links for 2008-06-20

Continue Readinglinks for 2008-06-20

How long before I get “disappeared”?

Today, the Senate approved the president’s new Torture and Unlimited Detention bill, legalizing torture and permanent detention of “enemy combatants” as well as allowing a broad definition of who fits that description, granting the President sweeping new powers. The bill suspends habeas corpus, and allows the President to decide who is an “enemy combatant” and to detain them indefinitely without basic civil rights provided by the constitution.
Give that, and given this scary-ass passage from the end of the declassified NIE Report:

“Anti-U.S. and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint… We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train and obtain logistical and financial support.”

And given that some on the right have already labeled me a “Liberal extremist” — how long do you think it will be before I disappear to Guantanamo Bay, never to be seen again?
I better contact Amnesty International, and take some cookies to the Homeland Security Guys parked outside my house for weeks.

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Torture in the name of the USA and Jesus Christ

Regarding all the recent back and forth regarding what the definition of “torture” is and what the Geneva Conventions mean, and whether we should be engaging in torture or “coercive interrogation” — here’s my two cents, for what they’re worth.

1. If you wouldn’t allow someone to do it to your own kids, it’s torture.
If Bush wouldn’t run the twins through it, then he shouldn’t be doing to anyone else. If you wouldn’t want it done to the people that you love, then it’s MORALLY WRONG for it to be done to anyone. What Bush is doing is immoral and unchristian. Keep in mind that they people they’re interrogating haven’t been convicted of anything. We don’t know if any of them are actually guilty of anything. Some of them are American citizens. If we allow this in the name of the “War on Terror”, what’s to stop them from using it in the next “War on ________” — a war that you might accidentally get caught up in?

2. It’s been proven that torturing people doesn’t gain you real information.
Over and over this has been proven — people will tell you what they think you want to hear if you torture them. They don’t give away secrets at all, they make shit up. There’s no evidence we’ve gained any useful information from any of they people they’ve tortured so far.

3. The rest of the world already hates us — why validated their hatred?
I’ve said it over and over again, but it bears repeating — Bush is making all their lies true. He’s taking all the false rhetoric of fanatical countries and making us the mirror image of it. The more he does this, the more they hate us. We aren’t “rooting out terrorists” anywhere — we’re systematically making more of them. This is a war that will never, ever end, because we’re constantly manufacturing more of our enemies through our own actions.

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1,325 images – More Abu Graib photos, exclusively on does the Australian media one better, by obtaining a huge cache of pictures and secret goverment documents on the Abu Graib scandal. They explain why they are publishing the information and then go on to show you all the new pictures Warning: don’t look at these at work, or after you’ve just eaten. What our government is doing in your name will cause you to lose your lunch.

The DVD containing the material includes a June 6, 2004, CID investigation report written by Special Agent James E. Seigmund. That report includes the following summary of the material included: “A review of all the computer media submitted to this office revealed a total of 1,325 images of suspected detainee abuse, 93 video files of suspected detainee abuse, 660 images of adult pornography, 546 images of suspected dead Iraqi detainees, 29 images of soldiers in simulated sexual acts, 20 images of a soldier with a Swastika drawn between his eyes, 37 images of Military Working dogs being used in abuse of detainees and 125 images of questionable acts.”

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More Abu Graib Photos

For quite some time, the Bush Administration has been withholding the worst of the photos of torture and prisoner abuse at Abu Graib prison, citing concerns about sparking more terrorism if they release the photos. The courts have ordered the remaining photos released by the White House keeps stalling.
I think they’re more worried about American public opinion, actually, especially since many of these photos have actually been seen already outside the United States by Arab countries. And of course it all begs the question — why torture people in the first place if you think it will incite them enemy.
Now sixty of the 150 odd photos have been leaked to the public. You can see the story on the photos on this Australian news site, and a slide show of some of them by the same outfit.
A warning before you watch — if you thought the previously release photos were scary and upsetting — these are far worse.

