Tag Archives: Obama Administration

“Lawless America” Guantanamo hunger strike and its torturous consequences hits 6-month mark

From RT News – A hunger strike that started over a routine cell search and escalated into a worldwide debate on the future of Guantanamo continues. For some, it may have expedited a release, but to others, it has brought only humiliation.

RT’s GITMO hunger strike timeline

At its peak more than two-thirds of Guantanamo’s 166 prisoners refused food. More than 60 continue the strike at this time.

It began in February when several prisoners accused guards at Camp Delta of confiscating their books, letters and other personal possessions, as well as restricting their activities, for no obvious reasons. Several inmates also said that US officers mishandled the Koran.

But as time went by the strike numbers swelled, it became a protest at the ongoing existence of a prison in which more than half of the inmates have been cleared for release.

Even General John Kelly, who oversees the facility on Cuba’s south coast, has admitted that when ‘frustrated’ prisoners have no hope of freedom or even a trial (only 9 of those inside have faced charges), there is little for them to lose.

Despite US President Barack Obama’s repeated public opposition to Guantanamo, by the time the strike began, the chances for a legal resolution for any inmate were smaller than ever. For many of the prisoners, the US had deemed it unsafe to return them to their own countries, others were considered dangerous, but the evidence against them was either insufficient or obtained through torture and inadmissible in court (even if the torture had been performed by US allies in the first place).

With each passing year of the Obama administration, Congress made it more difficult for the president to find a compromise. By 2013, the US defense secretary had to personally guarantee that each inmate would not commit any future crimes against the country, and territories where recidivism attacks had taken place were not eligible altogether – even in cases where the prisoners themselves had been ruled innocent.

As prisoners began to collapse from low blood sugar, US officers ordered for them to be force fed, a practice that the UN Human Rights Commission has classified as ‘torture’, and which has been forbidden by the World Medical Association.

At one point during the strike, over 40 of the inmates were subjected to the practice.

During the once-a-day ‘meal’, captives, whom the US classifies as prisoners of war, are strapped into a chair, a tube is pushed into a nostril, and then a mainly protein-based solution is pumped into the digestive tract.

The UN’s chief rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, spoke to RT on several occasions, and in his latest interview on Monday, he continued to say he has still not been granted the kind of access that would facilitate an in-depth investigation of prison practices. This included not being given access into certain areas, as well as the privilege of interviewing an inmate of his choosing privately – both of which are key to the work Mendez does as inspector.

“The terms of visits to detention centers that I apply have been approved by the Human Rights Council. So I’m not asking the United States to give me preferential treatment, but I can’t give them preferential treatment either.”

A newly appointed envoy to oversee Guantanamo looks like a commitment to take the issue seriously, says Mendez. But he also noted that the Pentagon official, who for years has been in charge of Guantanamo on issues of detention, has admitted after resignation that the facility needs to be closed. Both are signs of a move toward progress, according to Mendez.

Accusations of misconduct, however, have continued to pour into the media – the most notable recent allegation having to do with sexual abuse and harassment.  More…


The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions

Eric Holder talks to DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer in 2010. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters
Eric Holder talks to DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer in 2010. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

By Glenn Greenwald,guardian.co.uk – A new PBS Frontline report examines a profound failure of justice that should be causing serious social unrest

PBS‘ Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with immunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.

Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ’s persecution of Aaron Swartz: “we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House.” (Indeed, as “The Untouchables” put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, “many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers” have been).

As I documented at length in my 2011 book on America’s two-tiered justice system, With Liberty and Justice for Some, the evidence that felonies were committed by Wall Street is overwhelming. That evidence directly negates the primary excuse by Breuer (previously offered by Obama himself) that the bad acts of Wall Street were not criminal. Read more…

Obama administration, Associated Press and BP “Punking” America again! – BP will be disqualified from winning new leases to drill. But many were already sold to them plenty cheap.

Obama administration suspends BP from new federal contracts, land leases after Gulf spill deal
Article by: JOSH LEDERMAN , Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing the company’s “lack of business integrity” and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

The action by the Environmental Protection Agency bars BP and its affiliates from new government contracts for an indefinite period, but won’t affect existing contracts.

