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Lets's talk about democracy
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Saturday, 2 April 2005
The Pope is dead, no wait, he's alive, no wait, he's dead...

So the media goes from Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to the Pope's feeding tube, just like that.

Shouldn't W and Tom DeLay be making sure John Paul II is getting all the help he needs to live forever?

After all, I just saw a headline that said he was half responsible for the fall of communism.

"We know what the pope has achieved. Fifty percent of the collapse of communism is his doing,"
(Lech) Walesa told The Associated Press on Friday. "More than one year after he spoke these words, we were able to organize 10 million people for strikes, protests and negotiations.

[Naturally, the other half was Reagan.]

"Earlier we tried, I tried, and we couldn't do it. These are facts. Of course, communism would have fallen, but much later and in a bloody way. He was a gift from the heavens to us."

{Funny, a few weeks ago when George Kennan died, they said it was he who foresaw the inevitable fall of communism based on their messed up system.)

Too bad he lost his MOJO these past few years and people in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan had to do it all by themselves.

He wasn't too hot on liberating people from right- wing regimes it seems. In the eighties, many catholics sought out his help in ending brutal central American death squads, but he was no where to be found.

Jesuits and arch-bishops and nuns were slaughtered in El Salvidor, but it seems John Paul was too busy trying to review Galileo's's heresies. (From 1630.)

You know, that whole earth revolving around the sun controversy.

The Catholics have an answer and are firmly in control of reality.

"...Satan carries on his plans for disorder in the world to bring down the Church and destroy souls. A false science, condemned by Vatican I Council, continues to deceive many Catholics who strive to reconcile this false science with the truths of Faith.

Unfortunately, they are aided and abetted by apostate theologians. But such an unnatural yoking of truth with error cannot hold for long, and Our Lady has promised that at the last, Her Immaculate Heart will triumph. The truth of God, Her Spouse the Holy Spirit, and Her unparalleled Purity are really the same."

Amen to that, crazy person. Bring on the middle ages again, I'm ready.

GALILEO'S HERESY

by Paula Haigh
"Now that the traditional teaching of the Church about Creation and a literal reading of Genesis is being vindicated with the downfall of Darwinism, so also the traditional teaching about the structure of the universe is being admitted in various ways, and Catholics should know about it.

The first of these is included in the extensive scientific work of the French Catholic scholar, Fernand Crombette (d.1970). His works have not yet been translated but some of them have been expounded in English, and all may be obtained from the Cercle Scientifique et Historique[CESHE].(1)

"The Bible does not make mistakes" was the watchword of this gifted Catholic scientist.(2) Secondly, there is the first-rate paper by Solange Hertz (3) entitled Recanting Galileo." [Crazy Galileo!]

Paula goes on to assure us:

"Lastly, there has recently appeared The Earth is Not Moving by Marshall Hall(7). His is a quintessentially popular treatment of this difficult subject, and he must be given much credit for bringing the arcana of modern mathematical physics down to the level of us scientifically illiterate mortals. Whatever may be the shortcomings of Hall's book, it is impossible not to enjoy his literary panache."

In order to prove to the disbelieving dolts that the earth isn't moving, one would need to have some panache.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:19 AM EST
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Friday, 1 April 2005
Iranian exiles just want freedom! (Even if they are terrorists.)

Wasn't I just writing about Iranian "exiles" and up pops a story about the "National Council of Resistance of Iran" (NCRI) telling the U.S. the Iranian government spent "$2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads last year.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exile group that wants to oust Iran's clerical rulers, said Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had told the defense minister to take steps to obtain nuclear warheads.

"In mid-2004, Khamenei allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads," Mohammad Mohaddessin of the NCRI told a news conference in Paris."

The problen with the NCRI is that it is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

wikipedia says the NCRI is associated with

"...The Mojahedin-e-Khalq...(which) is also known as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the Mujahideen al-Khalq, the Mujahideen al-Khalq Organization (MKO), or The People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI).

Its armed wing is called the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA). The organization, which was founded in 1965, is today a violent guerrilla group that opposes the Islamic Iranian government.

The MKO has been officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States and is proscribed in the European Union, though the movement claims to be a "patriotic, Muslim and democratic organization".

The MKO began life as one of the most radical factions opposed to the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and during the 1970s carried out violent attacks against that regime. Some also blame the group for attacks on American interests and the murder of Americans during that time."

Shaking hands with Saddam:

But hey, we did buisness with Osama Bin Laden and Saddam, so how bad can these guys be? Plus, whoever is against the Mullahs is a friend of ours. [Iraq's determination to gas the Iranians into the stone age provided positive atmospherics to U.S./Iraq talks.]

:
At one time Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism but that all went away too...

"A State Department background paper dated November 16, 1984 said that Iraq had stopped using chemical weapons after a November 1983 demarche from the U.S., but had resumed their use in February 1984.

On November 26, 1984, Iraq and the U.S. restored diplomatic relations.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in Washington for the formal resumption of ties, met with Secretary of State George Shultz.

When their discussion turned to the Iran-Iraq war, Aziz said that his country was satisfied that "the U.S. analysis of the war's threat to regional stability is 'in agreement in principle' with Iraq's."

What the hell ever happened to Tariq Aziz anyway?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:23 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2005 12:40 AM EST
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Thursday, 31 March 2005
They're all dead, Bush was just wrong.

"The commission on the intelligence capabilities of the United States regarding weapons of mass destruction" released it final report today. W was right there chumming it up with the members, which includes Chuck Robb one of our dumber former senators.

Turns out the intelligence community was "dead wrong" on Iraq's WMD. We need yet another commission to tell us that??

Of course, W is right there because it blames the CIA and not his band of neocon wackos at the Office of Special Plans, where intelligence was manufactured and apostates who questioned the reliability of Ahmad Chalabi and his buddies like "curveball" were ignored.

The NY Times writes:

"The false assumptions about Iraq's arsenal were not the result of deliberate distortion, nor were they influenced by pressure from outside the agencies, the Silberman-Robb commission said. [This is why Bush likes this report.]

Rather, it said, they came about because the intelligence bureaucracy collected far too little information, "and much of what they did collect was either worthless or misleading." [See Office of Special Plans.]

