Department of Justice prosecutors in the contempt case against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio have asked the judge to vacate her decision arguing that Donald Trump’s pardon has nullified the verdict. No doubt this came at the request of Trump and his Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Trump tried to justify his action falsely comparing …
Last night a 59 year old white man with a criminal record and history of mental illness entered a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, killed two people wounded nine others before turning the gun on himself.
In the search for a motive, what police are now being found out about this man are quite disturbing. It put into question gun control and the lack of focus by law enforcement on America’s white supremacists.
Houser has allegedly posted messages to numerous online forums, suggesting that he held extreme right-wing views and sympathized with white supremacists. It cannot be independently confirmed that these online postings were made by Houser himself before the shooting. The postings on politicalforums.com seem to match based on his age and location. There is less to connect Houser to the postings on Twitter and Golden Dawn that are cited below by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
An individual who went by “John Russell Houser” created a profile on politicalforums.com, on which he included the phrases “believe media/gov’t censoring” and “believe US will be MAD MAX < 5 years.” Under the “Family” category, Houser wrote that “no family safe in US environment.” The profile identified the user as a 59-year-old male residing in Phenix City. [..]
An individual who used the username “Rusty Houser” also posted comments on a forum for Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi political party in Greece, as the Southern Poverty Law Center noted.
“Do not mistake yourselves for one minute, the enemy sees all posted on this website. I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations.Look within yourselves,” he wrote in one comment.
He also made racist comments in comments on the Golden Dawn forum. [..]
An individual who went by the name Rusty Houser posted on usmessageboard.com that, “Hitler accomplished far more than any other,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
And a Twitter handle for “john russell houser” published messages about the Westboro Baptist Church and censorship. [..]
Houser also served as the guest host on the “Rise and Shine” show on the Columbus, Ga. television station WLTZ, where he “invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it,” according to LinkedIn. A former host for the station confirmed to the Associated Press that Houser appeared on his show, where he allegedly advocated for people to commit violence against those involved in abortion.
Houser has a criminal record — he was arrested for arson and selling alcohol to minors, but he had not had any run-ins with law enforcement in the past few years, according to police.
CNN reported that Houser was denied a conceal carry permit in 2006 and was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009. The suspect’s wife sought a restraining order against Houser in 2008 because he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements,” according to the Associated Press.
So, how and where did he get a gun? Why wasn’t this man targeted by law enforcement as a possible threat? Was it because he wasn’t Muslim?
The news that keep getting ignored by the media, law enforcement and our elected officials is that people are more likely to be killed or injured by angry white man than they are by a Muslim jihadist.
In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants.
But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.
The slaying of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last week, with an avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case.
But it is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred, hostility to government and theories such as those of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians.
It’s time this is put in their proper perspectives and start keeping America safe from its homegrown terrorists.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a 33 count indictment against Dylann Roof on federal hate-crime charges for the June 17 killing of nine African American worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina This leaves a bigger question that was asked by Jenna McLaughlin at “The Intercept,” why wasn’t Roof charged with terrorism?
Some media outlets, lawyers, public figures and activists have called for Roof to be charged not just with a hate crime, an illegal act “motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias,” but with the separate label of domestic terrorism. Critics contend that the label of terrorism is too often only applied to Islamic extremists, and not white supremacists or anti-government anarchists. Many were outraged after FBI Director James Comey balked at the term during a June 20 press conference, telling reporters he didn’t see the murders “as a political act,” a requirement he designated as necessary for terrorism.
Roof’s crime certainly seems to fit the federal description of domestic terrorism, which the FBI defines as “activities … [that] involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law … appear intended to (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population, (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.” [..]
It turns out there was one major obstacle in charging Roof with domestic terrorism: The crime does not exist. [..]
Even when the USA Patriot Act, post 9/11, redefined terrorism to include domestic crimes, the provision simply allowed the government to investigate more broadly what it called “terrorism.” Actually charging someone with domestic terrorism remains a separate matter. Even criminals who use bombs or send money to ISIS – or Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – are not charged with the crime of terrorism. [..]
But shootings, regardless of motivation, intention or number of deaths, likely don’t count. “It doesn’t seem like a shooting would fit,” says Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. “Or else a lot of crime would get caught up” in the terrorism net, she tells me.
