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US and Hu Rights Violations - Russia Confronts US

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by grtv

The United States and Russia have achieved many milestones when it comes to relieving tensions between the two superpowers after the Cold War, but it seems that lately those strains have been on the rise.

Russia has been more than vocal over its opposition of the US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, and now Russia plans on implementing a visa ban on American officials to counter the US banning Russian officials for alleged human rights violations.

David Swanson, campaigner for Roots Action, joins us with more on the matter.

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Iran

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دلایل اصلی سقوط نرخ نفت Image

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دلایل اصلی سقوط نرخ نفت

دلایل اصلی سقوط نرخ نفت
نویسنده و گوینده : نیک پاکپور.

نگرش یا نگاهی کاونده یا کافنده به ترفند یا توطئه تبهکارانهٔ تزریق نفت ارزان به بازار جهانی غرب که به مثابهٔ متدی مکار و مهندسی شده، آلبنه با جنگ و جدل یا کلنجار کژین کهنه و کهن ژئو پولیتیک نفتی ایالات متحدهٔ امریکا، به همراه منتها ی مقابله و محاربه و مداخله با ابزار و آفزار متروک و مخرب مرگ و موت و منفعت مکینه، در منطقه انرژی خیز خاور میانه و کرانه های مدیترانه تا شمال آفریقا، با آجندای پیشروی پیروزمندانه در پهنا و پراگمای ژئو اکنومیک و ژئو استراتژیک، یعنی چیزی را که در ترم های sane سیاسی یا political science امروزی به آن پیروزی یا پیشدستی پنهان و پوشیده، اعیان و آشکار در Great Game می گویند.

گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب Image

18,560 views

گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب

بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
گوینده: نیک پاکپور
Reference:BRICS
1-Putin and BRICS form Seed Crystal of a New International Monetary Pole
William Engdahl | July 25, 2014
2-BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out Western dominance
By RT: Published time: July 15, 2014 18:14
3-BRICS against Washington consensus
BY By Pepe Escobar “Asia Times: Jul 15, '14”
4-Dollar dying; multi-polar world in offing
By F.William engdahl
4-US Dollar Suffers Serious Setback
By By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
5-Throwing BRICS at Israel
By Johnny Punish

نیک پاکپور - دیو داعش و نقش غرب Image

20,549 views

نیک پاکپور - دیو داعش و نقش غرب

دیو داعش و نقش غرب

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

گوینده آنچه را که مربوط به ریشه سعودی،سلفی،سیاه ایی، زهش یا زایش، پیدایش یا پالایش تاول یا تکاثر،ترسناک،تروریسم تکفیری میشود را در یک ویدئویی،بتاریخ 24 فوریه 2014 میلادی،با نوضیح و نفسیر، و بر پایه پویش پروسه تیک پژوهشی،تکوینی،تاریخی،در جهت آژیرنده و آگاه کننده، مورد ارزیابی و آنالیز منطقی قرار داده ام

ولی بعد و بنیاد پحث امروز گوینده بطور اختصار و در حد اختیار،اختصاص دارد به حوادث دهشتناک و دردناکی که بطور فزاینده و فژاگن در کشور همسایگی،ما ایرانیان یعنی کشور عراق جریان دارد.

 

 

Europe

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Belgium: Protesters burn Merkel effigy to stop TTIP and TAFTA Image

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Belgium: Protesters burn Merkel effigy to stop TTIP and TAFTA

Hundreds took to the streets of Brussels Friday, demanding change to TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and TAFTA (Transatlantic Free Trade Area) agreements. Protesters attempted to block EU institution buildings which were to hold the last summit of the year, however, delegates had departed the summit on Monday. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To buy this video please contact the Ruptly Client Desk: cd@ruptly.tvVideo ID: 20141219-011----------------------------------Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RuptlyTwitter: http://twitter.com/RuptlyLiveLeak: http://www.liveleak.com/c/RuptlyVine: https://vine.co/RuptlyInstagram: http://www.instagram.com/RuptlyGoogle Plus: http://google.com/+RuptlyTVYouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/RuptlyTVDailyMotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/ruptlyVideo on Demand: http://www.ruptly.tv

CrossTalk: Turkey Taking Sides Image

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CrossTalk: Turkey Taking Sides

Which way Turkey? Ankara is a NATO member, with at the same time getting close to Russia. Turkey will probably never be part of the EU, but its foreign policy influence is set to grow in this volatile Middle East. Turkey has options, but what about friends? CrossTalking with Joshua Landis, Dan Arbell and Mark Sleboda.Listen to CrossTalk+ here: https://soundcloud.com/rttv/sets/crosstalk_plusWatch all CrossTalk shows here:http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL75A81D67D2955F81 (Sep 2009 - Feb 2011)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K12YqkZDcnaHfDd5cptKhs9 (Mar 2011 - Jul 2012)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K1wI7Kcpxfq6NviCKYKjXAn (Jul 2012 - current)RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Police use batons in brutal clashes with Rennes protesters, France Image

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Police use batons in brutal clashes with Rennes protesters, France

Police used batons and sprayed handheld tear gas in clashes with several hundred protesters in the French city of Rennes on Thursday, ahead of the arrival of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Four people were arrested.COURTESY: RT's RUPTLY video agency, NO RE-UPLOAD, NO REUSE - FOR LICENSING, PLEASE, CONTACT http://ruptly.tvRT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Middle east

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Obama

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Obama's anti-ISIS plans backfire on boosting Baghdad

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Israeli airstrikes hit targets near Damascus International Airport Image

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Israeli airstrikes hit targets near Damascus International Airport

The Syrian military has accused Israel of carrying out two airstrikes near Damascus International Airport and in the town of Dimas near the Lebanon border, Syrian state TV reports. RT's Paula Slier reports.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

UK reopens Bahrain navy base after 40 yrs – to fight ISIS Image

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UK reopens Bahrain navy base after 40 yrs – to fight ISIS

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United state

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Rights Groups File Torture Charges against Bush-Era Officials in German Court Image

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Rights Groups File Torture Charges against Bush-Era Officials in German Court

With the Obama Administration pursuing torture charges, the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner explains why the CCR joined the European Commission of Human Rights to file charges in German Court

