November 15, 2007 archive

Consequences of Gitmo SOP Leak: the Pentagon Replies

I can’t access the Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures manual leaked the other day. It could be demand is so high it crashed the servers at Wikileaks. (Here’s an alternate link.) I wanted to check more on what I’m hearing is in all those hundreds of pages, including the fact that the initial period of isolation of prisoners is four, not two weeks in length. Also, other reports are describing, for instance, the use of military dogs with prisoners to “enhance physical security and as a psychological deterrent”. Both the ACLU and the Center for Human Rights are reported to have lawyers looking carefully at the document.

For those of use who have been protesting within the American Psychological Association (APA) about its policy of permitting psychologists to work in “war on terror” interrogation centers like Guantanamo, the Delta SOP is of more than passing interest. Colonel Larry James, who spoke against a moratorium resolution (banning psychologist participation in interrogations at places like Guantanamo) at the last APA conference, warning that without psychologists involved in the interrogation process “people are going to die” (meaning prisoners, I suppose; he wasn’t clear), was Chief Psychologist with the Joint Intelligence Group at Guantanamo during the period the controversial SOP was in operation. The APA has defended Colonel James to the present day, and even put him forward as someone who helped blunt human rights abuses at the facility.

Four at Four

Some news and the afternoon’s open thread.

  1. I’m certain this will come as a shock to everyone, but the United States is the world’s worst carbon dioxide polluter and China is not far behind. The Washington Post reports the World’s power plant emissions detailed by the Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development. “China, South Africa and India host the world’s five dirtiest utility companies in terms of global warming pollution, according to the first-ever worldwide database of power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions, while a single Southern Co. plant in Juliette, Ga., emits more annually than Brazil’s entire power sector… While the United States still produces the most carbon dioxide from electricity generation, releasing 2.8 billion tons of CO2 each year, China is close to overtaking it, with its 2.7 billion tons. Moreover, China plans to build or expand 199 coal-fired facilities in the next decade, compared with the United States’ 83. Power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 25 percent of the world’s.

  2. The Independent reports that America and the world’s executioners join efforts to block UN moves to end death penalty.

    World public opinion has been so outraged by the continued use of the death penalty in the 25 countries that carried out executions last year, that a petition carrying five million signatures has been presented to the UN, where yesterday a small group of countries were attempting to block the historic vote on a global moratorium that could lead to an all-out ban…

    If last-minute “killer” amendments to a draft UN resolution do not scupper the initiative, the 192-nation UN human rights committee will begin voting on the measure today. If adopted, it will give a powerful moral boost to those campaigning for an end to the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment…

    As of last night, the draft resolution had been sponsored by 85 states, including all 27 European Union nations. The United States, which executed 53 people last year, will vote against. So will China, which put 2,790 people to death last year. In fact 91 per cent of all death sentences carried out happen in six countries: China, the US, Pakistan, Sudan, Iraq and Iran…

  3. Just in time for the holiday travel season, the Washington Post reports Bomb parts clear air security in tests. “Undercover investigators carried all the bomb components needed to cause “severe damage” to airliners and passengers through U.S. airport screening checkpoints several times this year, despite security measures adopted in August 2006 to stop such explosive devices, according to a new government report.” Okay, if you can call not being able to take water on an airplane and being asked to take off your shoes ‘security measures’. “‘These findings are mind-boggling,’ said the committee chairman, Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.). ‘In spite of billions of dollars and the six years TSA has had to deploy new technology and procedures, our airlines remain vulnerable. This is unacceptable. The American public deserves better.'” Americans need to stop accepting hokey rituals and restrictions as security.

