#MeToo, #TimesUp and all that … but also #opDeathEaters

sweden sweatshirt opdeThese are snippets from interviews I did with Australian criminologist Dr. Michael Salter in 2014-15 for his 2017 book ‘Crime, Justice and Social Media’ which looks broadly at the role of social media in both crime and justice. In the final chapter, he used #OpGabon and #OpDeatheaters to examine how social media can challenge national/regional boundaries around justice and provide new ways of understanding and acting on injustice. He also wrote a chapter on media coverage of organised sexual abuse for an encyclopedia from Oxford University Press, and discussed OpDeatheaters in various academic presentations. This is a very late post to share his work. My apologies for not sharing it earlier but it is still very current information. Apologies as well for the choppiness, questions are condensed and answers are pieced together from several places including tweets. The book is available here. For more information, follow #opDeathEaters, @opDeathEaters@opDeathEatersUS and @opGabon on Twitter.

MS: Can you tell me how and why “Death Eaters” was selected as a key symbol for the op?

HM: I have been in a propaganda war with PIE and similar organizations forever. Their propaganda has been so all-pervasive on the Internet and the earlier bulletin boards that all I could ever do was debate within the dialogue they created and using their words, a losing battle that always descended into hysteria about free speech, sexual freedom and every other so-called freedom presented from the perpetrators point of view. The hardest thing about OpDeathEaters has been getting past the language, all manipulated to trigger the ‘educated’:

1. No acknowledged word for Death Eaters so every attempt at conversation is reduced to Illuminati/Masons/Satanists/lizards.

2. “Conspiracy theory” used as a synonym for outlandish lies.

3. Paedosadists misdefined as a sexual orientation / child love and completely conflated with homosexuality.

4. Sadism reduced to “Sex positive!!!” and sparkly pink handcuffs.

5. Attempts to bring powerful torturers to justice labeled ‘a witch hunt’ – I’ll bet the priests laughed at that one.

Words are not facts, they are just a framework used to create social norms. We should examine them carefully and choose the framework we want to use. The first step for OpDeatheaters had to be to remove control of the dialogue from the perpetrators. For me, it was a very personal challenge to reframe the debate and to create a space for dialogue from my own viewpoint. PIE rhetoric ruled the Internet. If we replace their ‘child love’ with ‘death eaters’, we win the Internet and they will never recover from having their years of propaganda stripped away. Who controls the words controls your thoughts.

OpDeatheaters is not about an individual disorder, it is about the norms of an international society. There are people who are very much part of death eaters society who are not paedosadists or even involved in trafficking. They just live within, enable and protect the society and allow it to exist. It is this structure that I want exposed, not just individual paedosadists. Paedosadists are a created market, often mentally ill or weak and often former victims. They are not driving the industry. Initiatives like #WeProtect arrest low level paedosadists and leave those who created and run the industry untouched. As soon as anyone mentions a powerful society, their listeners demand to know who the group is and the conversation descends into ‘the Illuminati’ or ‘the Masons’ or ‘the Satanists’. We really don’t have a term to describe this network and that has been used to block this story for years.

So I had a choice, invent a completely new gobbledegook word or use one which everyone understands and is also a completely accurate term for what I mean. The alternative terms were rationalizing, normalizing and completely false terminology like ‘paedophile’, comforting to listeners and allowing them to settle back into slumber in familiar surroundings. We have seen this normalizing in the lies presenting child torture and murder around the world as ‘war’, ‘national security’, ‘policing’, etc., and the word ‘paedophile’ had already almost fully buried this story in the UK. These people do not love children, they feed off of pain and death and they do not act individually, they are a fully functioning society. I wanted to not use false rationalizing terms and I wanted people to confront the fact that we are in fact ruled by death eaters – a collaborative society of sociopaths.

Looking for logic in the indiscriminate bombing, imprisonment and starvation of people around the world is exactly like looking for logic in OpDeatheaters. People who gather socially to torture and murder children for fun, gather professionally to mass murder for fun. This shouldn’t be shocking and it’s not like the phenomenon isn’t well documented in the origins of the word sadism. Sociopaths have no motives in common with socially healthy people and sociopaths rule the world because the entire global social structure is set up to reward and promote sociopaths. The point of OpDeathEaters is to provide irrefutable proof that those at the top are sociopaths and force an examination of how they got there. OpDeatheaters is just one manifestation of the social cannibalism we have been going through. Everything wrong with the world is because it is governed by sociopaths. ‘Arrest paedosadists’ just scratches the surface of what is wrong.

It is also important to dispel the ‘one lonely man’ and ‘social outcast’ myths so carefully planted because paedosadism and trafficking are not an ‘individual sexual orientation’, they are a massive criminal industry with more in common with drugs and weapons trafficking than a sexual orientation. While every drug bust is reported in the media as being part of a global network, every paedosadist case is presented as an individual and isolated case. Reporting on high level paedosadism as a personal problem instead of part of a networked international industry is inaccurate. The battle for the Internet was hardly just about “sexual orientation”. A massive criminal industry was created, not born.

Porn and violent or risky sex addictions are well established, and known to be created, but unlike drug addictions (which typically harm only the addicted person) sex addictions are treated as personal freedoms and individual problems. In fact, the drastic growth of the paedosadism industry, and of sadism in war zones and criminal gangs, clearly show it is environmental and created and it needs to be dismantled as an industry and through social change. We have ample evidence of genocides in every time and place to prove near ‘normal’ populations can be turned largely sociopathic. Look at the US military in Bagram: was torturing prisoners and raping their children a sexual orientation? Or was it environmental? Yes many psychopaths are born, but far more sociopaths are created and neither is a sexual orientation. Paedosadism is no more ‘natural’ than children in militias killing people is ‘natural’.

I also wanted to challenge the idea of ‘paedophilia’ as a sexual orientation, a completely irrational idea that has been used for years to conflate paedosadists with homosexuals and other relationships between consenting adults. The legal term for ‘sex’ with children in most of the world is rape and attraction to rape is paraphilic coercive disorder. Can you even imagine if people discussed rape of women as a ‘sexual orientation’ as they do the rape of babies and children? Or referred to the mass rape of women as ‘historical women sex’? The idea of the rape, torture and murder of children being ‘a sexual orientation’ is possible only in a world which dehumanizes the children and focuses solely on the point of view of the rapist. No one pretends being raped, tortured or murdered is a sexual orientation. ‘Pedophilia’ has no word for the child. Consensual love does not end when one party reaches puberty. ‘Child sex’ is even worse as it pretends the children are having sex when they are being raped, tortured and murdered.

Crimes are called ‘violent extremism’ if they are directed at corporate assets or powerful men but terrorism of children is called ‘a sexual orientation’. Key to that is viewing the children as objects, not recognizing them as part of a so-called ‘sexual orientation’ which victimizes them. A potential rape victim is not a ‘crush’, they are ‘prey’. ‘Minor-attracted men’ are ‘sadism / violent porn addicted men’. Peter Righton , the founder of the UK government funded Paedophile Information Exchange, one of the most influential propaganda organizations depicting paedosadism as ‘child love’, has been accused of extremely sadistic murder of children.

These words that are entirely based on the point of view of powerful men then affect our legal systems. Killers are depicted as ‘terrorists’ or ‘paedophiles’ to create separate legal systems for the same acts committed against different groups of people. The ICC can then say the murder of adult men is ‘terrorism’ that requires UN resolutions and ICC trials but mass paedosadism by the Catholic Church is not a “serious crime of concern to the international community as a whole.” Children are not part of their international community.

Anyone who chooses to view paedosadism as ‘a sexual orientation’ and believes that ‘orientation’ ought to be a factor considered by courts and society should answer: Do you consider children consenting partners? or Do you consider all rape a sexual orientation? If all rape is a sexual orientation, what about murder? The fact that the perpetrator is sexually aroused does not make paedosadism a sexual orientation or profugaphilia would be a sexual orientation too, called ‘homeless attracted persons’. If sexual orientation should be taken into consideration legally and socially, why should not a tendency to violence?

The tone difference between the DSM and typical psychiatry papers on paedosadism and paraphilic coercive disorder is remarkable. Unless the DSM has decided that sex with children is not rape, pedophilia should not exist as a separate category or why would we stop there? What about “My sexual orientation is poisoning people with oil spills. I was born this way. I just need understanding.” Sexual arousal is a stimulus response to anything from inherent or developed hormones to parasites. Sexual arousal is, and should be judged, as simply social or anti-social, not natural or unnatural. Our extinction is perfectly natural, but let’s try to stop it anyway.

“It’s a sexual orientation, they can’t help it” is a constant in the propaganda, but the word ‘historic’ is also always used to reassure us that they all got over it at the same time, with no arrests or investigations, despite it supposedly being a sexual orientation they were born with.

