April 20, 2009 archive

Iran To Waterboard Journalist Per New American Standards

(cross-posted then banned from Daily Kos)

Undisclosed Location, Iran – With a new era of global human rights being ushered in by United States of America, allies and axises of evil alike are coming on board for waterboarding. With pesky traditions like the Numerberg Principles finally filed away in a pre-9-11 world, certain countries are stretching their legs, and those of their prisoners, in the realm of what was once known as torture.

One such hatchman is Heydar Rastinpour, who is currently holding freelance journalist Roxana Saberi in a Iranian prison inspired by Bagram, a new international model opened recently by President Obama in Afghanistan.

“I remember when I brought the issue up of waterboarding this lady, because I mean, I don’t want to hang from gallows and all,” said Rastipour, soaking his towels in anticipation of the sixth enhanced interrogation of the day. “But then they pointed out the champions of human rights, none of than the USA, had basically okayed these techinques and that they were not punishable by law, I was told I could go hog wild, and even use a hog.”

“When I force Saberia into a confined boxed and fill it with ants and spiders, I know I am just upholding a new fine American tradition. Plus I am just following orders, so I got immunity from prosecution,” he added, before cranking up “Roxanne” by The Police to 11, which has been playing on endless loop at full blast to keep Ms. Saberi sleep-deprived since her arrival.

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports Lack of mental damage from CIA torture is disputed. Some doctors and psychologists say the “interrogation techniques” used by the CIA had “significant and undeniable” mental damage.

    “I disagree wholeheartedly with their contention that there are no long-term psychological effects of these treatments,” said Nina K. Thomas, an adjunct clinical associate professor at New York University’s postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, who has worked with torture victims.

    Interrogation techniques undoubtedly have lasting effects, she said, such as paranoia, anxiety, hyper-vigilance and “the destruction of people’s personalities.”

    Brad Olson, a research professor of psychology at Northwestern University, said the approved methods could be extremely damaging.

    “Even given individual differences in a person’s resilience, over time — using any of those techniques in combination — there’s absolutely no question they are going to lead to permanent mental harm,” Olson said.

    In case you missed it, on Sunday the NY Times reports Waterboarding used 266 times on 2 prisoners. “The fact that waterboarding was repeated so many times may raise questions about its effectiveness, as well as about assertions by Bush administration officials that their methods were used under strict guidelines. A footnote to another 2005 Justice Department memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and with a greater volume of water than the C.I.A. rules permitted.”

    Emptywheel has more and the original coverage of this in her essay, “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Waterboarded 183 Times in One Month“.

Four at Four continues with Sri Lanka gives Tamil Tigers 24 hours to surrender, a pattern of centuries-long drought in sub-Saharan Africa, news out of the Summit of the Americas, South Korean economic blogger wins in court, and the Mars rovers are still going.

Organizing! Sign the Petitions, Special Prosecutor, Impeach Bybee

Simulposted FOR Dkos

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Petition for Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes, over 48, 800 sigs, and each new sig is sent to the DOJ.

clammyc’s facebook group: Appoint a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush Administration War Crimes

In response to this I call BS on all this torture(d) moralizing. . .


During his tenure as Chancellor, Chamberlain emerged as the most active minister of the government. In successive budgets he sought to undo the harsh budget cuts of 1931; he also took a lead in ending war debts, which were finally cancelled at a conference at Lausanne in 1932. In June 1933, Britain hosted the World Monetary and Economic Conference. Describing the event as the “most crucial gathering since Versailles”, top U.S. newsmagazine Time featured Chamberlain on its cover, referring to him as “that mighty mover behind British Cabinet scenes, lean, taciturn, iron-willed… It is no secret that Scot MacDonald remains Prime Minister by Prime Mover Chamberlain’s leave.”[5] In 1934, he declared that economic recovery was under way, stating that the nation had “finished Hard Times and could now start reading Great Expectations.” However, from 1935 on, financial strains grew as the government proceeded on a programme of rearmament.

Quote from the Wiki page, emphasis mine.

Mr. President You Are Making A Mistake

Dear President Obama;

Sir I have written you multiple letters on the frank necessity of the need to investigate the Bush Administration State Sponsored Torture program. This need was based on the public information available, which to me, as a citizen who believes that unprosecuted apparent crimes undermine the very basis for our justice system and the rule of law.  

Looting of the US Treasury continues

The looting operation commonly known as the US Government’s financial rescue plan will accelerate now that we know the next move in this cynical game. Up to now, the hundreds of billions of dollars supplied by taxpayers to dishonest and incompetent financial institutions have been LOANS. In theory, at least, the recipients pledged to repay the taxpayers once their businesses recovered. Now we learn that Geithner and Summers, the embedded agents of Wall Street intend to convert these loans to STOCK. What’s wrong with that? Here’s what is wrong:

1. Common stock holders, unlike bond holders or secured lenders, have no assurance of any return on their investment. All they are entitled to are stock certificates and an invitation to the shareholders’ meeting. Bankruptcy of the company in which they own stock usually results in a TOTAL LOSS.

2. The voting rights of stock can be engineered to deprive certain classes of stockholders of representation. This can be done by subtle, incremental degrees, so that the public slowly loses the control that would properly be associated with a large equity position. All a crooked bank has to do is get the government to agree to convert its equity into a class of stock that has restricted voting rights. Since Geithner and Summers are Wall Street puppets, their complicity in this matter is assured. Anything that restores investor “confidence” in the markets is OK with them.

