Sunday, March 19, 2006

The End.

This will likely be my last post to In Other News... (Although I may use the URL for something else in the future.)

I don't do a lot of analyzing or original writing here -- mostly posting links to items I think are overlooked and/or important -- but even so, it has become a chore. Pushing yourself to write is hard enough. It should never feel like a "job".

Also, continued evidence of the dark evil at the heart of the ruling party in the US, coupled with the noise about an inevitable attack on Iran (and the very real possiblity of another "terror attack" to re-rally the citizenry), has made me pretty depressed. It seems like that feeling has only increased since I left the US for Canada.

I urge you to bookmark some of the news links on the right. If you do, you'll probably find everything I would have posted here anyway. My picks for the best sites:
Attytood
Cannonfire
Cursor
The Huffington Post
Left I On The News
Media Matters
Rigorous Intuition
Unclaimed Territory

and especially the Latest Breaking News forum at Democratic Underground (and don't forget Top 10 Conservative Idiots).
And (naturally) Joy of Sox for all your Boston Red Sox needs.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The American Fascist

US Vice President Henry Wallace, New York Times, April 9, 1944:
The really dangerous American fascist ... would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. ...

They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
The entire Op-Ed is fascinating reading. Thanks to uggabugga.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

"A Recent Surge Of Violence"

EarlG, one of the administrators at Democratic Underground, has compiled this list of media reporting "a recent surge of violence" in Iraq. Click here for links to each instance:
September 3, 2003: Meanwhile, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac were to meet in Germany on Thursday to discuss ways for the West to respond to the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the Middle East.

October 31, 2003: Ansar is believed to be channelling into Iraq the foreign fighters who are behind a recent surge in violence in the country, officials say.

November 3, 2003: Bush blamed loyalists to ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorists for the recent surge in violence in Iraq.

March 4, 2004: A wave of bomb attacks in Baghdad and Karbala killing at least 171 people earlier this week has highlighted the difficulties in rebuilding the country and restoring peace. But Mr Blair, speaking after a meeting in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, said the recent surge in violence in Iraq did not constitute civil war.

April 14, 2004: U.S. President George W. Bush held a major news conference at the White House on 13 April in the middle of the deadliest month for Americans in Iraq since Baghdad fell a year ago. He spoke of the recent surge in violence there, but urged his countrymen not to lose faith. He also said he would adhere to the 30 June deadline for handing over sovereignty to Iraqis.

April 15, 2004: Pace said the recent surge in violence in Iraq is being driven by "terrorists" who see the June 30 deadline for turnover of sovereignty approaching rapidly and are petrified by the promise of democracy.

April 26, 2004: Lt. Gen. David Barno, the top American commander in Afghanistan, said Monday that the military has seen a recent surge in violence, but that most attacks were directed against soft targets, such as civilians or isolated Afghan security outposts.

May 12, 2004: Despite the prison abuse scandal and the recent surge in violence in Iraq, a majority of the public (53%) continues to support keeping troops in Iraq until a stable government is established

May 25, 2004: In his speech to the Army War College here, Bush warned that "there are difficult days ahead and the way forward may sometimes appear chaotic." Yet he vowed the handover would take place on schedule and that the US-led coalition would not be defeated by insurgents blamed for the recent surge in violence.

June 24, 2004: Compelled by the recent surge in violence, US Central Command (CentCom) has informally asked Army planners for as many as 25,000 more troops in Iraq, the Baltimore Sun reports.

July 22, 2004: Despite a recent surge in violence, including kidnappings, car bombings and assassinations, senior U.S. and Iraqi officials gave a relatively optimistic assessment on Wednesday of the security situation in Iraq since the transfer of political authority from U.S. to Iraqi authorities June 28.

July/August, 2004: In the short term, ongoing help will be required with the maintenance of security within the country. The response to the recent surge in violence must emphasise political solutions and not be just a simple deployment of military power.

September 9, 2004: "The recent surge in violence has been especially surprising because in the weeks after the transfer of power there was a phase that, for Iraq, felt to some almost like a lull."

September 17, 2004: The assessments, made before the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the US military death toll there topping 1000, appear to conflict with Bush's upbeat description of the US-led effort to stabilise and democratise Iraq.

September 22, 2004: The Iraqi leader also said that despite a recent surge in violence in Iraq, it is "very important for the people of the world really to know that we are winning, we are making progress in Iraq, we are defeating terrorists."