PIE and their ilk have managed the media depiction of the rape, torture and murder of children, first by conflating it with homosexuality, then by creating a ‘sexual orientation’ called pedophilia, now by changing the definition and public perception of sadism. The major problem in the world is not rape culture, it is sadism culture. Sexual sadism disorder you will never hear about in the media except as cutesy co-option of the word as “Sex Positive!!” BDSM, sparkly pink handcuffs and 50 Shades Of Grey, but sexual sadism disorder is running the world. Death eaters are people who experience sexual arousal from the torture, death, dismemberment of others. Since the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade, sadism has been depicted as freedom, complete liberty for the fraternity at the top and dehumanization of those at the bottom. The governance paradigm we follow was greatly influenced by the people responsible for the Terror in France and they are also the root of the idea of conflating torture and murder with sexual freedom. From the Marquis de Sade’s “Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain” to Sir Anthony Duff’s “Risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger”, liberty and equality have always been solely for the fraternity. US and French revolutionary rhetoric was pivotal in the propaganda shift into high gear away from society and into personal liberty, codified in law and reserved for powerful men. You will hear it still everywhere paedosadists are defending child abuse documentation as ‘porn’ and ‘free speech’.

The idea that a powerful caucasian man is always more credible than their victims is part of this outlook. Wealth is seen as a virtue in our societies. The reputations of powerful men are valued more. The fact that they are sociopathically unaffected by suffering is seen as strength. It is a recurring pattern in OpDeathEaters that many former victims are now in jail, destitute, or with mental health problems while the sadists have it all. It is like the world decided to follow de Sade’s ‘Justine: The Misfortunes of Virtue‘: Let’s put the worst at the top and reward the guilty. The concerns against OpDeatheaters are all about protecting the privacy of powerful men instead of about protecting the victims because the propaganda itself is almost entirely from the point of view of the perpetrators. We are told not to spread rumours but everything is ‘just a rumour’ if it is never investigated. People have forgotten how transparent justice systems work:

1. The aggrieved makes a public accusation.

2. There is a trial to decide guilt or innocence.

Right now all accusations are shrouded in secrecy, media pretends that paedosadism rumours are homosexual rumours, accusers are jailed, any accusations against the powerful are forbidden. This is the opposite of justice. This is tyranny, secrecy and a political, tiered, chokehold on justice. The top are too powerful to be accused, the middle are accused and tried, and for the powerless, no accusation is necessary, they are shot in the street for suspicion.

From the FAQ:

Q: What is the difference between a paedosadist and the sexual orientation of paedophilia?

A: There is no such thing as a sexual orientation called paedophilia. A sexual orientation, or sex, requires consenting partners. It is not sex if some of those involved are called victims, that is rape. Someone attracted to rape has sexual sadism disorder or paraphilic coercive disorder. Someone attracted to the rape of children is a paedosadist. A paedosadist who acts on their impulses is a criminal paedosadist, one who does not is a non-offending paedosadist.

MS: In your political writings, are there particular schools of thought or writers that influence you?

HM: I was raised as a girl in Canada’s far north in a First Nations community that had first European contact in 1838. Regular outside contact wasn’t until the 1900’s and the first road in was built in 1972. The schools of thought and writers that have made it to influential status influence me only as a source of extreme frustration. Reading Engel’s complete misinterpretation of Morgan’s misinterpretation of matriarchal First Nations societies was like being forced to learn the end result of a game of telephone when you were standing beside the original speaker. All officially sanctioned knowledge we have been force fed has been filtered through the lens of powerful caucasian men, so even views which are written by people who were not from that demographic are always centred around them and acceptable to them.

Professionally I am a programmer, so I see our societies as whole systems governed by algorithms or principles. Changing the people at the top of the paradigm or adding bug fixes to an algorithm that is completely wrong in the first place will obviously never bring real change. Feminism that fights for women to join a masculinist universe in the trade economy or indigenous fights for political influence within the existing political structures only serve to strengthen the existing paradigm which is why those are the fights always permitted or endorsed.

A background with direct personal experience of so much of what is not working in the world influenced me. The perspective from the very bottom does not have schools of thought or writers. The reason I have focused so much of my energy for the past many years on media, on amplification of those who need it instead of being “the voice of the voiceless”, is because we need those perspectives. We don’t need another revolutionary leader, we need strength and resistance from the bottom and a society that reaches down to help those at the bottom instead of up to the current ponzi schemes of celebrity, wealth and power. Social media has the potential to finally allow those voices to be heard directly, so that is what I have been working towards. When those voices are loud enough to influence society we will have real change because they will influence others as they influenced me.

MS: Can you tell me if there’s been progress towards establishing victim-led inquiries other than the UK? I saw a tweet from the OpDE twitter account in March indicating that the Australian branch of the op had filed a complaint with the ICC. I’ve contacted them for more info. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the challenges of establishing these tribunals/inquiries?

HM: There are many tribunals and inquiries globally in various states of inadequacy and various levels of victim input. The Truth and Reconciliation report in Canada, the Catholic Church, the UN, Pakistan and many more have inquiries.

The primary challenge for OpDeatheaters is to convince the public in each part of the world that the existing systems of justice will not work without transparency and that where the existing systems are corrupt they can be replaced. Like the words we use, none of the justice systems are set in stone and they all originated somewhere. They can all be challenged and replaced with something more effective when necessary. There is a lot of fear around the idea of challenging existing systems of justice, fed by hysteria about ‘mob rule’ and ‘witch hunts’. People who have been infantilized since birth or have had their lives shattered and are suffering from ptsd, drug addiction and more are naturally afraid of challenging existing systems of authority but most justice systems were established as co-option of social justice by the powerful, created to appoint judges, silence witnesses and control outcomes, and they need to be challenged.

MS: Although there’s been a lot of social media activity around OpDeathEaters, it seems like it’s been harder to get people onto the streets, in comparison to OpGabon where there seemed to be a lot of momentum around the rallies. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on why?

HM: The protests in Gabon are also protests against Ali Bongo and the reasons for the dissatisfaction are economically motivated as well. From the beginning of the social media influenced mass protests, the motivations for street mobilization have been economic much more frequently than direct reactions to human rights violations, Syria and several Chinese protests being exceptions. Greece obviously was reacting to their economic collapse, then Tunisia with Mohammed Bouazizi and on. Economic struggle is of course also a fight for dignity or a fight against the violence of poverty, but by proxy. When we started a global protest for September 17, 2011 it was supposed to be a continuation of the M15 self-governance mobilization in Spain with an ‘antibanks’ theme, just a step in the progression of self-governance encampments. This was co-opted almost from the beginning to become the ‘Occupy’ movement, rebranded and completely controlled by the US who used the platform for reactionary rhetoric such as calling for a debt jubilee, a great solution for reinstating the status quo and of no use whatsoever for those who have never had the privilege of acquiring debt.

The financial system is used for dissociation, money was used to replace society. If people fight for the financial system instead of each other and their society, the resistance can be easily co-opted as we saw when ‘self-governance’ for colonies resulted in imperial military control replaced by imperial financial control. People are taught a cradle to grave obsession with money instead of each other, and in the trade economy, the financial system always supports a ponzi scheme which encourages service to the powerful, never those on the bottom. When I started Wikileaks Central, people were very unaccustomed to hearing human rights news. That was a fringe topic, of interest only to human rights activists, as the environment was only discussed by environmentalists. Corporate media focused on the exceptional lives at the top of the ponzi schemes, the economy and corporations, and the protests were not much different with their focus on caucasian male hackers, whistleblowers and new media stars. Internet surveillance received vastly more attention than the stories happening to people with no Internet, money fluctuations caused far more panic than refugees in the ocean with no food or water.

Every time I tried to focus any of the 2011 movements on human rights instead of economic matters, I was shouted down by those dominating the assembleas online and off, accused of everything from promoting the UN (because they also supposedly promote human rights) to wanting to disrupt the utopian anarchy with rules. Anyone who did listen to my concerns would insist we didn’t need to think about them because once student loans in the US were cancelled the rest of the world would benefit from trickle down human rights. One of the most significant Occupy events of 2011 winter was the Sandy hurricane, which appeared in all media and Occupy type forums depicted as a disaster that only hit the US. For me, that was a perfect symbol of the reactionary nature of the protests and how most were only seeking to support or replace those at the top, not change the paradigm.  This is nothing new, almost all of our attempts at change have been reactionary or revolutionary. My goal for years has been resistance, strengthening those at the very bottom until we have a mesh network governance instead of ponzi schemes, but we are a very long way off. Every human rights cause can still only dream of the support given to celebrity activists or the economy.

