( – promoted by buhdydharma )
I came of age in the time of Nixon and Vietnam. I learned then that our government was not to be trusted, that they lie to us whenever it’s convenient and that there is nothing pure about their motives. I also learned to suspect that elements of our government played an active role in the assassination of John Kennedy and possibly others. I’m not saying they did, just that I’ve pondered that possibility for most of my life and not without reason. I still have to wonder. The possibility that our government is that fucking evil shouldn’t seem like such a stretch to anybody these days.
I just heard it described on CNN how a man arrested in Baghdad by U.S. forces was sodomized as many as 15 times, and another man was made to lay face down in urine, was raped and then urinated upon – all of this at the hands of U.S. servicemen. This new information comes from the report released today by Physicians for Human Rights, and as disgusting as it is, it is nowhere near the worst of what has been done in all of our names. And the claim that it was just some out-of-control rogues at the bottom of the food chain is just another dirty lie. The real culprits are hiding in plain sight, so far untouched by accountability or justice.
“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
Heh, he’s starting to sound like some of us.
Then there was this from the Washington Post.
A senior CIA lawyer advised Pentagon officials about the use of harsh interrogation techniques on detainees at Guantanamo Bay in a meeting in late 2002, defending waterboarding and other methods as permissible despite U.S. and international laws banning torture, according to documents released yesterday by congressional investigators.
Torture “is basically subject to perception,” CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman told a group of military and intelligence officials gathered at the U.S.-run detention camp in Cuba on Oct. 2, 2002, according to minutes of the meeting. “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.”
The newly released documents show that in the summer of 2002, Pentagon officials compiled lists of aggressive techniques, soliciting opinions from the CIA and others, and ultimately implementing the practices over opposition from military lawyers who argued that the proposed tactics were probably illegal and could harm U.S. troops.
Torture “is basically subject to perception.” That line says a lot. I wonder whose perception he had in mind, the torturer or the tortured?
In the days leading up to the latest debacle, the New York Times said this:
Mr. Bush v. the Bill of Rights
Published: June 18, 2008
In the waning months of his tenure, President Bush and his allies are once again trying to scare Congress into expanding the president’s powers to spy on Americans without a court order.
This week, the White House and Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill hope to announce a “compromise” on a domestic spying bill. If they do, it will be presented as an indispensable tool for protecting the nation’s security that still safeguards our civil liberties. The White House will paint opponents as weak-kneed liberals who do not understand and cannot stand up to the threat of terrorism.
The bill is not a compromise. The final details are being worked out, but all indications are that many of its provisions are both unnecessary and a threat to the Bill of Rights. The White House and the Congressional Republicans who support the bill have two real aims. They want to undermine the power of the courts to review the legality of domestic spying programs. And they want to give a legal shield to the telecommunications companies that broke the law by helping Mr. Bush carry out his warrantless wiretapping operation.
Of course we all know what happened. Who didn’t see it coming? Especially after this:
House Leaders Agree on War Funding
By CARL HULSE
Published: June 19, 2008
WASHINGTON – House leaders struck a bipartisan deal on Wednesday night on a major spending measure that would provide money for the war in Iraq through the end of the Bush administration, establish a significant new education benefit for veterans, and meet Democratic demands for added unemployment benefits.
The bill, which could be voted on as early as Thursday in the House, would effectively bring to a close the two-year battle between President Bush and Congressional Democrats over war financing by allocating about $163 billion for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through early next year without imposing conditions like a withdrawal deadline.
White House officials took part in the talks that produced the agreement, suggesting the president was willing to sign the emerging legislation.
“I think we have an agreement,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, who worked out the final deal in talks with Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, as well as senior members of both parties from the Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees.
They stab us in the back every chance they get. They can’t help themselves. And the evil just keeps on rolling along.
Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater is Still in Charge, Deadly, Above the Law and Out of Control
By Antonia Juhasz, AlterNet. Posted June 19, 2008.
Think Blackwater’s days are numbered? Think again. Jeremy Scahill explains why its slaughter of Iraqis has not stopped the notorious mercenary firm.
On June 3, Jeremy Scahill’s bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army was released in fully revised and updated paperback form.
The new edition includes reporting on the now-famous Nisour Square massacre on Sept. 16 of last year, in which Blackwater mercenaries opened fire in a Baghdad neighborhood, brutally murdering 17 Iraqi civilians. The killing spree, which the U.S. Army would label a “criminal event,” would reveal the extent of the lawlessnewss enjoyed by private contractors abroad and the lengths the Bush administration will go to protect its private army of choice.
It would be hell if this was all the horror and all the evidence of it all piled up in one place, but this is just a brief sampling of the most recent outrages. The full litany, as you know, is long and shameful beyond all measure.
I will spare you a recitation of the gruesome facts. We all know them. I won’t rant about justice, truth, or our solemn obligations to the rest of the world. I won’t call out the Democratic leadership as traitors to the American people.
No, tonight I will just hang my head in shame.