December 18, 2004: Mosul has experienced a recent surge in violence. On Friday, a car carrying Turkish security guards was attacked in the city, in Iraq's far north near the Turkish border, and four people were killed, one of them decapitated.

January 4, 2005: The incident marks the most senior assassination since the death in May of Governing Council president Abd al-Zahra Uthman Muhammad and should be seen within the context of the recent surge in violence ahead of national and provincial elections slated for 30 January.

January 17, 2005: The area around Kut has seen a recent surge in violence. In a separate attack, two Iraqi provincial government auditors were shot to death late Sunday after armed gunmen stopped their car in Suwaira, about 25 miles southeast of Baghdad, an official at a Kut hospital said.

March 2, 2005: Most of the victims were Shiites, the targets of a recent surge in violence, most notably a series of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed nearly 100 people during the Shiite religious commemoration known as Ashoura.

April 27, 2005: But he added it was too early to say if a recent surge in violence amounted to a concerted campaign, and insisted that US-backed forces were "winning".

May 10, 2005: The most-recent poll, conducted by CNN, USA Today, and Gallup, interviewed 1,006 adults between April 29 and May 1, 2005, before the recent surge in violence.

May 16, 2005: The insurgents' choice of adversary is unusual. But the recent surge in violence, at least, follows a time-tested pattern.

May 19, 2005: A senior U.S. military official told reporters Wednesday that the recent surge in violence in Iraq followed a meeting in Syria last month of associates of the Jordanian insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi.

May 20, 2005: It's unclear how much of the recent surge in violence stems from tribal leaders, but as Metz points out: "Local elites recognize that in a secular, modernized Iraq, their power would be challenged."

May 23, 2005: Even despite the recent surge in violence, in some areas -- downtown Mosul, for example -- Iraqi forces have begun limited independent operations.

June 17, 2005: It is also believed to be the main hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant whose al Qaeda-linked group has carried out many of the deadliest attacks in Iraq and who U.S. forces believe is behind a recent surge in violence.

June 20, 2005: Mr. President, we were told that you planned to sharpen your focus on Iraq. Why did this become necessary? And given the recent surge in violence, do you agree with Vice President Dick Cheney's assessment that the insurgency is in its last throes?

August 4, 2005: His comments came as the 15-nation council unanimously adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution condemning a recent surge in violence in Iraq that has killed hundreds, ...

August 12, 2005: But a recent surge in violence and reports of growing public hostility to the Japanese presence are prompting many to question the prospects for continued humanitarian assistance there.

September 13, 2005: It's unclear how much of the recent surge in violence stems from tribal leaders, but as Metz points out: "Local elites recognize that in a secular, modernized Iraq, their power would be challenged."

September 17, 2005: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has reportedly said the recent surge in violence is in retaliation for a coalition offensive against the group's stronghold in the northern city of Tal Afar.

October 31, 2005: The fresh U.S. effort to crack down on insurgents followed a recent surge in violence caused by the passing of the new Iraqi constitution in a referendum held earlier this month.

January 7, 2006: US officials have sought to downplay a recent surge in violence that on Thursday alone claimed the lives of more than 115 Iraqis and 11 US servicemen.

January 8, 2006: The recent surge in violence is "an anomaly" and Iraq is not on the verge of civil war, the top US commander there said yesterday, after one of the country's bloodiest days since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

February 1, 2006: Recently, five other members of Congress and I sat on a C-130 transport plane surrounded by soldiers going from Kuwait to Baghdad. The backdrop is a recent surge in violence.

February 4, 2006: Dozens of bodies have been discovered in various parts of Baghdad gagged, bound and shot repeatedly in the past week, amid recent surge in violence, which analysts have repeatedly described as initial stages of an open-ended civil war between Iraq’s ethnic groups.

March 1, 2006: AP reports that he was giving an unusually frank assessment of the stakes in the country's recent surge in violence.

March 4, 2006: The top U.S. commander in Iraq said yesterday that he hopes to make an assessment this spring about whether to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq. But Pentagon officials speaking anonymously said a recent surge in violence there has dampened hopes that force levels can be cut anytime soon.
I love that January 8 clip: "an anomaly"!

Yup, those "insurgents" -- those straggling dead-enders -- are in their last throes. And we're "turning a corner". Obviously.

Note: Here's a new one with some slight editing:
March 6, 2006: Pressure mounted Sunday on Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to give up his bid for a new term amid anger over a recent surge of sectarian killings that has complicated already snarled negotiations on a new Iraqi government.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What A Moron

In a televised speech in New Delhi, George Dubai Bush referred to Pakistan as an Arab country.