This is partly because of the tools we have been given. Twitter, Bitcoin and all the rest start with the same libertarian idea of equality and even more freedom, resulting in even faster and more extreme ponzi schemes. In 2010 and earlier, everyone was begging for a retweet from the large social media accounts which became larger by retweeting each other, so of course the protests revolved around the concerns of the powerful. This is another reason I am writing a tool designed around trust networks and original sources instead of ponzi schemes and popularity.

There are also many triggers used in the propaganda surrounding paedosadism to warn people off, phrases like ‘his private life’, ‘witch hunt’, ‘mob rule’, plus the fact that so many perpetrators are the Great Men that everyone has been taught to revere and trust to govern them and make all decisions for them. An attack on the entire society at the top is an attack on the structure we live within and the paradigm from which we have pulled all the principles we use in our daily lives. Such deep social change is very, very difficult and does not happen overnight. Most stories, particularly in the US, have a Good Guy and a Bad Guy and the Bad Guy dies at the end. “Kill all the Bad Guys” will not fix this. Anyone who still thinks we can jail all paedosadists, hasn’t been looking. These are social problems but it is far easier to throw Zoloft or law enforcement at a problem than deep social change. Social change doesn’t sell because social change is very difficult and complex. If we question free will, then the death penalty, wars, crime and punishment all must be questioned. It also means convincing the most heavily coerced and manipulated population on earth that they do not have absolute free will, something they are absolutely convinced they have. In fact, humans are the most programmable systems on earth. We were all programmed and can be reprogrammed. We were also programmed to recoil in horror from the idea that we were programmed, so that fight must be won before we can change how we were programmed.

MS: I’ve been trying to get some info on the database.

HM: The database is an old project I tried to do in 2011 called Global Square. I don’t want this only for opDeathEaters but many long term projects. As one example besides OpDeatheaters, OpFrackOff was a conflict in New Brunswick with a resource corporation which had it’s offices in Houston. Instead of trying to get people in Houston to protest those offices, I looked at all the other ties and found the Houston company was leasing from New Brunswick’s Irving family who own vast and varied corporations. I chose McCain fries as a product of one of their corporations and OpFrackOff boycotted Wendy’s restaurants as they are a major client of McCain (explained in the video). It may seem strange to boycott Wendy’s restaurants for fracking, but the exact same people are behind both, so it is a new way of being heard when perpetrators are protected by layers of corporations.

This year and next I will restart #OpCanary to map connections and encourage international class action lawsuits against resource corporations and also start to track militias, state and otherwise, weapons dealers etc (how many police forces are currently being trained by IDF?) and rename or relaunch #opGtmo to include prisons globally. This will give us far more power than we have ever had before to unmask and combat corruption and counter the use of borders to corral those at the bottom and protect those at the top, but there is no tool available that can help me do this (I’ve tried them all) so I have to write it from scratch (which is better anyway since it needs to be free software).

One method I used to think about for privacy and social shunning online (like against criminal activity using the Tor network) was proxies that would be available only with community support, which is interestingly the same way powerful paedosadist rings work. Lose support of your powerful friends and your cloak is lifted. That’s why the cover ups and obstruction of justice are far more interesting than the actual paedosadist crimes, it’s the obstruction of justice and influence peddling that will bring them all down. Allowing the network to decide who is revealed is currently used for mafia wars or to threaten victims and witnesses, not justice. It is the victims who are currently sentenced for ‘obstructing the course of justice’ by accusing the powerful. Instructions to sentence Epstein by ‘pursuing justice without making a political mess’ for Trump, Clintons, Prince Andrew et al meant no justice. And the only way to counteract that on an entire network is to remove all proxies for them. No more secrecy in powerful networks.

MS: My sense is that you were the driving force behind OpGabon too. Is that right?

Me: Gabon has had activists, journalists and parents trying to expose ritual killings for a very long time at great personal risk (the same can be said for opDeathEaters topics in any country). Gabonese activists who knew I worked around those topics and was reporting on their cases asked for some help around the time I was doing #opRohingya so we created #opGabon. At the time, Ali Bongo was on the UNSC and chairing the UNHCR and attending personal meetings with Obama in the US and there was almost no coverage of ritual killings in English media, partly because English media is very lazy about translating stories from other languages and partly because the story (like the Rohingya genocide, Buddhists monks killing babies and promoting genocide, or opDeathEaters itself) was really incredible and difficult to convince people of in one msm article.

I did a lot of initial research with the Gabonese activists, put it together in a package with reliable sources for everything, helped them set up a campaign in English, French, Spanish, and more and brought it to a more global audience. I also helped get them mainstream media interviews and Anonymous attention because it is incredibly difficult to get global media to cover African stories from Africans, they were more willing if they could run them with a picture of a hacker in a mask and hoodie rather than the Gabonese activists themselves.

OpGabon was in that sense a joint effort but the campaign and account has always been run by Gabonese activists, the risk is theirs and the story is theirs. The megaphone I helped with a bit.

With Anonymous and other global activists, I just linked the Gabonese activists to my global trust network. Those that trust my research and sources trusted the campaign and supported it. Global Anonymous was a great help, they made their presence and support known very clearly to the Gabonese government and the changes in policy were instant. The scheduled protest by Gabonese activists had been outlawed and the existence of ritual killings was completely denied by the government. Within days, the protest was co-opted by the President’s wife, complete with t-shirts and a speech by the president announcing a new law against ritual killings. The Gabonese president was scheduled to have a personal meeting with Obama that suddenly disappeared from all the official websites and did not happen. But ritual killings still exist, none of the powerful have been arrested and the daily slog and risk of activism in the years since opGabon started has been all by Gabonese activists.

MS: It’s clear that the intervention in Gabon was important – there was already a network of activists mobilised around these issues and Anonymous was able to amplify their efforts, provide support etc.

It seems to me like it’s been harder with OpDeatheaters, because, unlike the Gabon ritual killings, there aren’t a lot of existing groups/networks that have politicised the ‘deatheaters’ and are working against them. So part of the challenge with OpDeatheaters has been trying to create or trigger networks of support to form around this issue. That’s my sense of things at least – does that correspond with your experience?

Me: Hmm. I may have overstated the Gabon campaign prior to opGabon. The initial march we were supporting was small and in fact had decided it would be futile to continue with the march until they saw the backing from Anonymous. Being an activist against ritual killings in a country which jails you for suggesting they exist has never attracted a lot of people. Even now _______ is in exile for it, after fleeing for his life. I believe he lost a child that way, that is usually the motivation for the activists there, they are parents. I think opGabon helped a lot by making it an accepted mainstream topic of conversation though, as I think opDeathEaters has as well.

In every place I think the existence of a dedicated group of activists, or even one activist, is essential. This cannot start by appealing to the mainstream or it will be derailed. There has to be an initial dedicated core. Gabon has that, a very few people who are willing to risk their lives by continuing to speak out. In taking on all of the most powerful organizations and states in the world at once, opDeathEaters has far more work cut out to find and support those people in every place. It takes time to grow a cross-cultural network that size and a lot of energy to keep it moving and prevent it from being derailed.

Yes, I agree, Gabon also has a political opposition which can leverage ritual killings as evidence of the corruption of the existing power and present an alternative. Part of the added challenge I see for opDeathEaters in countries like the UK and US, or organizations like the UN or Catholic Church, is there is no higher power for people to turn to, they have to create one. That of course requires far more widespread mobilization and initiative than what Gabon is doing, which is political lobbying, supporting the opposition, and appealing for outside intervention in the form of the ICC or boycotts. It also requires mobilization of the weakest members of society, the survivors, since no political party or institution exists which can be trusted to fight on their behalf. Also, while mainstream media (which is just as influential in Africa as elsewhere) is very willing to accept that ritual killings exist in Africa, they are far more opposed to campaigns exposing corruption in their own circles.

MS: I wonder if OpDeatheaters was ahead of its time in a way. In the UK, people are getting the sense that there is a political context to organised/sadistic abuse, but they don’t have a fully developed political consciousness around this. Most NGOs in the ‘child abuse’ space know about organised abuse but stay quiet about it to avoid backlash and ridicule. The few groups that are outspoken about ritual abuse aren’t very effective at gaining mainstream support.

Are there some key ‘wins’ that OpDeathEaters has achieved that I should make sure I include? What do you think it’s major accomplishments have been to date?

For me opDeathEaters is one step of an evolution on many fronts:

1. Getting people to read about human rights news at all. Five years ago they wouldn’t and I could only publish these stories under the banner of Wikileaks, Occupy or Anonymous. I guess people felt safer listening to these stories under the banners of someone seen as coming to save the underdog instead of asking them to do something themselves. The news has been a passive spectacle for so long, the idea of news, analysis, and then do something about it still hasn’t really caught on.

