jazzoLOG: What America Means To Me    
 What America Means To Me17 comments
picture12 May 2005 @ 08:22, by Richard Carlson

Sun rising over
the mountain path---
scent of plums.

---Basho

Everything is miraculous. It is a miracle that one doesn't melt in one's bath.

---Pablo Picasso

I learn every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: PATIENCE is everything.

---Rainer Maria Rilke

Remember when the American Legion or the Daughters of the American Revolution used to sponsor that essay contest for schoolkids? They probably still do, and maybe the prizes are the same---and the best behaved student in the class still cranks out that same essay...and even reads it to us at some compulsory assembly. I never tried to write one because, even as a kid, the topic seemed so huge I just couldn't get my head around it.

Tuesday night, teacher and writer William Rivers Pitt unloaded bigtime at a meeting up in Cambridge. If you get your news online since 9/11, you've heard of Mr. Pitt...no matter if you're liberal or conservative. He used to write for Online Journal and now keeps us hopping once a day, it seems, at Truthout. He's also written a couple of books about Iraq and the great silence of the American people---which void seems to be what America means today.

His topic Tuesday night was supposed to be corporate control of the formerly free press. But what happens if there's also corporate control of the White House and the other branches of our government, and all the media does is spin out their scenarios? I believe that all Americans know this has happened, and that a few generations have come along, since Reagan, who don't know the United States can be any other way than the storybook we're living in now.

Many people I know, including managers and administrators, no longer pay any attention to the "news" or even elections anymore at all. I really don't know by what Hope they live, except whatever patch of ground they can carve out to call their own---and the next memo from a supervisor. I understand the dilemma of a money-manufactured reality (instead of Freedom) and their silence, but I cannot live that way. It's not what America means to me. Here's a taste of what William Rivers Pitt had to say the other night...and the link to the rest of the talk~~~

"For me, that's it in a nutshell. That's what ails us as a nation. The corporate media does not report the news anymore. They create consensus, they manufacture the common fictions under which we are expected to live. With the TV media, this behavior is all the more insidious because TV reaches everyone.

"Television is the most extraordinarily effective tool of mass control that has ever been invented by anyone anywhere.

"If this MSNBC producer (mentioned earlier) is an appropriate example - and I think she is, because she was asking me to basically be yet another Bush administration mouthpiece - the fictions they create do not merely soothe and placate the populace. They kill. They kill in large numbers, and a few people (who coincidentally own large chunks of the corporate news media) get paid handsomely for that killing.

"The print media is not in any way immune to this. Their disinformation does not have the reach of television news, simply because nobody reads anymore, but it is there all the same. My most recent brain cramp actually came up this morning, and has to do with the venerable New York Times. It was the Times that allowed the Bush talking-point about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to be broadbanded across the media spectrum.

" Times reporter Judy Miller hunkered with convicted embezzler and alleged Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi, and reported on the pages of the Times that Iraq was absolutely covered with weapons of mass destruction. This helped Chalabi, you see, because he had been chosen by the Bush folks to run Iraq after the war. So far, he has only gotten to be the Oil Minister...yes, the embezzler is now the Oil Minister, but that's a whole different mess.

"The point is that like it or lump it, the Times is the flagship of American journalism. If they say it, it must be true, and so when Miller reported that Iraq was covered with weapons, it became axiomatic. Then the TV outlets felt safe in saying it, and we were off to the races.

"Well, my brain cramp today came when I read the Times' response to the fallout from this situation. They were duped by a Bush administration lackey, the published gross fabrications, they empowered the war rhetoric...and in response to criticism, they have decided to move their perspective farther to the right. Yes, you heard me, and welcome to my brain cramp.

"The frustration I feel personally knowing that I and everyone else are being deliberately deceived and misdirected is topped by only one thing: The rage, horror and sorrow I feel when I finally do manage to carve through the crap and get to the truth. Because the truth, friends and neighbors, is so much worse than you can possibly imagine."

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14 May 2005 @ 12:55 by jmarc : What you said
"Many people I know, including managers and administrators, no longer pay any attention to the "news" or even elections anymore at all. I really don't know by what Hope they live,..."

From personal experience, I think they are feining lack of interest. That has been my ploy of late, and was the ploy of approximately 51 percent of the voters last election. We just tire of trying to find common ground with people that only see bad in our ideas and good in there own. There is no middle ground of late, so why bother banging our heads against the brick wall of what passes for liberal politics these days? Now when we see these brick walls, we just drive around them, and direct other like minded people to do the same. Political judo.  



15 May 2005 @ 12:19 by jazzolog : Like Minds
The Fall of the American Media
Twenty-seventh – thanks to Ann Coulter it isn’t lower!
© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
5/14/05
http://zeppscommentaries.com/VRWC/mediafall.htm

Bartcop had a link to an article at Arab News which stated that an outfit calling itself "Freedom House" had rated the world’s media, and that in terms of having a free press, America ranked only 27th in the world.

That the free press in America has taken a catastrophic plunge over the past 15 years is pretty much beyond dispute. One can spend a few days reading the Washington Post and realize that the glory days of Woodward and Bernstein are long passed. One can read its crosstown rival, the Washington Times, and realize that some segments of the American press are no better than the once-ridiculed Pravda of the Soviet era.

The Arab News story on the survey began with the acid remark, "Recent polling data shows that most Americans think their press is the freest in the world — indeed, some believe it is too free." Obviously, an attitude like that left a lot of room for encroachment that an at best passive and at worst timid populace would tolerate quite willingly.

But I got around to wondering what the criteria of the survey was, exactly. On one end of the American journalistic spectrum, you had outfits like Moon’s rag or Faux News, which are often only one step above newspapers in some countries where the daily headline better sing the praises of the Glorious Leader, or a certain managing editor would be taken out and shot. At the same time Bartcop could level his daily blasts against Putsch and manage to avoid falling into the American Gulag. Did Freedom House factor in such wide variation?

So I went to Freedomhouse.org and examined their methodology. I was wondering if they considered the influence of private ownership on the media. They do, along with a host of other factors. Their methodology statement includes:

Our examination of the level of press freedom in each country is divided into three broad categories: the legal environment, the political environment, and the economic environment.

The legal environment encompasses both an examination of the laws and regulations that could influence media content as well as the government’s inclination to use these laws and legal

institutions in order to restrict the media’s ability to operate. We assess the positive impact of legal and constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression; the potentially negative aspects of security legislation, the penal code and other criminal statutes; penalties for libel and defamation; the existence of and ability to use Freedom of Information legislation; the independence of the judiciary and of official media regulatory bodies; registration requirements for both media outlets and journalists; and the ability of journalists’ groups to operate freely.

Under the category of political environment, we evaluate the degree of political control over the content of news media. Issues examined in this category include the editorial independence of both the state-owned and privately-owned media; access to information and sources; official censorship and self-censorship; the vibrancy of the media; the ability of both foreign and local reporters to cover the news freely and without harassment; and the intimidation of journalists by the state or other actors, including arbitrary detention and imprisonment, violent assaults, and other threats.

