Secretary of the Nobel Committee Geir Lundestad: “The Committee always stands by its laureates and never denounces them”- No matter ‘what’ they do!

Coleen Rowley Interviews and Challenges the Nobel Committee Secretary on Obama’s Laughable Peace Prize

ObamaNobelOn March 3, 2012, Coleen Rowley attended the 3rd and final day of the Nobel Peace Forum in Minneapolis, and was able to interview Oslo-based long-time Secretary of the Nobel Committee Geir Lundestad after he spoke at a Forum event at Augsburg College. Coleen had helped draft this “Petition (to) Investigate Betrayal of the Nobel Peace Prize" a few days earlier, which has now gathered the endorsements of over 40 peace organizations. Yesterday she sent me her very sobering article and video clip from that interview. Here are a few important excerpts and the video:

Secretary Lundestad began the interview by denying he has been dodging Heffermehl’s questions and advising that “a very long response” has been prepared to respond to the allegations lodged against his Committee. Lundestad said Heffermehl’s problem is he is a “purist” and an “originalist” who thinks the prize should only go to peace activists as narrowly defined; that Heffermehl’s understanding of Alfred Nobel as a “one dimensional person” is wrong. (Note: Lundestad had begun his earlier talk by describing Alfred Nobel as profoundly unhappy, romantically frustrated and someone who would have been diagnosed with mental problems or institutionalized if he had lived now.) [Read more...]

Action Alert: Urge Nobel Foundation to Rescind Obama’s award

Petition to Investigate Betrayal of the Nobel Peace Prize

ObamaAwardIn June 2011 Coleen Rowley and I co-wrote a petition to rescind Obama’s Transparency Award, given to him during a secret ceremony by a handful of agenda-driven organizations led by Project on Government Oversight (POGO). Here is what our petition called for:

Awarding the worst president in US history when it comes to government whistleblowers with a Transparency Award is a huge insult. Presenting a president who has dramatically increased government secrecy with an Anti-Secrecy Award is ridiculous. Rewarding one of the worst US presidents when it comes to invocation of unconstitutional state secrets privilege is ludicrous. This award is a major insult to all liberty-loving Americans. This award is a slap to all freedom-liberty seeking activists. This award is dumb, highly damaging, and extremely dangerous by what it says it represents. Please stand up and say ‘NO’ to this award by signing this petition. I urge you to demand that this award be taken back immediately. I implore you to not let them get away with this in your name. I am asking you to sign this petition and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Don’t let them mock our nation, our people and our values: Take Obama’s Transparency Award Back Now.

At the time we were drafting this petition Coleen and I were also discussing another hypocritical and ludicrous award that was granted to this same president-The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. We were debating whether to tackle both awards in one petition, or take on each separately. We decided on the latter.

A few weeks ago we began our discussions and plans to launch the petition addressed to the members of Stockholm’s County Administrative Board which has formally asked the Nobel Foundation to respond to allegations that the peace prize no longer reflects Nobel's will that the purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations. As always, David Swanson volunteered to help with drafting and launching the petition, and taking care of all the technical and complex organizational and logistical requirements (Thank you David!). Here is the petition launched at Warisacrime.Org: [Read more...]

BFP Exclusive Report: Coalition Stands against American Psychological Association’s Endorsement of Torture & Abusive Interrogation

Group Calls for Annulment of the APA’s Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics & National Security (PENS) Report

PENSLeading scholars and human rights groups from a range of fields – including psychology, medicine, law, military, and intelligence – have joined together in spearheading a broad-based effort to annul and delegitimize the American Psychological Association’s deeply flawed 2005 Report of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (the PENS Report). In a joint declaration the coalition states:

Despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive interrogations, the PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged- the “do no Harm” standard.

Further, the coalition points out the inherent bias in the Presidential Task Force membership, where six of the nine voting members were on the payroll of the U.S. military and/or intelligence agencies, and five having served in chains of command accused of prisoner abuses. The group cites other significant conflicts of interest by the Task Force’s unacknowledged participants, such as the spouse of a Guantánamo intelligence psychologist and several high-level lobbyists for the Department of Defense, and direct funding for psychologists by the CIA.

