Friday, December 30, 2005

Excerpt from the UK Torture Memos

Via Wealth Bondage via Daily Kos:

Letter #3


OF 220939 JULY 04




1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.

2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.

3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.


4. In the period December 2002 to March 2003 I raised several times the issue of intelligence material from the Uzbek security services which was obtained under torture and passed to us via the CIA. I queried the legality, efficacy and morality of the practice.

5. I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture. He said the only legal limitation on its use was that it could not be used in legal proceedings, under Article 15 of the UN Convention on Torture.

6. On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror. Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of conscience were respected and understood.

7. Sir Michael Jay's circular of 26 May stated that there was a reporting obligation on us to report torture by allies (and I have been instructed to refer to Uzbekistan as such in the context of the war on terror). You, Sir, have made a number of striking, and I believe heartfelt, condemnations of torture in the last few weeks. I had in the light of this decided to return to this question and to highlight an apparent contradiction in our policy. I had intimated as much to the Head of Eastern Department.

8. I was therefore somewhat surprised to hear that without informing me of the meeting, or since informing me of the result of the meeting, a meeting was convened in the FCO at the level of Heads of Department and above, precisely to consider the question of the receipt of Uzbek intelligence material obtained under torture. As the office knew, I was in London at the time and perfectly able to attend the meeting. I still have only gleaned that it happened.

9. I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true – the material is marked with a euphemism such as "From detainee debriefing." The argument runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.

10. I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my shame that I work in and organisation where colleagues would resort to it to justify torture. I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence. I do not think there is any doubt as to the fact

11. The torture record of the Uzbek security services could hardly be more widely known. Plainly there are, at the very least, reasonable grounds for believing the material is obtained under torture. There is helpful guidance at Article 3 of the UN Convention;

"The competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights."
While this article forbids extradition or deportation to Uzbekistan, it is the right test for the present question also.

12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer:

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless – we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful. It is designed to give the message the Uzbeks want the West to hear. It exaggerates the role, size, organisation and activity of the IMU and its links with Al Qaida. The aim is to convince the West that the Uzbeks are a vital cog against a common foe, that they should keep the assistance, especially military assistance, coming, and that they should mute the international criticism on human rights and economic reform.

14. I was taken aback when Matthew Kydd said this stuff was valuable. Sixteen months ago it was difficult to argue with SIS in the area of intelligence assessment. But post Butler we know, not only that they can get it wrong on even the most vital and high profile issues, but that they have a particular yen for highly coloured material which exaggerates the threat. That is precisely what the Uzbeks give them. Furthermore MI6 have no operative within a thousand miles of me and certainly no expertise that can come close to my own in making this assessment.

15. At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.

16. I have been considering Michael Wood's legal view, which he kindly gave in writing. I cannot understand why Michael concentrated only on Article 15 of the Convention. This certainly bans the use of material obtained under torture as evidence in proceedings, but it does not state that this is the sole exclusion of the use of such material.

17. The relevant article seems to me Article 4, which talks of complicity in torture. Knowingly to receive its results appears to be at least arguable as complicity. It does not appear that being in a different country to the actual torture would preclude complicity. I talked this over in a hypothetical sense with my old friend Prof Francois Hampson, I believe an acknowledged World authority on the Convention, who said that the complicity argument and the spirit of the Convention would be likely to be winning points. I should be grateful to hear Michael's views on this.

18. It seems to me that there are degrees of complicity and guilt, but being at one or two removes does not make us blameless. There are other factors. Plainly it was a breach of Article 3 of the Convention for the coalition to deport detainees back here from Baghram, but it has been done. That seems plainly complicit.

19. This is a difficult and dangerous part of the World. Dire and increasing poverty and harsh repression are undoubtedly turning young people here towards radical Islam.

The Uzbek government are thus creating this threat, and perceived US support for Karimov strengthens anti-Western feeling. SIS ought to establish a presence here, but not as partners of the Uzbek Security Services, whose sheer brutality puts them beyond the pale.


"I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services."

The material speaks for itself.

More at BlairWatch.
Also here and here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bubble Boy: Keeping U.S. Safe From Vegans

Here, via AmericaBlog:

Reuters: "U.S. News and World Report . . . reported last week that more than 100 sites, including private homes, were monitored [by the NSA] without court approval as required by FISA.

"We are concerned that, under this secretive program, [the Bush] government has overstepped constitutional bounds by intruding on private property without any probable cause or valid court orders," [the Council on American-Islamic Relations]' national legal director, Arsalan Iftikhar, said in a statement. . .

In Crawford, Texas, where Bush is spending the holidays, his spokesman, Trent Duffy, defended what he called a "limited program."

"This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner," he told reporters. "These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches."

Of course, the Bushist fascists are only monitoring bad people.

Your tax dollars are being used to allow the FBI and other government branches to spy on domestic terrorist bad people, & the category "bad" apparently includes Quakers, environmentalists, animal rights activists, grannies, Code Pinks, Catholics, and (Ohh, NOOO!!) vegans.

Your tax dollars are being used by Rummy's Department of Defense to identify grannies and vegans as threats. See for yourself, here. Say, are we safer yet? Osama Bin Who?

Thanks to Bubble Boy, freedom's definitely on the march.

Our freedoms. Marching right out the door, into the dustbin.

Heckuva job, Preznit Toad-Exploder.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Human Trafficking? Pentagon: What, Me Worry?

Here, via RawStory, excerpts from a Chicago Tribune article on the Pentagon's failure to ban their subcontractors from using forced slave labor and sex slaves.


WASHINGTON -- Three years ago, President Bush declared that he had "zero tolerance" for trafficking in humans by the government's overseas contractors, and two years ago Congress mandated a similar policy.

But notwithstanding the president's statement and the congressional edict, the Defense Department has yet to adopt a policy to bar human trafficking.

A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.. . .

Lining up on the opposite side of the defense industry are some human-trafficking experts who say significant aspects of the Pentagon's proposed policy might actually do more harm than good unless they're changed. These experts have told the Pentagon that the policy would merely formalize practices that have allowed contractors working overseas to escape punishment for involvement in trafficking, the records show.

The long-awaited debate inside the Pentagon on how to implement presidential and congressional directives on human trafficking is unfolding just as countertrafficking advocates in Congress are running into resistance. A bill reauthorizing the nation's efforts against trafficking for the next two years was overwhelmingly passed by the House this month, but only after a provision creating a trafficking watchdog at the Pentagon was stripped from the measure at the insistence of defense-friendly lawmakers, according to congressional records and officials. The Senate passed the bill last week.