2. Getting people to care about a story where the protagonist is not a famous/powerful caucasian man from the US or UK and the villains are not confined to a group the readers hate or love, ethnically, politically, religiously or other. I am quite certain if opDeatheaters had targeted only one group we would have powerful support from their enemies, but attacking all powerful groups at once is tricky.

3. Providing a shield for people discussing this topic against those that call them crazy, conspiracy theorists, a witch hunt, etc., etc. and undermining the wall of PIE propaganda that derails discussion of it.

As far as the above points go, I think we were ready for opDeathEaters, and I think it has been accepted far beyond what I could have achieved in prior years. As far as the next steps, actually getting concrete action to result, I think we will. MSF have recently called for independent investigations into war crimes, and many other groups seem to be starting to think that way as well, it is not seen as eccentric as most people thought it was last year. These are the long term goals. It is obviously #4 holding us up which is my own personal bottleneck: When we can get past that, the researchers will be able to move much more quickly and convince people of the need for inquiries much more easily.

I think the most important (and the most difficult) achievements have been in countering deeply entrenched propaganda. Mainstream acceptance of stories of politicians blackmailed for paedosadism, of the vast extent of the industry, the rebuttal of ‘pedophilia’ as a sexual orientation and the backlash against the media framing with words like ‘sex scandals’ and ‘rent boys’ has I think come a very long way in a year. That was the most difficult part, getting people to believe the story and giving them a framework to place it in. Now that is largely done, there is nothing stopping the movement from becoming as big as it needs to (except waiting on me >_<). People investigating or trying to set up inquiries are now just proceeding in a fairly straightforward work with widespread acceptance and an international support network which is slowly growing. (‘Straightforward’ in no way meant to diminish the still very real danger to investigators and activists everywhere.)

That is at least my perspective, ymmv. I am finally hearing very mainstream news watchers talking about the networks and even about opDeathEaters by name, I have seen opDeathEaters graffitti on walls in Argentina and the slogan on a sweatshirt in Sweden, and I saw allegations against a Canadian politician this year accepted with no surprise as a possible part of this wider network. Compared to last year when most of the people I know still considered pedophilia to be a rare ‘sexual orientation’ and talk of powerful paedosadists would destroy anyone’s credibility, I think that is a big step. And we are progressing and I see no loss of interest, the campaign has gone from just me and a huge pushback of disbelief and every form of discrediting to a consistently active and widely respected op which doesn’t really require my involvement any more.

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World War III: A status update

A continuation of thoughts from World War III: A picture and earlier A Stateless War

Since the above articles in September 2012 and 2010, it has become abundantly clear that none of the world’s governments have any motivation or ability to stand up to the corporate multinational empires headquartered in the countries of the five eyes and their associates. The UN vote in support of Palestine in November of 2012 was a symbolic rebellion, but in the end only proved how ineffective that rebellion would be as Israel instantly paraded their complete contempt for the world’s opinion. As Israel and the US promised, the vote changed nothing on the ground. A relentless stream of new treaties and laws is entrenching the corporate umbrella that now has legal control over the world’s governments. Sovereignty is dead. Corporations are people and people are products.

People no longer accept, or even have any knowledge of, their governance or the laws controlling them. States no longer pretend that laws apply to them. Society worldwide is ruled purely by military coercion. The uprisings which began in 2010 were thoroughly co-opted in early 2011 and used to create unending massacres and division that terrify anyone interested in suggesting change. Government turnover is meaningless in any case as the resource corporations and their security militias and media retain power regardless of political change. We need focus.

Empire on parade

The NSA revelations, like the US state cables before them, proved that things are much worse than we even thought and resistance is more futile. This message has been drummed incessantly in the past years. Since the curtain fell and both sovereignty and governance by the people were proven to be an illusion, there is no longer any pretense of maintaining the illusion. The current propaganda seems instead bent on proving the futility of resistance.

I’ve been writing for the last several years on the empire’s military coming-out in the media and what it says about their progress. We are long past the point where any transparency about military might is intended to result in change, much less reduction or disarmament. Since Obama’s earliest speeches he has been bragging about the “finest fighting force the world has ever seen” and the expansion of its empire. These are not secrets. Like in the Republic of North Korea and every previous empire, the media parade of invincible military might is meant to impress and suppress pretenders to the throne. Julian’s long ago essay on conspiracy has been turned on the people as the NSA and others make activists terrified of voicing dissent much less acting upon it. The message is also for any pretenders from BRICS or elsewhere as the US regime forces the landing of a plane containing a head of state, strip searches a diplomat and spies brazenly on allies.

Complicit military propaganda is presented as brave and daring journalism, somehow achieved with full co-operation from the empire itself. Junta kingpin Erik Prince is not shy of journalists and not at all reticent in proclaiming his allegiance only to himself. These places are not where secrets lie. This pretense of exposing secrets covers for the lack of exposing real secrets: the unheard voices of victims of Shell Oil in the Niger Delta, Areva uranium mining in Khazakstan, Niger, Gabon and elsewhere, the myriad corporate predators of the Amazon, the Kachin and Rohingya people of Myanmar, the silence invariably present wherever the corporate mafia abuses are the most extreme. Noisy debates on government transparency cover the complete lack of debate on corporate transparency. Congratulations on the democratic permeability of circles of government power deflect from the impenetrable circle of corporate power.

When the most silent voices cannot be ignored they are represented by controlled channels through NGOs and media, claiming to speak for those they are really speaking over. With a few truly heroic exceptions, the NGOs selectively report abuses and channel funding to further the aims of their government and corporate funders and enablers. The US funded NGOs in the Amazon seek to disrupt government trade with China and other competitors and rebellious governments co-opt the message for their own NGO partners and shut down the competing voices. Meanwhile, the people affected are unheard and the corporations in one form or another continue their destruction.

As people circumvent their governments to reach past the nationalist othering and connect globally, global Thought Leaders are propped up and paraded around to direct traffic for The Revolution™. They roam the world issuing platitudes of despair and futility straight out of 1984. “They control everything. Resistance is futile. Don’t use Facebook.” ‘They‘ cannot be named as they are bankrolling both the Thought Leaders and their solutions. Ideas become ideology and ideologies are branded and polluted. Opportunists are promoted, realists are co-opted, idealists are frightened and radicals are shot, just as Stratfor taught they should be. When a billionaire as invested in the status quo as Pierre Omidyar says celebrity Thought Leaders are replacing organizations it is as much a command as a statement. Read the playbook. Don’t play.

The world needs real journalism. We are decades, even centuries, behind what we need to know about the people really in power, the corporate shareholders. They must become our new celebrities, the targets of so much gossip we will soon understand their relationships and weaknesses better than we understand those of reality TV stars. These are the people we are fighting, not the figureheads and militias they pay to stand between us.

War is Peace: The year of the aggressive peacekeepers

The 2013 War is Peace initiative saw the creation of the first ‘aggressive peacekeeping’ mandates, one in the Democratic Republic of Congo and one in Mali. It isn’t risking much to predict the same will happen in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. This carries group affiliation to the natural conclusion we saw in the 2006 creation of ‘murder by an unprivileged belligerent in violation of laws of war’ dubbed a war crime by the Guantanamo Military Commissions Act. In 2006, the US decreed that the US military could kill children, but it was a war crime for children to kill US Special Forces commandos. In 2013 the United Nations allowed UN peacekeepers to retain the protection of it being a war crime to kill them while simultaneously allowing them to initiate attacks on those they deem to be a potential (not immediate) threat. Not only has the UN put the right of all legitimate peacekeepers to protection at risk, they have established precedent by which a foreign army can invade and conquer a sovereign state and have citizens tried as war criminals if they resist. The international media has been happy to accept this with no question and obediently report the killing of ‘peacekeepers’ in both Mali and the DRC with no explanation that the definition of that word has been changed to mean its opposite.1.png

 

UNSC permanent members: United States, Britain, Russia, France, China.

