October 2007 archive

Cover-up: FBI Threatens Suspect’s Family with Torture (Updated)

Crossposted at Invictus and Daily Kos

Like a scenario out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, an innocent man was accused of assisting the 9/11 hijackers in their terrorist plot. Abdallah Higazy was an Egyptian national studying computer engineering at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn. In December 2001, he was coerced into falsely confessing his “role” in 9/11 after the FBI was tipped that he supposedly owned an air-band transceiver capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground communication.

The transceiver turned out to belong to an airline pilot staying in Abdallah’s NY hotel. Higazy was released after 34 days in custody. He subsequently sued both his FBI interrogator and the hotel he stayed in, whose security officers had found the radio. The hotel settled, but initially the FBI suit was dismissed. Upon appeal, the 2nd Circuit remanded the case to district court.

Now here’s what’s really amazing: the court brief clearly shows that the FBI threatened torture of Higazy’s family back in Egypt. When the brief was published online, it was quickly withdrawn and replaced with a censored version, without the torture threats. Blogger Howard Bashman had the first version however, posted it, and then received a call from the court demanding he take down the unredacted version.

Pony Open Thread: The Last Days of Harvest

Here’s a great piece from Winslow Homer’s wood engraving period. It was published in Harper’s Weekly on December 6, 1873.

I love this guy’s real, surreal, and dream-like images… it’s like he knows the way i dream and daydream.

I also thought of Steven King’s Children of the Corn

Four at Four

Some news and open thread.

  1. The Washington Post reports The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Mukasey confirmation on Tuesday. “Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Tuesday on attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey, whose confirmation has been complicated by his repeated refusal to declare that an interrogation tactic that uses simulated drowning constitutes illegal torture. The announcement from Leahy comes a day after Mukasey wrote a letter to the committee saying that while he considers waterboarding ‘repugnant,’ he does not know whether the technique violates U.S. laws against torture.”

    Mukasey “said it is ‘an open question,’ for example, whether a U.S. citizen seized on U.S. soil can be detained indefinitely after the president declares that he is in an enemy combatant. He also reiterated his view that the president can ignore surveillance laws if they infringe on his powers as commander in chief, and said a Justice Department prosecutor cannot enforce a congressional subpoena if the White House has asserted a claim of executive privilege.”

    Mukasey should be rejected by the senators. If any Democrat votes for Mukasey, he will become the Attorney General. Mukasey must be stopped in committee.

  2. The New York Times reports the Fed lowers key interest rate by a quarter point. “Federal Reserve policymakers, worried that the meltdown in housing could continue to slow the entire economy, cut their benchmark interest rate today by a quarter point to 4.50 percent, from 4.75. Today‚Äôs rate cut follows an unusually large one-half percentage point in September”.

  3. According to Spiegel, Rising prices widen gap between rich and poor. “Central banks flooded the world with cheap money for years, helping the rich get richer. Now inflation is on the horizon, threatening to make the poor even poorer… The excess dollars, euro and yen that were not being spent on capital goods went into more lucrative investments… And those were the rich of this world, the people who had enough surplus income to invest it profitably. The gap between rich and poor only became wider… Those who have money can also attempt to beat inflation with evasive strategies. Existing loans, such as mortgage loans, become cheaper relative to income. Besides, high earners can shift their assets to inflation-proof investments like gold or other precious metals.”

  4. A couple of developments from Burma. The Guardian reports Burmese monks begin fresh protests. “More than 100 Buddhist monks marched and chanted in Burma today in the first public demonstration since the military junta crushed last month’s anti-government protests, several monks said. The monks in Pakokku made no political statements and shouted no slogans, but their march, which lasted nearly an hour, was in clear defiance of the government.”

    The Independent reports Burma forces children into combat as adults desert army. “The Burmese junta is making more and more use of child soldiers, some as young as 10, according to a Human Rights Watch report published today. Finding it increasingly hard to recruit adult soldiers, and trying to cope with high desertion rates and a constantly expanding demand for fighters, army recruiters pick on children at bus and train stations and force them to join up.”

So, what else is happening?

Representative Harman, It’s Just a Misunderstanding

You see, we think George Bush is a criminal.

While evidently you don’t.

And we don’t think that our Representatives and Senators should aid and abet criminals.

Even if they are President.

I know also, that you think this is about politics and votes.

We don’t. We think it is about our Constitutional Rights….that you are sworn to uphold. We tend to think that you should do everything in your power…..which you aren’t…..to preserve our Rights.

Jane Harman Really Scares Me This Halloween


Here’s a true Halloween scary story for you.

Over at The Big Orange, I’m sure many of you have seen this:

Harman’s Response to drational’s FISA Post

Have a look and come back for a brief chat if you haven’t seen it yet.

Rahmbo and His Blue Dogs: The Sissy Wing of The Democratic Party

Bowers writes a good one:

Fear seems like a good word to describe centrists and conservative Democrats in Congress, both within the leadership and within certain ideological caucuses. . . . Fear seems to stem from the leadership, as Emanuel and Hoyer have previously been labeled as responsible for not pursuing more aggressive tactics against Republican maneuvers like this. The House Democratic Caucus is rank with fear of Republican attacks, from the leadership down to the rank and file Blue Dogs. . . . Blue Dogs actually seem like the most scared people in all of Washington, D.C. as a result of this article. They are afraid of Republican attacks. They are afraid of conservative pundits. They are afraid of their constituents. They are afraid of motions to recommit that are meaningless in terms of actual policy. And they are protected by Emanuel and Hoyer, who seem petrified of all the same things. . .

A bunch of sissies is what they are. As we have repeated ad nauseum, the reason Dems have an image of weakness has little to do with national security, it is due to their spinelessness. Will these Sissy Dems ever learn?

