Privatizating and Outsourcing the MilitaryWritten by Ernest Hancock Subject: Torture
(Ilene is one of my sources for on air guests. During my years in radio Ilene has had several guests that she has been passionate about getting on the air, but this time she was very annimated about everyone knowing about this issue)
How the Bush Administration's financial interests are trumping truth about Privatizating and Outsourcing the Military . Currently, 97% of our ships are flying foreign flags - thereby not accountable to American Environmental, Safety, and International laws.
For Immediate Release:
Press Contact - Ilene Proctor
Press Contact - Ilene Proctor
(310) 271 5857: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
How The Son of a Bush - Issued a War of Words and Orders Against Lt. Eric Shine, a Federal Officer who Exposed this Administration’s War Profiteering and Privatizing in the Military
America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of political prisoners insane. It is the current doctrine of US psychological torture. If the panorama could be viewed all at once, the American people would see an administration that, by the summer of 2003, felt it could do whatever it wanted to anyone. Bush's inner circle validated every cliché about the arrogance of power, and Americans are noticing at long last the Bush White House's habitual contempt for the nation's legal and constitutional traditions. In modern media context, the Bush administration's defense of their omnipotence means destructive counter-tactics against any critics who dare speak out.
Dirtying up one’s opponents is the name of the game. “Controversialize” your enemies so the public won’t take them seriously. Turn them into laughingstocks. Declare them to be crazy or incompetent. Humiliate, defame, and demoralize them. Assassinate character and career. Cut off the proverbial head and the body soon follows.
The whole sorry saga can be encapsulated in one man’s story: Lt. Eric Shine’s background reads like a packet of pedigrees: His father and brother attended West Point, uncle, Annapolis; another was Speaker of the House. Lt. Shine graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in 1991.
www.usmma.org for the academy (Kings Pointer Now in Charge of Navy's Middle East Forces ), sister academy to West Point and Annapolis requiring Congressional competitive appointments, said to be one of the ten toughest schools to get into in the U.S. and at the time of Lt. Shine's graduation, ranked higher than M.I.T. and Harvard. A Standard and Poor's report on the education of America's senior business managers, for example, places the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy 18th in the nation among the top 550 colleges and universities producing Presidents, Vice Presidents and Directors of U.S. companies, in proportion to numbers of graduates.
Upon Lt. Shine's graduation from the academy he received dual congressional and presidential lifetime appointments. Earning his U.S. Naval Commission with Top Secret security clearance and more; he sailed as a Federal Maritime Engineering Officer for the United States embedded within numerous shipping lines (now flying foreign flags). Lt. Shine has been afforded broad access to the inner workings of our government, its corporations and industries from many vantage points. Yet today, despite his multiple accomplishments, Lt. Shine is hunted and hounded as victim of unlawful retaliatory counter-prosecution by the United States and Department of Homeland Security. .
Lt. Shine is a “whistle blower." His problems started when he filed a series of grievances regarding ship maintenance; procedural; safety and regulatory issues - including illegal dumping from Government vessels, and civil rights violations committed by numerous federal contractors, including pay and due process; basic food inequities (serving 2 meals instead of 3 per day as contracted for by Federal shipping articles),etc. Because of Lt. Shine’s intrepid actions, he was punished even denied rights to compassionate leave when his father lay dying, then terminated upon his father's death,
Determined to change the corrupt practices he has witnessed, he contacts the 23 Members of the Senate Commerce Committee, offering testimony on what he considered serious and dangerous practices now routinely allowed despite the law and what he was taught at Kings Point. He is then contacted by the Department of Homeland Security, subjected to a endless nightmare of legal harassment that denies him both his right of free speech, effectively silencing him with charges of 'depression.' No one will listen, he finds himself entirely alone.
While suffering continuing harassment, personal, and professional injuries from his Federal Officers Association and the Shipping companies, Lt. Shine uncovered that the statutory Board setup by Congress was unlawfully dissolved so as to facilitate theft of tens of billions of dollars of Federal Defense and Federal Transportation funds. Since there is no proper neutral system to redress grievances, its now impossible for shipboard Federal Officer's to file or pursue any complaints from simple pay issues to smuggled nukes. Instead a complaint system is used to identify, attack, even euthanize complainants like Lt. Shine. Tip of the iceberg in what Lt. Shine has uncovered.
Adding insults to his injuries, Federal Officers went as far as to suggest that Lt. Shine put a gun to his head and blow himself away. Assaulted verbally and physically battered, Homeland Security increased the pressure and retaliations by putting out a BOLO or "Be On the Look Out" poster on Lt. Shine declaring him to be dangerous. .
Lacking any recourse, Lt. Shine finally took complaints into Civil Court against two major shipping companies, General Agencies of the United States, and the Federal Officer's Association, which all colluded to protect each other. Many retaliatory counter-prosecutions were pursued only to protect overarching war profiteering and privateering by maintaining a climate of fear.