SoldzProfessor Stephen Soldz, clinical psychologist and one of the coalition’s active leaders, had the following statement in an exclusive interview with Boiling Frogs Post:

“We now know that psychologists played a central role in design and implementation of the US torture program and the PENS Report was the crucial document that protected this involvement. Without the involvement of psychologists the torture program as we know it could not have gone forward. The PENS Report was a black mark for the profession of psychology and a devastating blow against human rights worldwide. We are calling on people from around the world – psychologists, other professionals, and ordinary citizens concerned with human rights – to join us in calling for the Report to be annulled as a step to ending torture everywhere.”

Professor Soldz is also one of the contributing authors in the recently released book -The CIA on Campus: Essays on Academic Freedom and the National Security State, edited by Dr. Philip Zwerling.

The Coalition has launched a petition calling for the annulment of the APA’s PENS Report as part of their joint effort to remove psychologists from torture and abusive interrogations. So far the list of prominent signatories includes more than 300 scholars, intelligence experts and activists. Here are a few names from the petition’s signatory list:

Philip Zimbardo, President, American Psychological Association (2002); Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Stanford University

Leonard Rubenstein, Senior Scholar, Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (ret.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Wessells, PhD, APA PENS Task Force Member, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Columbia University

Steven Reisner, PhD, Candidate for APA President; Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Medical School; Faculty and Supervisor, International Trauma Studies Program, New York City

David DeBatto, former US Army Counterintelligence Special Agent and Iraq war veteran

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights

Manfred Nowak, Professor for International Law and Human Rights, University of Vienna; Director, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights

David Remes, Appeal for Justice; Guantánamo habeas attorney since 2004

Nora Sveaass, UN Committee Against Torture; Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway

Sibel Edmonds, Founder & Director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis FBI Legal Counsel

The petition is now open to the public. People are encouraged to visit the coalition’s website for more information and background, and sign the petition here.

# # # #

*We just recorded an in depth interview with Professor Soldz. The interview will be published in two weeks as part of our new series on ‘CIA on Campus,’ based on a recently released book -The CIA on Campus: Essays on Academic Freedom and the National Security State, edited by Dr. Philip Zwerling. Here is a brief preview of our interview:

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by subscribing .

Subs

Rise Up To The Occasion… It Could Very Well Have Been You!

Every Single Person, Every Voice & Every Signature Counts

solid

Have you ever pulled over your car on a highway shoulder to be a Good Samaritan and help a driver of a broken car desperately in need of assistance? Have you done it despite the heavy traffic, and a remaining long commute to get home after an exhausting long shift at work? Do you remember thinking ‘hope someone, some day, will do the same for me or my loved one’?

Have you ever found a wallet or a cell phone, and then taken the time and effort to locate and contact the owner? Have you done it despite a hectic schedule, having a long to-do list, and in the midst of daily crisis and demands? Do you recall thinking ‘hope someday, someone, will do the same for me?’

Have you ever been before a federal court judge, with your rights being taken away one by one, your entire biographical existence being classified one after another, and during all this, your entire legal team and advisors being removed from the court room in order to make the screwing of your Constitutional rights completely secret and unobserved? I have:

A federal court in Washington yesterday took the rare step of closing an entire oral argument to the public in the case of a former FBI translator who says she was fired for complaining about security breaches. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced that today's 30-minute argument in the case of Sibel Edmonds, a Middle Eastern language specialist fired in 2002, will be conducted behind closed doors. The court gave no reason for its decision.

The unsettling story of whistleblower Sibel Edmonds took another twist on Thursday, as the government continued its seemingly endless machinations to shut her up. The U.S. Court of Appeals here denied pleas to open the former FBI translator's First Amendment case to the public, a day after taking the extraordinary step of ordering a secret hearing. 

I am not going to recount that incredibly awful experience as far as the butchering of our Constitution and liberties goes. Instead I want to briefly recount a minor detail with a major effect on me. [Read more...]

POGO Refuses to Rescind Obama’s Transparency Award

Blowing the Whistle on Those Who Falsely Claimed to Act on our Behalf

By Julia Davis

WhistleIn response to the petition from numerous groups and whistleblowers, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) authored a blog on POGO’s website. While POGO’s response doesn’t contain any earth-shattering revelations, some of the attempts to justify the “Transparency Award” recently given to President Obama warrant a response.