Bio
Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.
Transcript
Cased Filed in European Court Against Bush-Era TortureSHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: This is The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Welcome to this edition of the Michael Ratner report.
Fallout continues from the Senate CIA torture report and the unwillingness of the Obama administration to hold anyone accountable for their torturing. On Wednesday, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a criminal complaint in Germany against former CIA had George Tenet, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and other members of the Bush administration for their roles in torture.
Joining us from New York, New York, to discuss all of this is Michael Ratner. Michael Ratner is the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, and he is also a board member of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin.
Michael, thank you so much for joining us.
MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Sharmini, it's always good to be with you and The Real News.
PERIES: Michael, since President Obama is not bringing about charges and the Senate Intelligence Committee did not recommend charging the torturers, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights decided that they needed to take some action. Tell us more.
RATNER: You know, the torture report which came out, and, of course, a lot of evidence we had before, really screamed that people have to be investigated and prosecuted for torture. It's completely clear. The Obama administration is not really doing anything. Obama has said, let's look forward, not backward, etc. I think we all know that story. This country isn't about to do a thing.
But it's a very different situation in Europe. For a number of years, we've tried to bring cases in Europe, but now, in light of the torture report, I think we have a much, much better chance. And already the fact that we've brought some cases are having a major effect, which is one of the effects we want, on people from the CIA.
I understand from a lawyer I work with, Scott Horton, who is also a columnist at Harper's, that over 100 CIA agents have already been warned by the lawyers for the agency that they should not leave the United States, certainly not go to Europe, because they could be arrested and prosecuted for torture. That's already pretty remarkable considering how reluctant this country has been to hold accountable its own torturers.
PERIES: And how effective is that? The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights already has charges against Dick Cheney, for example. How effective has that been?
RATNER: Well, what's happened over time has been, starting in 2004, a man named Wolfgang Kaleck and myself and the Center for Constitutional Rights began the first prosecutions against Rumsfeld in Berlin. We failed in that one, and we started another one in 2006. We also didn't succeed in that one.
Out of those prosecutions, of course, came--maybe not of course, but people don't know--came a new organization that was founded called the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. Through that vehicle, through the Center for Constitutional Rights, we started other cases in Europe not just against the CIA, but against Rumsfeld, against the Pentagon. After all, what happened in black sites, dark sites, in half a dozen countries, is not the only torture that occurred. There was torture at Abu Ghraib, torture at Guantanamo, torture in U.S. prisons around the world. We started cases against Bush in Switzerland. We didn't win that case. We started a case in France as well. But as a result of those cases, neither Bush nor Rumsfeld are at this point willing to go to Europe, as far as I can understand, and because of those cases and their fears. We also started a case in Spain with regard to Guantanamo. That is doing quite well. It's continued. It's looking at Jeffrey Miller, who was the head of Guantanamo, and others, around the torture in Guantanamo.
Now, there's a special link with Spain, because four of the people at Guantanamo were either residents or citizens of Spain, and that means under Spanish law there's a special hook for jurisdiction. I want to say a word about jurisdiction and then talk a bit about the new case we brought the other day in Germany. Torture is considered an international crime. It's considered a crime in which torturers can be brought to justice wherever they are in the world. And it's called universal jurisdiction. Almost every nation-state has the ability to do that, and is required, actually, to do it under the Convention against Torture. Spain has it, Switzerland has it, the U.S. has it. Other countries have it as well. What it means is that these countries have to look at these cases when we bring them. At the same time, if one of their citizens is one of the people tortured, they have a link that makes it much more likely to actually deal with the case. So that's why we still have a case pending in Spain.
Now I want to tell you about what I consider very exciting news about what the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights did two or three days ago. They brought a case in Berlin, another case against George Tenet, CIA head, former head; Cheney, former vice president, who admits openly that engaging in what he doesn't call torture, but what was torture--and says he would do it again; and against lawyers who were involved in setting up this torture scheme by protecting the torturers, some of the torturers themselves, some of the people involved in this program. They brought that case in Europe in front of the prosecutor.
And it's interesting also, as an aside to people in the United States. Unlike Europe, unlike the United States and Europe, you can go to criminal--you can bring criminal charges yourself. In the U.S. you have to go to the district attorney and decide when the district attorney decides, am I going to charge the person or not. In Europe you can go directly. That doesn't mean they'll always consider the case in the court, but you can go directly.
So now this case in Germany has been filed. And what's important about it is, despite the fact we've lost two times in Germany, is the changing mood is the first thing that's important. Look it, Germany was just hit hard by revelations of the U.S. and the NSA doing spying on everybody from Merkel to what it does in its diplomatic relations to everything else. And then what came out in the torture report--and we knew a little bit of this before, but the torture report confirms--is that a man named Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was a completely innocent German citizen, was mistakenly identified as a terrorist. And he got off a bus in Macedonia. He'd been going for vacation. He was taken by the CIA to Afghanistan to a place called the "Salt Pit", which is known as--I think it's called Operation or Camp COBALT in the CIA report on torture, and he was tortured there for four months. And he was tortured there despite the fact that at some point they knew he was innocent, they'd gotten the wrong man, despite complaints by the German government, and they continued to torture him. He eventually gets released--well, released is a funny word. He gets taken out of the Salt Pit, put into some woods in a forest in Albania, and just dropped off, and then eventually makes his way back to Germany. He provides link with the German criminal prosecution, and of course with the very people who sent that meant to be tortured, and continue to have him tortured after they knew he was innocent. So that's the German case.
Now, what they ask for in the German case is not just about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but they asked about the whole--ask about prosecution of the whole lot of people we've talked about--Rumsfeld, Cheney, the whole crowd. And they not only asked for their prosecution; they also asked that the prosecutor monitor and Europe monitor the comings and goings of the people on the list that is being compiled and is partly already submitted of the CIA and other torturers.
Well, let me tell you, if you're sitting there as a CIA guy, you're not about to travel to Europe for any good reason, because the last thing you want to happen is you get tossed into some prison, and then a court that may well try you for torture.
Now, the key paragraph of this complaint that was just filed by the European Court, by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, of which I am a board member--Wolfgang Kaleck is the head of it--the key paragraph says this: the U.S. ran a state-organized program of torture, authorized at the highest levels, and carried out around the world in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Iraq, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
Now, when I read that paragraph, I think: that reminds me of Operation Condor. That was a similar worldwide program carried out by Pinochet from Chile after the coup in 1973. And that's what we have here. So that's what we have [incompr.] CIA people are frightened. That's why I think we're actually making great progress in this respect.
Now, as I said, the German case is not the only one. We [incompr.] pending in the Spanish national court, and there will be others as we move forward, because I think Europe is a ripe area for now bringing these international prosecutions.
PERIES: But why aren't you taking this up in the United States?
RATNER: So that you cannot file them in the United States. I can knock on the prosecutor's door, I can knock on Holder's door and say, please prosecute, and he can just say, well, Michael, it's nice to hear you, we'll think about it, and nothing happens.
In Europe you could actually file a criminal complaint, and the court has to decide whether to look at it or not. And, sure, there's politics to it, but there's also law to it. They actually have to consider it up to a certain point. And if you get a good independent investigating judge--and you remember Judge Garzón in Spain. He's the one who actually indicted Augusto Pinochet for the killings and murders and disappearances in Chile. That's what can happen.
And we've actually had a successful prosecution in Italy of 22 CIA agents. A number of years ago, a man, an Egyptian sheik named Abu Omar, who was kidnapped off the streets of Milan, a brave, strong investigating judge who is independent--I want to stress this--independent of the political system in Italy, just as Garzon was independent of the political system in Spain, began a prosecution, indicted and convicted 22 CIA agents. Now those 22 agents basically have been convicted. They've been sentenced to prison. If they come to Europe, they'll be slapped into a cell.
So the difference between Europe and the United States on this is political, yes, but it's also a different system of how you get criminal prosecutions. Here in the United States we don't have that ability. Sure, we've tried, and we try and we send complaints to the government and we ask them to do it. Of course we have. And what we have now is a situation where our country, the United States, is not carrying out its legally mandated duty under the Convention against Torture, which it has ratified. It's required to invest and prosecute. It hasn't done. And because of that, Europe also has an extra duty to do it, because if the home country where the torture occurred or the torturers are residing doesn't do it, then Europe has an extra obligation to do that. Other countries in the world as well. This could happen in Argentina, which has quite a good universal jurisdiction system. This could happen in other countries.
So I've got to tell you: these CIA people, these military people, these people like Cheney, they have to be very, very nervous about this, because we're talking about really being on the edge of not only keeping them out of Europe, but probably on the edge of success in some of these cases when one of these people--and they're not all guys--I hesitate to say this--there are some women here, too--hesitate to say, when they cross the border in a country that actually is looking at these people, they will wind up in great difficulty.
PERIES: As always, thank you for joining us today.
RATNER: And thank you to The Real News for having me.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