There are, however, “aggravating factors” to be considered during sentencing, which prosecutors usually list on a formal indictment, and which can be used to determine whether the death penalty is justified, and those include “substantial planning and premeditation,” to”cause the death of a person” or “commit an act of terrorism.”
In Roof’s case, the DOJ did not mention terrorism as an aggravating factor, but did reference (pdf) “substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person” for several of his charges.[..]
Lynch did not explain why “terrorism” was not listed as an aggravating factor in Roof’s indictment, though she did emphasize that the DOJ views hate crimes as “the original domestic terrorism.” She noted that Roof’s case, including his “discriminatory views towards African Americans” and his decision to target “parishioners at worship,” made his crime a clear-cut case of a federal hate crime. [..]
Lynch was asked whether or not there should be a federal domestic terrorism penalty to help bridge the gap between crimes like the shooting of five military personnel in Chatanooga, Tennessee – which was immediately branded as terrorism, by law enforcement and media alike – and Roof’s case, which was not. Lynch acknowledged the argument that leaving out the word terrorism may cause people to feel like the government “doesn’t consider those crimes as serious.”
Ms. McLaughlin is incorrect in her statement that “domestic terrorism” does not exist in the law. This FBI’s definition of 18 U.S.C. § 2331 which defines “international terrorism” and “domestic terrorism” for purposes of Chapter 113B of the Code, entitled “Terrorism”:
“International terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
Occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.*
“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
18 U.S.C. § 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:
Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and
Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.)
And just as a note, to those in this piece who don’t think that guns are not “dangerous weapons,” well, they are
By his own statement and the fact that Rev. Clementa Pinckney was an elected state official, Dylann Roof’s acts, under this definition, is clearly an act of terrorism.
The argument against the charge of terrorism by a young white man who was clearly influenced by the politics of racial hatred is specious. It is clearly indicative of the Obama administration and its Justice Department think that black lives do not matter as much as instilling the fear in US citizens of attacks by those who have been influenced by Islamic extremism. Racism is political and it is an extremist view and it is endemic in this country. it is long past time that the law is brought down to bear on the greater threat that racism is to Americans and our democracy.
|Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.
So comrades, come rally
No more deluded by reaction
So comrades, come rally
No saviour from on high delivers
So comrades, come rally
Note 1: This was supposed to be “Part 2” of a single Beltaine Diary of which my Diary entitled “Bringing In The May: The Heroes of Haymarket” was to be “Part 1”. (So I’m posting this now, even though the First of May 2015 is now long past.)
Note 2: Please allow me to express my deepest gratitude to the Marxists Internet Archive website, http://www.marxists.org, and Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/, for much of the material I am using in today’s Diary. Although in the public domain owing to its age, I would not have been able to gather this material had it not been for these websites and those who operate them. Therefore, I express my thanks for their assistance.
Most of my readers here on Anti-Capitalist Meetup recognize this image immediately; it was used in many of the Diaries and discussions here on Daily Kos on the subject which appeared around Beltaine (May 1) this year:
This classic portrayal of the Heroes of Haymarket Square in Chicago is the work of British illustrator Walter Crane (1845 – 1915).
It is not quite as well known today, a century after his death, that Mr. Crane was a Socialist; that he employed his not insignificant talents in the graphical arts in the service to the Socialist and Labor movements in Britain and America during his time; and that even today his graphics still strike a serious chord with those of us who believe that all wealth is created by Labor, and Labor is entitled to everything it creates.
For more details — and more Walter Crane images — follow me beyond the fold!
Back in 2007, a Blackwater security team, which was contracted by the Department of State to provide security for its personnel in Iraq, was setting up a roadblock near Nisoor Square in western part of Baghdad after a bomb has exploded in another part of the city. Six of the guards opened fire into a crowd, killing 14 Iraqi civilians and injuring 18 others. A six year old by was among the dead.
After an extensive investigation by the Department of Justice, the six Blackwater guards were arrested and charged in 2009. That case was dismissed by a district court judge on the premise that the criminal case was based on sworn statements of the guards given under a grant of immunity. Then in 2011 that ruling was overturned and the charges were reinstated. Four of the original six are now on trial in Washington, DC
What has now come out is that even before the shooting in Nisoor Square, there was an investigation into Blakwater’s operations in Iraq that was squashed by American embassy personnel who sided with Balckwater claiming that the investigation was disrupting the embassy’s relationship with the security firm. The investigators were then ordered to leave the country.