A White House spokesman had to quickly explain (for the umpteenth time) that Shit-for-Brains simply "misspoke" -- like when he used the term "Pakis", called Greeks "Grecians", claimed that Africa was a country, referred to the "Great British" (which was actually cleaned up for WaPo readers), asked Brazilian president "Do you have blacks too?", etc., etc., etc.

He also called Pakistan -- whose president came to power through a military coup -- "a force for freedom" in the world. Which actually helps explain a few things about his characterization of the US.

In preparation for Bush's visit, the Pakistani government rounded up and imprisoned hundreds of people to prevent them from protesting. Freedom is on the march!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Saturday, February 25, 2006

US Has Tortured Thousands To Death In Iraq

From the Times of Malta:
The US is "aware" of torture taking place in Iraqi prisons, according to the outgoing Maltese UN human rights chief in Iraq.

"Yes, torture is happening now, mainly in illegal detention places. Such centres are mostly being run by militia that have been absorbed by the police force," says John Pace, who retired last week as human rights chief for the UN assistance mission in Iraq.

In a frank interview with The Times, Dr Pace says photos and forensic records have proved that torture was rife inside detention centres. Though the process of release has been speeded up, there are an estimated 23,000 people in detention, of whom 80 to 90 per cent are innocent.

He says the Baghdad morgue received 1,100 bodies in July alone, about 900 of whom bore evidence of torture or summary execution. That continued throughout the year and last December there were 780 bodies, including 400 having gunshot wounds or wounds as those caused by electric drills. ...

The Memory Hole has graphic pictures of Iraqis being tortured by US troops (recently aired by Australia's public broadcasting station).

Friday, February 24, 2006

$1,600,000,000

That's how many taxpayer dollars the Cheney administration has spent since 2003 on domestic propaganda.

The Department of Defense spent another $1.1 billion on media contracts.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Huffing

Crusader Bunnypants visited the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. He knocked over some samples and then decided to get high.

From the AP:
"You're doing great work here," said Bush, who picked up a bottle of clear-colored ethanol and smelled it.


Later on, after Bush found some ether, he had to take a nap.

Bill O'Reilly Hearts Hitler

November 30, 2005, NBC's Today:
It's a disaster for the world if we don't do well [in Iraq]. These pinheads running around going, "Get out of Iraq now," don't know what they're talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in World War II that were saying, "Ah, he's not such a bad guy." They don't get it.
February 20, 2006, "The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly":
...[H]ere is the essential problem in Iraq. There are so many nuts in the country -- so many crazies -- that we can't control them. And I don't -- we're never gonna be able to control them. So the only solution to this is to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible. Because we just can't control these crazy people. This is all over the place. And that was the big mistake about America: They didn't -- it was the crazy-people underestimation. We did not know how to deal with them -- still don't. But they're just all over the place.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

School Bus Drivers On Terrorist Watch

From the AP:
The war on terror has a new front line - the school bus line. Financed by the Homeland Security Department, school bus drivers are being trained to watch for potential terrorists, people who may be casing their routes or plotting to blow up their buses.

Designers of the School Bus Watch program want to turn 600,000 bus drivers into an army of observers, like a counterterrorism watch on wheels. Already mindful of motorists with road rage and kids with weapons, bus drivers are now being warned of far more grisly scenarios. ...

The program demands strong oversight, said John Rollins, a former senior Homeland Security intelligence official now with Congressional Research Service. Otherwise, he said, some bus drivers could think of themselves as undercover agents. ...

Animal Farm

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is urging the UN Human Rights Commission to take legal action against the United States -- possibly through the International Court of Justice at The Hague -- if it fails to close Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay.

Sentamu's report states that the US's actions do not "appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations". And who could disagree with him?
The American Government is breaking international law. The main building block of a democratic society is that everyone is equal before the law, innocent until proved otherwise, and has the right to legal representation. If the guilt of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay is beyond doubt, why are the Americans afraid to bring them to trial? ...

The US should try all 500 detainees at Guantanamo, who still include eight British residents, or free them without further delay. To hold someone for up to four years without charge clearly indicates a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm.
Salon has recently obtained "more than 1,000 photographs, videos and supporting documents" from the Army's investigation into the torture at Abu Ghraib. And the Guardian says the leaked report includes "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".

