15 April 2006
‘Since August 2002, nearly 100 detainees have died while in the hands of U.S. officials in the global “war on terror.” According to the U.S. military’s own classifications, 34 of these cases are suspected or confirmed homicides; Human Rights First has identified another 11 in which the facts suggest death as a result of physical abuse or harsh conditions of detention. In close to half the deaths Human Rights First surveyed, the cause of death remains officially undetermined or unannounced. Overall, eight people in US custody were tortured to death.
Despite these numbers, four years since the first known death in U.S. custody, only 12 detainee deaths have resulted in punishment of any kind for any U.S. official. Of the 34 homicide cases so far identified by the military, investigators recommended criminal charges in fewer than two thirds, and charges were actually brought (based on decisions made by command) in less than half.
While the CIA has been implicated in several deaths, not one CIA agent has faced a criminal charge. Crucially, among the worst cases in this list – those of detainees tortured to death – only half have resulted in punishment; the steepest sentence for anyone involved in a torture-related death: five months in jail.’
‘Torture-approving bastards like Donald Rumsfeld may come and go, but apparently those who have been detained in secret prisons are there to stay, no matter who is in charge of what. TalkLeft pointed out this story from Time Magazine, where CIA Chief John Negroponte is the first administration official to admit the existence of secret U.S.-run prisons in Europe, where suspects from Aghanistan, Iraq, and around the world are sent.
‘The current pressure to attack Iran is building. The hard right Israeli lobby in the United States is advocating attacking Iran to stop the development of nuclear weapons.
A full page advertisement in The New York Times on April 4 on page A-15 sponsored by the American Jewish Committee urged an attack on Iran, drawing a map with Iran in the center showing how far it is from various countries in Asia, Europe and African asking: "Can anyone within range of Iran's missiles feel safe?"
Just as the pro-Israel lobby beat the war drums for the invasion of Iraq, they are doing the same for Iran. AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israeli lobby has a special page on Iran's escalating threat.
The concern of many has been heightened by reported comments by Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenging the reality of the Holocaust and that Israel must be "wiped off the map."’
‘My most reliable sources for articles are government officials who do or say things that, inadvertently, reveal the vicious nature of political systems. It is not so much that these people are too stupid to realize the implications of their words or deeds but, rather, that they are so convinced of the propriety of what they are doing that they see no problem in openly expressing themselves.
Thanks to Wendy McElroy we now have access to the State of Virginia’s directive, to state employees, on how to identify and deal with threats of “terrorism.” The governor signed off on this document, declaring the state’s purpose of “safeguarding the people of Virginia.” A close reading, however, discloses a different purpose, namely, to protect the state from “the people of Virginia.”
Among those identified, in the document, as domestic terrorist organizations are “property rights activists” and “anti-government and militia” groups. Some of the goals these “terrorists” have in carrying out their violent acts include to “undermine confidence in the government,” and to “influence government or social policy.” While it might be argued that such groups and purposes pose a problem only when their actions result in violence, it is equally clear that persons advocating non-violent political change could be labeled as “terrorists” for purpose of both surveillance and prosecution.’
‘The transcript the feds released this week of the final minutes of Flight 93 proves that President Bush brazenly and consistently lied to the American people about how that flight ended.
The transcript shows that the Arab hijackers chose to crash the plane into the ground after the American passengers stormed the cockpit. There is no guarantee that the transcript is accurate, and the government has already been caught fabricating evidence at terrorist trials in the post 9/11 era.
But the government’s own version of events damns Bush. The transcript was available in early 2002, if not earlier, and was shown at that time by federal officials to some of the survivors of the people killed when Flight 93 went down.’
‘This week's most terrifying remark came from the foreign secretary, Jack Straw. He declared that a nuclear attack on Iran would be "completely nuts" and an assault of any sort "inconceivable". In Straw-speak, "nuts" means he's just heard it is going to happen and "inconceivable" means certain.
