Monday, April 30, 2007

Egyptian Sources Confirm The Presence Of Secret American Prisons

Larisa Alexandrovna has posted an item on her blog about the "CIA Torture Fax" that nearly landed a couple of Swiss journalists in prison. Larisa has received a copy of the document in question (which the journalists say was found on a train). It's posted on her blog, but it's in French.

I hope to write more about this in the near future but at the moment I wish to share an English translation:
Egyptian Sources Confirm The Presence Of Secret American Prisons.

Message from the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs / European Affairs Management

November 15, 2005

The ambassador has learned through his own sources that 23 Iraqi and Afghan citizens have in fact been interrogated in the Mihail Kogalniceanu base in the [Romanian] city of Constanza on the shore of the Black Sea. There are similar interrogation centers in Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria. One of the newspapers has mentioned that the NGO Human Rights Watch has laid out evidence affirming that American military airplanes transported detainees from the Salt Pit base in Kabul to the Polish base Szymany and the Romanian base mentioned above on the 21st and 22nd of September, 2005.

Despite all these cited facts the Romanians responsible continue to deny the presence of secret prisons used by American information services for the interrogation of al-Q'aeda members. The spokesman for the European delegation has received many official denials from the Romanians.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tom Toles: Disclosure

Tom Toles is just too good!

On the other hand, here's a nice clean, bright, articulate, good-looking open thread for a Sunday evening ... and maybe even a Monday morning too ;-)

Anger And Wit: A Powerful Combination

Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel, formerly virtually unknown although first to declare, made a lot of sense on Thursday night in a debate I couldn't catch. Fortunately Joe Lauria of the Boston Globe had me covered, and reported that during the debate, Gravel
said the early leading Democratic candidates "frightened" him because they had taken nothing off the table, including nuclear weapons, for possible military action against Iran.

"Tell me, Barack, who do you want to nuke?" he asked Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

"I'm not planning on nuking anybody right now, Mike," Obama replied.

"Good, then we're safe for a while," Gravel said.
He's not just funny; he's absolutely spot-on!
"This war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis," he said in the debate.
No kidding, Mike! ... um ... Right ON, Senator Gravel!!

You can see more of Mike Gravel here:

Gravel has a solid anti-war history but and therefore no money:
A native of Springfield, Mass., Gravel served two terms in the Senate, representing Alaska from 1969 to 1981. He made his mark as a fierce Vietnam war critic who staged a one-man filibuster that led to the end of the military draft. He drafted legislation to end funding for the war and released the Pentagon Papers, which detailed government deception over Vietnam, at the end of June 1971.

"He started out with less money than the cost of a John Edwards haircut," said Elliott Jacobson, Gravel's national finance director.

Gravel told reporters after the debate: "We stayed in a $55 motel. I'll hitchhike to the next debate if I have to."
He's not just anti-war and anti-Bush; he has some good ideas too:
Believing that Congress has the power to both declare and end wars, he called for a law to end the war.

Gravel advocates a constitutional amendment and a federal statute establishing legislative procedures for citizens to make laws through ballot initiatives.

He also supports the Fair Tax, which would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and corporate and individual income taxes, replacing them with a 23 percent national sales tax on all new goods and services. Each month, taxpayers would receive a check to offset the tax on basic items such as food and medicine.
Whoa! No wonder I'd never heard of him! I'll be paying attention from now on, though, and so will a lot of other people.
"He's the one to say not only that the emperor has no clothes, but that the emperor wannabes have no clothes," said national pollster John Zogby, adding, "There is an angry voter. I don't know how that will take shape, it's way too early. But you got a sense why Mike Gravel is in the race on Thursday and that he is in the race."

The reaction to Gravel's performance has overwhelmed his campaign. His aides said they got more requests for interviews yesterday than in the first 12 months of the campaign.

Gravel's website could not handle the flood of hits after the debate, they said. Bloggers complained that they were ready to donate money but were unable to get into the website.
I'm pretty sure they'll get that fixed right away.

There's more on Mike Gravel here and here, and a tip of the frozen cap to my Australian friend Gandhi for another good catch -- and a whole passel o' great blogs: Bush Death Watch, Howard Death Watch and Riding The Juggernaut!

There's even more about Mike Gravel here, and another frozen tip to another down-under friend with another passel o' blogs: Keep an eye on Lukery and Wot Is It Good 4, Kill the Messenger, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, and disclose, denny!

Zogby usually gets the numbers right, but he may have been misunderestimating when he said "there is an angry voter."

There are zillions of angry voters. And David Michael Green is one of them. He makes a lot of sense, too, despite (or maybe because of) the anger, in "Schadenfreude Is My Middle Name"
I’m not an angry man. But I am angry.

I’m not a bitter person. But, boy, am I bitter.

And I’m not generally given to vindictiveness. But, you know what? Right now I’m open to persuasion.

The Bush administration is now beginning an inexorable process which will change its status from the worst administration in American history to the publicly-acknowledged worst administration in American history. I, for one, couldn’t be more delighted.

That delight is only partly based on having been on the receiving end of their atrocities these last six years. And it is only partly based on the assurance that those gifts will keep giving for decades into the future, like a bad case of political herpes.

And that delight is also only partly based on their motivations and the scale of their transgressions. People who believe that the regressive right came to Washington to implement a legitimate ideology that just happens to be different from ours, or who believe that they meant well but, ironically, the first MBA president couldn’t manage his way out of an empty wading pool, even with the entire federal bureaucracy to assist him – such people fundamentally misunderstand this administration and the movement which they spearhead.
I can't run it all here, and no excerpt can do it justice. You just have to read it all. Then hang around and discuss it in the comments thread, if you will. Good points, bad points ... certainly lots of interesting points to talk about.

Peeling The GWOT, One Layer At A Time

The formerly so-called Global War On Terror is so bogus that you can think of it as an onion, each layer representing not just one lie but a whole pack of them. And now that Bill Moyers has exposed the deliberate fraud of the War on Iraq, I find myself wondering whether he has what it takes to do the same for the fraudulent War on Afghanistan, the proxy War on Somalia, and the secret War on Iran.

Then maybe we could have a serious look at the 2004 presidential "election", the 2000 presidential "election", and even (or especially!) the 2004 Democratic "primary".

After that we would still need at least one show about 9/11, one on the London bombings, one on the Madrid bombings, two about the Bali bombings, and one about the fake Liquid Bombers plot.

We're really looking at three miniseries here: one on bogus Wars, one on bogus Elections, and one on bogus Terror.

Then perhaps a fourth miniseries could cover our government illegally spying on us, foreigners spying on our government, the suppression of whistleblowers, and the institutionalization of torture.

All these different angles; all these different shows. In the end, they'd all be about bogus "News".

And that's just the GWOT.

Wait till Moyers starts making shows about domestic policy!