  4. The Los Angeles Times reports Nevada is not feeling Republican campaign love. “When the Nevada Democratic and Republican parties decided to move their caucuses to Jan. 19, they gambled that the major presidential contenders would have to campaign in the West, where voters were believed to be concerned about… regional issues… But it hasn’t worked out that way. Polls show that Nevadans are most concerned about the same problems as the rest of the country — the war in [occupation of] Iraq, healthcare, national security and immigration reform. And even with today’s Democratic debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas — the third Democratic forum in the state; the [Republican Party] has held none — candidate visits have been few compared with other sanctioned early-voting states… Democratic candidates have been paying more attention to Nevada than the Republicans, including campaigning in the Republican-dominated ‘rurals’ like Nye County.”

So, how’s your Thursday going?


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Image from the BBC

Already suffering the effects of rising waters due to Climate Crisis in the Ganges delta, hundreds of thousands are fleeing from a Category 4 Typhoon. There are reportedly 40,000 police, army and other emergency workers on the scene. Bangladesh has an early warning system and shelters that were established after 500,000 were killed in 1970.

Up to 5 million people live in the areas that are expected to be hit.

Our thoughts go out to the people of Bangladesh and those suffering after the earthquake in Chile, as well

Rove vs. kos

arubyan brings us the scoop that Markos’ “mind blowing” opponent will be KKKarl Rove himself.

I actually think this is good news, because it gives huge credibility to Markos that ‘Bush’s Brain’ himself is required to counterbalance him.

KKKarl is slick, I hope Markos has the chops for it.

Rove vs. Kos at Newsweek by arubyan

Update: kos’ Front Page piece

Netroots Nation in Austin, TX

gina has just announced the Netroots Nation Convention will be held July 17-20, 2008 in Austin, TX.

Going to Texas: Expanding our Netroots Nation!! by gina

You won’t see me there.

Texas?  In July?

John McCain is despicable. So are the corporate media.

John McCain’s refusal to admonish a questioner who called Hillary Clinton a “bitch” has received much attention, in the last couple days. Good. It should. But what received much less attention was his own despicable attempt at humor, back in 2000, at the expense of both Janet Reno and Chelsea Clinton.

As reported, at the time, by Salon’s David Corn, McCain said, at a Republican fundraiser:

“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?

Because her father is Janet Reno.”

Classy, huh?

As Corn pointed out, the media that did report the story actually omitted to report McCain’s actual words! The same media who reported in excruciating detail the private behavior of President Clinton and his girlfriend, excused themselves from reporting the details of McCain’s statement, ostensibly to protect a sensitive public. Or was it to protect John McCain?

As Corn wrote:

McCain’s two-liner conveys some interesting insights into what he considers humorous (lesbianism, a young woman’s physical appearance), particularly since it was delivered to a Republican crowd. Remember, this is the party that champions pro-family values.

McCain’s lapse in judgment — admittedly, not as big a lapse as having a sexual relationship with an intern — may be a significant clue into aspects of his “character,” and thus relevant to the voting public. But many voters have been spared this insight, thanks to the censors in the press.

The media and McCain’s pundit sycophants talk a lot about character. Well, what does it say about a man that he takes cheap shots at a woman because she doesn’t fit his standards of femininity? What does it say about a man that he finds it humorous to take cheap shots at a 20 year old woman’s physical appearance?

Of course, as Molly Ivins reported (quoted in this Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting article), Rush Limbaugh once made a cruel “joke” about Chelsea Clinton’s physical appearance- when she was still only thirteen years old! But Limbaugh isn’t an elected official, and he has never run for public office. He’s also not held out as some sort of crusty straight-talking sage. John McCain is.

What does it say about the corporate media that they wouldn’t report McCain’s actual words? What does it say about them that the story, itself, has been largely forgotten?

As Corn concluded:

But the joke revealed more than a mean streak in a man who would be president. It also exposed how the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times play favorites when reporting the foibles of our leading politicians.

And have the televised pundits even mentioned it, at all?

i’d rather go hunting with dick cheney

Cross-posted at dKos


than go driving in a car with Ted Kennedy

more below the fold…

Beaten to the Progressive Punch…..Yay!