A look at the UN Security Council provides a clue to the escalating violence despite UN attempts to ‘establish peace’. Peace will never be produced by those invested in war. China is the fastest growing arms exporter of the past decade. Canada’s current government was incensed at being refused a seat on the UNSC just as their arms sales soared. Arms dealers are the obvious winners in the current economy. While an international peacekeeping force used at the discretion of the assembly of United Nations may once have seemed a good idea for humanity, the UNSC as run by the global war masters is just good corporate marketing strategy, enabling endless discussions about men with guns killing other men with guns and arguments over which side needs more guns.2.png

 

Professional militias, weapons dealers and would-be kingpins have hijacked every attempt at governance reform. Particularly, the gates of Libya and Syria were opened and militias and weapons are pouring at an even greater rate into Africa as they have for years into South America. Any thought of protest against most governments is a thought of horrific civil war as drugs, guns, militias, poverty, child soldiers and extremist propaganda are joined in an explosive mix of threatened instability just below every veneer. The gun culture in the United States is greater than anywhere on earth but the military and prison systems of the most industrialized states all retained the ability to obliterate any dissidents too close to home.3.png

 

The international media and entertainment industries provide non-stop advertising for the arms industry. Every conflict, real or Hollywood, is reported as ‘good guys’ killing ‘bad guys’, an endless parade of men with guns and flashy military equipment with no time for the stories of those working for peace. Men with guns is one of the most boring topics to keep covering as they are always doing the same thing, killing people, but the entire narrative is always men with guns and politicians with an occasional stat about the number of women raped. ‘There are no good guys’ say men reporting on men with guns, apparently unable to see the people illustrating their own report. The propaganda that men with guns can only be defeated by support for other men with guns has eliminated everyone else from negotiations as generals sit down to discuss peace and refuse a seat to anyone not making war. “In Congo, war has been largely fought on women’s bodies,” but power over peace is given to the men who fought. Efforts to build society are ignored or blocked, efforts to destroy it are rewarded with power.

“Guns don’t kill people!” shrieks the industry building autonomous drones. “Drugs kill”, however. Really, it’s all about who is importing and who is exporting. The idea of disarmament for peace now seems quaint and old-fashioned in most of the world, while in the country most dependent on the weapons industry it produces hysterical rage. Militias for peace have been formed all over the world, killing people to save lives. If there was the slightest chance of these weapons disturbing real power they would be abolished immediately but these freedoms are to enable the mass slaughter of those without power. Peace once meant disarmament. Now disarmament is only mentioned as an excuse for war.

As competing corporation/governments move increasingly aggressively into all continents, all sides of corporate money and media create so-called ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ unrest to destabilize dissidents and competitors. Any land dispute between corporations and residents is rewritten as an ethnic dispute to distract from the real aggressors and pitch people against each other instead. Extremist ideologies inciting genocide are promoted by corporate interests. Western media reports wars in foreign countries in graphic sensationalist detail and always framed as ethnic or religious, inciting civil war instead of economic reform. Media no longer obsessively cover teen suicides or anorexia because of concern over copycats, but coverage of men with guns is exempt from the responsibility to protect. “Freedom of the press!” chant those so completely coerced by cradle to grave propaganda they have lost even the perception to know when it controls them. As we have seen, freedom of speech is only accepted when only a few are allowed to speak, it loses favour quickly when all voices are allowed. If money and media removed the focus from men with guns, the world would cease to be run by them.

For any student of history, this is the preferred formula for dealing with every uprising, the reason regimes can be flipped over and over again with no change at all in the society. The United States Constitution’s first and second amendments have been inflicted on the entire world because both have been extremely useful for keeping corporate interests in power. There is now a slight possibility to push freedom of speech to the point where it can be used by everyone if we work very hard to pull up all voices that need to be heard and give them the amplification to drown out corporate propaganda. Freedom of speech for the powerless is far more important than freedom of speech for corporate media.

The solutions to peace will be found among the people trying to raise children, grow food and build society, not men with guns. ‘Foreign aid’ has been used for decades to tip the balance of power from one group of men with guns to another. It doesn’t bring peace. If all that financial control was given directly to those in the refugee camps, there would be change. This revolution is not about men with guns vs other men with guns. It is between creators and destroyers, peaceful people and the corporate mafia controlled militias, worldwide. If someone bothered counting bodies globally instead of chanting about regional unrest, this would be more evident.

The mafia won

In 2010 I wrote “There are only two possible explanations for a sovereign nation to bankrupt its own citizens and its government in order to set up a huge international surveillance and military system, “the finest fighting force the world has ever seen” that they do not actually own or control. One, everyone is completely insane, or two, it has not been a sovereign nation for a long time.”

In 2012 I wrote “The US does not actually control their own military or intelligence and the private corporations that do, do not operate from patriotic loyalty and are available to the highest bidder.”

It is time to stop pretending most governments of the world have anything to say about anything. Corporate mercenaries are in control worldwide. The only governments with control are the ones where the state is the corporations. Not only do people like Erik Prince and assorted other mafia bosses control the military and intelligence services of the world, he is (with China this time, sorry US nationalists) in sub-Saharan Africa with Frontier Resource Group (did you know you were a frontier, Africa?) investing in “energy, mining, agriculture and logistic opportunities”. He once more has his own private army. Prince will be facing off against other mafia militias in Africa, most notably his own creation Academi, formerly Blackwater. There are small and large militias doing the same in most of the world, still with a veneer of legal structure in the northern hemisphere but only because the mafia was allowed to write the laws.

While you are petitioning the US government to restrain the NSA, Erik Prince and friends are battling with other people’s lives for control of the world’s coltan (your phones). The corporations that already control your military and your intelligence have decided it is more expedient to just expand their security militias rather than deal with your governments. They are also continuing to rewrite the laws worldwide to exempt themselves from any accountability and turn people into commodities with no societal rights. As long as people refuse to accept that capitalism has failed, trade economy is tyranny, and the right to bear arms is the right to rule by mafia, they will continue to expand.

The people united will never be defeated

We have no idea whether that slogan we rediscovered in 2011 is true as we have never put in any effort to even reach all the people much less unite them. The first right of all people must be the right to communicate, directly. Without direct communication for all there is no way to see past the corporate propaganda and hear the voices with workable solutions. Revolutionary movements that could care less about all the people not at the table will not be building a new paradigm, they are simply seeking to replace the leaders at the top with themselves. Those that would rather amplify celebrities than people at risk are increasing power for the powerful and refusing to empower those who need it. If the people are ever going to be united, we must put far more energy into reaching down for those at the bottom instead of attempting to climb up to those on the top.

The propaganda which teaches that ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ can perform the same actions and still be on separate sides has been highly useful in misdirecting anger. This fight is between those who commit atrocities and those who do not. Our actions define us, not our company. All war coverage that is pitched as ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ is a lie. The conflict is between the idea of peace and society and the idea of war and dictatorship. We do not need leaders or affiliations, if we follow the ideas we agree with we will have the company we need. If we show solidarity by ideas, not the borders that divide us into economic markets, we can still win. If no one in China cares who is paying Erik Prince’s gang of thugs and buying his pillaged resources, if no one in Canada cares that their courts are shielding 75% of the world’s resource corporations from human rights prosecutions and no one in Australia cares that refugees from their own corporate plunder are being drowned at sea and imprisoned if they make it to Australia, then we lost long ago.

Empire is simply a concept. Laws, governing principles, property and wealth are all concepts. We are being enslaved by our acceptance of these concepts. If we remove everything between the sociopaths in power and the people they are tormenting – remove the militias, the media, the money, the governments, the corporations, the laws that protect corporations, the NGOs, thought leaders, celebrities, distractions and group affiliations – there is nothing left but a very few, very ordinary people.

We need to start the trials.

The biggest stories of 2014

Yes, of course we can decide that now. Barring near complete planetary destruction, we can decide what we want the biggest stories to be in advance and just get them on the front pages. Those in power have been doing that forever, focusing exclusively on celebrities, celebrated for their ability to distract, sell propaganda and model rampant consumerism, politicians, those not-too-bright replaceable figureheads standing in for the real powerful who never change and are never in the news, and men with guns, presented as both our greatest fear and our greatest hope to keep the general population in a mood of infantile dependence and insecurity. If citizen journalism is worth anything it should be able to create focus of its own. These are my suggestions for 2014.

The corporations

Truly an endless source of material. Practically every story on the front pages right now can lead straight back to a corporation, although they almost never do. Every conflict presented as ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ has also an economic and resource based aspect. Every island in dispute has a seabed of corporate interest. Militias are hired, trained and armed by corporations. Trade deals revolve around corporations. International laws are created for corporations. The NSA and other intelligence agencies spy for corporations. International banking is completely intertwined with other corporations. Infrastructure is contingent on resource corporation development. Laws against so-called eco-terrorism and even other terrorism are created and advertised by governments in support of resource corporations. Every environmental story has a resource corporation or several behind it.

The real celebrities

The people behind the corporations are equally fascinating since they are also the people that run the governments, the financial world bodies, the international courts and the trade deals or they are connected to them. The web of what they own, what boards they sit on, who they are related to and who they are allies or enemies with is endlessly intriguing and dictates the course of our lives. In our personality driven world it is not enough to have a logo as the subject of a story and nor should it be. The CEO’s and presidents currently hired to front stories with their faces need to be replaced with the faces of the owners, those actually controlling and benefitting the most from the corporations’ activities.

Why do school children learn the names of dead Presidents and Prime Ministers instead of the names of the billionaires who control their media and their lives? Why is there about 444,000 Google search results for “Mother Theresa controversy” and only 80,700 results for “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation controversy” (the biggest private foundation in the world)? Why are there no Wikipedia pages (or mainstream news coverage required to create them) for most of the world’s most powerful?