[In 1995 the IAEA and the Iraq weapons inspectors interviewed Hussein Kemal, Saddam's son in law and in charge of the Iraqi WMD program. He basically told them all Saddam's weapon has been destroyed shortly after the Gulf War. But this piece of crucial intelligence was totally ignored.]

The WaPo writes further:

"...the report notes, before the speech by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003, the CIA failed to provide information "casting serious doubt on the reliability" of intelligence about Iraq's alleged mobile biological facilities initially obtained from an Iraqi defector. [Curveball.]

The analysts who helped prepare Powell's speech were unaware that, as the commission's report puts it, the defector was "lying" and that he was the single source for that information, which became a central feature of Powell's" presentation.

He must have had some clue because the Guardian reported in June 2003:

"Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, was so disturbed about questionable American intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that he assembled a secret team to review the information he was given before he made a crucial speech to the UN security council on February 5 (2003).

At one point, he became so angry at the lack of adequate sourcing to intelligence claims that he declared: "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."

Well, he did anyway.

The WaPO report goes on to say:

"The panel also criticized the daily intelligence reports that Bush received before the Iraqi war -- known as the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) -- for being "more alarmist and less nuanced" in headlines and contents than longer studies, such as the National Intelligence Estimates.

It said the reports never cast doubt on prior information provided to Bush on Iraqi weapons programs when such doubts turned up and thus "seemed to be 'selling' intelligence in order to keep its customers, or at least the First Customer, interested."

The PDB, it concluded was "disastrously one-sided."

This all happened in a vacuum of course. W (The first customer) didn't know anything.

Real men are going to Tehran.

Not that we're going to learn anything from this commission. Cheney and Co. are gearing up for war in Iran. Michael Ledeen, of Iran/Contra fame, is pushing for "regime change" in Tehran and the Shah's son, Reza Pahlavi, is waiting in the wings.

The Iran press service reports:

"(Ledeen) wrote recently that Mr Pahlavi was the suitable leader for the peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy, describing him as "widely admired inside Iran, despite his refreshing lack of avidity for power or wealth".

In Congress, the monarchists have also found an audience. Draft legislation sponsored by Sam Brownback, Republican senator for Kansas, would channel tens of millions of dollars to royalist television and radio stations that beam calls for insurrection from Los Angeles to audiences in Iran.

Mr Pahlavi, who has advocated a referendum in Iran on the return of the monarchy and says he is committed to democracy, arouses mixed passions in his homeland as well as among the exiled community concentrated in California.

Analysts say supporters of Reza Pahlavi, the Virginia-based son of the last Shah of Iran, see a role model in Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress who is backed by powerful figures in the Pentagon as a future leader in Baghdad committed to a secular, pro-western democracy."

The Christian Science Monitor says all this war talk from Washington has the Iranians getting ready for war.

"In preparation for any strike on its budding nuclear facilities, Iran is making clear that the price will be high - burnishing its military forces, boosting its missile program, and warning of a painful response against US and Israeli targets in the region.

"They see a fight coming, regardless of what they do, so they are getting ready for it," says a European diplomat in Tehran, referring to ideologues who think a US invasion is a "very real prospect."
Analysts say any military action by the US could boost unpopular conservatives.

"Iranians are very patriotic, and though there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the regime, they oppose an attack," says Nasser Hadian-Jazy, a political scientist at Tehran University with close ties to the Khatami government. "It would be like Sept. 11 in the US, which brought the neocons into power. A US attack could bring our neocons into power."

(Expect to see Iranian "exiles" protesting in front of the White House before shock and awe 2005 begins.)

Does Iran have any reason to be paranoid?

I mean, W said the idea of us attacking was "simply ridiculous." Oh yeah, then he said all options were on the table. I think he must have been talking to Ariel Sharon because. the Sunday Times of London for March 13, 2005 wrote:

"Israeli troops are training for an assault on Iran's nuclear facilities...

For the past few months, elite Israeli commandos have been training for an assault on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The news that Israel is planning unilateral action to end what it considers an imminent Iranian nuclear threat comes as American and European diplomats are announcing new initiatives for negotiation with Tehran.

Although publicly committed to the diplomatic effort, Israeli officials say the "point of no return" will come later this year when they calculate Iran will be in a position to start processing uranium. They say Ariel Sharon's inner cabinet has decided to act alone if the impasse has not been broken.

"If all efforts to persuade Iran to drop its plans to produce nuclear weapons should fail, the US administration will authorize Israel to attack," said one Israeli security source.

Israeli special forces have been operating a listening post close to the Iranian border in Iraqi Kurdistan.

It is also said to have deployed intelligence-gathering [Or nuclear armed] submarines in the Gulf and sent special forces on spying missions. The Israeli Ofek-6 spy satellite - previously used to monitor Saddam Hussein's Iraq -has also been moved to an Iranian orbit.

Unlike Osirak, the Israelis are said this time to be co-ordinating with American forces. They have no choice. Any air-launched attack on Iran would send Israeli warplanes over Turkey and close to Iraqi airspace, currently controlled by the Pentagon. Both Washington and Jerusalem know that whoever carries out any attack, the world will see it as a joint conspiracy.

Israel may be trying to put pressure on Bush amid concerns that the US is going "soft" on Iran in the interests of transatlantic harmony. Some analysts believe that if Washington concludes an Israeli attack is inevitable, US forces will be obliged to act in the hope of saving the Middle East peace process."

So even if our intelligence sucks and we aren't bamboozled into another war, Israel will make it unavoidable.

Just wait until the American people are forced into another war to protect Israel!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:20 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005 9:54 PM EST
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Wednesday, 30 March 2005
Lula? Lula said what?

I thought today's State Dept. briefing with deputy spokesperson Adam Ereli was amusing:

Regarding a question on Venezuela:

QUESTION: Okay. In his speech yesterday in Venezuela, President Lula (Of Brazil) openly criticized what he called the U.S. defamation and insinuation against President Chavez. He also said that, "Venezuela has the right to be a sovereign country." Do you have comments on this?

MR. ERELI: These are comments by President Lula?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. ERELI: Of Brazil?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. ERELI: I didn't see those comments or his speech so I really don't want to respond to the question in that way. What I would tell you is that the issue for the United States is actions that Venezuela takes, policies that Venezuela follows, that are contrary to the principles of democracy, human rights and freedom that I think are the -- they are the commonly held values most nations in the hemisphere, number one.

