Thursday, July 28, 2005

America's Gulags Push On!!!!

Bush's Idea Of Good Iraqis by Michael in New York - 7/28/2005 08:45:00 PM
A sad story in the LA Times links a National Guard company from that state to some potentially criminal activity.
Members of three of four active companies in the battalion are being investigated for their alleged role in mistreating Iraqi prisoners and engaging in inappropriate financial agreements with local shopkeepers, according to military officials.The most egregious case of detainee abuse reported so far occurred after a June insurgent attack, when soldiers allegedly tortured Iraqi detainees with an electric stun gun. At least one instance of abuse was recorded on video, military sources said.As many as 17 soldiers are under investigation for mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners and at least six others have been charged with dereliction of duty. Lt. Col. Patrick Frey, the battalion commander, has been suspended pending the investigation.Imagine that: suspending someone from duty while they're under the cloud of a serious investigation.Now, every soldier is responsible for their own actions and should be held accountable. But I also blame Bush for repeatedly making clear that insurgents and terrorists don't deserve the same basic dignity as "real" people. Bush is the one who has rewarded virtually every top official connected with the prisoner abuse scandals. How can he pretend that he also disapproves of torture?But what really struck me about this story was the infamous Wolf Brigade, an Iraqi unit that worked with that California Guard unit.
The [Wolf] brigade is both loved and feared in Iraq for its attacks on alleged insurgent hide-outs and the dramatic televised confessions those offensives produced.But Sunni human rights advocates charged that the brigade elicited the confessions by beating their captives. A woman interviewed by The Times this year said brigade officers whipped her sister with telephone wires to force her to confess to terrorist acts and to accuse her male associates of raping her and of having homosexual relations.The detainee, Khalida Mashhandani, was later released after it was determined that her confessions had been coerced.Despite its controversial reputation, the Wolf Brigade is regarded by U.S. military officials as the gold standard for Iraqi security forces.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Voice from the Christian Left !!!

