Beatings and Abuse Of Palestinians By Israeli Security Forces

“Do you know what it means to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories?” With these words, Breaking the Silence released stunning testimonies from former soldiers, six Israeli women.

Some of the ghastly headlines: “Slap,” “Collective Punishment,” “Flak Jackets with ‘Death to Arabs Written on Them’” “Throwing them into the sewage pit,” “Because I’m bored,” “Settler violence.”

Brutalization,  debasement, degradation! Israeli society has lost its soul.
In this video, a women describes the brutalization of the Palestinians, enforced by debasing peer pressure among the soldiers:
“You can’t think that they’re good hardworking people trying to survive in a closed, place.”
“Later I realized that in order to be there you have to break them, break their spirit. Breaking them means  making them wait, blindfolding them, treating them badly, writing ‘Death to Arabs’ on their vests.”
“Putting cigarettes out on them.”
Several describe routine thefts from Palestinians: of prayer beads, pottery, food. What is wrong with taking gifts? one said to herself.
One stated: “We could do whatever we wanted.” “People don’t know what’s going on there.”

To Our Countries – لبلادي

Video contains English subtitles. The singer has a really nice voice.

لبلادي عمل من إعداد وإنتاج وتنفيذ مجموعة شباب يقيمون في السويد وهم من سوريا و العراق و لبنان و فلسطين. على أمل السلام

To Our Countries is a project produced by a group of youths who live in Sweden and are originally from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

How Much Moral High Ground Does The US Have Over ISIS?

The United States’ war on sexual violence, mass murder and religious persecution should begin at home.
Without question, ISIS is an abomination. However, it is unclear whether America is the right agent to see this through. Part of the trouble relates to the Obama administration’s strategy, which seems likely to empower ISIS even as it undermines the security and interests of the Unted States and its allies – but there is an ethical dimension as well.

While ISIS poses a serious (although likely overstated) threat to the governments of Iraq and Syria, over the last two administrations, the United States has itself forcibly overthrown the governments of Iraq and Libya – each time in defiance of international law. And along with ISIS, the United States has spent the last three years seeking to undermine the Syrian government. Additionally, it has sheltered Israel from meaningful accountability to the international community, allowing the crisis in Palestine to fester.

It would not be a stretch to say that the United States is actually a greater threat to peace and stability in the region than ISIS – not least because US policies in Iraq, Libya and Syria have largely paved the way for ISIS’s emergence as a major regional actor.

But perhaps more disturbingly, many of the same behaviors condemned by the Obama administration and used to justify its most recent campaign into Iraq and Syria are commonly perpetrated by US troops and are ubiquitous in the broader American society. Until these problems are better addressed, United States’ efforts to undermine ISIS will be akin to using a dirty rag to clean an infected wound.
Sexual Violence
The initial driver of US involvement was the outrage over ISIS’ capture of thousands of Yazidi women and the sexual violence subsequently exercised against them – horrors which provided moral credence to the war against ISIS in much the same way that the 2001 US war against the Taliban was justified in part by highlighting the plight of Afghan women living under their rule.
However, over the course of that war, and the subsequent 2003 war in Iraq, US soldiers and contractors repeatedly used rape as a weapon of war, both against prisoners and the local civilian population. But perhaps more disturbing than the crimes committed by US personnel against Iraqis and Afghans were the atrocities committed by servicemen against their fellow soldiers.
As many as one out of three female soldiers are raped over the course of their military careers. Up to 80 percent of these assaults go unreported, in large part because reported cases rarely result in convictions or proportional punishment. In fact, the victims are frequently punished socially and professionally for reporting abuse, and they are barred from suing the government for reparations even when wrongdoing is proven.
The stats are not much better in the broader population. As many as one in five women who attend college in America are sexually assaulted over the course of their academic career, often with no justice even when the crimes are reported. This is commensurate with the broader trend in America – according to White House estimates, roughly a fifth of all American women are raped at some point in their lives.
As in the military, most of these crimes are not reported to the police, and most reported rapes are never prosecuted – let alone result in convictions for the perpetrators.

