Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Life In The Air Age

For the last several months, I've been meaning to share with you a song that changed my life profoundly. Unfortunately, I've never found the right time, or the right place.

But recent events have forced me to consider abandoning this lowly and nearly frozen blog. And having considered it, I now find myself embracing [or embraced by] the idea.

So it's now or never... One last song before I go... And a fond farewell to all four or five of my regular readers...

Bill Nelson wrote this and recorded it with his band, "Be Bop Deluxe", in the early 1970s. It could have been written yesterday.

Life In The Air Age

Beneath the stars there are the bars
that serve the bitter drink
the barman smiles at me,
his wife she gives a secret wink ...
They listen patiently to me,
my story I unfold.
I see their faces change,
the lights grow dim, I'm losing hold...

I used to be a boy,
my heart was young and supple then
Now it's stoney cold,
I'm old and I could use a friend...
My world is not like yours,
I come from somewhere long ago
Now there's no way back,
I'm lost and I feel so alone...

You can leave me in the air age if you like
but I'd dearly love to go back to my own time

Life in the Air Age
isn't all the brochures say
Life in the Air Age
it's too dangerous to stay
Life in the Air Age
airships crashing every day into the bay

Life in the Air Age
it's all highways in the sky
Life in the Air Age
all the oceans have run dry
Life in the Air Age
it's grim enough to make the robot cry

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Chavez Takes Another Bold Step

Eyes turn to Venezuela as Hugo Chavez announces:

Venezuela to seize 'idle' firms
The Venezuelan government has warned it will confiscate hundreds of private companies that are lying idle if they fail to re-open.

President Hugo Chavez said the firms' workers would be given help to set up co-operatives and re-start production for the benefit of the community.

He said the move was needed to fight poverty and end Venezuela's dependence on "the perverse model of capitalism".
That's one way of putting it!
Some business leaders fear it may lead to a wider attack on private property.
They're worried about their property, of course. None of them are worried about indigenous Venezuelans, though. Are they? Of course not!

But back to Chavez:
"It's against our constitution," he said. "Just as we cannot permit good land to lie uncultivated, so we cannot allow perfectly productive factories to stay closed."
Who could argue with such a sentiment?

The owners of land that's not being cultivated; the owners of factories that are not being used. That's who! And how much power do they have? How much influence?

Something tells me we are going to find out. Soon.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Another Day In Court For Brandon Mayfield

And this time he wasn't shackled and facing the death penalty. Here's more from The Oregonian:

Mayfield case rivets crowd
by NOELLE CROMBIE. July 16, 2005

Before he stepped into a federal courtroom Friday morning, Brandon Mayfield confided to one of his lawyers that he was scared. The last time Mayfield sat in one of the wood-paneled courtrooms, he was shackled and led into the room through a back elevator.

He was, his attorney Gerry Spence told the court, "treated like a common criminal."

This time, Mayfield, 39, returned with his three children, his wife and his legal team, which has mounted a high-profile challenge to the USA Patriot Act.

The hearing drew a crowd of spectators -- judges, lawyers, legal clerks and law students, along with U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut and the three federal prosecutors assigned to the Mayfield case last year. They filled U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken's courtroom to capacity in less than 10 minutes, forcing security staff to open another room where the public could watch the proceedings.

At the opening hearing in Mayfield's civil rights lawsuit, lawyers for the government and Mayfield argued several key elements of the case.

Mayfield is challenging the constitutionality of the Patriot Act and another federal law used by agents to secretly search his Aloha home and office in connection with the Madrid terrorist attacks last year.

Mayfield believes he was targeted because of his Muslim faith. His lawyers want to interview federal officials and obtain documents to learn how the FBI mistakenly connected Mayfield to a fingerprint found at the bombing scene. Mayfield was arrested as a material witness and jailed for two weeks before the FBI conceded the mistake and apologized.

Meanwhile, the government has asked the judge to dismiss Mayfield's challenge of the Patriot Act and to dismiss from the lawsuit the individual fingerprint analysts who made the identification.

The judge did not rule on any of the issues Friday and said she would take them under consideration.
Sure she will ... and there's a lot more here.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Well It's About Time!

Lawyer sues US over false arrest
A US lawyer wrongfully arrested over the Madrid train bombings in 2004 is suing the US government.

Brandon Mayfield, 38, was held for two weeks when the FBI linked him to fingerprints found in Spain - but later said it was wrong and apologised.

Mr Mayfield, a convert to Islam, says he was targeted because he is a Muslim.