We need a database of all of the holdings of these people, what boards they sit on and who they are related to as friends, families and business associates. Celebrity gossip is crucial information but we have misdirected it. These celebrities are far more interesting than the ones we are being trained to focus on.

The money trail

We need longer trails to put stories in context. Instead of just pointing at laws, we need to show who is behind proposing the laws and who is benefiting from them. What corporations (and owners) are benefiting from TPP and other trade treaties? What foundations and celebrities are making their funding in African countries contingent on the spread of homophobia and homophobic laws? Instead of just a non-stop advertisement for war products featuring the latest in fighter jets and killer drones, we need to see all of the people who benefit from the sale of each piece of equipment purchased for a war zone and where that equipment and the trained militias end up. Illegal sale of weapons, drugs and resources go to fund legitimate governments, armies and corporations. Illegal militias are hired as security for resource corporations and others. Hostages tortured for ransom in the Sinai, refugees sold as slaves, the booming human trafficking industry, all have financial trails that do not fit into 500 word articles but are essential to follow.

The other people

We need to overcome the overwhelming nationalism and other group affiliations that still makes some voices far more equal than others. As we have seen repeatedly, people are valued more as they are seen more. Getting media to show atrocities being committed is less necessary (or reliable) for verification than it is for generating an emotional response and a direct human bond from other people. Everyone needs direct amplification when needed, not as props for western saviours or products to promote NGOs but to tell their own stories and establish their own direct support networks. We need to continue the fight against communication blackouts, not just by Internet shutdowns but also by refusal of Internet access to prisoners and others and by our own nationalism and other group affiliations refusing to amplify all voices equally. It is absurd to feel that someone you don’t know dying is vastly more important than someone else you don’t know dying. The focus on some lives as more important than others greatly benefits corporations and governments who do not want any coverage of their activities outside their home base.

Omar Khadr: War criminal, child soldier… or neither? (French)

GRANDIR À GUANTANAMO ET TOUT FAIRE POUR EN SORTIR

Par Heather Marsh


Prises de vue de l’interrogatoire d’Omar Khadr. Via Flickr

Lundi, Omar Khadr a fait sa première apparition devant un tribunal canadien. Après un périple de onze ans qui l’a mené de Bagram à Guantánamo, puis à la prison canadienne de Millhaven, ce natif de Toronto est désormais détenu dans la prison fédérale d’Edmonton. Il avait 15 ans quand il a été capturé et torturé à Bagram. Il a fêté ses 27 ans jeudi dernier.

Si vous n’avez jamais entendu parler de l’affaire, voilà, en gros, ce qui s’est passé : quand les Américains ont arrêté Omar en Afghanistan, on l’accusait d’avoir lancé une grenade ayant causé la mort d’un soldat américain. Il a clamé son innocence pendant huit ans, jusqu’à ce qu’il signe un accord, en 2010, qui lui a permis de sortir de Guantánamo. Cinq chefs d’accusation de crimes de guerre ont été retenus contre Omar, des chefs d’accusation qui n’ont pas été reconnus comme tels dans le reste du monde – dont le Canada.

Le cas d’Omar est particulièrement complexe. Même si le soldat américain qu’il est accusé d’avoir tué a certainement été victime d’un jet de grenade, il n’existe aucun élément prouvant que c’est Omar qui l’a lancée. Même si Omar a certainement confessé ces crimes, c’était au bout de huit ans de torture et après qu’on lui a laissé le choix entre camper sur ses positions et rester à Guantánamo ou avouer ses crimes et rencontrer un juge au Canada. Les conditions de sa confession et la confession elle-même posent problème.

Cela mérite d’être relevé, d’autant que le récent recours Hamdan aux États-Unis – en référence àl’ancien chauffeur d’Oussama Ben Laden, relaxé après avoir fait face à plusieurs chefs d’accusation pour terrorisme – a montré que les crimes de guerre jugés par la Commission devaient faire l’objet d’un accord international. Cette jurisprudence pourrait être exploitée dans l’affaire Omar Khadr.

La Cour Suprême canadienne est arrivée à la conclusion que le gouvernement américain avait violé les droits d’Omar, mais a laissé la décision au gouvernement Harper qui bien entendu a botté en touche.

Le Premier ministre Stephen Harper n’a pas mâché ses mots quant à l’issue souhaitée du jugement, le jour même du procès, dans une tentative non dissimulée d’influencer les délibérés. Harper a juré de régler cette affaire « vigoureusement », en utilisant des tournures de phrase très similaires à celles de Steven Blaney, ministre de la Sécurité publique du Canada.

L’avocat d’Omar, Dennis Edney, s’est présenté devant le tribunal pour plaider en faveur du transfert de son client d’une prison fédérale à une institution provinciale. Il a argué de l’âge de l’accusé au moment des faits. Dans un exercice troublant de double discours judiciaire, l’accusation soutient qu’Omar n’a pas vraiment été condamné à huit ans, mais plutôt à cinq peines de huit ans purgées en même temps. Le vice-président de la Cour Suprême, J.D. Rook, a remis son jugement à une date ultérieure encore indéterminée.

La journaliste Heather Marsh était présente au procès d’Omar lundi et nous a écrit sur le sujet.


Un essaim de journalistes autour de l’avocat d’Omar Khadr après le procès de lundi. Photo : Heather Marsh

Lundi, le tribunal semblait rempli de soutiens à Omar Khadr. Nombre d’entre eux étaient habillés en orange ou portaient des rubans orange. J’ai parlé à plusieurs d’entre eux. Une lycéenne qui séchait probablement les cours, des étudiants qui avaient pourtant des examens la semaine suivante, et des gens de tous âges et de toutes ethnies. Les journalistes ont dû être transférés dans le box des jurés et le public encouragé à se serrer : environ 120 personnes étaient présentes dans la salle, et une retransmission en direct était diffusée dans une salle annexe.

Un vigile a dit à l’avocat d’Omar qu’il pourrait s’exprimer dans une salle privée en dehors du tribunal, mais Dennis Edney a rétorqué que c’était une séance ouverte et qu’Omar avait le droit d’être présent. Après une courte altercation, Omar a pu entrer.

Contrairement à ce qu’ont déclaré certains médias le décrivant comme un « géant », Omar est un homme de taille moyenne avec une carrure de joueur de foot et une barbe soigneusement taillée. Quand il est rentré au pays l’année dernière, il a écrit à Seger M., un de ses soutiens, âgé de 11 ans : « Moi aussi je joue au foot, mais je ne pense pas être aussi bon que toi. Normalement, je joue en défense ou dans les buts. » Il parle au présent, même si, depuis son retour au Canada, il vit en cellule, dans un isolement quasi complet.

Heather Marsh : « Le juge dans l’affaire Khadr est vice-président de la Cour Suprême, il s’est auto-assigné l’affaire qui repose sur de multiples condamnations, consécutives ou simultanées. »

CAPTURE TWITTER
Col. Morris Davis : « @GeorgieBC (Heather Marsh) Sur les pages 4891-92 de son compte-rendu du procès, il est clair qu’il s’agit de 8 ans au total pour l’ensemble de ses délits. »

L’auteur discutant de l’inanité des arguments de la Cour avec l’ancien procureur général d’Omar, quand il était à Guantánamo.

Omar m’a écrit lorsqu’il a été rapatrié au Canada, à l’automne dernier : « Au moins, nous avons un système juridique digne de ce nom. » Cette semaine, il a aussi confié à un autre correspondant que ce serait sa première comparution devant « un vrai tribunal ». Il semblait calme et heureux tout au long de la procédure, et adressait de fréquents sourires à la foule. La majeure partie des discussions que j’ai pu entendre lors des pauses tournait autour de son apparence et de son comportement, et non des arguments légaux. Omar et son groupe de soutien étaient tout autant stupéfaits de se rencontrer enfin, après onze ans et demi.

Au cours de l’après-midi, un homme a interrompu les débats en déchirant sa chemise et en hurlant : « Ça suffit ! Il avait 15 ans ». Il s’est fait sortir sans qu’Omar ou le reste de la salle ne lui prête attention. Àla fin de la journée, après le départ du juge et la sortie sous escorte d’Omar, un déchaînement spontané a envahi la salle, des gens faisaient des signes de la main et criaient : « Bravo, Omar ! » et « Sois fort ! »

Après l’audience, Dennis Edney est allé à la rencontre des journalistes à l’extérieur du tribunal et leur a dit qu’Omar aurait beaucoup plus de chance d’être libéré sur parole dans un centre de détention provincial, où il aurait accès à des programmes de réinsertion, en contact avec la société. « S’il reste dans un pénitencier fédéral où il passe le plus clair de son temps enfermé, où sa vie est en danger, il ne sortira jamais. »


Une manifestante en faveur d’Omar Khadr, en 2009. Via WikiCommons.