A Pentagon spokesman said (predictably) that the release of these pictures and videos "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world". .. Yeah, it would be alright if it wasn't for those pesky cameras!

Also: "Iraq's prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, while condemning the abuse at Abu Ghraib, noted that US soldiers had already been punished for it." ... Unbelievable.

Meanwhile, the US is building more torture chambers and concentration camps in Cuba.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cheney Shooting: Lies, Contradictions, And Bullshit

Check out these threads documenting the delays, contradictions, lies and plain ol' bullshit, thanks to many DU posters/researchers. Some of the topics:
Cheney's companion at fault in shooting, White House says

Texas shooting: was Cheney drunk?

This gets better - Cheney doesnt even HAVE the proper hunting license!

Smoking Gun has First Cheney Accident Report

The guy Cheney shot was involved in Funeralgate (gravedumping by Bush pal)

The Reason For the Cheney Coverup: He's Guilty of a FELONY under TX Law!

Cheney Shooting scandal hostess -- over $20 BILLION business w/ Bush admin.

MSNBC scrubs "beer or two" comment from its story...
Also videos threads with footage from Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, etc.

Uggabugga has links to more, including:
Cheney was out hunting with his girlfriend-on-the-side. (That's actually pure speculation, but it's a part of the overall story mix.)

Cheney had a liquid lunch, and was blotto that afternoon. (Had "only one beer" mid-day and a cocktail after the shooting).

He was sloppy and shot Whittington at close range.

Cheney was pretty detached afterwards, and instead of being closely focused on the accident, had a leisurely dinner that evening.

Because he was drunk, he hid from deputies that showed up that evening.

Rove was brought in to decide how to do the PR.

That meant putting out a bogus story that Whittington was merely "peppered". ...

Whittington has heart attack. Things get serious.

Cheney finally decides to talk about the incident in the ultra-friendly environment of Fox News with Cheney-supporter Brit Hume.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006

Gone Shootin'

Jeff at Rigorous Intuition on Dick Cheney's shooting of fellow hunter Harry Whittington.

The comments, which are also good, include these points: there was an odd 18-hour delay in reporting this story -- indeed, some have wondered if the White House planned to report it at all -- and the men were hunting from a car (which is illegal).

Also, how can a man with a shotgun sneak up on the Vice President with the Secret Service around?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What The Domestic Spying Scandal Means

Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory has written an amazing overview (also here) of how and why the government's spying on American citizens is so dangerous. Here is some of it:
[The Administration's] argument is that they have the right to use all war powers –- of which warrantless eavesdropping is but one of many examples -– against American citizens within the country. And not only do they have the right to use those war powers against us, they have the right to use them even if Congress makes it a crime to do so or the courts rule that doing so is illegal.

Put another way, the Administration has now baldly stated that whatever it is allowed to do against our enemies in a war, it is equally entitled to exercise all of the same powers against American citizens on American soil. ...

The "war powers" which a President can use in war against our enemies are virtually limitless -- they include indefinite detention in prison with no charges or access to lawyers, limitless eavesdropping, interrogation by means up to and perhaps including torture, and even killing. ... Without hyperbole, it is hard to imagine a theory more dangerous or contrary to our nation's principles than a theory that vests the President -- not just Bush but all future Presidents -- limitless authority to use war powers against American citizens within this country.

Critically, these claimed powers are not purely theoretical or, as Gonzales claimed in response to questions from Sen. Feinstein, "hypothetical." Quite the contrary. Not only has the Administration claimed these powers, they have exercised them aggressively -- not just against Al Qaeda, but against American citizens.

In my view, the single most significant and staggering action of the Bush Administration -– and there is an intense competition for that title, with many worthy entries -– is the fact that the Administration already has detained an American citizen on American soil (Jose Padilla), threw him into a military prison indefinitely, refused to charge him with any crime, and refused even to allow him access to a lawyer, and then kept him there for several years. Then, the Administration argued that federal courts are powerless even to review, let alone limit or restrict, the Government's detention of American citizens with no due process.

And to justify this truly authoritarian nightmare -– being detained and locked away with no due process by your own Government -– the Administration relied upon precisely the same theory which Gonzales advocated on Monday to justify the Administration's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans. Like warrantless eavesdropping, indefinite detention is a "war power," and the Administration therefore claims that it has the right even to detain American citizens with no charges, and nothing can limit or stop that power. ...

