March 30, 2010 archive

Tortured Detainee Zubaydah, Used As Lab Rat by Our Govt

There isn’t much I can add to this.  Just go read it.

Abu Zubaydah’s Drawings by emptywheel, aka Marcy Wheeler,  Monday, March 29, 2010

Marcy Wheeler at FDL, who has established that the Bush administration had the Yoo/Bybee “permission” memos were written after the fact to legitimize the use of torture, quotes a new Jason Leopold story at about Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah.  

Torture Diaries, Drawings, and the Special Prosecutor 3/29/2010

While the CIA claims to have destroyed the tapes of the torture experiments conducted on Abu Zubaydah,  his attorney, Brent Mickum, says

“…. he learned that the special prosecutor had obtained drawings during the course of his probe that Mickum believed were Zubaydah’s. In addition to the diaries, Mickum had previously sought from the Justice Department drawings Zubaydah made while in CIA custody. But the Justice Department told Mickum they could not locate the drawings.

“When I met with John Durham (note: the US Attorney and Special Prosecutor from Connecticut, who is investigating the CIA’s destruction of the tapes)   I discovered he had drawings, which, based on my review I believed were my client’s,” Mickum said. “The drawings were ultimately produced to us in late 2009.”

The Justice Department would not discuss the drawings, diaries, or other issues related to Zubaydah’s case.

Mickum said in lieu of the torture tapes, the drawings Zubaydah made contain the best description of the torture techniques CIA interrogators used against Zubaydah while he was being held at the agency’s black site prison facilities “

According to Jason Leopold, his sources at the CIA, FBI, DOD, NSA, State Dept, DOJ, and former govt. officials, are only speaking on the condition of anonymity, but claiming that the CIA made the tapes to study Zubaydah’s reactions to the “techniques” used on him.  When a particular type of torture made him break down completely, anything less severe was considered “legal” and therefore was okayed to be classified as legal interrogation techniques in the Yoo/Bybee memos.  The tapes were subsequently destroyed.

One of Leopold’s sources referred to him (A.Z.) as an experiment and a “guinea pig.”  

The tapes were destroyed. The personal diaries untranslated. The self portraits….  conveniently misplaced.

President Romney

Mr. President, if I had wanted to see the corporate-friendly policies of Mitt Romney enacted, I would have voted for the guy.

“When you actually look at the bill itself, it incorporates all sorts of Republican ideas. I mean a lot of commentators have said this is sort of similar to the bill that Mitt Romney, the Republican Governor and now presidential candidate, passed in Massachusetts.

   “A lot of the ideas in terms of the exchange, just being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the insurance market, that originated from the Heritage Foundation…”

And judging from the tepid polling (PDF) response the new HIR law has received, it appears I’m not alone.

16. Which of the following statements best describes your views about the health care bill that Congress passed this week: (ROTATE) Mar. 25-28 2010

15% You approve of the bill becoming law and have no reservations about it

27% You approve of the bill becoming law but you think it did not go far enough

31% You disapprove of the bill becoming law but you support a few of its proposals

25% You disapprove of the bill becoming law and oppose all of its proposals

  1% No opinion

A lot of rationalizing tealeaf reading over at Big O right now about what these less than stellar polling results actually mean.  After all, when your party finally manages to pass health care legislation after decades of futility, you would hope that considerably more than a measly 15% of the public would be wholeheartedly cheering your historic achievement.

mcjoan cites the 27% ‘did not go far enough’ number to argue that Dems need to start making fixes to the bill if they want to close the ‘intensity gap’.

One way that Dems could keep closing that intensity gap among voters would be to try to deliver more. They could keep taking on the insurance companies, on providing coverage to sick kids, on the anti-trust exemption, etc.–the elements even Republicans had a hard time arguing against.

mcjoan’s basically right of course; those changes would probably have some marginally positive effect on the Dem base’s enthusiasm. (She might have also mentioned that the easiest way to move the HIR poll numbers in a positive direction would be to turf the mandate, but unfortunately over at GOS that’s still considered crazytalk).

Yet whatever added Dem enthusiasm might be generated by tweaks to HIR before November (don’t get your hopes up), these fixes can’t possibly make up for the wet blanket President Obama throws over his base every time he brags about how Republicans wrote his healthcare plan

But at its core, if you look at the basic proposal that we’ve put forward: it has an exchange so that businesses and the self-employed can buy into a pool and can get bargaining power the same way big companies do; the insurance reforms that I’ve already discussed, making sure that there’s choice and competition for those who don’t have health insurance. The component parts of this thing are pretty similar to what Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Tom Daschle proposed at the beginning of this debate last year.

The President must be quite impressed with his own powers of persuasion if he thinks he can convince his base between now and November that Bob Dole, Howard Baker and Mitt Romney are actually liberal Democratic icons.

Somehow, though, I doubt anything short of free Viagra will get too many on the left very excited about voting for Democrats who continually crow about passing Republican healthcare plans.  