And number two, the importance of taking concrete actions and serious actions to fight narcoterrorism, to fight terrorists, to contribute positively to regional security -- those are areas in which Venezuelan actions cause us concern. Those are areas in which we would encourage action that can allay the concerns of us and other members of the region who look on practices in Venezuela and say these are contrary to norms and standards that we all -- the rest of us -- adhere to.

QUESTION: A follow-up on this?

MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Doesn't it concern the U.S. that Brazil, which is the biggest neighbor in the region, doesn't see Venezuela in the same way as the U.S. does?

MR. ERELI: I don't know if I would accept that characterization as accurate. I think that the United States and Brazil and the other countries in the region have common aspirations for the region in terms of political development, economic development and leadership in solving regional problems, and that that's what we are looking to -- it is those tendencies that we are looking to strengthen in our engagement with hemispheric partners.
Sir.

QUESTION: Could you be more specific about Venezuelan shortcomings with respect to the counter narcotics issue?

MR. ERELI: Not really. I'll look and see what we've said on the past, but off the top of my head I can't give you a detailed answer."

Perhaps the reason Adam can't be more specific is because there is no connection to narco terrorism in Venezuela. If anything the Chavez government has the been the constant victim of U.S. interference.

And didn't the Colombians violate Venezuelan sovereignty by kidnapping one of their rebels on Venezuelan soil?

The Boston Globe reported:

"Colombian authorities battling rebels in a four-decades-old war say they seized Rodrigo Granda, the foreign relations chief of the FA RC rebel group, in Colombia on Dec. 13.

But a Venezuelan inquiry indicates he was illegally abducted from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, apparently by Colombian agents helped by rogue Venezuelan colleagues.

Chavez has stayed silent, but if the kidnap were confirmed it could strain relations with Colombia, which have been soured in the past by disputes over security.

It also would lead to pressure from the president's leftist supporters for him to deal with this interference in Venezuela's affairs from a strong US ally."

Hugo Chavez eventually smoothed things over with Columbia, who actually has been friendlier with Chavez these days.

Principles of democracy?

Ereli said "actions that Venezuela takes, policies that Venezuela follows, that are contrary to the principles of democracy," which is interesting since it was U.S. supported NGOs who engineered a coup against Chavez in 2002. That's not very democratic.

The State Department's's inspector general found the U.S. had an involvement in the coup through the work of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

According to the CATO Institute:

(The)"NED which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement, is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment, the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements."

The U.S. acted as if they knew nothing about the coup but:

" CIA Senior Intelligence Brief dated April 6, 2002 ( MORI DocID:1136214), reads, in pertinent part: ?Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month?

To provoke military action, plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month or ongoing strikes at the state-owned oil company PDVSA."

On April 21, 2002 the Observer reported:

"...officials at the Organization of American States and other diplomatic sources, talking to The Observer, assert that the US administration was not only aware the coup was about to take place, but had sanctioned it, presuming it to be destined for success."

Imagine that. The U.S. would never try to overthrow a government in Latin America, would it?

The fact that the country provides the world's 5th largest supply of oil can't have anything to do with the Bush administration's dislike of the Chavez government.

Last year the NED tried again through "referendum" to recall Chavez. That sort of nonsense may fly in California but not in Venezuela.

The results showed overwhelming support for Hugo Chavez.

MSNBC: Aug. 16, 2004

"With 94 percent of the votes counted, Chavez had 58 percent of the vote and the opposition 42 percent, Francisco Carrasquero, president of the National Elections Council, said ahead of the news from the monitoring team.

The victory stunned opposition figures who have fought for years to oust Chavez and will likely give him an even broader mandate for his ?revolution for the poor.?

Chavez is seen as a hero by Venezuela?s majority poor but as an authoritarian by his critics, particularly among the wealthy.

Though the opposition swiftly rejected the results, saying they were fraudulent, (Former president Jimmy)Carter and the head of the Organization of American States, who led observer teams, said the voting appeared clean.

Carter said the partial results announced Monday morning by election officials showing a wide margin of victory for Chavez ?coincided? with his own team?s findings.

?Now it?s the responsibility of all Venezuelans to accept the results and work together for the future,? he said. [Isn't that what the republicans told the democrats after the 2000 election?]

100.000 AK-47s! The hemosphere is in danger!!!!!

Nowadays the U.S. is all about Venezuela buying 100,000 ask-47s from Russia.

The WaPo reported on Feb. 11th:

"The U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said this week that the 100,000 Russian automatic rifles being purchased exceeded the number of Venezuela's regular armed forces. [So there is one gun for every soldier we have and that's it?]

"This is a sovereign action by Venezuela which President Chavez's government is not willing to discuss," Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said in a statement.

In his statement, Rangel described the U.S. reaction as "another impertinence from Mr. Bush's government. One has to ask whether the U.S. concern might not stem from the fact that this equipment is being bought in Russia and not in the United States."

Hmmm...good point.

Adam Ereli said:

... (the)weaponry could have a "destabilizing effect" on the hemisphere. [Wow, 100,000 thats alot.] He added that the United States has raised the issue with Russia on a number of occasions.

Asked about the US statement, Russian foreign minister Sergey) Lavrov said that the weapons deal was in line with international law.

"There is nothing to comment about," Lavrov told reporters. "This is part of bilateral ties between Russia and Venezuela, and it doesn't contradict any international norms or international obligations of Russia and Venezuela."

The Interfax news agency last Friday also quoted an unidentified Russian diplomat who said that Moscow was surprised to hear the US complaints against the deal which he described as "biased and unfounded."

And then Rummy chimed in on March 24, 2005

"Rumsfeld, during a four-day trip to Latin America, raised concerns about the reports of Venezuela's rifle purchases Wednesday.

"I can't imagine what's going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s," Rumsfeld said at a news conference in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, which shares a border with Venezuela.

"I can't understand why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s. I personally hope it doesn't happen. I can't imagine, if it did happen, it would be good for the hemisphere," the defense secretary said.

Rumsfeld appeared with Brazil's vice president and defense minister, Jose Alencar, who declined to offer similar criticism of Chavez. Alencar would only say that Brazil respects the right of self-determination of other countries." [Imagine another country lecturing us on another country's right of self determination!]