Impeach! Impeach! Impeach! (Cheney First, Please)

There's good news from all over the country and I can bring you a bit of it, starting with Larisa Alexandrovna from Miami:
Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Kendell Miami-Dade College campus where President George W. Bush spoke on Saturday afternoon. Roughly 200 protesters were clustered near temporary fences and an estimated 600 altogether spent the better part of the afternoon marching and holding signs alongside a main road near the college campus. (Read the rest at Raw Story)
Impeachment rallies are always fun. So is Hawaii. And according to Mike Rivero at What Really Happened dot com,
The impeachment demonstration in Honolulu was spread out over a large number of intersections. Here are some of the people from just one.

Finally, here's Matthew Cardinale reporting from Atlanta:
About 20 Atlanta activists met at sundown at Freedom Park to spell out the word IMPEACH with an array of candles on a hill at a major intersection, Freedom Parkway and Moreland Avenue.

So for about 90 minutes, motorists and pedestrians coming from at least three different directions got a message: impeach.

The event completed a day of impeachment rallies and marches in Atlanta and indeed nationwide.
Read the rest at Atlanta Progressive News.

If you know of more good reports on impeachment events, please post links in the comments thread. The big media are not going to report this so the little guys have to take up the torch ... again!

As always, I thank you for your input.

Tom Toles: In Case Of Fire

Like most of Toles' work, it would be a lot funnier if it weren't so true.

But it's still an open thread.

Mass Murder By Proxy In Somalia: Chris Floyd On America's Third War

Large segments of the big media are either not reporting or misreporting the massive and still unfolding war crime taking place in Somalia, where the Bush administration has been trying another regime change, this time by proxy, using the Ethiopian army as their primary weapon. I've been following this story but haven't been able to give it as much attention as it has deserved.

And that's one more reason to be thankful for Chris Floyd, who has been doing his usual thorough job of seeking out the truth behind the media distortions, and sharing that truth with all who will listen.

The excellent items Chris has posted on this story include the following:

Tuesday, 09 January 2007
US Attacks Somalia, Taking Sides With Former Enemy Warlords

Saturday, 13 January 2007
Air America: Civilian Death Toll Grows in Somalia

Friday, 23 March 2007
Blues for Allah: More Blood in the Wake of the "War on Terror"
Getting Away With It: Rendition and Regime Change in Somalia

Sunday, 01 April 2007
Seeds of Wrath: Bush Sows New Crop of Extremists

Sunday, 08 April 2007
War on Terror Spawns War Crimes Charges in Somalia

Friday, 13 April 2007
Terror War III: U.S. Forces Capture, Render Refugees From Somali "Regime Change"

Sunday, 22 April 2007
Where the Dead Rot in the Streets: Bush's Terror War in Somalia Rages On

Wednesday, 25 April 2007
The Lies of the Times: NYT Pushes Bush Line on Somalia

Thursday, 26 April 2007
Reality Check: Genuine Journalism Exposes Somali Horrors

Sunday, 29 April 2007
Violence and Violation: An Update on Terror War III

Saturday, April 28, 2007

FOX Just Can't Stop Spinning, Even With Cricket

The World Cup final between Australia and Sri Lanka was scheduled to start at 9:30 this morning but it was raining in Bridgetown, Barbados, and they didn't even get the coin tossed until 10:00. And then a very strange thing happened.

In a one-day match such as this, each team bats once. They toss a coin to decide who bats first; if you win the toss, you choose. Normally the teams know whether they'd prefer to bat first or second. (I like to bat last, but there are two schools of thought on this.)

In bad weather, conditions are likely to deteriorate throughout the day, and there's a possibility of a rain-shortened match, so what to do if you win the toss becomes a whole different question. (I like to bat first if it's wet, but again there are two schools of thought.)

Things were so uncertain today that the online experts at Cricinfo were saying they weren't sure whether this would be a good toss to win or not.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first.

FOX didn't show the coin toss live. Instead they went to their "experts" who "speculated" that if Australia won the toss they would choose to bat. And then they showed the coin toss, and what do you know? Their experts were right.

Funny how that worked out, isn't it?

Two weeks ago I gave "two thumbs up" to FOX for their online coverage of this tournament and suggested that perhaps they were trying to build credibility by doing a good job on sports, in order to make their "news" seem "believable".

Funny how that worked out, too. Isn't it? I think maybe they were trying a little bit too hard.

Batting first turned out to be a good idea, and Australia had the better team too. Adam Gilchrist [photo] scored a quick 149 and that didn't hurt the Aussie chances either. In truth, the outcome was never in doubt.

So Australia are celebrating, having gone undefeated in a tournament in which every other team lost at least three matches while winning the World Cup for an unprecedented third straight time.

Clearly the best team won. But of course this does not excuse Australia for its crimes against humanity, nor for its failure to oust (and guillotine) the outrageous war criminal John Howard, but that's another story.

As for FOX, if they'll spin about a little thing like the coin toss in a cricket game ...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Victory For Torture: Germans Reject Investigation Request

German federal prosecutors on Friday rejected a U.S. group's formal request to investigate allegations that current and former Bush administration officials were complicit in the torture of military prisoners.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights accused former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and eight other officials of either ordering, aiding or failing to prevent the torture.
According to a report from David Rising of the AP in the Washington Post,
German law allows the prosecution of war crimes regardless of where they were committed, and permits any citizen or group to formally request a criminal investigation.

In rejecting the complaint, prosecutors said that it was up to the U.S. to hold any inquiry, adding that there were no indications U.S. authorities or courts would not conduct one.
Of course they'll conduct one. They'll conduct as many as they have to. But there is no indication that it will be anything other than a whitewash, just like the "investigation" they did last time. And even the lapdog WaPo virtually admits as much:
Attorneys leading the case had said [...] they had documents from 2005 congressional hearings suggesting that Rumsfeld approved harsh methods [...]

After FBI agents raised concerns, the documents showed, military investigators began reviewing the case and in July 2005 said they confirmed abusive and degrading treatment [...] Still, the Pentagon determined that no torture had occurred.
So once again we're left with questions, such as:

Has it not dawned on the German prosecutors that the Pentagon will always determine that nothing illegal has occurred? Of course it has.

Would these same German prosecutors let a fox investigate mysterious death and destruction in a chicken coop? Apparently they would.
Center for Constitutional Rights President Michael Ratner vowed to pursue an appeal in Germany or action in another country.

"If Germany is not willing to enforce their law we think other countries will be. We're not going to leave a stone unturned," Ratner said by telephone from New York.
Splendid sentiment, but it seems rather unlikely that Ratner will find anyone with more backbone than the Germans who rejected the request.
The attorneys were also hopeful that testimony from former U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski -- the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq -- would bolster their case.

When the complaint was filed, Karpinski [...] told reporters in Berlin that she would testify against her superiors because only a handful of low-ranking soldiers have been convicted in the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

"People who are far more culpable and responsible have walked away blameless," Karpinski said.
But they wouldn't even talk to her.

