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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mass arrests at Occupy Brooklyn Bridge

Scroll down for Livestream from Occupy Wall Street, videos from the Brooklyn Bridge arrests and photos from Occupy LA, Denver and Albuquerque

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at


NOW: 700 people arrested at Brooklyn Bridge Occupation.

Occupy Brooklyn Bridge, Sat., Oct. 1, 2001:

VIDEO (Below): Occupy Brooklyn Bridge: Locking Arms During Arrests

New York Times changes the story. Double click on image to enlarge.
Anonymous points out that the person who edited the text is Al Baker. Read about Baker:
New York Times changes story on Brooklyn Bridge Occupation
After screenshots expose the change, New York Times confesses to Village Voice: The change in wording came after police input:

New York Police grabbing and arresting protesters on Brooklyn Bridge
Occupy Seattle Sat., Oct. 1, 2011



US State Dept's fidgety, persistent need to control Al Jazeera

QATAR TRIBUNE: THE ‘Open Doors’ (Abwab Maftuha)
campaign launched by the US Embassy in Qatar last year
has paid off in a big way to cater to the personal needs of the
Qataris and in enhancing ties between the US and Qatar,
according to the outgoing US Ambassador to Qatar HE
Joseph Evan LeBaron.
US State Department's fidgety, persistent need to control Al Jazeera

By ©Brenda Norrell
Censored News
The US State Department’s obsession with Al Jazeera, as exposed by Wikileaks in the US diplomatic cables, is a good read for most anyone, especially journalists. Al Jazeera’s top director has already resigned. Still, four years of cables, 2005-2009, reveal how the United States demanded that Al Jazeera pander to US officials and the US perspective.

Besides Al Jazeera, the diplomatic cables reveal US Embassies obsessed with news reports around the world, from a Vanity Fair article that created US backlash in Germany, to media reports in Bolivia, of Evo Morales’ statements of CIA involvement in a planned assassination of Morales.

But no where is the US more upset about the news than when it comes to Al Jazeera, with a stream of US reports analyzing its coverage and repeated meetings with Al Jazeera’s top newsmakers and board members. The US cables expose the US Ambassadors and US State Department’s persistent, uncontrollable need to control the media.

Guantanamo imprisoned cameraman: US wanted me to spy on Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera was so important to the United States that Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj said that while he was imprisoned in Guantanamo for six years, and tortured, that the US pressured him to spy on Al Jazeera for the US.

The revelation comes from US Embassy's Charge d'Affaires Michael Ratney, who writes of al-Hajj’s speech when he returned to Qatar on May 31, 2008.

Ratney writes in the cable, “In his speech, al-Hajj also claimed that he had been interrogated 130 times, mostly relating to his work with Al Jazeera. He asserted that the USG had pressured him to work ‘as a spy’ against the network. Asked by a British journalist if he harbored any hatred, al-Hajj smiled and asked in English, 'For whom?' When the journalist responded, ‘the Americans,’ al-Hajj continued in Arabic, explaining that he held no ill will toward the American people, and that he had even befriended certain guards while in prison. The hardest thing to endure, he claimed was the way U.S. soldiers had denigrated Islam, forcing prisoners to break their fasts during Ramadan, and desecrating copies of the Quran.

US monitoring and pressuring Al Jazeera

The US Ambassadors in Qatar make it clear that the US should spend more time making friends with the leaders of Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, in order to make it easier to control the news to the world, especially the Arab world.

Among the avid US cable writers about Al Jazeera was US Ambassador Joseph Evan LeBaron, assigned to Qatar from July 18, 2008--July 29 2011.

After years of bombarding Al Jazeera with reports, meetings, and demands to change content, and turn over tapes, Ambassador LeBaron said things were looking up in 2008. Ambassador LeBaron said Al Jazeera was starting to treat the US better, possibly because of Obama’s presidential win, and possibly because Al Jazeera was giving Obama a chance.