And now Spain is going to sell them stuff!!!!!

The BBC says:

"(The) Spanish government plans to sell military equipment to Venezuela...

...The deal (involves) ships and transport planes worth 1.3bn euros ($1.7bn; #1bn."

ARRRGH! the hemosphere!!!!

Gasp! Well, as long as they keep the oil coming...

[Note: Chavez is rolling in oil money. (Oil was at $56 a barrel today. I paid $2.16 yesterday ofr a gallon.] He's subsidizing Castro's economy and spending freely on his pet social programs. Venezuelans are paying a dollar for gas, and interestingly enough, the Iraqis are paying 5 cents a gallon, when they can get it. We're, U.S. tax payers, making sure Iraqi gas stays cheap.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:09 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005 9:48 PM EST
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Tuesday, 29 March 2005
An "Arabian Spring" has sprung.

Reuters:

"In a speech in the White House Rose Garden, (president) Bush spoke optimistically about the future of Iraq and said it would serve as an example of freedom in "a long-troubled part of the world."

"The trend is clear, freedom is on the march," Bush said.

Bush has been touting signs of an "Arabian Spring" of advancing democracy in the Middle East early in his second term, citing elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories, peaceful demonstrations against Syria in Lebanon and what he called steps toward democratic reform in Egypt and Saudi Arabia." {Oh yeah, you bet. The democracy is marching in Saudi Arabia all right. Just change Wahhabi to Jeffersonian.]

Meanwhile back in Iraq:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament erupted in acrimony at only its second sitting on Tuesday and journalists were thrown out after lawmakers berated leaders for failing to agree on a new government, two months after historic elections.

As the meeting grew heated, the interim speaker ordered journalists to leave and Iraqi television abruptly switched to Arab music. Allawi walked out of the session shortly afterwords.

"You can say we are in a crisis," Barham Salih, a leading Kurdish politician, told reporters.

Some explosions were heard in Baghdad on Tuesday, where officials had warned residents to prepare for stepped up insurgent attacks.

It was unclear if they caused any damage. During the first National Assembly meeting, on March 16, militants lobbed mortar rounds at the heavily fortified Green Zone in the city's center, where lawmakers held their meeting.

Violence also continued in the rest of the country, with a car bombing in the northern city of Kirkuk that killed one person and injured more than a dozen others, police said.

Three Romanian journalists were kidnapped Monday near their hotel, their employers said. They were identified as reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, 32, and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, 30, of Bucharest-based television station Prima TV, and Romania Libera newspaper reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian, 37.

The three disappeared shortly after an interview with Allawi, said Petre Mihai Bacanu, managing editor of Romania Libera."

Condi pushing for Iraqi bugout?
So everything is going swimmingly. What did Ayad Allawi say right after the elections? The insurgency only had a few months to survive? The race is on to see whether the insurgency ends before a government is formed.

Since it's all roses and puppies, maybe its time to leave. Robert Novack, of all people, thinks he knows what's up in the White House. Seems Condi is no noecon...

"Determination (is) high in the Bush administration to begin irreversible withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq this year is reinforced by the presence at the State Department of the most dominant secretary since Henry Kissinger three decades ago.

Condoleezza Rice is expected to support administration officials who want to leave even if what is left behind does not constitute perfection.

Bush administration sources that the escape from Iraq should begin once a permanent government is in place in Baghdad.

The most obvious change is the improved situation on the ground in Iraq, where it is no longer preposterous to imagine local security forces in control.

...withdrawal from Iraq short of an absolute military victory seems more feasible today than it did last September..."

Speaking of Condi, the Dept. of Stae came out with their Human Rights Report today, slightly late. We sure know how to dish it out, but we can't take it. Nothing about Gitmo, Afghanistan, or Iraq and gross violations of human rights and international law.

Condi is quoted as saying "in all that lies ahead, our nation will continue to clarify for other nations the moral choice between oppression and freedom, and we will make it clear that ultimately success in our relations depends on the treatment of their own people." But we can treat them however we want.

The Guardian recently reported on the horrible situation in Afghanistan regarding our utter lack of respect for any law at all. Not only do we "render people from our prisons around the world to other countries for torture, but we also going into sovereign countries and take people.

"Although the true extent of the US extra-legal network is only now becoming apparent, people began to disappear as early as 2001 when the US asked its allies in Europe and the Middle East to examine their refugee communities in search of possible terror cells...

Among the first to vanish was Ahmed Agiza, an Egyptian asylum seeker who had been living in Sweden with his wife and children for three years. Hanan, Agiza's wife, told us how on December 18 2001 her husband failed to return home from his language class.

"The phone rang at 5pm. It was Ahmed. He said he'd been arrested and then the line went dead. The next day our lawyer told me that Ahmed was being sent back to Egypt. It would be better if he was dead." Agiza and his family had fled Egypt in 1991, after years of persecution, and in absentia he had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court. Hanan said..."

It just goes on and on. Who is responsible for all this? Rummy?

Rummy getting sued again.

Human Rights First has brought suit against Rummy's pentagon torture policies. A press release says:

?Secretary Rumsfeld bears direct and ultimate responsibility for this descent into horror by personally authorizing unlawful interrogation techniques and by abdicating his legal duty to stop torture,? said Lucas Guttentag, lead counsel in the lawsuit and director of the ACLU?s Immigrants? Rights Project.

?He gives lip service to being responsible but has not been held accountable for his actions. This lawsuit puts the blame where it belongs, on the Secretary of Defense.?

Hmmm. This got me wondering. If you read most articles about new revelations coming out because of various organizations asking for documents through the Freedom of Information Act, you keep seeing the same thing.

Rummy is always right a the center of things. For instance...

In a story in the WaPo on "ghost detainees" the aforementioned memo on the FBI complaining to the DoD about their treatment of prisoners revealed the FBI had concerns that...

"...military interrogators at the island prison were using coercive interrogation methods that could compromise any evidence of terrorist activities they obtained.

FBI agents and officials had complained about the shackling of detainees to the floor for periods exceeding 24 hours, without food and water; the draping of a detainee in an Israeli flag; and the use of growling dogs to scare detainees.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who as White House counsel participated in detailed discussions about the legality of aggressive military interrogation techniques, has twice publicly expressed skepticism about the reliability of these FBI accounts. [Isn't he the boss of the Justice Dept?]