If the crimes against thousands of women in Iraq and Syria justify a US mobilization that costs nearly $10 million per day, how much more militant should Americans be about resolving the tens of thousands of cases of sexual violence that go unpunished and largely unnoticed in the United States each year?

Astonishing Cruelty
In addition to sexual violence, there was widespread outrage over ISIS’s uncompromising brutality and the pornographic way they record and broadcast these acts – which include beheadings, crucifixions, and occasional incidences of cannibalism.
Of course, US soldiers and contractors have and continue to torture their enemies, often taking obscene photos to brag about and reminisce upon their acts. The contractors who were implicated in these abuses have never been prosecuted. Instead, one whistleblower who initially exposed these crimes, Chelsea Manning, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
There are further reports of US servicemen committing massacres, desecrating the corpses of their enemies, or even hunting the locals for sport while collecting photos, and even body parts, as trophies. And these are just a sampling of the acts which have been picked up by war correspondents and detailed in the media – many more crimes have never received exposure abroad, with crimes committed against Iraqis and Afghans by US servicemen going largely under-prosecuted or altogether unprosecuted.
Because these atrocities are not sufficiently dealt with by the United States, the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan have demanded the right to try Americans in their own courts.However, as protecting US politicians and soldiers from international accountability formed the basis of US opposition to establishing or joining the International Criminal Court, the Obama Administration refused to cede anything to these nascent states.

As a result, concerns about accountability proved to be the main obstacle in the US reaching a security agreement with Afghanistan – and Iraq’s refusal to grant US soldiers immunity was the reason the US ultimately abandoned the pursuit of a status of forces agreement there, contributing significantly to the security vacuum that allowed ISIS to rebuild in Iraq and expand into Syria. That is, ISIS’s crimes were largely enabled by America’s refusal to face up to its own.

Americans should bear this in mind as the Obama Administration loosens its already overly permissive standards vis à vis collateral damage and targeting civilians in its current campaign. The killing of innocents is not somehow morally superior if committed remotely by a drone or missile rather than the tools at ISIS’ disposal.
Religious Persecution
Finally, many Westerners have been horrified by ISIS’s persecution of religious minorities (especially crimes against Christians). However, the United States is complicit in this as well: US policies in Iraq helped spark this cycle of sectarian violence.
Meanwhile, its own armed forces were indoctrinated with anti-Muslim propaganda – complete with recommendations for servicemen to resort to “Hiroshima tactics,” in a “total war against Islam,” in which protections for civilians were “no longer relevant.” 
Reflective of this mentality, the armed forces have been heavily infiltrated by white-supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups who believe and act as though they are engaged in a holy war to begin in the Middle East and then be carried back into America. This institutionalized misrepresentation of Islam and dehumanization of Muslims probably played a significant role in the aforementioned atrocities.

However, this is hardly just an issue in the Army. Anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes are pervasive in America, from the classroom to the boardroom. In the popular culture, Islamophobia transcends the political spectrum and is fairly mainstream – to the point where pundits and politicians can openly call for Muslim internment camps, or push for laws restricting or altogether banning Muslims from practicing their faith, even as many of these same people work to obliterate the lines between the (Christian) church and state.

Muslim voices which could unapologetically challenge these tropes are largely excluded from the public discourse in favor ofhouse-Muslims who will nod their heads in condemnation of terrorism (emphasizing that most Muslims are “moderates“) while uncritically calling for (liberal) reform and revolution in Muslim lands of which they are no longer residents (if they ever were) – and all without voicing much (if any) substantive criticism of the Western countries in which they reside, beyond the narrow concerns about discrimination and persecution.
And yet despite these compliant spokespeople, and the fact that only 6 percent of terror incidents in the United States have been carried out by Muslims over the last 30 years (and the threat of terrorism is itself overblown), Muslims are frequently subjected to arbitrary surveillance and detention, as well as legal entrapment.
All of these practices are considered crimes against humanity according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the US ostensibly champions everywhere else in the world . . . perhaps nowhere more than in Muslim-majority countries – seven of which the US has bombed in the last 6 years, almost always under the auspices of humanitarian intervention.”
Authentic Outrage, Authentic Patriotism
Criticisms like these invariably evoke charges of anti-Americanism among reactionary readers – unduly. If one were truly committed to defending America and promoting its values, if sincerely outraged by the sorts of atrocities committed by ISIS – rather than sanctioning condescending and counterproductive incursions abroad, Americans should dedicate much more time and energy to responding to these same problems within the United States and its institutions abroad.
In this way, the United States could respond to the ISIS challenge by growing better and stronger, rather than undermining American’s interests and freedoms in the name of “security.”