So what have we learned?

Witnesses don't matter, testimony doesn't matter, the law doesn't matter, and the facts of the case don't matter.

Torturers should investigate their own crimes.

Welcome to hell.

Is 9/11 Still The Crucial Issue?

Is 9/11 still the crucial issue of our time? The following piece, which appeared on a myspace blog several weeks ago, argues that it is, and provides a collection of excellent links.

I've taken a few liberties it -- converting the URLs into links, fixing up some spelling and punctuation here and there, and of course reposting it in its entirety.
Understanding why 9/11 is still the crucial issue!

As I anticipated, the BBC's 9/11 Conspiracy Files hit piece recently broadcast by Blair's Broadcasting Corporation, really would have been laughable, were it not such an important matter. Thankfully, I very much doubt it requires me to point this out to you.

Unfortunately however, due to the large and significantly (as I will go on to explain), worldwide audience that the BBC now draws, this dross will undoubtedly permeate into the mass consciousness, in much the same way as the 9/11 Commission Report has. Below is an illuminating extract from an important article by Paul Joseph Watson, concerning the BBC documentary, and the related potential conflicts of interest existent within the BBC. Look out for Murdoch's fingerprints!!
Ian R. Crane, Chairman of the 9/11 Truth Campaign for the UK and Ireland, and a former BBC staffer, claims a source told him that producers Mike Rodin and Guy Smith have edited two different versions of the show and are in a quandary as to whether to air the balanced piece or the hit piece." "Crane claims that the new head of the BBC's commercial operations in the US, former Fox senior executive Garth Ancier, is the point man in persuading program directors to air the hit piece, fearing that a more balanced appraisal would anger corporate partners and sales across the Atlantic.
Without going on and on, I'd just like to point out the most important consideration required here. The issue is not about whether the least strong questions surrounding 9/11 can be debunked! The point is that the major smoking guns have not been addressed properly, by the 9/11 Commission or by media resources incapable of remaining independent on the matter because of the nature of their funding and editorial constraints; such as the BBC and Popular Mechanics.

The point is that even if only one of the many inconsistencies existent can be proved to show that the US Government made or let the attacks happen on purpose, then all the straw-men arguments in the world cannot counter this! In relation, here is a brilliant article I highly recommend reading!
Aw, shucks, it was nothin'!
The BBC documentary was essentially a character assassination of Alex Jones, Dylan Avery and Webster Tarpley. Whilst there are more academic/scholarly sources detailing the 9/11 attacks (which I will move onto shortly), they nevertheless submit important evidence, and ask fundamentally unanswered questions, surrounding the events of that day and beyond. For evidence of this, take a look at Alex Jones' film "Terrorstorm", and Dylan Avery's "Loose Change 2nd Edition" (a 3rd and more accurate edition is currently underway), both of which can be viewed for free at google video.

Ok, if you've read this far, I've obviously got your attention! So, if you really want to understand why I have developed such an interest in this subject, it requires a sacrifice of time (which I appreciate most people cannot or will not afford the matter). However, if you are able to, you will very quickly realise that this is a complex topic, and requires in depth explanation, that can only be provided by presentations/lectures/films/literature of the lengths below. I have spent a great deal of time looking in to this over the past few years, and so I've drawn up a shortlist here of the best introductory items for your consideration.

Firstly, I present to the film "Oil, Smoke and Mirrors" that will hopefully provide the contextual backdrop required to fully appreciate exactly why the 9/11 attacks might have happened. As always however, decide for yourself!

This is a lecture given by the author and theologian David Ray Griffin. I highly recommend his book "The New Peal Harbour"; it's a great place to start on this subject. This lecture follows another of his books "9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions" which demonstrates the total whitewash investigation that Bush belatedly allowed into the events of that day.

And here's another of his lectures ... and another. This lecture compares the myths and reality of 9/11 and offers enlightenment about the manipulation of religion within the official account of 9/11.

It is necessary to understand the physics surrounding what is said to have happened that day. A good starter here is Stephen Jones' lecture.

And this an interesting interview by Jim Fetzer, that ties in with the above.

This documentary below presents a simulation using the American 77 Flight Data Recorder as provided by the NTSB following the full flight in real time as it happens in the air traffic system on Sept 11.

In relation to the false flag operations discussed within films such as "Terrorstorm" and "Oil, Smoke and Mirrors" among others, here's a clip discussing Operation Northwoods, a plan for US false flag terrorism ... and here is the (PDF) document itself.

This is one of the first lectures that really made me sit up and take notice. Mike Ruppert provides some important historical context relating to the US and in particular the CIA, and follows in to 9/11.

This (PDF) is an extract from Mike Ruppert's book "Crossing The Rubicon..."

Here's another clip discussing Norad and the drills on 9/11.

Below is a relatively new film that highlights the important role that widows of 9/11 victims have played in demanding an investigation of any sort! It provides some crucial information.

Finally, this site offers very user-friendly timelines detailing events.

I hope these links demonstrate the multitude of questions remaining about what happened on 9/11. I try to avoid speculative explanations, as only the perpetrators of the attacks know exactly what happened that day. However one thing is for certain, and that is, that the official account provided by the US Government is massively flawed!

Peace and love, Mike
Thanks, Mike!

Tom Toles: Artificial Timetables

A wise man once said, "WP, we should have a new open thread every Friday."

That's easier said than done, but not by much.

Blog on!

Army General Tries His Hand At Spinning, And Fails

According to the New York Times,
The top military commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, warned Thursday that an American troop pullback this fall would lead to an escalation in sectarian killings and worsening violence.

“My sense is that there would be an increase in sectarian violence, a resumption of sectarian violence, were the presence of our forces and Iraqi forces at that time to be reduced,” General Petraeus said at a Pentagon news conference.
It's hard to understand what General Petraeus is complaining about. An escalation in sectarian killings and worsening violence have been among the administration's main goals for Iraq ever since before the invasion.

Am I kidding? No, I am not. Otherwise they wouldn't have started the "sectarian" death squads.

So ... now that the death squads are raging, why don't we just withdraw, let the Iraqis finish killing each other, then go back in and pump out all the oil?

Why not? Because that's not the way it will work.

If we withdraw, the "sectarian" violence will come to an end, perhaps not all at once (although who can say?) or perhaps gradually, and then there will still be Iraqis left standing, and we will never get to go back in and pump out all the oil.

Maybe that's what he's afraid of.

Clearly he's afraid of something, or else he's very ill, but in any case he's clearly delirious, because he's been making no sense at all:
He said that sectarian killings had declined two-thirds from their level in January, in part because of construction of walls around some neighborhoods that had allowed security forces to maintain control of areas as they were cleared.