But the May 10, 2004, memo, written by an official whose name has not been disclosed, contains a highly detailed account of the efforts that FBI agents made to convince the Defense Department that its interrogation practices were wrongheaded.

They met, for example, with Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who took over the prison in October 2002, and another Army general to "explain our position (Law Enforcement techniques) vs. DOD," the author wrote in a previously disclosed portion of the memo.

"Both agreed the Bureau has their way of doing business and DOD has their marching orders from" Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld."

In another article regarding the heavy redactions of a FBI memo:

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top Army officer in Iraq at the time, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last spring that there was no system of keeping such detainees at Abu Ghraib, but he later acknowledged two cases in which it had happened, including that of one detainee who died in custody and another who was kept without registration at the behest of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld."

How is it that all this was going on and Rummy knew nothing? Never mind he wrote in the margins of a memo laying out various torture methods that he stood up for 8 hours a day what was all this about only making prisoners only stand for four hours... but good gosh golly things have changed since 9-11!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:58 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 March 2005 6:05 PM EST
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Monday, 28 March 2005
Schiavo case winds down. "Medical Terrorism" to end.

Hopefully, Terri Schiavo and her family and the rest of us will soon be able to have some relief from the media circus that has been going on over this tragic episode.

Reports today say some diehards are still at it trying to deliver water to the brain damaged woman even as the family asks them to go away.

"PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Terri Schiavo was given last rites and Easter communion — a drop of wine, but no bread — as protesters hoping to get the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted pledged to take their fight to the president.

Extra police officers blocked the road in front of Schiavo's hospice. Pinellas County school officials said the elementary school next to the hospice would not open Monday. The 600 students were to be sent elsewhere.

"We are Terri's voice. Right now, Terri is fighting for her life," the Rev. Patrick Mahoney angrily shouted Sunday, his face reddening. He pledged to protest outside the White House on Monday."

Yeah, yeah, Mr. Mahoney. I know your sister and she thinks you're way over the top. It's cold and rainy today in D.C., so enjoy it. W is probably still on vacation anyway and he wants to get as far away from this fiasco as possiblle, so what's the point?

Of course, for once in his presidency Bush rushed back to D.C. to sign the Schiavo emergancy bill. He's all about defending life.

That's why it took him 5 days to even mention the Redlake shootings. After all, they're just crazy drunk injuns, right?

No tsunami or memos titled "Bin Laden determined to attck in U.S." could get W to cut vacation short, but when it comes to pandering to a small minority of lunitics, he's right there.

I hear alot of these religeous nut-jobs don't believe in polls and the national media downplayed the lopsided results on this issue: they had to convince their viewers there was a controversy to justify all the feverish breathless reporting going on and on, but let's review.

Survey says!

CBS:

"An overwhelming 82 percent of the public believes the Congress and President should stay out of the matter. There is widespread cynicism about Congress' motives for getting involved: 74 percent say Congress intervened to advance a political agenda, not because they cared what happened to Terri Schiavo.

Public approval of Congress has suffered as a result; at 34 percent, it is the lowest it has been since 1997, dropping from 41 percent last month. Now at 43 percent, President Bush’s approval rating is also lower than it was a month ago."

ABC: (Which they didn't report in thier news coverage on T.V.)

"March 21, 2005 -- Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, with sizable majorities saying Congress is overstepping its bounds for political gain.

That legislative action is distinctly unpopular: Not only do 60 percent oppose it, more — 70 percent — call it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in this way.

And by a lopsided 67 percent-19 percent, most think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved."

And 68% of those identifying themselves as born-again evangelical christians strongly disapproved of the president and congress interfering in this matter.

Right now, there are alot of pissed of moderate republicans in congress. Christopher Shays (R. Conn.) said, "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy." Amen to that.

The democrats in the senate and in the house should be ashamed of themselves. What a bunch of spineless wimps!

But Ton DeLay is no wimp. I hope the 47 democrats that voted for the bill are proud of thier very moral bedfellow.

Here's what DeLay had to say on the subject of Terri Schiavo at a Family Research Council meeting, first revealed by :Americans United for the Separation of Church and State:

"This is exactly the issue that’s going on in America. That attacks against the conservative movement, against me, [It's all about him!] and against many others. The point is, it’s, the other side has figured out how to win and defeat the conservative movement. [If only that were true!]

And that is to go after people, personally charge them with frivolous charges, and link that up with all these do-gooder organizations funded by George Soros, and then, and then get the national media on their side.

That whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only and that’s to destroy the conservative movement."

[Transcript of full rant.]

Perhaps Mr. DeLay should heed his older and wiser colleague in the Senate,

"Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the sole Republican to oppose the Schiavo bill in a voice vote in the Senate, said:

"This senator has learned from many years you've got to separate your own emotions from the duty to support the Constitution of this country. These are fundamental principles of federalism."

"It looks as if it's a wholly Republican exercise," Mr. Warner said, "but in the ranks of the Republican Party, there is not a unanimous view that Congress should be taking this step."

Perhaps DeLay let his emotions get the better of him because he had a similar experience to the Schiavos and Schindlers back in 1988 involving his father:

LA Times:

"...DeLay is among the strongest advocates of keeping the woman, who doctors say has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, connected to her feeding tube. DeLay has denounced Schiavo's husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls "an act of barbarism" in removing the tube.

In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew — we all knew — his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."

Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.

When his father's kidneys failed, the DeLay family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes." His bedside chart carried the instruction: "Do not resuscitate."

One thing you can say about Tom DeLay, as a hypocrite, he's consistant.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:57 AM EST
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Tuesday, 22 February 2005
"Simply ridiculous" silly Europeans!

BRUSSELS,, Belgium - President Bush said Tuesday that it is "simply ridiculous" to assume that the United States has plans to attack Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program after discussing the issue with European allies.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," Bush said."

That has to be reassuring. Especially when you consider the U.S. has been sending spy teams into Iran for over a year and sending spy dromes overhead to test air defenses.

That's not threatening at all.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:34 PM EST
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Saturday, 19 February 2005
Torture and Negroponte, like peanutbutter and chocolate.

We all know the abuses at Abu Ghraib were isolated incidents perpetrated by a few lower level bad apples and certainly Alberto Gonzales' characterization of the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" didn't have any baring on the behavior of those lower down the chain of command.