By Musa al-Gharbi

Image: Warning: 72 virgin dating service. Apply here

6 Million People Killed In CIA Secret Wars Against Third World Countries

This is a 6:26 minute teaser

John Stockwell, former CIA Station Chief in Angola in 1976, working for then Director of the CIA, George Bush. He spent 13 years in the agency. John Stockwell is the highest-ranking CIA official ever to leave the agency and go public. He ran a CIA intelligence-gathering post in Vietnam, was the task-force commander of the CIA’s secret war in Angola in 1975 and 1976, and was awarded the Medal of Merit before he resigned.

The clip is showing parts of a lecture that Stockwell gave in 1987, explaining the CIA’s secret war. A war he describes as ‘The Third World War’. Not because it is the thermonuclear exchange that is commonly meant, but because it was mainly waged against people in the third world countries. In Stockwell’s own words:

The six million people the CIA has helped to kill are people of the Mitumba Mountains of the Congo, the jungles of Southeast Asia, and the hills of northern Nicaragua. They are people without ICBMs or armies or navies, incapable of doing physical damage to the United States the 22,000 killed in Nicaragua, for example, are not Russians; they are not Cuban soldiers or advisors; they are not even mostly Sandinistas. A majority are rag-poor peasants, including large numbers of women and children.

Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has mounted approximately 3,000 major operations and 10,000 minor operations of this nature, every one of them illegal and many of them “bloody and gory beyond comprehension”.

The War On Democracy

‘The War On Democracy’ (2007), It explores the current and past relationship of Washington with Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile.

The film shows how serial US intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series of legitimate governments in the Latin American region since the 1950s.

The democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende, for example, was ousted by a US backed coup in 1973 and replaced by the military dictatorship of General Pinochet. Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador have all been invaded by the United States.

John Pilger interviews several ex-CIA agents who took part in secret campaigns against democratic countries in the region.

He investigates the School of the Americas in the US state of Georgia, where Pinochet’s torture squads were trained along with tyrants and death squad leaders in Haiti, El Salvador, Brazil and Argentina.

The film unearths the real story behind the attempted overthrow of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez in 2002 and how the people of the barrios of Caracas rose up to force his return to power.

It also looks at the wider rise of populist governments across South America lead by indigenous leaders intent on loosening the shackles of Washington and a fairer redistribution of the continent’s natural wealth.

John Pilger says:

“[The film] is about the struggle of people to free themselves from a modern form of slavery. These people describe a world not as American presidents like to see it as useful or expendable, they describe the power of courage and humanity among people with next to nothing. They reclaim noble words like democracy, freedom, liberation, justice, and in doing so they are defending the most basic human rights of all of us in a war being waged against all of us.”

Guantanamo: Blacked Out Bay

“We’re embarking upon a very dark future” – Terry Colin Holdbrooks Jr.

Almost 800 men have been held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility since it was established in 2002. Today, fewer than 150 remain. Despite the fact that more than half of current detainees have been cleared for transfer from the base, and in spite of the executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 ordering the closure of the prison within one year, there’s no indication it will be shuttered anytime soon.

VICE News traveled to Guantanamo to find out what the hell is going on. After a tightly controlled yet bizarre tour of the facility, we sought out a former detainee in Sarajevo and a former guard in Phoenix to get their unfiltered impressions of what life is like at Gitmo.