But he conceded that the overall violence had not subsided, and he warned that large-scale attacks using car bombs against markets and other locations filled with civilians could still occur and set off more Sunni and Shiite revenge killings.
Let's see now: If sectarian killings have declined two-thirds, but overall violence has not subsided, does that mean non-sectarian killings have taken up the slack? And how can we possibly tell the difference? Do Iraqis have their religion tattooed on the back of their necks? Are the bodies of murder victims marked to indicate whether their killings were sectarian or not? Or is this just another attempted bamboozlement of the American public?

I'm pretty sure what it is. How about you?

Senators Vow To Restore Habeas Corpus

Here's a dash of good news from Susan Cornwell of Reuters:
Influential U.S. senators vowed on Thursday to restore to foreign terrorism suspects the right to challenge their imprisonment, saying Congress made an historic blunder by stripping them of that right last year.

Hundreds of suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members held at a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be affected.
All the other people held in U.S. military prisons could be affected, too.
The United States has drawn international criticism over its continued detention of terrorism suspects in Guantanamo, with human rights groups demanding the prison be closed and detainees charged with crimes or released.
It's the least one can ask of a civilized country, is it not? Or do we no longer even aspire to that status?
Last year's Congress, with a Republican majority, passed a law setting specific rules for U.S. military tribunals. It included a ban on non-citizens labeled "enemy combatants" from using "habeas corpus" petitions to challenge the legality of their detention in court, asserting that military panels at Guantanamo were a substitute for court review.
They are not, of course. Not even close.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy warned that the rights of some 12 million legal aliens in the United States -- as well as any foreigners visiting the country -- had also been infringed by the new law.
Regular readers of this page may remember that the issue of illegal detention of legal aliens became a personal one last fall, when the cousin of a friend was detained without cause, without charge, and -- for far too long -- without even a hearing.

It's no stretch to imagine that the same thing could happen to any of twelve million legal residents -- indeed it has happened to many of them. Fortunately, my friend's cousin was released after "only" three weeks. But many others who were been detained for the same nonexistent reasons are still in prison. So a restoration of habeas corpus would help them as well.

It would also help the approximately 300 million American citizens whose rights have also been infringed -- by the new law combined with the president's having claimed the right to strip the citizenship (and thus the habeas corpus rights) of anyone he (or any subordinate he might deputize) may deem an "enemy combatant".
"This new law means that any of these people can be detained forever ... without any ability to challenge their detention in federal court, or anywhere else, simply on the government's say-so that they are awaiting determination as to whether they are enemy combatants," the Vermont Democrat said.

"This is wrong. It is unconstitutional. It is un-American," Leahy said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which would share jurisdiction on changing the law.
You can't argue about any of this unless you have a license to lie. But there are an awful lot of licensed liars to be found, especially at the five-cornered building.
A Defense Department lawyer and some committee Republicans said the law should be allowed to work and be examined by U.S. courts before Congress acts again.
It's the same old song with a different word in it. Give the war a chance! Give the surge a chance! Give the gulag a chance! Give us just one more chance to lie to you!

Are you ready for another one? Here it comes:
"Detention of enemy combatants in wartime is not criminal punishment and therefore does not require that the individual be charged or tried in a court of law," said Daniel Dell'Orto, principal deputy general counsel at the Pentagon.
Unfortunately for Mr. Dell'Orto, there's much more to the story. This is not exclusively about the detention of America's enemies. This is also about the detention of people who are anything but enemy combatants. Some of them are guilty of nothing but trying to escape from the bombing of their former homelands, and were sold into captivity. But the Pentagon-licensed lawyers don't want you to know about that. Or about anything else that's really going on in the world. And neither does the administration. Fortunately, they don't yet have full control over everything.
Leahy, along with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, has introduced legislation to restore habeas corpus right to detainees.
With decades of duplicity to atone for, Arlen "Magic Bullet" Specter seems to have taken a step in the right direction. On the other hand, this could simply be more duplicity on his part. After all, he is a past master.

Let us recall that during the debate on the law he now says he wants to change,
Arlen Specter said that the bill sends us back 900 years because it denies habeas corpus rights and allows the President to detain people indefinitely. He also said the bill violates core Constitutional protections. Then he voted for it.
Personally, I don't trust Arlen Specter any farther than I can throw him -- and I never will. But one can always hope. And if Pat Leahy still has hope, how can any of the rest of us give up?

The Reuters report continues:
With the help of Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, "I hope we can fix this serious and corrosive problem by this summer," Leahy said.

Levin, a Michigan Democrat, agreed "we have an obligation to act now to establish a process that we can defend."
It's clear that the current setup is indefensible. And the challenge to it is way overdue.

So here's a big "HOORAY" for Senators Leahy and Levin (and a small one for Arlen Specter), and best of luck to them on this.

The gulag is one of the centerpieces of the tyranny this administration is trying to establish -- perhaps the single most important and most intimidating manifestation of their evil intentions. So this will not be an easy row to hoe. But it may be the most important one -- for now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Creating A Fascist Dictatorship Is Easy

Chilling indeed is Naomi Wolf's recent piece in The Guardian, "Fascist America, in 10 easy steps". (Thanks to Bob in Prague for mentioning it in a comment.)

Here's a quick summary:
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms ... George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law
Ms. Wolf's column gives examples of the Bush administration doing each of these ten things, and I commend it to your attention if you haven't already read it. It is no doubt harrowing, but it probably only tells about half the story. Our position appears to be much worse than Ms. Wolf lets on.

To supplement her case, we can add some of the tactics which, even if they haven't been features of all fascist-enablers throughout history, have been used (and continue to be used) against American democracy:

11. Stage false flag terror attacks

Ms. Wolf doesn't go so far as to call 9/11 a false-flag attack, but I have no such qualms. It was obvious on the day, and the passage of time has made it even more so.

For that matter, the first attack on the World Trade Center (in 1993) was patently false. So too were the London bomb attacks of July 7, 2005, as well as the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004.

The constantly-repeated but unsubstantiated official stories of these attacks all make it look as if the entire world is under threat from terrorists. And in fact it is. But the terrorists are not Arabic or Muslim or hiding in a cave.

12. Corrupt the electoral process

Prevent people from voting if you think they will vote against you. If you can't prevent them from voting, prevent their votes from being counted. And if you can't prevent their votes from being counted, prevent them from being counted correctly.

13. Poison the nation's political discourse

Stake out violent, radical positions and call them "mainstream". Refer to your political opponents as "enemies" and call their positions "lunatic fringe", even if those positions were recently identified with mainstream politics.

Fabricate misleading names for your legislation, so people who know nothing about the actual bills will support them.

14. Lie about everything -- constantly!

Even if you get caught lying and are forced to tell the truth once, that's only a temporary setback. Go back to the original lie as early and as often as possible.

Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perrino recently told a news conference that our troops are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. See how easy that was?