Under the Bush Administration, that is the country we have become. Alberto Gonzales spent 8 hours on national television the other day justifying why we must be a country which lives under a system which operates in that manner. That is a system of government wholly foreign to how Americans understand their nation and how our nation has always functioned. There is no more important priority than making as clear as possible to Americans just how broad and truly radical are the powers claimed by this President.
The question now is how can a majority of Americans get this essential information? The Democrats aren't going to tell them.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Foiled Terror Plot -- Another Bush Lie

On Thursday, the Chimp said that an alleged al-Qaida plot in late 2001 to use shoe bombs to blow open a cockpit door and steer an airplane into Los Angeles' Library Tower was foiled when Asian authorities captured the four men allegedly involved.

And get this -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was never told about the alleged attack or its disruption. "I'm amazed that the president would make this [announcement] on national TV and not inform us of these details through the appropriate channels. I don't expect a call from the president — but somebody."

Capital Hill Blue quotes a longtime CIA field operative as saying Bush is living in a fantasy world. Several intelligence officials wonder whether the plot "was ever much more than talk."

Keith Olbermann nails it:
My stomach is queasy as I ask this. In the context of this today and what you have seen, are we far enough removed from that component of the novel "1984" - the part where the government turns a kind of terror faucet on and off to scare the public in to acquiescing to whatever wants to do?
The whole thing sounds like bullshit to me. If it's true, why would Bush wait more than four years to crow about it? You'd think they'd be glad to report some actual success for a change. ... And these four guys who were arrested -- why haven't they been charged with anything?

Why should we believe anything Bush says?

Time Magazine: Unapologetic Bush Propagandists

From Media Matters:
Summary: At least three reporters involved in an October 2003 Time magazine article that suggested Karl Rove was no longer under suspicion of outing Valerie Plame, and that contained Scott McClellan's denial that Rove was involved, knew at the time of the article that Rove had, in fact, outed Plame.

On October 13, 2003, Time magazine ran an article that included a quote from White House press secretary Scott McClellan insisting that White House senior adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with outing undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. As Media Matters for America has previously noted, at least two Time editorial employees involved in the article knew McClellan's denial was false: correspondent Matthew Cooper and Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy. Cooper knew the denial was false because Rove had outed Plame to him. Duffy knew the denial was false because Cooper had sent him an email relating what Rove had told him.

Former Time White House correspondent John Dickerson, in a first-person account of his knowledge of the Plame matter, now acknowledges that he, too, knew that Rove was Cooper's source well before the October 2003 article -- an article on which he, like Cooper, received reporting credit. ...

[I]n July 2003, Time reporters Cooper, Duffy, and Dickerson all knew that Rove had outed Plame. But three months later, all three of them helped produce a Time article (Duffy received a byline; the others were credited with having contributed to the reporting) that falsely suggested that Rove had nothing to do with it.
Dickerson has been trying to defend his deceptions.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Right Out In The Open

Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, has received a contract worth up to $385,000,000 from the Army Corps of Engineers to build "temporary immigration detention centers" in the United States.

According to its press release, KBR is building the centers for the Homeland Security Department to provide
temporary detention and processing capabilities ... in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.
I don't know what could cause a huge influx of US immigrants; the country certainly is not encouraging anything like that. And, naturally, left unsaid is what these "new programs" might be.

Anyone else remember Rex 84?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Let's Spend Some Time Together

ABC felt obligated to bleep words in two of the three songs the Rolling Stones played yesterday evening at Super Bowl XL.

The deliciate sensibilities of the viewers apparently would have been offended by the word "come" in "Start Me Up" (as in "you make a dead man ..."), although you can hear the ribald, unexpurgated version umpteen times a day by surfing rock radio.

For "Rough Justice", we were denied the last word in the first verse:
One time you were my baby chicken
Now you've grown into a fox
And once upon a time I was your little rooster
Now am I just one of your cocks?
No bleeping sound, just dead air. ... The Stones agreed to the censorship ahead of time.

It was a decent performance* -- Ronnie Wood's guitar was inaudible at first (they probably wanted to make sure he was playing the correct key!) -- although it didn't take off until the finale, "Satisfaction". Good for short-sleeved Mick showing a bit of flab on his arms (he's 62, for christ sake). Plus, our halftime parents at ABC felt we could handle hearing "tryin' to make some girl".

Keef was Keef and Charlie Watts re-solidified his position as one of the coolest men on the face of the Earth.