By Marilyn Chandler McEntyre Among those who are mournful and angry about the outcome of this election, doubtful about the integrity of the process, and opposed to the neoconservative agenda are Christians who believe the name of Christ is being pressed into service to market a political agenda impossible to align with the ethics, mission, or character of Jesus. Here are some of the identifying features of that agenda: -- suppression of authentic diversity and debate in the name of “unity” -- fearmongering and secret surveillance in the name of “safety” -- wanton military aggression in the name of “liberation” -- triumphalist rewriting of recent history to justify unprecedented economic imperialism -- use of religious language to persuade a poorly informed public to accept political control by the few -- literalistic and selective use of biblical texts to legitimate that control -- sale of government to big business to consolidate that control -- sloganeering, anti-intellectualism, and oversimplification to forestall reflection, analysis, and debate -- expropriation of public media to insure the success of all the above
Alas, a good number among those cheering the Republican takeover are church-going people who sincerely believe that God has sent us a leader whose purposes are God’s own. Why do they think this? (I’ve asked.) Because he prays. Because he gathers with his cohort to study Scripture. Because he’s “unafraid” to invoke the name of God publicly. Because he opposes abortion. (This from single-issue voters who need look no further.) Because he supports “traditional family values.” Because he appears to believe that America is a Christian nation and as such, a chosen people whose objectives are God’s.
The very public nature of Bush’s religiosity ought to be at least a yellow flag for any believer who remembers Jesus’ admonishment to the Pharisees: "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). Bush’s “God talked to me” approach to political decision-making needs at least to be submitted to the test Paul sets forth in enumerating the fruits of the Spirit: if an action is truly “Spirit-driven,” it will be marked by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:23). Moreover we are explicitly reminded that "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). So it appears “sincere belief” is subject to a “reality check.”
Sincerity itself is, of course, a manifestly useless and dangerous criterion of rightness. A list of those history has shown to be sincerely and disastrously wrong would require a volume at least the size of the Bible itself. Some of the most sincere people I know are also the most poorly informed. Indeed sincerity often seems to be a handy substitute for rigorous examination of and reflection on the facts at hand.
And I wonder how those on the “Christian Right” whose rallying cry of choice is “family values” read Jesus’ admonishment to the disciples, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Or his answer to the messenger who interrupted him to say his mother and brothers wanted his attention: “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? . . . whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:42). Obviously these startling “hard sayings” need to be read in context. No one claims Jesus was “anti-family,” but neither did he elevate a particular model of family life. Rather he seemed to indicate that there would be circumstances in which people would be called to leave their families, to reconfigure them, to challenge them, and in any case to understand that as members of the Body of Christ, we would have to subordinate our allegiance to all human institutions, including family. Focusing on the family can become idolatry.
Politically, “family values” serves the purposes of Bush’s deeper agenda, all too reminiscent of the National Socialist slogan, “Kinder, Küche, Kirche” (Children, Kitchen, Church) that focused the attention of a compliant population on the domestic sphere as the locus of their proper moral concern while political power was concentrated in the hands of a violent few.
The claim that the election was won by those who voted on the “moral issues” is particularly troubling to those of us who believe in the richness and complexity of the biblical story and of the way it invites us to moral reflection. For many on the “Christian Right,” the “non-negotiable” moral issues in the election were reduced to abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research. Many thoughtful Christians recognize the moral complexity of these issues and the need for careful reflection on the contexts of biblical guidelines invoked in discussion of them. Oversimplification of these issues by members of the far Right (often in complete disregard of their socioeconomic and psychological contexts) has resulted in widespread lack of compassion for those most closely and personally affected. (see Matthew 7:3)
Abortion can hardly be opposed without comparable attention to systems that support people in a wide range of desperate situations for whom the decision is hardly abstract or ideological, but economic, relational, and radically personal. As to gay marriage, a colleague of mine put it best when she pointed out that Christians disposed to oppose it most vocally were generally those whom it was least likely to affect in any direct way. "Why don't we spend our time on the temptations--if that’s what they are--that we ourselves are most prone to rather than adjudicating the behavior of those whose needs and longings we can’t know or experience?” she asked. To which I can only add, Amen.
Stem cell research, like abortion, is not a simple issue, and we need to be vigilant indeed about the uses to which human lives and bodies are put in the name of science. As with abortion, it does raise significant moral and medical questions and we need ethicists who have done their biological homework to serve as guardians over the processes by which stem cells are collected and used. Nor do I think we should simply “leave it to the experts.” But those of us who aren’t experts have some homework of our own to do before presuming to pronounce with the utter certainty of vocal representatives of the “Christian Right” that efforts to determine the healing potential of stem cells are evil.
Most troubling of all, of course, is the fact that so many seem to restrict their concept of morality to personal actions. Where is the moral concern for the underfunding of services to the poorest among us, or stewardship of the natural world that has been put into our keeping? How can we overlook the moral obscenity that is war? Especially a war based on lies that has laid waste to the land and infrastructure of Iraq, killed well over 100,000 innocent civilians, and brutalized the psyches of our own troops as they brutalize their victims in the name of security.
As a Christian teaching at a Christian college, wife of a Christian pastor, I am appalled at the irresponsibility, ignorance, and self-righteous posture of those on the “Christian Right” who support these atrocities. I am deeply grateful for progressive Christians like the editors of Christian Century (christiancentury.org) and Sojourners (sojo.net), congregations that have rallied against war and weapons build-up, organizations like the Mennonite Central Committee (mcc.org), the American Friends’ Service Committee (afsc.org), Pax Christi (paxchristi.org) and Church Folks for a Better America (cfba.info) who offer an alternative political vision to people of faith.
Many on the “Christian Right” are fond of posing the question “WWJD?-- What would Jesus do?” I’d like to remind them what Jesus DID do: he cared for the poor. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. He prayed alone. He commanded us to love our enemies. He preached peace. He ate, drank, and lived with “tax collectors and sinners”—the lowlifes and outcasts of his day—while reserving his condemnation for the religious leaders who from a place of privilege imposed their legalism and literalism on the people they were responsible for leading. He told his disciples not to oppose the healing work of those outside the ranks of his followers. And again and again he reminded us to care for the poor. (That moral issue gets more air time than any other in the gospels: 1 verse in 9.) If Christians concerned about how to respond to the grave global issues facing us all were to reread the Gospels for guidance, I think we’d find some pretty clear indications there about what Jesus would do. And what he wouldn’t. (One of the few bumper stickers I’ve been tempted to affix to my still undecorated car in recent months reads “Who would Jesus bomb?”)
Whatever Jesus would do, given what he did do, and has promised he will do, I don’t think it looks much like what the insulated, self-congratulatory Fox News fans on the “Christian Right” are doing.
Marilyn McEntyre is a Professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.
© 2005 Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

MESOPOTAMIA !!!!