The real reason is far more nefarious. One of Balckwater’s top managers threatened to kill the government’s chief investigator and bragging that no one could do anything about it because they were in Iraq.
The State Department declined to comment on the aborted investigation. A spokesman for Erik Prince, the founder and former chief executive of Blackwater, who sold the company in 2010, said Mr. Prince had never been told about the matter.
After Mr. Prince sold the company, the new owners named it Academi. In early June, it merged with Triple Canopy, one of its rivals for government and commercial contracts to provide private security. The new firm is called Constellis Holdings.
Experts who were previously unaware of this episode said it fit into a larger pattern of behavior. “The Blackwater-State Department relationship gave new meaning to the word ‘dysfunctional,’ ” said Peter Singer, a strategist at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute, who has written extensively on private security contractors. “It involved everything from catastrophic failures of supervision to shortchanging broader national security goals at the expense of short-term desires.”
Even before Nisour Square, Blackwater’s security guards had acquired a reputation among Iraqis and American military personnel for swagger and recklessness, but their complaints about practices ranging from running cars off the road to shooting wildly in the streets and even killing civilians typically did not result in serious action by the United States or the Iraqi government. [..]
It did not take long for the two-man investigative team – Mr. Richter, a Diplomatic Security special agent, and Donald Thomas Jr., a State Department management analyst – to discover a long list of contract violations by Blackwater. [..]
On Aug. 20, 2007, Mr. Richter was called in to the office of the embassy’s regional security officer, Bob Hanni, who said he had received a call asking him to document Mr. Richter’s “inappropriate behavior.” Mr. Richter quickly called his supervisor in Washington, who instructed him to take Mr. Thomas with him to all remaining meetings in Baghdad, his report noted.
The next day, the two men met with Daniel Carroll, Blackwater’s project manager in Iraq, to discuss the investigation, including a complaint over food quality and sanitary conditions at a cafeteria in Blackwater’s compound. Mr. Carroll barked that Mr. Richter could not tell him what to do about his cafeteria, Mr. Richter’s report said. The Blackwater official went on to threaten the agent and say he would not face any consequences, according to Mr. Richter’s later account.
Mr. Carroll said “that he could kill me at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” Mr. Richter wrote in a memo to senior State Department officials in Washington. He noted that Mr. Carroll had formerly served with Navy SEAL Team 6, an elite unit.
“Mr. Carroll’s statement was made in a low, even tone of voice, his head was slightly lowered; his eyes were fixed on mine,” Mr. Richter stated in his memo. “I took Mr. Carroll’s threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract.”
He added that he was especially alarmed because Mr. Carroll was Blackwater’s leader in Iraq, and “organizations take on the attitudes and mannerisms of their leader.”
Mr. Thomas witnessed the exchange and corroborated Mr. Richter’s version of events in a separate statement, writing that Mr. Carroll’s comments were “unprofessional and threatening in nature.” He added that others in Baghdad had told the two investigators to be “very careful,” considering that their review could jeopardize job security for Blackwater personnel.
Somebody in the State Department needs to do some explaining.
Monday June 13, 1904
From The Indianapolis News: More Union Miners Deported from Cripple Creek District
BELL SAYS SOCIALISTS ARE CAUSE OF TROUBLES
SAYS HE WILL DRIVE FEDERATION FROM GOLD CAMP.
THE ONLY HOPE FOR PEACE
CRIPPLE CREEK, June 13.-Gen. Sherman Bell has given out a statement concerning his action in deporting strikers and the causes leading up to the same. He attributes the recent troubles growing out of the miners’ strike, and the strike itself to the Socialist element in the Western Federation of Miners, which, he says, captured the organization two years ago. He declares that the federation has made unionism a secondary consideration, and the organization, root and branch, is being made a vehicle for the promotion of socialism. The leaders, he asserts, have not hesitated to cause “weak and willing members to commit any crime to strike terror to property owners or working men who refuse to abide their dictates.” The murder of non-union men by blowing up the Independence station, he charges, was “perpetrated with the aid and advice of federation leaders and by men in their employ.” The only hope for peace and security of life and property was “to exterminate the federation from the camp.”
General Bell and staff attended church yesterday and transacted no business, except what was absolutely necessary. Another party of 100 deported miners left Victor to-day, their destination being either New Mexico or Utah. The saloons of the district were opened to-day for the first time in a week.
Practically all the large mines in this district which closed down last Monday, after the explosion at Independence, were working to-day. The Portland mine has not yet been reopened and the company has not announced its plans.