Our third category examines the economic environment for the media. This includes the structure of media ownership; transparency and concentration of ownership; the costs of establishing media as well as of production and distribution; the selective withholding of advertising or subsidies by the state or other actors; the impact of corruption and bribery on content; and the extent to which the economic situation in a country impacts the development of the media.

That is pretty hard to fault. One of the biggest threats to American freedom is the strange notion that tyranny and repression are all right if inflicted by the private sector. Thus Americans are watched by more cameras, are accustomed to having every move they make at their jobs closely scrutinized. Americans are convinced that employers have a "right" to tell employees how they must dress, how they must act, even how they must behave when off duty. People cheerfully become wage slaves while inveighing that government must always be watched because it might encroach upon one’s personal sovereignty. "Recent polling data shows that most Americans think their press is the freest in the world — indeed, some believe it is too free."

Freedom House took that into account, along with the effects of collusion between government and reporters (Armstrong Williams, Robert Novak, Jeff Gannon, etc.) and self-censorship as a result of social, political, or economic factors. The US, which ranked 15th in the 2004 survey, still had a ranking of "free."* Pretty bad for a country the inhabitants like to brag is "the freest on earth," but compared to everyone else, pretty good.

In just one year, it slid to 27th, putting it on a par with Canada, the Barbados, Estonia, and Latvia.

It would have been much worse, but for two things. First, there is the fact that the government and the corporate interests haven’t figured out how to squelch the independent media that remains. They are trying, of course: the most recent story reported in the remaining free press was efforts by the new chairman of CPB, the parent corporation of public broadcasters NPR and PBS, to introduce "more conservative" coverage to the already decidedly right-leaning networks. Later it was revealed that the chairman was in fact a toady to the White House who, despite frequent meetings with Karl Rove and other admin officials, actually tried denying any links to the White House.

So there is still an independent media, and of course, there are tens of thousands of people like myself and Bartcop who are willing to talk about this kind of stuff.

So that pushes the freedom rating up a few notches.

The second is that the study isn’t really designed to distinguish between sloppy journalism and deliberate lying. Diana Griego Erwin, the renowned Sacramento Bee columnist, resigned the other day when a in-house investigation revealed that some of the sources in her recent stories could not be properly attributed. [Note: I wrote an essay on her back in 2001. If we assume that the newspaper has justification, was it sloppy journalism, or deliberate lying? And how do you tell? Either way, though, the study would consider Griego Erwin – if guilty – an example of repressed press.

At the same time, the Lord Haw-Haws of the right, such people as Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Weiner sometimes speak out against the government (usually pretending that the people who are out of power, be they liberals, Jews or gays, are actually secretly running everything) and of course aren’t being suspended by their editors for breaches of journalistic ethics. (Just try to imagine EIB or Newsmax demanding journalists submit to fact-checking!)

I won’t insult the intelligence of my readers by pretending we can’t know if they are lying or not. Of course they are lying. They are paid liars for the GOP. But the study would have to classify them, with their outspoken "anti-government" stances, as examples of a free press.

There you have it: Griego Erwin may have invented sources, and that’s a less free media. Ann Coulter simply lies, but she claims to lie about the powers that be, so that’s evidence of a free media. Amazing, isn’t it?

So if the ranking of 27th for "the freest nation on earth" (something Americans used to refer to themselves as) strikes you as appalling, remember: it’s actually even worse.  



26 May 2005 @ 08:53 by jazzolog : Hello White House!
How much more did you say you want Newsweek to do?

Does anyone consider the Bush Administration rather passive-aggressive?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
May 26, 2005

Documents Say Detainees Cited Abuse of Koran by Guards
By NEIL A. LEWIS

WASHINGTON, May 25 - Newly released documents show that detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, complained repeatedly to F.B.I. agents about disrespectful handling of the Koran by military personnel and, in one case in 2002, said they had flushed a Koran down a toilet.

The prisoners' accounts are described by the agents in detailed summaries of interrogations at Guantánamo in 2002 and 2003. The documents were among more than 300 pages turned over by the F.B.I. to the American Civil Liberties Union in recent days and publicly disclosed Wednesday.

Unlike F.B.I. documents previously disclosed in a lawsuit brought by the civil liberties union, in which agents reported that they had witnessed harsh and possibly illegal interrogation techniques, the new documents do not say the F.B.I. agents witnessed the episodes themselves. Rather, they are accounts of unsubstantiated accusations made by the prisoners during interrogation.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon dismissed the reports as containing no new evidence that abuses of the Koran had actually occurred and said that on May 14 military investigators had interviewed the prisoner who mentioned the toilet episode to the F.B.I. and that he was not able to substantiate the charge.

The accusation that soldiers had put a Koran in a toilet, which has been made by former and current inmates over the past two years, stirred violence this month that killed at least 17 people in Muslim countries after Newsweek magazine reported that a military investigation was expected to confirm that the incident had in fact occurred.

Newsweek retracted the report last week, saying it had relied on an American government official who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.

None of the documents released Wednesday indicate any such confirmation that the incident took place.

One document released Wednesday is an Aug. 1, 2002, memorandum from an agent whose name is deleted that recounts a pair of interviews the previous month with a prisoner whose name is also deleted.

The prisoner said that "the guards in the detention facility do not treat him well," the agent wrote. "Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet. The guards dance around when the detainees are trying to pray. The guards still do these things." The document does not indicate whether the agent believed the account.

The documents include several other accounts of detainees' complaints about disrespectful handling of the Koran, but none describe its being flushed in a toilet.

Bryan Whitman, the deputy Pentagon spokesman, said Wednesday that the newly released document, a summary of an interrogation, "does not include any new allegations, nor does it include any new sources for previous allegations." Mr. Whitman said the source of the accusation "is an enemy combatant."

Since the Newsweek article was published, the Pentagon has been reviewing records, but "we still have found no credible allegations that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Guantánamo," Mr. Whitman said.

Until the new batch of documents was released, no previously released F.B.I. documents were known to have mentioned abuse of the Koran of the type Newsweek reported.

Earlier complaints came in statements of inmates after they were released from custody or, more recently, in statements of current inmates to their lawyers.

Another memo released Wednesday, dated March 18, 2003, is an account by an agent whose name is deleted who writes that another detainee told him of purposely disrespectful handling of the Koran. The detainee acknowledged, according to the memo, that he did not witness any of the incidents he had discussed.

The agent reports that the detainee said the use of the Koran as a tool in interrogation had been a mistake. "Interrogators who had taken the Koran from individual detainees as a reprisal or incentive to cooperate had failed," the detainee said, adding that the only result would be "the damage caused to the reputation of the United States once what had occurred was released to the world."

Jameel Jaffer, a senior lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union who is coordinating the review of documents obtained in the group's civil suit against the military, said the documents were part of more than 300 new pages received last Thursday from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said staff members spent days reviewing the documents.

Ken Weine, a spokesman for Newsweek, said the magazine would have no comment on the disclosures.

The disclosures Wednesday did not support the specific assertions in the original Newsweek item that military investigators concluded that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet. They do, however, reinforce the contentions of human rights advocates and lawyers for detainees that accusations of purposeful mishandling of the Koran were common.