The Justice Department rejects the charge, saying he was arrested "because fingerprint examiners believed his print to match the Spanish print".

Mr Mayfield's lawyers say they have an internal FBI e-mail that contradicts the government's official position.

The e-mail, from FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele, said the agency had "tied" Mr Mayfield to the attacks but that "there is not enough other evidence to arrest him on a criminal charge".

A day after the email was sent, Mr Mayfield was arrested as a material witness.

People arrested as material witnesses do not have the same rights as those charged with criminal offences.

Mr Mayfield is also challenging the sweeping post-9/11 anti-terror law known as the Patriot Act.

He says it allowed law enforcement officials to tap his phone in violation of the US constitution.

When the lawsuit goes to court on Friday his lawyers will ask a judge to order the government to hand over the evidence it gathered against him.
We will pay close attention to this case, even though we don't expect anything good to come of it.

But in the meantime, congratulations to Mr Mayfield and best wishes as he challenges the obvious and blatant unconstitutionality of the so-called PATRIOT Act.

Personally, I wish he would turn it into a class action suit on behalf of 290 million plaintiffs.

But then what do I know?

Reading Bob Koehler

The following links lead to excellent columns by Bob Koehler. They used to reside on the sidebar but now they have a post of their own...

Reading Manuel Valenzuela

The following links lead to excellent essays by Manuel Valenzuela at Information Clearinghouse. They used to reside on the sidebar but now they have a post of their own...

  • Land of “Murka”
  • The Evolution of Revolution
  • The Rise of the Amerikan Nazis
    • part i Birth of Despotism
    • part ii Democracy at Death’s Doorstep
    • part iii Amerikan Terrorists, American Tragedy

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bush Confuses London's Transit System With 'The Civilized World'

... or at least that's what Yahoo News appears to be reporting here: Bush: London attacks targeted civilized world
QUANTICO, Va. (Reuters) - President Bush on Monday called deadly bombings in London an attack against the civilized world...
You see? They did it again, so I think they mean it. Once in the headline, once in the lead sentence of the story. That's serious.
Bush, who was with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a Group of Eight summit in Scotland when the attacks occurred in London last Thursday, said it was unclear who was responsible for the bombings that killed more than 50 people, but noted that "we have damaged the al Qaeda network across the world."
Whoever set off those bombs in London has damaged the al Qaeda network severely ... is Bush taking credit for it and denying it at the same time?
Bush ... said it was unclear who was responsible for the bombings ... but noted that "we have damaged the al Qaeda network across the world."
Hmmm. Who's "we"??

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Reading Robert Parry

The following links lead to excellent columns by Robert Parry. They used to reside on the sidebar but now they have a post of their own...

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Double Whammy: Fixing The Intelligence; Breaking The Agencies

Famous sentences, these:
Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
There's been plenty of discussion about what those sentences might mean, and some of the debate has hinged around the word "fixed".

Michael Smith, the reporter to whom the memos were leaked, seemed to settle the question when he wrote:
There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed ... the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there.
But "fixed" also means the opposite of "broken", and in the war-is-peace world of bushspeak, the term couldn't be more appropriate.

Ron Suskind's watershed piece in the New York Times Magazine, "Without A Doubt", introduced us to "the reality-based community" this way:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Even if we hadn't read Suskind, finding a phrase like "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" would send up a red flag for lunacy, or [what is equivalent] tell us that our so-called leaders are not reality-based.

In a reality-based policy-making environment, intelligence comes first. Policy-makers want to find out as much as they can about their problem before they decide what to do about it. This is a reality-based approach beacuse it works. Science is based on exactly the same idea. Knowledge is power and so on.

Fixing the policy around the intelligence would be a reality-based thing to do. Doing the opposite is an indication that we're in Lala Land ... unless it happens more than once. Then it begins to look a bit more sinister.

In the opinion of this lowly and nearly frozen blogger, "intelligence" has repeatedly been "fixed" and "intelligence agencies" have repeatedly been "broken". And this has not been an accident.

But who would plan such a thing? Who do you think?

Not everyone knows these things, but from where I sit they all appear to be true...

Osama bin Laden is a puppet disguised as a patsy. His so-called terrorist network, Al Qaeda, is a creation of the CIA, perhaps even a fictional one. Their modus operandi reads like a CIA "tradecraft" manual. Al Qaeda is Operation Gladio reborn with an Asian face, if it exists at all.