Three Remaining

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Three Remaining 'Cuban 5’ Goes Home

In a historic move bypassing congress President Obama restores diplomatic relations with Cuba and in a simultaneous telecast President Raul Castro hails the decision but reminds us that the blockade is still in place, says Michael Ratner of the Centre for Constitutional Rights

Bio
Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.
Transcript
The Three Remaining 'Cuban 5' Go HomeSHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Michael, thank you so much for joining us on such short notice.
MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: I'm glad to be with you, Sharmini, and of course The Real News as well.
PERIES: And let me get your take on President Obama's announcement about Cuba and President Raúl's response.
RATNER: You know, I was thrilled with parts of what's going on right now. The first thing I got was a Twitter feed saying the Cuban Three are going to be freed. And of course that was very exciting to me. They were part of a group called the Cuban Five. They were Cubans who had been sent into the United States, really, to be able to try and stop activities that were being done by the right-wing Cuban community against Cuba, from bombings to everything else. They were trying to give intelligence to the Cubans about that. They got caught, and rather than what would happen normally, being sent back to Cuba, etc., exchange, they got convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, although they didn't do anything like that, conspiracy to commit murder as well, because they were trying to stop flights from a group called Brothers to the Rescue, a right-wing Cuban group from Miami invading Cuban airspace, etc. They were serving a very long time. Three remained in jail, and one of them for life.
And good friends of mine, as well as my office, had been working on that case for years--Lenny Weinglass, who died recently, but while working on that case; Martin Garbus; and others.
And when I saw that news, that they had been freed, I thought, oh my gosh, what a great and important victory for those three people and for the Cuban people.
You saw at the same time a man named Alan Gross was let out of Cuban prison after serving five years. He'd been an American convicted for 15 years for basically working for AID, the Agency for International Development, and trying to subvert, really, the Cuban government by handing out, giving out communications systems so that people could communicate, really, in terms of fomenting, really, dissent--not dissent, but overthrow, perhaps, eventually of the Cuban government, or certainly giving them lots of trouble. There was no doubt he was a spy. At first they claimed he wasn't. The Cuban and the American governments claimed it wasn't an exchange. In fact, of course, it obviously was. But that just set up or was part of what a broader picture of really the beginning of the breaking down of the blockade, the embargo, and the isolation of Cuba. And that's very important.
Since I've been a kid, there's been a blockade, an embargo, and no diplomatic relations with Cuba, from 1960 on, the severe blockade of no financial transactions, etc. From 1962, my office and others have spent years to bring the Venceremos Brigade, to go into Cuba, to representing travelers to try and break that blockade.
And it looks like we're seeing at the beginning of that the first thing that's going to happen is there are going to be diplomatic relationships established. Right now they've been going through the Swiss Embassy. That means there'll be an ambassador to Cuba, an ambassador to the United States--a very, very big step.
Obama, in his talks, said he was going to lift some of the more severe financial controls, which have to do with remittances to the Cubans, broader categories for travel, things like that. Part of them, of course, from the U.S. point of view, are ways of undermining the Cuban progressive socialist communist system, trying to give independent money to be able to do that. Part of them, of course, are needed money because the blockade has really without question really damaged the economy of Cuba. So Obama did say this is a failed policy, it hasn't worked. And for us, the United States, us being him referring to the United States and for us to be--the U.S. be able to work with the rest of Latin America, we can't keep isolating Cuba. So after 64 years, the United States finally, finally begins to bend a bit.
Raúl Castro's speech was quite interesting itself. It talk about the diplomatic relations being eased and happening. It went after Obama again in the United States for continuing the blockade.
Now, the blockade has some issues, because the most severe part of the blockade was passed by our Congress, and the president doesn't have the authority alone to overrule that. It's called the Helms-Burton law. Lots of other laws involved.
But as Raúl Castro said, president of Cuba, there is a lot more Obama could do, even within that framework. And so he's pushing Obama really to modify and end that blockade in a more full way, which Obama does have the ability to do. I think that's a strong point and it should not be lost on people. This is only a very small step toward ending the economic isolation of Cuba, which has really hurt the people and citizens of Cuba.
The third thing Raúl said which is very important is our revolution continues. It's continued for this period of time. And this change in U.S. policy will not make us step back from the revolution. So you can't read Obama's speech without also having to read or listen to what Raúl said.
But look it, for all of us, the freeing of the Cuban Five, which a lot of us have worked on for years, and not just the humane situation [incompr.] but what it represents and the Cuban efforts to stop the terrorism that has been going on against that island for years, the thousands killed from the Bay of Pigs on, that we hope is now coming to an end, and the people who were trying to stop that are being released. That's important. Diplomatic relations are important.
And the fact that I think part of this--and I'm sure, Sharmini, that the people at The Real News, etc., are very aware of this, because of--I know you, your work in Latin America, and others'. Latin America is no longer the place it was at the time of the Cuban revolution or after. It doesn't have the military governments it had, the repressive states. In fact, it has a number of progressive governments in Bolivia, in Venezuela, in Brazil, arguably in Argentina, in Uruguay. And so Latin America is no longer really just a play toy or the back yard of the United States, and perhaps looking at not just the Cuban resistance to what the U.S. did and its survival, but looking at the changes of Latin America. And the U.S. can't any longer really function in this part of the hemisphere, in this hemisphere, as if it simply owns the whole sea, because we've had significant changes. And the changes in Cuba and the U.S. changes have to be seen in that light, that they've been forced on the United States.
PERIES: Right. Thank you so much for joining us, Michael.
RATNER: And thank you for having me, Sharmini, and my best of my friends on this historic day at The Real News.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

After Duo Created CIA Torture Methods Image

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After Duo Created CIA Torture Methods

After Duo Created CIA Torture Methods, Did World’s Largest Group of Psychologists Enable Abuses?