15. Attack on all fronts simultaneously

This splits the opposition. Some will oppose your foreign policy; some will oppose your domestic economic policy; some will oppose your domestic social policy. This works in your favor by dissipating their energy, and may even lead to arguments among the opposition as to which issue(s) should be fought hardest. Your main objective is to make sure the opposition never has a chance to unite.

16. Accuse your opponents of the crimes you intend to commit

If they deny the charges, you say "They'll deny anything." If they refuse to dignify your charges with a denial, you say "See! They don't even deny it". And then when you get caught doing it, you can claim it's no big deal -- just something everybody does.

17. Disguise your agenda

If your society is affluent, pretend to be conservative. People who consider themselves conservative are basically very greedy and extremely stupid and they will support you to the hilt, especially if they have no idea what you are doing.

If your society is poverty-stricken, pretend to be socialist. Then the people who have nothing will support you in the hope of improving their lot. It will never happen, of course, but they probably won't find out until it's too late.

18. Engage in selective political assassination

Disguise some of the murders as accidents, but in other cases make it very plain that the victim was deliberately killed. This not only eliminates potentially powerful opposition but it also instills fear in the segment of society that the assassinated leaders represented.

19. Start a war and claim it's a national emergency

Claim special powers because the country is at war. Claim you are doing everything in your power to make the country safe. But don't actually take any steps in that direction, for the safer the people feel the less they will support you.

20. Hide as much information as possible

What they don't know can't hurt you.

21. Wrap your treason in the flag, and hide your sins behind the Bible.

It works like a charm. Doesn't it?

Here's Naomi Wolf again:
Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.
I disagree entirely. We may be just one false-flag attack away from total dictatorship.
Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.
Or perhaps a combination of both ... slow erosion and sudden shocks.

But that's a minor disagreement, in the grand scheme of things. More to the point:
We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.
How can we in fact "stand our ground and fight for our nation"? I hope to explore that question in greater detail in upcoming posts. In the meantime, and as always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

Tom Toles: It's Terrifying

Did somebody say "Fight Fear With Fear"?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Truth Is Scarcely Visible As Eland Rips Chertoff Rips Brzezinski

At Robert Parry's Consortium News, guest columnist Ivan Eland plants both feet firmly in the world of fantasy with respect to the events of 9/11, yet still manages to tell a few vital truths when he calls BS on the Bush administration -- specifically Michael Chertoff -- for Exaggerating al-Qaeda's Threat.
Michael Chertoff, President Bush’s secretary of Homeland Security, desperately tried to refute Zbigniew Brzezinski’s cogent charge that the administration has hyped the “war on terror” to promote a “culture of fear,” in a recent Washington Post op-ed.
The op-ed was called "Make No Mistake: This Is War" and it was published on Sunday. Why Ivan Eland declines to link to it is beyond me.

Brzezinski's column was called "Terrorized by 'War on Terror'" and I understand completely why Chertoff declined to link to it.

Eland continues:
In addition to shamefully smearing Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Advisor, by associating him with the fringe opinion that the administration plotted the 9/11 terrorist acts, Chertoff also declared, “Al-Qaeda and its ilk have a world vision that is comparable to that of historical totalitarian ideologues but adapted to the 21st–century global network.”
Chertoff's "smearing" of Brzezinski, if indeed that's what it was, is very subtle:
Since Sept. 11, a conspiracy-minded fringe has claimed that American officials plotted the destruction. But when scholars such as Zbigniew Brzezinski accuse our leaders of falsely depicting or hyping a "war on terror" to promote a "culture of fear," it's clear that historical revisionism has gone mainstream.
This false denial from Chertoff may have been required, but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous. It is painfully obvious that our "leaders" have indeed falsely depicted and hyped a "war on terror", and Mr. Chertoff -- one of the guiltiest parties in this regard -- knows as much.

This is the same Michael Chertoff who proclaimed that the alleged "Liquid Bomb" plot -- which was supposedly foiled in the UK last August -- was designed to destroy 10 or 12 airplanes and kill hundreds of thousands of people in the process, as if each airplane could carry tens of thousands of passengers.

But Michael Chertoff "smears" Brzezinski only by referring to him in the same paragraph as what he calls the "conspiracy-minded fringe".

Ivan Eland is much less subtle, levelling a much more blatant smear against those who recognize 9/11 for what it was, and who -- unlike Ivan Eland (and unlike Robert Parry, for that matter) -- have the courage to say so. (Parry, once among the most fearless of journalists, won't talk about election fraud, either. So it goes.)

On the other hand, Eland is right when he says that Chertoff's
rhetoric makes it seem as if al-Qaeda is more dangerous than Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. When comparisons are made to these villainous titans, we should be suspicious.
After his insane pronouncements last August, we should be suspicious whenever Michael Chertoff says anything!
The same kinds of comparisons have been used before. When Bill Clinton wanted to bomb Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, he compared both leaders to Hitler. In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush also used the same comparison.

Yet, the small countries of Serbia and Iraq, as well as the rag-tag group al-Qaeda, have nowhere near the resources of a Nazi Germany and have not tried to completely overrun an important and wealthy continent.
Yes, it's all perfectly true and it's also perfectly obvious. Somewhat less obvious -- but still visible -- is al-Q'aeda's role as an instrument of western intelligence services. But Ivan Eland doesn't seem to know -- or care -- about that.

And he doesn't really have to, because his target -- Chertoff -- can be demolished with virtually no ammunition whatsoever.
Chertoff’s overheated rhetoric doesn’t stop there. He adds yet another implicit comparison -- to communism. He opined, “Today’s extreme Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda do not merely seek political revolution in their own countries. They aspire to dominate all countries. Their goal is a totalitarian, theocratic empire to be achieved by waging perpetual war on soldiers and civilians alike.”

Here the implicit comparison is to the universal communist movement, which tried to spread its revolution around the world.
Maybe in some fifty-year-old dream, the implicit comparison is to the "universal communist movement", a movement which, by the way, never existed but which was nonetheless hyped and falsely depicted for decades.

Eland misses the more obvious comparison: to the modern-day United States, the one force in the world which is -- even as we speak -- waging a self-proclaimed endless, limitless war against the rest of the world.

This endless war doesn't really have much to do with terrorism, and that fact is becoming clearer by the day. It does have a lot to do with oil, though.

Does Ivan Eland mention oil? Does Chertoff mention oil? Does Brzezinski mention oil? Or are we looking at a trilogy of more-or-less total lies?

Here's a hint. Eland continues:
Although Osama bin Laden does try to kill both soldiers and civilians -- and is justifiably deemed a vicious terrorist -- his real objective is not to dominate “all countries” by fomenting an Islamist revolution. If bin Laden had this as a genuine goal, it would be laughable to think that he could get any significant public support in Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu countries for a revolution to convert them to draconian Islamic rule.
No kidding. It seems ridiculous when phrased that way.