What's in a name? In this case the name is a joke. "Al Qaeda" means many things in Arabic: "the base", "the foundation", "the fundament", "the toilet". This name could only have been chosen by someone who was barely fluent in Arabic, someone who wasn't aware of all the meanings. No self-respecting Arab would ever name his terrorist group "The Toilet". And no self-respecting Arabic terrorist wanna-be would ever join a group with such a demeaning name.

The so-called terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, were an inside job, a black op, the grandchild of Operation Northwoods and a cousin once-removed of Operation Gladio. Osama bin Forgotten and The Toilet certainly played their parts, as orchestrated. But there was much more going on behind the scenes than we will ever know.

The FBI's failure to prevent the so-called terrorist attacks on 9/11 was a direct result of political pressures, repeatedly applied, closing off all investigative avenues which might possibly have compromised the plan. Sibel Edmonds knows way too much about this for the liking of the criminals who control this administration, and that's why she's been denied the basic rights of due process.

The bombing attack on and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan were based on pretexts at least as bogus as the pretexts supporting the attack on Iraq. We're only just beginning to learn about these things, for we have all these other layers of deception which we need to peel back first, and we're having trouble taking off more than one layer at a time. We will never see Afghanistan clearly until we can see Iraq, and we will never see 9/11 clearly until we see Afghanistan.

It's like an onion: we're dealing with an enormous multi-layered onion made of deception piled on deceit, stacked upon lies and wrapped in falsehoods. And we haven't been able to peel off the layers as fast as they have been sprouting; at least not so far.

But things are starting to change. The country is slowly waking up to the reality that the war we are waging against Iraq was "justified" by a tangled web of deliberate lies, sold to a gulllible population by a massive, expensive and still-ongoing propaganda barrage. The fact that the pro-war national news media are complicit in crimes against humanity does not seem to have dawned on pro-war middle America -- not yet anyway. The fact that pro-war middle America is complicit in crimes against humanity may never dawn on pro-war middle America. But this does not make the complicity any less real.

The propaganda campaign supporting the war has been based on the same false "evidence" that was used to "justify" the war in the first place.

So it makes some sense to ask a few questions. Like:

Where did the "faulty intelligence" come from? The CIA!

Why did the CIA deliver bogus intelligence? Because it was ordered to do so!

Who ordered it to do so? Dick Cheney.

How do we know that? We have reports of Cheney spending several days watching mid-level analysts at work.

Why would he do that? Aha! Now you're getting it!

Listen: Something similar happened to the FBI. And big changes followed.

Now we have a Department of "Homeland Security". What does it do? Mostly it raises and lowers color-coded threat levels for political purposes. But that's not all; it also wastes a lot of money.

Now we have a Director of National Intelligence. What a position! And what a selection!! That the first person selected for the position is a career diplomat has been well-trumpeted. That he has left a trail of death squads in his wake is often overlooked.

Nonetheless, Doctor Death Squad is now in charge of our national intelligence effort. And we have a new internal espionage agency as well. How comforting!

How did we get from there to here? Let's recap:

First they leaned on the FBI. This got them their "New Pearl Harbor", plus the so-called PATRIOT Act, plus an "opportunity" to invade Afghanistan.

But then they turned around and blamed the FBI for "its" "failure". And of course they used this "blame" as leverage to support a virtual purge of the FBI leadership. No more stubborn reality-based FBI leaders, no more stubborn reality-based FBI problems.

And how did it work? It worked so well that they did it again.

They leaned on the CIA. This got them their "faulty intelligence" and their long-sought war on Iraq, with all its attendant horrors.

But then they turned around and blamed the "faulty" "intelligence" on the CIA. And they used this "blame" as more leverage, this time supporting a purge of the CIA leadership. Now there are no more reality-based leaders in either agency. Not that it matters; Doctor Death Squad commands both of them!

The "intelligence" was well and truly "fixed".

And the "intelligence agencies" are well and truly broken.

Friday, July 8, 2005

It's Just Too Convenient

Did anyone else happen to notice that the timing of the explosions in London on Thursday morning was Just A Shade Too Convenient? Or was I the only one who thought "Gladio Smites Britannia" as soon as I heard the news?

No, it turns out that I wasn't the only one at all. Far from it, in fact. Psst! Keep this quiet, will you? We've been whispering about it all day.

