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September 03, 2011

Since 9/11 35,000 people have been convicted on terrorism charges, but few of them are legit

Out of the 35,000 people convicted of terrorism globally since 9/11, nearly 20,000 were in Turkey and China where it's largely assumed they were railroaded with false charges. AP IMPACT: 35,000 worldwide convicted for terror - Yahoo! News
The AP used freedom of information queries, law enforcement data and hundreds of interviews to identify 119,044 anti-terror arrests and 35,117 convictions in 66 countries, accounting for 70 percent of the world's population. The actual numbers undoubtedly run higher because some countries refused to provide information. That included 2,934 arrests and 2,568 convictions in the United States, which led the war on terror — eight times more than in the decade before. The investigation also showed: • More than half the convictions came from two countries accused of using anti-terror laws to crack down on dissent, Turkey and China. Turkey alone accounted for a third of all convictions, with 12,897. • The range of people in jail reflects the dozens of ways different countries define a terrorist. China has arrested more than 7,000 people under a definition that counts terrorism as one of Three Evils, along with separatism and extremism. • The effectiveness of anti-terror prosecutions varies widely. Pakistan registered the steepest increase in terror arrests in recent years, yet terror attacks are still on the rise. But in Spain, the armed Basque separatist group ETA has not planted a fatal bomb in two years. • Anti-terror laws can backfire. Authoritarian governments in the Middle East used anti-terror laws broadly, only to face a backlash in the Arab Spring. "There's been a recognition all around the world that terrorism really does pose a greater threat to society," said John Bellinger, former legal adviser to the U.S. State Department. "Also, more authoritarian countries are using the real threat of terrorism as an excuse and a cover to crack down in ways that are abusive of human rights."

August 26, 2011

Obama's Justice Dept. fighting to keep public knowledge out of ex-FBI agent's book

Check out the incredible quote below, which I have helpfully italicized. Secrecy, leaks, and the real criminals - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
Ali Soufan is a long-time FBI agent and interrogator who was at the center of the U.S. government's counter-terrorism activities from 1997 through 2005, and became an outspoken critic of the government's torture program. He has written a book exposing the abuses of the CIA's interrogation program as well as pervasive ineptitude and corruption in the War on Terror. He is, however, encountering a significant problem: the CIA is barring the publication of vast amounts of information in his book including, as Scott Shane details in The New York Times today, many facts that are not remotely secret and others that have been publicly available for years, including ones featured in the 9/11 Report and even in Soufan's own public Congressional testimony. Shane notes that the government's censorship effort "amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath," particularly given the imminent publication of a book by CIA agent Jose Rodriguez -- who destroyed the videotapes of CIA interrogations in violation of multiple court orders and subpoenas only to be protected by the Obama DOJ -- that touts the benefits of the CIA's "tough" actions, propagandistically entitled: "Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives." Most striking about this event is the CIA's defense of its censorship of information from Soufan's book even though it has long been publicly reported and documented: A spokeswoman for the C.I.A., Jennifer Youngblood, said . . . ."Just because something is in the public domain doesn't mean it's been officially released or declassified by the U.S. government." Just marvel at the Kafkaesque, authoritarian mentality that produces responses like that: someone can be censored, or even prosecuted and imprisoned, for discussing "classified" information that has long been documented in the public domain. But as absurd as it is, this deceitful scheme -- suppressing embarrassing information or evidence of illegality by claiming that even public information is "classified" -- is standard government practice for punishing whistleblowers and other critics and shielding high-level lawbreakers. . . .