But on a more pragmatic level, it is equally ridiculous to base anything on what Osama bin Laden says, considering that it's been more than five years since he's said anything! We might as well base our notion of bank security on the pronouncements of Bonnie and Clyde.
In fact, his officially stated goal of recreating a caliphate that would put all of the diverse Islamic countries under one ruler is preposterous enough on its own. Even Chertoff admits that the Islamist extremists’ intent is “grandiose.” Should bin Laden ever create such a caliphate, it would not have the economic or military power of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
Should bin Laden ever create such a caliphate, it would be one of the most amazing feats ever achieved -- because everybody knows dead men don't create caliphates.
Chertoff himself acknowledges that his own comparison is weak: “To be sure, as Brzezinski observes, the geographic reach of this network does not put them [sic] in the same group as the Nazis or Stalinists when they achieved first-class military power.”

Despite bin Laden’s inflated rhetoric, his real aims -- which are also supported by many mainstream Muslims -- are to remove a non-Muslim military presence from Islamic lands and compel the United States to stop supporting what bin Laden sees as corrupt regimes in the Middle East.
These may have been his real aims when he was alive. On the other hand, he may have been nothing but a figurehead -- a CIA asset through and through. His main job may have been to do and say things which would give the folks like Michael Chertoff ammunition.
Most mainstream Muslims, however, reject bin Laden’s despicable means of targeting civilians to achieve his goals.

Non-Muslim intervention in and occupation of Muslim lands has driven Islamist violence in Chechnya, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan (during both the Soviet and current U.S. occupations), and Lebanon (during Israeli invasions and the U.S. nation-building mission during the Reagan administration). The U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf initially motivated bin Laden to strike U.S. targets, eventually resulting in the horror of 9/11.

Personally I find it very disturbing that a supposedly dissident journalist would continue to parrot the official government line in the face of the facts that the government has been demonstrably lying about virtually everything, virtually all the time, and that even now -- five and a half years after the attacks -- we still have not seen any credible evidence linking Osama bin Laden to those attacks.

We've seen much more credible evidence to support the contention that al-Q'aeda doesn't even exist!

The amount of incredible evidence we have seen makes the situation much worse.

But Ivan Eland is blissfully unconcerned with any of that; he's more interested in the blowback theory.
The 9/11 attacks were treacherous acts of terrorism, but Chertoff and the Bush administration, the U.S. foreign policy establishment, and the American media act as if they were the beginning of history. Only in religion and quantum physics are there events without cause.
Clearly Chertoff and the Bush administration are interested in deception -- they've virtually made it a religion. So why on Earth should we pay them any more heed?

On the other hand, Ivan Eland is right when he says that
Most Americans are unaware of their government’s history of unnecessary and profligate meddling in the affairs of countries throughout the Middle East. For their own safety and security, Americans cannot continue to ignore that the Islamist venom resulting in 9/11 was rooted in this U.S. interventionist and quasi-imperial foreign policy.
Certainly it would be a step forward to acknowledge the roots if Islamic and Arabic venom. But to claim without a shred of evidence that it resulted in 9/11 is extremely irresponsible.

It's nothing like the sort of reporting readers of Consortium News once enjoyed. But apparently it's all we're ever going to get.

Fortunately, in this case where the target is an outrageous pack of transparent lies, it's almost good enough.
Instead of perpetuating the myth that the United States is at war with “fanatics” who have a reflexive hatred of America, the nation’s homeland security chief could better spend his time examining the real motivator for such terrorism—U.S. foreign policy—and recommending a policy of military restraint in the Middle East to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks at home.

If there is any doubt that this strategy would work, the case of Lebanon during the early 1980s should be examined. After the bombing of the Marine barracks and Ronald Reagan’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from that country, the number of anti–U.S. attacks by the Islamist group Hezbollah plummeted.
This is a great point! Finally. I knew there would be one, eventually. Or at least I suspected as much.
But perhaps creating a “culture of fear,” as Brzezinski put it, is more politically useful to the Bush administration than actually carrying out what should be the first and foremost responsibility of any government—the protection of its people.
Nobody in his right mind could argue this point -- or the previous one, for that matter. Creating a culture of fear has been tremendously useful to the Bush administration. There's no "perhaps" about it.

Without the culture of fear which this administration has created, they would have all been executed for treason a long time ago.

But all Ivan Eland can bring himself to say about this is "perhaps".

What are they afraid of? Why can't Ivan Eland and Bob Parry bring themselves to state the obvious truths of the matter? It's not as if they are in danger of losing a paying gig. They are essentially only blogging already.

And given that context, it's a shameful display, in this frozen writer's opinion. But it is also sufficient.

Despite missing the point -- over and over and over -- Eland still manages to shred Chertoff's position, and this to my mind is the clearest possible evidence that Chertoff is lying.

I mean, if you can be taken apart quite easily, by somebody who hasn't a clue ...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Articles Of Impeachment Against The Vice President

Representative Dennis Kucinich has prepared Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, as previously reported here. Highlights of the Articles follow.

The full text of the articles (in PDF form) is now available here.

The excerpts below are quoted from FULL TEXT: Articles of Impeachment of Dick Cheney by Matthew Cardinale of Atlanta Progressive News.
Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, That Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Article I

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:

(1) Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction...

(2) Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Vice President was fully informed that no legitimate evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The Vice President pressured the intelligence community to change their findings to enable the deception of the citizens and Congress of the United States.

(3) The Vice President’s actions corrupted or attempted to corrupt the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, an intelligence document issued on October 1, 2002 and carefully considered by Congress prior to the October 10, 2002 vote to authorize the use of force. The Vice President’s actions prevented the necessary reconciliation of facts for the National Intelligence Estimate which resulted in a high number of dissenting opinions from technical experts in two Federal agencies.

The Vice President subverted the national security interests of the United States by setting the stage for the loss of more than 3300 United States service members; the loss of 650,000 Iraqi citizens since the United States invasion; the loss of approximately $500 billion in war costs which has increased our Federal debt; the loss of military readiness within the United States Armed Services due to overextension, lack of training and lack of equipment; the loss of United States credibility in world affairs; and the decades of likely blowback created by the invasion of Iraq. In all of this, Vice President Richard B. Cheney has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as Vice President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

Article II

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:

(1) Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Vice President actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda...

(2) Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq the Vice President was fully informed that no credible evidence existed of a working relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, a fact articulated in several official documents...

Article III

In his conduct while Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of Vice President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States, to wit:

(1) Despite no evidence that Iran has the intention or the capability of attacking the United States and despite the turmoil created by United States invasion of Iraq, the Vice President has openly threatened aggression against Iran ...

(2) The Vice President, who repeatedly and falsely claimed to have had specific, detailed knowledge of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities, is no doubt fully aware of evidence that demonstrates Iran poses no real threat to the United States ...

(3) The Vice President is fully aware of the actions taken by the United States towards Iran that are further destabilizing the world ...