There is of course the alleged torture of detainees at Gitmo where women soldiers stripped in front of prisoners and pretended to smear menstrual blood on them, and the chaining on the floor for days on end ect. but this is all under investigation. I'm sure the military can investigate themselves, right? (They're "shocked,shocked" there's torture going on here.)

AP::

NEW YORK - Pictures of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posing with hooded and bound detainees during mock executions were destroyed after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq to avoid another public outrage, Army documents released Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union show.

The ACLU said the probe shows the rippling effect of the Abu Ghraib scandal and that efforts to humiliate the enemy might have been more widespread than thought.

"It's increasingly clear that members of the military were aware of the allegations of torture and that efforts were taken to erase evidence, to shut down investigations and to humiliate the detainees in an effort to silence them," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said.


The WaPo:

Members of an Army Special Forces unit allegedly punched, slapped, kicked and beat Afghan civilians in two villages southeast of the capital of Kabul last May, prompting official complaints from two senior Army psychological operations officers who were present and said they witnessed the incidents.

The allegation is detailed in internal Army criminal files, released yesterday, that also document other allegations of abuse in Afghanistan as recent as last year. Previous abuse allegations have mostly concerned U.S. military activities in Iraq in 2003; these documents detail parallel conduct in Afghanistan in 2004.

In one strikingly similar event, the Army last year found about half a dozen photographs that depict masked U.S. soldiers standing with their weapons pointed at the heads of handcuffed and hooded or blindfolded detainees at a base in southern Afghanistan and, in one case, pressing a detainee's head against the wall of a "cage" where he was brought for interrogation.

And after many investigations there is finally an answer to how the "ghost"detainees' corpse wound up in the shower at Abu Ghraib:

According to news reports:

Al-Jamadi was one of the CIA's "ghost" detainees at Abu Ghraib -- prisoners being held secretly by the agency.

His death in November 2003 became public with the release of photos of Abu Ghraib guards giving a thumbs-up over his bruised and puffy-faced corpse, which had been packed in ice. One of those guards was Pvt. Charles Graner, who last month received 10 years in a military prison for abusing detainees.

Al-Jamadi died in a prison shower room during about a half-hour of questioning, before interrogators could extract any information, according to the documents, which consist of statements from Army prison guards to investigators with the military and the CIA's Inspector General's office.

One Army guard, Sgt. Jeffery Frost, said the prisoner's arms were stretched behind him in a way he had never before seen. Frost told investigators he was surprised al-Jamadi's arms "didn't pop out of their sockets," according to a summary of his interview.

Frost and other guards had been summoned to reposition al-Jamadi, who an interrogator said was not cooperating. As the guards released the shackles and lowered al-Jamadi, blood gushed from his mouth "as if a faucet had been turned on," according to the interview summary.

The military pathologist who ruled the case a homicide found several broken ribs and concluded al-Jamadi died from pressure to the chest and difficulty breathing.

According to the statements:

Al-Jamadi was brought naked below the waist to the prison with a CIA interrogator and translator. A green plastic bag covered his head, and plastic cuffs tightly bound his wrists. Guards dressed al-Jamadi in an orange jumpsuit, slapped on metal handcuffs and escorted him to the shower room, a common CIA interrogation spot.

There, the interrogator instructed guards to attach shackles from the prisoner's handcuffs to a barred window. That would let al-Jamadi stand without pain, but if he tried to lower himself, his arms would be stretched above and behind him.

The interrogator told guards that al-Jamadi was "playing possum" -- faking it -- and then watched as guards struggled to get him on his feet. But the guards realized it was useless.

"After we found out he was dead, they were nervous," Spc. Dennis E. Stevanus said of the CIA interrogator and translator. "They didn't know what the hell to do."

Negroponte in Honduras.

Joseph E. Milligan wrote in the L.A. Times in 2001 of John Negroponte's tenure as U.S. ambassador during the contra wars in the 80's.

"According to a 1997 CIA inspector general's report, U.S. officials in Honduras were aware of serious violations of human rights by the Honduran military during the 1980s but did not adequately report this to Congress. A heavily redacted version of the report notes particularly that the U.S. Embassy suppressed sensitive data during Negroponte's time there...

In a section with repeated references to the capture and execution of Jose Maria Reyes Mata, the political leader of the group, the CIA inspector general's report cited a source whose name has been blacked out who "believes that the embassy country team in Honduras wanted reports on subjects such as this to be benign to avoid Congress looking over its shoulders."

Reporting murders, executions and corruption, says the source, would "reflect negatively on Honduras and not be beneficial in carrying out U.S. policy."

The embassy seemed particularly sensitive to reports about the operation in which the two U.S. citizens disappeared, the report said, quoting another source as recalling "a discussion . . . circa 1983 wherein the latter indicated that unspecified individuals at the embassy did not want information concerning human rights abuses . . . to be disseminated because it was viewed as an internal Honduran matter."

This is corroborated by an Aug. 19, 1985, handwritten memo declassified by the State Department: "Fr. Carney case . . . is dead. Front office does not want the case active. . . . We aren't telling that to the family."

The Baltimore Sun reported:

As U.S. ambassador to Honduras and its military-run government from 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was suspected of a key role in carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

The Reagan administration's support of the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in Nicaragua and its sale of missiles to Iran in connection with the U.S. hostages held there turned into the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked President Reagan's second term.

Honduras, itself, was accused of human rights abuses while Negroponte held the ambassador's post. Negroponte's nomination for the U.N. post was confirmed by the Senate in September 2001 only after a half-year delay caused mostly by criticism of his record in Honduras.

For weeks before his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Negroponte was questioned by staff members on whether he had acquiesced to human rights abuses by a Honduran death squad funded and partly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Negroponte testified that he did not believe the abuses were part of a deliberate Honduran government policy. "To this day," he said, "I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras."

But Leo Valladares, a law professor who was Honduras' first human rights commissioner afterward, said, "He knew about the abuses and violations of human rights of those the United States considered subversives."

In a report in 1993, Valladares blamed a U.S.-trained battalion for the disappearance of 184 suspected leftists."

