Anti-torture presentation at Univ. Methodist Church, June 3, 7:30PM

TUES JUNE 3, 2014, 7:30 p.m., at University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 NE 43rd Street, Seattle;  The Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) presents “EXPOSING THE TRUTH OF U.S. TORTURE: RESTORING HUMAN DIGNITY AND THE RULE OF LAW” featuring Brig. General David R. Irvine of The Constitution Project.  MC Prof. Rob Crawford.  Panelists The Rev. Rich Lang, Prof. Beth Rivin, and Scott Roehm.  Sponsored by numerous national and local justice organizations.  Free admission.  Info http://www.wsrcat.org

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EXPOSING THE TRUTH OF U.S. TORTURE: RESTORING HUMAN DIGNITY AND THE RULE OF LAW

The Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture (WSRCAT) invites all to a presentation “Exposing the Truth of U.S. Torture: Restoring Human Dignity and the Rule of Law” featuring Brig. General David R. Irvine of The Constitution Project, and a panel of activists.

TUESDAY JUNE 3, 2014, 7:30 P.M., AT UNIVERSITY TEMPLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 1415 NE 43RD STREET, SEATTLE, FREE ADMISSION.

Information http://www.wsrcat.org

BRIG. GENERAL DAVID R. IRVINE was an Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years.  He is a member of the bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment of the nonprofit organization, The Constitution Project, which spent over two years compiling a 600 page report on U.S. held detainees at Guantánamo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and CIA “black sites”.  This report is available for the world to see at http://detaineetaskforce.org/report

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has authored a related report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program but this has yet to be released to the public.   Its release is the next crucial step in learning the truth of U.S. torture and this needs to be done immediately with minimal redactions by the White House.

The MC of this important program will be University of Washington PROF. ROB CRAWFORD, a co-founder of WSRCAT.

Panelists include:

THE REV. RICH LANG, Pastor of University Temple United Methodist Church, a consistent voice for global and local justice.

PROFESSOR BETH RIVIN, a pediatrician, Director of University of Washington’s Global Health and Justice Project

SCOTT ROEHM, Senior Counsel, The Constitution Project.

We will also have a guest appearance by REP. JIM MCDERMOTT, 7th Congressional District-WA, an outspoken opponent of torture.

SPONSORS of the event include the national organizations:  The Constitution Project (TCP);  KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights;  National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT);   Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture.

CO-SPONSORS include American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State (ACLU-WA);  American Friends Service Committee of Seattle;  Amnesty International USA including Group 4, Seattle;  Board of Church & Society, Pacific NW Conference, United Methodist Church;  Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS);  Faith Action Network;  Global Peace and Justice Committee of Fauntleroy Church UCC;  Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of the Middle East (INOC);  Justice & Peace Committee of University Lutheran Church;  Lutheran Peace Fellowship;  The Mission and Peacemaking Committee of Newport Presbyterian Church in Bellevue;  Peace Action Group of Plymouth Church Seattle, UCC;  Philippine-United States Solidarity Organization (PUSO);  St Leo Church, Tacoma;  School of the Americas-Seattle;  Seattle Chapter Fellowship of Reconciliation;  Service and Justice Mission Team of University Christian Church/Disciples of Christ;  Tacoma Chapter #134 of Veterans for Peace;  United Nations Association Greater Seattle Chapter;  University of Washington Center for Human Rights;  Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility;  Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Obama's defense of NSA makes the Dems look bad, makes Republicans look good

TruthOut is reporting on a bill introduced to the Washington State House:

HB2272 was introduced by a bipartisan team of legislators, Rep. David Taylor, a Republican from Moxee, and Rep. Luis Moscoso, a former three-term secretary of the state Democratic Party from Mountlake Terrace.

If passed, the bill would make it the policy of the state “to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant.”

The other day I was listening to right wing AM talk radio — in the car, I confess — and I heard the talk show host criticizing our government’s massive spying operations.

Obama’s sellouts to the military-industrial complex, his prosecution of whistle-blowers, and pandering to Wall Street and insurance companies have given an opening to conservatives to attack the Democrats and have caused lots of people to think the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans.      The Dems should be the populists.

