My Common Sense Politics
Newly exposed text of Trade in Services Agreement raises alarm of analysts
Sun, Dec 14th, 2014
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) will allow Native Americans the right to use tribal land to grow and sell marijuana as long as they follow federal guidelines and state mandates with respect to medical marijuana and legalized recreational use.
The stipulations outlined by the DoJ include the federal government reserving the right to prosecute under specified conditions:
• Selling to minors
• Marijuana proceeds going to criminal enterprises
• Shipping marijuana to states where it is illegal
• Illegal sales, firearms and violence
• Drugged driving and other public health issues
• Growing marijuana on public lands
• Possession of marijuana on federal property
Anthony Broadman, legal representative for tribal governments, pointed out that the economic potential this accord will create “could be a really huge opportunity” for Native Americans “if the tribes can balance all the potential social issues.”
Broadman continued: “Tribal regulations of pot are going to have to dovetail with tribal values, making sure marijuana isn’t a scourge like alcohol or tobacco.”
US Attorney Amanda Marshall commented: “That’s been the primary message tribes are getting to us as U.S. attorneys. What will the U.S. as federal partners do to assist tribes in protecting our children and families, our tribal businesses, our tribal housing? How will you help us combat marijuana abuse in Indian Country when states are no longer there to partner with us?”
While selling marijuana on tribal lands that are located in states that do not allow for cannabis commerce will pose a problem; as well as the possibility of transport of marijuana from one tribal land to another is a more immediate concern.
In the state of Washington, retail sales of recreational marijuana are expected to skyrocket as an estimated 20 dispensaries are poised to open statewide.
Regulators, business owners and experts are decrying that marijuana “could sell out in Washington within hours of days” due to “limited harvests by licensed growers and processors, or because they failed to clear regulatory hurdles to get their product to market.”
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) has approved licensing for 80 growers out of 2,600 applicants. This is foundational causation to the pending scarcity that is being talked about by analysts.
Dominic Covra, executive director of the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy (CSCSP) explained: “Shoppers looking to get high on Tuesday could see a gram selling at $15-$30. Novelty-seekers and tourists might pay $25 or $30 per gram – roughly twice the current price at weakly regulated medical dispensaries. At those prices, heavy users will stick with neighborhood dispensaries or drug dealers.”
Cannabis edibles have not been approved for retail sales “because no processor has been cleared to operate a cannabis kitchen.”
By Sophia Pearson, Christie Smythe and Joel Rosenblatt
December 10, 2014
Egyptian cleric Osama Hassan Mustafa Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, said he was kidnapped by CIA agents and turned over to Egyptian security officials and tortured. Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images
CIA officials linked to brutal interrogation tactics in a U.S. Senate report on torture may be prosecuted or sued overseas for their conduct, a threat that may keep them confined to the U.S. for the rest of their lives.
“The reality is that none of the individuals involved, particularly those whose names are known, should ever travel outside the United States again,” said Beth Van Schaack, who teaches international criminal justice and human rights at Stanford University. She noted the potential for suits in foreign courts under “expansive principles of jurisdiction.”
One cautionary tale: An Italian court in November 2009 convicted 23 Americans, mostly suspected Central Intelligence Agency officials, in absentia for abducting radical Islamic cleric Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr on a Milan street in February 2003. Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, said he was kidnapped by CIA agents and turned over to Egyptian security officials and tortured.
None of the accused CIA officials appeared for the trial. The CIA station chief in Italy lost his retirement home when the absentia case concluded and the house was forcibly sold to help pay a damages award of 1 million euros ($1.5 million) to Nasr and 500,000 euros to the cleric’s wife.
CIA officials linked to the torture details released Dec. 9 in the Senate report may fare worse if countries exposed in the agency’s extraordinary rendition program are pressured to bring criminal cases. About 21 European countries cooperated in the U.S. practice of transferring terror suspects to a foreign country for detention and questioning without legal proceedings in American courts.
“As a result of the additional disclosures that are now public, there is going to be more pressure for prosecutions and accountability abroad in part because U.S. courts have failed to provide any accountability at home,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security project. “Pandora’s box was opened when the CIA made the decision to torture. The movement and need for accountability is ongoing.”
Torture report reveals how Poland objected to CIA's secret jail on its soil - but became 'flexible' after being bought off with large cash payment
10 December 2014
- Former Polish president admits country gave permission for CIA prison
- But Aleksander Kwasniewski insists his officials did not authorize torture
- Poland initially refused to accept the transfer of detainees to prison site
- But alleged multi-million dollar payment convinced the country otherwise
- Eight terror suspects - including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - believed to have been held at prison between December 2002 and autumn 2003
The U.S. Senate Committee's torture report has claimed Poland initially objected to the CIA's secret prison on its soil but became 'flexible' after being bought off with a large sum of money.
After denying the fact for years, former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski today admitted that Poland had granted the CIA permission to run the secret prison, but insisted his officials had not authorized illegal treatment or torture of its inmates.
Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed 'Blue', including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Admission: Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski (pictured right, alongside former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai) today confirmed that Poland granted permission for a secret CIA prison in the country
U.S. President Barack Obama last night discussed the CIA torture report's publication during a telephone call with current Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.
The heavily redacted report did not mention Poland by name, but documents relating to the site match other reports that identify them as originating in the Eastern European nation. Among these documents is European Court of Human Rights ruling relating to a CIA-run 'black site' in Poland.
