May 28, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports the FBI is planning a bigger role in terrorism fight.

    The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.

    Under the “global justice” initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said.

  2. The NY Times reports 29 militants killed in Afghanistan. “American and Afghan forces backed by airstrikes engaged in a ‘fierce firefight’ with Taliban insurgents in a remote and mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least 29 militants in an effort to capture” Mullah Sangeen, a “‘fairly significant’ commander of the Haqqani network, a radical group headed by Taliban commander Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani that is believed to be behind some of the largest attacks in recent years.”

    The military claimed “no noncombatants were injured during this operation”. While “a Taliban spokesman… gave a vastly different account of the battle, saying that its militants had killed 15 coalition forces and captured four Afghan police officers.” He claimed no Taliban fighters had been killed.

Four at Four continues with an update from Pakistan and John Kerry’s take on U.S.-China climate negotiations.

WTF are you?

Shut up already!!!

President Obama has said favorable words.

Al Gore says supports it.  Paul Krugman says support it. Two Nobel Prize Winners.

WTF are you to question the President and two Nobel Prize winners?

That is a question received, in more than one space, when it comes to the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security (ACES).

Well, with all due respect to our President and the infallibility of Nobel Prize Winners (Kissinger (’73), James Watson (’03), etc …), we should be clear that the bill, as drafted, falls far short of what is necessary and, well, quite likely falls short of what is possible.

Will Fredo Rat Out the DickFather?


But he also took time, in response to Blitzer’s questioning, to defend his record on torture. He declared, “I did my best to defend our country,” and seemed eager to make clear that he was still at the White House, not the Justice Department, when DOJ signed off on those “harsh interrogation techniques.”


It’s noticeable that Gonzo isn’t following the Cheney model in his appearances: staking out a role as an aggressive, no-apologies defender of the Bush administration. But nor is he offering even faint criticism of any of his former colleagues, or suggesting that he’s rethought any past positions.

Cheney and Rumsfeld Drove The Torture Policy

There were two prongs to the Bush Administration Official Policy of Torture. Torture by the CIA allegedly to obtain information from “high profile terrorists, driven by Dick Cheney. And the far more nebulous, wide spread and, as we are learning today, morally despicable, Program spread through military prisons run by Donald Rumsfeld.

These are the two men, the increasingly clear evidence shows, who actively encouraged the torture that George Bush signed off on.

Until their is a formal and comprehensive investigation by either the DOJ or Congress, all we have to go on is the published record to document these crimes. And the published record indicts them thoroughly. Any investigation that does not target the former Vice President and the former Secretary of Defense directly is  a sham and a whitewash.

If this was not a case muddled by politics, if this was not a case of Politics vs Justice, these two men would be the lead suspects in a very public probe and well publicized investigation, indictments and trials. The evidence is clear.

On the one hand we have Dick Cheney’s public admission that he authorized the torture of KSM and other “high profile terrorists:”

As well as numerous reports (Dating back to 2003!) that he pressured the CIA to use any means necessary to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Sadaam Hussein to justify the invasion of Iraq. Cheney’s full throated defense of torture in the press is also a full throated confession. And as Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse points out in her essay, Cheney’s Crumbling Torture Defense Cheney’s insistence that the programs he actively pushed and authorized were “legal” simply do not hold up to scrutiny.

The other high government official actively pushing a widespread Official Policy of Torture was Donald Rumsfeld. The proof of his active involvement comes from a far less subjective source. It comes directly from the recent Senate Armed Services Committee report: INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY (pdf)

Chairman Levin’s summary of the report can be found here. In it he clearly states that it was Rumsfeld’s authorization that spurred the abuse in at least six US Military Prisons around the world…

Impact of Secretary Rumsfeld’s Authorization on Interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan

The influence of Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2, 2002, authorization was not limited to interrogations at GTMO. Newly declassified excerpts from a January 11, 2003, legal review by a Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force lawyer in Afghanistan state that “SECDEF’s approval of these techniques provides us the most persuasive argument for use of ‘advanced techniques’ as we capture possible [high value targets] … the fact that SECDEF approved the use of the… techniques at GTMO, [which is] subject to the same laws, provides an analogy and basis for use of these techniques [in accordance with] international and U.S. law.”