Delay seen as weakness

The Pentagon's delay in tackling the issue, the perceived weakness of its proposed policy and the recent setbacks in Congress have some criticizing the Pentagon for not taking the issue seriously enough.

"Ultimately, what we really hope to see is resources and leadership on this issue from the Pentagon," said Sarah Mendelson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a national security think tank in Washington. She also had called for creation of an internal Pentagon watchdog after investigating the military's links to sex trafficking in the Balkans.

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), author of the original legislation targeting human trafficking, said there seems to be an institutional lethargy on the issue at the Pentagon below the most senior levels. He said he was concerned that the Pentagon's overseas-contractor proposal might not be tough enough and that the delays in developing it could mean more people "were being exploited while they were sharpening their pencils."

But he pledged to maintain aggressive oversight of the plan.

`We're addressing the issue'

Glenn Flood, a Pentagon spokesman, said he did not know why it has taken so long to develop a proposal but said, "From our point of view, we're addressing the issue."

An official more directly involved with the effort to draft a formal policy barring contractors from involvement in trafficking said it might not be ready until April, at least in part because of concerns raised by the defense contractors.

Bush declared zero tolerance for involvement in human trafficking by federal employees and contractors in a National Security Presidential Directive he signed in December 2002 after media reports detailing the alleged involvement of DynCorp employees in buying women and girls as sex slaves in Bosnia during the U.S. military's deployment there in the late 1990s.

Ultimately, the company fired eight employees for their alleged involvement in sex trafficking and illegal arms deals.

In 2003, Smith followed Bush's decree with legislation ordering federal agencies to include anti-trafficking provisions in all contracts. The bill covered trafficking for forced prostitution and forced labor and applied to overseas contractors and their subcontractors.

But it wasn't until last summer that the Pentagon issued a proposed policy to enforce the 2003 law and Bush's December 2002 directive.

The proposal drew a strong response from five defense-contractor-lobbying groups within the umbrella Council of Defense and Space Industries Associations: the Contract Services Association, the Professional Services Council, the National Defense Industrial Association, the American Shipbuilding Association and the Electronic Industries Alliance.

The response's first target was a provision requiring contractors to police their overseas subcontractors for human trafficking.

In a two-part series published in October, the Tribune detailed how Middle Eastern firms working under American subcontracts in Iraq, and a chain of human brokers beneath them, engaged in the kind of abuses condemned elsewhere by the U.S. government as human trafficking. KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary, relies on more than 200 subcontractors to carry out a multibillion-dollar U.S. Army contract for privatization of military support operations in the war zone.

Case of 12 Nepali men

The Tribune retraced the journey of 12 Nepali men recruited from poor villages in one of the most remote and impoverished corners of the world and documented a trail of deceit, fraud and negligence stretching into Iraq. The men were kidnapped from an unprotected caravan and executed en route to jobs at an American military base in 2004.

At the time, Halliburton said it was not responsible for the recruitment or hiring practices of its subcontractors, and the U.S. Army, which oversees the privatization contract, said questions about alleged misconduct "by subcontractor firms should be addressed to those firms, as these are not Army issues."

Once implemented, the new policy could dramatically change responsibilities for KBR and the Army.

Alan Chvotkin, senior vice president and counsel for the Professional Services Council who drafted the contractors' eight-page critique of the Pentagon proposal, said it was not realistic to expect foreign companies operating overseas to accept or act on U.S. foreign policy objectives.

"This is a clash between mission execution [of the contract] and policy execution," Chvotkin said. "So we're looking for a little flexibility."

He said that rather than a "requirement that says you have to flow this through to everybody," the group wants the policy to simply require firms to notify the Pentagon when their subcontractors refuse to accept contract clauses barring support for human trafficking.

Still, Chvotkin said, "We don't want to do anything that conveys the idea that we are sanctioning or tolerating trafficking."

In a joint memo of their own, Mendelson and another Washington-based expert, Martina Vandenberg, a lawyer who investigated sex trafficking for Human Rights Watch, told the Pentagon its draft policy "institutionalizes ineffective procedures currently used by the Department of Defense contractor community in handling allegations of human trafficking."

Without tough provisions requiring referrals to prosecutors, they said, contractors could still get their employees on planes back to the U.S. before investigations commenced, as they allege happened in several documented cases in the Balkans. They said some local contract managers even had "special arrangements" with police in the Balkans that allowed them to quickly get employees returned to the U.S. if they were found to be engaged in illegal activities.

One is so pleased, is one not, that our Fearless Leader, Preznit Toad-Exploder, is so strongly for "zero tolerance" (which really means "tolerance").

Sort of like "not torture" meaning "torture", and "clean air bill" meaning "poisoning our environment."


Monday, December 26, 2005

Democracy's On The March, Minus Freedom of Speech

Here, a charming story from the NYT called "Professors' Politics Draw Lawmakers Into the Fray."

Blonde, buxom, passionately committed Republican activist Jennie Mae Brown
"told her Pennsylvania state representative, Gibson C. Armstrong, that she felt a physics professor's comments in the classroom about President Bush and Iraq were inappropriate.

"How could this happen?" Ms. Brown [whined to] Representative Gibson C. Armstrong two summers ago, complaining about a physics professor . . . [who] used class time to belittle President Bush and the war in Iraq. As an Air Force veteran, Ms. Brown said she felt the teacher's comments were inappropriate for the classroom."

Is there a "Thou Shalt Not Belittle President Bush" clause in the Bill of Rights now? Did Karl Rove actually manage to white-out the First Amendment, that dicey Freedom of Speech thing?

But wait. It gets better.

The encounter has blossomed into an official legislative inquiry, putting Pennsylvania in the middle of a national debate spurred by conservatives over whether public universities are promoting largely liberal positions and discriminating against students who disagree with them.

You heard that right. The very same [buxom blonde Bushist fascist] activist Republican, Jennie Mae, who is complaining about her professor expressing his political views seems the spearhead of a movement complaining that librul academic people are being mean to [Bushist fascists] for airing their [inherently stupid Bushist fascist] Republican views; thus, them libruls should all shut up, and, via Rovian reality, have only the [Bushist fascists] be allowed to speak, sort of like in Bubble Boy's lockdown political rallies.

A committee held two hearings last month in Pittsburgh and has scheduled another for Jan. 9 in Philadelphia. A final report with any recommendations for legislative remedy is due in June.

The investigation comes at a time when David Horowitz, a conservative commentator and president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, has been lobbying more than a dozen state legislatures to pass an "Academic Bill of Rights" that he says would encourage free debate and protect students against discrimination for expressing their political beliefs.

