April 21, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. As buhdydharma hinted earlier, justice may be forthcoming. The White House has a transcript of President Obama’s joint-press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan where the president reiterated his view that the CIA torturers should not be prosecuted, however —

    For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it’s appropriate for them to be prosecuted.

    With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don’t want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.

    As a general deal, I think that we should be looking forward and not backwards. I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.

    For the first time, Obama opened the possibility that senior Bush administration officials could be prosecuted for approving torture, the NY Times reports. Obama said, “if and when there needs to be a further accounting,” he hopes Congress would investigate independently and “in a bipartisan fashion”.

    The president’s decision last week to release secret memorandums detailing the harsh tactics employed by the C.I.A. under his predecessor provoked a furor that continued to grow as critics on various fronts assailed his position…

    Aides said, Mr. Obama opted to disclose the memos because his lawyers worried that they had a weak case for withholding them and because much of the information had already been made public in The New York Review of Books, in a memoir by George J. Tenet, the former C.I.A. director, and even in a 2006 speech by President George W. Bush.

    The decision to promise no prosecution of those who followed the legal advice of the Bush administration lawyers was easier, aides said, because it would be hard to charge someone for doing something the administration had determined was legal. The lawyers, however, are another story.

    But according to the Washington Post, Obama defended his decision to release the torture memos. Obana said the memos “reflected, in my view, us losing our moral bearings,” adding, “That’s why I’ve discontinued those enhanced interrogation programs.”

  2. Believe it or not, there is other news! Four at Four continues with the accused Somali pirate lands in New York, financial meltdown and bailout, and military rule in Mexico.

Make your own anti-TERRAH billboard!


With LOLZ in the general direction of Newsday and hat tip to His Schneier-ness.

Answering Torture Prosecution Concerns….Plus, Gibbs PC Liveblog BIG questions being asked

As is to be expected in healthy public and blog debate, whenever someone presents a position, such as that there should be accountability for, for instance, torturing people to death in a vast, organized, systematic, government approved program of brutal torture that went on for years and was approved at the highest levels of the world’s greatest and most dangerous super power….there will be objections raised.

Those of us who write on the subject know them well, but since they are raised in comments, the answers to the objections and concerns are not as widely read as the initial information in the essays or diaries. Therefore they must be repeatedly, which tends to try the authors patience a bit, and can lead to ….er….a curtness, shall we say, born of frustration that at having to reply again and again to the same objections. So let’s address them now here in one place! As an aside, I have answered all of these questions Brazillions of times, so please excuse me if a tad bit of sarcasm may occasionally slip into the way I lay them out here, lol.

Prosecution = Investigations first.
When the word prosecution is used, people seem to forget or mentally skip over the fact that there can be no prosecution without an investigation first. A small percentage of those who object seem to think that prosecution advocates want revenge at any cost and when they hear ‘prosecution’ they seem to think that someone is advocating that Cheney just be thrown into jail or into the dock immediately.

When you hear the word prosecution….think, investigation. No one, and I mean no one is advocating for anything more than a proper, legal, painstaking and thorough investigation. We are trying to restore the Rule of Law. We WANT the Rule of Law to be applied to those who have broken, subverted and corrupted it. we want due process, and full rights for the accused. But most of all we want investigations. We are of course, given the amount of information in the public sphere, very confident that those investigations will lead to prosecutions.

Which leads to the next point of objection.  

The World turned Upside Down: 4th amendment WIN

The 4th amendment received a shot of life from the Supreme Court today.  In Belton (453 US 454), the rule was taken that once the police arrest someone in a car they have the right to search the vehicle under the theory that the suspect might grab a weapon from the vehicle, even though he was removed from the vehicle and handcuffed.  The Supremes now say that is not what they meant, that the law

authorizes police to search a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only when the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search.