One of the others who was thinking along the same lines was Anthony Wade:
Cui bono? Stupidity Versus Logic in the Latest "Terror" Attack
July 7, 2005

Wow, al Qaeda must be the stupidest terrorists, no wait, stupidest people period, on this entire planet. Their purported goal is to shake the will of the western powers that have invaded Iraq, and to drive them out, no? Then can someone please explain to me the logic of the London bombings? No seriously, it is time to apply logic to these events. Please do not hand me the nonsense about these people being "killers" who do not apply logic. You do not become the number one terrorist organization without having some logic, no? We are expected to swallow that these people were smart enough to circumvent our billion dollar intelligence and air defense systems with box cutters, but they cannot play coherent cause-effect scenarios out in their mind prior to carrying out terrorist activities? I doubt that very much.

Just this week, it was reported that England had drafted plans to pull out their troops, gone, see you later, victory for al Qaeda, right? So we are to believe then that the orchestrated response to these plans was to blow up a double decker bus, in England. Now, can you guess what the most likely response to such an event would be:

1) Pull the troops out faster
2) Galvanize public support, thus keeping the troops in Iraq
So, al Qaeda carried out the attacks for the massacres committed by the British troops, which are miniscule in comparison to the US. They further carried out the attacks in complete obliviousness to the news of the imminent British troop pullout. They further carried out these attacks despite the fact that Bush's poll numbers were in the toilet and heading lower, leading to a possibility of impeachment. They further carried out these attacks even though the media had finally begun to cover the stories that could be potentially damaging to the entire war machine that they are fighting against. Wow, they are some stupid terrorists.

The level of stupidity is equal to when Osama bin Laden released his latest hit video, four days before the Presidential election. Surely he must have realized that would have only aided Bush, yet there he was providing America with a little fear before the election, a move that only could have helped Bush. Today, here is his little outfit, al Qaeda, once again coming to the aide of his alleged arch-nemesis Bush.

Cui bono is a Latin phrase which simply means, "Who benefits?" and it is the question we need to be asking ourselves. What does al Qaeda gain from this attack? The only logical answer can be, NOTHING. It will instill fear in the populace which could lead to a galvanizing of public support for the war they are fighting. It may lead to England changing their plans about pulling out their troops. It will give the US corporate media an excuse to not cover the stories that had been corroding the support for Bush. Instead of the potential impeachment, treason by Karl Rove, and the Downing Street Memos, the corporate media will be hammering the story about the terror attacks in England and how they show the need for this continuous war. I am sorry but when asking cui bono, it is clear that al Qaeda does not benefit from this attack, as it undermines everything they are working toward.
Bush was faced with the prospect of his war not continuing and his staunchest ally, England announced their plans for pulling troops out just as George was saying what a mistake it would be to make such plans. The morale in the al Qaeda camp must have been at an all time high. Their efforts in the war were finally paying off. Bush was losing his public support and his own country was beginning to speak about removing him from office. His top aide was under investigation for possible treason. England had started to make plans to pull out their troops.

So ... we are to believe that an organization smart enough to pull off 9/11, decided to throw away all the progress mentioned above, to frighten a people whose government only has 5% of the current troops in the war on terror, and had just decided to pull those troops out? The word stupidity would not cover this decision. It is unfathomable in its illogic.

I understand this raises things we do not want to consider. Well, consider this. In the early 1960's your government considered operations that would sacrifice innocent, civilian American lives in order to start a war with Cuba. I will not rehash Operation Northwoods here except to point out that it is horribly naive to assume people in power would not seek to abuse that power for their own ends. If this was true in 1962, it is even truer in 2005.

We see the images of terror on the television and we remember our fear, just like we were supposed to. Our President will use this attack to rebuild all he has lost in support and we cannot allow that to happen. This attack does not change the fact that George Bush started his war 6 months prior to obtaining Congressional approval. It does not change the fact that he knowingly lied to Congress to go to war, fitting his intelligence around his policy. It does not change the fact that Karl Rove apparently may have committed treason against the United States. Don't let him use this tragic event to sway us from pursuing the truth. Don't let him.

Cui bono America, Cui bono.
Psst! Keep this quiet, too, will you?

Another such person was William Bowles:
al-Qu'eda or al-a'diversion?
Of course it's too early to say with any certainty who set off the four bombs that caused death and chaos in London today but predictably Tony Blair says "they were obviously designed to coincide with the G8 summit". Well, he would say that, wouldn't he.

My immediate reaction is to be suspicious not about the timing of the bombs, this is the most obvious aspect, but who exactly is behind them.

It's been almost four years since 9/11 without a single bombing in the UK (the police say they've foiled attempts but have given out no details) but with dire warnings being handed out at regular intervals -- "not if but when" etc.