That would be protecting activist Republican students against being discriminated against for airing their [stupid Bushist fascist] views while seeking the quash the expression of [intelligent, manly, triumphant] liberal/progressive viewpoints.

Very nice. The merry band of Rovians, having eliminated liberal/progressive viewpoints from the Media Whore Media, eroded them on public television, are trying to wipe out liberal/progressive viewpoints in academia, justifying it through a zombie Fairness Doctrine, a concept Reichwingers scuttled so they could freely foul the public airwaves with their very special brand of vitriol.

Perish the thought that there are more Democrats than Republicans on college campuses because there are more smart people than stupid people on college campuses, and that smart people are more likely to have liberal/progressive views because they're smart, while stupid people are more likely to be loudmouth greedy sexist Bushist fascist hysterics who can't tell a loofah from a felafel.

[All sexist comments in this post were intentional & for informational purposes only.}

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Madness of King George, On A Tibetan Buddhist Christmas Eve

Here we have Chuck Krauthammer apparently choking on his own vomit, as he comes up with feeble excuses why Preznit Toad-Exploder deliberately broke a law which he could just as easily have followed. But Bubble Boy's hubris just won't allow that kind of thing: he's big bad King George, you wonder how he gets that fat head into a hat. Quoth Chuckie:

"Contrary to the administration, I also believe that as a matter of political prudence and comity with Congress, Bush should have tried to get the law changed rather than circumvent it. ("circumvent" is the new translation for "break the law") This was an error of political judgment. But that does not make it a crime. And only the most brazen and reckless partisan could pretend it is anything approaching a high crime and misdemeanor."

No, silly Chuckie, only the most brazen and reckless partisan could pretend it's NOT an impeachable offense.

And the FISA thing is not the only one: here we have Big Brother Bubble Boy spying on virtually anyone at any time.


WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks . . .according to current and former government officials.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.

As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.

The government's collection and analysis of phone and Internet traffic have raised questions among some law enforcement and judicial officials familiar with the program. One issue of concern to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has reviewed some separate warrant applications growing out of the N.S.A.'s surveillance program, is whether the court has legal authority over calls outside the United States that happen to pass through American-based telephonic "switches," according to officials familiar with the matter.

"There was a lot of discussion about the switches" in conversations with the court, a Justice Department official said, referring to the gateways through which much of the communications traffic flows. "You're talking about access to such a vast amount of communications, and the question was, How do you minimize something that's on a switch that's carrying such large volumes of traffic? The court was very, very concerned about that."

Well, King George is the King, so who's going to tell him he can't have his own way all the time? Isn't the Constitution, after all, to Bubble Boy just a "goddamned piece of paper"?

Here we have some Republicans waking up after their long slumber, finally noticing that "The Pursuit of Terrorism Does Not Authorize the President to Make Up New Laws."

From Barron's:

"AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, we picked up our New York Times and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism by intercepting communications in America without warrants. It was worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have made a bad situation much worse: Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers.

It was not a shock to learn that shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct intercepts of international phone calls to and from the United States. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act permits the government to gather the foreign communications of people in the U.S. -- without a warrant if quick action is important. But the law requires that, within 72 hours, investigators must go to a special secret court for a retroactive warrant.

The USA Patriot Act permits some exceptions to its general rules about warrants for wiretaps and searches, including a 15-day exception for searches in time of war. And there may be a controlling legal authority in the Sept. 14, 2001, congressional resolution that authorized the president to go after terrorists and use all necessary and appropriate force. It was not a declaration of war in a constitutional sense, but it may have been close enough for government work.

Certainly, there was an emergency need after the Sept. 11 attacks to sweep up as much information as possible about the chances of another terrorist attack. But a 72-hour emergency or a 15-day emergency doesn't last four years.

In that time, Congress has extensively debated the rules on wiretaps and other forms of domestic surveillance. Administration officials have spent many hours before many committees urging lawmakers to provide them with great latitude. Congress acted, and the president signed.

Now the president and his lawyers are claiming that they have greater latitude. They say that neither the USA Patriot Act nor the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act actually sets the real boundary. The administration is saying the president has unlimited authority to order wiretaps in the pursuit of foreign terrorists, and that the Congress has no power to overrule him.

"We also believe the president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander-in-chief, to engage in this kind of activity," said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The Department of Justice made a similar assertion as far back as 2002, saying in a legal brief: "The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that Constitutional authority." Gonzales last week declined to declassify relevant legal reviews made by the Department of Justice.

Perhaps they were researched in a Star Chamber? Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law. President Bush is stretching the power of commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy by indicating that he can order the military and its agencies, such as the National Security Agency, to do whatever furthers the defense of the country from terrorists, regardless of whether actual force is involved.

Surely the "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is. The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is that he must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." That includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive power. There's not much fidelity in an executive who debates and lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its writ.

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law.

Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities." . . . Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week when he said: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror."

Barron's, eh? Republicans? Yeah, Republicans, finally waking up from their five-year stupor. Perhaps there is hope for this country, after all?

Let's send all the Bushist fascists--the ones who drove our country into moral and fiscal bankruptcy--all those liars, cheaters and torturers to -- Gitmo for Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Madness of King George, & Karma Karma Karma

Via Buzzflash:

"Bush was . . . desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. . . on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story."

The NY Times, which ran the endless crap stories of stenographer Judith Miller in the run-up to the war, also SAT on this story for an ENTIRE YEAR. Gee, do you wonder who might not be Preznit Toad-Exploder today if the NY Times had not been a media whore? Gee, do you wonder who might not be Preznit Toad-Exploder today if Fitzgerald had had some basic cooperation from virtually anyone? Do we think these tardy happenings happened by mere happenstance?

Bite me.

Here we have David Cole's analysis of Bubble Boy's act of hubris, pointing out that " the president acted in clear contravention of a criminal law enacted by Congress and a Supreme Court precedent, both directly on point."

Here, we have a federal spy court judge quitting over the Bushist abuse of power in the NSA/FISA case.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

Here we have news of Bubble Boy's Department of Defense spending our tax dollars to spy on our sinful American Quakers, environmentalists, and (horrors!) those anti-fur, card-carrying vegans, categorizing them somehow, in that alternative universe in which the Bushist fascists dwell, as military "threats." Don't you feel safer now? Isn't democracy, like, SO, on the march?

And here we have news on the Bush administration lying about the number of casualties occurring from Bubble Boy's Oedipally-motivated, wholly-personal war in Iraq:

"The Pentagon is underreporting the number of American soldier casualties in Iraq, say House Democrats. . . The letter writers argue that Pentagon casualty reports show only a sliver of the injuries, mostly physical ones from bombs or bullets. But war doesn't work like that, the Democrats declare, adding that the reports skip a horrible panoply of accidents, illness, disease and mental trauma.