(4) In the last three years the Vice President has repeatedly threatened Iran. However, the Vice President is legally bound by the U.S Constitution’s adherence to international law that prohibits threats of use of force...

Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
Your humble and slightly frozen scribe has been saying for quite some time that Bush, Cheney, et al. don't deserve impeachment.

But it would be a good first step.

Tom Toles: A Compromise

Here's another open thread ...

... for democracy's sake.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Phony War On Terror Demands Casualties -- And Gets Them

Robert Fisk's most recent article concerns Taner Akcam [photo],
the distinguished Turkish scholar at the University of Minnesota who, with immense courage, proved the facts of the Armenian genocide - the deliberate mass murder of up to a million and a half Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish authorities in 1915 - from Turkish documents and archives. His book A Shameful Act was published to great critical acclaim in Britain and the United States.

He is now, needless to say, being threatened with legal action in Turkey under the infamous Law 301 - which makes a crime of insulting "Turkishness"
and in addition his freedom to travel has been compromised, apparently because of false allegations made against him on the Internet.
Akcam was travelling to lecture in Montreal and took the Northwest Airlines flight from Minneapolis on 16 February this year. The Canadian immigration officer, Akcam says, was "courteous" - but promptly detained him at Montreal's Trudeau airport. Even odder, the Canadian immigration officer asked him why he needed to be detained. Akcam tells me he gave the man a brief history of the genocide and of the campaign of hatred against him in the US by Turkish groups "controlled by ... Turkish diplomats" who "spread propaganda stating that I am a member of a terrorist organisation".

All this went on for four hours while the immigration officer took notes and made phone calls to his bosses. Akcam was given a one-week visa and the Canadian officer showed him - at Akcam's insistence - a piece of paper which was the obvious reason for his temporary detention.

"I recognised the page at once," Akcam says. "The photo was a still from a 2005 documentary on the Armenian genocide... The still photo and the text beneath it comprised my biography in the English language edition of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which anyone in the world can modify at any time. For the last year ... my Wikipedia biography has been persistently vandalised by anonymous 'contributors' intent on labelling me as a terrorist. The same allegations has been repeatedly scrawled, like gangland graffiti, as 'customer reviews' of my books at Amazon."
This wasn't the first time Akcam's freedom of movement has been restricted, and apparently for the same reason:
Prior to his Canadian visit, two Turkish-American websites had been hinting that Akcam's "terrorist activities" should be of interest to American immigration authorities. And sure enough, Akcam was detained yet again - for another hour - by US Homeland Security officers at Montreal airport before boarding his flight at Montreal for Minnesota two days later.

On this occasion, he says that the American officer - US Homeland Security operates at the Canadian airport - gave him a warning: "Mr Akcam, if you don't retain an attorney and correct this issue, every entry and exit from the country is going to be problematic. We recommend that you do not travel in the meantime and that you try to get this information removed from your customs dossier."
Fisk summarizes the incident:
So let's get this clear. US and Canadian officials now appear to be detaining the innocent on the grounds of hate postings on the internet. And it is the innocent - guilty until proved otherwise, I suppose - who must now pay lawyers to protect them from Homeland Security and the internet. But as Akcam says, there is nothing he can do.
Several bloggers have picked up this story, and one in particular has done a good job filling in some of the missing details. But they have all concentrated on the unreliability of Wikipedia and the general problem of how to tell whether something you find on the net is credible. And none -- not even Fisk himself -- has made the point that seems most obvious to me.

The so-called War on Terror is a fraud, a massive crime against all humanity "justified" by a web of carefully crafted and expensively disseminated lies. And like any web of lies, it cannot sustain itself without ever-increasing fiction. Thus we have phony terror plots leading to spectacularly hyped arrests (which may not even lead to charges, let alone a trial) and entrapment going on all over the place. But that still doesn't generate enough publicity to keep the illusion going under its own power.

Early in the phony war, the phony warriors needed suspects so urgently that they were buying them. But they can't keep doing that, so now they're using any other available pretext to try to meet their quotas.

And we have clearly reached a point where it doesn't even matter anymore whether somebody is a terrorist or not. If his name -- or some similar name -- is on the government's watch-list, that's good enough to justify ruining his trip -- or his life.

And meanwhile -- as if the utter phoniness of the bogus war needed any further emphasis -- an actual terrorist has been set free.

What does all this mean? It goes something like this:
Imagine if France arrested Osama bin Laden, and refused to extradite him to the United States on the grounds he would be tortured. Then imagine they refused to charge him with terrorism, but only with an immigration violation, and released him on bail. Now you'll have some idea of the situation with Luis Posada Carriles, with one exception - the United States does torture its prisoners, while Venezuela does not.
If you're not yet sick of the hypocrisy, you can read more about it here.

Upcoming Moyers Report On Iraq Devastates The Lapdogs, But What Difference Will It Make?

With PBS under fire for airing a Richard Perle infomercial disguised as journalism, it's somewhat refreshing to know that Bill Moyers is not far behind.

Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher says a 'Devastating' Bill Moyers Probe of Press and Iraq is Coming This Week
The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called "Buying the War," which marks the return of "Bill Moyers Journal." E&P was sent a preview DVD and a draft transcript for the program this week.

While much of the evidence of the media's role as cheerleaders for the war presented here is not new, it is skillfully assembled, with many fresh quotes from interviews (with the likes of Tim Russert and Walter Pincus) along with numerous embarrassing examples of past statements by journalists and pundits that proved grossly misleading or wrong. Several prominent media figures, prodded by Moyers, admit the media failed miserably, though few take personal responsibility.

The war continues today, now in its fifth year, with the death toll for Americans and Iraqis rising again -- yet Moyers points out, "the press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush Administration to go to war on false pretenses."

Among the few heroes of this devastating film are reporters with the Knight Ridder/McClatchy bureau in D.C. Tragically late, Walter Isaacson, who headed CNN, observes, "The people at Knight Ridder were calling the colonels and the lieutenants and the people in the CIA and finding out, you know, that the intelligence is not very good. We should've all been doing that."
Quite so, Mr. Isaacson. But not nearly enough. There are those among the blogging community who believe you should all be hanged for not doing that. I am not among them, as my regular readers all know.
At the close, Moyers mentions some of the chief proponents of the war who refused to speak to him for this program, including Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Charles Krauthammer, Judith Miller, and William Safire.
Ahh! That's a wonderful short-list of other people for whom hanging would be way too generous.
But Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, admits, "I don't think there is any excuse for, you know, my performance and the performance of the press in general in the roll up to the war…We didn't dig enough. And we shouldn't have been fooled in this way." Bob Simon, who had strong doubts about evidence for war, was asked by Moyers if he pushed any of the top brass at CBS to "dig deeper," and he replies, "No, in all honesty, with a thousand mea culpas….nope, I don't think we followed up on this."