*: Hoping for "Sweet Neo-Con" was likely asking for too much.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Female Soldiers Dying Of Dehydration In Iraq; Fear Being Raped by Fellow Soldiers

Naturally, the US government is doing everything it can to cover it up.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, has this report. Here is the beginning of the article, but you should absolutely read the whole thing.
In a startling revelation, the former commander of Abu Ghraib prison testified that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq, gave orders to cover up the cause of death for some female American soldiers serving in Iraq.

Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark. ...

Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition's joint task force said in a briefing that "women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep."

"And rather than make everybody aware of that - because that's shocking, and as a leader if that's not shocking to you then you're not much of a leader - what they told the surgeon to do is don't brief those details anymore. And don't say specifically that they're women. You can provide that in a written report but don't brief it in the open anymore."

For example, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's top deputy in Iraq, saw "dehydration" listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, Karpinski stated. The official explanation for this was to protect the women's privacy rights.

Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told me that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did. She thinks it likely that when the information about the cause of these women's deaths was passed to the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld ordered that the details not be released. "That's how Rumsfeld works," she said.

"It was out of control," Karpinski told a group of students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law last October. There was an 800 number women could use to report sexual assaults. But no one had a phone, she added. And no one answered that number, which was based in the United States. Any woman who successfully connected to it would get a recording. Even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait, the 24-hour rape hot line was still answered by a machine that told callers to leave a message. ...
My partner Laura writes:
Of all the hypocrisy and lies perpetrated by the US government, for me the worst, the absolute lowest, is the shameful treatment of the armed forces. Lie to these people, betray their trust, cut off their options so the military is one of the only ways to get an education, use them for propaganda - then spit them out. Cut funding for the ongoing medical treatment they'll need long after their dues have been paid, give their families only partial benefits because they were reservists, deny them even proper protection in combat - it's a long list.
It's hard to treat a human being more like a piece of shit than the US government treats the members of its military (and, sadly, that has been the case since the founding of the republic).

Friday, February 03, 2006

$100,000 A Minute

That is (at a minimum) what the Iraq invasion is costing US taxpayers.

That's $144,000,000 every single day.

(Remember Paul Wolfowitz's infamous comment about Iraq's oil reserves? "We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction.")

Just another lie.

But it's worth it 'cuz some Iraqis (well, the alive ones) got purple ink on their fingers.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Addicted To Oil

From Attytood

Supporting The Troops, Bush-Style

Houston Chronicle, February 2, 2006:
Eager to reduce spending, the Bush administration falsely claimed savings of more than $1.3 billion in the Department of Veterans Affairs to justify cuts to health care services, congressional investigators say.

The report by the Government Accountability Office is the latest to document funding woes at the VA, which currently offers health care to 7 million out of 24 million eligible veterans. It found that the agency used misleading accounting methods and lacked documentation to prove its claimed savings. ...

"It's unconscionable," said Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, who requested the audit. "Veterans needing health care are being penalized because of an accounting deception promulgated by this administration."
Veterans get fucked over so Cheney/Bush can slip the rich another tax cut. On and on it goes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Georgia Is Perfect

There is no unemployment, no problem with pollution, everyone who lives in the state has healthcare, prescription drugs are affordable for all who need them, not one person is homeless or goes to bed hungry, the roads and bridges are in great shape, there is 100% literacy, schoolteachers are well paid ...

Yes, the fine state of Georgia must be Paradise on Earth, because otherwise, why would the state's representatives waste their valuable time on this stupid shit?
The Georgia House injected itself into the so-called "War on Christmas" today, passing a bill that prevents state and local governments from banning their employees and students from "verbal expressions" celebrating any public or legal holiday.

"Simply put, in the state of Georgia, it's going to be OK to say Merry Christmas in the public workplace and in our schools," said Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn), the bill's sponsor.

The bill passed the House 136 to 25 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Coulter Suggests Murdering Supreme Court Justice

In order to get more conservatives on the Supreme Court, neo-con circus freak Ann Coulter says "we need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice [John Paul] Stevens' creme brule".

According to 18 U.S.C. Section 115, Coulter is guilty of a felony for "threaten[ing] to assault, kidnap, or murder ... a United States judge ... with intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with" that judge's duties.

I look forward to her arrest. ... You know, rule of law and all that.

London Police "Faked Evidence" On Shot Brazilian

Undercover London police officers faked vital evidence to cover up their fatal role in the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, mistaken for a suicide bomber ...

Special Branch officers from London's Metropolitan Police tried to change a surveillance log detailing the electrician's movements to hide the fact that they had wrongly identified him, the News of the World weekly claimed. ...

