04 March 2006
‘Every generation or so an evil arises which is so monstrous, so degrading to the human spirit, so morally bankrupt that even to debate it is a sign of moral corruption. Native American genocide, slavery, totalitarianism, and Jim Crow laws are evils so unspeakable that we cannot understand today how anyone with a shred of decency could have once supported them. Today, torture, a practice far more degrading to us than to our victims, represents such an evil.
The issue has become urgent because Bush has chosen to demand the legal right to torture anyone he wishes. When torture was revealed at Abu Ghraib, the administration - falsely and shamelessly - attempted to shift its own responsibility onto foot-soldiers like Lynndie England. Since then, however, leaks have revealed that the CIA has tortured terrorist suspects all around the world, using techniques like "waterboarding." In response, Senator John McCain proposed an amendment, attached to the 2006 Defense bill, that would ban torture.
Bush's first response to McCain's amendment was to threaten to veto the Defense Bill if it passed. When it became clear that McCain's amendment would pass by an overwhelming majority (it passed in by a 90-9 margin in the end), Bush reversed course and said he would support the amendment. Yet when he actually signed the bill, Bush added something called a "signing statement" in which he reserved the right to do whatever he chooses as Commander-in-Chief to "protect the American people from further terrorist attacks." In short, even as he signed McCain's amendment, Bush let it be known that he intends to ignore it as he sees fit.’
03 March 2006
‘Two highly classified intelligence reports delivered directly to President Bush before the Iraq war cast doubt on key public assertions made by the president, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials as justifications for invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, according to records and knowledgeable sources.’
‘President Bush today said his landmark nuclear cooperation agreement with India marked a crucial advancement in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons - ensuring for the first time the presence of international inspectors at civilian nuclear reactors.
But administration officials conceded that the agreement was not everything the U.S. had hoped for - permitting India to keep eight of its 22 reactors under wraps as secret military sites.
Moreover, India will be able to decide whether to open any new weapons-friendly, "fast-breeder" reactors to inspection as civil sites, or to classify them as secret military installations, including a massive plant under construction that Indian officials indicated today would remain closed to inspectors.’
With one simple, breathtakingly hypocritical move, Strangelove has blown a hole in the nuclear rules that the entire world has been playing by & broken his own word to assure that we will not ship nuclear technology to India without the proper safeguards.
‘Legal, diplomatic, religious and human rights authorities are struggling to be heard on what many consider to be the "Son of Guantánamo" - a secret prison in Afghanistan where the US military is said to have been holding some 500 "enemy combatants" for as long as three or four years without access to lawyers.
The existence of the prison, located at Bagram airbase near Kabul, was reported last week by the New York Times. But the story was quickly relegated to back pages by the revelation that Dubai Ports World (DPW), a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, was about to take over the management of as many as six major US seaports.
On the Bagram prison issue, the views of David Cole, one of America's foremost authorities on constitutional law, are typical of reactions obtained by us. Cole, a professor at Georgetown University law school in Washington, said, "The Bagram story raises serious questions about the Bush administration's unwillingness to be bound by law.
The administration chose Guantánamo in the first place because it thought it was a law-free zone. Now that the Supreme Court has said that the administration is actually accountable to legal limits at Guantánamo, it is turning to other avenues to avoid accountability. The only real solution is to conform its conduct to the law, not to continue to evade legal responsibility for its actions."’
‘"Tantamount to torture" is how an inspection committee of the International Committee of the Red Cross recently described detention practices at Guantanamo Bay. More than 400 men have been detained for more than four years in virtual solitary confinement at the military detention center in Cuba. The prisoners, whom the U.S. government has denominated "enemy combatants," are foreign citizens taken into custody from various countries.
They have been interrogated repeatedly. With few exceptions, they have insisted they have done nothing wrong and took no action against the US government. Some may have violated international laws; some may be terrorists. But others may not. What we do know is that these people have not been charged, let alone tried. The Bush administration has fought tooth and nail to prevent these "detainees" from being given an opportunity to appear before a court to challenge the basis for the government's classifying them as combatants. They just languish in Gitmo.
The writ of habeas corpus is enshrined in our Constitution: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." It is the traditional method used to require prosecutors to explain to a judge the basis for imprisoning those suspected of committing crimes. In an astounding surrender to executive power, Congress recently passed a bill purporting to repeal the prisoners' right to file habeas petitions and substituted a procedure that leaves the prisoners at the whim and caprice of military tribunals. Translation: continued indefinite incarceration.’