The System Is Working On Torture

So now we have vented, we were appalled at the evil of the Bybee memo and the other memos justifying state sponsored torture of prisoners. Here on the internet our outrage has flared and been shared. This is an important aspect as we must make it clear how seriously the people of the Untied States take this issue, but now it is time to pull back a little. Now it might sound funny for the Dog to be saying this especially after the letter he wrote to the President yesterday, but let the old hound explain a little and you will see where he is going.

Cross posted at Square State

A bit more complicated

Yesterday a couple of things happened that I’d like to highlight in the ongoing discussion on what to do about Bush/Cheney crimes – specifically their use of torture.

Some of you will know of Elizabeth de la Vega – perhaps the country’s most pre-eminent lawyer in chronicling Bush crimes. Yesterday she made a statement about why she is not supporting the call for a special prosecutor – at least not right now.

I would like nothing more than to join with so many friends and associates whom I respect in calling for immediate appointment of a special prosecutor.

Unfortunately, however, I can’t do it. Not yet. We must have a prosecution eventually, but we are not legally required to publicly initiate it now and we should not, as justifiable as it is. I’m not concerned about political fallout. What’s good or bad for either party has no legitimate place in this calculus. My sole consideration is litigation strategy: I want us to succeed. And our best hope of doing that is to unflinchingly assess – just as any lawyer would do when contemplating choices of action in a case – what we would have tomorrow if we got what we think we want today. We should obviously think twice about pursuing an intermediate goal, however satisfying it may appear, if it would be counterproductive in the long term. There are times when it’s smarter to wait before taking a prosecutive step and this is one of them.    


Aliens Among Us


WASHINGTON, DC — April 19, 2009 — Retired navy captain and Apollo XIV astronaut Edgar Mitchell today called for the U. S. government to disclose to its citizens and other Earthlings what he asserts are the realities of long-standing extraterrestrial visitations and interactions with our planet.

Like duh, my parents ate totally from outer space. But it’s like God don’t you think? Don’t you think if She existed She’d have show Her face by now? Merciful my ass. The world used to be full of gods and now what? Now demagogues are all we can muster.

Torture and the theater of cruelty

We seem to have lost sight of a fundamental motivating factor in the torture controversy: torture made good political theater. The theatrical dimension of the punishment of America’s foes was made plain to me when I first saw pictures of Guantanamo captives kneeling in their orange jump suits. At first I thought that they were kneeling in prayer. Then I realized that they were in two lines facing in opposite directions. They were being made to kneel to humiliate them. (Later, I learned that they were also blinded and deafened by sensory deprivation gear.) Americans did not recoil from the humiliation of these prisoners (a clear violation of the Geneva conventions). No, most Americans delighted in the vengeance inflicted on the “worst of the worst.”

Not coincidentally, at the same time that the Bush administration’s theater of cruelty began its productions, the FOX television network launched the popular series “24,” which regularly featured the torture of terrorist captives. This torture was consistently depicted as successful and appropriate to dealing with the terrorist threat. Thus, the case can be made that Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their whole sick crew were using torture of captives to enhance the political popularity of the Bush administration. The mob was howling for vengance, and Rove, Bush, and Cheney gave it to them.

But mobs cool down, and in the cold gray light of dawn, as we survey America’s tattered reputation, the unavoidable question is “What were they thinking?” I submit that the answer is that Bush and Rove were thinking about the political gains to be achieved from feeding retributive violence to a bloodthirsty mob. It would be a grand reprise of an ambitious young Texas governor earning the praise of his savage constituents by setting a national record for executions. Bush used his record of eagerly killing convicts to rise to the Presidency, and he intended to increase his power by brutalizing captive “terrorists.”

The theater of cruelty has closed, temporarily, but many Americans have fond memories of its exciting productions, and they resent Obama for questioning the quality of its shows. Theaters can’t exist without an audience, and the torture scandal is ultimately a reflection of the blind, vindictive cruelty of the American people.

Kill those Illegal Immigrant Pets

Every day a new outrage and every day a new confirmation of the deliberate Illuminati Plan to Destroy America.  Pets of all things are under siege.  What do we call this one, the War On Birds?