That’s what the Dems get for not holding their own accountable.

Feb 8 in Tacoma: Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Former NSA Senior Executive turned NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, along with former ethics advisor to the Justice Department Jesselyn Radack who is also a whistleblower, will speak in Tacoma at the Washington State History Museum. Both Drake and Radack are featured in the Robert Greenwald film, War on Whistleblowers. (More about them below) They will speak on:

A Dangerous Act: Blowing the Whistle on Secrecy, Surveillance & National Security
Two Whistleblowers Discuss Speaking Truth to Power and the Snowden Effect’s Impact on Our Society

WHERE:  Washington State History Museum
1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma 98401

WHEN:     Saturday evening, February 8, 7:30 pm

COST:      FREE!

Thomas Drake, 56, is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency as well as a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.  When Drake turned whistleblower, the U.S. government threw the Espionage Act at him and threatened him with 30 years in prison.  Drake rejected several deals because he refused to “plea bargain with the truth”, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice eventually dropped all ten of its original charges.

Jesselyn Radack, 42, is a former ethics adviser to the U.S. Dept. of Justice who turned whistleblower when she disclosed the FBI’s ethics violations in the investigation of John Walker Lindh, denied an attorney in the aftermath of his capture during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.  An honors graduate of Brown Univ. and Yale Law School, Radack is now director of national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project.

Both events sponsored by People for Peace Justice & Healing.  Co-sponsors include Veterans for Peace, and United for Peace of Pierce County.

For more info, write www.ufppc.org/ufppc-info.htmlor call 253-535-7219.

Weapons of Mass Distraction – Freedom of the Press? US Activists and Journalists Face Surveillance

By Mark Taylor-Canfield

(From Mark’s  Syndicated Monthly Column – “Weapons of Mass Distraction”)

Thank you to the editors for allowing me to tell the truth without censorship! Here’s another of my honest efforts to do just that. I only hope this piece doesn’t get me into trouble with my own publishers at other websites and/or the folks who control social media networks.

let’s face it, in the land of the free and the brave the press has suffered from corporate media consolidation and lack of funding for alternative media. Witness the recent demise of the progressive national radio network Air America. Many of those broadcasters are still lamenting their lack of access to the national airwaves, so many of them have gone to the web and started their own shows, sometimes livestreaming from their own bedrooms or basements. Al Gore’s experiments in alternative news coverage went under and was purchased by Al Jazeera, prompting numerous outraged remarks by right-wing pundits who accuse the cable network of being disloyal to America.

Reality check: Reporters Without Borders ranks the US as 47th on the world press freedom index. This number represents a slip from 19th in previous years. According to RWB this drop in status is a result of the arrests of journalists at Occupy Wall Street protests. It is a well known fact among occupiers that live video streamers have been targeted, raided and arrested by police at major OWS events around the country, including demonstrations in New York City during the OWS anniversary, and in Chicago during protests at the NATO summit last year.

Although freedom of the press is protected by the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution, it appears that the “fourth estate” has been placed under duress while trying to report major political news stories.

The latest insult to press freedom is the story of Shannon McLeish, a journalist and broadcaster from Daytona Beach, Florida. In December 2012, Shannon says she found out through Freedom of Information Act documents that her name is included on a “terrorist watch list.” Except for Chris Hedge’s column @ Truthdig or my own article @ Truthout, this story is not being reported by the national media.

A recent guest on Shannon’s radio program was Noam Chompsky. (Disclaimer: I have also been a guest on “AIr Occupy”.) I found the broadcasting crew to be authentic, altruisitic advocate journalists trying to get at the truth about what’s happening around the world and in this nation. Recent shows featured guests who discussed fracking, attacks on the power of labor unions and the civil rights implications of the National Defense Authorization Act. According to Liz Myers, co-host of  the “Air Occupy” program, Youtube deleted their channel after they did the program on the NDAA. Youtube claimed the program had “violated community standards” but apparently they presented no specific complaint.