POGO recently pondered whether they should buy a 30-second video spot on the CBS videotron in Times Square. They asked whistleblowers for feedback about the billboard. Unfortunately, they didn’t ask for feedback when it really mattered - prior to bestowing a Transparency Award upon President Obama. Now, in light of the mounting pressure to rescind this award, POGO dismissively refers to our opposition as a mere “distraction”.

Looking Forward, Moving Backward

POGO disingenuously claims that the Bush administration is at fault for the ongoing investigations and prosecutions against whistleblowers, undertaken by the current administration. In POGO’s blog describing the conversation with President Obama on the day when he received a “Transparency Award”, Danielle Brian wrote: 

"I noted, however, that the current aggressive prosecution of national security whistleblowers is undermining this legacy… The President shifted in his seat and leaned forward. He said he wanted to engage on this topic because this may be where we have some differences."

POGO claims that the ongoing prosecutions of whistleblowers simply happened to “ripen” just in time to be pursued by this administration. Such an assertion rings hollow in light of this administration’s decision not to file charges against the Bush regime under the guise of “looking forward and not backwards”, stating that this is “a time for reflection, not retribution". Apparently, this serene forgiveness applies to those responsible for war crimes, torture, and illegal spying, but not to the whistleblowers.

Contrary to POGO’s deeply flawed arguments, it is within this administration’s discretion to decide who gets prosecuted. These decisions have been chilling so far. Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said:  "The whole point of the prosecution is to have a chilling effect on reporters and sources, and it will." While such prosecutions are ongoing, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, OpenTheGovernment.org, Project on Government Oversight, OMB Watch and the National Security Archive saw it fit to endorse these actions through a Transparency Award. By definition, an award is something that was earned, is deserved and encourages more of the same. That is hardly the message our supposed transparency advocates should be sending.  [Read more...]

POGO : Obama Deserves Transparency Award &“ has achieved more openness than any other recent president!”

Project on Government Oversight Refuses to Take Back Obama Transparency Award

takeback In a very wordy, hollow words that is, public response, Danielle Brian of Project on Government Oversight (POGO) not only adamantly declines to rescind Obama’s Transparency Award given to him in secrecy, but she actually praises the President as one who has achieved more openness than any other US president, thus deserving of an award given to him in a secret ceremony. Further, Ms. Brian considers this petition and signatories’ efforts a waste of time and a distraction. Here are a few excerpts from POGO’s public response to the petition and all signatories:

It's undeniable that the Obama administration has achieved more openness than any other recent president.

Of course, the fact that this rescheduled meeting wasn’t on the President’s calendar made it an easy joke. When we discovered this, we described it as “crazy stupid.” But the fact that the meeting wasn’t open to the press didn’t strike me as unusual—I have meetings all the time with policymakers that are not open to the press.

So no, I do not regret taking the opportunity to meet with the President and get him to discuss the prosecutions of national security whistleblowers, and I am not going to withdraw our support for the award.

Public debate and discourse is often healthy. But there is so much to be done to safeguard our rights and expand openness—our community just doesn’t have the luxury to waste time on distractions.

It appears as if the people at POGO didn’t even bother to read the petition and the cited facts. But I believe they know the facts. They know them too well. Yet, despite all these cited facts, despite all the cited actions taken by this President and his administration (yes, last time I checked presidents were held liable for their appointees’ practices!) against transparency and whistleblowers, despite all the measures taken by this President and his administration towards unprecedented levels of secrecy, POGO deemed, and still deems,  this president worthy of a Transparency Award; in a closed secret meeting not even logged in White House Schedule-Records.

Further, maybe even worse, despite repeated appeals, despite more than 25 whistleblowers’ implorations, despite more than 20 pro-transparency and pro-liberties organizations’ requests, despite the outcry from the public and journalist communities, POGO insists on the non-existent merits of this award, and it refuses to acknowledge it as a very dumb mistake; and adamantly refuses to take it back. And finally, POGO considers you, me, and everyone else on this petition a group that has the ‘luxury to waste time,’ and calls this petition a ‘distraction.’

Let me address a few ludicrous claims and positions presented by POGO:

Obama Should Not Be Held Responsible for His Administration’s Practices

POGO shields and defends Obama by asking people to blame and go after the agencies, not the President. They put forth a ludicrous and warped defense by claiming that presidents should not be held liable for the practices of the agencies headed by the president’s handpicked appointees.