IRAQ – The Killing Of A Nation

IRAQ – The Killing Of A Nation, is a short documentary that was aired in the House of Commons on the 10th of June 2014 during the “11years after the occupation of Iraq” conference organised by the Arab Lawyers Association UK & Rasam Strategic Studies Institute Turkey. The Conference is part of a series of events designed to extend the reach of Iraqis to the world community.

The Secret Government: The Constitution In Crisis

This is the full length 90 min. version of Bill Moyer’s 1987 scathing critique of the criminal subterfuge carried out by the Executive Branch of the United States Government.

Host Bill Moyers exposes the inner workings of the secret government. Though originally broadcast in 1987, it is even more relevant today. Interviews with respected, top military, intelligence, and government insiders reveal both the history and secret objectives

“The National Security Act of ‘47 gave us the National Security Council. Never have we had a National Security Council so concerned about the nation’s security that we’re always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society to oppose those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947, and now it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against something we invented in 1947.” [ U.S. Navy Admiral Gene La Rocque in PBS Documentary “The Secret Government”]

In the revealing PBS video documentary The Secret Government available for free viewing below, host Bill Moyers exposes the inner workings of a secret government much more vast that most people would ever imagine. Though originally broadcast in 1987, it is even more relevant today. Interviews with respected top military, intelligence, and government insiders reveal both the history and secret objectives of powerful groups in the hidden shadows of our government.

TRANSCRIPT

Moyers: “The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of our Constitution. Just imagine that William Casey’s dream came true. Suppose the enterprise grew into a super-secret, self-financing, self-perpetuating organization. Suppose they decided on their own to assassinate Gorbachev or the leader of white South Africa. Could a President control them and what if he became the enterprise’s public enemy Number One? Who would know? Who would say no?”

“World War II was over. Europe lay devastated. The United States emerged as the most powerful nation on earth. But from the rubble rose a strange new world, a peace that was not peace, and a war that was not war. We saw it emerging when the Soviets occupied Eastern Europe. The Cold War had begun.”

Winston Churchill: “An Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.”

Moyers: “The Russians had been our ally against the Nazis, an expedient alliance for the sake of war. Now they were our enemy. To fight them we turned to some of the very men who had inflicted on humanity the horrors of Hitler’s madness. We hired Nazis as American spies. We struck a secret bargain with the devil.”

Erhard Dabringhaus: “One that I know real well is Klaus Barbie. He was wanted by the French as their number one war criminal, and somehow we employed a man like that as a very secretive informant.”

Moyers: “Erhard Dabringhaus was employed in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and assigned to work with Nazi informants spying on the Russians. One of them was Klaus Barbie, the ‘Butcher of Lyon’, who had tortured and murdered thousands of Jews and resistance fighters. The Americans did not turn Barbie over to the French when they finished with him. They helped him escape to Bolivia. Other top Nazis were smuggled into the United States to cooperate in the war against the new enemy.”

“So began the morality of the Cold War. Anything goes. The struggle required a mentality of permanent war, a perpetual state of emergency. It had met a vast new apparatus of power that radically transformed our government. Its foundations were laid when President Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947.”

Admiral Gene La Rocque: “Now that National Security Act of 1947 changed dramatically the direction of this great nation. It established the framework for a national security state.”

Moyers: “Admiral Gene La Rocque rose through the ranks from Ensign to become a Strategic Planner for the Pentagon and now heads the Center of Defense Information, a public interest group.”

Admiral Gene La Rocque: “The National Security Act of ‘47 gave us the National Security Council. Never have we had a National Security Council so concerned about the nation’s security that we’re always looking for threats and looking how to orchestrate our society to oppose those threats. National Security was invented, almost, in 1947, and now it has become the prime mover of everything we do as measured against something we invented in 1947. The National Security Act also gave us the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Moyers: “This is the house the Cold War built – the CIA. The core of the new secret government. Its chief legitimate duty was to gather foreign intelligence for America’s new role as a world power. Soon it was taking on covert operations, abroad and at home. As its mission expanded, the CIA recruited adventuresome young men like Notre Dame’s ‘All American,’ Ralph McGehee.”