Add to this information the fact that at least a few other US activists have had their Twitter accounts deleted, and some folks have been banned from posting on any Facebook sites besides their own. The irony of indy activists using corporate owned social media platforms is not lost on me. Try criticizing Facebook or Twitter and see how long it takes to attract their attention. These are profit motivated websites – commercial enterprises that do not necessarily support freedom of political expression. One man banned from Twitter claims his account  was deleted after he tweeted a statement made by Indian non-violence advocate Mahatma Gandhi!

I came within a hair’s breadth of being banned from writing at Daily Kos after I wrote an article about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Luckily, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas decided not to allow me to be ostracized by outraged Democratic Party readers. The Democrats reminded me that Daily Kos is a pro Democratic Party website that is not interested in articles about the Greens. Obviously many Democrats still see the Green Party as a threat to their vote counts and they still blame Ralph Nader for the election of George W. Bush. Of course the editors have the right to choose the topics on their website, but I must admit I felt I had been censored. I can no longer write about the Greens at Daily Kos without running the risk of banishment. The site which Time magazine readers voted as “2nd best blog” in the US is not a completely open forum for discussion.

Besides the fears of banishment and government surveillance, reporters also have to face the very real threat of legal retribution from social network sites if they are courageous enough to criticize their policies. Calling Facebook or twitter “undemocratic” will not win you the admiration or respect of the administrators or owners. I will admit that I am very careful what I post these days. I was banned by Facebook from posting anywhere but on my own website for two months allegedly due to “spamming” activity. The truth is, I posted many political articles on sites around the world which are dedicated to politics and activism. I have never tried to recruit anyone for a campaign; I have never offered anything for sale; I have never endorsed any commercial enterprise.

And now, in an ironic turn of events, I may qualify as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed against Facebook. The suit claims that FB included user’s posts and photographs in their ads without permission from the authors and photographers. By the way, Facebook completely denies this claim.

I take these issues very seriously because last year I won a major federal class action lawsuit against the Washington State Patrol after I was illegally detained and banned from covering protests at the state capitol in Olympia. Federal District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan ruled in my favor. According to his decision, the WSP had violated my freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Now I am corresponding with Reporters Without Borders, the Committee To Protect Journalists, and the Society For Professional Journalism. My task – document these abuses!

To me it really comes down to a simple question: “Should US journalists be proud and satisfied with their status in society at this time?” As I have stated in my article at Truthout, these restrictions (along with the perceived harassment and threats) has silenced some editors, publishers, producers and reporters who are now afraid to cover controversial stories. I maintain that the result is self-censorship from folks who don’t want to lose their jobs or find their names on a government watch list.

Just a reminder – my favorite journalists Greg Palast, Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges have been forced to give up lucrative positions at major US media corporations in order to report the truth without restrictions. Palast now does investigative journalism for the BBC and Greenwald writes for the UK Guardian. It’s amazing that we still have a few strong independent voices left in this country – Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Aaron Glantz and Arun Gupta, Matt Taibbi to name a few who deserve our praise for standing up against the establishment at a time when doing so could be very detrimental to both your psychological and financial health…

Mark Taylor-Canfield writes @ Huffington Post and Daily Kos.
https://www.facebook.com/mtaylorcanfield
https://twitter.com/MTaylorCanfield

His Op-ed @ Truthout – Press freedom?

http://truth-out.org/speakout/item/14145-us-alternative-media-journalists-face-government-surveillance

Mark’s Testimony Before The FCC – Effects of Corporate Media Consolidation

http://www.reclaimthemedia.org/seattlefcc/taylor-canfield

Mark’s Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/29/1040971/-My-Arrest-At-The-Demonstrations-A-Personal-Statement-About-The-First-Amendment

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/12/06/judge-rules-in-favor-of-occupy-protesters-suspends-trespassing-notices

Why I Don't Trust "Isms": Chris Hedges Versus The Black Bloc

Originally published by CounterPunch – Editor Jeffery St Clair

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/07/hedges-vs-the-black-bloc-round-two/

by MARK TAYLOR-CANFIELD

A recent article by Chris Hedges is once again causing heated arguments among activists in the Occupy Wall Street movement.  “Black Bloc: The Cancer in Occupy,” was published in his syndicated Truthdig.com column back in February, but folks are now talking about it again at political organizing meetings and on social networking websites. After Black Bloc Anarchists broke windows, vandalized cars and assaulted members of the press during May Day protests in Seattle and Oakland, the issue has taken on a new urgency among occupy groups around the country.