First, this is akin to saying Hitler didn’t personally participate in annihilation, internment, torturing and killing; those were practiced by his military and police force, thus, he should not be blamed. This is similar to arguing that Abu-Ghraib practices and scandals were limited to a handful of lower-rank military personnel, and those above them with the authority and responsibility should have been absolved from any accountability. POGO says the awful anti-transparency and anti-whistleblower practices are implemented by the agencies and the bureaucracy, and the President does not have any power over them, so leave the President alone, give him awards, and go chase after his employees.

Secondly, POGO’s ludicrous position in absolving the President from his administration and agencies’ anti-transparency and anti-liberties practices reeks with hypocrisy and double talk. This is the same NGO that consistently (and justifiably) blamed the Bush-Cheney office for atrocious practices implemented by the agencies under them.

And finally, based on POGO’s argument we should not bother electing presidents, since presidents and presidential powers have nothing to do with the executive branch and its practices. POGO has declared presidential authority and responsibility moot.

Words Speak Much Louder than Actions & The Award Was Given Based on Obama’s Words

POGO, with a straight face, is telling the public to disregard Obama’s record and pay attention only to his words. This is like letting a serial rapist pedophile who happens to be an author of books on ‘protecting children against pedophiles’ go free despite damning evidence proving him guilty of raping and molesting children. This is similar to absolving the Catholic priests that were found guilty of child molestation because they spoke the right words on Sunday.

POGO even goes further and engages in double-talk and actions similar to the President himself. It is disingenuous for Danielle Brian to claim on one hand that it's not Obama's fault that the whistleblowers are being prosecuted, when she, Brian, in her own blog said that when she brought up anti-whistleblowers practices and  the Drake prosecution during the "Transparency Award" meeting, Obama said straight up that he disagreed with her position.

On one hand POGO asserts that ‘there are many things to bemoan in the Obama administration’s implementation of its open government goals,’ yet, on the other hand, they claim that Obama deserves and had actually earned the transparency award. POGO does not refute the facts and cases cited in our petition on Obama’s record as the worst president on whistleblowers and transparency, yet, they find this completely irrelevant to their decision to present this President with an undeserved mockery transparency award.

Do As We Say But Don’t Do As We Do!

Interestingly, as an organization funded by millions of dollars from special interest corporations-foundations that engages in issuing hundreds of in words-only cosmetic petition campaigns, POGO considers the petition signed and backed by numerous noted government whistleblowers, organizations, and activists, ‘A Waste of Time,’ and a major (and inconvenient) ‘Distraction.’ Danielle Brian actually stresses that petitions are useless, and tells people not to waste time going after Obama’s transparency award by campaigning with this petition. If POGO truly believes that then why do they spend millions of dollars, and high six-figure salaries for petitions to Congress and agencies, rather than actually supporting government whistleblowers with badly needed legal advice and help? [Read more...]

Peter B Collins Interviews Coleen Rowley: Take Back Obama Transparency Award!

Rowleycollins

Listen to the show here.

Please Sign the Petition Here:Take Award Back.Com

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by contributing directly and or purchasing Boiling Frogs showcased products.

Rescind Obama’s “Transparency Award” Now!

Tell POGO, OMB Watch, the National Security Archive, Open the Government.Org, and the Reporters Committee to publicly take back their Transparency Award to President Obama

takebackaward

The following petition was co-written by Coleen Rowley and me, and has been backed by more than 25 government whistleblowers and over 20 organizations. Awarding the worst president in US history when it comes to government whistleblowers with a Transparency Award is a huge insult. Presenting a president who has dramatically increased government secrecy with an Anti-Secrecy Award is ridiculous. Rewarding one of the worst US presidents when it comes to invocation of unconstitutional state secrets privilege is ludicrous. This award is a major insult to all liberty-loving Americans. This award is a slap to all freedom-liberty seeking activists. This award is dumb, highly damaging, and extremely dangerous by what it says it represents. Please stand up and say ‘NO’ to this award by signing this petition. I urge you to demand that this award be taken back immediately. I implore you to not let them get away with this in your name. I am asking you to sign this petition and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Don’t let them mock our nation, our people and our values: Take Obama’s Transparency Award Back Now.