As I was sitting and pondering yet again how to present the data that On The Bus has valiantly summarized  from the Progressive Voices Project….I drifted over to Truth and Progress. To find that we are unsurprisingly not alone in trying to find a common definition of what it means to be “a Progressive.” Somehow the Center for American Progress seems to have stolen a march on Docudharma!

Tomorrow’s the day; What’s your excuse?

Tomorrow is Iraq Moratorium #3.

Is there a reason you can’t participate?

Too busy?

Too burned out?

Too sophisticated?

Too cynical?

The bloodshed never takes a day off.

The Pentagon operates 24/7/365.

So why not join the growing number of people who take the pledge to do something on the third Friday of the month to call for an end to the war?

Pony Party, America Recycles Day

Today is “America Recycles Day”

Now THAT Is a Letter to the Editor

Or: Taking on McCarthyism with Elvis and Cherry Cokes

(crossposted at Daily Kos)

With barely 24 hour to go before the start of Iraq Moratorium Day #3, I should probably be kvelling about the 100 or so Third Friday events posted on the Moratorium website. But you can check ’em out your own self.

Instead I want to highlight a great piece of political judo in written form, and in doing so, give one more plug to a great Moratorium crew, the folks in Sewanee, TN. A couple weeks ago I diaried their adventures with a heckler calling them “commies” at their Moratorium Day #2 venue in nearby Monteagle.

Later I learned that they had also faced a bit of redbaiting in the letters column of a local paper. The letter-writer caught hell from readers who weren’t even part of the protest, but regular Moratorium participant Pat Wiser took the honors with the following response which appeared in the Tullahoma News on October 28:

To the Editor:

Sometimes I miss the good ole days in 1950’s Coffee County: the Tullahoma-Manchester Coffee Pot game, cherry cokes in the drugstore on the square, Elvis on the jukebox.  I don’t miss the fear and suspicion generated by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s unfounded accusations of “communism,” a tactic that re-surfaced in an Oct. 21 letter, warning of peace vigil participants’ “ties to communist groups.”  

We aren’t communists.  Iraq Moratorium isn’t a communist organization. Our ties?  Farmers, veterans (World War II, Korea, Vietnam), ministers, teachers, home makers — small-town folk. Some donate to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and veterans’ groups; others organize drives, sending items to the troops.  

While friends still enjoy the Coffee Pot game, alas, we no longer stand cheering on the football field.  Now we stand on the corner of N. Jackson and Wilson (or in Sewanee, Monteagle, Winchester) in the heat or rain in vigils of support for our troops — not the “exciting and glamorous,” experience described by the writer.

We stand in sadness.  The Department of Defense confirms the deaths of 3,834 American soldiers in Iraq, 200 since our first vigil in late July.  The old “commies” taunt is insignificant as we honor the brave men and women fighting this senseless war.  

Pat Wiser

Sewanee, TN

[Pat was asked for permission to print this in its entirety, as the Tullahoma News  doesn’t post letters on its limited website and, despite an impressive modesty about her effort, agreed.]

Docudharma Times Thursday Nov. 15

This is an Open Thread: Flipping and Flopping is OK

Headlines, U.S. Is Looking Past Musharraf in Case He Falls, Bomb Parts Clear Air Security in Tests, LAPD’s Muslim mapping plan killed, Russian workers point to oil as the problem, Brown unveils anti-terrorism strategy, A Top Rival in Pakistan Is Carted Off by the Police, Working through Korean unification blues,Iran official charged with spying, Palestinians aim for agreement with Israel within year,


U.S. Is Looking Past Musharraf in Case He Falls

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 – Almost two weeks into Pakistan’s political crisis, Bush administration officials are losing faith that the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, can survive in office and have begun discussing what might come next, according to senior administration officials.

In meetings on Wednesday, officials at the White House, State Department and the Pentagon huddled to decide what message Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte would deliver to General Musharraf – and perhaps more important, to Pakistan’s generals – when he arrives in Islamabad on Friday.

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