As a psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA’s torture program admits he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we look at allegations that the American Psychological Association — the largest association of psychologists in the world — secretly colluded with U.S. abuses. Speaking to Vice News, retired Air Force psychologist James Mitchell confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The Senate’s findings come as the American Psychological Association has launched a review to determine whether its leadership also played a role in CIA torture. The APA’s probe was prompted by revelations from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times investigative reporter James Risen. In his new book, "Pay Any Price," Risen reveals how after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the APA formed a task force that enabled the continued role of psychologists in the torture program. There has been a deep division within the APA’s policy on interrogations for years. Unlike the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, the APA never prohibited its members from being involved in interrogations.
We are joined by two guests: Steven Reisner, a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and psychological ethics adviser to Physicians for Human Rights; and Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," as well as "Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation."
Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AARON MATÉ: A retired Air Force psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA’s torture program has confirmed for the first time he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. James Mitchell told Vice News, quote, "Yes, I waterboarded KSM. I was part of a larger team that waterboarded a small number of detainees." Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Mitchell was hired to help create the interrogation program along with his partner, Bruce Jessen, another psychologist. The Senate report says Mitchell and Jessen were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation.
AMY GOODMAN: Defending his role last week, James Mitchell said the abuse of prisoners is preferable to the Obama administration’s ongoing drone war that claims civilian lives. He was speaking to Vice News.
JAMES MITCHELL: To me, it seems completely insensible that slapping KSM is bad, but sending a Hellfire missile into a family’s picnic and killing all the children and, you know, killing Granny and killing everyone is OK, for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is: What about that collateral loss of life? And the other is, is that if you kill them, you can’t question them.

