June 5, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. After “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confressed to being the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and 30 other plots.

    Today, at Guantánamo, he appeared before a military judge and, as the Miami Herald reports, Mohammed asked for the death sentence. “In Allah I put my trust,” he told the court in both Arabic and in English. When asked if he ‘understood that the crimes for which he was accused are punishable by a death sentence.’

    “This is what I wish — to be martyred,” Mohammed answered.

    The LA Times adds “Mohammed also told the judge… that he regarded the military proceedings against them as “an inquisition, not a trial,” and that he rejected all U.S. laws as ‘evil.'”

    Mohammed also rejected representation by Navy Capt. Prescott Prince, because “he wore the uniform of his American enemies and had pledged allegiance to President Bush, ‘who wages systemic war against the Islamic world.'”

    I get the feeling that somehow, this “trial” may not go according to the the Bush administration’s plan.

  2. Two news items about the Bush administration’s pack of lies about Iraq.

    • McClatchy Newspapers report Bush knew Iraq claims weren’t true. “A long-awaited Senate Select Intelligence Committee report made public Thursday concludes that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made public statements to promote an invasion of Iraq that they knew at the time were not supported by available intelligence.”

      “Before taking the country to war, this administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced… There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate,” said committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV).

    • While, The Independent contributes with Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control. Bush is demanding 50 military bases in Iraq, control of Iraqi airspace, and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors.

      The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now. The leaks are certain to generate an angry backlash in Iraq. “It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty,” said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

      The US has repeatedly denied it wants permanent bases in Iraq but one Iraqi source said: “This is just a tactical subterfuge.” Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its “war on terror” in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation.

      Mr Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called “strategic alliance” without modifications, by the end of next month.

      “Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated.”

    Prediction: Americans will sleep. Congress will do nothing. This is Bush’s attempt to sandbag the next administration. Can anyone explain to me why such an agreement would not have to be ratified by the Senate?

Four at Four continues with stories about record number of home foreclosures and a possible return of Zeppelins to our sky.

Luxury Prisons

It seems California is now offering a luxury prison system.

   The Santa Ana Jail is pleased to host a full range of alternatives to traditional incarceration.  Our offerings include weekends in jail, non-linear jail sentences, and a variety of work release options.  Our philosophy is designed to allow our clients (!, AT) to serve their obligations to the court in a manner that respects them as human beings and permits them to continue to provide for themselves and their families….

   * Programs that include 2-day or 3-day weekends with minimal impact on the client’s professional life.  Work on Saturday and Sunday?  No problem…

   * Programs that permit jail sentences to be served in multiple parts. Perfect for clients that live out of the area or clients with frequent business travel.

   * Programs that permit the client to leave jail for work everyday.  We have helped everyone from 9 to 5 business people to oil-rig workers, so no work schedule is out of the question.

Alex Tabarrok has a lot more about this over at Marginal Revolution.

Why is it that it seems people can’t understand the difference between what should be market activity and what should be government activity?  I’m pretty sure that we ought to keep prisons equal for everyone, and allow people to pay different prices for sugar.  Instead, the price of sugar is regulated, but you can buy a better prison experience openly (of course, you can buy a better criminal justice experience in many ways at every step, just less openly).

and maybe he can bring peace. . .

i met a stranger today. a shop clerk in the netherlands. a black girl.  when i spoke in english to her, she stopped. and looked at me.

then she asked me if i was an american.

yes, i said.

she shook her head.

will you vote? she asked.

yes. i couldn’t help it. so i added…

and i’ll be voting for Obama

we looked at each other. in one of those moments.

and we high-fived it, laughing out loud.


she leaned over the counter

he’s, ah… um, half, um, black. and the other part, um, ah, is white.

and, um, ah maybe he can bring peace.

i was thunderstruck. and understood this:::

we have to become important to this black white stranger.

we have to become his obsession.

we have to give ourselves to him.

and expect. demand he do the same.

we have to give him something greater to lose.

than power. or money. or fame.

but whatever holds people like us, people here at DD

whatever holds us to this urgency to protect life

diversity, freedom

whatever it is that makes us care

we have to pass it onto this man who made a speech four years ago

and swept us away

now. it is our turn.

to sweep him away.

with our love for the very least among us.

the homeless. the hungry. the confused.

the apathetic. the aimless. and all creatures.

it’s our job. to capture his heart and loyalty.

and let him know we get it…  we all have to do it better,  if we want a better world.

we can reach him, this Barack Obama. if we want to.

we can bring him with us.

yes. shop girl. we can. have peace. if we want it so.

NewsFlash! Clueless Idiot Can’t Stop Fucking Shit Up

New leaks of Bushco plans give a glimpse into the future>

About 300,000 people have died in […], the United Nations estimates, and 2.5 million have been forced from home.

In 2005, the Security Council cleared the way for possible war-crimes prosecutions by the International Criminal Court, a permanent tribunal set up to handle prosecutions related to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The court is based on a treaty signed by 106 nations —


Once the court indicts someone, authorities in one country or another have the power to detain the indicted person for trial at the Hague. That has not happened ….

Ooops wrong story…that was about Darfur (btw Sudan is not a member of the ICC either, yet…hmmm)

Here we go….

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq…


Senate Intelligence Committee Phase II Report Released

Reported by David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo the Senate Intelligence Committee has released its “Phase II” report on pre-War Iraq Intelligence-

Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials Were Substantiated by Intelligence Information

Report on Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq Conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans Within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Both .pdf.

David also attaches portions of a summary press release from the office of Senator Jay Rockefeller.

  • Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
  • Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
  • Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
  • Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
  • The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
  • The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.

Bush lied.

People died.