Ralph McGehee: “I look back to the individual that I was when I joined the agency. I was a dedicated Cold Warrior who felt the agency was out there fighting for liberty, justice and democracy and religion around the world. And I believed wholeheartedly in this. I just felt proud every day that I went to work because I was out at the vanguard of the battle against the international evil empire – international Communist evil empire.”

Moyers: “Iran, 1953: the CIA mounted its first major covert operation to overthrow a foreign government. The target was the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mosaddeq. He held power legitimately, through his country’s parliamentary process, and he was popular. Washington had once looked to him as the man to prevent a Communist takeover. But that was before Mosaddeq decided that the Iranian state, not British companies, ought to own and control the oil within Iran’s own borders. When he nationalized the British run oil fields, Washington saw red.”

“The Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles and his brother Alan, Director of the CIA, decided with Eisenhower’s approval, to overthrow Mosaddeq and reinstate the Shah of Iran. The mobs paid by the CIA, and the police and soldiers bribed by the CIA, drove Mosaddeq from office.”

Newscaster: “Crown Prince Abdullah greets the Shah as he lands at Baghdad airport after a seven-hour flight from Rome.”

Moyers: The King of Kings was back in control and more pliable than Mosaddeq. American oil companies took over almost half of Iran’s production. U.S. arms merchants moved in with $18 billion of weapons sales over the next 20 years. But there were losers.”

Kenneth Love (former New York Times reporter): “Nearly everybody in Iran of any importance has had a brother, or a mother, or a sister, or a son, or a father, tortured, jailed, deprived of property without due process. I mean an absolutely buccaneering dictatorship in our name that we supported. SAVAK was created by the CIA!”

Moyers: “SAVAK, the Shah’s Secret Police, tortured and murdered thousands of his opponents. General Richard Secord and Albert Hakim were among those who helped supply the Shah’s insatiable appetite for the technology of control. But the weapons and flattery heaped by America on the Shah blinded us to the growing opposition of his own people. They rose up in 1979 against him. “Death to the Shah!” they shouted. “Death to the American Satan.”

Kenneth Love: “Khomeni is a direct consequence, and the hostage crisis is a direct consequence, and the resurgence of the Shi’a is a direct consequence of the CIA’s overthrow of Mosaddeq in 1953.”

Moyers: “Guatemala 1954. Flushed with success America’s Secret Government decided another troublesome leader must go. This time it was Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Philip Roettinger was recruited from the Marines to join the CIA team.”

Colonel Philip Roettinger (Ret.) U.S. Marine Corps: “It was explained to me that it was very important for the security of the United States that we were going to prevent a Soviet beach-head in this hemisphere, which we have heard about very recently of course, and that the Guatemalan government was Communist, and we had to do something about it.”

Moyers: “President Arbenz had admired Franklin D. Roosevelt and his government voted often with the American position at the United Nations. But in trying to bring a new deal to Guatemala, Arbenz committed two sins in the eyes of the Eisenhower administration. First, when he opened the system to all political parties he recognized the Communists too.”

Roettinger: “Well, of course there was not even a hint of Communism in his government. He had no Communists in his Cabinet. He did permit the existence of a very small Communist party.”

Moyers: “Arbenz also embarked on a massive land reform program. Less than 3 per cent of the land owners held more than 70 per cent of the land. So Arbenz nationalized more than 1 ½ million acres, including land owned by his own family and turned it over to peasants. Much of that land belonged to the United Fruit Company, the giant American firm that was intent on keeping Guatemala, quite literally, a banana republic. United Fruit appealed to its close friends in Washington, including the Dulles brothers, who said that Arbenz was openly playing the Communist game. He had to go.”

Roettinger: “This was sudden death for him. There was no chance of him winning this fight because of the fact that he had done this to the United Fruit Company. Plus the fact, that he was overthrowing the hegemony of the United States over this area. And this was dangerous, it could not be tolerated. We couldn’t tolerate that.”