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  • Regime Change In Cuba — Paul Craig Roberts
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President Barack Obama approved the congressional sanctions. Similar congressional legislation to increase sanctions on Iran is pending.Russia has been harmed the most by the CIA's Saudi oil production scheme. The Russian ruble fell 56 percent in value against the U.S. dollar while Russian interest rates climbed to 17 percent. The price of shares of Russia's largest lending bank, Sberbank, fell 18 percent. Although the Russian economic collapse has resulted in financial ripples around the world, with Austrian and French banks losing their stock values and the value of the Polish zloty and Hungarian forint falling against the dollar, the Obama administration says that there will be no easing on economic sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine. 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It will be a gigantic hurricane, which will blow and rock the whole planet, but the breach points are to be found in the “Western Port”, which hasn’t been a port for a long time but, as will be clearly shown in 2015, has been in the eye of the storm in fact, as we have repeatedly said since 2006. Whilst some boats will try to head offshore, the Ukrainian crisis has had the effect of bringing some of them back to port and firmly re-mooring them there. Unfortunately, it’s the port itself which is rocking the boats and it’s those with the strongest moorings which will break up first. Of course, we are thinking of Europe first and foremost, but more so Israel, the financial markets and world governance.Of course peace is at stake, a peace which is no more than a vain word, moreover. Ask China, India, Brazil, Iran, etc., if the West still conveys any image of peace. As for democratic values, what we show serves more as a foil than a model… to the extent that the universal principle of democracy is relegated to the value of culturally relativized concepts and finishes by serving antidemocratic agendas of all ilks, in Europe and elsewhere. Yet it’s not the democratic principle that is the problem (quite the opposite is needed to reinvent ways to apply it, in partnership with the new emerging powers), but really the West’s inability to have known how to adapt its implementation to society’s new characteristics (the emergence of supranational political entities, the Internet which is transforming the social structure..)The oil crisis is systemic because it is linked to the end of the all-oil era Let’s return for a moment to the principal characteristics of this systemic oil crisis which we have analyzed. To quickly summarize and to highlight the systemic nature of this crisis, to better position our anticipations which follow, it’s the oil market’s world governance system OPEC, which has been undermined. The US, which was its master until around 2005 (2), has seen the arrival of the emerging nations whose levels of consumption has inevitably made them joint masters. Oil consumption: in red, by the US, Western Europe and Japan; in blue, by the rest of the world. Source : Yardeni / Oil market intelligence.Of course, it would have been necessary to acknowledge this change by a reform of the old system of governance to put everybody in the same boat. Instead, frightened by the idea of a rise in oil prices to which the US economy ( totally dependent on oil, unlike Europe, and lacking any significant and coordinated investment in renewable energy) was unable to resist, the US decided to break any rationale of global coordination by creating a competing market, the shale market, intended to reduce prices. Unfortunately, we know what competition in terms of access to energy resources leads to… at least Europe is supposed to know (3) .US shale oil production – Source : HPDI, LLCAnother strong trend is combining with this major trend break, currently little mentioned in the media, that of the end of oil as the world economy’s primary energy source. And it is this second factor that now makes the situation totally uncontrollable. Prices are falling apart because the oil era is coming to an end and nobody can do anything about it. We anticipated this many months ago (4) : China is creating an all electric car fleet (5), and, in so doing, will turn the global car fleet into an all-electric one: once the technology has been mastered and mass production becomes inevitable, all the world will go electric. We anticipated that this transformation would be in place in less than 10 years and that, in five years, the turning point as regards consumption would be reached. But a year at least has passed since this anticipation. Speculators of all stripes are starting to see a horizon four years out (6).In reality, « peak oil » is what LEAP calls a “successful anticipation”: putting it into perspective, has allowed the problem to be “avoided”. Fear of a shortage and a price explosion, good and bad avoidance strategies (renewable and shale), all combined with a huge economic downturn and, as a grand finale, and an ecological agenda whose resumption we will see from this year (7), and the world is “ready” to close the oil era… except that, to this, the players existentially related to this commodity will make themselves heard loud and long before disappearing.Here again, so that our readers don’t misunderstand: for a long time oil will continue to be used to fuel the world’s engines and factories (it even has many years ahead of it again since the risk of shortage has been postponed for several decades), but the “era” of sovereign oil is ending and, of course, that constitutes a systemic change.In the Telescope section we further examine the consequences of this systemic oil crisis, particularly on the financial markets. These financial markets, which have well “resisted” six long years of crisis, suffocating the real economy in their vice and proving the extent to which they were the crux of the problem, will not be able to survive the shock that they are about to get, from the oil industry on the one hand (a central player), and the dollar on the other (financial world’s main tool). But, as if it weren’t enough, other bombs are ready to explode…Notes(1) Source : LEAP/Europe2020, 15 February 2006(2) In fact, the beginning of the rise in oil prices dates from 2003, and began to explode in 2006. But 2005 is a recurring date as soon as we analyze price increases in terms of the emerging nations’ consumption instead of the vagaries of Middle Eastern geopolitics, and generally as soon as one sees the emerging nations’ rise in power.(3) The two world wars at the beginning of the 20th century were intrinsically linked to competition for access to energy resources (source: Cambridge Journals, 09/1968), which is why, at the end of the Second World War, the European Communities gave birth to the pooling of resources, the ECSC (source :Wikipedia ), a project which should have remained one of the lightning conductors of European construction, whilst today the Ukrainian crisis reveals the gaping hole in Europe as regards a common energy policy. And to say that some find that we suffer from too much Europe!! Actually, European construction came to a halt in 1989… busy regulating the size of cucumbers and freeing the rest: “the European cucumber”…(4) In our recommendations last January (GEAB N°81) under the heading « China goes electric ». Source :LEAP/E2020, 15/01/2014(5) Source : Bloomberg, 09/02/2014(6) For those who doubt the reality of this development there is the recent and incredible decision by Germany (incredible because it’s completely counter intuitive to the current decline in oil prices) to bet everything on renewable energy and package everything which is nuclear-gas-oil-coal to get rid of it Source :Deutsche Welle, 01/12/2014(7) Last month we noted the very tangible results achieved in promises to reduce CO2 emissions, including from the US, under Chinese leadership. And although the Lima Summit hasn’t seemed to produce much in the way of results meanwhile, it’s particularly because the poor countries are pretending to continue to believe that Western dollars are going to finance their energy transition. But in substance, the environmental agenda is very dynamic currently, essentially because it coincides with the strategic objectives for the first time of the world’s first (or second) power, China.
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  • Modi, Putin and the World Order (II)