———- An Appeal to Gompers.
KANSAS CITY. June 13.-The Industrial Council of this city, which claims to represent 25,000 union members, adopted resolutions [yesterday] asking President Gompers, of the American Federation of Labor, to call a meeting of the executive board of that organization for the purpose of devising means to settle the Colorado labor troubles. Telegrams were sent to President Roosevelt asking him to investigate and to Governor Peabody, condemning his actions by the orders of the Industrial Council. Mother Jones addressed the meeting.
———- Miners Remain at Holly.
HOLLY, Colo., June 13.-Ten of the deported miners from Cripple Creek left here at midnight Saturday for La Junta, Pueblo and Denver. The remainder are staying in town. They have paid cash for their meals and lodging and made purchases at stores. It is probable that a considerable number of the exiles will go into the country to seek work on the ranches.
Today’s edition of the St. Louis Republic reports that Mother Jones addressed the Kansas City, Missouri, Industrial Council yesterday, and that the following telegram was sent to Governor Peabody of Colorado:
The Industrial Council of Kansas City, Mo., in regular session assembled, condemns your action as unamerican, uncivilized and barbarous in the extreme, in your treatment toward workingmen and women of Colorado. For such acts Russia, in her darkest ages, would blush with shame.
Sunday June 12, 1904
Cripple Creek District, Colorado – Deported Miners Dumped Near Kansas Border
The miners who were herded down the street on Friday by militiamen and Citizens’ Alliance “deputies” and then loaded into railroad cars and deported from the Cripple Creek strike zone, were found near the Kansas border yesterday. The following report comes to us from today’s San Francisco Call:
EXILED MINERS, HUNGRY AND WEARY,
CAMP ON THE COLORADO BORDER
Deported Men Are Taken to the Kansas Line by Troops.
Left on a Bleak Prairie Without Food or Water Supply.
SYRACUSE, Kansas, June 11.-The deported Colorado miners camped at Holly to-night, just across the Colorado line. They were notified to-night that a special train would be sent to take them all to Denver.
HOLLY, Colo., June 11. – With a parting volley of rifle bullets, fired over their heads by the militia and deputies to, warn them to “hike” eastward as fast as their legs could carry them and never again set foot on Colorado soil, ninety-one union miners from the Cripple Creek district were unloaded from a special Santa Fe train on the prairie this morning, one half mile from the Colorado-Kansas State line, and left to shift for themselves. The exiles were disembarked in haste and without ceremony. The guards and deputies were tired out and in ill humor from their long, tedious trip from the Teller County gold camp and were in no mood to extend any special courtesies or kindness to their unfortunate charges.
“Hurry up there, you fellows,” cried Lieutenant Cole, when the train stopped in the midst of the alkali sand dunes that dot the prairie in the vicinity of the eastern part of Powers County near the Kansas line. “We haven’t got any time to waste out here.”
WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER.
And no time was wasted. The special, which consisted of an engine, a combination baggage car and smoker and two day coaches, had no sooner come to a standstill than the car doors were unlocked and thrown open and the order given by Lieutenant Cole for the exiles to leave the train.
“Step lively, you fellows, step lively,” admonished Deputy Benton, who was in command of the civil forces of the expedition, and in less time than it takes to tell it the three cars were emptied of their passengers and the train was started on its way back to La Junta.
The men were dumped out on the cheerless prairie without food or water, for the soldiers and deputies, in their haste to get home, had forgotten to unload the small stock of commissary supplies the train carried when it left Victor yesterday afternoon.
SPIRIT OF MEN BREAKS
The exiles were a cheerless lot, indeed. Without even a light and miles from the nearest habitation, they huddled together in groups on either side of’ the Santa Fe track and discussed their plight. Warned to move eastward, on pain of being rearrested and severely handled, and notified by the Kansas authorities that they would not be allowed to seek refuge in that State, the spirit of the men broke. Many of them walked back westward on the railroad to Holly, the Salvation Army colony in Colorado, where the charitable inhabitants provided breakfast for them. Some of them later started to walk to Lamar, Colo.
Sheriff Jack Brady and forty deputies of Hamilton County were at the State line to prevent the deported men entering Kansas.
———- CLAIMS TO HAVE MURDERERS.
Bell Declares Independence Dynamiters Are In Bullpen.