Moyers: “From Honduras, the same country that today is the Contra staging base, the CIA launched a small band of mercenaries against Guatemala. They were easily turned back. So with its own planes and pilots the CIA then bombed the capital. Arbenz fled and was immediately replaced by an American puppet, Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas.”

Roettinger: “He overturned all of the reformist activities of President Arbenz. He gave the land back to the United Fruit Company that had been confiscated. He took land from the peasants and gave it back to the land owners.”

Moyers: “The CIA had called its covert action against Guatemala, Operation Success. Military dictators ruled the country for the next 30 years. The United States provided them with weapons and trained their officers. The Communists we saved them from would have been hard pressed to do it better. Peasants were slaughtered. Political opponents were tortured. Suspected insurgents were shot, stabbed, burned alive or strangled. There were so many deaths at one point that coroners complained they couldn’t keep up with the work load. Operation Success.”

Roettinger: “What we did has caused a succession of repressive military dictatorships in that country and has been responsible for the deaths over 100,000 of their citizens.”

Moyers: “Success breeds success, sometimes with dreary repetition. Mario Sandoval Alarcon began his career in the CIA’s adventure in Guatemala. Today he’s known as the Godfather of the Death Squads. In 1981, after lobbying Ronald Reagan’s advisors for military aid to Guatemala, Sandoval Alarcon danced at the Inaugural Ball.”

“Richard Bissell, another veteran of the Guatemalan coup, went on to become the CIA’s Chief of Covert Operations. I looked him up several years ago for a CBS documentary. He talked about a secret report prepared for the White House in 1954 by a group of distinguished citizens headed by former president Herbert Hoover.”

Report Quote: “It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto accepted norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, longstanding American concepts of fair play must be reconsidered. We must learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated, more effective methods than those used against us.”

Moyers: “Cuba, 1961, seven years after Operation Success in Guatemala, Bissell was planning another CIA covert operation.”

Newscaster: “The assault has begun on the dictatorship of Fidel Castro.”

Moyers: “On April 17, 1961, Cuban exiles trained by the CIA at a base in friendly Guatemala landed on the southern coast of Cuba, at the Bay of Pigs. The U.S. had promised air support, but President Kennedy cancelled it. The invaders, left defenseless, surrendered. Seven months after the disastrous invasion, Kennedy delivered a major foreign policy address.”

President John F. Kennedy: “We cannot, as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crisis.”

Moyers: “The President was not telling the truth. Even as he spoke, his administration was planning a new covert war on Cuba. It would include some of the dirty tricks the President said we were above. The Secret Government was prepared for anything.”

Moyers interview with Richard Bissel: “At one time, the CIA organized a small department known as Executive Action, which was a permanent assassination capability.”

Bissel: “Well, it wasn’t just an assassination capability. It was a capability to discredit or get rid of people, but it could have included assassination.”

Moyers: “And it did. There were at least eight documented attempts to kill Castro. He says there were two dozen. And there was even one effort to put LSD in his cigars. To help us get rid of the Cuban leader, our Secret Government turned to the Mafia, just as we once made use of Nazis. The gangsters included the Las Vegas Mafioso, John Roselli, the Don of Chicago, Sam Giancana, and the Boss of Tampa, Santo Traficante.”

“If I read you correctly you are saying it is the involvement in the Mafia that disturbed you and not the need or decision to assassinate a foreign leader.”

Bissel: “Correct.”

Moyers: “It is a chilling thought made more chilling by the assassination of John Kennedy. The accusations linger. In some minds, the suspicions persist of a dark unsolved conspiracy behind his murder. You can dismiss them, as many of us do. But knowing now what our secret government planned for Castro, the possibility remains. Once we decide that anything goes, anything can come home to haunt us.”