A former interrogator told The New York Times in a recent interview that friction over handling of the Koran began with guards' regular searches of the cells. "Some of it was just ignorance," the former interrogator said, insisting on anonymity because soldiers are barred from discussing camp operations. "They didn't realize you shouldn't handle the book roughly."

Though complaints about the handling of the Koran were routine, the former interrogator said, the situation eventually escalated. "It was two things that brought the desecration issue to a higher level," the former interrogator said. "The rumor spread among detainees that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet and that some interrogators brought Korans to the interrogation sessions and stood on them, kicked them around." The former interrogator had not witnessed those occurrences.

Erik Saar, co-author of "Inside the Wire" (Penguin Press, 2005) and an Arabic language translator in 2003 in Guantánamo said in a recent interview that "the detainees actually liked to complain about how the Koran was handled because they viewed it as a cause to rally around" and one that would get the attention of the camp's authorities.

Mr. Jaffer of the A.C.L.U. said the errors in the Newsweek report had been improperly used to discredit other information about abusive practices at Guantánamo "that were not based on anonymous sources, but government documents, reports written by F.B.I. agents."

The new documents and 30,000 pages previously released were disclosed as part of a suit brought by the A.C.L.U. and other groups trying to learn whether and what kinds of coercive tactics were used at Guantánamo.

The earlier release of reports in which bureau agents recounted witnessing harsh interrogations resulted in an investigation by an Air Force general of interrogation practices. That report, which was completed at the end of March, has not yet been released by the Pentagon.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/26/politics/26koran.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all  



3 Jun 2005 @ 09:04 by jazzolog : At Last, Someone Talks Back TO Bush
YAHOO! News
Amnesty defends 'gulag,' urges Guantanamo access
Reuters, Thu Jun 2, 9:50 AM ET

Human rights group Amnesty defended its description of Guantanamo prison as a "gulag" Thursday and urged the United States to allow independent investigations of allegations of torture at its detention centers for terrorism suspects.

A verbal feud between Amnesty International and Washington has escalated since Amnesty last week compared the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the brutal Soviet system of forced labor camps where millions of prisoners died.

President Bush dismissed as "absurd" the Amnesty report, which also said the United States was responsible for an upsurge in global human rights violations, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the description "reprehensible."

"The administration's response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Zubaida Khan told a news conference.

"Transparency is the best antidote to misinformation and incorrect facts," said Khan, who is here to meet with Japanese officials.

The United States holds about 520 men at Guantanamo, where they are denied rights accorded under international law to prisoners of war.

Many have been held without charge for more than three years.

Khan rejected a suggestion that Amnesty's use of the emotive term "gulag" had turned the debate into one over semantics, and distracted attention from the situation in the detention centers.

"What we wanted to do was to send a strong message that ... this sort of network of detention centers that has been created as part of this war on terrorism is actually undermining human rights in a dramatic way which can only evoke some of the worst features of human rights scandals of the past," she said.

Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited.
{link:http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050602/ts_nm/rights_usa_amnesty_dc;_ylt=Ap.ZqW6Rhxg3dEaLwcBmXt1Z.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl}  



3 Jun 2005 @ 10:57 by jmarc : amazing
that they would stake their reputations on this, saying guantanamo is the number 1 worst offender in the world, and then admit that they don't have access to the place. Oh yeah, btw, they were big contributors to Kerry's campaign (amnesty). I'm sure THAT has nothing to do with their position though.. Unless they got their "facts" from Kerry who probably visited the place over Christmas. If you ask him he'll probably say yes he did, "it's seared into my memory"...

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The top 20 contributors to John Kerry's campaign are listed here~~~ http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/contrib.asp?id=N00000245&cycle=2004
Other groups are here http://herndon1.sdrdc.com/cgi-bin/can_give/P80000235 but Amnesty does not seem to be among them.

---jazz

=====================================
I'll try to dig it up for you. jm
ok here it is. The top brass gave the max 2,000 dollars allowable. Of course amnesty itself didn;t give the money, just the people who run it. They used to be non partisan. Partisanship has taken precedence over principle lately evry where, but this is just one example.

. It was revealed by the Washington Times that: "The top leadership of Amnesty International USA, which unleashed a blistering attack last week on the Bush administration's handling of war detainees, contributed the maximum $2,000 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign."

http://www.juiceenewsdaily.com/0505/news/amn_intl.html

and I'll ad if this were to have been say, Enron execs giving money to Bush, their would be an uproar and shouts of conspiracy. To think that I sent these people money once. Shame on me.  



3 Jun 2005 @ 15:14 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Widespread corruption


Amnesty is non-partison. Oh, we live in corrupt times!

Imagine the news media defending Nixon after all these years? Isn't Watergate established history, if such actually exists? (A recent bio of Lincoln attempts to prove he was gay.) Once again Tricky Dick rises up from the dead, a "new Nixon." After all these years.

Like religion and politics, secrecy and politics don't mix. A penchant for secrecy is always a sure sign of corruption, anywhere. In the office or in government. That so many on the right seem to believe that "winning" is all that politics is about, reminding the rest of us to "get over it," that our time will come again, reveals only how far into the mud we have slid. Nixon personified all that. Totally corrupt, scheming, paranoid, getting back at "enemies." Obsessed with enemies and using power to get at somebody. As E. Howard Hunt wrote to John Dean: "John, sooner or later.  Sooner, I think, you're gonna learn a lesson that's been learned by everyone who's ever gotten close to Richard Nixon.  That he's the darkness reaching out for the darkness.  And, eventually, its either you or him.  Your grave's already been dug, John."

And the mass media is defending all this?

And as for the "gulag?" Of course it exists! It's only another symptom of the massive corruption of our times that there are defenders who tell us that it doesn't. And who attack those who attempt to bring truth to light.  



3 Jun 2005 @ 21:43 by jmarc : the corruption of partisan hate
All the news that's fit to slur U.S.

THE headline on Thursday's front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Blade's sister newspaper, was: "FBI told of Qur'an abuses." The headline's wording and the display's prominence gave the casual reader the impression the story - written by Neil Lewis of the New York Times - was new, and that the story was true. Neither is so.



Mr. Lewis' story was based on FBI reports of prisoner interrogations at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and 2003. He noted in his third paragraph that "they are accounts of unsubstantiated allegations made by the prisoners under interrogation."

Mr. Lewis didn't mention that these unsubstantiated allegations had been made before. Three Muslims with British citizenship were captured in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban. After their release they held a press conference in August, 2004, in which they alleged a variety of abuses by guards, including that they "routinely tossed inmates' Qur'ans into prison toilets." The charges, for which no evidence has been found, were widely publicized at the time. Nor did Mr. Lewis mention that an al-Qaeda training manual, captured a couple of years ago by British police, instructs detainees to make false charges against their captors.

Why is so much of the media giving so much prominence to a recycled story of unsubstantiated charges by U.S. enemies who have been told to make false accusations if captured? The immediate answer is to bail out Newsweek, whose reputation suffered when its false story of Qur'an abuse sparked rioting in which 16 people were killed. But, as Mr. Lewis acknowledged deep in his story, "the disclosures yesterday did not lend any new support to the specific assertions in the original Newsweek item."