"We are concerned that that the figures that were released to the public by your administration do not accurately represent the true toll that this war has taken on the American people," the group wrote Bush on Dec. 7. The Dems are right.

Pentagon casualty reports show 2,390 service members dead from Iraq and Afghanistan and over 16,000 wounded. By far the vast majority of the wounded and dead are from Iraq.

But by Dec. 8, 2005, the military had evacuated another 25,289 service members from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries or illnesses not caused directly by enemy bullets or bombs, according to the U.S. Transportation Command. That statistic includes everything from serious injuries in Humvee wrecks or other accidents to more routine illnesses that could be unrelated to field battles.

Yet those service members are not included in the Pentagon's casualty reports. That's odd. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a casualty as "a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment or capture or through being missing in action."

"We don't do Webster's," Jim Turner, a Pentagon spokesman told me in 2004 as I was reporting on counting casualties. In a written statement, the Department of Defense told me that the casualty reports describe casualties to fit the "understanding of the average newspaper reader."

"They don't do Webster's?" No, they don't. They don't do truth, either.

In the past few weeks, I've been spending time with two soldiers currently getting treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. One is a 40-year-old man who served in Iraq with the South Carolina Army National Guard. He got hit by a truck in Iraq, fracturing a vertebra, chipping another, and hurting his shoulder. The impact also caused his brain to rock violently inside his skull. He has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. His wife can't dispatch him down the aisle of a supermarket to fetch ice cream because he often can't remember what happened just five minutes ago.

Another 46-year-old soldier who served in the West Virginia Army National Guard was in an armored personnel carrier that crashed into an eight-foot hole. Because of his traumatic brain injury, his memory is shot. He slurs his words like a drunk and walks with a cane because of dizzy spells. Given the way the Pentagon tabulates casualties, neither of these men count.

Neglecting these kinds of casualties does not appear to be an invention of the Bush administration. Pentagon casualty reports from previous wars, including Vietnam, list the number of dead and wounded and also appear to exclude non-combat injuries and illnesses.

In their letter to Bush, the Democrats cite a November 2004 "60 Minutes" segment (to which I contributed), which featured "badly injured soldiers who were upset by their being excluded from the official count, even though they were, in one soldier's words, 'in hostile territory.'" Democrats assert that counting casualties sustained only from bombs and bullets "does not represent the entire picture of American lives affected by the war."

As the war goes on, that picture is becoming more painfully clear. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides soldiers with medical care after leaving the military. An October V.A. report shows that 119,247 service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan -- and are now off duty -- are receiving health care from the V.A. Presumably, some of those health problems are unrelated to the war.

But the statistics seem to show that a lot of those health problems are war-related. For example, nearly 37,000 have mental disorders, including nearly 16,000 who have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Over 46,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan receiving benefits from the V.A. have musculoskeletal problems. These are all veterans who within the last four years were considered by the military to be mentally and physically fit enough to fight.

In their letter, the seven Democrats assert that the entire picture of casualties coming out of the Department of Defense is distorted. But the letter concludes that one thing is clear: "What we can be certain of is that at least tens of thousands of young men and women have been physically or psychologically damaged for life."

I have blogged previously about the nipcheese Bubble Boy administration re-classifying soldiers with PTSD by suddenly deciding they don't have PTSD any longer, in order to save money by denying them benefits.

The madness of King George really extends in every direction: pro-torture, pro-undermining the rule of law, pro-pain and suffering; pro-deficit; pro-incompetence; anti-support for troops, anti-Geneva conventions, anti-competence, anti-CIA, anti-life.

One can hardly imagine a worse Preznit.

But--what goes around comes around. Coming around to Preznit Toad-Exploder someday soon.

King George Sez: Rights? What Bill of Rights?

Bubble Boy's Uber-Monarchy just gets curiouser and curiouser.

your tax dollars are paying for federal agents to interview a student at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, for having taken a book out on interlibrary loan.

What book? "Osama Bin Laden, My Secret Wet Dream Love," you think?

No. The book in question is Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book, a book assigned by the student's UMASS professor for a course on "Facism and Totalitarianism." The student was assigned to write a paper on Communism. Reading Mao would seem to be a good source, wouldn't cha think?

But no. This book is on a "watch list" being maintained by your tax dollars. Sounds like whoever's in charge of the library end of Homeland Security is as stupid as those who were in charge of the Hurricane Katrina end of Homeland Security.

Freedom of speech? Freedom of thought? Bill of Rights, anyone? Freedom's on the march? What are thousands of American troops dying and/or ruining their lives for?

Oh, wasn't that for those "freedoms"? How about freedom to have Big Brother snooping on your reading habits. "The Little Red Book." Ooh, how dicey. It's a litle red book I have on my bookshelf at home. Once this post is sent into the blogosphere, will your tax dollars be spent for federal agents to come and interview me, too?

Why are we being ruled by morons?

Why are we being ruled by morons who have sent us into moral and fiscal bankruptcy?

Why are we being ruled by morons?

What are we going to do about it?

PS. Via Worldwise at The Agonist, one thing to do is to file a request on oneself under the Freedom of Information Act at the NSA here.

PPS Here is retraction of story above. Did Bubble Boy ever retract that story about them weapons of mass destruction? Did he ever retract that war he started over them?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

King George, Above the Law: I Won't Stop My Illegal Spying

Hands up if you're surprised at the story here.

DESPITE criticism from members of Congress, President George Bush says he will continue to authorise secret wiretaps of people suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, arguing that wiretaps have been "critical to saving American lives".

The New York Times disclosed last week that since the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, the Administration had authorised wiretaps of thousands of Americans by the National Security Agency without court orders . . .

Mr Bush acknowledged the wiretaps in a live radio broadcast, admitting he had personally authorised 30 such covert operations over the past four years. . .

Mr Bush lashed out at the informants who had leaked details of the wiretaps program to The New York Times, saying they had jeopardised activities that "protected Americans from terrorist attacks".

His admission came a day after the Senate failed to pass expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism laws passed after September 11, which Democrats and several Republicans said gave law enforcement and security agencies powers that threatened basic civil liberties.

Several senators said they had refused to support the expiring provisions because of the revelation that Mr Bush had authorised what they considered illegal wire taps. . . Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said the wiretapping seemed to be "inappropriate" and that his committee would hold hearings on the program soon to determine its scope and its legality.