Hedge’s scathing critique of these tactics has been challenged by many people who sympathize with Anarchist philosophy. Most occupiers in the major cities have adopted a policy of neither condemning nor endorsing Black Bloc actions because they usually vandalize only corporate banks and businesses. But the truth is, many occupy activists and most of the general public are turned off by acts of property damage committed as a form of protest. Black Bloc tactics have been criticized by some Occupy Seattle activists and Chris Hedges claims it is responsible for chasing the 99% away from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In my opinion, Hedges’ article was a purely emotional response to the Anarchists. Rather than using good research and obtaining first-hand knowledge, he simply wrote from a gut level reaction. Hedges later admitted during an interview posted at Truthout.org that he hadn’t spoken to any Black Bloc activists before writing the article. He says he listened to about four hours of Anarchist radio out of Eugene, Oregon and read some magazines and websites. Supposedly, the Black Bloc are a direct threat to the power of what he calls the “organized left” – a group in which he seems to claim membership.

Actually, I am getting really tired of ideologues of all persuasions, including Chris Hedges.

I don’t trust any “ism”!

First of all, a true anarchist would never identify themselves with a political or philosophical label because that in itself is highly limiting. Society will immediately identify and categorize you depending upon their view of that political philosophy. I simply refuse to be labeled, folded, spindled or wrapped in anything besides my own skin!

Call me whatever you like, but you’re probably wrong.

I prefer to build bridges and work with as many groups and individuals as possible while never permanently adhering to anyone’s religion, whether it be Christian fundamentalism or Anarchism. Also, I find that most people’s political or non-political affiliations are almost always based on their own psychological profile. People choose politics according to their own personal style. A left-brained materialist might find conservatism appealing while a free thinking artistic adventurer is probably not going to have much fun at a GOP fundraiser. In my view, political and philosophical distinctions are basically natural byproducts of the personality of the individual.

Ideologues refuse to accept this fact. They can’t resist the urge to lead irrational crusades in an attempt to either win everyone over to their way or thinking, or to destroy the opposition. As two prime examples, I cite both the fanatical US corporatist “War on Terror”, and their Islamic extremist enemy Al Qaeda.

Ideologies are simply theories, many of which have never really been put into practice. Theoretically, many of them sound great. But these same ideologies are also responsible for a lot of mass suffering and destruction on this planet. Communism was invoked under Stalin to justify the deaths of millions of people. The Christian dominionist ideology has been responsible for religious wars and widespread ecological disasters. Inevitably, those who claim to have the answer to all of the world’s problems are actually the ones who end up causing a lot more suffering by their proposed solutions.

I say, free your minds! Don’t allow any person, organization, philosophy or authority to determine what you think.

The main problem I have with many of the “isms” being promoted within the social justice movement is that they are based on archaic, antiquated philosophies. Quoting dead writers from decades or centuries past is not an adequate response to the serious environmental and social crises we are facing in the world today. Doesn’t anyone have an original idea?

Anarchism, socialism, communism, capitalism, libertarianism, etc. are all just more “isms” that limit free thought through peer pressure and self-perpetuating propaganda. I know that some will accuse me of being a “deconstructionist”, but I also reject that label as purely fashionable and ultimately irrelevant.

I try to avoid accepted political terms or labels whenever possible when I speak or write. I want to reflect reality, not ideology!

But this doesn’t mean I consider myself a cynic. Actually the opposite is true. I am dedicated to upholding ideals concerning justice, autonomy and personal freedom. It’s just that I don’t expect any particular spiritual, political or economic philosophy to solve all the world’s problems and create Heaven on earth for me overnight. To me, those kinds of false expectations are based on immaturity. It comes from an uninformed but very popular point of view which sees a solution to everything in one powerful man or woman, one political philosophy or one religious doctrine.

And what about the idea that there is going to be some kind of glorious revolution which will solve all of our problems?