And with hundreds arrested under anti-terror laws but not a single conviction of anyone actually proved as being a member of al-Qu'eda or even being caught red-handed with a bomb, it's safe to assume that it's unlikely that al-Qu'eda actually exists as an effective organisation, let alone operates an "international terror network".

And given Osama bin Laden's proven connection to the CIA as a paid "asset" for at least ten years prior to 9/11 coupled to the fact even after years of chasing him up hill and down dale without so much as a sighting, it's pretty obvious that the US have no intention of actually catching the bugger.

Instead, we get handed a new bogeyman in the form of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who predictably proves to be as elusive as the fabled Osama. Is it just me, or do I see a pattern here?

After all, consider the implications of catching a man (if he actually exists) who is in all likelihood (still) an "asset" of the CIA? What tales would such a man have to tell about his paymasters (if he lived long enough to tell his tale that is)?
Of course it can't be proved that the people who set these bombs are the paid agents of the British or US state, anymore than the state can prove that al-Zarqawi exists, but the inability of the most sophisticated intelligence/security agencies on the planet to catch them; their chosen targets -- never agents of the state, always civilians; and in Iraq, almost always Iraqi civilians -- points to the work of agent provocateurs in the classic mould.

As I've pointed out many times before, the Websites that are the convenient mouthpiece for the various "Islamist" organisations, are extremely easy to trace, yet mysteriously, even when they have registered offices in the heart of London, the police never inquire. It's all just to easy, just too pat and when the prepared handouts from the state propagandists are accepted without question by the corporate/state media, we have a ready-made recipe for repression.

Today's blasts have been claimed by yet another, previously unknown "Islamist" organisation. The bottom line is that as long the state defines the terrain of struggle -- the war on terror -- the losers will be us, punters on the way to work and the poor of the planet who dare defy the imperium.

There will be those of course who will brand me a conspiracist, it's surely outrageous to claim that our government would conspire to murder its own citizens but consider that it conspired with the US government to invade and occupy Iraq, murdered tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, and all done on the basis of lies and of a set of fabricated documents and the statements of people who were paid to incriminate the government of Iraq (one of whom, Ahmed Chalabi is under indictment for precisely this), so what's a few dozen or even a few hundred innocent people here in the UK, in Spain, as well as the thousands who have been murdered in Iraq by "al-Qu'eda"? When set in this context, there is surely nothing far-fetched about the British state conspiring to bomb the tube here in the heart of London, there's an awful lot at stake, not the least the future of the capitalist state. Think about it�
There's more. There's a lot more. But this is a good place to stop. For now.

Wednesday night I was looking for something to blog about. Thursday morning four bombs exploded in London. Isn't that just a bit too convenient??9

Blogathon Weekend Is Upon Us

... and it's all happening at the Brad Blog.

Join your lowly and nearly frozen guest-host and see what happens when a handful of blog readers take over their favorite blog for a weekend of very special features.

It starts in just less than three hours: at 6PM Eastern, 3PM Pacific.

Be there ... or be ... elsewhere!

Thursday, July 7, 2005

More From Chris Floyd

Here's another collection of links to excellent essays by Chris Floyd. Formerly on the sidebar, these links now have a post of their own.

See also this post for more links to Chris Floyd.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Unpopular Thoughts About Popular Causes

Sometimes I expect my opinions to be regarded as controversial or outright strange, but of course that doesn't prevent me from having such opinions or expressing them. A couple of recent examples come to mind...

Somebody was trying to get me to promote "Live 8" on my blog last week and I think he was a spammer but in any case I didn't fall for it. Lately I've been reading a few others who didn't fall for it either.

Chris Floyd has been writing about this lately and you know how I love to link to Chris. Here's his latest on the subject, and a short quote, too:
Once more, George Monbiot delivers the goods on the horrific farce of "Live 8" and the "Make Poverty History" movement. Monbiot reveals what almost every single mainstream article about these efforts conceals: that Bush and Blair are "outsourcing" their "benevolent" programs for Africa to some of the most rapacious corporations in the world. They are making a vicious mockery of the generous impulses of millions of young people, marketing themselves as concerned and compassionate leaders while hiding the draconian conditions of near-colonial exploitation they are imposing on any African nation that takes up their offers of aid and debt relief.

