03 December 2005
When, in the aftermath of World War II, Stalin had the Soviet Union gobble up the nations of Eastern Europe, he christened them People’s Democracies – although they were neither democratic nor meant to be. This debasement of “democracy” and other noble terms such as “freedom” and “peace” to crude propaganda was undoubtedly what George Orwell had in mind when he wrote his powerful novel, 1984, which portrayed a nightmarish society in which words were turned inside out to justify the policies of cynical and unscrupulous rulers.
Unfortunately, however, “democracy” has also been abused throughout American history. In the nineteenth century, land-hungry politicians, slaveholders, and businessmen defended the U.S. conquest of new territory by claiming that it would extend the area of democracy and freedom. In the twentieth century, President Woodrow Wilson grandly proclaimed that U.S. participation in World War I would “make the world safe for democracy.”
A few decades later, Washington officials again sanctified U.S. policy by invoking democracy, for they declared repeatedly that the U.S. role in the Cold War was designed to defend the “Free World.” Indeed, it would be hard to find a U.S. war or expansionist enterprise that was not accompanied by enthusiastic rhetoric about supporting democracy.
How Presidents Use The Term "Democracy" As A Marketing Tool
02 December 2005
He wasn't talking to the pictures on the wall, as Nixon did when he finally cracked. Vice doesn't trust those portraits anyway. The walls have ears. He was talking to the only reliable man in a city of dimwits, cowards, traitors and fools: himself.
He hurled a sheaf of news reports with such force it knocked over the picture of Ahmad Chalabi that he keeps next to the picture of Churchill. Winston Chalabi, he likes to call him.’
The Autumn of the Patriarchy
“[Authorities] are doing the same as [in] Saddam’s time and worse,” former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told the London Observer, of human-rights abuses by the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. “It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.”
Allawi, one of Hussein’s victims, became a trusted CIA asset and later was handpicked by the United States to be the leader of the new Iraq. He now is the leading secular alternative to the Shiite theocrats expected to win the Dec. 15 election.’
US Occupation Is Worse Than Hussein
by Matt Wuerker
The Guardian daily said it had seen flight logs documenting the flights by 26 planes operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).’
Flight Logs Reveal Hundreds Of CIA Flights To Europe
01 December 2005
The articles, written by US military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to US military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of US and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout US-led efforts to rebuild the country.’
US Paying Iraqi Newspapers To Publish Stories
by Gary Huck
The human rights group Liberty has called on the chief constables of forces from Prestwick, near Glasgow, to Bournemouth to investigate claims that the airports are facilitating kidnap and torture - which is illegal under British and European Union law.
The move follows international concern over the CIA's failure to confirm or deny suggestions that it has illegally abducted terrorist suspects and flown them between a network of clandestine detention centres - so-called "black sites" - for interrogation under torture.’
UK airports 'Are Stop-Offs In Torture Flights'
Meanwhile, in the Italian Courts ….
‘A judge has rejected an appeal by a former CIA station chief in Milan against an arrest warrant issued for his alleged role in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric, ruling that he was not protected by diplomatic immunity.
Italian judges have issued arrest warrants for 22 purported CIA agents, including the former station chief Robert Seldon Lady, accused of involvement in the kidnapping of cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr.’
Judge Rejects Appeal of CIA Arrest Warrant
In the wake of that and other rulings, authorities have moved repeatedly to avoid judicial review by changing the status of prisoners, shipping them overseas or making adjustments in the conditions of their confinement - sometimes days before suspects were to appear in court.’
Sidestepping Courts In The War On Terrorism
30 November 2005
Senior Scotland Yard officers and Whitehall sources are convinced prosecutors will accept the defence of the marksmen who shot Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year old electrician, at Stockwell Tube station on July 22.
The two were said to have been interviewed last week by investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). They are thought to have used the defence that they “honestly believed” he was a terrorist and say they used “reasonable force” to stop him endangering the public.’
Police Who Shot Brazilian On Tube 'To Escape Charges'
The Man Who Sold the War
"The worst stuff I saw was from the detaining units who would torture people in their homes," he tells FRONTLINE. "… They would smash people's feet with the back of an axe-head. They would break bones, ribs, you know. That was serious stuff."
He says he sent reports of the abuse he saw up the chain of command, but he does not believe his claims were followed up on. Lagouranis also talks about the confusion on the ground over whether Iraqi prisoners were subject to the Geneva Conventions. "I mean, there's just no way that what we were doing and what was sanctioned by the Pentagon through the IRE, the interrogation rules of engagement - there's no way that fit in within the Geneva Conventions," he says. And he describes his own use of military working dogs to intimidate prisoners.