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In some ways, this is symptomatic of the India-US partnership as far as the Indian side is concerned. The Indians do not have even ten percent of the ‘killer instinct’ that the American side has shown to extract the maximum advantage out of the relationship. The Indian side often feels happy enough to settle for the trammels of the relationship with a superpower, and would hardly match the American-style relentless chase of ‘deliverables’. The highlight of the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the White House in 2009, for instance, was that Obama held the first state banquet of his second term in honor of him. Ironically, the relationship as such began drifting soon thereafter as the Americans began losing interest in India’s increasingly dysfunctional government. Interestingly, Obama recently praised Modi as a «man of action». It is unclear to what extent Modi remains impervious to the invidious charms of American diplomacy. At any rate, so far at least, it is the American side which is seen to be actively setting the agenda of Obama’s visit.A new legislation by the Modi government that opens up the Indian market for American insurance companies; flexibility in the Indian stance on climate change; ‘tweaking’ of India’s nuclear liability law to accommodate the demands of the American companies hoping to sell reactors to India worth tens of billions of dollars without being held accountable for ‘nuclear accidents’ – the big-ticket items in the American menu for the Obama visit to India have already sailed into view. On the other hand, if the Indian side too has a wish list for Obama, that is not yet visible to the public eye. The hope is that there will be a ‘Modi effect’ on Obama’s visit and on the India-US ties. In principle, the hugely productive outcome of Modi’s interaction so far with his counterparts among big powers – Japan, China and Russia – sets the bar of strategic partnership with India rather unusually high for Obama to clear. Japanoffered Modi a $35 billion investment package, China announced a $20 billion investment plan for India and the estimates are that the total value of the deals signed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India last week could work out to a whopping amount of a hundred billion dollars. Even assuming that only half of these $100 billion deals with Russia may eventually get implemented – that is, making allowance for the inertia of the Indian and Russian bureaucracies – the India-Russia annual summit this year signifies without doubt a coming of age of Indian diplomacy under Modi’s watch in terms of its purposiveness and result-oriented outcome. However, this is not only a matter of the business volume transacted during a high-level visit, but also calls attention to the nature of the deals that have been struck. Indeed, the Russian side has taken to Modi’s ‘Make in India’ project seriously. Modi felt elated to mention this in his remarks to the media. He singled out the Russian offer to «fully manufacture» in India one of its most advanced helicopters; Putin’s positive response to his request to «locate manufacturing facilities in India» for spares and components for Russian defence equipment; and, the manufacture in India of equipment and components for «at least ten more» Russian-supplied nuclear reactors to be installed in India.  In fact, Russia’s readiness to comply with the Indian nuclear liability laws while setting up nuclear power plants in India itself stands out in sharp contrast with the American insistence that the laws be «tweaked» to absolve the US companies of liability in case of nuclear accidents. How far will Obama warm up to Modi’s Make in India project? Will he also come up with concrete proposals attuned to Modi’s so-called ‘development agenda’ aimed at creating jobs for the hundreds of millions of unemployed youth in the country? There are no clear answers yet. Curiously, there is already a sub-soil campaign under way spearheaded by the ‘pro-American’ lobby to debunk the Make in India idea. The plain truth is that in defence cooperation, the US has used one excuse or another not to transfer high technology to India. Instead, it focuses on selling products to India and on pressing for greater market access for the US arms manufacturers. The big question is, whether Modi will succeed in bending the Obama administration to conform to the parameters of his Make in India concept. Indeed, Modi is not bogged down in ideology when it comes to India’s relations with the world community. He views the world order almost exclusively through the prism of India’s interests. In Modi’s world view the prevailing international situation characterized by polycentrism works rather well for India’s foreign policies. He is equally at ease with the West and the East and will look for advantages for India. Modi said, inter alia, to the media after his talks with Putin, «In today’s world, vibrant economic relations constitute a key pillar of a strong strategic partnership». However, in many ways, this is a simplistic world-view that may even appear to be naïve at times. Being a semi-developed capitalist country that is dependent onfinance capital, stoking up of nationalism may not help ward off retribution if Modi refuses to submit to the major imperialist powers, leave alone cross their path of neo-colonial restructuring of the world order. To be sure,Modi cannot be unaware of the ground rules of predatory capitalism. His cautious remarks to the media in Putin’s presence suggest that while he may not take recourse to a path of strategic defiance, on the other hand, he seems acutely conscious that abject surrender would only set the stage for further demands and the ultimate outcome would be detrimental to his government’s nationalist agenda and the protective system it promotes for India’s economic and cultural independence.  Suffice it to say, the historical context within which Russia is being ‘isolated’ by the Wall Street and its European counterparts by cutting it off from international credit holds profound lessons for Indian nationalism – although the Indian elites do not seem to pay commensurate attention to it.
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    Stratfor: Ukraine Coup Plotted by US Over Russian Stance on Syria By Sputnik The United States plotted the coup which took place in Ukraine in February 2014 in response to Russia’s policy in Syria, says George Friedman, the founder and CEO of Stratfor, known as "Shadow CIA". MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) – The United States is behind the February coup in Kiev, which came in response to Russia’s stance on Syria, said George Friedman, the founder and CEO of Stratfor, a global intelligence company.Russia has repeatedly said that the coup in Kiev was organized by the US, Friedman told Kommersant newspaper. Indeed, it was the most overt coup in history, the political analyst stressed.The United States decided to act following Russia’s successes in the Middle East, a key region for the US. Americans saw that Russians could influence what was happening in the Middle East, Friedman said. Russians are one of the many challenges in the region that the US faces, he stated. The US thought Russia’s activities were an attempt to harm Washington, the political analyst told the newspaper, adding that events in Ukraine should be viewed in this context. Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey R. Pyatt at the Maidan Square in Kiev Russians seem to have underestimated how seriously the US would react to Moscow’s activities in the region and that they would easily respond, Friedman said. The US understood that the thing Russia wants the least is instability in Ukraine, he added. Lavrov: Ukraine Freedom Act to Undermine US-Russia Relations for Long Time The head of Stratfor, also known as "The Shadow CIA," insisted that Russia’s involvement in Syria was not the only reason for the Ukrainian crisis. However, many in Washington started to perceive Russia as a problem, the expert told the newspaper, adding that at that time the US decided to divert Russia’s attention away from the Middle East.Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011. Over 100,000 people have died as a result of the armed conflict. Russia repeatedly stated that the election of Syria's president Bashar Assad was legitimate, and that the people of Syria should control their future. From the beginning of the war the US supported the opposition and stated that the conflict would not be over with Assad in power.
  • Foreign Bankers Rape Ukraine
    Foreign Bankers Rape Ukraine By By ​​​​F. William Engdahl "New Eastern Outlook"   If it were not for the fact that the lives of some 45 million people are at stake, Ukrainian national politics could be laughed off as a very sick joke. Any pretenses that the October national elections would bring a semblance of genuine democracy of the sort thousands of ordinary Ukrainians demonstrated for on Maidan Square just one year ago vanished with the announcement by Victoria Nuland’s darling Prime Minister, “Yat” Yatsenyuk, of his new cabinet.The US-picked Ukraine President, billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko called “snap” elections at the end of August for October 26. He did so to make sure genuine opposition to his regime of murderers, gangsters and in some cases outright Nazis would be able to push an unprepared genuine opposition out of the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament. Because the parliament had significant opposition parties to the US-engineered February 22 coup d’etat, they had blocked many key pieces of legislation that the Western vultures were demanding, from changing key land ownership laws to privatization of precious state assets. By law, the old parliament would have sat until its five year term ended in October, 2017. That was clearly too long for State Department neo-con Ukraine puppet-mistress Victoria Nuland and her backers in Washington.Now, with a new parliament that is controlled by the Petro Poroshenko bloc as largest party and the boyish-looking former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is also new Prime Minister as head of the second largest party, the way was clear to get on with the rape of Ukraine. What shocked some is the blatant foreign takeover that followed, like a Wall Street vulture fund raid on a distressed debtor country of the Third World.The ridiculous charadeYatsenyuk, former finance minister in a previous criminal regime, and a suspected senior member of the US-intelligence-friendly “Church of Scientology,” has named three complete foreigners as cabinet ministers in key economic posts. And in an extraordinary act, the three have been made instant Ukrainian citizens by Poroshenko in a ridiculous ceremony. Ukraine is looking more and more like the US-occupied Philippines after the Spanish-American War of 1898 when General Arthur MacArthur, father of the mentally-dis-ordered Douglas, was Washington’s dictator on the spot.The new Ukrainian Finance Minister, the one