June is Torture Awareness Month

I just learned June is Torture Awareness Month. June 26 is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Awareness days and months offer a time to raise awareness to the public about a cause. It’s a time to hold events, write letters to the editors, hold a march or vigil, etc. The media is often particularly interested in covering these events, too. June 1 – 7 is Stand up for Truth week – An International Week to Support Whistleblowing.

Democracy needs truth-telling. People in many countries will create Stand Up For Truth activities during the week of June 1-7, 2015 — to move toward a culture of openness and truth as well as security for those who take the risk of disclosing information that authorities want to keep hidden. Democracy is based on informed consent of the governed. This is not possible when crucial (and sometimes illegal) government policies remain hidden from the public. Whistleblowing is essential for bringing such policies into the light: exposing key information related to human rights violations, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties and war. We must stand up for a free press, individual privacy, governmental and corporate transparency, due process and rule of law as we seek to reveal official information that the public has a right to know. Persecution of whistleblowers and journalists is illegitimate and should be opposed as such. While undemocratic authority thrives on secrecy, we should bring whistleblowing to the forefront of public consciousness — in a process that widely encourages the release of documentation of governmental and corporate actions that cannot withstand the light of day. Please initiate Stand Up For Truth activities where you live. StandUpForTruth.org Initiating Organizations: ExposeFacts Freedom of the Press Foundation International Modern Media Institute Networkers SouthNorth RootsAction.org

Can you think of a day, week, month, or number of days to bring awareness to TIs? I think November or December would be good. November 9 is World Freedom Day and December 10 is Human Rights Day. Actually, we could have it Nov 9 – Dec 10. That would make a lot of sense. How about what to call it? I like

International Activism for the Elimination of Non-consensual Studies.”

Do you have suggestions? If you do, please share them in the comment field below.


Call your Senator by Friday – tell him/her to end government surveillance

Every step of our journey counts! TIs are under surveillance so change the law and make it illegal.

This is an alert from the ACLU. (You can sign up to receive their email alerts to make it easy to stay up to date, sign petitions, etc.) The links below should work – I have activated them.

What seemed like a long shot a week ago suddenly seems within reach! We’ve been fighting the abusive surveillance of the Patriot Act for over a decade – and we finally have a chance of victory.

Last weekend, for the first time, a majority of Senators took a stand against a blanket renewal of provisions of the Patriot Act. But the fight against government spying is far from over.

The Senate is coming back for a special Sunday session just hours before the Patriot Act expires on June 1st.

Now is the moment to flood our representatives with urgent messages to rein in government surveillance. We have till 5pm Friday (tomorrow).

Can you spare 3 minutes and lend your voice?

Polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about NSA surveillance, and there are prominent members of Congress who agree and say it’s simply time to let Section 215 die.

This is our chance to let them know that we support them – and to let Senators who are on the fence know how strongly we feel about ending these harmful surveillance programs.

We only have roughly a day left to ramp up the pressure and make sure our public outcry is heard loud and clear. Will you join us?

Call your Senator and tell them to restore your privacy when they meet on Sunday.

We are so close to winning this, so thanks for standing together to stop this dangerous mass surveillance of all Americans. The stakes are high. The time is now.

Thanks for taking action,
Anthony for the ACLU Action team

Senate dispute over NSA data collection threatens to shut other spy programs – Havasu News: Nation And World

Senate dispute over NSA data collection threatens to shut other spy programs – Havasu News: Nation And World.


Please call your Senator’s office and let them know that you do not support surveillance programs. It’s a step in the right direction for us. And since it’s already being discussed and debated, we need to voice our concerns, too. These small steps may lead to a bigger victory over time.

FOIA Tip No. 6—The FOIA Process in a Nutshell

This article – and this site – offers good information on FOIA requests and lack of transparency in government.


FOIA Process in a Nutshell

So what happens after you craft that great FOIA letter requesting those docs that will make your article/dissertation/book/life sooo much more interesting? That’s what we’ll be looking at today, the FOIA Process. Follow along with the lovely chart on the right.

  1. Send the letter. Do your background research, chose the correct agency, and craft a clear and targeted request.
  2. Receive a response. Generally, you will receive a letter from the agency you sent your request to before twenty business days have expired. Usually, the agency will cite a backlog of requests and tell you that processing your request will take a substantial amount of time. You will usually receive a case number that the agency will use to keep track of your request.

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Movie: Kill the Messenger

It’s not that this is an uplifting movie – it’s not. But it is about a journalist who writes about the CIA, and then they ruin his life. It’s based on a true story and offers a sliver of evidence of just what the country can do to so-called dissenters. So much for freedom of speech, transparency, and the d-word.