Vietnam, 1968: “American soldiers are fighting and dying in the jungles of Southeast Asia. But the Vietnam War didn’t start this way. It started secretly off the books, like so many of these ventures that have ended disastrously. The CIA got there early, soon after the Vietnamese won their independence from the French in 1954. Eisenhower warned that the nations of Southeast Asia would fall like dominoes if the Communists, led by Ho Chi Min, took over all Vietnam. To hold the line, we installed in Saigon a puppet regime under Ngo Dinh Diem. American-trained commandos were used to sabotage bus and rail lines and contaminate North Vietnam’s oil supply. Vice President Nixon lent moral support to Diem, but the situation kept getting worse.”

“President Kennedy sent the Green Berets to Vietnam and turned to full scale counter-insurgency. He had once said that Vietnam was the ultimate test of our will to stem the tide of world Communism. By the time of his death, there were 15,000 Americans there. They were called “advisors.” The secret war was leading only to deeper involvement and more deception.”

President Lyndon Johnson: “It is my duty to the American people to report that renewed hostile actions against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin have today required me to order the military forces of the United States, to take action and reply.”

Moyers: “This President was not telling the truth either. The action at the Gulf of Tonkin was not unprovoked. South Vietnam had been conducting secret raids in the area against the North and the American destroyer, ordered into the battle zone, had advanced warning it could be attacked. But Johnson seized the incident to stampede Congress into passing the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. He then used it as a blank check for the massive buildup of American forces.”

April, 1965: “Two battalions of Marines land in South Vietnam. The first of more than 2½ million Americans to fight there with no Congressional declaration of war. The dirty little war that began in secret, is reaching full roar. Free-fire zones, defoliation, the massacre at My Lai, napalm, and the CIA’s Operation Phoenix to round up, torture and kill suspected Viet Cong.”

Ralph McGehee: “We were murdering these people, incinerating them.”

Moyers: “Ralph McGehee was there for the CIA and helped set up South Vietnam’s secret police.”

McGehee (Notre Dame “All American”): “My efforts had resulted in the deaths of many people, and I just – for me it was a period when I guess I was – I considered myself nearly insane – I just couldn’t reconcile what I had been and what I was at the time becoming.”

Moyers: “Many of the secret warriors in Southeast Asia had no such doubts or regrets. Some of the team that later joined the Iran-Contra enterprise, helped to run the secret war in Laos. As General Richard Secord later put it, ‘Laos belonged to the CIA.’ Looking back, it is stunning how easily the Cold War enticed us into surrendering popular control of government to the National Security State. We’ve never come closer to bestowing absolute authority on the president. Setting up White House groups that secretly decide to fight dirty little wars, is a direct assumption of the war powers expressly forbidden by the Constitution.”

“Not since December, 1941, has Congress declared war. Since then, we’ve had a police action in Korea, advisors in Vietnam, covert operations in Central America, peacekeeping in Lebanon and low intensity conflicts going on right now from Angola to Cambodia. We’ve turned the war powers of the United States over to, well we’re never really sure who, or what they’re doing, or what it costs, or who is paying for it. The one thing that we are sure of is that this largely secret global war carried on with less and less accountability to democratic institutions, has become a way of life. And now we are faced with a question brand new in our history. Can we have the permanent warfare state and democracy too?”

“In 1975 as the war in Vietnam came to an end, Congress took its first public look at the Secret Government. Senator Frank Church chaired the Select Committee to study government operations. The hearings opened the books on a string of lethal activities. From the use of electric pistols and poison pellets, to Mafia connections and drug experiments. And they gave us a detailed account of assassination plots against foreign leaders and the overthrowing of sovereign governments. We learned, for example, how the Nixon administration had waged a covert war against the government of Chile’s president, Salvador Allende, who was ultimately overthrown by a military coup and assassinated.”

Senator Church: “Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the United States. The attitude in the White House seemed to be – if in the wake of Vietnam, I can no longer send in the Marines, then I will send in the CIA.”

Moyers: “The powers claimed by presidents and national security have become the controlling wheel of government, driving everything else. Secrecy then makes it possible for the president to pose as the sole competent judge of what will best protect our security. Secrecy permits the White House to control what others know, and that’s power.”

