Category: Hypocrisy

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04.10.2015 Author: Janet Phelan


Barbara Stone was only able to get out of jail when she agreed to stop blogging. Patty Reid is on the lam. Cary-Andrew Crittenden may be facing further jail time for his efforts to inform others about problems in the Santa Clara County legal system. And Ginny Johnson is under a gag order which nearly eventuated in a close encounter with a jail cell.

All these individuals are experiencing, up close and personal, the limits of free speech when that speech inconveniences someone more powerful than they. Twenty, thirty years ago none of these individuals would have faced the grave legal problems they now confront. But thirty years ago, the legal system in the US was not yet in free fall.

The devolution of the US legal system is evidenced in the existence of a dual legal system, wherein there abides two parallel—and often contradictory—systems of law. One system is the written code—the Constitutional and statutory mandates. The other system is what a judge does in his courtroom. And increasingly, judges are acting like monarchs, unaccountable to anyone.

This is well expressed when First Amendment (freedom of speech) issues collide with governmental imperatives.  Prior restraint, that is the imposition of gags or inhibitions on speech not yet spoken, is illegal in the US, according to the written code. Increasingly, however, judges are issuing orders which amount to prior restraint when an individual’s speech becomes politically inconvenient.

A previous article discussed the plight of Barbara Stone, whose mother is under a guardianship in Dade County, Florida. Upon visiting her mother in the home in which the guardian had placed Helen Stone, Barbara was shocked to find her mother emaciated and on a feeding tube. Barbara then allegedly took her mother to lunch.

She was subsequently arrested and charged with “custody interference,” and up until recently was confined to house arrest, an electronic tracking bracelet ensuring her compliance.

The problem was that Barbara would not shut up. She filed a number of lawsuits against guardianship court Judge Michael Genden and also against guardian Jacqueline Hertz and her attorney, Roy Lustig, as well as criminal court judge Victoria Brennan and Governor Rick Scott. She also launched a blog with the purpose of exposing the parties involved in what she termed the continuing abuse of her mother. Tiring of her complaints, Judge Genden charged her with criminal contempt for failing to show up at a court hearing and Barbara went into lock-up.

This past week, Stone, who is licensed to practice law in the state of New York, secured her release from jail at a significant price. She has agreed to stop blogging and also, significantly, to not file further papers in her mother’s case without a lawyer. In other words, the price of her freedom was prior restraint.

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A member of the Aleppo Es Samiyye FrontDespite stating otherwise, the Russian airstrikes so far has targetted non-Daesh targets, including several bases of anit-regime rebel groups [file photo of a member of the Aleppo Es Samiyye Front]

Israel will provide Russia with intelligence information about opposition sites in Syria to facilitate Moscow’s military operations, Channel 2TV has reported. The Israeli network said that a senior delegation of Russian army officials will arrive in Israel on Tuesday to coordinate the military cooperation.The delegation will be led by First Deputy Chief of General Staff General Nikolai Bogdanovsky, who will meet his Israeli counterpart, Major-General Yair Golan as well as senior officials in Israeli military intelligence, the air force and the Mossad. Channel 2 noted that the visit follows the meeting between Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.


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Commander of war in Afghanistan tells Senate panel that US forces had called in airstrike at Afghan request – ‘an admission of a war crime’ says MSF chief

General John Campbell says the airstrike was the result of a ‘US decision’.

US special operations forces – not their Afghan allies – called in the deadly airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, the US commander has conceded.

Shortly before General John Campbell, the commander of the US and Nato war in Afghanistan, testified to a Senate panel, the president of Doctors Without Borders – also known as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) – said the US and Afghanistan had made an “admission of a war crime”.

Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had requested US air cover after being engaged in a “tenacious fight” to retake the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. But, modifying the account he gave at a press conference on Monday, Campbell said those Afghan forces had not directly communicated with the US pilots of an AC-130 gunship overhead.

“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday morning.


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08.10.2015 Author: Vladimir Odintsov


Less than a week ago US Air Force bombed a hospital in Afghanistan that was run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). At the time of the bombing there were 105 patients and local employees, along with 80 members of MSF personnel in the hospital located in the town of Kunduz. A number of media sources reported that US military command was well aware of the coordinates of the hospital, however, even when the local staff contacted a NATO representative in Kabul and informed him of the attack, bombs were still hitting the area for more than an hour.

On the same day a NATO spokesman described the incident as “side effect” of the US military operation, that allegedly was not targeting the hospital, hence it was “accidentally hit.” Nevertheless, the official failed to provide journalist with details on what exactly the US aircraft was supposed to destroy. After all, according to MSF personnel, at the time of bombing Taliban militants were nowhere near the hospital

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein on October 3 urged the international community to carry out a full investigation of the air strikes in question. And if it is to established that the hospital was struck intentionally, it would be only logical to label this act as a war crime. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the hospital and its medical staff are protected by international law, and those responsible should answer for this bombing. There’s still hope that war the war criminals behind this attack won’t be able to escape the prosecution easily.