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo., June 11.-General Sherman M. Bell to-day made the following statement for publication:
“I have indisputable evidence in my possession which will lead to the conviction of union men for the murder of non-union miners who were killed in the Independence explosion. We have between thirty-five and forty men in the bullpen who will swing for this crime. We are only waiting to capture three or four men before we tell what our evidence Is.”
The San Francisco Call.
(San Francisco California)
-of June 12, 1904
Miners Being Deported from Cripple Creek District
Saturday June 11, 1904
From The Topeka Daily Capital: Mother Jones Continues Heading East
“MOTHER” JONES WAS HERE
Is One of the Staff of President John Mitchell
“Mother” Jones, who has been prominently identified with the Colorado miners’ strike and is on the immediate staff of John Mitchell of the United Mine workers, was in Topeka for a short time yesterday afternoon. She called upon the local machinists and made a short talk at their meting. She left for the East last night.
More from the Cripple Creek Strike zone, a report from the Daily News-Democrat of Huntington, Indiana:
UNION MINERS ARE BANISHED
WORK OF DEPORTATION FROM CRIPPLE CREEK BEGINS.
TRAIN LOAD IS TAKEN AWAY
Men will Probably be Taken to Kansas State Line-
Will Not Be Permitted to Land In Colorado Cities.
Colorado Springs, Col., June 11-Acting under the orders of Adjt. Gen. Sherman Bell, of the state national guard, a special train was made up shortly after noon Friday in the Short Line yards at Victor for the deportation of 76 union miners. The train was composed of a combination baggage car and two day coaches. Almost immediately the work of loading the men began. They were marched to the train between heavy lines of military and deputies. A crowd of fully 1,000 people had collected to see the men placed on board. Among the spectators were wives and sisters, fathers and mothers of the deported men, and the scenes were very affecting.
Mayor Harris of this city, had been apprised of the decision to deport the men, and immediately took steps to see that none of them landed in Colorado Springs. Under his instructions a large force of officers and deputy sheriffs met the special train at 6:10 p. m. for that purpose. No attempt was made, however, to unload the men here, arrangements having previously been made to send them to Kansas state line, over the Santa Fe, because of protests made against taking them to Pueblo or Denver and leaving them there.
Syracuse, Kan., June 11.-Sheriff Brady of this county received a telegram from Sheriff Barr, of La Junta, Col., stating that a special train, carrying 140 deported miners from Colorado, would reach Coolidge and unload the miners in Kansas. Citizens of this county are indignant at this proceeding of the Colorado authorities, and an appeal has been made to Gov. Bailey to prevent Colorado from dumping her alleged undesirable citizens into Kansas.
Will Soon Be Rid of Agitators.
Cripple Creek, Col., June 11.-The woman’s auxiliary of the miners’ union has been forbidden by the military authorities to hold meetings.
“Within 48 hours this district will be rid of all agitators and other objectionable men.” said Gen. Bell, Friday. “One deportation after another will be made until none of the men who have terrorized the district so long will be left here”
Apparently by “men who have terrorized the district so long” Gen. Bell means striking union miners, and not the members of the Citizens’ Alliance who have been rampaging through the Cripple Creek Strike zone these past several days, destroying union property, trashing the union relief stores, and rounding up, beating, and threatening union miners and local officials who are deemed too sympathetic to the union cause. Without any proof whatsoever, the Western Federation of Miners is blamed for the explosion at the Independence Station on June 6th, and this has provided Gen. Bell, the militia, and the Citizens’ Alliance with the excuse they needed for this final assault on union organization in the Cripple Creek District.
The wives and children of the deported miners are now left behind to manage the best they can. The union relief stores on which they depend for food and other necessities of life have all been destroyed.
The Topeka Daily Capital
-of June 11, 1904
The Cripple Creek Strike
-by Emma F Langdon
(Part I, 1st pub 1904)
Hellraisers+Cripple creek independence explosion
Cripple Creek Deportations of June 1914
Friday June 10, 1904
From the Kansas City Star: Mother Jones Heads East to Speak in Kansas City on Sunday
“Mother” Jones to Speak at a Picnic
Mary G. [sic] Jones, known as “Mother” Jones, will speak at Budd park Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. “Mother” Jones once lived in Kansas City and had a dressmaking shop, but in recent years has devoted her attention to Socialism and has been active in big strikes as a crusader. She will talk on the miners’ strike in the Cripple Creek district. There will be a picnic in connection with the meeting Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City Star
(Kansas City, Missouri)
-of June 10, 1904
After seven years of silence, the psychologist, who is considered the chief architect of the CIA’s torture program, has spoken out in defense of the program. The reason for his sudden appearance is the possibility of the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.