A measure of the plight of British foreign policy is that such words from the foreign secretary are anything but reassuring. Straw says of Iran that "there is no smoking gun, there is no casus belli". There was no smoking gun in Iraq, only weapons conjured from the fevered imagination of Downing Street and the intelligence chiefs.
It is a racing certainty that Alastair Campbell look-alikes are even now cajoling MI6's John Scarlett into proving that Iran is "far closer" to a bomb than anyone thinks.’
‘Average Americans are struggling to keep up with persistently high gas prices, now approaching US$3 a gallon.
Testifying before Congress last November, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond blamed the problem on “global supply and demand” and assured the public that: "we're all in this together".
Last year, Raymond made due with “a total compensation package” of just US$69.7 million or US$190,915 a day, including weekends.
Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly US$400 million, including pension, stock options & other perks, such as a US$1 million consulting deal, 2 years of home security, personal security, a car & driver, & use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.’
14 April 2006
Statement by Sir Lord Generalissimo Life President Royal Lowness Divine Wind His Most Royally Un-Excellency George W. 'Dubya' Shrub Bonsai Bug-infested Twig & Grand Poobah Weed Patch White-Ant Riddled Wood Pecker Head of Failed State Bush Junior.
They are unable or unwilling to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction. They regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, hence free to carry out aggression and violence. And if they have democratic forms, they suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance.
One of the hardest tasks that anyone can undertake, and among the most important, is to look honestly in the mirror. If we allow ourselves to do so, we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of "failed states" right at home.’
How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
From the New York Times …..
Rumsfeld Faces Growing Revolt by Retired Generals
By DAVID S. CLOUD, ERIC SCHMITT and THOM SHANKER
Published: April 13, 2006
WASHINGTON, April 13 —
An expanding group of influential former military officers is calling for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation in a public rebellion that has become a significant challenge to the Pentagon's civilian leadership.
The uproar is significant because for the first time the criticism of Mr. Rumsfeld is coming from some recently retired generals who were involved in planning or execution of Iraq policy.
Though their critiques differ in some respects, a common thread is that Mr. Rumsfeld's assertive style has angered many in the uniformed services as he has sought to establish more clear-cut civilian control over the Pentagon and at times involved himself in the details of war-planning more than his predecessors.
The outcry against Mr. Rumsfeld also appears to be part of a coalescing of concerns among military officers that, three years into the Iraq war, the effort is taking a mounting toll on the armed forces, with little sign that the American troops will be able to withdraw in large numbers anytime soon.
Today, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., who led troops on the ground in Iraq as recently as 2004 as the commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, became the fifth retired senior general in recent days to issue a public call for Mr. Rumsfeld's ouster.
"We need to continue to fight the global war on terror and keep it off our shores," General Swannack said in an interview. "But I do not believe Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person to fight that war based on his absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam in Iraq."
Read more at the New York Times …..
13 April 2006
Mark Fiore's new animation "36" has just been posted!
Things you have to believe to be a Republican today....
1 Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals & Hillary Clinton.
2 Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him & a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
3 Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China & Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
4 The United States should get out of the United Nations & our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iran.
5 A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
6 The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits & combat pay.
7 If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
8 A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
9 Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs & insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
10 Global warming & tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
11 A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offence, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
12 Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages & censoring the Internet.
13 The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
14 Being a drug addict is a moral failing & a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness & you need our prayers for your recovery.
15 What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
‘Despite all the sloppy and inaccurate headlines about Iran "going nuclear," the fact is that all President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday was that it had enriched uranium to a measly 3.5 percent, using a bank of 180 centrifuges hooked up so that they "cascade."
The ability to slightly enrich uranium is not the same as the ability to build a bomb. For the latter, you need at least 80% enrichment, which in turn would require about 16,000 small centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran does not have 16,000 centrifuges. It seems to have 180.
Iran is a good ten years away from having a bomb, and since its leaders, including Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, say they do not want an atomic bomb because it is Islamically immoral, you have to wonder if they will ever have a bomb.’