This morning former Polish president Kwasniewski admitted that the prison existed, but insisted that the secret operation was halted amid pressure from the country's leaders.
'Poland took steps to end the activity at this site and the activity was stopped at some point,' he told Warsaw based Radio TOK FM this morning.
The prison is thought to have operated from December 2002 until autumn 2003. Kwasniewski was in power from 1995 until 2005, but has always denied the site's existence until now
Detainee: Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed 'Blue', including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (pictured) - the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks
Global: At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Poland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania and Lithuania - locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report
According to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights the CIA operated a facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty in north east Poland.
It is one of a network of sites around the world where Al Qaeda suspects were held and subjected to interrogation techniques that human rights groups say amounted to torture.
The CIA torture report, which was published yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, described how seriously the rendition programme strained relations with Poland - a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and one of Washington's staunchest European allies.
Friday 12 December 2014
Downing Street says UK intelligence asked for redactions to be made in Senate report on the grounds of national security
The headquarters of MI6 in London.
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
References to Britain’s intelligence agencies were deleted at their request from the damning US report on the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11, it has emerged.
A spokesman for David Cameron acknowledged the UK had been granted deletions in advance of the publication, contrasting with earlier assertions by No 10. Downing Street said any redactions were only requested on “national security” grounds and contained nothing to suggest UK agencies had participated in torture or rendition.
However, the admission will fuel suspicions that the report – while heavily critical of the CIA – was effectively sanitised to conceal the way in which close allies of the US became involved in the global kidnap and torture programme that was mounted after the al-Qaida attacks.
On Wednesday, the day the report was published, asked whether redactions had been sought, Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters there had been “none whatsoever, to my knowledge”.
However, on Thursday, the prime minister’s deputy official spokesman said: “My understanding is that no redactions were sought to remove any suggestion that there was UK involvement in any alleged torture or rendition. But I think there was a conversation with the agencies and their US counterparts on the executive summary. Any redactions sought there would have been on national security grounds in the way we might have done with any other report.”
The two main cases relevant to the involvement of Britain’s spying agencies related to Binyam Mohamed, a UK citizen tortured and secretly flown to Guantánamo Bay, and the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami-al-Saadi, two prominent Libyan dissidents, and their families, who were flown to Tripoli in 2004 where they were tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s secret police.
There is no reference at all in the Senate’s 500-page summary report to UK intelligence agencies or the British territory of Diego Garcia used by the US as a military base. But the executive summary contained heavy redactions throughout, prompting speculation that references to US allies has been erased.
In the wake of the Senate report, the UK government is coming under increasing pressure to order a more transparent inquiry into the actions of MI5 and MI6 amid claims of British complicity in the US torture programme.
Fri, Dec 12th, 2014
by Michel Chossudovsky
The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report. The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.
The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence. What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.
Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.
The jihadists are “intelligence assets”.
Torture serves to perpetuate the legend that the evil terrorists are real and that the lives of Americans are threatened.
Torture is presented as “collateral damage.” Torture is an integral part of war propaganda which consists in demonizing the alleged terrorists.
And the Senate committee report ultimately upholds the legitimacy of the US intelligence apparatus, the US government, its military and intelligence agenda and its “humanitarian wars” waged in different parts of the World.
The term “legally misguided” is mentioned but the fact that these actions were “illegal” and “criminal” is casually dismissed.
According to Senator Feinstein: “The CIA plays an incredibly important part in our nation’s security and has thousands of dedicated and talented employees.”
The actions documented by the Senate report were undertaken from 2001-2009, namely during the Bush administration, overlapping into the Obama presidency. This inevitably raises the issue of responsibility of the current US administration. There is no evidence that these practices were abandoned by the Obama presidency. In fact quite the opposite.
And the “Global War on Terrorism” prevails with new initiatives on the drawing board of the Pentagon.
The Role of 9/11
9/11 serves as a justification for the torture program in the same way as it served as a justification to wage war on Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Senator Feinstein:
“All of us have vivid memories of that Tuesday morning when terror struck New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
“Make no mistake, on September 11, 2001 war was declared on the United States.
“Terrorists struck our financial center. They struck our military center. And they tried to strike our political center and would have, had brave and courageous passengers not brought down the plane.
“We still vividly remember the mix of outrage and deep despair and sadness as we watched from Washington.
“Smoke rising from the Pentagon. The passenger plane lying in a Pennsylvania field. The sound of bodies striking canopies at ground level as innocents jumped to the ground below from the World Trade Center.
The tacit argument –which is contained in the Senate report– is that America was under attack. Evil folks are lurking. The security of the Homeland was at stake.
And these evil people knew things (namely intelligence) which were threatening our security. They were arrested by the CIA. And the CIA had a mandate “to go after the terrorists”.
Yet we all know by now that the 9/11 official narrative is a fabrication. The official 9/11 story is that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks. Lest we forget, bin Laden was hospitalized in a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 9, 2001.
9/11 was used as a pretext, a casus belli to wage an illegal war against Afghanistan. What we are dealing with is the criminalization of the US State apparatus.
Jihadists were not behind the 9/11 attacks. The evidence points to a conspiracy at the highest levels of the US government including the involvement of the intelligence apparatus.