Afterward, Newsweek engaged in public soul-searching about its use of anonymous sources. But the negligible attention given to a charge by the Newspaper Guild's head indicates the problem is much bigger than that. At a meeting in St. Louis May 13, Linda Foley repeated charges made by Eason Jordan, then CNN chief, in February that U.S. troops were deliberately killing journalists. Like Mr. Jordan, Ms. Foley offered no evidence to support her charges. The Chicago Sun Times, in a story by my friend Tom Lipscomb, was the nation's only paper to report what she said.

Apparently most journalists see nothing newsworthy about our union's head accusing, without evidence, our troops of war crimes. Papers prominently covered a hysterical report released Wednesday by Amnesty International accusing the United States of "atrocious" human-rights violations and calling Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our times." The charges - based again on unsubstantiated charges of al-Qaeda detainees - would be comical in their overreach were they not so vile.

Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah and ex-Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi report Saddam Hussein had ties with Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's No. 2, and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda chieftain in Iraq, years before the war. Unlike Amnesty, King Abdullah and Mr. Allawi have real evidence. But no U.S. paper has reported it. Newsweek rushed to print Michael Isikoff's poorly sourced charge of Qur'an abuse, but spiked his well-sourced report on the affair between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Charges that President Bush neglected his Air National Guard duties were given massive publicity, despite being based on the word of a deranged man with a grudge, who was not in a position to have firsthand knowledge. Yet charges by officers who served with him that John Kerry lied about his Vietnam service were given short shrift. Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison was given massive attention; Saddam's mass graves got precious little. The news media's double standard is clear: No evidence is required to publicize charges against Republicans or U.S. soldiers. No amount of evidence is sufficient to publicize charges against Democrats, or America's enemies.


Here's another one. Sorry the comments so long.

The Truth About Gitmo that Islamist Sympathizers Don't Want You to hear

by Michelle Malkin
Posted Jun 3, 2005






The mainstream media and international human rights organizations have relentlessly portrayed the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as a depraved torture chamber operated by sadistic American military officials defiling Islam at every turn. It's the "gulag of our time," wails Amnesty International. It's the "anti-Statue of Liberty," bemoans New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

Have there been abuses? Yes. But here is the rest of the story -- the story that the Islamists and their sympathizers don't want you to hear.

According to recently released FBI documents, which are inaccurately heralded by civil liberties activists and military-bashers as irrefutable evidence of widespread "atrocities" at Gitmo:

A significant number of detainees' complaints were either exaggerated or fabricated (no surprise given al Qaeda's explicit instructions to trainees to lie). One detainee who claimed to have been "beaten, spit upon and treated worse than a dog" could not provide a single detail pertaining to mistreatment by U.S. military personnel. Another detainee claimed that guards were physically abusive, but admitted he hadn't seen it.

Another detainee disputed one of the now-globally infamous claims that American guards had mistreated the Koran. The detainee said that riots resulted from claims that a guard dropped the Koran. In actuality, the detainee said, a detainee dropped the Koran then blamed a guard. Other detainees who complained about abuse of the Koran admitted they had never personally witnessed any such abuse, but one said he had heard that non-Muslim soldiers touched the Koran when searching it for contraband.

In one case, Gitmo interrogators apologized to a detainee for interviewing him prior to the end of Ramadan.

Several detainees indicated they had not experienced any mistreatment. Others complained about lack of privacy, lack of bed sheets, being unwillingly photographed, the guards' use of profanity, and bad food.

If this is unacceptable, "gulag"-style "torture," then every inmate in America is a victim of human rights violations. (Oh, never mind, there are civil liberties chicken littles who actually believe that.)

Erik Saar, who served as an army sergeant at Gitmo for six months and co-authored a negative, tell-all book about his experience titled Inside the Wire, inadvertently provides us more firsthand details showing just how restrained, and sensitive to Islam -- to a fault, I believe -- the officials at the detention facility have been.

Each detainee's cell has a sink installed low to the ground, "to make it easier for the detainees to wash their feet" before Muslim prayer, Saar reports. Detainees get "two hot halal, or religiously correct, meals" a day in addition to an MRE (meal ready to eat). Loudspeakers broadcast the Muslims' call to prayer five times a day.

Every detainee gets a prayer mat, cap and Koran. Every cell has a stenciled arrow pointing toward Mecca. Moreover, Gitmo's library -- yes, library -- is stocked with Jihadi books. "I was surprised that we'd be making that concession to the religious zealotry of the terrorists," Saar admits. "[I]t seemed to me that the camp command was helping to facilitate the terrorists' religious devotion." Saar notes that one FBI special agent involved in interrogations even grew a beard like the detainees "as a sort of show of respect for their faith."

Unreality-based liberals would have us believe that America is systematically torturing innocent Muslims out of spite at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, our own MPs have endured little-publicized abuse at the hands of manipulative, hate-mongering enemy combatants. Detainees have spit on and hurled water, urine and feces on the MPs. Causing disturbances is a source of entertainment for detainees who, as Gen. Richard Myers points out, "would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children's throats" if released.

The same unreality-based liberals whine about the Bush administration's failure to gather intelligence and prevent terrorism. Yet, these hysterical critics have no viable alternative to detention and interrogation -- and there is no doubt they would be the first to lambaste the White House and Pentagon if a released detainee went on to commit an act of mass terrorism on American soil.

Guantanamo Bay will not be the death of this country. The unseriousness and hypocrisy of the terrorist-abetting Left is a far greater threat.

Mrs. Malkin is author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores  



3 Jun 2005 @ 22:37 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Look
let's keep it cool. The same news comes in over the transom for all of us.

On a nonpartisan basis it all comes in the same: raw, disgusting, upsetting, incriminating and controversial. For Demos and Repubs. If we prefer fantasies then so be it. I'll only touch upon one here since it deals with logic, which, after all, may be differentiated from "raw" fact. And inspite of the evidence there's always room for hope.

"Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison was given massive attention; Saddam's mass graves got precious little."

No one ever expected Saddam (who was, after all, our pal for many years) to ever behave like a choir boy. He was clearly a very "bad guy." So we know that he dealt harshly with his enemies. Rumsfeld went over there to reassure him as he was gassing - who was it Iranians or Kurds, I've forgotten now. But Rumsfeld reassured him not to worry. This may have made some American sensibilities twinge, but, well, you know. I think they called themselves "realists" back then. That was before they commenced "creating" reality, and defining it. A new form or real politick which the Bush administration excels in. But all corrupt power defines reality. Isn't that so? Okay, Saddam is legitimately a bad guy. No argument there. But you see when Americans behave in the same way then it may disturb some of us. We would like to think of ourselves as being considerably better than some murderous military thug we propped up once. Like Noriega, or Pinochet, or the Shaw or Honduran death squads and many others. So when we do it ourselves it becomes news. This is not America hating. This is America loving, for those of us who become upset by these horrendous activities would like to see them changed. At least before we go so far down into the sewer that we no longer even know where the light source is anymore. Does Bush lie?

Do birds ever sing in the spring? Please!

The sooner this gang of criminals is impeached and convicted the better. Though with such moral paragons as Tom de Lay and Bill Frist running their respective shows this is, of course, highly unlikely.  