‘On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq - not made public until now - had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.’
meanwhile, in a humiliating backdown ….
‘On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department's top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us.
The harsh truth is that this president cherry-picked the intelligence data in making his case for invading Iraq and deliberately kept the public in the dark as to the countervailing analysis at the highest level of the intelligence community. While the president and his top Cabinet officials were fear-mongering with stark images of a "mushroom cloud" over American cities, the leading experts on nuclear weaponry at the Department of Energy (the agency in charge of the U.S. nuclear-weapons program) and the State Department thought the claim of a near-term Iraqi nuclear threat was absurd.’
of course, not a word of regret or remorse over the fact that more than 200,000 innocent Iraqi civilians & 2,500 US servicemen & women have paid for the wicked lies & criminal deceit perpetrated by Bush & his war criminal colleagues ….. & not a peep from the rodent or his dim-witted sidekick, “fishnets” Downer acknowledging their complicity in this obscene war crime.
12 April 2006
‘Is a President, on the eve of his re-election campaign, legally entitled to ward off political embarrassment and conceal past failures in the exercise of his office by unilaterally and informally declassifying selected -- as well as false and misleading -- portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate that he has previously refused to declassify, in order to cause such information to be secretly disclosed under false pretenses in the name of a "former Hill staffer" to a single reporter, intending that reporter to publish such false and misleading information in a prominent national newspaper?
The answer is obvious: No. Such a misuse of authority is the very essence of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States. It is also precisely the abuse of executive power that led to the impeachment of Richard M. Nixon.
Buzzflash on Bush …..
‘Okay, so let's get this straight.
Bush admits he selectively leaked classified information that wasn't declassified until days after he and Cheney had Scooter Libby leak it to Judith Miller, the pro-war megaphone for the New York Times publication of Bush lies. Bush "authorizes" this leak at a time that he is claiming that if he ever finds the leaker, he will basically fire him, meaning himself. Then he continues a public and Department of Justice vendetta against leakers, but not himself: the leaker-in-chief.
Okay, now Libby is sent out with the leak in order to debunk Joe Wilson's accounting of the truth about the non-existent Iraq-Nigher uranium deal. Libby actually makes language up that doesn't exist in the document to further the lie that Wilson exposed. In short, Libby selectively used classified information to try to smear the truth with more lies.
Okay, it gets better (or actually, worse). When Bush is exposed through Libby's revealing to Patrick Fitzgerald that Bush gave the green light to leak a lie to cover up a lie and prevent more lies from being exposed, Bush admits to leaking, but tells the American people that it was to get the "truth out."
Are you following this? (And we haven't even gotten into the actual Valerie Plame outing to Novak yet. We are still in the sideshow.)
If this sounds like some farce, remember that thousands upon thousands of Americans and Iraqis have died in this farce - and the nation is nearly bankrupt.
No nation can long endure when such bird brains, criminals, liars, cheats, and incompetents are running the nation.
What is this man still doing in the White House? Please someone tell us. This is beyond comprehension.
Okay, you know what the worst thing is; Bush doesn't even know what a fatally flawed and dangerous fool he is. He thinks that denouncing leaks while leaking, obstructing justice, lying in order to prevent the truth from coming out, and starting a war based on lies is fine by him.
Because he, de facto, admitted to all of the above on Monday in a rambling explanation of why he had to leak, then lie about his leaking, and then leak a lie to hide the truth. Meanwhile - while all this was transpiring over the past couple of years - others were being pursued by the federal prosecutor for leaking, when it all started with Bush.
This is whacko, psychotic stuff.
The mainstream press keeps saying that Bush didn't technically break the law. Oh come on, as Greg Palast has pointed out, at a minimum we have a prima facie case of obstruction of justice. We also have the RICO Act as a distinct possiblity here. Not to mention that he didn't actually declassify the information he authorized leaking until days later. There is a process for this sort of thing, you know.