From another Baltimore Sun article quoted at UNWIRE:

"Ambassador Negroponte knew all about the human rights violations and he did nothing to stop them," said Leo Valladares, the human rights commissioner for Honduras who spent years investigating such abuses in the 1980s. "He was more interested in politics than in human rights violations" (Baltimore Sun, 7 Mar)."

See Valladares' congressional testimony to congress.

Negroponte is reported have wanted to leave Iraq and that's how he got the nomination. What a trooper.

WaPoWaPo:

Bush says of Negroponte "His service in Iraq during these past few historic months has given him something that will prove an incalculable advantage for an intelligence chief: an unvarnished and up-close look at a deadly enemy."

[It's amazing what you can learn after a few months firmly secured behind a steel wall encased in concrete blast barriers.]

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters yesterday that he thinks Negroponte has done "an absolutely first-class job in Iraq" and that the ambassador is "clearly an excellent choice" to be intelligence chief.

[And so have you Rummy. If anyone would know about a first-class job it's you.]

Negroponte's name did not arise in the early speculation that swirled around the new intelligence post, which had mentioned former CIA director Robert M. Gates, current CIA Director Porter J. Goss and retired Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks as candidates.

But in the past few weeks, after some candidates were hesitant about the job, the White House focused on Negroponte after it became clear that he wanted to leave his Baghdad post."

See more about Battalion 3-16,,which Negroponte never heard of while they were rampaging through Honduras.

Learn more about the School of The Americas where many death squad leaders got their education, courtesy of the American tax payers.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:59 PM EST
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Thursday, 17 February 2005
Torture and rendition all around!
"W" getting all his torture and death squad ducks in a row.

AP reports:

"WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday named John Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and currently the administration's top representative in Iraq to be America's first national intelligence director.

Announcing the move, Bush said that Negroponte understands global intelligence needs because he's had a long career in the foreign service. Bush said he wants Negroponte to be his clearinghouse for intelligence and make decisions on the intelligence budgets for 15 government agencies.

"John will make sure that those whose duty it is to defend America have the information we need to make the right decisions," the president said. [How he gets it is another matter.]

Negroponte's confirmation to the United Nations post was delayed a half-year mostly because of criticism of his record as the U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985.

In Honduras, he played a prominent role in assisting the Contras in Nicaragua in their war with the left-wing Sandinista government.

Human rights groups alleged that Negroponte acquiesced in human rights abuses by Honduran death squads funded and partly trained by the CIA. Negroponte testified during the hearings for the U.N. post that he did not believe death squads were operating in Honduras."

Alleged?

Newsweek reported a while back about the good work he did in Central America and how he was bringing it to Iraq:

NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration's battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s.

Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. [Including catholic nuns.]

Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success--despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras."

24 and torture.

I found this NY Times editorial yesterday interesting. For those of you who have seen the FOX show 24 starring Kiefer Sutherland, you must have noticed the gratuitous torture that goes on.

(Already, Jack Bauer has kneecapped an Arab terrorist, the secretary of defenses' son has been tortured and also a employee of CTU was wrongly accused of treason and tortured.)

As a torture panel testified at the Alberto Gonzales confirmation hearings, torture doesn't work. The oft used "ticking time-bomb scenario" employed on 24 is a myth.

I guess the producers are trying to make people think this is the real world, but these tactics are futile and illegal. Besides, any terrorist, or for that matter U.S. soldier trained to resist, could hold out for alot longer than is depicted on 24. The "ticking time-bomb" scenario is a legal fiction to protect torturers from possible prosecution.

The Times writes in regard to rendition and torture:

The Bush administration still clings to the policy of "extraordinary rendition," the bureaucratic euphemism for sending prisoners to countries where the public and the press don't kick up a fuss about torture. The new attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, defended it in his recent confirmation hearings in the Senate.

That's the stuff of 21st-century fiction, where Kiefer Sutherland saves mankind with a well-placed pistol butt. This is about a system that was hastily conceived, ineptly formulated, incompetently administered and now out of control.

It lowers the humanity of the people who practice it, and the citizens who condone it."

Ahmad Chalabi and the twenty thieves:
(President of the Middle East Policy Council Chas W. Freeman Jr. refered to the Iraqi Governing Council as "Ahmad Chalabi and the Twenty Thieves.")

Jim Hoagland of the WaPo is either very naive or in the employ of Chalabi.

He writes today:

"Chalabi's related -- and relentless -- campaigns to force full accounting for the use of Iraqi funds by the United Nations and by Bremer were among the reasons the former Iraqi exile was targeted for marginalization by the Bush White House...

But Chalabi's anger over squandered billions in Iraqi oil revenue, which was supposed to be under international supervision, is a political plus in post-election Iraq. It helps explain his enhanced standing among Shiite decision makers.

U.S. congressional inquiries, press accounts and Paul Volcker's interim oil-for-food report to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan have all relied heavily on documents provided by Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. Chalabi also was instrumental in publicizing and partially blocking a suspicious $300 million arms deal brokered by the Iraqi defense minister in the Bremer-blessed interim administration.

Ironically, Chalabi's work on the financial chaos of Bremer's authority and on the sanctions-busting smuggling of oil to Syria, Turkey and Jordan -- Chalabi was convicted of fraud by a rigged military court in Jordan -- helps provide U.N. officials with a defense against the oil-for-food accusations: They claim that Washington was complicit in whatever happened before the invasion and has since done no better than they did."

Incredible! Chalabi is the great defender of honest government. That's a new one.

See more about the "rigged military court" in the Guardian.

And an intersting article in Al-Hayat by Jihad Al Khazen, one of Mr. Chalabis many detractors.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:45 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:24 AM EDT
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Monday, 14 February 2005
Kidnappings and Kurds....

The administration sees an in and goes for it. former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was killed today in a car bombing in Beruit. He advocated Syria's withdrawl from the Levant.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday it would consult with U.N. Security Council members about taking punitive measures against those responsible for the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, and to push for an end to Syrian occupation

...in a thinly veiled warning to Damascus, McClellan said: "The United States will consult with other governments in the region and on the Security Council today about measures that can be taken to punish those responsible for this terrorist attack, to end the use of violence and intimidation against the Lebanese people and to restore Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and democracy by freeing it from foreign occupation."