The majority of the Iraqis, excluding the Kurds, are scared to death. The problems inherent in the lives and futures of the Kurds are completely separate from the rest of the Iraqis. The Shiites in the puppet Iraqi government are not representative of the majority of the Iraqi people. Many of them were exiles and have not done their time in understanding the problems in Iraq. Many are criminals whose offenses have been forgiven since they support their handlers. In essense, this can be viewed as a war to free the Kurds who will speak favorably of Americans at this point in time. They will also work with Americans to ensure oil makes its way swiftly to Israel at this point in time. In the future, there will be a different story. Mark my words, the Kurds will be the final undoing of the Americans in this area if a world war does not first take place. The Kurds hate the Arabs/Muslims in the area. The Kurds hate Christians and have been slaughtering them since the mid 1800s. The Kurds want self-rule which should be given to them, no holes barred. After that, we shall see how compliant they are to American bullying with regards to their plentiful resources. If history repeats itself, they will be the next group of people the American government will want to conquer.
It will be satisfying to see the manipulators manipulated again by those whose greed and ignorance they have promoted.
It is a crying shame that people like THE BUSHITES seem to be incapable of learning about other cultures yet think you are qualified to make sweeping generalizations about the Iraqi people who stand divided and fallen thanks to our government's greed. Saddam kept them together.
We have torn them apart and replaced a criminal who had things under control with other criminals who are under the control of the US government. Nothing to be proud of. No bright future to look forward to. Just more of the same intervention in the Middle East of our country and Britain in order to control the resources and the people.

Where would you get the idea that anyone would be grateful for the murder of their people at the hands of our troops? You speak as if the tens of thousands of dead Iraqis are climbing out of their graves to thank us for killing them. Yessiree Bob, that is democracy and freedom!!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

PENTAGON BLOCKS RELEASE OF ABU GHRAIB IMAGES!!!!

Pentagon Blocks Release of Abu Ghraib Images: Here's Why By Greg Mitchell Published: July 23, 2005 6:00 PM ET
NEW YORK So what is shown on the 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon, in an eleventh hour move, blocked from release this weekend? One clue: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images: "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.” They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of “rape and murder.” No wonder Rumsfeld commented then, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."Yesterday, news emerged that lawyers for the Pentagon had refused to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release dozens of unseen photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by Saturday. The photos were among thousands turned over by the key “whistleblower” in the scandal, Specialist Joseph M. Darby. Just a few that were released to the press sparked the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal last year, and the video images are said to be even more shocking. The Pentagon lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material. They had been ordered to do so by a federal judge in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU accused the government Friday of putting another legal roadblock in the way of its bid to allow the public to see the images of the prisoner abuse scandal. One Pentagon lawyer has argued that they should not be released because they would only add to the humiliation of the prisoners. But the ACLU has said the faces of the victims can easily be "redacted." To get a sense of what may be shown in these images, one has to go back to press reports from when the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal was still front page news. This is how CNN reported it on May 8, 2004, in a typical account that day: “U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld revealed Friday that videos and ‘a lot more pictures’ exist of the abuse of Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison."’If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse,’ Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. ‘I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.’“The embattled defense secretary fielded sharp and skeptical questions from lawmakers as he testified about the growing prisoner abuse scandal. A military report about that abuse describes detainees being threatened, sodomized with a chemical light and forced into sexually humiliating poses. “Charges have been brought against seven service members, and investigations into events at the prison continue.“Military investigators have looked into -- or are continuing to investigate -- 35 cases of alleged abuse or deaths of prisoners in detention facilities in the Central Command theater, according to Army Secretary Les Brownlee. Two of those cases were deemed homicides, he said."’The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience,’ Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. ’We're talking about rape and murder -- and some very serious charges.’“A report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba on the abuse at the prison outside Baghdad says videotapes and photographs show naked detainees, and that groups of men were forced to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped. Taguba also found evidence of a ‘male MP guard having sex with a female detainee.’ “Rumsfeld told Congress the unrevealed photos and videos contain acts 'that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman.’”The military later screened some of the images for lawmakers, who said they showed, among other things, attack dogs snarling at cowed prisoners, Iraqi women forced to expose their breasts, and naked prisoners forced to have sex with each other.In the same period, reporter Seymour Hersh, who helped uncover the scandal, said in a speech before an ACLU convention: “Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about, ok? Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read they were passing letters, communications out to their men….The women were passing messages saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what's happened.’“Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out.”
Greg Mitchell (gmitchell@editorandpublisher.com) is editor of E&P.