Beginning with the HW Bush administration and finalized in the wake of the events surrounding 9-11 and unbeknownst to Lt. Shine, the Federal Officers Association and Shipping Companies opportunistically banded together with this Bush Administration to finish dismantling all statutory grievance and arbitration processes to turn them into systems of administrative counter-prosecution.
The co-defendants, all undeclared Agencies of the United States, filed motions to move Lt. Shine’s civil suits out of State into Federal Court where he was intentionally detained for years. After Lt. Shine was sufficiently roughed up and beaten down by the General Agencies, Homeland Security stepped up to the pressure. They initiated a bizarre rendition program and internment process used to not only detain “foreign enemy combatents” but U.S. Citizens as well, including Federal, Military and Constitutional Officers who once had enormous legal rights and protections. One only need look at related court records to see there is much more going on here then the alleged "incompetence" of Lt. Shine or his feeling "depressed" after being tortured. Constitutional Officers are now prosecuted for speaking their conscience and trying to enforce Constitutional rights, as in the case against Lt. Erin Watada.
On March 06 of 2003, "Homeland Security" swung for a grand slam by stepping in and filing an Executive-Administrative cross-complaint against Lt. Shine, actually charging him with, "being depressed.” This essentially, effectively quashed Lt. Shine’s pre-existing Article III judicial civil complaints in violation of the separation of powers using falsified medical records as "evidence" against him. To cover up the involved corrupt federal contracting schemes, from 2003 to present, Homeland Security aggressively attempted to prove, at enormous expense to U.S. taxpayer and great injury and expense to Lt. Shine, that he is medically and mentally incompetent. Dating falsified investigations all the way back to 1984, Lt. Shine’s homes were seized, property and rights liquidated.
Since 2003 or before, Homeland Security has been monitoring Lt. Shine. Keeping him in a "virtual prison" of sorts, the government has seized his federal maritime professional engineering license, associated degree, officer’s papers, personal and medical records to detain him in legal limbo, bugged his phone and other communications and more. They have effectively denied him access to the courts and proper redress. Now you know why the administration wishes to do away with Habeus Corpus and other ancient rights.
In what can only be reminiscent of a Franz Kafka novel, Lt. Shine as charged and prosecuted for "being depressed", is somehow expected to defend himself and shoulder costs for his defense against a "shock and awe" program of the "United States".
This utter and complete travesty of injustice - failure and refusal of right to a fair trial and judicious due process, no access to charges or redress for underlying grievances, inability to face his accusers and see and or hear evidence or charges being held against him – all this must be stopped before this same program is turned upon us all where complainants can be turned into defendants with a wave of administrative hand by Homeland Security.
According to Lt. Shine, his plight is but a symptom of our country’s pervasive top to bottom feudal corporate culture of corruption as this government careens recklessly and intentionally toward authoritarianism, fascism and overt criminality to legalize "torture", "overlook federal contracting violations", even "war profiteering", "privateering" and more. Disturbing implications of this must be clear to all: citizens are defined as haves and the have nots; or haves and have more; the masters -- and their slaves.
Anyone who believes in justice must step forward and demand immediate relief and redress for Lt. Shine. Without such rights and protections, our Constitution is in jeopardy where due process is nothing but a series of kangaroo courts, jumping from witch trials to star chamber, where all are used to violate every tenet the Constitution stands for and our government is required and commanded to respect and uphold.
Will America, its people and those who serve her become functionaries, economic units for a State that is nothing more than an arm of global corporations? A flag flutters, blurred in the distance. As we approach it what looked like the America stars and stripes morphs into the flags of corporations, flying, larger than life over America.
You must, we all must step forward now and do what is necessary to support and protect Lt. Shine. After all, if this can happen to Federal and Military Officers with strongest constitutional and statutory protections provided, akin to those of a U.S. Ambassador, it can and will happen to any one of us in Bush’s Oedipal "Brave New World."
Experts Want New Definition of Torture
Associated Press | March 5, 2007
WILLIAM J. KOLE
WILLIAM J. KOLE
Prisoners who endure poor or degrading treatment suffer much of the same long-term psychological distress as do captives who are tortured, suggests a study published Monday.
Experts point to human rights abuses by the U.S. military in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan, and say the findings underscore the need for a broader definition of torture.
"What is the basis for the distinction between torture and other cruel and degrading treatment? Science should inform this debate," the study's lead author, Metin Basoglu of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Steve H. Miles of the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics said the findings "show that the severity of long-lasting adverse mental effects is unrelated to whether the torture or degrading treatment is physical or psychological."
"The wrongness of these inflicted harms is compounded by the fact that most abused prisoners, including those in the present war on terror, are innocent or ignorant of terrorist activities," said Miles, who was not involved in the study.
The Bush administration has said the U.S. uses legal interrogation techniques -- not torture -- to gain information that could head off terror attacks. It insists the U.S. complies with the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
Yet Washington's definition of torture, as interpreted by the Justice Department after reports surfaced of American abuses in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan, is fairly narrow.