“Embassy intends to take advantage of this positive trend by seeking placement of more U.S. voices, both official and private, on Al Jazeera in the coming months and closely monitoring the performance of producers and interviewers. Al Jazeera's audience of 40-50 million Arabs is too large and important for us to do otherwise.”

For the US, making the US look good included getting USAID on Al Jazeera. This was considered a coup. “Embassy also arranged for six live and taped interviews from November 25 to December 2 on Al Jazeera Arabic and English with the USAID Administrator, the USAID A/A for Public Affairs, the A/S for International Organizations, and the President's Special Envoy for Sudan.”

US apparently disappointed in lack of Iran protest violence coverage

The US complained about the lack of news coverage of the Iran election. Al Jazeera's Director General Khanfar (who recently resigned) explained to the US diplomats that this was because Iran demanded that Al Jazeera reporters stop filming and ordered those on special assignment out of Iran. It appears that Twitter saved the coverage. Ambassador LeBaron wrote in a cable, “Had it not been for Twitter, said Khanfar, the majority of news on the Iranian elections would not have reached Al Jazeera.”

The Wikileaks cables reveal a steady stream of meetings with Al Jazeera, with the US demanding airtime and that their perspective be aired. Al Jazeera broadcasts on the Iraq war and Gaza were high on the US watch list. The US even brought in elite officials like Karen Hughes, US for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, to meet with met with Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera, however, also brought their own concerns, including the US bombing of Al Jazeera offices.

“The AJ team asked for news of Sami Al Hajj, the Sudanese Al Jazeera cameramen arrested on the Pakistan-Afghan border in 2001 and now detained in Guantanamo; and they also complained once again that the USG had bombed their offices in Baghdad and Kabul without offering a word of apology or regret.”

Al Jazeera changed web content in 2005 after US pressure

Finally, there's the cable written in 2005 that ultimately exposed the US demand for Al Jazeera to change content on its website. The US Embassy says that Khanfar removed images of wounded Iraqi civilians from an Al Jazeera report following pressure by the U.S. Further, the US Embassy said that Khanfar was anxious to keep his behind-the-scenes collaboration secret. The cables were the focus of an article in New York Times on Sept. 20, 2011, as Khanfar resigned.

US Ambassador Charles "Chase" Untermeyer states in a cable that under pressure in 2005, Al Jazeera changed its website. This included removing the photo of an African child suffering from starvation and the US exploitation of oil.

The Ambassador is quoting Al Jazeera’s Khanfar in this passage:

“Most notably, he said, he had ordered that the picture of the starving African child be removed and that the mention of ‘US. control of Arab wealth and oil’ be amended. ‘A mistake was made, and it has been fixed,’ he said. He urged PAO to look again at the slide show to verify if the changes made the slide show less objectionable. ¶6. (C) PAO subsequently attempted to retrieve the archived slide show from the website without success and, a couple of hours after the meeting, Al Mahmoud called to say that the slide show had in fact been completely removed from the website on orders from Al Jazeera's managing director, Wadah Khanfar."

What the cables really tell us is that in the end, the people must be the watchdogs, ever-vigilant when anyone, or any government, attempts to manipulate or control the news, so that the news is the voice of truth to the world.
Reference on Vanity Fair backlash in Germany:
US cable: "On January 27 the Bundestag Interior Affairs Committee will examine allegations that a CIA team tracked a suspected al-Qaida supporter in Hamburg and planned to assassinate him before eventually aborting the mission. The story originated from a recent Vanity Fair article on Blackwater/Xe founder Erik Prince."

Canada urged to prosecute Bush for torture

September 29, 2011
11:23 AM

Human Rights Groups Urge Bush Torture Prosecution

Canada urged to prosecute Bush, who will be in Canada on Oct. 20, for torture

By Center for Constitutional Rights and Canadian Center for International Justice

VANCOUVER, B.C. (September 29) Today, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) lodged a detailed and lengthy indictment setting forth the case against former U.S. president George W. Bush with the Attorney General of Canada, urging him to open a criminal investigation against Bush for his role in authorizing and overseeing his administration’s well-documented torture program. Bush will visit Surrey, British Columbia on October 20th, as a paid speaker at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit at the invitation of Surrey Mayor Diane Watts.