This is the edited transcript of an interview conducted on Sept. 25, 2005.’
The Torture Question
The earliest newspaper stories, reports by human rights groups and interview notes in the folder date to 2002, when the Bush administration began to defend its policy of holding hundreds of people incommunicado and indefinitely, without showing evidence against them. By March 2003, the file's progression shows, U.S. military coroners in Afghanistan had ruled as homicides the beating deaths of two detainees in American custody at Bagram Air Base.
The file grew thicker. I added subsections. "Torture," one of them is labelled. The most recent addition is marked "Secret Prisons." It holds the new accounts of a clandestine CIA prison system across the four corners of the world, most notably in what The Washington Post called "a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe."
Jose Padilla always has had his own file.’
Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."’
Ex - Powell Aide Criticizes Bush on Iraq
Elsewhere on the reservation ….
‘European Union Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini threatened sanctions for any EU nation found to have allowed secret CIA prison camps to operate on their soil.
"Should the accusations be accurate, I would be forced to draw serious consequences," Frattini said at a security conference in Berlin.
He said that any EU country found to have harboured one of the reported prison camps could have their voting rights in the Council of Ministers, the body which groups the 25 EU heads of government, suspended.
Frattini said the operation of such camps on EU soil would violate the bloc's rules governing freedom and human rights.’
EU Threatens Sanctions For States Operating Secret CIA Camps
29 November 2005
But tired and weary from fighting their divinely inspired wars for truth, justice, freedom and the American way, the boys took a detour and headed back to their ranch in Crawford, Texas, for a well-deserved break from their international crime-fighting spree.
Now fresh and well-rested after their year-long vacation, our valiant crusaders—oil executives by day, freedom fighters by night—return to the world stage once again as:
Batman and Robin: The Caped Crusaders in a Comic Book War
... Last seen driving north to an undisclosed location in Washington, DC, our caped crusaders stopped along the Interstate to fill up the Batmobile.
”Good grief, Batman, did you get a look at the price of gas?”
“Yes, Robin, my trusted CEO, but higher oil prices are a necessary evil in fighting wars on evil.”
“Holy Halliburton, Batman, greed is good!”
“No, Robin, greed works. Remember oil executives are a generous lot who reinvest the profits we earn to defeat those evildoers who despise the freedoms we enjoy.”
“Like the freedoms we enjoy to earn enormous profits and get tax breaks as well, Batman?”
“Precisely, Robin. We invest the windfall, which stimulates the economy, which creates more jobs and helps us build better, more sophisticated weapons that ‘shock and awe’ fiendish villains like Saddam the Joker and his coterie of evildoers, Dr Germ, Chemical Ali and the Comical Baghdad Bob—those dastardly, diabolical rogues in our deck of 52 cards.”
“Holy one-eyed Jack, Batman, you dealt the Joker a ‘Royal Flush’ and swoosh! flushed him right down the toilet!”
“I'll say, Robin, a Joker's Poker you might add, but let's not be too harsh, my friend; remember our Judeo-Christian values.”
“You’re right, Batman, we are good Christians... but holy Christ, $75 to fill up the Batmobile... can we write this off?”
“No, Robin. You see, all good Americans must share in the sacrifices necessary to succeed in this war on terror. Attendant, may I also have a ‘Freedom Isn't Free’ magnet for the bumper of my new Batmobile? The red, white and blue one is preferred, thank you. Hmm… Made in China? Oh, well. But thank you, sir, and please remember to tell all the good Americans to show off their sacrifices to other drivers, by proudly displaying these magnets on their SUVs as well. Keep the change…”
Vroom, screech, whoosh...
“Jeepers, Batman! Sorry, but I almost forgot to tell you: while we were on vacation, the wicked witch of the south, the evil diabolical daughter of the Kat Women, that princess of darkness, the fiendish—Kategory 5—Katrina, the Kat Girl, returned with fury and gave the ‘Big Easy’ quite a rough time. That femme fatale spared no one; she soaked the rich and drowned the poor, a real equal opportunity villainess.”
“No need to apologize, Robin; remember, as I always say, better late than never. Let's get ‘Brownie’ on the Bat phone and offer our assistance.”
“Hello, this is Michael Brown. I am relaxing at the moment; please leave a brief message after the tone.”
“Brownie, Batman and Robin here. Just got the news that New Orleans is underwater. Not to worry, though; help is on the way. The Bat Sub should arrive in about a week with some scuba gear and snorkeling masks. You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie. Stay dry!”