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FISA is a SECRET Court

Alberto Gonzales just claimed that the Bush Administration shouldn’t have to get warrants to spy on American citizens because “we’re at war, and there has to be a measure of secrecy.” But the court they get the warrants from, the FISA court, is a SECRET court. They have top-secret clearances, and everything is done quickly and secretly out of the public eye. There’s no chance that any enemy combatants would learn about the wiretapping from the court system.
Bush said he had a team of lawyers go over the program — but a team of lawyers isn’t going to protect us. Only the courts can make sure that people’s rights are not being compromised in the process. And as I’ve pointed out many times, the court is there not just to protect the rights of American Citizens, but to protect BUSH from criticism, and to provide him back up to show that what he’s doing is above board.
If he went around the courts, he’s doing it because he knows he can’t get warrants for what he’s doing. Which means the spying he’s doing isn’t on TERRORISTS at all. It’s on his political enemies. He’s spying on Democrats. He was spying on John Kerry and Kerry’s election team.
Bush should be impeached, then jailed.

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Jill Carroll and “Negotiating with Terrorists”

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Not to lean on Katic Couric this morning, but she deserves this one, too… She had a story this morning on Jill Carroll, the American reporter kidnapped in Iraq by insurgents. She interviewed a fellow journalist (a pretty level-headed guy) about her, and he spoke well of Jill and her style of reporting. And she had an FBI analyst on to talk about Jill’s prospects for freedom. What made me do a spit-take was Katie’s statement to the FBI guy —
“how likely is it that Jill will be freed, since America has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists?”
What? Um, Katie. You’re getting real life mixed up with the movies again. That was Harrison Ford, not George Bush. We negotiate with terrorists ALL THE TIME. That “missing” 8.8 Billion dollars was passed out as cash payments to insurgents, Katie, to pay them to clear a green zone in Baghdad. America traded prisoners from Abu Graib for kidnapped contract mercenaries — paid killers — at more than one time. America traded for guns, money, oil, roads, towns, Halliburton. America paid the insurgents not to attack before both of the elections, Katie. George Bush is a whore who’s slept with every criminal in Iraq. The only dirty, filthy thing that George won’t do is negotiate for an actual American citizen. Because they’re expendable.

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Bite me, George

“I expect there to be an honest debate about Iraq… people can help by making sure the tone of this debate is respectful and is mindful about what messages out of the country can do for morale of our troops… One way people can help as we’re coming down the pike in the 2006 elections is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm’s way and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening an enemy.” – George W. Bush today

What? “I expect”? Who the hell asked you, buddy? We’ll have whatever debate we want to have about Iraq, and if you have problem with that, go fuck yourself, dumbass. Since when is George Bush my parent? Ego much? Sheesh.

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Secret Pentagon study says body armor could have saved 80% of troops

The New York Times is reporting that a secret pentagon study shows 1,700 troops wouldn’t be dead if they had been given the body armor that they’ve been asking for.

Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Study Shows
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

Additional forensic studies by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s unit that were obtained by The Times indicate that about 340 American troops have died solely from torso wounds.
Military officials said they had originally decided against using the extra plates because they were concerned they added too much weight to the vests or constricted the movement of soldiers. Marine Corps officials said the findings of the Pentagon study caused field commanders to override those concerns in the interest of greater protection.

The findings and other research by military pathologists suggests that an analysis of all combat deaths in Iraq, including those of Army personnel, would show that 300 or more lives might have been saved with improved body armor.
Military officials and defense contractors said the Pentagon’s procurement troubles have stemmed in part from miscalculations that underestimated the strength of the insurgency, and from years of cost-cutting that left some armoring firms on the brink of collapse as they waited for new orders.

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Bloggers publishing leaked torture memos

Bloggers around the world are reprinting and publishing leaked memos from former UK ambassador Craig Murray, who divulged information on secret torture programs in Uzbekistan the benefit the United States and the UK.
Boing Boing has a complete post on the subject, including links to the leaked memos, and information on a woman who was jailed for demanding information about her son, who was tortured and died after being immersed in boiling water.

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