I suppose what shocks me most in all of this is the fact that I am still able to be shocked by the shameless, self-serving, murderous lies of political leaders, and the extent to which they are utterly and completely bought and sold by Big Money. Even so, the cynicism displayed in this sickening episode takes my breath away. Once again, I must drag out a line I've used repeatedly in the Bush-Blair era and cry out with a loud voice, saying: "What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?"
No quadrant that I know of, Chris. But then again I mostly know the cold places. Kurt Nimmo has been on this issue a lot lately too; here, for instance.

As for me, I implicitly dismissed the whole thing with a single post not long ago. But then I know nothing. And it messes with my stone-cold and lowly little brain when serious journalists come along a few weeks later with evidence I had only suspected. It's dat ole debbil in-too-ish-in! Or is it simply a stubborn unwillingness to take apparent good news at face value?

Who knows? But here's an important paragraph from George Monbiot's piece:
Without a critique of power, our campaign, so marvellously and so disastrously inclusive, will merely enhance this effort. Debt, unfair terms of trade and poverty are not causes of Africa's problems but symptoms. The cause is power: the ability of the G8 nations and their corporations to run other people's lives. Where, on the Live 8 stages and in Edinburgh, was the campaign against the G8's control of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the UN? Where was the demand for binding global laws for multinational companies?
... on another front...

I was also asked last week to promote an effort to force the administration to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, which is, of course, notorious for reports of torture as well as the issue of indefinite confinement without charge or trial or right to appeal or contact with family or a lawyer. Who could support such a thing? Even if the prisoners [whom the administration chooses to call "detainees"] weren't being abused, who could support such a thing??

"Close Gitmo", goes the cry. And who could resist? This was not spam; the plea came from an online friend, whose work I admire. But I was not moved.

Regular readers of this space will know that this cold and lowly blogger rails against the administration's policy of ever-spreading torture chambers above all else ... still the Winter Patriot does not support the movement to "Close Gitmo".

Why? First of all because of the reasons that are usually given by those who want Gitmo closed. "It gives propaganda opportunities to America's enemies" and so on. Maybe I could think about supporting the movement if I heard a lot more of "THIS IS WRONG" and a lot less of "THIS MAKES US LOOK BAD". But not likely.

It's deja vu all over again: and I've seen the same mistake before, too. Most recently it was a little boy picking his nose. His mother reprimanded him, saying: "Stop that; it's disgusting. Who wants to see that? I don't want to see that! If you want to pick your nose then go up to your room and pick your nose where I don't have to look at you." But the father said: "Knock it off! Don't pick your nose; it's disgusting."

You see what I'm saying? If they close Gitmo and keep torturing people in Abu Ghraib, Bagram, other places we don't even know about; plus ships at sea or anchored at Diego Garcia; plus so-called "extraordinary rendition", where people are kidnapped and shipped to foreign countries to be tortured by proxy ... as long as they do ANY of these things, we should be shouting "Stop The Torture!"

Not "Torture People Elsewhere!"

Not "Do That Where I Don't Have To Look At It!"

But a good straightforward "Knock It Off!!"

As long as they are unwilling to knock it off then I say they should keep Gitmo open. I think if they're going to keep doing these things then they should keep them doing them where we can see them. So the world will know what sort of evil lurks in the hearts of the monsters who have taken over our country.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

the Blogathon is coming ... and you're invited!

We're gearing up for a big weekend at The Brad Blog, and you're invited!

Investigative blogger and radio-show host Brad Friedman is lining up what looks like a killer radio show. It'll be his first live show in two weeks, after a holiday weekend rebroadcast. I'll have more on that for you later in the week.

Others are getting ready for a big weekend of live blogging. The following very distinguished guest bloggers will each spend at least two hours online, fielding your questions and comments:

David Cobb: 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate
Larisa Alexandrovna: Raw Story Journalist
John Amato: Blogger from Crooks & Liars
Bob Koehler: Journalist with the Times Media Syndicate
Bob Fitrakis: Journalist and Author
Clint Curtis: "Vote-Rigging Software" Whistle-Blower
last and definitely least, in an utterly transparent effort to be 'fair and balanced', we'll have an undistinguished guest blogger as well:
Winter Patriot: ubiquitous blogger and very quiet whisperer

In a rare and very welcome move, Editor & Publisher ran a story last week about Bob Koehler's upcoming appearance; the story was covered lightly and perhaps a bit reluctantly by Brad and you can read more about it here.

You can help us to publicize this event and we really hope you'll decide to do that. One easy way to do this is to download flyers promoting the event, copy them and distribute them as widely as possible. Flyers are available in several different flavors: please click here for a post containing a list of options and links to same.

For more details on the BLOGATHON itself, please start here.