Democrats reacted furiously to the Bush radio address, with Senator Russell Feingold saying it was "absurd that Bush was relying on his presidential powers to argue the wiretaps he authorised were legal. I tell you, he's President Bush, not King George Bush," he said. "This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for."

Mr Bush's radio address came just 24 hours before a scheduled televised address to the nation in which he is expected to outline the political challenges for Iraq after last week's historic elections. . . the success of the elections has been overshadowed by the controversy over the Administration's secret wiretapping program."

Sometimes I think Bubble Boy's stupidity is more breathtaking than his arrogance, and sometimes I think his arrogance is more breathtaking than his stupidity. Today, it's the latter.

Tomorrow? Who knows?


Via Agitprop, watch this from Bateman.


Friday, December 16, 2005

First We Say We Do, And Then We Don't. Then We Say We Will, and Then We--Won't

What a total moral crock.


Reuters; (Washington, D.C., December 16, 2005) – Even as the U.S. Congress has passed a prohibition against the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, it is set to adopt legislation that would strip the judiciary's ability to enforce the ban, Human Rights Watch warned today. After months of opposition, President Bush yesterday accepted Senator John McCain's amendment banning the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by U.S. personnel anywhere in the world, and prohibiting U.S. military interrogators from using interrogation techniques not listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.

But the legislation containing the McCain Amendment currently includes another provision – the Graham-Levin Amendment – that would deny the five hundred-some detainees in Guantánamo Bay the ability to bring legal action seeking relief from the use of torture or cruel and inhumane treatment.

And it implicitly authorizes the Department of Defense to consider evidence obtained through torture or other inhumane treatment in assessing the status of detainees held in Guantánamo Bay.

If passed into law, this would be the first time in American history that Congress has effectively permitted the use of evidence obtained through torture.

"With the McCain amendment, Congress has clearly said that anyone who authorizes or engages in cruel techniques like water boarding is violating the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch. "But the Graham-Levin amendment leaves Guantánamo detainees no legal recourse if they are, in fact, tortured or mistreated. The treatment of Guantánamo Bay detainees will be shrouded in secrecy, placing detainees at risk for future abuse."

These provisions have been added by House and Senate conferees to language that ori
ginally passed the Senate as part of the Defense Authorization legislation. The language in the original Senate version already placed new and significant restrictions on Guantánamo Bay detainees' access to federal court. It eliminated the right for detainees to bring habeas corpus claims challenging the legality of their ongoing detention and asserting their innocence. Instead, detainees would be allowed to seek independent court review of their detention at just two points in time – after their initial designation as an enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal and after conviction by a military commission – and would be allowed to raise only a very narrow set of claims. They could challenge the procedures and constitutionality of the tribunals and commissions, but would be precluded from seeking an independent review of the factual basis for their detention or conviction.

The new language would expand the prohibition on habeas review to cover all other claims – making it almost impossible for detainees at Guantánamo to seek relief from torture or cruel treatment.

The original language passed by the Senate also sought to restrict the use of evidence obtained through "undue coercion" by the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The language approved by conferees would reverse this prohibition. It would require these tribunals to assess the probative value of evidence obtained through coercion, but would not prohibit the use of such evidence.

Another addition redefines the United States to explicitly exclude Guantánamo Bay.

This is an attempt to ensure that the constitutional protections – including the prohibition on the use of evidence obtained through torture – do not extend to detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch also remains concerned that the administration has not disavowed certain abusive interrogation methods, such as "water boarding," a form of mock execution.

"If the McCain law demonstrates to the world that the United States really opposes torture, the Graham-Levin amendment risks telling the world the opposite," said Malinowski.

Yes, boys and girls, it can now be clearly seen that the McCain Bill is just bullshit, more Bushist smoke and mirrors.

First we say we do--not torture: but we do.

Then we say we will--not torture: but we won't. We'll just keep doing all the torture that the sadists in power want us to keep on doing.

Acceptance of torture, in the Hannah Arendt banality of evil kinda way--is that what happens when you have a youth-onset-toad-exploder as a Preznit? Or does it come along more as a result of Cheney, Rummy, Hadley, the gang of adult-onset sadists?

If we used thumbscrews on Rove, I bet he'd tell.

(Further on the McCain bill as a win for Cheney, Martin Garbus at HuffPo:

Thursday, December 15, 2005

No Partisan Gunslinger, Partisan Gunslinger, & Preznit Toad-Exploder

Here's a thought.

We have Bob Novak saying that one of the two people who told him about Valerie Plame was "no partisan gunslinger." One of the two people who told him about Valerie Plame, the once-covert CIA agent, was Karl Rove.

Rove is clearly a partisan gunslinger. Therefore, Novak's other source is someone else.

Novak now says that Bush knows perfectly well who Novak's source was.

"Don't bug me," Novak asserts. "Bug the president."

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who has repeatedly declined to discuss his role in disclosing the identity of CIA operative Valerie Wilson, says he is certain that President Bush knows who the anonymous source in his administration is.

Novak said Tuesday that the public and press should be asking Bush about the official rather than pressing journalists who received the information.

Novak also suggested that the administration official who gave him the information is the same person who mentioned Wilson and her CIA role to Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward in the summer of 2003.

OK, how about this?--Bob Woodward ("no partisan gunslinger" from Novak's point of view) told Novak.

And Woodward first heard it from--Bush?


Might that explain those eight redacted pages?

Just asking.

(Update via BuzzFlash: White House freaks out over Novak comments pinning direct knowledge of Plame leaker on Bush).

Shut UP about it! US Offers Hush Money to Wrong Guy They Tortured


Say, can you say "consciousness of guilt"?

BERLIN (Reuters) - German politicians expressed surprise on Thursday at reported U.S. comments that Washington had apologized and paid money to a German citizen it abducted to Afghanistan and held for months as a terrorist suspect.

The case of Khaled el-Masri, who is suing the Central Intelligence Agency for wrongful imprisonment and torture, took a new twist with comments from Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in parliament on Wednesday.

Schaeuble shed new light on a conversation on May 31, 2004, between his predecessor Otto Schily and then-U.S. ambassador Daniel Coats, at which Coats first told the German government that one of its citizens had been detained.

Coats had said that Masri "had received an apology, agreed to keep quiet and been paid a sum of money", Schaeuble said."

So Masri reneged on the deal to keep his own torture secret? Naughty naughty torturee.

Schaueble "said the U.S. envoy had not gone into detail about what happened to Masri. He had mentioned 'neither the word Afghanistan, nor the length of time he had been held by the American side.'

Masri's lawyer told German media his client had not received money from the Americans, and dismissed the account as an attempt to smear him.