The Deputy SJA said: “the methodologies approved for GTMO… would appear to me to be legal interrogation processes. [The Secretary of Defense] had approved them. The General Counsel had approved them. .. I believe it is fair to say the procedures approved for Guantanamo were legal for Afghanistan.”


Over the course of the investigation, the Committee obtained the statements and interviews of scores of military personnel at Abu Ghraib. These statements reveal that the interrogation techniques authorized by Secretary Rumsfeld in December 2002 for use at GTMO – including stress positions, forced nudity, and military working dogs – were used by military intelligence personnel responsible for interrogations.

   * The Interrogation Officer in Charge in Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2003 acknowledged that stress positions were used in interrogations at Abu Ghraib. (p. 212).

   * An Army dog handler at Abu Ghraib told military investigators in February 2004 that “someone from [military intelligence] gave me a list of cells, for me to go see, and pretty much have my dog bark at them… Having the dogs bark at detainees was psychologically breaking them down for interrogation purposes.” (p. 209).

   * An intelligence analyst at Abu Ghraib told military investigators in May 2004 that it was “common that the detainees on [military intelligence] hold in the hard site were initially kept naked and given clothing as an incentive to cooperate with us.” (p. 212).

   * An interrogator told military investigators in May 2004 that it was “common to see detainees in cells without clothes or naked” and says it was “one of our approaches.” (p. 213).

The investigation also revealed that interrogation policies authorizing aggressive techniques were approved months after the CJTF-7 policy was revised to exclude the techniques, and even after the investigation into detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib had already begun. For example, an interrogation policy approved in February 2004 in Iraq included techniques such as use of military working dogs and stress positions.

Of course, as the Bush Administration was so fond of saying….no one could have anticipated that casting aside the rules of war and the morals that define civilization in the middle of a war zone, in prisons where human beings were turned into “detainess” and soldiers were ordered to humiliate and torture them….

That it would lead to the rape and murder of “detainees.” Of human beings. Of men women and children. Men, women and children who had NOT been proven guilty, or even been given the opportunity to contest their imprisonment before being raped, tortured, and in some cases, tortured to death.

Short of a policy of genocide, there is no greater possible crime that humans can commit than encouraging and authorizing an organized, funded, consciously planned and deliberately spread official policy of torturing, raping, and murdering innocent (until proven guilty) men, women and children as an Official Policy of The State.

And these two men are directly responsible for that very crime.

Of course they deserve the Right that they denied their many, many victims….the Right to defend themselves against these charges in a Court of Law.

As soon as possible.

As soon as what must be considered…. in the light of the ultimate, unsurpassed, severity of their crimes…petty political considerations that currently are preventing their being brought to Justice can be overcome.

The petty political considerations that are currently being observed and enforced by our democratically elected officials, from the President on down to Congress and the DOJ. And that are being denied and thus enabled by the media and, according to polls, less than half of the American Public.

These two men, these two high government officials and all who conspired with them to torture, must be brought to Justice.

And people wonder why I’m starting to call him “Bush with a suntan”

I have a mighty redheaded ex-sergeant from Brooklyn’s size six and a half military issue combat boot for the ass of the ship of state, and I shall apply it repeatedly and well, right the fuck now.

How is it possible that a Nobel Peace Laureate is harassed by Department of Hopeless Insecurity goons ON OBAMA’S WATCH? Why is the Obama administration permitting this fascist behavior to continue?

Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire detained by USA Homeland Security

On Friday 17th May, 2009, Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace laureate, was detained on her entry into Houston Airport, USA, by Homeland Security Immigration. Maguire was on her way home to Northern Ireland, after attending a 3 day conference in Guatemala, which was hosted by herself and three Sister Nobel Peace Laureates, Rigoberta Menchu, Jody Williams, and Shirin Ebadi. 150 women activists from around the World attended the Nobel Womens’ Conference to discuss, ‘Redefining Democracy, Human Rights and Peace.’