Earlier this year, CCR, supported by CCIJ and more than 60 international human rights organizations, called on Swiss authorities to prosecute Bush for torture based on his own admission that he authorized torture and the plethora of evidence in the public domain setting out his role in the U.S. torture program. However, Bush canceled his February trip to Switzerland at the last minute, a move that many speculated was motivated by fear of arrest.

“George Bush has openly admitted that he approved the use of torture against men held in U.S. custody,” said Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at CCR. “Despite this admission, no country has been willing to investigate and prosecute Bush’s criminal acts, leaving the victims of his torture policies without any justice or accountability. Canada is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture, and has an obligation to investigate Bush for his leadership role in the U.S. torture program. Torturers – even if they are former presidents of the United States – must be held to account and prosecuted. We urge Canada to put an end to impunity for Bush.”

“Canada has a strong legal framework and there is absolutely no ambiguity in our criminal code when it comes to committing or allowing torture,” said Matt Eisenbrandt, Legal Director of CCIJ. “There is grave evidence that former President Bush sanctioned and authorized acts of torture, not only in violation of Canadian laws, but also of international treaties that Canada has ratified. It is therefore clear that our government has both the jurisdiction and the obligation to prosecute Bush should he set foot again on Canadian territory.”

According to the indictment submitted to the Attorney General for his action, former President Bush bears individual and command responsibility for the acts of his subordinates, which he ordered, authorized, condoned, or otherwise aided and abetted, as well as for violations committed by his subordinates, which he failed to prevent or punish. In particular, Bush is alleged to have authorized or overseen enforced disappearance and secret detention, exposure to extreme temperatures, sleep deprivation, punching, kicking, isolation in “coffin” cells for prolonged periods, threats of bad treatment, solitary confinement, and forced nudity.

One hundred and forty-seven countries, including Canada and the United States, are party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT), meaning that those countries have committed to promptly investigate, prosecute, and punish torturers. While the U.S. has thus far failed to comply with its obligations under the CAT, all other signatories are similarly obligated to prosecute or extradite for prosecution anyone present in their territory who they reasonably believe has committed torture. If the evidence warrants, as the Bush indictment contends it does, and if the U.S. fails to request that Bush be extradited to face charges of torture, Canada must, under law, prosecute him for torture.

The indictment prepared by CCR and CCIJ, along with more than 4,000 pages of supporting materials, are available at:
The Canadian Centre for International Justice works with survivors of genocide, torture and other atrocities to seek redress and bring perpetrators to justice. The CCIJ seeks to ensure that individuals present in Canada who are accused of responsibility for serious human rights violations are held accountable and their victims recognized, supported and compensated. For more information visit

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

CCR Condemns Targeted Assassination of US Citizen

Center for Constitutional Rights Condemns Targeted Assassination of U.S. Citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki
CCR Cites a Lack of Adherence to Constitutional and International Laws that Afford Due Process
By Center for Constitutional Rights
WASHINGTON (September 30) Today, in response to the news that a missile attack by an American drone aircraft had killed U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which had previously brought a challenge in federal court to the legality of the authorization to target Al-Awlaki in Yemen, released the following statement:
“The assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki by American drone attacks is the latest of many affronts to domestic and international law,” said Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The targeted assassination program that started under President Bush and expanded under the Obama Administration essentially grants the executive the power to kill any U.S. citizen deemed a threat, without any judicial oversight, or any of the rights afforded by our Constitution. If we allow such gross overreaches of power to continue, we are setting the stage for increasing erosions of civil liberties and the rule of law.”
Pardiss Kebriaei, a CCR senior staff attorney, added: “In dismissing our complaint, the district court noted that there were nonetheless "disturbing questions" raised by the authority being asserted by the United States. There certainly are disturbing questions that need to be asked again, and answered by the U.S. government about the circumstances of the killing and the legal standard that governed it.”
Further information on CCR’s challenge to targeted killings is online at
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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