The bottom line: He's a lunatic in the guise of an "everyman," and it would be hard to think of a person who could have done this nation more harm.’
Read more ….
10 April 2006(0) comments
09 April 2006
The administration of is planning a massive bombing campaign against , including use of bunker-buster nuclear bombs to destroy a key Iranian suspected nuclear weapons facility, The New Yorker magazine has reported in its April 17 issue.
The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that Bush and others in the White House have come to view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a potential Adolf Hitler.
"That's the name they're using," the report quoted a former senior intelligence official as saying.
‘The Bush regime currently has wars underway in Afghanistan and in Iraq and can bring neither to a conclusion. Undeterred by these failures, the Bush regime gives every indication that it intends to start a war with Iran, a country that is capable of responding to US aggression over a broader front than the Sunni resistance has mounted in Iraq.
The US lacks sufficient conventional capability to prevail in such widespread conflict. The US also lacks the financial resources. Iraq alone has already cost several hundred billion borrowed dollars, with experts' estimates putting the ultimate cost in excess of one trillion dollars.
Moreover, the Bush regime's belligerent foreign policy extends to regions beyond the Middle East. The Bush regime has recently declared election outcomes in former Soviet republics as "unacceptable."
The "unacceptable" outcomes are those that do not empower parties aligned with the US and NATO. Russians view the Bush regime's "democracy programs" for Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus as an effort to push Russia northward and deprive it of warm water ports.
Russian leaders speak of the "messianism of American foreign policy" leading to a new cold war.’
‘Many Americans have remained oblivious to the impact that the Abu Ghraib photos and other torture reports have on foreigners. How would Americans have responded if the roles had been reversed?
Consider the case of Jessica Lynch, the 20-year-old blond, blued-eyed, attractive West Virginian Army supply clerk captured after her supply convoy was attacked during the invasion of Iraq.
What if Americans had seen photos of Lynch with blood running from cuts on her thighs, cowering before attack dogs lurching at her? What if Americans saw photos of a hooded Lynch with wires attached to her body, looking like she was awaiting electrocution? What if Americans saw videos of Lynch screaming whilst being assaulted by Iraqi captors?
Such evidence would likely have swayed millions of Americans to support dropping nuclear bombs on Iraq. And yet many Americans refuse to recognize how similar evidence inflames Arabs’ attitudes toward the United States.’
‘The Bush White House also asserted that the September 2001 “Authorization to Use Military Force” resolution passed by Congress after 9/11 entitled Bush to tap Americans’ phones. But if the authorization actually entitled the president to do whatever he thinks necessary on the home front, then Americans have been living under martial law for the last four and a half years.
At this point, Americans can only guess which laws Bush feels obliged to obey. According to Newsweek, Steven Bradbury, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, recently informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Bush could order killings of suspected terrorists within the United States.
Americans cannot expect to have good presidents if presidents are permitted to make themselves czars. The “unitary executive” theory is simply another in a long series of intellectual cons crafted to trample freedom. The sooner that it is tarred and feathered and ridden out of Washington on a rail, the safer Americans’ remaining rights will be.’
‘The White House tried today to quell the furor over the leaking of sensitive pre-war intelligence on Iraq, as President Bush's spokesman insisted that the president had the authority to declassify and release information "in the public interest" and had never done so for political reasons.
The spokesman, Scott McClellan, said a decision was made to declassify and release some information to rebut "irresponsible and unfounded accusations" that the administration had manipulated or misused pre-war intelligence to buttress its case for war.’
Bush knowingly publishes fabricated “intelligence” (Saddam purchasing uranium from Niger) to bolster his justification for launching an illegal war of aggression against another sovereign state & betrays the name of a CIA agent in an attempt to discredit her husband for exposing the lie.
The only interest being served here was the self-interest of the Bush administration traitors & warmongers.
Impeach the lot of them & stick them in Guantanamo.