signal, modeled after the commonly used “Amber Alert,” used via smartphone to warn police officers about suspects who have harmed or killed cops. In 2015, the Obama administration provided $20 million to local police departments across the country -- to be used strictly for police dash and body cameras, technologies of accountability requested by the ACLU and Black Lives Matter activists in the wake of protests against police brutality and the killings of Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott and more. In recent months, round-the-clock police surveillance has raised awareness about normalized acts of racial profiling and police brutality in local communities, and has forced law enforcement officers to be responsible with their power and accountable for their actions. The implementation of police body cams is arguably the greatest on-the-ground achievement of anti-police brutality groups like CopWatch and Black Lives Matter activists. The purpose of police body cameras is to create trust and transparency between law enforcement officers and the communities in which they patrol. Citizens feel safer when they know that others are watching, or at least soon will be, if they were to be attacked, abused, or at worst, murdered. Law enforcement officers have relied on and credited the efficiency of body cameras as well, in cases where they were falsely accused of excessive force or police brutality and dash/body cameras proved their innocence. The transparency provided by body cameras has overall helped improve community relations with police officials. North Carolina is not the only state to restrict body cam footage from public access. Florida, Oregon, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina and a few other states have restrictions on police footage as well. What makes North Carolina’s policy uniquely harsh, however, is its restriction of both video and sound from dash and body cameras, as opposed to other states that ban public access to police video footage but not sound recordings. The law is also novel in that it restricts footage access not just from the public, but also from the families of those affected. The implementation of NC House Bill 972 is a bold act of anti-transparency by North Carolina legislators. NC’s harsh law on dash and body cam access has serious implications and raises questions about why legislators are so adamant about “protecting” law enforcement officers from their own sound and video footage. It can take up to months to be granted a superior court order for the release of police sound and video footage -- leaving time and space for false accusations and possible illegal editing on behalf of officials. The passing of this legislation also raises a critical question in minority communities: If we can no longer rely on police footage as a defense or as evidence of innocence, should we be filming ourselves? We have seen local communities’ reaction to city officials withholding police camera footage, in cities like Charleston, SC and Chicago, IL. Most notably, we remember the killing of 16-year old Laquan McDonald, who was repeatedly shot 16 times while lying on the ground, as revealed by later-released camera footage. Chicago natives and residents protested for days in response to mayor Rahm Emanuel’s deliberate withholding of the video. NC Governor McCrory insists that recordings of police interactions with the community can “mislead and misinform the public...while work[ing] against police officers.” On the other hand, members of local minority communities fear that without the immediate release of these recordings (to their families or otherwise), police officials have the ability to manipulate both their version of the story and any voice/video evidence. At the very least, police footage should be available to the families affected by the incident, and audio recordings should be available for public access, as it is in other anti-transparency states like Florida. North Carolina’s new body cam law is a direct blow to the efforts of BLM activists as well as to the trust of both citizens and police officers who relied on the immediate release of body cam footage to clear their name of media criticism. We must reverse this miscarriage of justice, sooner rather than later, before a domino effect begins to take place in surrounding states. The law goes into effect on October 1st, 2016.
Drop Charges Against Ramsey Orta, Videographer of Eric Garner's Killing by the NYPD.“What I saw that day was [the] NYPD murder my friend. [That's] what inspired me to take the video, because I have past videos of NYPD abusing their power with people I associate with.” --Ramsey Orta On July 17th, 2014, 22-year-old New York native Ramsey Orta recorded a video that shook the nation -- the killing of husband, father and street vendor Eric Garner by plainclothes Staten Island police officer, Daniel Pantaleo. The gruesome phone-recorded video, in which Eric Garner repeatedly pleads “Stop, I can’t breathe” before losing consciousness, went viral in a matter of hours and helped spark the first wave of Black Lives Matter protests in major cities like NYC, Ferguson MO and Baltimore MD. Currently, videographer Ramsey Orta awaits a four year-minimum sentence in Rikers Island for unrelated charges, which he describes as “retribution” and a “set -up” by the New York City Police Department for his involvement with the Eric Garner case. He must turn himself in by October 2016. “Sometimes I regret just not minding my business, because it just put me in a messed-up predicament.” --Ramsey Orta Since the video recording of Eric Garner’s death, Ramsey Orta has been arrested on three separate occasions. The first, for criminal possession of a handgun that he allegedly tried to give a 17-year-old, came a day after Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the city’s medical examiner. Then, in February of 2015, Orta was arrested in a house raid, along with his girlfriend, brother, elderly mother. Orta was charged with multiple counts of heroin possession and distribution. Most recently, he was accused of selling MDMA to an undercover cop. A lab test later showed that the alleged MDMA was fake and the charges were reduced. Throughout the entire process, Orta has maintained his innocence. Ramsey Orta’s case has gained nation-wide attention as a result of his widely publicized hunger-strike while in Rikers Prison. Ramsey claimed that his prison food contained rat poison, and for a month, refused to eat anything that did not come directly out of his commissary. Prison activists and Black Lives Matter supporters regularly sent food to his commissary and made financial donations that eventually led to his release by bond. “I was in Rikers two separate times, one for 60 days and one for 30 days, I believe. And the 60-day stay was the time that I went on the hunger strike.” --Ramsey Orta Since his release, Ramsey Orta has helped to organize a grassroots nationwide initiative to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions: CopWatch. The CopWatch team has members all over the country from Staten Island to Compton, and their goal is to remain vigilant of law enforcement mistreatment and hold incompetent officers accountable for their abuse of power and authority in vulnerable communities. “I think CopWatch is something good and something people can learn from. It can strengthen communities.” --Ramsey Orta While Eric Garner’s family mourns his tragic death and Ramsey Orta’s family prepares for his lengthy absence, NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo, Garner’s killer, gets to keep both his badge and his freedom. Ramsey Orta should not be punished for being a responsible citizen. He is a witness to police lethal force and should be protected under the law, not sentenced. Sign this petition to drop all charges against New York hero Ramsey Orta, who filmed the killing of Eric Garner by NYPD.