‘Stung by growing criticism of his Iraq policy which has manifested itself in all-time low public opinion ratings, President Bush last month embarked on a tour in which he delivered five speeches outlining his "Plan for Victory" in Iraq, as well as offering a defense of his decision to invade Iraq. "It is true that much of the intelligence [used to justify the invasion] turned out to be wrong", Mr. Bush said in the fourth of these speeches. "As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq."
While taking responsibility for his actions, Mr. Bush has not taken well to any criticism of his role in over-selling the case for war, and in his speech was quick to attack those who dared hold him to account. "Some of the most irresponsible comments about manipulating intelligence", he said, "have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence we saw, and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein. These charges are pure politics."’
02 March 2006
Whether it is the external or internal policies of this administration, the word terra remains the cornerstone of all its past, present and future plans of action. Be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Katrina, domestic elections, passing of sham legislation, the Guantanamo Gulag, the discovery of torture dungeons or the scandal of spying on own citizens, no crisis has ever been strong enough to withstand the magic mantra of terra, terra, terra.
The latest scandal, the domestic spying program that shot to doll rags every possible U.S. law and Constitutional amendment, too is now conveniently being called the "terrorist surveillance program." Were it not for the fear of puking, one would have laughed at the sickening use of this word.’
‘The memo is a chronological account, submitted on July 7, 2004, to Vice Admiral Albert Church, who led a Pentagon investigation into abuses at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It reveals that Mora’s criticisms of Administration policy were unequivocal, wide-ranging, and persistent. Well before the exposure of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, in April, 2004, Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush’s decision, in February, 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions, which prohibit both torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”
He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward US-held terrorist suspects was an implicit invitation to abuse. Mora also challenged the legal framework that the Bush Administration has constructed to justify an expansion of executive power, in matters ranging from interrogations to wiretapping. He described as “unlawful,” “dangerous,” and “erroneous” novel legal theories granting the President the right to authorize abuse. Mora warned that these precepts could leave U.S. personnel open to criminal prosecution.’
01 March 2006
‘Acting with impunity and wielding the moral authority of pedophiles, Bush and his fellow Neocons have decimated what was left of America's good name while severely crippling our nation’s capacity for advancing and protecting human rights. Setting a sanguineous course in their reckless pursuit of wealth and power, they have afflicted humankind with their perverse agenda. With alarming consistency, these sociopaths have demonstrated their utter disregard for humanity and the well-being of our planet.
While the US has a history of imperialism, deep cruelty, and mass murder, including slaughtering one million civilians in the conquest of the Philippines, legalizing the institution of slavery, and committing the Native American genocide, by World War II America had arguably begun to demonstrate a reasonable level of commitment to humanitarian ideals. While it was a long, painful process, Abolitionists, Women Suffragists, Populists, Labor Activists, Civil Rights Protestors, and the like forced the United States to strive for truly noble causes. From the end of World War II up until the 1960's, one could reasonably conclude that the nation primarily responsible for the defeat of militaristic fascism in both Europe and Asia had earned a degree of moral authority, in spite of its remaining flaws.’
"The enemies of freedom will be defeated." - President George W. Bush, 2005"
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo, 1971"
The following happened in the United States of America on Feb. 9 of this year.
The scene is the Little Falls branch of the Montgomery County Public Library in Bethesda, Md. Business is going on as usual when two men in uniform stride into the main reading room and call for attention. Then they make an announcement: It is forbidden to use the library's computers to view Internet pornography.
As people are absorbing this, one of the men challenges a patron about a Web site he is visiting and asks the man to step outside. At this point, a librarian intervenes and calls the uniformed men aside. A police officer is summoned. The men leave. It turns out they are employees of the county's department of Homeland Security and were operating way outside their authority.’
28 February 2006
‘In a press release issued last week, the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations said, "If any government does not deserve to be part of the Council, it is the one who represents a State that benefited from the slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, that kept a 'constructive commitment' to extend the existence of the apartheid regime, that protects and bestows impunity to the human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other Arab territories, that supported the bloody military dictatorships of Latin America, that today tortures and murders in the name of liberty which the majority of its own citizens do not benefit from, that fails to meet its commitments and obligations of official development assistance to the Third World, and that threatens and attacks the Southern countries."’
27 February 2006
‘The congressional elections this coming November is the last chance for Americans to reaffirm the separation of powers that is the basis of their civil liberties. Unless the voters correct their mistake of putting both the executive and legislative branches in the hands of the same party and deliver the House or the Senate to the Democrats, there is nothing on the domestic scene to stand in the way of more power, and less accountability, being accumulated in the executive.
The Democrats have been a totally ineffective opposition and might not inspire any voter response other than apathy. Rather than vote for a cowardly party that is afraid to defend the Constitution, voters might simply not vote at all.
In this unfortunate event, the only check on the Bush regime is its own hubris.’