who will control the money and decides where it goes, is one Natalia A. Jaresko. She speaks fluent Ukrainian. Only problem—she is an American citizen, a US State Department veteran who is also a US investment banker. Now, the Ukrainian Constitution, prudently enough, stipulates that government ministers be Ukrainian. How then does our sweet Natalia come in?The President of Ukraine, another Victoria Nuland favorite, the “Chocolate King” corrupt oligarch billionaire, Petro Poroshenko, made her a Ukrainian citizen in a bizarre ceremony the same day just hours before the parliament declared her Finance Minister.In justifying his astonishing move, Poroshenko declared, “There are absolutely extraordinary challenges facing Ukraine…All this requires innovative solutions in the government…These decisions mean searching for candidates for the new government not only in Ukraine but also abroad.”Forget your earlier silly schoolbook notions about how a democracy and a nation function. This is the age of no nation state, of private capital taking over the world for sake of profit. Looting über alles is the motto. The nation of Ukraine is being put on the auction bloc to be privatized anyway, so it makes sense that the auctioneers at the US State Department head-hunt the ones to do the inside job of preparing that auction wherever they find the willing executioners. And because what the privatizers have planned, it is easier to believe a non-Ukrainian would let the country be raped easier than a native Ukrainian, even corrupt natives.In her acceptance speech Jaresko declared, “The new team aims to change the country, to improve its transparency and to eliminate corruption. The members of the team are ready to deal with the challenges Ukraine faces today. This is a government of professionals and technocrats, and we intend to work. I’ve been living in Ukraine for 22 years and until this day I was the head of a large company that controlled three investment funds.,” she told Ukrainian television news service TSN.What Jaresko did not say was that she had been sent to Ukraine 22 years before as a member of the US State Department.Jaresko’s qualifications for the job fit the requirements of a vulture fund rapist banker. She was founder and CEO of Horizon Capital Associates, LLC. Her Horizon Capital is “a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in early stage, buyouts, growth capital, and expansion opportunities. It prefers to invest in financial services, fast moving consumer goods, retail, and industrial goods sectors. It typically invests in mid-cap companies based in Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova,” according to Business Week. They were founded in 1995 and have offices in Kiev. Jaresko is also at the same time CEO of a private equity fund WNISEF.WNISEF or Western NIS Enterprise Fund is a $150 million private equity fund, active in Ukraine and Moldova investing in small and medium-sized companies. Since its inception, “WNISEF has invested approximately $168 million in 118 companies in the region in a range of industries with a concentration on fast moving consumer goods, construction materials, packaging, retail, and financial services. WNISEF is managed by Horizon Capital Associates, LLC. WNISEF was established by the US Congress and funded by the US government via US Agency for International Development (USAID).”Before she founded Horizon and WNISEF, the Harvard-trained Jaresko worked for the US State Department in the IMF-steered looting of the country that began just after the US-inspired collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. From 1992-1995 she was Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Kiev. When US-backed Viktor Yushchenko was installed via Washington’s “Orange Revolution” as President in 2004, Jaresko served on his Foreign Investors Advisory Council.US State Department deputy spokeswoman, former CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf has already denied Washington had any hand in her appointment. Of course she would never lie.Another foreign banker as Economy MinisterApparently not satisfied that only one investment banker as Finance Minister would suffice, Nuland’s Washington friends have installed Aivaras Abromavicius, a Lithuanian investment banker, to be Economy Minister. According to the official US Government propaganda site, Radio Free Europe—the old CIA Cold War propaganda news service still exists, with its old name as kind of a sick joke—Abromavicius, born in Vilnius, Lithuania, has worked in Kyiv since 2008 as partner and fund manager at the East Capital asset management group. East Capital reportedly has invested almost $100 million in 2012 in Ukrainian projects. It would be interesting to know whose money. Abromavicius describes himself as a Ukrainian patriot (sic!), and has pledged “radical measures.”East Capital is a Sweden-based “frontier markets” fund active in 25 emerging market countries. The founder of Abromavicius’ East Capital is Peter Elam Håkansson according to their website. Before that Håkansson held leading positions with the Swedish Wallenberg family’s Enskilda Securities.And a Georgian Health MinisterRounding out the bizarre new Cabinet of Yatsenyuk is Alexander Kvitashvili, a Georgian. Kvitashvili was health minister in Georgia between 2008 and 2010, under then-President Mikheil Saakashvili, like Yushchenko, another US-installed corrupt puppet President from the US-financed Rose Revolution of 2003. Kvitashvili studied and worked in the United States before becoming Georgia’s health minister.According to Radio Free Europe, “Yatsenyuk has tasked Kvitashvili with introducing sweeping reforms to tackle rampant corruption among health authorities.” However, the designated corruption-fighter has one handicap: he does not speak the Ukrainian language. That doesn’t matter apparently, as he has stated that he has a “deep respect for Ukraine and its people.” More than that, a corruption-fighting health minister in Ukraine these days apparently doesn’t need.Rape of an entire country, just as rape of a small child, is murder. It is a form of murder of the soul and ultimately of the child. Forty five million Ukrainians do not deserve such treatment any more than an innocent four-year-old child does.F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”
  • The Prison Crisis in the UK
    The Prison Crisis in the UK By PETER STÄUBER "Counter Punch" London.During his three years behind bars, Alex Cavendish learned many things. He learned, for example, that serving a cold sandwich instead of a cooked meal can be dangerous – food is one of the things that keep prisoners going, and disruption of that routine leads to frustration: ‘I’ve been in a prison where there was a riot as a consequence of a meal being cancelled’, says Cavendish, who has gone through six different penal institutions across England and Wales and worked as a mentor for other prisoners. He has learned about the problem of indebtedness in prisons (‘If you think payday loans are bad, go borrow off another inmate…’), about bullying, violence and sexual abuse. And he has seen how the state of prisons has gone from bad to critical.The public has seen glimpses of the crisis – in recent months, there have been reports of a dramatic rise in prison suicides, overcrowding, riots in HMP Ranby in Nottinghamshire and HMP Northumberland, and prisoners going for two days without water and elecricity in Doncaster. But for outsiders it is hard to grasp just how bad the state of our prisons really is.On one level, the crisis can be explained with a simple numerical fact: there are too many prisoners and too few staff. Today there are around 85’900 people in prison in England and Wales. In the past 20 years, the prison population has almost doubled, and the UK incarceration rate is now the highest in the whole of Western Europe. For justice secretary Chris Grayling, these figures do not seem to be a problem: ‘We do not have a prison overcrowding crisis’, he said in June; he reasons that as operational capacity of the whole prison estate stands at 86’421, there are a few hundred more prisoners who can be crammed in. But, as Robert Preece from the Howard League for Penal Reform explains, this is not how it works: While operational capacity refers to the number of people you can physically squeeze into the prison estate, the prison services have their own measure of how many people should be accommodated, the Certified Normal Accommodation, CNA. This is the figure that indicates how many people can be safely and decently held. The current CNA level is 76’619 people, 10’000 less than are accommodated now.But the problem is even worse than that, says Preece: ‘If you’ve got a prison cell that is designed for two people, but it holds three, then you don’t have one person living in overcrowded conditions, but three.’ According to this measure, there are 20’000 people living in overcrowded conditions – one in four.For Alex Cavendish, who left prison earlier this year and now lives with his family in the north of England, overcrowding was the most noticeable change he experienced: ‘When I first went into prison, most wings had a mix of double and single cells, with the singles usually going to older people, people with mental health problems or physical disabilities.’ But then, gradually, more and more single cells were converted into doubles – by removing the single bed and putting in a bunk. ‘They simply crammed two men into a space that had been designed for one person.