The case has caused a political storm in Germany, with the government under pressure to demand a full explanation from Washington and clarify when German officials were told of the case and what they did about it.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told parliament on Wednesday that the government found out about the Masri case only after his release.


Hans-Christian Stroebele, deputy leader of the opposition Greens, said the question of whether the United States had paid Masri was a significant new element.

"That is an additional admission. You don't pay money unless you're conscious of making a serious mistake," he told Reuters. . . "

Sunday, December 11, 2005


United States' captive Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, not to be confused with Scooter "What-Kind-of-a-Name-Is-That-for-a-Grown-Man?" Libby, while being tortured in Egypt at the behest of the USA, affirmed that there was a relationship between Al Qaeda and Iraq.

Later, when he was not being tortured, he stated that the statement he made under torture was not true, but had been coerced by torture--that is, the torturee said what his captors wanted him to say, in order to stop the torture from continuing.

So, in order to prop up its flimsy, pathetic, pathological case to invade Iraq (which was really about solving Preznit Toad-Exploder's Oedipal conflicts), we tortured someone until he said what we wanted him to say, which he did, until we stopped torturing him, when he ceased to say what we wanted him to say. Got that?

Once Libi was at the mercy of the pro-torture Egyptians, he suddenly began making new, specific, politically useful assertions: that Iraq trained Al-Qaeda members "to use biological and chemical weapons."

Later, these coerced assertions began making their way into pre-war pro-war statements by Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and other senior officials, reaching their zenith when President Bush asserted in October 2002 that "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."

Yuh, well, rip my fingernails out, buddy, and I'll tell you that up is down, too.

Oh, I forgot. This is Bushworld. Up IS down. War IS peace.

And . . . Big Brother loves you.

P.S. In the same vein, please pay a visit to Mark Fiori's POKIE THE PUNISHER.

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Footing the Bill for CIA Torture Flights


The Guardian

"Mamdouh Habib, 49, an Australian citizen, was caught up in the rendition system after being arrested near the Pakistani-Afghan border shortly after the 9/11 attacks. His lawyers say he was bundled aboard a small jet by men speaking English with American accents and flown to Egypt, the country where he was born. For the next six months, they say, he was held in a Cairo jail, where he was hung from hooks, beaten, given shocks from an electric cattle prod, and told he was to be raped by dogs.

Habib also says that he was shackled and forced into three torture chambers: one filled with water up to his chin, requiring him to stand on tiptoe for hours, a second with a low ceiling and two feet of water, forcing him into a painful stoop, and a third with a few inches of water, and within sight of an electric generator which his captors said would be used to electrocute him. He made statements - which he has since withdrawn - declaring that he had helped train the 9/11 attackers in martial arts. Habib was moved to Afghanistan and then to Guantánamo. Last January he was released without charge and allowed to return to his wife and three children in Sydney.

Maher Arar, 34, a Canadian citizen, was seized in September 2002 while travelling through JFK airport in New York, on his way home after a holiday in Tunisia. After being questioned for 13 days about a terrorism suspect - the brother of a work colleague - he was handcuffed, placed in leg irons, and put aboard an executive jet. Hearing the crew describe themselves as members of the "special removals unit", and discovering he was bound for Syria, the country where he was born, he begged them to return to the US. The crew, he says, ignored his pleas and suggested he watch a spy film that was being shown on board. After landing in Jordan, Arar says he was driven to Syria, where he was held in a small underground cell which he likened to a grave. His hands were repeatedly whipped with cables, he says. He added that he would eventually confess to anything put to him. Arar was released a year later after the Canadian government took up his case. The Syrian ambassador in Washington announced that no terrorist links had been found. Arar is suing the US government.

Amnesty International has highlighted the plight of two Yemeni friends, Salah Nasser Salim 'Ali, 27, and Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah, 37, arrested separately in August 2003. Salah was detained in Indonesia, then flown to Jordan, where Muhammad was already under arrest. They say they were hung upside down and beaten for several days, before being flown to an unknown country about four hours' flying distance.

Neither man knew that the other was under arrest, but both described being detained in solitary confinement in an old underground prison, staffed by masked American guards, where western music was played in their cells 24 hours a day. Both men say they were moved after eight months, spending around three hours in a small aircraft, and then a helicopter, before being taken to another underground prison, this time modern, with air conditioning and surveillance cameras in the cells. This too was run by Americans, they say. The two men were returned to Yemen last May, but remain in custody. Amnesty says Yemeni officials have said they are being held at the request of US authorities. "What we have heard from these two men is just one small part of the much broader picture of US secret detentions around the world," said Sharon Critoph, the Amnesty researcher who interviewed them in Yemen.

Ahmed Agiza, 43, a doctor, and Muhammad Zery, 36, were abducted in Stockholm in December 2001, with the connivance of the Swedish government. . .

According to evidence to a Swedish parliamentary inquiry last year, they were taken to Bromma airport, Stockholm, by uniformed Swedish police and Americans wearing suits. They were stripped, searched, sedated and dressed in boiler suits and hoods. They were shackled and bundled on to a Gulfstream 5 executive jet, before being flown to Cairo. This aircraft has flown in and out of the UK at least 60 times since December 2001, most recently with a new tail number. Senior Swedish police officers told the parliamentary inquiry the aircraft was operated by the CIA.

Both men later told relatives and Swedish diplomats that they were subjected to electric shock torture in Egypt."

We're spreadin' democracy. Yessiree.

Democracy, democracy 'n freedom!

Heheheheh. Yep.

How about this, from The Observer? Will this make you forget about the horrid, pervasive War on Christmas, or will it not? Just asking.


"An Ethiopian student who lived in London claims that he was brutally tortured with the involvement of British and US intelligence agencies.

Binyam Mohammed, 27, says he spent nearly three years in the CIA's network of 'black sites'. In Morocco he claims he underwent the strappado torture of being hung for hours from his wrists, and scalpel cuts to his chest and penis and that a CIA officer was a regular interrogator."

Freedom's on the march.

Freedom's marchin'. Spreadin'.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bubble Boy Brings Home Heroes' Corpses as Excess Baggage

Just how nauseated can one get?


"Family Upset Over Marine's Body Arriving As Freight

Marine Bodies Sent To Families On Commercial Airliners

SAN DIEGO -- There's controversy over how the military is transporting the bodies of service members killed overseas, 10News reported.

A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.

Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag -- greeted by a color guard.

But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners -- stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.
Click here to find out more!

John Holley and his wife, Stacey, were stunned when they found out the body of their only child, Matthew, who died in Iraq last month, would be arriving at Lindbergh Field as freight.

"When someone dies in combat, they need to give them due respect they deserve for (the) sacrifice they made," said John Holley.