In an uncompromising and wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, his first public remarks since he was linked to the program in 2007, James Mitchell was dismissive of a Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture in which he features, and which is currently at the heart of an intense row between legislators and the agency.
The committee’s report found that the interrogation techniques devised by Mitchell, a retired air force psychologist, were far more brutal than disclosed at the time, and did not yield useful intelligence. These included waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation for days at a time, confinement in a box and being slammed into walls.
But Mitchell, who was reported to have personally waterboarded accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remains unrepentant. “The people on the ground did the best they could with the way they understood the law at the time,” he said. “You can’t ask someone to put their life on the line and think and make a decision without the benefit of hindsight and then eviscerate them in the press 10 years later.”
He was just following orders. Where have we heard that before?
James Mitchell: ‘I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country’
by Jason Leopold, The Guardian
Psychologist who designed CIA’s post-9/11 torture program insists he has nothing to apologise for – and attacks ‘people with a Jack Bauer mentality who don’t understand how intel works’
Dr James Elmer Mitchell has been called a war criminal and a torturer. He has been the subject of an ethics complaint, and his methods have been criticized in reports by two congressional committees and by the CIA’s internal watchdog.
But the retired air force psychologist insists he is not the monster many have portrayed him to be. [..]
Mitchell is featured prominently in a new report prepared by the Senate select committee on intelligence, which spent five years and more than $40m studying the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.
The findings, according to a summary leaked to McClatchy, are damning: that the agency misled the White House, Congress and the American people; that unauthorised interrogation methods were used; that the legal opinions stating the techniques did not break US torture laws were flawed; and perhaps most significant, that the torture yielded no useful intelligence.
This country executed people for torture and war crimes after World War 2. There is no statute of limitations on war crimes.
Award winning journalist Matt Taibbi, now writing for First Look Media, has a new book. The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, which examines who goes to jail in America. The book examines the gap between white and blue collar crimes and why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. He joins Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate to talk about how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a “justice” gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment.
Full transcript can be read here
Here are some excerpts from Matt’s book:
In a Federal court in New York City, the son in law of Osama bin Laden was convicted on Wednesday of conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the most senior advisers to bin Laden, was captured in Aman, Jordan last year after leaving Turkey on his way back to his home in Yemen. Mr Abu Ghaith’s trial was one of the first prosecutions of senior al-Qaeda leaders on US soil.
Since 9/11, 67 foreign terror suspects have been convicted in US federal courts, according to data obtained by the group Human Rights First.
Mr. Abu Ghaith, a 48-year-old Kuwaiti-born cleric known for his fiery oratory, had recorded impassioned speeches for Bin Laden after Sept. 11, in which he praised the attacks and promised that future attacks would be carried out.
His conviction on all three counts – and the lightning speed from his arrest to verdict – would seem to serve as a rejoinder to critics of the Obama administration’s efforts to try suspected terrorists in civilian court, rather than before a military tribunal. [..]
The jury returned its verdict on its second day of deliberations in the trial, which had entered its third week in United States District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Abu Ghaith was convicted of conspiracy to kill Americans, for which he could face life in prison; and providing material support to terrorists, as well as conspiring to do so, counts that each carry maximum terms of 15 years.
Mr. Abu Ghaith was asked to rise as the judge’s deputy clerk, Andrew Mohan, read the verdict aloud, and the defendant appeared impassive as the word “guilty” was repeated three times.
Mr. Abu Ghaith is being held in the Manhattan federal detention facility awaiting sentencing.
Who was it that said that terrorists should not be tried in civilian courts?
Some US lawmakers disagreed with the decision to try Mr Abu Ghaith in New York.
“When we find somebody like this, this close to Bin Laden and the senior al-Qaeda leadership, the last thing in the world we want to do, in my opinion, is put them in a civilian court,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday.
“This man should be in Guantanamo Bay,” he said.
Lindsey? We can’t hear you. Oh! And crickets from fear mongering in chief Rep. Peter King (R=NY) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who poo-pooed the idea that any of the 9/11 terrorists should be tried in any civilian court,let alone one in New York City.
The system works. Now, close the Guantanamo detention facility and end the sham military tribunals.