“ In the worst-case scenario, double cells were converted into triples.While more and more prisoners are crammed into our penal institutions, there are fewer and fewer staff to oversee them. In the four years since the current government came into office, the number of prison officers has been cut by 41 percent, according to the Howard League (the government contests this figure, saying the cut amounts to ‘only’ 27 percent). In October, the outgoing president of the Prison Governors’ Association warned there is a race on to get sufficient staff into our prisons before we reach tipping point.The double whammy of overcrowding and lack of staff leads to numerous problems. Firstly, it causes friction between inmates. In order for people to share a cell, a series of risk assessments are done, but ‘because of overcrowding and lack of staff, this is now a tick-box exercise’, says Cavendish. ‘There are situations where somebody is put into a cell with somebody who has mental health problems or non-smokers are put together with heavy smokers.’ Another problem is that there is very little work to do. Cavendish gives the example of HM Lincoln prison, which is supposed to hold 400 people, but now accommodates around 700. ‘So you have jobs and education places for 400 people, and then you have another 300 prisoners you can’t do anything with – there are only so many wing-cleaners you need, only so many spaces in each class room’, says Cavendish. If a prisoner is not in education and does not have a job, chances are that they spend 23 hours in their cell.Overcrowding also contributes to sexual exploitation. Many institutions take prisoners from the age of 18, who would normally be in an offenders institution for young people – they are supposed to be separated from adult prisoners. ‘But increasingly, because of overcrowding, these kids – and literally some of them have just turned 18, they look like schoolkids – are thrown into an adult world, where there is debt, violence and drugs’, says Cavendish. In Lincoln, he saw a small number of young prisoners arriving in his wing, who were in prison for the first time. ‘Every single one of them was sexually assaulted by older prisoners. Every one of them. We have to ask ourselves: Why is it acceptable to put a vulnerable 18-year-old into what is basically a lion’s den? And then we’re surprised when they start cutting their wrists and hanging themselves.’When the Commission on Sex in Prison was set up to look into the problem of sexual assault in prison, Chris Grayling did not seem particularly interested. On the contrary: He tried to obstruct its work. Nonetheless, the commission released a briefing paper on coercive sex in prison earlier this year, according to which 10 percent of juvenile prisoners reported sexual abuse in prison in 2012, as opposed to 1 percent among adult prisoners. Sexual abuse in prison is now at its highest reported level since 2005.In the absence of a sufficient number of officers, the daily management of a penal institution starts breaking down – even without serious overcrowding. Everything a prisoner does on a daily basis requires staff: The initial screening interview, where issues like legal aid, illnesses and special needs are discussed; the provision of things like clothing, toothbrushes, and access to telephones; the organisation of visits from family members and legal representatives; exercise and visits to libraries, doctors and dentists – everything needs to be facilitated by staff.Lack of officers means that exercise is cancelled, visits to libraries are cancelled and education classes are cancelled, and prisoners spend more and more time in their overcrowded cells. ‘You can’t run a prison with skeleton staff – which is exactly what is happening now’, says Marek Kazmierski, who has worked in prisons for many years – among other things as a teacher of creative writing courses, as a charity worker, and for five years as a prison governor. Today he edits the prison magazine Not Shut Up. Kazmierski describes the cuts to prison staff as ‘disastrous': If staff don’t have the capacity to even manage the most basic daily needs of prisoners, they are going to be completely helpless if an inmate has any urgent issues that need to be dealt with – bullying, sexual exploitation, legal issues, or self-harm. ‘That prison is on the edge of disaster’, says Kazmierski.The situation is exacerbated by a number of deliberate policies initiated by the coalition government. In autumn 2013, Chris Grayling introduced changes to the so-called Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme (IEP). This scheme puts prisoners in different categories according to their behaviour – Basic, Standard and Enhanced – and rewards good behaviour with privileges such as more visits and higher wages; bad behaviour, by contrast, is punished by a downgrade and the accompanying restrictions. Last year, Grayling introduced a new level above Basic – Entry – where privileges are restricted and prisoners have to wear a uniform. On top of that, he banned prisoners from receiving books and other basic items, restricted the use of TVs, and introduced an automatic review of the IEP status after ‘bad behaviour’.According to a briefing paper by the Prison Reform Trust from April 2014, these changes have had a profoundly harmful effect on the wellbeing of prisoners: they increase the likelihood of inmates going down the scale to the Basic level, and evidence suggests ‘that the move to the basic regime can have a significant negative impact on mental wellbeing and lead to an increased risk of suicide and self-harm.’ Overall, the authors write, the new system compromises standards of safety, decency and rehabilitation.Alex Cavendish’s experience confirms this. ‘In effect, [the new regime] has made the prison situation worse, particularly when people first come in, which is the time when there is a lot of self-harm and suicide’, he says. ‘Prison is a pretty awful place. But Chris Grayling and his hard-line justice policies have thrown out of the window any attempt to try and cushion the experience, to make it more humane and bearable. He wants people to suffer.’ Cavendish considers the steep rise in the suicide rate to be a direct consequence of this: ‘If you humiliate people and dehumanise them, they will commit suicide.’ In early December, the High Court has also been critical of Grayling’s punitive measures: it ruled that the prison book ban was unlawful. Mr Justice Collins described the policy as ‘unneccessary, irrational and counter-productive to rehabilitation’.Indeed, rehabilitation is one of the major failings of the present system. Re-offending rates are abysmal: 46 percent of adults are reconviced within one year of release. For people serving a sentence of less than a year, the figure is even worse: 58 percent of them re-offend.In his time in prison, Alex Cavendish saw people leaving prison in exactly the same situation as they went in. Lots of male prisoners serve a sentence of less than a year for repeat offences, that is to say, things that would not attract a prison sentence if they happened just once – shoplifting, burglary, small-time drug dealing, fights in pubs. Repeat offenders going to prison for less than a year in effect serve a maximum of 6 months, which means that they don’t have a so-called sentence plan, says Cavendish: ‘You probably won’t get a job, you won’t get onto an education course because you haven’t got long enough to complete it – you’re just locked into a box.’ Private sector education providers like A4E are paid by completion, so they don’t want prisoners who won’t complete a course. ‘These people will have no intervention in prison. If they have a drug habit or an alcohol or a gambling problem, none of that is going to be addressed. They will leave prison with the same problem, and they will re-offend.’‘We’re seeing prisons in meltdown’, says Robert Preece. ‘The decline in the past 18 months has been particularly sharp and even surprised the Howard League.’ According to Preece, the situation hasn’t been this bad since the 1990 Strangeways Prison riot, in which one prisoner was killed and dozens of inmates and staff injured. One urgent question that needs answering is: why are we sending so many people to prison in the first place? ‘A large number of these people have not committed any violent offences and could almost certainly be dealt with by way of community sentence’, says Preece. These sentences have also proved more effective at reducing reoffending and are much cheaper to deliver. Instead of giving this question serious consideration, the government is planning to simply build more prisons and expand the capacity of existing institutions. While we will see a modest rise in prison spaces, the government ‘can’t build itself out of this problem’, says Preece. ‘It’s time we reduced the prison population and spend the money on more meaningful interventions that might help turn lives around.’Peter Stäuber is a freelance journalist based in London. He tweets @Pete_Stb.
  • Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Reporter Attacked, Smeared for Tor Exposé
    Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Reporter Attacked, Smeared for Tor Exposé By Peter B Collins | December 18, 2014 Peter B. Collins Presents Yasha LevineFollowing his July article in Pando and a related interview here, Yasha Levine was the target of slings and arrows, including some from online privacy advocates who work for the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Levine had reported on the origins and funding of the Tor encryption system—linked to the Navy and State Department—and none of his detractors disputed any part of his reporting. Some dismissed Levine as a “conspiracy theorist” while others engaged in childish, crude and mean tweets and online comments. Levine has catalogued the attacks, and responds to the smears.*Yasha Levine is an investigative reporter for Pando Daily. You can review the attacks and Levine’s replies here. And Wired reports the FBI has developed a hack for Tor through its “Operation Torpedo”.Listen to the Preview Clip Here