Batman, you’re truly a “bleeding heart” conservative, helping all those poor people down south, without… shall we say…a ‘fair complexion’.”
“Yes, but as you know, Robin, I can relate to all the people of color. Ever notice that when I don my mask, I’m black?”
“Right on, Batman.”
“And did you realize our popularity with African Americans has just doubled? From 1% to 2%!”
“A landslide! I love the new fuzzy math, Batman.”
“Precisely. I learned it at Florida State, class of 2000.”
“Holy hanging chads.”
“Holy Masquerade, my friend. But we mustn't waste any more time here in the US on domestic issues, Robin; there is work to be done abroad. We must head to the Middle East and fight the evildoers over there so we don't have to fight them over here. Hurry!”
Whiz, roar, vroom, lift-off
“Should we return to the Middle East disguised as just plain American oil executives Bush Wayne and Dick Grayson-Cheney, so we could blend in more easily, Batman?”
“No, Dick—I mean, Robin; our mission is not about oil this time, it's about disarming the villains who want to turn smoking guns into mushroom clouds. You see, Robin, the people there are brainwashed by these villains, then reprogrammed and taught to hate America because we’re good and they’re not. We need to liberate these unfortunate people from the negative influences of dastardly villains like Osama the Riddler.”
“But the Riddler hasn’t been seen since the 2004 election, when his video helped us defeat the Flip Flopper, his Ketchup Widow and their video producer, the Fat Man Mr. Freeze Fahrenheit -32.”
“Yes, Robin. Just in the nick of time, the Riddler’s last video, on election eve, doomed the Flip Flopper and his running mate, the Breck Girl.”
“I guess there’s good in all people, even Osama the Riddler—right, Batman?”
“No, Robin, not quite. The Riddler crafts his riddles in mysterious ways. Helping us defeat the Flip Flopper and get us elected helps him to recruit more fiends who hate our freedoms, like—”
“No! You don't mean the mythical, magical, manipulator of mayhem—The Invisible Man, aBoo Zarqawi, do you?”
“Yes, Robin, I’m afraid so. That dastardly, diabolical, elusive, foreign-born phantom villain who escapes more often than Harry Houdini, has more lives than a cat, and has been wounded more times than Flip Flopper, has returned once again as the diabolical mastermind behind the evil Iraqi insurgency.
“While Osama the Riddler produces videos and Saddam the Joker writes romance novels, The Invisible Man, Zarqawi, has become an Internet wizard—and part-time spammer—who communicates to his army of insurgents without electricity, phone lines or even a cable modem.
“His wizardry is so technologically sophisticated that his network cannot be traced or detected, even by our vast resources.
“Now if we could only locate his Internet Service Provider or his website...
“I got it! Robin, quick, boot up the Bat Computer! Go to Google and type in ‘The Invisible Man Zarqawi’... Click on ‘I'm Feeling Lucky’.”
“Got it, Batman! His website is called jihadists-R-us.com.”
“Great, Robin! Now go there and click ‘About Us’.”
“Bingo! We got him! It says ‘Insurgents needed, send resume (in confidence) to: Spider Hole 2, Fallujah, Iraq. Allah Akbar!’”
“Let's head to the ‘Liberated and Pacified’ Fallujah, Robin, and bring The Invisible Man to justice.”
“Should we then ‘detain’ him at Abu Ghraib, Batman?”
“No, that would be too harsh, my friend. Remember, we are compassionate conservatives. He’ll be more comfortable in a spider hole in the tropical confines of Guantanamo Bay.”
“You are truly a man of conscience, Batman.”
“Yes, Robin. There we can play tricks and harmless pranks on all these villains to gain the necessary information needed to thwart their evil intentions in our divinely inspired war on terror. This is the new American Way, and the righteous thing to do. Then, as a reward for their cooperation, we’ll send them off with a one-way first class ticket to paradise, where they can meet their seventy-two virgins.”
“Holy Geneva Conventions, Batman, does it work?”
“Of course it works, Robin, and when we eventfully capture Osama the Riddler and send him off to Paradise as well, the War on Terror will be won and our Mission Accomplished.”
“But won't other evildoers follow, Batman?”
“No, Robin. American democracy will transform the region and our Muslim brothers and sisters will shower us and our Israeli friends with candy and flowers... then we all can live happily ever after in this comic book world.
“And as for our brave soldiers fighting in this War on Terror—somewhere over the rainbow—they too can then return home, simply by tapping the heels of their combat boots together three times and saying: ‘There's no place like home, there’s no place like home’ ”
By Jerry Ghinelli