“This is the ultimate weapon of the secret government – the National Security Decision Directive – the NSDD. Every president since Harry Truman has issued them. They’re not published in any government register. Ronald Reagan has signed at least 280 such directives. They cover everything from outer space to nuclear weapons to covert operations in Iran and Nicaragua. In essence, by an arbitrary and secret decree, the president can issue himself a license to do as he will, where he will. And the only ones who need to know are the secret agents who carry it out – the knights of the Oval Office.”

“This remains for me the heart of the matter. The men who wrote our Constitution, our basic book of rules, were concerned that power be held accountable. No party of government and no person in government, not even the President, was to pick or choose among the laws to be obeyed. But how does one branch of government blow the whistle on another? Or how do the people cry foul when their liberties are imperiled, if public officials can break the rules, lie to us about it, and then wave the wand of national security to silence us?”

“Can it happen again? You bet it can. The apparatus of secret power remains intact in a huge White House staff operating in the sanctuary of presidential privilege. George Bush has already told the National Security Council to take more responsibility for foreign policy, which can of course be exercised beyond public scrutiny. And a lot of people in Washington are calling for more secrecy, not less, including more covert actions. This is a system easily corrupted as the public grows indifferent again, and the press is seduced or distracted. So one day, sadly, we are likely to discover once again that while freedom does have enemies in the world, it can also be undermined here at home, in the dark, by those posing as its friends. I’m Bill Moyers. Good night.”

Guantánamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes

Letters Detail Punitive Tactics Used On Guantánamo Hunger Strikers

The US military secretly used a variety of tactics to break the resolve of the Guantánamo Bay hunger strikers, including placing them in solitary confinement if they continued to refuse food, newly declassified interviews with detainees reveal.

One prisoner also said that the last British resident held inside the camp,Shaker Aamer, had been targeted and humiliated by the authorities to the point where it became impossible for the 44-year-old to continue his protest.

The US military recently announced the end of the six-month mass hunger strike among detainees at Guantánamo Bay. But human rights groups argue that such proclamations are disingenuous as at least 16 inmates are still force-fed daily, and two are in hospital.

One detainee, 42-year-old Syrian national Abu Wa’el Dhiab, reported that the Extreme Reaction Force team, the camp’s military riot squad, would “storm” Aamer’s cell five times a day in an attempt to crush his resolve during the strike.

In letters recounting Aamer’s treatment, which have only just been declassified, Wa’el said: “They have deprived him of food, water and medicine. Then the riot squad uses the excuse of giving him water and food and medicine to storm his cell again.”

Wa’el, who like Aamer has spent 11 years inside the camp, added: “They took him to the clinic, tore his clothes off and left him with only his underwear for long hours, taunting him.”

Ahmed Belbacha, an Algerian detainee who has been cleared for release, corroborated the claim that solitary confinement was used as a punishment for prisoners making political statements. Belbacha, 43, described how the authorities were punishing hunger strikers by confiscating their belongings. “My glasses, legal papers, toothbrush, toothpaste and all my other necessities have been taken.”

Testimonies of Belbacha, Mukbel and Aamer are among those featured in an animation narrated by actors David Morrissey and Peter Capaldi depicting life inside Guantánamo Bay. The film also uses testimony from the recently released Nabil Hadjarab, provided by their lawyers at legal charity Reprieve.

Mukbel, 35, added that other tactics were utilised to whittle down the size of the hunger strike. He said the temperature was deliberately manipulated to make conditions inside the camp even more uncomfortable and that during the hunger strike searches of cells were timed to disrupt detainees’ sleep.

Cori Crider, a lawyer at Reprieve, said: “The US authorities have, with some glee, announced the hunger strike to be over. What they fail to tell you is the horrific things they did to crush the hunger strikers’ spirits, as my clients have described. And yet still there are at least 16 men striking and being brutally force-fed twice a day.”

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/12/us-military-stormed-hunger-striker-cell