Please Sign the Petition Here:Take Award Back.Com

Thank You,

Sibel Edmonds

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by contributing directly and or purchasing Boiling Frogs showcased products.

The EyeOpener: Whistleblowers & Activists Line Up to Take Back Obama Transparency Award

Exclusive Boiling Frogs Video with James Corbett

Here is an exclusive video by James Corbett with the inaugural edition of the EyeOpener, a new weekly video series produced in conjunction with Boiling Frogs Post, on Obama’s Secret Transparency Award. This news clip is a prelude to our petition, ‘Rescind Obama’s “Transparency Award” Now!,’ co-written by Coleen Rowley and me, and signed by more than 25 high-profile government whistleblowers and over 20 organizations, which will be launched tomorrow morning. We are going to need every single one of you, your signatures, your support, and your voices to get these organizations to take back the undeserved and hypocritical award. Please watch this video. Maybe watch it again. Think about it. Get angry. Share this with everyone you know. Help up disseminate this and encourage others to watch think, get angry, and take action. We are counting on you; on us.

 

For further information and more background on this action campaign you can read this and this.

Please stay tuned for our upcoming petition tomorrow morning, and thank you all.

Sibel Edmonds

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by contributing directly and or purchasing Boiling Frogs showcased products.

More on Obama’s War Against Transparency & Whistleblowers

Is It Time for Another Award for Obama?

obamaA couple of weeks ago I wrote about Obama as the worst president when it comes to whistleblowers and transparency, and the only one to actually receive an award for it. Of course I had mixed reactions and greatly varying reception. On one hand those who value transparency and our Constitution objectively; on the other hand, those who value partisanship above all and are blinded to the realities on the ground. In my writings I had made sure I included the media’s role in giving this awful president the pass despite his solid track record in being the ‘worst’ and the group of foundation-puppies who have been secretly rewarding him for his ‘worst-ness’ in return for a couple of extra bones from their masters. I believe in being fair, well, at least I try. Salon had an excellent piece by Greenwald on Obama’s record as ‘the most awful’ when it comes to transparency and whistleblowers, and here is a well-put quote on ‘awfulness’ of those organizations presenting this ‘awful’ president with an award for simply being awful toward transparency and whistleblowers…and doing so secretly:

It is not hyperbole to say that the Obama administration is waging an all-out war against transparency and whistleblowing (and the transparency groups who obsequiously awarded Obama a transparency award [one accepted in secret] are as disgraceful as the five Norwegians who awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize as he continues to do things like this). The persecution of WikiLeaks -- for engaging in the crux of investigative journalism -- along with anyone who supports it is one particularly dangerous weapon in that war. And anyone who defies or resists that war deserves, and will need, ample public support.

Bravo to Greenwald for telling it as is and Salon for actually publishing it. I encourage you to go and read the entire article here at Salon, and while you are there thank him for speaking out on these extremely troubling issues.

Also today, I came across another article at Guardian on ‘Obama: the Worst President for Whistleblowers’ echoing my own piece from two weeks ago titled ‘When it Comes to Whistleblowers Obama Worse than Nixon & Far Worse Than Bush.’ Here are excerpts from Guardian’s article:

Barack Obama has the worst record of any US president when it comes to dealing with whistleblowers, according to the Oscar-nominated director of a documentary about the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s.

Judith Ehrlich, whose 2009 film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers explored the 70s leak of US government documents on the Vietnam war, said Obama had indicted five alleged whistleblowers since taking office, making him the "worst president in terms of his record on whistleblowing".

Next week, on Monday, we are going to start a public campaign targeting Obama’s assaults on transparency, the First Amendment, and of course whistleblowers, and we, the irate minority, are going to go after those who have been encouraging and awarding this ‘worst’ president for all these assaults. On Monday we’ll have a great video clip for you on Mr. Obama’s real record and the implications of being given an award, secretly that is. On Tuesday we’ll be launching a website and a petition to address this incredibly ludicrous award, and we’ll invite all of you to join us in this petition and related campaigns. Please get ready and stay tuned!

# # # #

This site depends exclusively on readers’ support. Please help us continue by contributing directly and or purchasing Boiling Frogs showcased products.