However, one should be reminded this was not the first case of US military committing crimes in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries. Yet, all investigations of such “acts” have fallen short of punishing those responsible, which only leads to a sharp increase in the level of recklessness shown by Pentagon and US intelligence servicemen.

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Mon Oct 5, 2015 12:2AM
A Palestinian man looks at the damage following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas police facility in Gaza City on September 30, 2015. (AFP)

A Palestinian man looks at the damage following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas police facility in Gaza City on September 30, 2015. (AFP)

Israeli fighter jets have launched airstrikes on an area in the central Gaza Strip while another Palestinian is shot to death by Israeli troops.

The early Monday attacks, which hit two sites belonging to the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, were carried out after rockets were allegedly fired from the enclave towards an uninhabited area in southern Israel.

There has been no word on the possible casualties and damage inflicted by those strikes.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian youth during clashes in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.


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‘Criticizing Russia alone is unjustified’ – German MP

A poster showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a micro bus in al-Qardahah town, near Latakia city © Khaled al-Hariri
Leaders of the US and the UK have recently slammed Russian airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, claiming they only make things worse. These allegations are “totally unacceptable,” MP from the Left Party in Germany Wolfgang Gehrcke told RT.

“Just for once I’d like to hear the US president say: ‘Yes, we’ve made a mistake,’ and expiate enmity. What I get to hear instead is insults and allegations addressed at Russia, and this is totally unacceptable.

I’ve never heard the US criticizing the UK or France in a similar way. This is only done towards Russia from the American side. In my view, only to criticize Russia is unjustified,” Gehrcke said in an interview with RT.

Russia started airstrikes on terrorist targets in Syria on Wednesday at the request of President Bashar Assad’s government. The primary objective is to provide air support for Syrian troops fighting Islamic State. Explaining Moscow’s decision to get involved in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that radicals from many countries, including Russia, have flocked to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist group. They must be defeated where they are, so that they do not return home with battle experience and ideology adopted in the war zone, the Russian president pointed out.


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The EU is used to bypass national democracy, Tory minister admits

  • Jon Stone Manchester
  • @joncstone
  • Monday 5 October 2015 15:54 BST
  • The European Parliament The European Parliament Creative Commons

Governments use the European Union to bypass national democracy and pass laws that national parliaments would not accept, a Home Office minister has admitted.

Karen Bradley told a fringe meeting at Conservative party conference that other countries sometimes asked British MEPs to push legislation through the European Parliament so it could not be blocked by their own national legislatures.

She used the example of mandatory passenger name records on flights, which she said British MEPs were currently pushing through in Brussels for an unnamed country.

“When I’ve sat down with my counterparts and ministers from European countries and talked about passenger name records it’s quite clear that at a government level in all these countries they also want passenger name records but they cannot get them through their national parliaments,” she told the fringe meeting organised by the pro-EU Conservative Europe Group.

“They cannot get something like passenger name records through their national parliaments. So they say to us – can you please help us get it through at the European level?


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Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva’s Statement On Detainment At San Francisco Airport

Anthony Silva

STOCKTON (CBS13) — The following is Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva’s statement on his detainment at San Francisco International Airport on Monday and the seizure of his electronic devices after a trip to China.


My name is Anthony R. Silva, and I am the Mayor of Stockton, California.

On Saturday September 28 (sic), 2015 I attended a Mayor’s Conference to China to promote “good will” between the China and the United States. The trip was hosted and sponsored by China Silicon Valley and the primary goal was to promote our Cities and investment opportunities. I had a wonderful experience on this trip. Upon my return on Monday September 28, 2015, I was briefly detained by the Department of Homeland Security. They searched my belongings. A few minutes later, (2) DHS agents confiscated all my electronic devices including my personal cell phone. Unfortunately, they were not willing or able to produce a search warrant or any court documents suggesting they had a legal right to take my property. In addition they were persistent about requiring my passwords for all devices. Although they were reluctant at first to present their badge and credentials; they eventually showed me their identification and gave me a business card. They indicated that this action to confiscate personal property at the airport was in fact routine and not unusual. They promised to return my items within a few days. They also mentioned that I had no right for a lawyer to be present and being a United States Citizen did not entitle me to rights that I probably thought.


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ArsTechnica UK

Californian mayor forced to give up electronics and passwords to agents at SFO

As US government battles over privacy, mayor compares the situation to North Korea.

Stockton, California Mayor Anthony R. Silva attended a recent mayor’s conference in China, but his return trip took a bit longer than usual. At the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this week, agents with the Department of Homeland Security detained Silva and confiscated his personal cell phone among other electronics. According to comments from the mayor, that may not even be the most alarming part.

“Unfortunately, they were not willing or able to produce a search warrant or any court documents suggesting they had a legal right to take my property,” Silva told SFGate. “In addition, they were persistent about requiring my passwords for all devices.”

The mayor’s attorney, Mark Reichel, told SFGate that Silva was not allowed to leave the airport without forfeiting his passwords. Reichel was not present for Silva’s interaction with the DHS agents, either. The mayor was told he had “no right for a lawyer to be present” and that being a US citizen did not “entitle me to rights that I probably thought,” according to the paper.