Open Sesame!


‘Jesus Rifles’, Again!!!

ABC News is doing a follow up on their initial report on the ‘Jesus Rifles’ with the christian religious inscriptions on military rifle scopes, still being used and which goes beyond the ones used in the military.

This cut is in the report and video of:

“Shame on them forever for their impossibly slow, plodding and utterly backwards plan for correction of this national and international disgrace,” said Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

Couldn’t have stated it better, in a civil manner, except I’d use much more stronger words and with more rage especially as to the thought process by the manufacturing executives allowing this but also any who think this shines a positive light in fighting an insurgency in another’s country, of their own freedom of religious beliefs, and especially that it gives a positive, macho, message as to any christian religious ideology. It smacks of extreme christian fundamentalism as the fundamentalist of the Muslim religion or any other’s with extremist views of intolerance towards others!

The Crisis of Neoliberalism

Dr. Gerard Dumenil, of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at The University of Massachusetts, is one of the world’s foremost theorists of neoliberalism and economic crises, and is the author of numerous influential books, many of which have been translated into several languages, including Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution (2004) and his forthcoming The Crisis of Neoliberalism: From the Subprime Crash to the Great Contraction.

Dumenil here talks with Paul Jay of The Real News about the history and development of neoliberal ‘economics’…

Real News Network – March 30, 2010

Transcript here

My letter to NYC Council Members for new WTC7 investigation

Here is my letter for the NYC Coalition for Accountability Now’s “Building What?!” campaign, which is a phone and fax campaign to help the New York City Council become aware of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. Please visit and join this important effort.

Sarkozy Didn’t Read the Bill

Pardon. M. le Pr├ęsident, avez-vous lu la l├ęgislation ?

At Columbia University yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy both chastised and praised the US for the passage of the Health Insurance Bill:

“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” said Sarkozy. He also added: “When we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe. The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them … is something astonishing to us.”


“If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”

M. Sarkozy hasn’t read the bill, obviously.

Docudharma Times Tuesday March 30

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Moscow Attack a Test for Putin and His Record Against Terror

Homer Simpson isn’t the only would-be ‘Messiah’ in Jerusalem


FDA pressured to combat rising ‘food fraud’

Toyota’s acceleration woes part of two new inquiries


MPs call for review of arms exports after Israeli assault on Gaza

Shaun Walker: Was the motive for Moscow attacks revenge?

Middle East

Turkish police detain 22 al-Qaeda suspects in a string of raids

G8 ministers to call for ‘strong steps’ over Iran’s nuclear activity


Bribery verdicts show peril of doing business in China

Burmese opposition sacrifices a place in the poll to stand by leader


Gaddafi says Nigeria should split into several states

A Guiding Voice Amid the Ruins of a Capital City

Latin America

Beyond Haiti relief, UN looks at building outside Port-au-Prince

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Firestorm 3

(Click on image for larger view)


Energy Filmgoer: Carbon Nation

Sadly, the thirteen-day smorgasbord of the 2010 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital came to an end this Sunday.  

The festival ended with a bang: the world premiere of Carbon Nation, a film by Peter Byck and a (clearly) talented team.  This film had its genesis at the premiere of An Inconvenient Truth, with Byck and his colleagues committing themselves to do a film looking to solutions to the challenges that Global Warming represents.

Carbon Nation is  a documentary film about climate change SOLUTIONS.  Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just  don’t buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that  illustrates how  SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social,  economic and national security issues. We meet a host of entertaining  and endearing characters along the way.

Entertaining … endearing … and exceptional.

Those same words can be used for the film itself.

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

The Light That’s Lost Within Us

(Cross-posted at Wild Wild Left)

Some progressives are dreamers.  Some progressives are fools.  I could provide you with more links to prove that than Wellpoint has policyholders hostages, but links aren’t required to confirm that reality, the healthcare reform fiasco has confirmed it beyond any doubt.  We have to remember though, that the Progressive Movement is still young, enduring broken dreams and indulging in foolish rationalizing are part of the process of growing and maturing.

A few Friedman Units ago, when one BushCo thunderstorm after another was deluging the nation, progressives decided something had to be done.  So on the brave and crazy wings of youth, we went flying around in the rain.  Acid rain.  A rain of blood.  A rain of corporate crime.  A rain of lies and deceit and corruption.  Our wings were torn and tattered, but there was still a light within us.  It was flickering, it was almost extinguished, it was almost lost, but it was still there . . .

Progressives were angry back then, we’re still angry at the way the earth is abused, by men who’ve learned how to forge her beauty into power.  We’re angry at the way humanity is abused, by men who’ve learned how to forge illness into profit, how to forge torture into patriotism, justice into injustice, law into lawlessness, and capitalism into a global death march into oblivion.

They’re good at that.

They’ve had plenty of practice.            

We’re struggling to protect ourselves from them, but we’re losing that struggle.  The sand is slipping through the opening.  We’re running out of time.  

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