Instead he covered the marketing of the war in a "softer" way, explaining to Moyers: "I think we all felt from the beginning that to deal with a subject as explosive as this, we should keep it, in a way, almost light – if that doesn't seem ridiculous."

Moyers replies: "Going to war, almost light."
Can't wait to see the clip. I hope the tone of Bill's voice makes "almost light" sound like "descpicable".
Walter Isaacson is pushed hard by Moyers and finally admits, "We didn't question our sources enough." But why? Isaacson notes there was "almost a patriotism police" after 9/11 and when the network showed civilian casualties it would get phone calls from advertisers and the administration and "big people in corporations were calling up and saying, 'You're being anti-American here.'"
Anti-American? Or anti-Bull Manure?

Yes, the media were bullied by the right-wing spin-police. As were we all. Some refused to succumb and wrote the truth even more furiously, even if it meant they had to take up blogging. Others tucked tail and took up bootlicking.

I know what I'd like to see happen to the bootlickers. And fortunately we have enough buckets to go around. But it's hard to see whether it would do much good. We're up against something huge and monstrous.
Moyers then mentions that Isaacson had sent a memo to staff, leaked to the Washington Post, in which he declared, "It seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan" and ordered them to balance any such images with reminders of 9/11.
Perverse? Let me tell you what's perverse:

Whether the official story is true or false, the fact remains that nobody has ever even claimed -- much less proven -- that the crimes of 9/11 were perpetrated by, planned by, inspired by, or even condoned by the dirt-poor civilians in Afghanistan who bore the brunt of the "collateral" damage that followed almost immediately in the wake of the attack. If it would have been perverse to mention the damage to civilians that our forces were causing, imagine what it would have meant had any major media told the obvious truth about 9/11 and the causes for war in Afghanistan!
Moyers also asserts that editors at the Panama City (Fla.) News-Herald received an order from above, "Do not use photos on Page 1A showing civilian casualties. Our sister paper has done so and received hundreds and hundreds of threatening emails."
Where are those threatening emails? We need them! Every one of them is evidence of terrorism, and the people who sent them should be hanging from the ceiling at Gitmo. So how's about a little justice here? How's about a little counter-terror??
Walter Pincus of the Washington Post explains that even at his paper reporters "do worry about sort of getting out ahead of something."
"Even"? Try "especially", Walter. The self-delusion evident here is pitiful and murderous. Sorry, Walter, but that's the truth. Threatening emails or not, that's the honest truth.
But Moyers gives credit to Charles J. Hanley of The Associated Press for trying, in vain, to draw more attention to United Nations inspectors failing to find WMD in early 2003.
If only Charles Hanley were the rule rather than the exception!

It was patently obvious that the United Nations inspectors weren't finding anything. But they were being aggressively discredited in the media. And rather than asking why this was happening, most reporters -- who above all should be skeptical and curious -- asked no questions at all.

And it goes on and on and on ...
The disgraceful press reaction to Colin Powell's presentation at the United Nations seems like something out of Monty Python, with one key British report cited by Powell being nothing more than a student's thesis, downloaded from the Web -- with the student later threatening to charge U.S. officials with "plagiarism."

Phil Donahue recalls that he was told he could not feature war dissenters alone on his MSNBC talk show and always had to have "two conservatives for every liberal." Moyers resurrects a leaked NBC memo about Donahue's firing that claimed he "presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

Moyers also throws some stats around: In the year before the invasion William Safire (who predicted a "quick war" with Iraqis cheering their liberators) wrote "a total of 27 opinion pieces fanning the sparks of war." The Washington Post carried at least 140 front-page stories in that same period making the administration's case for attack. In the six months leading to the invasion the Post would "editorialize in favor of the war at least 27 times."

Of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news in the six months before the war, almost all could be traced back to sources solely in the White House, Pentagon or State Dept., Moyers tells Russert, who offers no coherent reply.
But how could he offer any coherent reply? There were only two honest things left for Tim Russert to do. One would have been self-decapitation. But that would have taken courage. His other possible course would have been to fall to his knees and beg for mercy. And Russert needs mercy; he can not afford to pray for justice. But begging for mercy would have taken humility. By extension, we should not expect any coherent replies from any neocon anytime soon -- or ever.
The program closes on a sad note, with Moyers pointing out that "so many of the advocates and apologists for the war are still flourishing in the media." He then runs a pre-war clip of President Bush declaring, "We cannot wait for the final proof: the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." Then he explains: "The man who came up with it was Michael Gerson, President Bush's top speechwriter.

"He has left the White House and has been hired by the Washington Post as a columnist."
Enough, already.

Damn them all. Damn them all straight to Hell.

According to officials at the Guillotine Department, they could be on their way immediately.

So what are we waiting for?

Tom Toles: The Iraq Model

... not to be confused with the slick psy-op pseudo-blog Iraq The Model, where the tenor of media coverage of bombings in Iraq is an issue because
when their crimes are being portrayed as successful breakthroughs against the efforts of Iraq and America it's likely motivating them to keep up the killing
because presumably the motivating factor behind the violence in Iraq is the stateside media coverage of the resistance, rather than the occupation itself. Orwell's Ministry Of Truth would be proud ...

... but eerily reminiscent of Dahr Jamail's horrifying piece of June 23, 2005:
Email today from Baquba: Near the city of Buhrez, 5 kilometers south of Baquba, two Humvees of American soldiers were destroyed recently. American and Iraqi soldiers came to the city afterwards and cut all the phones, cut the water, cut off medicine from arriving in the city.

The embargo has been in place for a week now, and he continued: The Americans still won’t let anyone or any medicines and supplies into Buhrez, nor will they allow any people in or out. Even the Al-Sadr followers who organized some help for the people are not being allowed into the city. Journalists cannot enter to publish the news, and the situation is so bad. The Americans keep asking the people to bring them the persons who destroyed the two Humvees on the other side of the city, but of course the people don’t know who carried out the attack.

From Haditha and Al-Qa’im, an Iraqi doctor sent me this yesterday: We witnessed what the bastards did in Haditha and Al-Qa’im. It was a really big crime. We have witnessed and filmed in those places and recently also in Fallujah. We need big help in the western area of the country. Our doctors need urgent help there. Please, this is an URGENT humanitarian request. We have proof American troops destroyed one of our hospitals, burned all the medication in the west of Iraq and killed a patient in the ward ... prevented us from helping the people in al-Qa’im. We are in a big humanitarian medical disaster.

The same tactics used by the US in Fallujah -- posting snipers to shoot anyone who moves, targeting ambulances, impeding medical care, detaining innocent civilians en masse.

Fallujah is the model.

Fallujah is our Guernica. And now, Haditha, Al-Qa’im, with Baquba and Buhrez under deconstruction.
I'll have more on the deconstruction of Iraq later, hopefully not too much later.

In the meantime, as usual, the Toles cartoon signifies an open thread.