GLOBAL WARMING !!

I don't care what anyone says about global warming being junk science - it's happening. It's fucking hot out there and it's hot across the country. Keep filling those gas sucking SUV's people, the air doesn't suck enough !!!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

ORCHESTRATING TERRORISM !!!!

The United States has a vast and very expensive Homeland Security bureaucracy with nothing to do. There hasn’t been a terrorist attack in America since 2001. There have been a vast quantity of terror alerts, the purpose of which was to scare Americans into supporting an unnecessary and illegal aggressive attack on Iraq.
As very few, if any, real terrorists have turned up, the FBI has resorted to creating terrorists by soliciting Muslim-Americans and appealing to them with schemes to aid “jihadists.” Recently, two American citizens were caught in a FBI sting. One, an Ivy League-educated physician, is charged with agreeing to provide medical care to wounded holy warriors in Saudi Arabia. The other, a famous jazz musician, is charged with agreeing to train jihadists in martial arts.
According to the June 1 Washington Times, the FBI began its sting in 2003, so it took two years of work and cajoling to manufacture the case against these two Americans.
What the FBI has done to Dr. R.A. Sabir and to Tarik Shah was once known as entrapment. Judges would throw out entrapment cases, because crime was believed to require intent to commit a crime. If the intent was given to the accused by the police through enticement or threats, it was not regarded as criminal intent on the accused person’s part.
Unfortunately, “law and order” conservatives used fear of crime to “give our police more effective measures to clear criminals off our streets” and managed to eliminate the entrapment defense.
Some years ago, the FBI, posing as Arab oil sheiks, entrapped U.S. representatives in a sting operation. The FBI handed out large bundles of cash to congressmen who accepted the offer to represent the fake sheiks’ interests. Film footage of the congressmen stuffing their pockets with money was all the FBI needed to convict the members. The fact that campaign contributions come from interest groups that expect to be represented did not count in the stung U.S. representatives’ favor.
Note that the two latest victims, Sabir and Tarik, could not have offered their services to jihadists, because no jihadists were present. Note also that Sabir and Tarik are not accused of actually performing an act of service. Sabir and Tarik had no contact with real jihadists, and they committed no act of service to jihadists. Yet, both face $250,000 fines and 15 years in prison.
All that happened was that two productive American citizens were deceived by government agents for no other purpose than those agents having to show “results” in the “war on terror.”
How does it make us safer to put a medical doctor and a jazz musician in prison? Why did the FBI spend two years entrapping these two American citizens?
Both men have wives and children. Suppose both men agreed to provide some service to jihadists. (We don’t know that they did. We only have the FBI’s word for it, a word that is not worth much.) The reason could easily be fear of reprisals.
Suppose you are a Muslim-American and FBI agents misrepresenting themselves as dangerous jihadists demanded services of you? Neither of the accused agreed to participate in a terrorist act: no bombs, no shootings, no hijackings. A doctor agreed to keep his Hippocratic oath if presented with wounded people in Saudi Arabia. A jazz musician agreed to teach martial arts. When was the last time a terrorist attacked with judo or karate?
Many years ago, there was a movie about a British medical doctor who treated a man wounded in an act of rebellion against England. The English judge, portrayed in the movie as unjust in the extreme, ruled that being humane was tantamount to being a rebel, and the doctor was sold into slavery to the Spanish. Unless memory fails, the movie was “Capital Blood,” with Errol Flynn.
In the movie, the doctor did actually treat the wounded man. The charge against Dr. Sabir is that he agreed to treat a wounded man if presented with one in Saudi Arabia in the future. There is no way of knowing if he would have done so. But if the United States is prepared to deny medical treatment to its opponents, why does anyone doubt the torture stories?
The FBI is so desperate to capture a terrorist that it spent two years setting up a doctor on this specious charge.
Like the police who find it easier to frame people than to convict them on the evidence, the FBI will find it easier to manufacture “terrorists” with entrapment than to catch real terrorists.
COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC. Paul Craig Roberts