The alleged cover-up meant the blame for the tragedy would have been pinned on senior Met Police commanders or the armed police who fired the bullets -- leaving them open to murder charges ...
I wrote about de Menezes previously here and here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Who Won, I Said, The Election?

PRWeb:
The National Election Data Archive (NEDA) is the first mathematical team to release a valid scientific analysis of the precinct-level 2004 Ohio presidential exit poll data "The Gun is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-level Exit Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount" available [here]. NEDA's analysis provides significant evidence of an outcome-altering vote miscount.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Al Qaeda Job Applications

Further to my post about the treasure trove of AQ job applications found by the US military, some bloggers with better connections that I have posted the actual documents here and here.

Theft

Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2006:
After more than 2½ years of sputtering reconstruction work, the United States' "Marshall Plan" to rebuild [Iraq] is drawing to a close this year with much of its promise unmet and no plans to extend its funding.

The $18.6 billion approved by Congress in 2003 will be spent by the end of this year, officials here say. ... With the country still a shambles, U.S. officials are promoting a tough-love vision of reconstruction that puts the burden on the Iraqi people. ...

"If they say they have spent money, where is it?" asked Salah Qaragholi, 30, a barber in the poor neighborhood called Zafraniya. "Where are the projects? The electricity is only four hours a day."

Baghdad's roads are an obstacle course of barriers, potholes and debris. Many government and office buildings are either still gutted or strung with webs of electrical wire connecting to generators that run 12 hours on good days. A brown haze fouls the air and pools of sewage overflow dot the streets.
Certain people got pretty fucking rich with that $18,600,000,000.

More Cheney Nonsense Masked As Coherent Speech

Josh Marshall quotes Dick Cheney catapulting the propaganda on January 11:
And the Iraqis -- the fact is we know that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were heavily involved with terror. ... [A] lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda organization.
The obvious follow-up question: How can Cheney know that a document which has not been evaluated offers additional evidence of anything? It hasn't been evaluated yet, you tool.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Shortly After Taking Office, Not In Wake Of 9/11

According to Jason Leopold:
The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.

The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups. ...

On orders from Defense Department officials and President Bush, the agency kept a running list of the names of Americans in its system and made it readily available to a number of senior officials in the Bush administration, these sources said, which in essence meant the NSA was conducting a covert domestic surveillance operation in violation of the law. ...

Eavesdropping on Americans required intelligence officials to obtain a surveillance warrant from a special court and show probable cause that the person they wanted to monitor was communicating with suspected terrorists overseas. But Bush said that the process for obtaining such warrants under the 1978 Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act was, at times, "cumbersome."
Obeying the law is hard work! Or maybe it's "a bit of a distraction", as Dick Cheney recently called the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

The declassified 42-page NSA report can be found here.

Friday, January 13, 2006

US: We Found Padilla's Al-Qaeda Application (!)

Miami Herald, January 13, 2006:
After the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan to oust its Taliban rulers, authorities found a locker full of applications to join al Qaeda's holy war overseas. ...

"It was recovered by U.S. personnel in late 2001 after the United States began bombing Afghanistan," Justice Department lawyer Stephanie Pell said, referring to Padilla's alleged al Qaeda application.

She added it was found among 80 to 100 other mujahadeen (holy warrior) applications found in the country ...
His application? This is hilarious!

Some comments from various DU posters:
Was there a resume attached?

Can you imagine what Al-Qaeda's human resources dept. is like?!?!

What's the new employee orientation like, for instance? Are they cube rats? Are they required to sit through productivity meetings?

Al Qaeda! "Ask Us About Our Comprehensive Benefits Package!"

How long before they are 100% vested in their employer match virgins? Do they have to belong for five years before they attain the full 72?

Their reference checks must be a hoot. "Yes, I am calling about Mr. Padilla's experience as a terrorist. He claims he worked for you in 2001 as supervisor of terrorists. Could you please verify that statement?"

Where would one even GET an application? Seriously, online? Mail-in? This is BEYOND stupid.

Oh My God how much more of this shit will Americans take -- "a locker full of applications to join al Qaeda's holy war"

They must think we are all completely retarded.
And:
Prosecutors failed to produce al-Qaeda rejection letter

Dear Mr./Ms. PADILLA:

As you may know, we receive a large number of applicantions for the position of TERROR CELL MEMBER from qualified applicants all around the world. While we are currently pursuing other applicants for the position, we were impressed by your qualifications and drive. We will hold your application for six months, and contact you should a new position open up.