Tant qu’Omar restera dans une prison fédérale, il sera maintenu dans la solitude pour sa propre sécurité. Il a écrit la chose suivante à un ami, à propos de Millhaven : « Ma nouvelle prison est complètement différente. Les gens sont gentils en général, mais ils ont plein de mauvaises habitudes. La vie ici t’oblige à vivre comme un animal parce que c’est comme une jungle. Je dois changer un peu pour pouvoir me défendre, mais ne pas perdre mon humanité et mon identité. »

Afin d’être éligible à la liberté sur parole, Omar doit prouver qu’il peut évoluer parmi les personnalités que notre société considère comme les plus intolérables. Au cours de son procès, il a été répété à plusieurs reprises qu’il ne pourrait pas être libéré parce qu’il avait « baigné dans le djihad » en tant que prisonnier de Guantánamo et à Bagram lors de ses années de formation. Ça devient du Kafka.

Il est de notoriété publique que le Canada a violé les droits d’Omar Khadr en l’interrogeant pour le compte des États-Unis tout en sachant pertinemment qu’il venait de vivre trois semaines de privation de sommeil et autres « techniques d’assouplissement » avant l’interrogatoire. Pendant huit ans, on a aussi refusé de lui fournir ne serait-ce qu’une paire de lunettes pour préserver l’acuité visuelle restante dans son œil encore valide ou de lui dispenser la moindre éducation afin de lui permettre, éventuellement, de se réinsérer. S’il n’a reçu aucune éducation formelle au-delà de l’école primaire, il a récemment décroché un diplôme de niveau première de l’État d’Ontario, avec plus de 90 %de bonnes réponses dans tous les sujets, anglais, maths, histoire, géographie et sciences.

L’isolement cellulaire est considéré par beaucoup comme de la torture, et plusieurs années de recherches ont montré les dommages permanents qui pouvaient en résulter. Après onze ans de solitude presque totale, Omar semble être l’une des exceptions à la règle. Il réussit même à tirer du positif de cet isolement. En avril, il a écrit à Aaf Post, aux Pays-Bas : « On ne prend pas souvent le temps de profiter des choses simples. On croit qu’elles nous sont dues. C’est en perdant ces choses, comme ouvrir une fenêtre le matin, prendre un bon bol d’air frais ou entendre le gazouillis des oiseaux, qu’on les apprécie vraiment. Même si je suis en prison, il y a toujours un tas de belles choses autour. Voir le soleil briller ou se coucher, voir la neige tomber. »

« Comme tu l’as dit, c’est merveilleux d’être de retour au Canada. Aussi difficile que soit ce changement, ça en vaut la peine. Il y a trop de belles choses dans cette vie pour s’inquiéter ou se soucier des mauvaises choses. Les choses sont ce que nous en faisons. La prison peut être une privation de liberté ou une occasion de gagner en sagesse. Pour moi, c’est la deuxième option. »

L’auteure tient à remercier l’association Free Omar Khadr pour l’aide apportée dans ses recherches.

Suivre Heather sur Twitter : @GeorgieBC.

Omar Khadr: War criminal, child soldier… or neither?

 

Previously published on VICE


Frames from Omar Khadr’s interrogation. via Flickr.

Omar Khadr made his first appearance in a Canadian court on Monday. After an 11-year journey from Bagram to Guantánamo to Canada’s Millhaven Institution, the Toronto-born man is now in Edmonton’s federal prison. He was 15 when he was captured and tortured at Bagram. He turned 27 last Thursday.  

If you’re not familiar with the case it goes loosely as follows: When the Americans first arrested Omar in Afghanistan, he was accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American solider. For eight years he maintained his innocence, until he signed a plea deal in 2010 that got him out of Guantanamo. Omar was then convicted of five counts of war crimes for his actions, which were not recognized as such anywhere else in the world including Canada.  

Omar’s case is wildly complex. While the American solider he is accused of killing was certainly killed by a grenade, there is no evidence showing that Omar ever had or threw one. While Omar certainly did confess to these crimes, it was after eight years of torture and given his option to either insist he’s innocent and stay in Gitmo, or confess to the crimes and see a judge in Canada, it certainly sounds like the terms of his confession were problematic at best.

All of this is important to note, especially in light of the recent Hamdan appeal in the US—which refers to the case of Osama Bin Laden’s former driver whose terrorism charges were thrown out—that pointed out war crimes tried by the Commission must be internationally recognized. This verdict may end up being leveraged effectively in the Omar Khadr case.

The Canadian Supreme Court has even ruled that our government violated Omar’s rights, but left the remedy up to the Harper government who of course declined to provide any solution.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been making strong statements on the preferred outcome on the day of the trial, in an apparent attempt to influence the court proceedings. Harper has vowed to fight the case “vigorously,” and used almost the same phrasing as that of Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety.

Omar’s counsel, Dennis Edney, was in court to argue that he should be transferred to a provincialinstitution from a federal institution due to his age when the alleged crimes took place. In a confusing instance of legal doublespeak, the Crown’s prosecutors are arguing that Omar has not really been sentenced to eight years, but rather to five eight-year sentences served at the same time. Associate Chief Justice J.D. Rook has reserved judgment to a currently undetermined future date.

Heather Marsh, a journalist, was at Omar’s trial on Monday and wrote about it for us.


The media swarming Khadr’s lawyer outside of Monday’s hearing.
 Photo by the author.

On Monday, the court was filled with what seemed to be exclusively supporters of Omar Khadr. Many were wearing orange or orange ribbons and I spoke to several of them. There was a high school student who said she was done for the day, students from several different universities skipping class even though they had exams next week, and people of all ages and ethnic groups. After the media were moved to the jury box and people were encouraged to squeeze up, 120 people were in the court room and a live feed was set up for more in an overflow room.

A security guard told Omar’s counsel that Omar would be available to talk to them in a private interview room outside—but Edney insisted it was an open court and Omar could appear. After a brief altercation he was allowed to be present.

Contrary to earlier media reports depicting him as a “giant,” Omar is an average sized man with a soccer player build and a neatly trimmed beard. When he came home last year he wrote to Seger M., an 11-year old supporter, “I play soccer too, but I don’t think I’m as good as you. I usually play defense or goal keeper.” He looks it, although since he came home he has been almost entirely in solitary confinement instead.


The author discussing the insanity of the crown’s arguments with Omar’s former chief prosecutor from Guantanamo.

Omar wrote to me when he was finally transferred back to Canada last fall, “At least we have a proper legal system,” and he told another correspondent this week that this would be his first appearance in “a real court.” He seemed composed and happy throughout the proceedings, smiling frequently at people. Most of the discussion I overheard during the breaks was regarding his appearance and demeanor, not the legal arguments. Omar and the gallery of supporters seemed equally amazed that they were finally meeting after 11 ½ years of hearing about each other.

During the afternoon, a man interrupted proceedings to rip off his shirt and say “Enough! He was 15,” and object to the endless paper shuffling and statute citing. He was escorted out with no acknowledgement from Omar or the rest of the court room. At the end of the day, after the judge had left and as Omar was being led away there was a spontaneous outburst from the room with people waving and calling “Good job, Omar!” and “Stay strong!”

After the hearing Edney met with media outside and told them Omar’s chances of parole would be much greater in a provincial institution as he would have access to the programs and the society he needs to rehabilitate himself. “If he remains in a federal penitentiary, where he doesn’t get any programs, where he spends most of his life locked away, where his life was threatened, he’ll never get out.”


An Omar Khadr protester in 2009. via WikiCommons.

As long as Omar is in federal prison he will probably be in solitary as necessary protection. As he wrote a friend last February about Millhaven, “My new place is different definitely. People are generally nice, but with a lot of bad habits. Life here compels you to live like an animal because it is like a jungle. I have to change a little to defend myself, but not lose my humanity and who I am.”

In order to be eligible for parole, Omar must prove he can thrive among those our society has deemed most unacceptable. During his trial the point was repeatedly made that he could not be released as he had been supposedly “marinated in jihad” as an inmate of Guantanamo and Bagram during his formative years. The catch-22 continues.

Canada famously violated Omar Khadr’s rights by interrogating him for the US when they knew he had been subjected to three weeks of severe sleep deprivation torture and other ‘softening up techniques’ prior to questioning. They also refused for eight years to provide even a pair of glasses to preserve the vision remaining in his one good eye or to provide any education for him to rehabilitate himself. After receiving no formal education past elementary school, he recently passed Ontario’s Grade 10 high school equivalency exams with more than 90 percent in all subjects, English, math, history, geography and science.