Well, if the revolutions in the USA, France, Russia, Tunisia and Egypt are any indication, it looks like multiple uprisings will be necessary in order to maintain any semblance of the original resistance movements. The struggle for justice is an eternal battle that requires constant vigilance and strong dedication. The battle is never completely won but it is certainly worth fighting!

And a life without “isms” is its own reward. Avoid them and live free!

Mark Taylor-Canfield is an independent journalist and a member of the Occupy Seattle Media Working Group.

Originally Published @ Counterpunch.org

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/07/hedges-vs-the-black-bloc-round-two/

Raids On Journalists At NATO Protests – A Report on Chicago

by Mark Taylor Canfield

Protest Marches

Anti-war protesters at the NATO Summit in Chicago faced off with Chicago police all day on Sunday May 20th in a cat and mouse game that lasted late into the night.

War veterans wanting to return their medals led a march of thousands early in the day.

Later in the afternoon CPD blocked Michigan Street and pushed back on the crowd. Police officers alternately donned gas masks and then took them off while dispersal orders were announced. The confrontation at Michigan and 25th Street continued for approximately two hours.

Some of the marchers were injured by police. A few activists had bloody faces, apparently caused by riot sticks. Eventually the demonstrators were caged in by police and had to retreat.

Live Fox news coverage on WGN cast the protesters as nothing but a nuisance. When a WGN reporter at the march finally approached an activist for an interview, he was abruptly cut off and the live coverage ended.

Eventually marchers left the area of the police line on Michigan. Meanwhile, helicopters hovered above in the sky all day as the demonstrators marched for many miles shouting, “Who’s street? Our streets!”

One group of protesters faced off with police and 2 LRAD vehicles at the fences on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

After this confrontation the group marched up East 26th Street followed by a large number of riot police.

Some protesters moved North on South State Street.

Chicago police also blocked off 21st Ave and State Street with a row of riot cops. Several arrests were made and more injuries were reported by folks at that location.

Protesters encountered riot police all night as they marched around the city. None of the activists were allowed to get near McCormick Place where the NATO summit had been held.

At one point, it was announced that marchers were headed to the Art Institute.

Live Streamers Raided At Gunpoint

Apparently, live video streamers are now subject to search and seizure by the Chicago Police Department.

Livestreamers Luke Rudkowksi Tim Pool, Jeoff Shively, Dustin & Jess were raided at gunpoint by police on Saturday night. They were driving home and were pulled over and cuffed, searched and released with no charges.

Apparently, this is what a police state looks like…

Tim Pool said he and another man were detained and he was searched again by Chicago police on Sunday.

Go to wearechange.org for the video of the first raid.

Freedom of the press?

Originally posted @ http://chicago.indymedia.org/…

http://chicago.indymedia.org/node/916

Devastating account of waste, mismangement, and lies concerning the war in Iraq

AlterNet published an article by Peter Van Buren, I Had to Tell the Truth About Iraq–Even Though it Cost Me My Career.

The author, who worked for the State Department at a forward operating base in Iraq, says, “the space between what we were doing (the eye-watering waste and mismanagement), and what we were saying (the endless claims of success and progress), was filled with numb soldiers and devastated Iraqis….. the United States wasted more than $44 billion in the reconstruction/deconstruction of Iraq.”

The US Military prepared for a summit held in Iraq.

If you deploy enough police and soldiers — for the summit, Baghdad was shut down for a week, the cell phone network turned off, and a “public holiday” proclaimed to keep the streets free of humanity — you can temporarily tame any place, at least within camera view. More than $500 million was spent, in part planting flowers along the route dignitaries took in and out of the heavily fortified International Zone at the heart of the capital (known in my day as the Green Zone).

In response to his candor, Van Buren was harassed by his employers, tracked by security agents, and is about to be terminated. He met with other whistleblowers. “What we really have in common is that, in the course of just doing our jobs, we stumbled into colossal government wrongdoing (systematized torture, warrantless wiretapping, fraud, and waste), stood up for what is right in the American spirit, and found ourselves paying surprising personal prices for acts that seemed obvious and necessary. ”

The injustice of all this is compounded by the fact that the massive costs will be born not by the 1% who profited from the wars but by the rest of us, in the form of slashing of education and social programs.