Kill the Messenger 

From Fandango –

Kill the Messenger Synopsis
A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA’s role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary…
I rented this movie last night. I liked it – it moved fast and the characters were likeable. And, while I mentioned it is not uplifting, it’s not depressing either. Most of the movie is about his career at the newspaper, his family, and then, of course, his pursuit of the story. We learn glimpses of how his life is ruined only at the end, but we don’t get the entire story. Maybe that’s a good thing?

Mind games – Washington Post, 2007

This article is from 2007, but it stills sounds relevant and it does not write TIs off as mentally ill. Also, it’s from the Washington Post, so if you need a credible source, you can use this. (Why not send the article to your Congress Members with a summary of your experience?)

Mind games

But, given the history of America’s clandestine research, it’s reasonable to assume that if the defense establishment could develop mind-control or long-distance ray weapons, it almost certainly would. And, once developed, the possibility that they might be tested on innocent civilians could not be categorically dismissed.”


Concerns about microwaves and mind control date to the 1960s, when the U.S. government discovered that its embassy in Moscow was being bombarded by low-level electromagnetic radiation. In 1965, according to declassified Defense Department documents, the Pentagon, at the behest of the White House, launched Project Pandora, top-secret research to explore the behavioral and biological effects of low-level microwaves. For approximately four years, the Pentagon conducted secret research: zapping monkeys; exposing unwitting sailors to microwave radiation; and conducting a host of other unusual experiments (a sub-project of Project Pandora was titled Project Bizarre). The results were mixed, and the program was plagued by disagreements and scientific squabbles. The “Moscow signal,” as it was called, was eventually attributed to eavesdropping, not mind control, and Pandora ended in 1970. And with it, the military’s research into so-called non-thermal microwave effects seemed to die out, at least in the unclassified realm.

But there are hints of ongoing research: An academic paper written for the Air Force in the mid-1990s mentions the idea of a weapon that would use sound waves to send words into a person’s head. “The signal can be a ‘message from God’ that can warn the enemy of impending doom, or encourage the enemy to surrender,” the author concluded.

In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: using microwaves to send words into someone’s head. That work is frequently cited on mind-control Web sites. Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the research laboratory’s directed energy directorate, declined to discuss that patent or current or related research in the field, citing the lab’s policy not to comment on its microwave work.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed for this article, the Air Force released unclassified documents surrounding that 2002 patent — records that note that the patent was based on human experimentation in October 1994 at the Air Force lab, where scientists were able to transmit phrases into the heads of human subjects, albeit with marginal intelligibility. Research appeared to continue at least through 2002. Where this work has gone since is unclear — the research laboratory, citing classification, refused to discuss it or release other materials.

another quote…

GIRARD’S STORY, HOWEVER STRANGE, reflects what TIs around the world report: a chance encounter with a government agency or official, followed by surveillance and gang stalking, and then, in many cases, voices, and pain similar to electric shocks. Some in the community have taken it upon themselves to document as many cases as possible. One TI from California conducted about 50 interviews, narrowing the symptoms down to several major areas: “ringing in the ears,” “manipulation of body parts,” “hearing voices,” “piercing sensation on skin,” “sinus problems” and “sexual attacks.” In fact, the TI continued, “many report the sensation of having their genitalia manipulated.”

and another…

In general, the outlook for TIs is not good; many lose their jobs, houses and family. Depression is common. But for many at the rally, experiencing the community of mind-control victims seems to help. One TI, a man who had been a rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard before voices in his head sent him on a downward spiral, expressed the solace he found among fellow TIs in a long e-mail to another TI: “I think that the only people that can help are people going through the same thing. Everyone else will not believe you, or they are possibly involved.”

Chicago pays reparations for police torture

City Council Approves $5.5M Burge Torture Reparations Deal

CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen have approved a deal to provide $5.5 million in reparations to police torture victims, a step Mayor Rahm Emanuel said was an “essential step in righting a wrong.”

“This stain cannot be removed from our city’s history but it can be used as a lesson of what not to do,” Emanuel said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

The council voted 42-0 in favor of the reparations package, which includes a $5.5 million fund to pay restitution of up to $100,000 each to people with credible claims of torture by Burge and his detectives. The package also includes a number of services for torture victims and their families – including free job training and tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago; and psychological, family, substance abuse, and other counseling.

An independent arbitrator would make the final decision on all disputed torture claims. Only victims that have not received a previous settlement from the city will receive reparations from the fund.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) said it’s the least the city can do for torture victims.

“They may have suffered physically years ago, but mentally – and physically, quite frankly – they still suffer today, and this council’s moving forward to try to do what we can to assist these men,” he said.