John and Stacey Holley, who were both in the Army, made some calls, and with the help of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Matthew was greeted with honor and respect.

"Our familiarity with military protocol and things of that sort allowed us to kind of put our foot down -- we're not sure other parents have that same knowledge," said Stacey Holley.

The Holleys now want to make sure every fallen hero gets the proper welcome.

The bodies of dead service members arrive at Dover Air Force Base.

From that point, they are sent to their families on commercial airliners.

Reporters from 10News called the Defense Department for an explanation. A representative said she did not know why this is happening."

Why is this happening?

Because Bubble Boy started a war based on an Oedipal feud with his own Dad.

Because Preznit Toad-Exploder can't face the fact that he's killing thousands of his own people and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Because Preznit lacks the cojones to take responsibility for his bringing moral and fiscal bankruptcy to America.

Gee. Who was our last peace and prosperity president? Oh, that would be Clinton, would it not?

War and Poverty Preznits are so much more -- deep. Are they not?


Eugene McCarthy, Democrat With Brains & Cojones, Dies

Boston Globe
-- Former Minnesota Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, whose insurgent campaign toppled a sitting president in 1968 and forced the Democratic Party to take seriously his message against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 89.

. . . Eugene McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination during growing debate over the Vietnam War. The challenge led to Johnson's withdrawal from the race.

The former college professor, who ran for president five times in all, was in some ways an atypical politician, a man with a witty, erudite speaking style who wrote poetry in his spare time and was the author of several books.

"He was thoughtful and he was principled and he was compassionate and he had a good sense of humor," his son said.

Rest in peace, Gene.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Horror! The Horror! O'Reilly Revealed as Self-Proclaimed Horrorist!! (GITMO FOR CHRISTMAS!)


Now we've moved from TERR-OR to HORR-OR, thanks to the guy who can't tell a loofah from a felafel, such that it all becomes so much more CLEAR-er.

Here's what the person some say is a megalomaniacal phone-sex enthusiast said of late:


am not going to let oppressive, totalitarian, (Wait. Are not the American Taliban Totalitarians of America the true totalitarians?)

anti-Christian forces in this country diminish and denigrate the holiday and the celebration. I am not going to let it happen. [this would be the megalomaniacal part)


gonna use all the power that


have on radio and television to bring horror (SYN. FOR TERROR)

into the world of people who are trying to do that.

And we have succeeded (megalomania).

You know we've succeeded (meg.).

They are on the run in corporations, in the media, everywhere. They are on the run, because I will put their face and their name on television, and I will talk about them on the radio if they do it (MEGMEGMEG).

There is no reason on this earth that all of us [WHAT YOU MEAN 'WE,' WHITE MAN?)

cannot celebrate a public holiday devoted to generosity, peace, and love together. There is no reason on the earth that we can't do that.

So we are going to do it. And anyone who tries to stop us from doing it is gonna face me. [YUHH, AND ANYONE WHO FAILS TO CELEBRATE BUDDHA'S BIRTHDAY IS GONNA FACE ME, BIG-TIME. AND I CAN TELL A LOOFAH FROM A FELAFEL BTW]."

Thus spake he who some say is a megalomaniacal phone-sex enthusiast, one Bill O'Reilly.

Okey-dokey, then, and a Very Merry Ole Christmas to you, too, Mr. Felafel-brain (no offense to felafels).

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm totally psyched for this new American war on horror.

A war on
right-wing horror.


The war on horror: Coulter, Condi, Scooter "What-Kind-of-Name-is-That-for-a-Grown- Man?" Libby.

The mega-horrorists: Preznit Toad-Exploder (referring to his confirmed history of cruelty to animals), Dogbeater Dobson (referring to his confirmed history to cruelty to animals and his advocacy of the whipping with whips of toddlers), Gulag-Geezer Rummy (referring to his ongoing espousal of the torture of human beings).

The horror, the horrors: Big Dick "Fuck You,& Yr. Genevas, Too" Cheney, "Hasta La Vista, Genevas!" Gonzalez, and 'I Heart JimmyJeffGannon Guckert' Karl "Grease-geek!" Rove.


It's time. It's past time!

The war on horror embodies the TRUE spirit of Christmas!

Join us! Now! END horror in our lifetime!

Clean House -- 2006 -- and Senate!

Send Bubble Boy, Cheney, Rummy, and all the torturers to jail!

In Gitmo!

For Christmas!

Gitmo for Christmas! Gitmo for Christmas!


Sunday, December 04, 2005


As American women's rights continue to sink back toward the sixth century, we have a judge in Oregon prosecuting a gang-rape survivor for making "false accusations" because SHE DIDN'T ACT TRAUMATIZED ENOUGH.

Got that?

Sans weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth--there is no rape. Unless one behaves as the body politic believes one should behave after rape, there is no rape.

That's the fantasy, anyhow, the fantasy of die-hard "she-asked-for-it" rape denialists, who continue to take blame-the-victim-ism to new lows.


Teen never recants, and her lawyer says the verdict may stop others from reporting sex crimes

(via Shakespeare's Sister)

BEAVERTON -- A municipal judge found a 19-year-old woman guilty Friday of filing a false police report after she said she was raped by three young men.

Even though the woman never said she lied or recanted her story, city prosecutors say they took the unusual step of filing charges against her because of the seriousness of her accusations.

The woman's attorney and advocates for rape victims say the prosecution sets a dangerous precedent and could discourage others from reporting sexual assaults

"This will have a huge chilling effect on men and women across the board," said Erin Ellis, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Washington County. "We're sliding backwards."

After a day-and-a-half trial, Municipal Judge Peter A. Ackerman on Friday convicted the woman of filing a false police report, a class-C misdemeanor. Ackerman explained his decision, saying there were many inconsistencies in the stories of the four, but that he found the young men to be more credible. He also said he relied on the testimony of a Beaverton police detective and the woman's friends who said she did not act traumatized in the days following the incident.

[Judge Ackerman no doubt possesses clinical licensure with particular experience in post-traumatic stress disorder, as do the woman's 'friends'.]

The woman's lawyer, Jeff Napoli, said he plans to appeal the case to Washington County Circuit Court, where a new trial would be held.

The woman, who was 17 at the time of the April 30, 2004, incident, testified Friday that she was attacked by an 18-year-old boyfriend and his two friends. She said she was in the boyfriend's bedroom preparing to go to a party when she was sexually assaulted by the men.

The three men testified Thursday that the acts were consensual and at the girl's initiation.

The Oregonian is not publishing the names of the woman or the three men because the case remains unresolved and involves allegations of sexual assault.