  1. BP Wins Oil Leases in U.S. Gulf of Mexico Near Spill Site 


    Jun 20, 2012 – BP Plc (BP/) was the high bidder on 43 leases to drill in the central Gulfof Mexico  BP Wins Oil Leases in U.S. Gulf of Mexico Near Spill Site  Stavanger, Norway-based Statoil bid $157 million for a single tract, a record in 

  2. BP Wins Bids for More Deepwater Drilling Sites in the Gulf 

    Tracee Ivins

    Jun 27, 2012 – It has only been two years since the Deepwater Horizon oil exploration platform was rocked by a massive explosion. At the time, eleven 

  3. Fuel Fix » Record-setting Gulf drilling auction nets $1.7 billion


    Jun 20, 2012 – BP was poised to win the rights to drill in 43 separate blocks by pledging $428.6 million in high bids. The company’s share of those winning 

In a further blow to the company, BP will be disqualified from winning new leases to drill for oil or gas on taxpayer-owned land until the suspension is lifted. The federal government planned a sale Wednesday of more than 20 million acres of offshore land in the Gulf of Mexico. BP was not eligible for that sale, the Interior Department said. An EPA official said BP was not informed about the suspension until Wednesday morning.

In London, BP sought to minimize the effects of the suspension, and said it has been informed by EPA that an agreement to resolve the dispute is in the works. Highlighting its investments in the U.S. economy, BP said it employs 23,000 American workers and has invested more in the U.S. than any other oil and gas company.

“The company has made significant enhancements since the accident,” BP said in a statement, noting its efforts to adopt new drilling standards and to reorganize its operations in response to the spill.

The EPA said the suspension was standard practice when a criminal case raises responsibility questions about a company. The suspension came the same day two BP rig supervisors and a former executive were scheduled to be arraigned on criminal charges stemming from the deadly explosion and the company’s response to the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“EPA is taking this action due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response,” the agency said in a statement. Read more bullshit…

    1. Obama biggest recipient of BP cash – Erika Lovley – POLITICO.com

      www.politico.com › Congress

      May 5, 2010 – While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress …



      Obama, Rahm, and BP – Bed Buddies | RedState


      Jun 12, 2010 – Everyone is outraged about how Washington has not handled the Oil Spill in our Texas Gulf. The media says very little about the WHYs of why …



      Obama & BP: Perfect oil buddies | Obama


      Jun 16, 2010 – In the 2008 election cycle, the top recipient of political donations fromBritish Petroleum (BP) was President Barack Obama as BP also spent a …



      If corporations are people, why isn’t BP in jail?


      Nov 19, 2012 – True, they should be punished and the people running BP should be facing prison time… but like Bush protected his buddiesObama has …

Medical Marijuana: Obama Administration Continues Reefer Madness

By Robert WilburTruthout | Op-Ed – Voters in six states will be weighing in on the issue of decriminalizing medical marijuana, which has come under stepped-up prosecution on the federal level in recent years. Here’s the latest science on the pros and cons of its use for a variety of health indications.
“The basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.”
Barack Obama, 2008
At a time when six states are holding referendums on marijuana,* it seems important to get a clearer understanding of what Barack Obama meant by “the same controls.” Truthout spoke with Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest organization of scientists, physicians and patients who advocate for the decriminalization of medical marijuana. This is just a taste of what Barack apparently meant:
During the 31/2 years of the Obama administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), an arm of the Department of Justice (DOJ), conducted more raids on state-licensed dispensaries than the Bush administration did in eight years. The DEA hit more than 200 dispensaries, confiscated the marijuana and left a trail of wreckage in their wake. A dozen proprietors are in prison and nearly 100 more are awaiting prosecution;
The most effective method the DEA employs, is to write a menacing letter to the landlord who owns the building where the dispensary operates, threatening him with closure even though the building is up to code: This has resulted in a further 400 closures at least;
The DEA also has been obstructing scientific research into marijuana. Brad Burge, an executive officer with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), told me how. For the past 11 years, MAPS, in collaboration with botanist/soil scientist Lyle Craker, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts, has sought to obtain a permit from the DEA to grow marijuana for research purposes: The DEA has consistently turned down their application with one excuse or another. Finally MAPS got fed up and is seeking relief in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s worth a mention that MAPS is not an aging-hippie commune, but rather a major foundation that bankrolls medical and psychiatric research, here and abroad, by top scientists with an interest in hallucinogenic drugs and marijuana;
Had he wished to do so, Obama could have deftly reined in the DEA, for the term of its Bush-appointed administrator, Michelle Leonhart, was slated to expire around the time of his inauguration. Instead of replacing her, Obama appointed her to another full term in office;
The IRS has gotten into the act by harassing dispensary owners on the basis that they did not pay enough income tax, even though in almost every instance the proprietors did in fact pay the requisite amount of tax; Read more…