Monks In The Streets!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They’re back, bless them!

More than 100 monks have marched in central Burma, the first time they have returned to the streets since last month’s bloody crackdown on protests.

The monks chanted and prayed as they marched through Pakokku, the site of an incident last month that triggered pro-democracy protests nationwide.

Bush Fly Me Policy: Aid Air Terror

John Carr, the former president of NATCA (National Air Traffic Controllers Association), writes a thriller of a blog called The Main Bang.  You can only read it when you are next to an immediate fire suppression rescue device as your hair will spontaneously combust from all of the FAA transgressions against the controllers and the safety of the flying public.

Yesterday, John and his faithful commenters took on this a new Bushco War OF Terror TM threat:

Now it seems you can have real time flight tracking on virtual radar in your office, home, workplace, or, God forbid, a pickup truck full of Osama’s buddies toting shoulder fired missiles—for the low, low price of only $899.

in Other news…

Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “other” community.

  • The Obama/McClurkin flak has dominated LGBT news recently, and the emnity that it’s created has made me wary of diving in further.  However, it’s worth reading this first-hand account at Adam McEwen’s blog, a powerful statement about the ruinous effects of religious-based homophobia:

    For every so-called religious statement coming from her mouth, I could hear closet door after closet door slamming shut.

    I could see even more black gay men (many of them married) trolling down the streets in the darkness of the night looking for a physical fix because they have been bamboozled to think that a quick thrust in the dark is all they deserve as gay men.

    I could see more black women assembling themselves in “down low spotter groups” and doing inane things like checking their men’s underwear for blood.

    And I see the HIV/AIDS rate in the African-American community going sky high.

    However, before anyone makes a narrow comment about homophobia in the black community, it’s worth noting that yet another (white) Republican has been caught in yet another gay sex scandal: this time in Washington State.  I don’t fully buy the old saw that the most vocally homophobic are also suppressing homosexual desires, but they’re making it hard not to expect that state legislators who voted consistently against rights and protections in the gay community might turn out to be cross-dressing fetishists with families at home and young men in the hotel room.  Sadly Rep. Curtis has had no problem making life miserable for other cross-dressing fetishists while enjoying the same extracurricular activities he believes are discrimination-worthy.  For other people, of course.  Dan Savage has more.

    Of course this issue isn’t limited to the black or white communities.  Welcome recent addition to the list, Andrew Quah, a conservative Australian politician (now ex-politician) whose nude photographs on gay sites must have gotten there through the most obvious channel: “my political enemies might have drugged me.”  Mr. Quah might consider a new career in stand-up: that is comedy gold.

More news below

11/14: NYC DocuDharma Meet-up

Hey friends. Following up on the call I put out a few weeks ago for an NYC DocuDharma meetup.

So who’s coming and where should we meet-up?

Shall we meet for drinks at 6? and where?

pfiore may come into the city earlier so we can make a trip to the Frick Museum. Anyone else up for that? We could see amazing things like this Vermeer painting: Mistress and Maid. vermeer

I hope herding DocuPonies is easier than herding cats!

NYCers I know you are out there! And I know that some of you are close if not in the Empire State.

Make the trek! Let’s meet up in the flesh and eat drink and make merry. Oh, yeah, and talk politics, and plot the future, and figure out our eutopia!

Here’s pfiore8 and I having fun the last time we met up (which was also actually the first time!) washdc 027

OK, fellow DocuDharmists, let’s get organized, and then let’s have some fun on November 14 in the Big Apple!

We’ve got the WHEN so now we just need to figure out the

  • WHERE?
  • and WHO? a rough head count–actually I guess this may affect the WHERE?

Sheesh, this is some hard work! But I’m sure we can figure it out!

The Disgraceful Jay Rockefeller

One of the biggest disappointments of last night's debate for me was Senator Chris Dodd's refusal to discuss (sure Russert and Williams were not going to ask about it, but so what, thrust the issue into the debate) the raison de etre for his candidacy – restoration of the Constitution ad the rule of law. And today, as Glenn Greenwald discusses, Senator Jay Rockefeller reaches a new disgraceful low, as he argues for total disrespect for the rule of law:

Today there is significant debate about whether the underlying program — the president's warrantless surveillance plan — was legal or violated constitutional rights. That is an important debate, and those questions must be answered.

In the meantime, however, these companies are being sued, which is unfair and unwise. As the operational details of the program remain highly classified, the companies are prevented from defending themselves in court. And if we require them to face a mountain of lawsuits, we risk losing their support in the future.

What drivel. Losing their support in what? Breaking the law? What in blazes is rockefeller talking about? The telcos will not honor duly issued warrants because they are being sued? Ah, there's the rub. Rockefeller does not believe in the NEED for the government and telcos to follow the law. What's the rule of law to Rockefeller? Nothing at all. He is a disgrace. More.

Global Warming: From the Great Dying to humanity at risk

On this Halloween, who needs ghosts and goblins? The real spooky stuff is in the science.

First, from Science Daily:

The greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history also may have been one of the slowest, according to a study that casts further doubt on the extinction-by-meteor theory.

Creeping environmental stress fueled by volcanic eruptions and global warming was the likely cause of the Great Dying 250 million years ago, said USC doctoral student Catherine Powers.

Writing in the November issue of the journal Geology, Powers and her adviser David Bottjer, professor of earth sciences at USC, describe a slow decline in the diversity of some common marine organisms.

Obviously, this wasn’t a human-caused event, but it demonstrates just how catastrophic such a catastrophe can be. As this NASA article explains, in the Great Dying, up to 90% of marine species and up to 70% of land species were wiped out. All life on Earth almost ended, even as it was still beginning, and global warming seems to have been one of the reasons why.

There is such a steady stream of stories on the current era of global warming, but here are just two new examples…

Load more