The Washington County District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute the case against the men. Robert Hermann, the county's district attorney, said prosecutors reviewed all the information and statements but didn't think they could prove a rape allegation.

It's easy to see why rape is an underreported crime, and why rape crisis counselors frequently advise clients not to pursue charges.

But this case is particularly egregious, depending, as it does, on clinical judgments being made by people who are not clinically trained--e.g., the judge, and the two 'friends.'

What are the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder? Numbing/avoidance, autonomic hyperarousal (panic, anxiety, hypervigilance, rage, irritability, etc.), and intrusions (flashbacks/nightmares).


Initially, most sexual assault victims react with shock and disbelief. You may feel numb and dazed, withdrawn and distant from other people. You may want to forget about what happened and avoid people or situations that remind you of the assault.

The young woman's symptom, as described in this article, (and she may well have others) fall under the first category. Contrary to the judgment of the judge, her behavior was perfectly consistent with a post-traumatic reaction.

The judge rendered an opinion based on his own clearly erroneous understanding.

I hope the young woman sues the crap out of everyone she can.

Friday, December 02, 2005

War. What is it good for? Mental Health! (Well, If You Live in BushWorld)

More breathtakingly arrogant, wholly ridiculous, nipcheese Bushist fascist spin here:

From Wounds, Inner Strength
Some Veterans Feel Lives Enlarged by Wartime Suffering

As Hilbert Caesar told his harrowing war story one night recently in the living room of his apartment, he patted the artificial limb sticking from a leg of his business suit. "This, right here," he said, "this is a minor setback."

Eighteen months after Caesar's right leg was mangled by a roadside bomb near Baghdad, and after weeks of coming to terms with what he thought was the end of his life, the former Army staff sergeant believes he has emerged a richer person -- wiser, more compassionate and more appreciative of life. . .

Although the shattering psychological impact of war is well known, experts have become increasingly interested in those who emerge from combat feeling enhanced. Some psychiatrists and psychologists believe that those soldiers have experienced a phenomenon known as "post-traumatic growth," or "adversarial" growth .

Although war left him with a leg of plastic and steel, Caesar, 28, of Silver Spring, appears to be among those who return home with psyche intact and a sense that they are in some mysterious way improved.

"I'm the same person," he said, "but I'm a different person now."

Combat's potential to inflict psychic wounds has been recognized as far back as the ancient Greeks, but so has its ability to exhilarate, intoxicate and instruct those who experience it, experts say."

"Some experts" assert that war is good for you?

Oh, gee, would that be those experts with a financial and political interest in minimizing the damage to troops that Bubble Boy's Iraq War of Choice has done, and continues to do? Ya think?

The new War-Is-Good-For-You is cavalier Bushist Up-Is-Down-ism at its smarmy best: a way of suggesting they're supporting the troops, while actually undermining them.

It's classic Karl Rovery, cueing the War is Good-niks to swarm out of the woodwork, buzzing that PTSD is for pussies, and that if you're mangled and depressed and suicidal after combat, it's your own damn fault.

Not enough testosterone. Get a grip, boy. Get Patton to slap some sense into you.

Say, haven't we been down this road before?

Yuh. We can revisit the recent Bushist attempts to save money by un-diagnosing veterans with PTSD: "Dirty Bush to Vets: First We Maim Your Minds, Then We Dump You." That was a corker of a campaign.

But really, they've outdone themselves this time in their blame-the-victim-ism.

Get it? In the Bush universe, not only is dirty air really clean air, and polluted water quite pristine, deficits really surpluses, but--war doesn't actually suck!

Why, so long as you're macho enough, if war doesn't killya, it makes ya stronger!

Macho men and women. Gggrrrgh!

First the black-heart neo-cons conjure up a war, just to prove they can.

Then their black-heart neo-con war maims troops' minds and bodies.

But then, if troops' suffer--it's their own damn fault! They're weakling swine. Get it?


You go, Preznit Toad-Exploder! You create that reality!

You go, guy! Grrgggh!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Whole Lotta Smitin' Goin' On (Or--Is Pat Robertson SATAN??)

Is Pat Robertson Satan?

I mean, he's certainly Satanic.

Here's a guy who says he's a preacher of the Lord, but he's breaking God's Ninth Commandment, advocating the breaking of God's Sixth Commandment (See "Robertson Calls For Chavez Murder: God's Sixth Commandment Not Good Enough for Anti-Christ-ist Crackpot Right"), fervently praying for Supreme Court Justices to drop dead, advocating the breaking of the Golden Rule while ignoring if not contravening virtually all of the actual teachings of the actual Jesus Christ.

He's the guy who memorably said: "(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

"Rev." Robertson also points out that "Presbyterians are the spirit of the Anti-Christ."

So, ok, ok, ok, he's Satanic, but is he actually Satan?

This urgent, burning question arises due to Pat Robertson's recent prophetic-wannabe comments to the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania.


'On today’s 700 Club, Rev. Pat Robertson took the opportunity to strongly rebuke voters in Dover, PA who removed from office school board members who supported teaching faith-based 'intelligent design' and instead elected Democrats who opposed bringing up the possibility of a Creator in the school system’s science curriculum.

Rev. Robertson warned the people of Dover that God might forsake the town because of the vote . . . [saying], "I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there.'"

So he's claiming to know what God's gonna do, because God, I guess, tells him.

But, as I recently wrote to Rev. Robertson--what if that voice in his head belongs to--Satan?

Don't you think God might just get pissed off enough to smite this guy, big-time? Squash him down like a bug?


Or, forget about Pat hearing the voice of Satan and then doing his bidding, worse yet, what if "Pat Robertson" is actually Old Scratch, Beelzebub himself--in human drag?

We need to work this out, boys and girls. Discuss. Ponder. Vote!

(Vote via comments below).

Is Pat Robertson--Satan?

Or is he--the Anti-Christ?

Reference re the Anti-Christ:

"Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist (2 John 1:7, ESV.)"

Here it seems to describe any false teacher or false prophet or corrupter of the Christian faith, but sometimes also seems to indicate a specific person or a single spirit of deception that motivates false teaching, and whose presence is a sign of the end times. However, in popular understanding, many Christians identify this particular Antichrist with the man of sin or son of perdition mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2, and with several figures in the Book of Revelation including the Dragon, the Beast, the False Prophet, and the Whore of Babylon. The Antichrist is variously understood to be a group or organization, such as a consummately evil system of government or a false religion; or, more commonly, as an individual, such as an evil government leader, a religious leader that sets up false worship in place of the worship of Christ, the incarnation of Satan, a son of Satan, or a human being under the dominion of Satan."