Maguire was held for two hours, during which she was questioned, fingerprinted, photographed and questioned again. This resulted in her missing her flight. She was released upon the actions of the Nobel Women’s Initiatives representatives’ who insisted on her immediate release.

Upon release Maguire said:

‘This kind of behaviour and treatment is unacceptable. They questioned me about my Nonviolent protests in USA against the Afghanistan invasion and Iraqi war. They insisted I must tick the box in the Immigration form admitting to criminal activities. I am not a criminal, my nonviolent acts in USA opposing the war on Afghanistan, and Iraqi, are acts of conscience and together with millions of USA citizens, and world citizens, I refuse to be criminalized for opposing such illegal policies. Every citizen has a right, indeed a moral obligation, to nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of illegal and unjust laws, especially war. If anyone is to be criminalized for these illegal and immoral policies it is the USA Government, who must be held accountable before the International community for these acts of crime against humanity.

Why is the Department of Hopeless Insecurity still operating at all in an era where our economy is teetering on the brink of collapse? The FBI is stepping up it’s RIGHTFUL role in antiterrorist investigation – a role it should have had reinforced immediately after 9/11 instead of being completely subverted by a new, completely unnecessary agency which has only served to harass our citizenry, embarrass our nation and leech our tax dollars. Why do we have two intelligence agencies doing the same job – and why are we PAYING for it?

And the hits just keep on comin’…

Obama Justice Department Sides with Cheney in Valerie Plame Case

One day before President Barack Obama and former Vice-President Dick Cheney gave dueling speeches criticizing each other’s national security policies, the Obama administration supported Cheney in a lawsuit filed against him by former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Plame’s lawsuit has been dismissed twice by lower courts, forcing her to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justice Department under President Barack Obama asked the high court on Wednesday not to consider Plame’s appeal, saying “further review is unwarranted.

The Republican Party Is A Racist Organization. Fact, Not Opinion.

Yes the title is pretty strong, but there is no other way to say it, the Republican Party is at the very best a tacitly racist organization. Those of you who read the Dog’s posts on a regular basis (HI! BTW to all six of you!),  know he is not one to say inflammatory things just to be inflammatory. The Dog knows that people who read this and do not agree are going to be very unhappy, but this is not something the Dog has come to all at once, this is based on observation of data.  

Obama no longer finds rape sensational.

As I am sure many know here, President Obama has decided to become a rape enabler by covering up the war crimes committed over the last few years by suppressing evidence. As U.S. Major General Antonio Taguba, who lead the investigation into abuses, said:

“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one.”

Last I checked raping a small child and using the tears of their present mother for lube is pretty much a crime no matter what country you are in. I challenge anyone to name a nation-state on earth that allows for the use of a a truncheon to be forcefully inserted into any number of young innocent orifices.

With President Obama’s “level-headed” leadership, we have finally moved on to a realm of time when the raping of children is not even a legal concern, and hardly even hits the President’s outrage meter. After viewing photos of numerous rapes, foreign object insertions and sexual depravity, Obama had this to say:…

Mr Obama seemed to reinforce that view by adding: “I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational.”

See how easy that was?

Not only has Obama deemed the cramming of a fluorescent tube up that shattered anus of a small shepherd boy from outside of Mosul no longer a legal issue, Obama says it’s not even a moral issue. Not even sensational. No, in President Obama’s world, the gang raping of young Iraqi women is mundane at best.

And God Bless America for that.

Because a country that rapes together, stays together.

Let’s Hope Obama Never Changes, because then someone might actually get outraged.

The Strange Currency of Violence

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins”
Soren Kierkegaard

The United States has never been more powerful than it was on September 12th, 2001. On that day, with the sympathy of the world, we had more true power than all the armies in on Earth combined. Strange to think that as we lay smoldering, bleeding in the ruins of our collective self image as the most powerful nation on Earth, we had in fact grown in power by exponent. This is the strange currency of violence. The wealth of martyrs. And this currency is as tangible as a bar of gold.