4 Jun 2005 @ 09:48 by jazzolog : Time For Nazis Everywhere To Attack ACLU
They went to their usual name-calling work (reframed "intelligent debate") against Amnesty International last week. Now this (undoubtedly "activist") judge and the American Civil Liberties Union must face similar slander. Or is it time for our conservative friends to admit they haven't been right in their defense of the Bush Gang---not even once?

HoustonChronicle.com -- | Section: National
June 3, 2005, 12:26AM

Army told to release abuse videos
ACLU prevails in lawsuit over Abu Ghraib images
Associated Press

NEW YORK - A judge has ordered the government to release four videos from Abu Ghraib prison and dozens of photographs from the same collection of photos that touched off the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal a year ago.

The federal judge issued the order late Wednesday requiring the Army to release the material to the American Civil Liberties Union to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

The ACLU said the material would show that the abuse was "more than the actions of a few rogue soldiers."

Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the 144 pictures and videos can be turned over in edited form to protect the victims' identities. He gave the Army one month to release them.

The judge ordered the release after he viewed eight of the photos last week. They were given to the Army by a military policeman assigned to Abu Ghraib.

In October 2003, the ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking information on treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture. The ACLU contends that prisoner abuse is systemic.

"These images may be ugly and shocking ... (but) the American public deserves to know what is being done in our name," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU.

So far, 36,000 pages of documents and the reports of 130 investigations, mostly from the FBI and Army, have been turned over to the ACLU.

The group is seeking documents from the CIA and the Department of Defense as well.

The judge said last week that he believed photographs "are the best evidence the public can have of what occurred" at the prison.

Government lawyer Sean Lane had argued that releasing pictures, even in redacted form, would violate Geneva Convention rules by subjecting the detainees to additional humiliation.

Lane did not immediately return a telephone message for comment Thursday.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3209344  



4 Jun 2005 @ 17:47 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Todays latest on intimidation & torture
And then there's this from the Pentagon, undoubtedly, you will agree, rabid America haters who hate this country so much that they will go out of their way to document incidents of abuse and torture. Did I say "torture?" Oh my, another dirty word. Shame on me. Americans, torturing? Humiliating and abusing Muslims? We haven't reached the level of Vincent Price yet, or have we?

Here's the latest on this ongoing saga, which ain't over yet..... Not by any means.

June 4, 2005 latimes.com
THE NATION

Pentagon: Koran Defiled

An Army commander's report details five instances of the holy book being desecrated at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

By Richard A. Serrano, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon late Friday confirmed five incidents of Koran desecration at the prison for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapping up a high-priority investigation.

The findings concluded that one soldier deliberately kicked the Muslim holy book, other guards hit it with water balloons, and a soldier's urine splashed on a prisoner and his Koran.

Details of the incidents are contained in the final report of the inquiry headed by Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of the detention center for terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

The report established that two other cases of desecration had occurred. In one, a two-word obscenity was written in English inside a prisoner's Koran. In the other, an interrogator deliberately stepped on the book. That interrogator was later fired for "a pattern of unacceptable behavior."

Charges of Koran desecration triggered vociferous protests in the Muslim world and were blamed for contributing to riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan that resulted in more than two dozen deaths. But Hood, in releasing his final report, said his investigators found no proof that U.S. personnel flushed a Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay, an assertion reported but later retracted by Newsweek magazine.

"The inquiry found no credible evidence that a member of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay ever flushed a Koran down a toilet," Hood said. "This matter is considered closed."

Lawrence Di Rita, a spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said that military policy called for "respectful and appropriate" handling of the Koran. "The Hood inquiry would appear to confirm that policy," said Di Rita, who was traveling with Rumsfeld in Asia.

Hood said the five confirmed incidents represented a very small number when measured against the fact that more than 1,600 copies of the holy book had been distributed to prisoners since the facility in Cuba was opened in January 2002.

And the general said his team gathered evidence that detainees themselves desecrated the Koran on 15 separate occasions. Two of them tossed their copies into toilets while another was seen "urinating on the Koran," the report said. Hood said that guards also spotted detainees using the Koran as a pillow and ripping out its pages.

"Mishandling a Koran at Guantanamo Bay is a rare occurrence," he said, noting that guards, interrogators, interpreters and other military personnel were trained to handle the holy book in specified ways. Gloves must be worn and both hands are to be used in a "manner signaling respect and reverence," the report noted.

At least some of the special handling rules were instituted after a rash of detainee complaints of mistreatment of the Koran in 2002 that led to a series of hunger strikes. After the rules were put in place, the International Red Cross reported that it received no further complaints.

"Mishandling of a Koran here is never condoned," Hood said. "When one considers the many thousands of times detainees have been moved and cells have been searched … I think one can only conclude that respect for detainee religious beliefs was embedded in the culture of the [Joint Task Force] from the start."

Hood said his investigation took three weeks and involved the review of more than 30,000 documents. "We reviewed every available detainee record," the general said.

In Washington, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, issued a statement saying, "President Bush must address the climate of abuse that seems to prevail at U.S. detention centers worldwide." Awad said it was not enough to merely issue reports outlining abuse or to punish low-level personnel.

"Those at the top must be held responsible for the actions of the men and women they command," he said.

Hood's report described the five confirmed desecrations.

During an interrogation in February 2002, a detainee complained that guards had kicked the Koran belonging to a prisoner in a nearby cell four or five days earlier. The interrogator reported the complaint in a written memorandum and confirmed that the guards were aware of the allegation.

"There is no evidence of further investigation concerning this incident," the report said. "However, we consider this a confirmed report."

The second incident occurred on July 25, 2003, when a contract interrogator apologized to a prisoner for stepping on his Koran. The prisoner accepted the apology, and told other detainees "to cease disruptive behavior caused by the incident."

The report added that "the interrogator was later terminated for a pattern of unacceptable behavior, an inability to follow direct guidance and poor leadership."

The third episode took place Aug. 15, 2003, when two detainees complained "that their Korans were wet because the night shift guards had thrown water balloons on the [cell] block." Guards on a swing shift passed the complaints on to superiors.

"We have not determined if the detainees made further complaints or if the Korans were replaced," the report said.

"There is no evidence that this incident was investigated. There is no evidence that the incident, although clearly inappropriate, caused any type of disturbance on the block." Nevertheless, "we consider this a confirmed incident."

Six days later a detainee complained to a guard that a two-word obscenity had been written in English on the inside cover of his English-version Koran.

"We have found no evidence to confirm who wrote in the detainee's Koran," the report said. "The detainee speaks English at a conversational level. It is possible that a guard committed this act; it is equally possible that the detainee wrote in his own Koran. However, we consider this a confirmed incident."

The final episode happened on March 25 of this year. A detainee complained that urine came through an air vent and splashed him and his holy book as he lay near the vent.

"A guard reported that he was at fault," the report said. "The guard had left his observation area post and went outside to urinate. He urinated near an air vent and the wind blew his urine through the vent into the block.

"The sergeant of the guard responded and immediately relieved the guard. The sergeant of the guard ensured the detainee received a fresh uniform and a new Koran."

The guard was reprimanded and assigned to gate duty, "where he had no contact with detainees for the remainder of his assignment" at the prison.