With Malice Aforethought: Iraq, Permanent Bases, and Iran

Throughout the entire tenure of the George W. Bush Administration, they have been lying to us.  Congressional Republicans who served any time since 2001 can no longer deny their role and complicity. The final bits are coming to light now that vindicate the cries of those of us who insisted that the invasion of Iraq was intended from day one of this Administration’s tenure — long before 9-11 happened.

It also bodes ill for Iran’s short-term prospects.

There’s a dKos diary that hit with this news early — by Framlingham. Go give Recommends & tips.

The implications — for the US, for the next President, for the current pResident, for members of the GOP who were in Congress anytime during the 2001-2008 timeframe. Now, we’re talking about intention to deceive and malice aforethought.

Now we’re assured of an Administration leaving behind a unholy, historic legacy of treason, war crimes, crimes against humanity, dereliction of duty, war profiteering, negligence, graft, corruption, voter suppression, obstruction of justice, and even major violations of the RICO act.

Do These Gardening Horror Stories Justify Killing Animals?

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Today’s New York Times features “Peter Rabbit Must Die”, a compendium of stories of gardeners killing animals which had the unmitigated gall– can you imagine the nerve?– to eat their tomatoes and other plants.  The bottom line?  In the collision between gardeners and wildlife of all kinds, the  animals are killed.  Nothing, it’s claimed, is as effective as clubbing, drowning, shooting.  And, of course, most of these folks claim that they don’t even feel the slightest twinge of guilt afterwards.

What disgraceful nonsense.  Give me a break.

I’ve been gardening for more than 20 years in Columbia County, New York.  Sure the deer have eaten the Swiss Chard and the sunflower sprouts.  Of course the ground hogs have eaten the cucumbers.  It’s sad when that happens.  I get angry, too.  But let’s get a grip.  This garden isn’t necessary to feed me or the people in the Village of Chatham.  It’s not the difference between living and dying, between health and starvation, between prosperity and economic ruin.  It’s a hobby.  It’s something I enjoy.  Yes, I love my lettuce and tomatoes and kale.  So, in fact, do the animals.  But does this give me authority to get a shot gun and blast them away when they browse the arugula?  I don’t think so.

These animals were here long before I was.  They were here long before my 160 year old farm house.  They were eating crops here before Lincoln was president.  They were eating spinach and kale when it was grown by Dutch colonists in the 17th century.  So at the very most, I can take non-violent steps to discourage them.  Urinating on the garden’s boundaries sometimes works.  Letting the dog out sometimes works.  Letting the cats wander sometimes works.  Spraying with cayenne works to a degree.  Being present works.  Weeding works.  Leaving your scent in the garden works.  If I left for a week or 10 days and didn’t weed, the garden would be eaten in broad daylight because it would appear to have been abandoned.

There have always been collisions between humans and wildlife.  I believe in non-violence. And peace.  And equanimity.  I don’t want to think while I’m eating my tomatoes of the dozen ground hogs I murdered to get the vegetables on the table.  I don’t want to pass the lettuce and think about rabbits I garroted.  I don’t want to eat stuffed zucchini and think about how I got a NY State permit to shoot the deer.   I can live very nicely without those thoughts.

There’s a bird family living in the kitchen vent in the side of my house.  I hear the chicks tweeting for food at sunrise.  I see the mother and father bird bringing food and nesting materials into the vent.  I get off the porch if they are frightened of my being there and won’t go to their chicks.  I would never reach in and throw them, their nest and their babies out and stomp them.

How can we expect anything as grandiose as world peace when we cannot find a way to coexist with groundhogs?  Can’t we live and let live?

Bush wants to annex Iraq

Patrick Coburn has a chilling piece in the Independent about what Bush is trying to push through the puppet government of Iraq.  The subhead gives a nice summary:

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

The deal would effectively tie the hands of the next administration unless the Iraqis can muster the political courage to reject it. Since the Bush administration has done everything possible to keep the terms secret to ward off an Iraqi backlash, the least we can do is make sure the leak spreads to flood proportion.

Since the story has now broken on the DD front page, courtesy of Mishima, I thought I would focus on a few key contradictions based on quotes from the article.

May They All Choke on Their Own Evil

A hearty and sincere congratulations to Barack Obama and all of his supporters.  The only other thing I have to say about that is to ask you to please reach out to our brothers and sisters in the HRC camp, many of whom have been abused in this process.  We are all Democrats, we are all progressives, and we all have a lot of work to do in fixing our sadly and badly broken country.


UPDATED. 9/11 Trials about to get underway. What will we learn, if anything?

The trials for some of the alleged masterminds of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentegon as well as others who allegedly helped to fund or participate in the 9/11 attacks are soon to be held and overseen by a US military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The question I would like answered up front is whether we will get to hear the defendents statements during these trials, or will the also alleged torture that was committed on their persons during the interrogation of these defendents cause the Military Brass and the Bush Administration to go into full secrecy mode as to not allow the world to hear what these prisoners have to say in their defense.

What are the odds of full and open trials?  

My guess.  Not real high.  Can you say redacted documents?

Pony Party, Sleeping In

Summer vacation, day 1

try to keep it down, im sleeping in 😉

Docudharma Times Thursday June 5

I Only Know What They Tell Me

So Quit Asking

Thursday’s Headlines:  China likely to beat U.S. back to the moon, NASA says   ‘Al-Qaeda’ claims Pakistan attack     Charles takes on China to save Ming dynasty houses from Beijing’s concrete carbuncles    Mecca talks stress religious tolerance  Nuclear report: parsing Iran’s intent   Zimbabwean opposition held, then released by police   Why Africa exults at Obama’s victory   Bury Lenin’s body, says Gorbachev  

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

By Patrick Cockburn

Thursday, 5 June 2008

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated.


Clinton Ready to End Bid and Endorse


Published: June 5, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama.Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day.

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