It excludes mental pain and suffering created by acts that do not cause severe physical pain, such as blindfolding, hooding, forced nudity, isolation and deprivation of sleep or light, the researchers said, citing a Dec. 30, 2004, Justice Department memo. The document also contends that for an act to be considered torture, there must be proof that it inflicts "prolonged mental harm."
"The implications of such a narrow definition of torture have raised serious concerns in the human rights community," said the study. "These findings suggest that physical pain per se is not the most important determinant of traumatic stress in survivors of torture."
The study involved interviews with 279 victims who suffered ill treatment and torture while imprisoned in the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia.
The researchers said they found that aggressive interrogation techniques, humiliating treatment, verbal abuse, threats against a captive's family and being forced to watch an acquaintance being tortured produced much of the same long-term mental trauma as physical torture.
"Sham executions, witnessing torture of close ones, threats of rape, fondling of genitals and isolation were associated with at least as much if not more distress than some of the physical torture stressors," they wrote.
Such experiences were just as likely as physical torture to lead to depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, said the study.
"Ill treatment during captivity ... does not seem to be substantially different from physical torture in terms of the severity of mental suffering they cause," it concluded. "These procedures do amount to torture, thereby lending support to their prohibition by international law."
Shukrije Gashi, a pro-independence activist in Kosovo, was jailed by Yugoslav authorities in 1983 and spent nearly two years as a political prisoner. Strictly speaking, she wasn't tortured, but 2 1/2 decades later it still feels that way, she says.
Gashi was confined to a cramped, unventilated cell and fed small rations of often-rotten food. Allowed to shower just once a month, she endured frequent beatings and verbal abuse.
Today, she still trembles whenever she sees the police. Her ordeal, she says, is "a spiritual burden that stays with you forever."
Gashi copes by writing poetry and running a center for conflict management.
But 24 years later, she still can't erase the indelible memories of what she endured.
"The treatment in prison was horrific," she said. "I remain psychologically burdened. Memories of the violence follow me like a shadow."
History of the United States Merchant Marine Academy
The Academy represents Federal involvement in maritime training that is more than a century old. Since the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, the U.S. Government has initiated various programs to train its citizens for service in the merchant marine. The United States Merchant Marine Academy, dedicated in 1943, represents the realization of these efforts.
Between 1874 and 1936, diverse Federal legislation supported maritime training through scholarships, internships at sea and other methods. A disastrous fire in 1934 aboard the passenger ship MORRO CASTLE, in which 134 lives were lost, convinced the U.S. Congress that direct Federal involvement in efficient and standardized training was needed.
Congress passed the landmark Merchant Marine Act in 1936, and two years later, the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps was established. The first training was given at temporary facilities until the Academy's permanent site in Kings Point, N. Y. was acquired in early 1942. Construction of the Academy began immediately, and 15 months later the task was virtually completed. The Academy was dedicated on September 30, 1943, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who noted that "the Academy serves the Merchant Marine as West Point serves the Army and Annapolis the Navy."
World War II required the Academy to forego normal operation and devote all of its resources toward meeting the emergency need for merchant marine officers. Enrollment rose to 2,700, and the planned course of instruction was reduced in length form four years to 24 months. Not-withstanding the war, shipboard training continued to be an integral part of the Academy curriculum, and midshipmen served at sea in combat zones the world over. One hundred and forty-two midshipmen gave their lives in service to their country, and many others survived torpedoes and aerial attacks. By war's end, the Academy had graduated 6,634 officers.
World War II proved that the Academy could successfully meet the needs of a nation in conflict. As the war drew to a close, plans were made to convert the Academy's wartime curriculum to a four-year, college level program to meet the peacetime requirements of the merchant marine. In August 1945, such a course was instituted.
The Academy has since grown in stature and has become one of the world's foremost institutions in the field of maritime education. Authorization for awarding the degree of bachelor of science to graduates was granted by Congress in 1949; the Academy was fully accredited as a degree-granting institution that same year; it was made a permanent institution by an Act of Congress in 1956.
The Academy's national value was again recognized as it accelerated graduating classes during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and for its involvement in such programs as training officers of the first U.S. nuclear powered merchant ship, the SAVANNAH.
Admission requirements were amended in 1974 and the Academy became the first federal service academy to enroll women students, two years ahead of Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard.
During the Persian Gulf conflict in early 1991, and for many months prior to the war, both Academy graduates and midshipmen played key roles in the massive sealift of military supplies to the Middle East. Midshipmen training at sea also participated in the humanitarian sealift to Somalia in Operation Restore Hope.
While the Academy's curriculum has changed dramatically since 1943 to reflect the technological advances of America's merchant marine, the institution has maintained its unswerving commitment to quality education and excellence among its midshipmen.
For more information about the history of the Merchant Marine please visit the American Merchant Marine Museum located on campus.