3. A large equity position usually translates into representation on the board of directors, another important means of control that should be available to taxpayers owning substantial amounts of stock in a company. However, the appointment of “zombie directors,” removes this threat to management. The government-appointed directors of AIG have already demonstrated their completely ineffectual presence and thus provided an impressive example of how not to represent the interests of taxpayers.

Conversion of US Treasury loans to stock without securing the rights of stockholders for the taxpayers is the perfect form of “nationalization” for Wall Street. The gangsters at Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, and B of A will receive vast infusions of taxpayer cash, while continuing to operate irresponsibly and paying themselves lavish bonuses. The taxpayer “stockholders” will either lose everything in massive bankruptcies and reorganizations or receive nothing in return for their huge investment as their equity is rendered meaningless by cunning management maneuvering.

This is legalized looting of the Treasury, and Obama’s administration is directly responsible for it.

Another Postcard from the Drug War


This is a true story. Almost. And, it’s almost fiction. But not quite. I should know, I was there.

Open Thread


Pot Thread

Happy 4/20!

Docudharma Times Monday April 20

Bosnian Serbs And Their

Leaders Have been Taken To

And Tried In The Hague

With America Asking This

Be Done

Yet Americans Who Tortured

Are Somehow Exempt From

U.S. And International Law    


Monday’s Headlines:

As Costs Fall, Companies Push to Raise Internet Price

South Korean blogger cleared of spreading false information

India’s brisk trade in child slaves

Jacob Zuma the chameleon brings South Africans joy and fear

Egypt, thou knew’st too well: is Cleopatra’s final secret out?

Lawsuits on human rights halve despite European act

Hardliners win Turkish Cypriot election

Iran’s president makes rare intervention in US reporter’s case

Iraq elects parliament speaker after 4-month impasse

Fidel Castro say U.S. embargo against Cuba must go

Obama to Order Cabinet to Quickly Cut $100 Million From Department Budgets

By Michael A. Fletcher

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, April 20, 2009; 12:08 AM

President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, where he will order members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official.

The budget cuts, while they would account to a minuscule portion of federal spending, are intended to signal the president’s determination to cut spending and reform government, the official said.

Obama’s order comes as he is under increasing pressure to show momentum toward his goal of eventually reducing the federal deficit, even as he goes about increasing spending in the short run to prop up the economy and support his priorities.

Extremist tide rises in Pakistan

After deal in north, Islamists aim to install religious law nationwide

By Pamela Constable

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A potentially troubling era dawned Sunday in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where a top Islamist militant leader, emboldened by a peace agreement with the federal government, laid out an ambitious plan to bring a “complete Islamic system” to the surrounding northwest region and the entire country.

Speaking to thousands of followers in an address aired live from Swat on national news channels, cleric Sufi Mohammed bluntly defied the constitution and federal judiciary, saying he would not allow any appeals to state courts under the system of sharia, or Islamic law, that will prevail there as a result of the peace accord signed by the president Tuesday.


Gates tailors defense plan to win battles with Congress

By David Lightman and William Douglas | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to overhaul military spending practices and strategy signals a new Pentagon willingness to play hardball politics with lawmakers in Congress.

Gates presented his changes April 6 as though they were another piece of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package.

“I am concerned for the possibility that these decisions will have an impact on individual companies and workers around the country,” Gates said at a media briefing. He proceeded to describe job losses resulting from the proposed end of the F-22 fighter jet program – and noted that they’d be offset by likely gains from expanded production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind XIX

Art Link

A Glint in the Eye


Prize not rare objects

So that the people shall not steal

–Tao te Ching, (tr. Lin Yutang)

You ask what you can give me

What I wish for is beyond

your power to give

I wish for the universal

for peace, harmony, understanding

for commonality of purpose

for empathy, sympathy, compassion

to fill every heart

For myself I wish only time

for the years until these exist

not simply as a list of wishes

and to keep my senses

so that I will see them

when they arrive

and hear them

when they have voice

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–December 12, 2005

Late Night Karaoke


The Complicity Guy Has Spoken

executing jews Pictures, Images and PhotosThe Nuremberg Retributions were one of the lowest points in 20th century history.  The aftermath of the Second World War should have been a time for looking ahead, not for laying blame for the past. Unfortunately, too many people failed to understand that well-intentioned Germans accused of war crimes were just following orders and acting in good faith.  Those dedicated patriots in the Whermacht and hard working public servants in the SS were men of integrity, they didn’t shirk their responsibility to keep the German homeland safe from Jewish, Polish, Russian, Rumanian, Yugoslavian, French, British, Danish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, American, Greek, Dutch, Norwegian, Canadian and Belgian fanatics, extremists, and non-combatants.

Unlike 50 million human beings, this Dedicated Defender of the Homeland Paradigm survived the Second World War.  With a vengeance.  It was alive and well in Bush and Cheney’s White House, and it’s alive and well in Obama’s White House.  Take notes everyone, that patriotic act in the photo wasn’t a war crime, it was just defending the homeland . . .

I’ve learned recently that the aftermath of the Second World War should have been a time for reflection, not retribution.  Everyone should have respected the strong views and emotions of Germans who defended their country through a war crime or two, just as much as they respected the strong views and emotions of the people whose loved ones were executed and dumped in a ditch, bombed, tortured, gassed, burned in ovens, and condemned as subhuman parasites unfit to exist.

But vengeance prevailed over common sense.  Retribution was insisted upon by persecutors waving the “rule of law” in everyone’s face, they rambled on and on and on about “justice” but all they were really after was payback and revenge.  So many German children who loved their dedicated fathers had to watch with tears in their eyes while their fathers were slandered in the newspapers and demonized by finger pointing trial lawyers parading around for the newsreel cameras.        


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