Thank you for your interest in al-Qaeda,

Atta-ur Rehman
Coordinator, Human Resources
This is as silly as the news reports every three weeks or so stating the US has killed "Al-Qaeda's #3 man". ... Oooh, they switched it to #2 this time.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Meet Finis Shelnutt

The world is more bizarre than you thought.

Way more.

"The US Does Not Torture"

The Observer, January 8, 2006:
New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive.

They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer.

... that the number of hunger strikers has almost doubled since Christmas, to 81 of the 550 detainees. Many have been held since the camp opened four years ago this month, although they not been charged with any crime, nor been allowed to see any evidence justifying their detention.

This and other Guantánamo lawsuits now face extinction. Last week, President Bush signed into law a measure removing detainees' right to file habeas corpus petitions in the US federal courts. On Friday, the administration asked the Supreme Court to make this retroactive, so nullifying about 220 cases in which prisoners have contested the basis of their detention and the legality of pending trials by military commission.
Why don't these prisoners love the chicken l'orange they are so lucky to be served every day? Ungrateful is what they are.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

We Are Still Waiting

Colin Powell interview with ABC News, September 23, 2001:
Powell: [W]e will put before the world, the American people, a persuasive case that there will be no doubt when that case is presented that it is al-Qaida led by Usama bin Laden who has been responsible for this terrible, tragic incident.

Q: So you are talking about something beyond simple assertions by US leaders? You are talking about assertions backed up by the evidence?

Powell: Yes.
1,568 days later ... still nothing.

What Will It Take?

How can anyone defend this regime?
January 6, 2006
Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Study Shows
Michael Moss, New York Times,

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. ...

For the first time, the study by the military's medical examiner shows the cost in lost lives from inadequate armor, even as the Pentagon continues to publicly defend its protection of the troops. ...

The Army, which has the largest force in Iraq, is still deciding what to purchase, according to Army procurement officials. ...
Take your time. There's no hurry, no hurry at all.

To top it off, Paul Bremer, who led the US civilian occupation authority in Iraq after the invasion, pretty much admitted to being one of the stupidest motherfuckers on the planet, when he told NBC "we really didn't see the insurgency coming".

US Deaths: 2,193 and counting ...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Disinformation

In late December, The Daily Howler gave us a lesson in disinformation:
Where does disinformation come from? Consider Bart Gellman's short report atop page 12 in [December 22's Washington] Post. Here's the headline, which helps to spread the latest RNC phony info:

WASHINGTON POST HEADLINE (12/22/05): Carter, Clinton Authorized Spying, RNC Says

You're right. Technically, that headline doesn't actually claim that Carter and Clinton "authorized spying." It only states that the RNC says so. Of course, Gellman knew how bogus that claim really is. But you had to read all the way to his final paragraph to ferret out that information:
GELLMAN (12/22/05): The RNC's quotation of Clinton's order left out the stated requirement, in the same sentence, that a warrantless search not involve "the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person." Carter's order, also in the same sentence quoted, said warrantless eavesdropping could not include "any communication to which a United States person is a party."
In other words, Carter and Clinton didn't "authorize spying" on U.S. citizens, as the RNC has been claiming. This matter has been discussed in detail at various outlets. For example, see this report from ThinkProgress.

Where does disinformation come from? If you're a reader of the Post, you get the impression, from scanning today's headlines, that Carter and Clinton "authorized spying." You had to read the full report, rather carefully, to find out that this claim is bogus. Even then, Gellman never explicitly raises the question of the RNC's dissembling. You have to piece the basic idea together: The RNC is at it again.

Why did Gellman write this report as he did? Why did the Post put this headline atop it? We don't know, but we do know this: Cheers rang out at the RNC when they saw their bunk at the top of page 12, with readers required to read very carefully to discern that the claim is pure hokum.

Sam Alito

In the case of Kenneth Pirolli v. World Flavors, Inc., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission intervened on behalf of Pirolli, a retarded man who complained of his workplace and presented evidence that "a co-worker attempted to insert a broomstick up his anus while another co-worker watched."

What was the reaction of Sam Alito, Bush's Supreme Court nominee?
Pirolli's brief never asserts that his work environment was one that a reasonable, non-retarded person would find hostile or abusive.
Just another kind-hearted friend of W. doin' the work of Jesus.

More information on Alito.