"There is no record that this incident caused any type of disturbance in the block," the report said. "We consider this a confirmed incident."

In the 15 documented cases where detainees mishandled Korans, the report said, one occurred May 11, 2003, when a guard "observed a detainee rip up his Koran and state he was no longer a Muslim."

On June 5, 2003, a guard heard two detainees accuse a third prisoner of not being a man and saw the prisoner then "urinate on one of their Korans" in an adjacent cell.

And on Feb. 23, 2004, a guard saw a detainee place two Korans in his toilet and "state he no longer cared abut the Koran or his religion."

"Five minutes later," the report said, "after the detainee retrieved the Korans, he ripped several pages out of one Koran and threw the pages on the floor. Then he placed both Korans on the sink."

On Jan. 19 of this year, the Hood report said, another detainee tore up his Koran and "tried to flush it down the toilet."

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The link to the LA Times story is here~~~ {link:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-koran4jun04,0,1807793.story}
Incidentally, I wouldn't be surprised if Richard A. Serrano becomes a target for some Rove/Fox knifing. This brilliant reporter seems never to let go of a story once he's on it. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing, and kept after it finally producing a book entitled "One Of Ours," about McVeigh. Google him and you'll see he's been interested for some time in the charges of our torture of detained "persons of interest."

---jazz  



4 Jun 2005 @ 21:21 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Added humiliation

"Government lawyer Sean Lane had argued that releasing pictures, even in redacted form, would violate Geneva Convention rules by subjecting the detainees to additional humiliation. "

That is so precious. Such delicacy. Such thoughtfulness. When we are forced to watch such behavior, even on the sidelines, through the press, one can sometimes wonder why they even play by any rules at all. Why bother to even twist them? And who but the biggest morons who ever drooled on their adult bibs would ever believe such bull s**t!

And as for Michelle Malkin.... Speak of hysterics! If fascism could be bottled and had a scent it would smell of Malkin. No kidding. But her lack of temperance is humiliatingly displayed by her article above poo pooing Koran bashing at US hands.

"Unreality-based liberals would have us believe that America is systematically torturing innocent Muslims out of spite at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, our own MPs have endured little-publicized abuse at the hands of manipulative, hate-mongering enemy combatants. "

Okay, okay, less you think I'm hypocritical or sanctimonious I too sometimes make a fool of myself. But were she not so hysterically right (or "wrong" as a lefty friend puts it) perhaps she wouldn't so hastily leap into such blind pits. She might learn to hesitate before constantly making a fool of herself.

Malkin's mental wires would make an interesting schematic. Perhaps untangling them and putting them together again could offer an interesting challenge. A state of the art test for all aspiring electricians licensees.  



7 Jun 2005 @ 20:59 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : A matter of convenience?
 
Blaming the Messenger Fools No One
by Robert Scheer
Published on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times
 
On Sunday, the Iraqi government announced that Saddam Hussein would be charged with crimes going back to the 1982 killings of almost 160 men in the Shiite village of Dujail.

The evidence will come in no small measure from reports by Amnesty International and other human rights groups published before and during the United States' semi-secret alliance with Hussein in the 1980s.

This unsavory partnership with Hussein was partly created by Donald Rumsfeld when he was a special presidential envoy to the Middle East in 1983 and '84.

But that sorry bit of history did not stop Rumsfeld and the president last week from bludgeoning Amnesty International for daring to criticize the Bush administration's torture-stained offshore prison system — in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. It's "reprehensible," Rumsfeld said of the human rights organization's report. It "cannot be excused."

Of course, in the world outside the Beltway, what is really reprehensible is the detention of hundreds of people for years without granting them prisoner-of-war status or charging them with a crime.

What is reprehensible is letting dogs attack naked prisoners, shipping others out to be tortured by totalitarian regimes and covering up the deaths of prisoners during interrogations.

But for the aggrieved leaders of the world's only superpower, pointed criticism from a citizen-run nonprofit apparently is more shocking than the abuse of prisoners they deem guilty until proved otherwise.

"It's an absurd allegation," President Bush said of the Amnesty International report, referring to the organization's sources as "people who hate America."

Vice President Dick Cheney said he was offended and that he doesn't take Amnesty International seriously.

Both men argued, essentially, that the United States' historic contributions to human rights mean Amnesty International had no right to turn its steady gaze on us.

Yet the White House certainly took Amnesty International seriously when the administration was campaigning for support for the invasion of Iraq.

"Amnesty International's description of what they know has gone on, it's not a happy picture," Rumsfeld said then, urging "a careful reading of Amnesty International."

And, pointed out Amnesty International's U.S. director, Bill Schultz, "they have never found us absurd when we criticized Cuba, North Korea or China."

What Amnesty International attempted to do in its current report is what it always does: hold all nations to a plumb line of integrity on human rights.

Its survey of 140 nations also called to task Russia, China and a host of other nations, as well as the United Nations.

Ignoring this careful balance and Amnesty International's impeccable credentials, the administration and its defenders chose to focus on one phrase in the report, the reference to the U.S. maintaining the "gulag of our time" at Guantanamo Bay.

Although it is clear that Gitmo is not comparable to the Soviet gulag, with its millions of prisoners held for decades, Amnesty International's point should be respected. We are talking about a secretive prison where some detainees have been held for more than three years without getting a single day in court.

"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity," Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan wrote in her forward to the report.

Amnesty International does pay tribute to the U.S. Supreme Court for its recent ruling that the "war on terrorism" prisoners are entitled to their day in court, but notes ruefully that not a single detainee in Guantanamo Bay's detention facility has been offered such protection.

And the group has published some clear and moderate suggestions as to how the United States can bring its detention system into line with decent human rights practices:


* End all secret and incommunicado detentions.

* Grant the International Committee of the Red Cross full access to all detainees, including those held in secret locations.

* Ensure recourse to the law for all detainees.

* Establish a full independent commission of inquiry into all allegations of torture, ill treatment, arbitrary detentions and "disappearances."

* Bring to justice anyone responsible for authorizing or committing human rights violations.


As modest as these suggestions are, they are apparently anathema to the Bush administration, which instead of admitting its mistakes, prefers shooting the messenger.

How dare the White House and Pentagon, which have for three years rationalized torture and fought off the courts' attempts to grant the detainees some basic right of appeal, blame Amnesty International, rather than themselves, for besmirching the U.S. human rights record.

© 2005 LA Times

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11 Jun 2005 @ 15:46 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Democracy or authoritarianism?

{link:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-patriot11jun11,1,5795099.story?coll=la-headlines-nation|LA Times}

THE NATION

House Judiciary Chairman Walks Out of Heated Hearing

Rep. Sensenbrenner, a Republican, cuts off a meeting on the Patriot Act's constitutionality.
From Associated Press

June 11, 2005
WASHINGTON — The Republican House Judiciary Committee chairman walked off with the gavel Friday, leaving Democrats shouting into turned-off microphones at a raucous hearing on the Patriot Act.

The hearing, with the two sides accusing each other of being irresponsible and undemocratic, came as President Bush was urging Congress to renew the sections of the post-Sept. 11 counter-terrorism law set to expire in September.


Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the panel, abruptly gaveled the meeting to an end and walked out, followed by other Republicans. Sensenbrenner said that much of the testimony, which veered into debate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was irrelevant.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) protested, raising his voice as his microphone went off, came back on, and went off again.

"We are not besmirching the honor of the United States; we are trying to uphold it," he said.

Democrats had asked for the hearing, the 11th the committee has held on the act since April, saying past hearings had been too slanted toward witnesses who supported the law. The four witnesses were from groups, including Amnesty International USA and the American Immigration Lawyers Assn., that had questioned the constitutionality of some aspects of the act, which allows law enforcement greater authority to investigate suspected terrorists.

Nadler said Sensenbrenner, an author of the Patriot Act, was "rather rude, cutting everybody off in midsentence with an attitude of total hostility."

Tempers flared when Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) accused Amnesty International of endangering the lives of Americans in uniform by calling the prison at Guantanamo Bay a "gulag." Sensenbrenner didn't allow the Amnesty representative, Chip Pitts, to respond until Nadler raised a "point of decency."

Sensenbrenner's spokesman, Jeff Lungren, said the hearing had lasted two hours and that "the chairman was very accommodating, giving members extra time."

James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, speaking after Sensenbrenner left, voiced dismay over the proceedings. "I'm troubled about what kind of lesson this gives" to the rest of the world, he told Democrats remaining in the room.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said in a statement that the hearing was an example of Republican abuse of power and that she would ask House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to order an apology from Sensenbrenner.  



18 Jun 2005 @ 22:21 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Torture is a habit, if it tastes good

This is from the New York Times   

"Moscow - Uzbek law enforcement and security ministries implicated by witnesses in the deadly crackdown in the city of Andijon last month have for years received training and equipment from counterterrorism programs run by the United States, according to American officials and Congressional records.

For the full story: {link:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/18/international/asia/18uzbekistan.html?|New York Times}  



18 Jun 2005 @ 22:28 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Forgot to add
that Uzbekistan, a member of the "coalition of the willing," is that place which sometimes deals with dissidents by boiling them in water..... Did Saddam ever do that? Well, you're right, let's not quibble. Bush though does like to recognize and honor his friends in crime, doesn't he?

{link:http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27873.htm|U. S. Department of State} or do a Google search for more lurid in-depth descriptions and analysis. "Uzbekistan boiling water" will do the trick.  



14 Jul 2005 @ 19:41 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : So they have gourmet chicken, do
they, at Gitmo?

{link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/13AR2005071302380.html|Washington Post}

Abu Ghraib Tactics Were First Used at Guantánamo
    By Josh White
    The Washington Post

    Thursday 14 July 2005

    Interrogators at the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

    The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani - the alleged "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - were used at Guantánamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee.

    Military investigators who briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday on the three-month probe, called the tactics "creative" and "aggressive" but said they did not cross the line into torture.

    The report's findings are the strongest indication yet that the abusive practices seen in photographs at Abu Ghraib were not the invention of a small group of thrill-seeking military police officers. The report shows that they were used on Qahtani several months before the United States invaded Iraq.

    The investigation also supports the idea that soldiers believed that placing hoods on detainees, forcing them to appear nude in front of women and sexually humiliating them were approved interrogation techniques for use on detainees.

    A central figure in the investigation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and later helped set up US operations at Abu Ghraib, was accused of failing to properly supervise Qahtani's interrogation plan and was recommended for reprimand by investigators. Miller would have been the highest-ranking officer to face discipline for detainee abuses so far, but Gen. Bantz Craddock, head of the US Southern Command, declined to follow the recommendation.

    Miller traveled to Iraq in September 2003 to assist in Abu Ghraib's startup, and he later sent in "Tiger Teams" of Guantánamo Bay interrogators and analysts as advisers and trainers. Within weeks of his departure from Abu Ghraib, military working dogs were being used in interrogations, and naked detainees were humiliated and abused by military police soldiers working the night shift.

    Miller declined to respond to questions posed through a Defense Department liaison. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said it is not appropriate to link the interrogation of Qahtani - an important al Qaeda operative captured shortly after the terrorist attacks - and events at Abu Ghraib. Whitman said interrogation tactics in the Army's field manual are the same worldwide but MPs at Abu Ghraib were not authorized to apply them, regardless of how they learned about them.

    Some of the Abu Ghraib soldiers have said they were following the directions of military intelligence officials to soften up detainees for interrogation, in part by depriving them of sleep. Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr., characterized as the ringleader of the MP group, was found guilty of abusing detainees and is serving 10 years in prison. Others have pleaded guilty and received lesser sentences.

    The photos that caused alarm around the world included some showing the MPs sexually humiliating the detainees.

    While Rumsfeld approved a list of 16 harsh techniques for use at Guantánamo on Dec. 2, 2002, most of the techniques were general and allowed for interpretation by interrogators. Many of the techniques involving humiliation were part of a standard "futility" or "ego down" approach.

    "Reasonable people always suspected these techniques weren't invented in the backwoods of West Virginia," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. "It's never been more clear than in this investigation."

    Also yesterday, a federal district judge in Washington issued a ruling in which he declined to stop the interrogation of a young Canadian detainee at Guantánamo Bay who has alleged that he was tortured. The detainee said in court filings that he was "short-shackled" to the floor, threatened with sexual abuse and physically mistreated.

    The 18-year-old detainee, identified as "OK," was arrested after a gunfight in Afghanistan in July 2002, when he was 15. He had asked the court for a preliminary injunction to stop what he called abusive interrogation tactics.

    The investigation at Guantánamo Bay looked into 26 allegations by FBI personnel that military interrogators had mistreated detainees. It found that almost all the tactics were "authorized" interrogation methods and by definition were not abusive.

    Investigators found only three instances of substantiated abuse, including short-shackling detainees to the floor in awkward positions, the use of duct tape to keep a detainee quiet, and a threat by military interrogators to kill a detainee and his family.

    In the case of Qahtani, who endured weeks of sleep deprivation and many of the harshest techniques, Lt. Gen. Mark Schmidt and Brig. Gen. John Furlow found that the cumulative effect of those tactics "resulted in degrading and abusive treatment" but stopped short of torture. Military commanders have said the techniques prompted Qahtani to talk.

    The military achieved "solid intelligence gains," by interrogating Qahtani, Craddock said yesterday, and other military officials have said he revealed details on how the terrorist network operates.

    The Schmidt-Furlow investigation is the last of about a dozen major Pentagon probes into abuse over the past 15 months.

    The abuses at Abu Ghraib included military police taking photos of themselves mimicking the tactics used at Guantánamo Bay. Several photographs taken in late 2003 at the prison outside Baghdad show detainees wearing women's underwear on their heads, detainees shackled to their cell doors or beds in awkward positions, and naked detainees standing before female soldiers. Perhaps the most famous image is of Pfc. Lynndie England holding a leash attached to a detainee's neck.

    Qahtani, according to the investigative report, was once attached to a leash and made to walk around the room and "perform a series of dog tricks." The report also notes the use of "gender coercion," in which women straddle a detainee or get too close to them, violating prohibitions for devout Muslim men on contact with women. Interrogators also threatened to tell other detainees that an individual is gay, according to the report. Detainees at Abu Ghraib were posed in mock homosexual positions and photographed.