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Netanyahu da Putin su Siria con capo intelligence e esercito

Analysis: Russian military role in Syria has implications for Israel, West

  • Putin: We respect Israel’s interests, but are concerned over its attacks on Syria

  • PM underlined to Russia that Israel will continue to protect interests, says Ya’alon

A gun placed on stage in the first act must be fired by the last one. This axiom is attributed to Russian playwright Anton Chekov – the same one whose work Minister of Culture Miri Regev proudly declared she has never read.

Even though it was clear that the extensive military buildup by the Russia Army in Syria was bound to eventually lead to military intervention in the civil war, the first Russian air strikes yesterday were received with a bit of surprise. Yesterday morning the Russia Duma (parliament) approved the use of military force – as if President Vladimir Putin really needed their approval – and yesterday by noon missions were executed near the towns of Homs, Hama, and Latakiya. According to Western sources, the Russians targeted positions of rebel groups opposing the regime of President Bashar Assad, including factions supported by the US. The Russian Ministry of Defense, on the other hand, said that its air force targeted ISIS.

Nevertheless, one can assume that Russia is trying to create a division of labor that is not to the liking of the US and its Arab and Western coalition partners assembled to fight on two fronts: the Assad regime and Islamic State.

The Russian logic is that the US-led coalition will attack ISIS and Russia will attack the rest of the rebel groups. Regardless of whether such a division will be in place de facto, one conclusion is emerging: the big winner of the new situation is Assad and his failed regime.


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As Pentagon Shifts Story (Again), MSF Says No Excuse for ‘War Crime’ Against Hospital

‘We are working on the presumption of a war crime,’ said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International


Gen. John Campbell testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Gen. John Campbell testifies  before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)


While testifying before a Senate panel on Tuesday, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan General John Campbell changed—for the fourth time in as many days—the military’s account of its bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in the city of Kunduz on Saturday. The shift means Pentagon officials have now described the deadly attack alternately as “collateral damage,” a mistake, the fault of Afghan soldiers, and finally, the work of U.S. Special Forces.

The aid agency, furious with the military’s shifting narrative of the attack that killed 22 people—including 12 staff members and 10 patients—has stated once again its belief that what occurred is nothing short of a “war crime” and argued only a independent, outside investigation could be trusted to probe the incident.

“This attack cannot be brushed aside as a mere mistake or an inevitable consequence of war,” said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, in a statement released Tuesday. “Nothing can excuse violence against patients, medical workers and health facilities.”

“Under International Humanitarian Law hospitals in conflict zones are protected spaces. Until proven otherwise, the events of last Saturday amount to an inexcusable violation of this law,” Liu continued. “We are working on the presumption of a war crime.

However, in the four different version of events provided by the U.S., the term “war crime” did not appear once.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee delivered Tuesday, General John Campbell said that U.S. Special Forces called in the ground strike and were in direct communication with the aircraft that launched the attack.

“To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command,” he said. “A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

The statements marked a shift from those issued Monday, when Campbell emphasized the role of Afghan commanders in calling in the strike but ultimately indicated that the bombing was justified due to Taliban proximity. “Unfortunately, the Taliban decided to remain in the city and fight from within, knowingly putting civilians at significant risk of harm,” he said.

On Sunday, the military said that the bombing occurred in the vicinity of the hospital, which had accidentally been struck.

On Saturday, U.S. Army Colonal Brian Tribus, spokesperson for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said that the airstrike was conducted “against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby facility.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also avoided using the term “war crime” in statements made Monday, instead calling the incident a “profound tragedy.”

MSF, which says it informed coalition and Afghan officials of its GPS coordinates before and during the attack—to no avail—raised disturbing questions about the bombing. According to the organization, the bombing targeted the intensive care unit, emergency rooms, and physiotherapy ward—leaving surrounding buildings mostly unharmed.

“Statements from the Afghanistan government have claimed that Taliban forces were using the hospital to fire on Coalition forces,” said Liu. “These statements imply that Afghan and U.S. forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital, which amounts to an admission of a war crime.”

MSF is not alone in sounding the alarm. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Saturday, “The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

In an interview with Common Dreams, Suraia Sahar, organizer with Afghans United for Justice, emphasized that Saturday’s bombing—while more visible due to MSF’s status as a foreign organization—was “nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Both the U.S. and Afghan forces have a repeated history of faulty intelligence and criminal cover-ups in their military operations in Afghanistan,” said Sahar. “Thanks to MSF’s relentless campaign for an independent investigation, there is a small window of opportunity for them to be held accountable for their complicity in war crimes.”

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is weighing whether to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, defying its own pledge to reduce the presence to 1,000 military personnel for the purpose of embassy security by the end of next year.

In his statements Tuesday, Campbell sought to use this latest attack to bolster the argument for a prolonged U.S. presence. Responding to a question about whether the troop draw-down should continue according to the Obama administration’s initial plan, Campbell said, “I do believe we have to provide our senior leadership with options different from the current plan.”


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