Solitary confinement is widely recognized as torture, and many years of studies have shown the permanent damage that can result. After over 11 years of almost entirely solitary, Omar appears to be one of the exceptions. He can even find benefit in the deprivation of experience, education and companionship. In April he wrote to Aaf Post in the Netherlands, “Usually we don’t appreciate the small things. We take them for granted. Once you lose these things like opening your window in the morning and taking a breath of fresh air or seeing a bird chirping, you really appreciate these things. Even though I’m in prison there are still a lot of small beautiful things around us. Seeing the sun rise or set or to see the snow fall.”

“Being back in Canada is, as you said, a wonderful thing. As big or difficult as change may be, it’s worth it. There are too many good things in this life (as hard as it might be) to worry or even care about the bad things. Things are what we make out of them. Prison can be a deprivation of freedom, or a time to enlighten ourselves. For me it is the latter.”

 

The author would like to thank the Free Omar Khadr group for research assistance. 

Follow Heather on Twitter: @GeorgieBC

Twitter conversations of note

Twitter conversations I found interesting enough to save via Aaron’s Twitter Viewer. Will be updated.

2013/05/16 Regarding Nigeria military’s human rights violations: http://twitter.theinfo.org/335058086756761601#id335124360878780417

2013/03/13 HRW’s Ken Roth, Rwanda Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo regarding Bosco Ntaganda’s escape to Rwanda http://twitter.theinfo.org/313156573474197506#id313417621188009984

2013/01/11 Rape of men by women http://twitter.theinfo.org/289520591369822209#id289541498045882370

2012/12/30 Women stereotyping and opressing heterosexual male nerds. Yep. http://twitter.theinfo.org/285198726631399424#id285199535582621697

2012/11/19 What happened to every single Gaza tweet. http://twitter.theinfo.org/270330177869971456#id270415569109536768

Approval Economy: In Practice

Approval Economy background.

I have talked a lot in this blog about money and society and the need for new solutions. My opinion from years of volunteering is that money ruins every volunteer effort. As soon as a need receives funding, it becomes a noun and a product instead of an action. As soon as a project is allowed to fundraise, there is a need to manufacture scarcity, to withhold work until payment is received and to continue the need for the project. And as soon as a project receives money, the motives of the person receiving money are suspect.

I do not want to go to a ‘crowd funding website’ and ask a centralized go-between to stand between me and anyone who chooses to support me. I do not want to waste my time creating glossy videos and applications to explain to strangers what you already know, my work. I do not want to ally myself with corporate media or NGO’s, I am trying to make both obsolete. I do not want to develop a persona, tell you all about my personal life, appear on panels and talks to become a character and a brand; I am an action not a noun and I value my right to privacy.

I do not want to be the designated official person for any action I initiate, I want to be free to let others take my place whenever I find people willing. I want to continue to promote others instead of seeking to enhance my own reputation for a livelihood. I want to give freely my ideas and work to anyone who can use them instead of hoarding them to myself for profit.

I do not want to ask you to support every action I take. I will not delay my work waiting for approval or funding. Most of what I work on are things that nobody knows of or supports, that is why I give them my priority. I do not want to jump on popular, widely supported causes to gain support. I want to continue to speak even when everyone disagrees with me as they very frequently do. I want to speak for Gaza when the world says it is anti-semitic to do so, I want to speak for the DRC when the west doesn’t know or care where that is, I want to speak for the Rohingya when no one believes me. I want to criticize democracy, consensus, peer to peer economies, libertarianism and Marxism when everyone I know supports them. I want to advocate for people who have no supporters or funding behind them and tell people about things they may not want to know about.

I do not want to sell you a book, a talk, art, advocacy, a button or a T-shirt, anything I do is available to you as always, for free. But I want it recognized that what I do is not ‘unemployment’, that I am a contributing and valuable member of society entitled to the benefits of society. I want to have the human dignity of societal approval and recognition. I want to be able to support myself and others in society without any of us becoming a product.

If you do approve of the actions I have taken in the past and the work I do, if you trust that I am a valuable member of your community and I would not take more than I require, and if you agree that my time is better spent on my work than in trying to justify my work to strangers, please consider supporting me. If you are unable to support me directly please vouch for my work to others who may be able to.

My work

For those that do not know me well, following is some of what I have done, since 2010, under this name, online. I also do a very above average amount of community and individual support offline, and I have done this work for many years, under a variety of names. I have worked for many years to amplify voices of those unheard in society and to create political change that would prevent the abuse of power.

I wrote a book about you.

I ran the Wikileaks news site, Wikileaks Central from 2010 to 2012. I acted as sole administrator and editor and I wrote half the content on the site. The content I did not write, I sought out, edited and fact checked. I found stories and interviews for others, did background work, and taught writers, most of whom had not used html, did not speak English well, or were not accustomed to writing to a professional standard. I taught basic security procedures to both writers and sources. I did all the work on the site which was not writing, including sysadmin, correspondence, spam control and community building. I worked with activists around the world to organize mass protests under the Action section. I dealt with a daily stream of people with proposals or communications for Wikileaks and forwarded those that I had vetted. I created connections between many people that resulted in action of significant political consequence.

I promoted News, Analysis and Action. After I found stories and did all the background research into them, I then promoted action taken where necessary. I worked with a huge variety of groups to promote peaceful and legal action on stories, from grass roots supporters, lawyers, NGO’s, Anonymous and anyone else willing to act, on stories from Wikileaks and Tunisia in 2010 to Gaza, DRC, Rohingya and Gabon recently.

I advocated for individuals such as Abdul Ilah Shayi, Ai Wei Wei, Marc Emery, Tal al-Mallouhi, Rudolf Elmer, and many more.

I advocated for movements such as Day of Rages, Hope Riders, Jasmine Revolution, Take the Square, Occupy and Anonymous.

I have deeply researched documents such as the US State cables and the Palestine papers to tie information not widely known to the current news.

I have covered human rights and political news extensively and attempted to move the news conversation from personal gossip to the news we require in order to govern ourselves.

I have supported and promoted the actions of any group or individual fighting for the same results as I am, from human rights organizations and journalists I find effective to grass roots campaigns such as Cryptoparties, the Bradley Manning campaign or Guantanamo action groups. I worked with Balkanleaks and Bivol to promote their work in Bulgaria, recommended them to Wikileaks as a media partner and helped amplify their work on Wikileaks Central. I used the news site to help amplify many other individuals and organizations working towards the same goals, including whistleblowing sites.

I have worked for years to get the facts of Omar Khadr’s case to Canadians and the rest of the world and to expose the extreme corruption and complicit media coverage which has surrounded his case.

I have worked to expose corruption in governance and justice systems and biased media coverage.

I attempt to create immediate global action on urgent humanitarian causes that the mainstream media is misrepresenting and ignoring, such as the openly announced plan to attack Gaza, originally billed as Operation Cast Lead 2, the M23 crisis in the DRC which the world’s largest UN peacekeeping force declined to stop, and the Rohingya genocide in Burma/Myanmar.

I have done extensive research into human trafficking, paedosadist rings, slavery and ritual killings, including initiating and providing all the background research and connections for the OpGabon campaign.

I have worked to create action for social change with many international movements, on Mumble, mailing lists, irc, skype, and every other communication venue, in every time zone, for years. I have worked with Spanish indignados movements and MENA day of rages to create solidarity in the US and Canada. I have helped run many collaborative pages, pads, ops, events, twitter accounts, etc.

I have tried to develop a methodology for collaboration that would work on a global scale. I hope to finish this series in the next few months and publish it as an e-book for activists who wish to take the discussion further. This incomplete work has been translated and used in online courses, social movements and discussion groups internationally already, so I am hopeful it will be useful.

I have worked to expand access to communication from areas left out of the global conversation. I have networked with activists in many African countries, indigenous South American groups, China, and South East Asia to encourage increased global communication. I am working with Tribler and others to create a free software peer to peer platform for global collaboration to enable both discussion and collaborative research.

For all of the work described above and much much more, I have never received any funding at all. I truly believe that to seek funding attached to any of this work would create a motivational conflict and make a product of both me and the people I work with. Since we are still in a world which requires currency to participate in society, I would like to suggest we start using that currency as a confirmation of approval instead of exchange. I can no longer continue my work without assistance; I am seeking your approval to allow me to participate in society.

Through Paypal
Regular donations through Gittip

Random media quoting me:

Sydney Morning Herald about Occupy
BBC about Global Square
VICE about Rohingya
Daily Dot about Rohingya
Daily Dot about Gabon
GlobalPost about Rohingya
GlobalPost about Gabon
VentureBeat about Rohingya
The Diplomat about Omar Khadr
Global Post re fracking protest and OpSWN research.