    "There are some striking similarities between the actions at Guantánamo and what occurred at Abu Ghraib," said Capt. Jonathan Crisp, England's military defense attorney. "I feel that warrants further investigation."

    Committee Democrats appeared upset that Miller was not held accountable for abuses at Guantánamo Bay, and criticized the investigation for failing to examine the legality of administration and military policy on interrogations. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said no senior leader has taken responsibility for detention problems.

    Some Republicans, however, said the alleged abuses occurred in just a small fraction of cases. They noted that there have been 24,000 interrogations at Guantánamo Bay and highlighted recent improvements at the facility. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) called the Guantánamo abuse relatively "minor incidents" that should not be a matter of national interest.  



2 Aug 2005 @ 08:58 by jazzolog : July: Good Riddance
Zepp is blogging at MyTown.ca now and wrote a humdinger yesterday. It's almost got me motivated enough to do some writing myself, instead of spending all my days carrying buckets of precious water to the garden~~~

Summertime
And the livin’ is sleazy

Congress has adjourned for the summer, which, according to the pundits, means that Putsch has the opportunity to abuse the recess appointment loophole and ram the violent and unbalanced John Bolton down the throats of the UN as the American ambassador, and thus further cement America’s Nazi Germany-like alienation from the world.

The rest of the world isn’t wasting much time on America these days. We’ve gone from “We are all Americans” less than four years ago to an increasingly coordinated attack against the neo-fascist regime of America, the folks that think that John Bolton is the face America should present to the world.

In recent days, China, Russia, and several smaller central Asian countries have come out formally and said that it is time for America to abandon the military bases it has erected around the Caspian and Black seas, and throughout the middle east. Uzbekistan was more direct, simply ordering the Americans out in six months.

America is frantically pressing the parliament of Iraq to erect a constitution, any constitution, so they can declare victory and pull out, leaving behind 60,000 troops to try and maintain control of the pipelines Halliburton is busily building for the multinational corporations that pull America’s strings. Why the administration thinks Iraq would want American troops to remain in those huge new permanent bases they’ve been building is something of a mystery. Perhaps Putsch is just too used to simply taking what he wants to consider offering any sort of a deal.

Iran, happy that an old enemy on their western border has been replaced with a powerful new ally, announced today that they are continuing with their nuclear program. Why shouldn’t they? America is a paper tiger, Iran has realized. Just occupying Afghanistan and Iraq has left the Americans strapped, and unable to use the threat of military force. And since the Americans have refused to trade with Iran since the hostage-taking, they have no economic clout with which they can threaten Iran. The EU will continue to negotiate with Iran in the hopes of stopping proliferation, but they, too, realize that as long as America shows willingness to attack nations that don’t have WMDs while avoiding confrontation with those that do, the rush to secure Putsch deterrents will go on.

China finally did something with their yuan while avoiding any movement toward economic scrutability. But now, instead of pegging it to the dollar, they seem to have made it responsible to the arbitrary notions of their government, a policy that seems destined to fail, but which will cause America to use the dollar to keep the yuan stable. In other words, the Chinese are bowing to American demands to stop pegging the yuan to the value of the dollar by creating a situation where the Americans will peg the yuan to the value of the dollar. The admin got snookered on that deal.

The thing about Putsch and his junta is that while they may be pure-d fools who can’t keep friends or win a single hand of poker, they are still consummate thieves and liars. The Congress passed an energy bill that, among other things, gives the oil companies another eleven billion in tax subsidies and incentives. Some of the bigger outfits have been pulling in a half a billion a week in net profits, but they just don’t feel like going out and doing anything to enhance profits unless motivated by a multi-billion dollar gift from the people they are cheating. Poor fellows. I’m sure glad we’ve got a honest Congress that represents the people. Aren’t you?

At least the Congress was shamed into dropping Tom DeLay’s demand that the manufacturers of MTBE be shielded from any liability due to the damage their product has caused to America’s water supplies. Tom, who recognizes that the corporatization of the American dream is the only thing keeping his thieving ass out of jail, felt that just because the manufacturers of MTBE demanded the right to conduct the testing procedures themselves, faked the results, and sold Congress on using MTBE instead of safer, less expensive alternatives based on those lies, they shouldn’t have to pay for the damage. Congress narrowly decided that maybe they should have to at least be asked to pay for the damages they did. Good old noble Congress!

Tom DeLay? Well, maybe not so noble. Sinbad, over at PHX News, writes: “Here is the anatomy of DeLay’s scam: The 1.5 billion bucks is designated for ‘oil and natural gas drilling research.’ Ordinarily, any company could apply for this money directly from the government. But the crooked DeLay does things a little differently. In this case, the bulk of the money must be handed over to ‘a corporation that is constructed as a consortium.’ Guess what? As it so happens, ‘the leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas,’ Tom DeLay's home district. RPSEA ‘has been advocating such a research program and is in a better position than any other group.’ You gotta admire a thief so dedicated he keeps on stealing with both hands even when he’s trying to stave off the US marshals.

Of course, the media ignored the vast giveaway to ChevronExxonMobilStandardTexaco and the fact that they nearly did the equivalent of passing a law to protect people who cheat the public as long as they used fraud to do so, and instead focused on the utterly meaningless fact that by extending daylight savings time a week in the fall, it would now end after Halloween. If it wasn’t for that, most Americans wouldn’t know that the energy bill had passed.

In a hilarious side note, the EPA deliberately tried to delay release of the mileage averages for the national automotive fleet, which is – surprise! – down 4% from the previous year. People are driving gas-guzzling testostertrucks instead of sedans, and as a result, we’re more dependent on foreign oil. Purchase price for that HumVee: your neighbor’s children! What a deal!

The bill dropped the provision for drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, but Republican leaders hastened to assure their corporate masters that it would be taken up again in the fall.

They also passed a bill that took gun manufacturers off the hook for the damage their products do if used according to directions. The NRA, the manufacturer’s puppet organization, making America safe for criminals and terrorists so those manufacturers can sell unlimited guns, had pressed hard on this one, outraged that anyone should hold them responsible, for (as Greg Palast noted) deliberately flooding the market with guns, and selling the majority of them to places where regulation of guns sales was weakest. Where, in other words, the guns were most likely to end up in the paws of criminals and terrorists.

I can’t wait to read that some guy got popped for taking pictures of the local kids and selling the pictures, along with names and addresses – innocent in and of themselves – to pedophiles. After all, he’s not responsible for what pedophiles do with those pictures, right?

Lenin once remarked that he would sell capitalism the rope with which it would hang itself. By playing on the cowardice and paranoia of many people, the NRA is selling America the guns with which it will blow its brains out. They deliberately oversaturate the market because the more armed a society is, the more armed it feels it needs to be, until the entire country looks like the Mexican standoff scene in “Reservoir Dogs” – and ends in much the same way.

So: Congress is adjourned, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

America, figure out when you are tired of being screwed by these corporate whores, and want your country back. The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be.

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
8/1/05
http://mytown.ca/zepp/  



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