HR 669.

Docudharma Times Tuesday April 21

 For The Rest

Of The World

Torture Is Illegal

For Former Bush

Administration Officials

And CIA Torturers

No Worries    


Tuesday’s Headlines:

Stimulus funds road projects – especially in Obama’s Illinois

Hamas accused of killing Palestinians in Gaza

Iraqi children trained by al-Qaeda to be suicide bombers

Pirates: the $80m Gulf connection

‘Dozens killed’ in Kenya violence

Berlusconi and his new golden girl are laid bare

MEP Tom Wise charged with fiddling accounts and money laundering

Name Not on Our List? Change It, China Says

Spy versus spy in Iran, North Korea  

Drug cartels keep Catholic officials in fear

Health-Care Dialogue Alarms Obama’s Allies

By Ceci Connolly

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

As Congress returns to begin an intense debate over reshaping the nation’s $2.2 trillion health-care system, prominent left-leaning organizations and liberal House members are issuing a warning to their Democratic allies: Don’t cave on us.

The early skirmishing — essentially amounting to friendly fire — is perhaps the clearest indication yet of the uphill battle President Obama faces in delivering on his promise to make affordable, high-quality care available to every American.

Disputes over whether to create a new government-sponsored insurance program to compete with private companies shine a light on the intraparty fissures that may prove more problematic than any partisan brawl.

Thousands flee to safety as Sri Lanka breaks through Tamil Tigers’ defence

President calls for Tigers’ leader to surrender and ‘face charges for his actions’

Gethin Chamberlain in Colombo

Tens of thousands of civilians trapped by fighting in Sri Lanka fled to safety today after the military smashed through one of the Tamil Tigers’ last major defensive lines. Video footage released by the Sri Lankan defence ministry showed civilians pouring through a breach in an earth barrier which the rebels had been using to hold back the military onslaught.

The civilians waded through a lagoon towards the army’s lines, some carrying possessions in bags on their heads.

The military clearly regards today’s events as a major breakthrough in its stand-off against the last remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and is expected to step up its offensive after issuing a deadline of noon tomorrow for the rebels to surrender.

A senior UN official told the Guardian that the UN had been briefed by the Sri Lankan government to expect thousands more people to come out of the area in coming days.


Pressure Grows to Investigate Interrogations


Published: April 20, 2009

WASHINGTON – Pressure mounted on President Obama on Monday for more thorough investigation into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects under the Bush administration, even as he tried to reassure the Central Intelligence Agency that it would not be blamed for following legal advice.

Mr. Obama said it was time to admit “mistakes” and “move forward.” But there were signs that he might not be able to avoid a protracted inquiry into the use of interrogation techniques that the president’s top aides and many critics say crossed the line into torture.

And while Mr. Obama vowed not to prosecute C.I.A. officers for acting on legal advice, on Monday aides did not rule out legal sanctions for the Bush lawyers who developed the legal basis for the use of the techniques.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

An Opened Mind XX

Art Link



An individual’s fate

consists of the place

time and circumstances

that attended birth

What comes after

is the result

of decisions

myriad choices

made by everyone


hosts of checkboxes

billions and billions

of option buttons

an uncountable multitude

of drop-down boxes

to select from

Hardest of all

are the open-ended


Luck is the word we use

to describe the fact

that we have no idea

how the conglomeration

of these choices

will affect the lives

of everyone

at least most of the time

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–April 13, 2006

my own private rubaiyat

This could have been a day like others. A Spring morning, a small journey ahead,

some chores to do beforehand. Dogs to water and run, clean up the yard, empty the dishwasher. I took the day off, a floating holiday.

The adjective is pleasing. It’s been a long, long time since I floated.

And not a drop that from our Cups we throw

On the parcht herbage, but may steal below  

To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye

There hidden-far beneath, and long ago.


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