Rarely discussed, and little understood, this principle is essential to understanding why the war on terror, and the aspirations of global American hegemony, will fail. It is why all empires fail. It is why terrorism fails.

I have been aware of this idea for years. I’ve been trying to distill it down into a fundamental law. But it is not an easy idea. There are nasty lose ends and apparent exceptions to the rule. But as best as I’ve figured it out, the rule is this:

Whenever you cause harm to another, you empower them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an individual or a country, bombs or words. The moment you strike, or even strike back, you hand your opponent a gift. The people who attacked us on 911 didn’t weaken the American beast. The unleashed it. And when we responded with bombs in Afghanistan, we didn’t weaken radical Islam, we empowered it, justified it.

Unlike real currency, where every exchange is a tit for tat, the currency of violence creates a new specie on every transaction. It’s as though I hand you a $20 bill, and in exchange you hand me another, different $20 bill that had not previously existed. Except also, unlike real currency, it is not wealth that is created in the exchange, it is more hatred and more violence.

While it may seem that this idea should be resigned to the concerns of some dusty philosophy course somewhere, make no mistake, it’s political implications are as practical as they are profound.

How did Mahatma Gandhi defeat the most powerful Empire in the world without firing a single bullet? The currency of violence.

As I’ve watched the discussion on Guantanamo and torture and Dick Cheney’s speech and Obama’s speech and the advertisement for the arms industry that Memorial Day has become, it hit me that none of our leaders understand the nature of true power.

They speak of America’s strength in the world as something that comes from might. But might used, more often than not, is power spent. Just as the mighty British learned.

We are a militant nation. Our national symbol, the eagle, is a predatory animal. We like to pride ourselves on being able to kick some foreign butt, at least we did until Iraq demonstrated the limits of our prowess.

But Americans desperately need to begin to understand what real strength means and where it comes from. And we have to rise above the reptilian impulse to take the easiest path. The voice for strength through peace should be the Left. But the Left, following the lead of Bill Clinton, has long abandoned enlightenment for political expediency. But such primal expediency at home is anything but expedient abroad.

Obama, at least, pays heed to the idea of strength through peace. But it is an empty gesture as he escalates one war while failing to end another. Empty as bombs kill hundreds of women and children and unmanned drones swoop down on peasant villages.

The idea of strength through peace is not new and did not originate with Gandhi. He just demonstrated a mastery of it that was unprecedented in the modern world.

I’ve been trying to pound into my brain this wisdom as I navigate through my own battles. The currency of violence is fully redeemable in all wars, big and small. It is hard for me to remember that when I lash out at my political foes, when I launch ad hominem attacks and call people names, I am actually giving them something – a gift. The gift of martyrdom.

I think this is why Bill Moyers is far more dangerous and persuasive than say, Keith Olbermann or other attack dogs of the Left. And why he is rarely, if ever, invited into the corporate media sphere.

Attack is not Moyers style. He induces the scoop from his guest and allows the user to feel their own outrage. This is the opposite of an Olbermann special comment where he is so busy expressing outrage that we aren’t much allowed room for our own.

I’ve been in attack mode for so long that I almost feel like I’ve lost my voice, my claws to say this. But I’m tired of empowering my opponents with hate and hostility.

I do hate. I hate what has been done to my country. I hate the greed and brutality of corporatism. And I hate the actions of man.

But hate is just the bank in which the currency of violence is deposited. I am going to try -try- to stop trying to harm my enemies with vitriol and invective. They already have too much power as it is.

P.S., I also have a new blog. Check it out if you want. Visit often if you like it.

A Conversation with the “Old Ones”

The problem with being among humans so long is that sooner or later you start to act like one. The old ones knew that. Of course, they never really envisioned what this world was to become. Being able to maintain our different species into isolated communities is a luxury we just no longer have in a world population of this size. Blending by necessity had its own repercussions, our bloodlines are all mixed now, so many don’t even know what they carry in their DNA.