Thursday, July 07, 2005

BUSH'S FAILURES

Under President Clinton:
-- Developed the nation's first anti-terrorism policy, and appointed first national coordinator of anti-terrorist efforts.--Stopped cold the Al Qaeda millennium bombing plot.--Stopped cold the planned attack to kill the Pope--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up 12 U.S. jetliners simultaneously--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up UN Headquarters--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up FBI Headquarters--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Boston airport--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in NY--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the George Washington Bridge--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the US Embassy in Albania
-- Tried to kill Osama bin Laden and disrupt Al Qaeda through preemptive strikes (efforts denounced by the G.O.P.).
-- Brought perpetrators of first World Trade Center bombing and CIA killings to justice.
-- Did not blame Bush I administration for first World Trade Center bombing even though it occurred 38 days after they had left office. Instead, worked hard, even obsessively -- and successfully -- to stop future terrorist attacks.
--Named the Hart-Rudman commission to report on nature of terrorist threats and major steps to be taken to combat terrorism.
-Clinton sent legislation to Congress to TIGHTEN AIRPORT SECURITY. (Remember, this is before 911) The legislation was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the airlines.
-Clinton sent legislation to Congress to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF TERRORIST FUNDING. It was defeated by Republicans in the Senate because of opposition from banking interests.
-Clinton sent legislation to Congress to add tagents to explosives, to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF EXPLOSIVES USED BY TERRORISTS. It was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the NRA.
-Clinton increased the military budget by an average of 14 per cent, reversing the trend under Bush I.
-Clinton tripled the budget of the FBI for counterterrorism and doubled overall funding for counterterrorism-Clinton detected and destroyed cells of Al Qaeda in over 20 countries-Clinton created national stockpile of drugs and vaccines including 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine.-Of Clinton's efforts says Robert Oakley, Reagan Ambassador for Counterterrorism: "Overall, I give them very high marks" and "The only major criticism I have is the obsession with Osama"-Paul Bremer, current Civilian Administrator of Iraq disagrees slightly with Robert Oakley as he believed the Clinton Administration had "correctly focused on bin Laden.-Barton Gellman in the Washington Post put it best, "By any measure available, Clinton left office having given greater priority to terrorism than any president before him" and was the "first administration to underatake a systematic anti-terrorist effort" ************************************************Here, in stark contrast, is part of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism record before September 11, 2001:
-- Backed off Clinton administration's anti-terrorism efforts.-- Shelved Hart-Rudman report.-- Appointed new anti-terrorism task force under Dick Cheney. Group did not even meet before 9/11.-- Called for cuts in anti-terrorism efforts by the Department of Defense-- Gave no priority to anti-terrorism efforts by Justice Department.-- Ignored warnings from Sandy Berger and Louis Freeh about the urgency of terrorist threats.-- Halted Predator drone tracking of Osama bin Laden.-- Did nothing in wake of August 6 C.I.A. report to president saying Al Qaeda attack by hijack of an airliner almost certain.----Now we've got Bush knowing about the terrorists plans, and the fact that they were in flight schools in the US, and little georgie takes a four week vacation..-- By failing to order any coordination of intelligence data, missed opportunity to stop the 9/11 plot as Clinton-Gore had stopped the millennium plot.--Blamed Clinton for 9/11.************************************************-Clinton sent anti terrorism and airport security measures to the house in 96, 97, 98, 99 and 2000...--Everyone one was killed by the house Republicans without even bringing them up for debate....--They were too busy being perverts, trying to look into the president's bedroom window....--The sad thing about it, they contain some of the same recommendations that Dubya wanted to implement AFTER September 11th...--Here, look for yourself, it's all public record..The United States General Accounting Office--Everytime the last president tried to do something about the terrorist threat, the house republicans all screamed "wag the dog"..--What Clinton did do was send death squads to try to find bin Laden.. They didn't, but on the other hand, Bush has our whole armed services concentrating on bin Laden, but let him get away...--Besides, they did catch those responsible for the 1993 WTC attacks and they are rotting in prison...--Clinton also stopped all trade and aid to the Taliban for letting bin Laden thrive in their nation..--Bush reversed that policy and gave the Taliban $43million dollars in aid just three months before the attacks on New York City...Bush's Deal With the Taliban --May 22, 2001--So, with prior warning, and 234 days to do something about the terrorist threat, this president spent the first 9 months of his term either on vacation or trying to get his personal agenda passed as paybacks for his own special interests and giving millions of dollars to our enemies....

Bush's motto:
"If it ain't broke, I'll fix it till it is."