We are not hard to find, we are there in the stories of humans from time immemorial. Sometimes as angels, mostly as demons. You would think that they had enough angels and demons in their own histories not to romanticize our existence into legend. I guess our longevity made our own monsters seem more frightening than theirs. Lets face it, some of us are monsters and we have long enough personal histories to know how to manipulate things. Its easier to see history’s nature if you experience it long enough.

And we have no better success at controlling our rogue elements that they do. The proof is in our Politics, where it always has been. Yes, I use the collective “our” for that’s where the best and the worst of all Earth’s inhabitants always end up inextricably intwined.


You either “get it” or you don’t when it comes to that.

I suppose I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Mayhap if you know more about me, you will understand better.

Docudharma Times Thursday May 28

North Korea The

Neighbor You Never


The Friend You Don’t Need  

Thursday’s Headlines:

On Sotomayor, abortion backers show unease

Anti-immigrant and Europhobic – far right parties ride populist wave

Stasi spy ‘fired shot that changed Germany’

The myth of Hindu tolerance

World scrambles to find response to North Korea

Israel rejects US call over settlement work

Abbas pushing pan-Arab peace with Israel

In Somalia, African Union takes the offensive in information war

Mexico’s detention of local officials marks shift in anti-drug efforts

Rigorous Questioning Hasn’t Fazed Nominee

By Alec MacGillis

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Senate Republicans have yet to decide how tough they will be in grilling Judge Sonia Sotomayor in her confirmation hearings, but this is clear: The Supreme Court nominee already has shown an ability to withstand rigorous questioning.

Partisan tensions were high when Sotomayor arrived in Washington in 1997 for her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. A rumor was making Republican rounds that President Bill Clinton wanted to elevate her from the federal trial bench because he planned to “fast-track” her to the Supreme Court if Justice John Paul Stevens decided to retire during Clinton’s second term. Senate Republican leader  Trent Lott (Miss.) delayed her confirmation by the full Senate, which occurred nearly a year after her hearing. And the rumor of Stevens’s retirement turned out to be false.

Taliban deputy claims responsibility for Pakistan bomb attack

Leader says Lahore blast was revenge for military offensive in Swat

Declan Walsh in Islamabad and agencies, Thursday 28 May 2009 09.23 BST

A senior leader of the Taliban in Pakistan today claimed responsibility for the bomb attack in Lahore that killed at least 24 people and wounded hundreds more, saying it was revenge for the army offensive against militants in Swat valley.

Hakimullah Mehsud, a deputy to the Pakistani Taliban chief, Baitullah Mehsud, told the Associated Press that the attack on the offices of the police chief and Pakistan’s main spy agency, the ISI, was connected to the military operation.

“It was in response to the Swat operation where innocent people have been killed,” Mehsud said. The little-known group Taliban Movement in Punjab has also claimed responsibility for the attack.


FBI planning a bigger role in terrorism fight

Bureau agents will gather evidence to ensure that criminal prosecutions of alleged terrorists are an option. The move is a reversal of the Bush administration’s emphasis on covert CIA actions.

By Josh Meyer

May 28, 2009

Reporting from Washington — The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.

Under the “global justice” initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said.

Though the initiative is a work in progress, some senior counter-terrorism officials and administration policy-makers envision it as key to the national security strategy President Obama laid out last week — one that presumes most accused terrorists have the right to contest the charges against them in a “legitimate” setting.

My 2¢ worth on Military Commissions

This essay is partly in response to Something The Dog Said’s essay on military commissions – I did not want to hijack the discussion there.

I am both a lawyer with a bit of training in international law and an officer of our armed forces (Switzerland, depository nation of the Geneva Conventions), which colours my view in this matter.

First off, I do not see anything intrinsically wrong with military commissions; the questions I have is:

– What is the objective?

– Who will come before the military commissions?

– Why bother?

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Not by refraining from action does one attain freedom from action.

Not by mere renunciation does one attain supreme perfection.

–Bhagavad Gita

Phenomena IX: choosing


Assume Control

Make a choice

of a future

of a pattern

of spacetime

to imagine

Make choices

in the present

to cause

that future

to happen

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–June 3, 2008

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