How about doing the same in Iraq? One shouldn't throw stomes in a glass house, they say. No doubt, Syria has no business in Lebanon, but who are we to judge? Seems to me this is more about pressuring Bashir Assad and doing what Israel wants rather than any concern for the Lebanese.

Besides, the Syrians have been very helpful to us. They take our suspected terror suspects and disappear them for us.

Like Mahar Arar for instance. This is a story that has been around for a while but the media is just getting into it now.

The Center For Constitutional Rights

NEW YORK, NY -- December 20, 2004 -- Maher Arar, the Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was secretly sent by U.S. officials to the country he fled many years ago, was honored as Time Magazine Canada's Newsmaker of the year.

On September 26, 2002, Arar was on his way home from a family vacation in Tunisia to his home in Canada when he was pulled aside at JFK airport in New York, detained for 13 days and later deported to Jordan, and then to Syria, where he was tortured repeatedly and held in an underground cell not much larger than a grave for 10 months. He was eventually released, and, working with the Center for Constitutional Rights, launched a media campaign and a lawsuit charging U.S. officials with wrongfully sending him to Syria for interrogation under torture.

Mr. Arar's case was the first publicly-known example of the practice of "rendition" whereby the U.S. sends foreign nationals to be interrogated to third-party countries that engage in torture. News reports have confirmed other instances of rendition but Arar is the only person known to have survived and told his story.

Said CCR President Michael Ratner, "It is a bitter irony that Time Magazine Canada named Maher Arar as its Newsmaker of the Year, while Time Magazine here in the U.S. named the man whose Administration was responsible for Arar's torture."

Extraordinary Rendition:

One would hope the Senate would ask DHS director nominee Michael Chertoff what he knows about the U.S. exporting terror suspects to other countries for torture, but they probably won't.

The Washington Post and the NY Times both have reported on the "torture plane" the CIA uses:


"The Gulfstream V turbojet has been seen at US military bases around the world, often loading up hooded and shackled suspects and delivering them to countries known to use torture, a process the CIA calls "rendition," the Washington daily said.

The Post investigated the ownership of the jet, which has been spotted in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan and which carries the tail number N379P, according to the newspaper

The Post article confirmed much of a November 14 article published in the Sunday Times, of London, which obtained flight plans for the plane, which, the Times said, always departs from Washington, DC and has visited the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where about 550 terror suspects are held."

al-Jazzera goes on...

"The "rendering" of suspects to countries that employ interrogation techniques banned in the US is worrying and could violate the UN Convention on Torture, World Organization for Human Rights USA executive director Morton Sklar said.

Swedish television programme Cold Facts reported that in December 2001, the jet took hooded prisoners to Egypt, according to The Washington Post, which confirmed the Swedish report independently.

The paper said the plane, with hooded crew members speaking with US accents, loaded two Egyptian nationals and took off at 4.30am for Cairo."

And if kidnapping a Canadian citizen wasn't bad enough, the NY Times reports today the U.S. did it to a German too.

"The case is extremely sensitive. A German citizen may have been kidnapped by American agents and illegally taken to Afghanistan. Now, German authorities are quietly investigating the case. But no one here wants it to interfere with US-German rapprochement.

Khaled el-Masri, 41...[t]he father of four claims he was kidnapped by United States agents one year ago in Macedonia, carted off to a prison in Afghanistan, and accused of being an al-Qaida terrorist.

The tress from his do [sic] may be able to confirm his story. Scientists at the Bavarian archive for geology in Munich are currently using a method called isotope analysis, which can search for trace elements such as sulphur, to roughly determine where in the world el-Masri has been in recent months.

Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians University is world famous for the procedure -- in fact, isotope analysis has helped solve many difficult crimes in the past.

According to initial results, el-Masri's story is, in fact, true. Fearing far-reaching global diplomatic consequences, the German government, however, wants to see the case treated rather discretely.

Another key aspect in the big picture is, of course, President George Bush's visit to Mainz next week. Officials feel that nothing should be allowed to cast a shadow over that event, either.

After all, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government just recently sighed in relief when the German federal prosecutor's office dismissed war crimes charges against US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the torture scandal in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison....

...In Germany, the information on el-Masri [as a terror suspect] isn't even enough for authorities to launch an investigation. The situation in the United States is completely different, though: Following Sept. 11, US President George W. Bush has authorized American agents to act outside of all internationally accepted legal norms in the fight against terror."

So much for the rule of law. We can seize anyone anywhere. Imagine what would happen if an American citizen was whisked away from the U.S. by a foreign power. The Japanese are ready to cut off aid over the North Koreans kidnapping Japanese citizens, but we're different. We're spreading freedom.

Kirkuk redux:

As I noted previously, the Kurds in Kirkuk are a major problem that might lead to something much worse than civil war in Iarq.

The Turkish Daily News reports Ankara isn't happy with the Kirds receiving 25 % of the vote.

ANKARA, Feb 13 (AFP) - Turkey said Sunday that the results of the Iraqi elections failed to ensure the fair representation of all ethnic groups in the conflict-ridden country and called for measures to compensate for what it called flaws and irregularities in the electoral process.

Turkey is particularly irked by the strong gains of the two main Kurdish parties in the north of Iraq, which came in second in the elections after the main Shiite alliance with 25.7 percent of the vote and an estimated 71 seats in the 275-member parliament.

The Kurds also won an absolute majority in local polls in the oil-rich city Kirkuk, which many want to see as the capital of a future independent Kurdish state.

Ankara protested when large numbers of Kurds said to have been expelled from Kirkuk under Saddam Hussein were allowed to settle and vote in the city, despite protests by rival ethnic groups that many of them have no bonds with Kirkuk.

"It has become clear that certain elements in Iraq tried to manipulate votes in this historic process and have obtained unjustified gains from this," the Turkish statement said, without giving any names.

Turkey fears that independence-minded Kurdish moves in northern Iraq will embolden separatism across the border in southeastern Turkey, where a Kurdish rebellion has already claimed some 37,000 lives."

The Financial Times reported this weekend most of what there is of an Iraqi National Guard is made up of former Peshmerga, or Kurdish resistance fighters. They are pretty much the only ones with extensive fighting skills:

"Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister and senior official in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) told the FT that after the violence flared in Mosul in November, Kuridsh forces "did move into securing at least the eastern part of the city" (Which is maily Kurdish) and the main roads.

"Now, there are all controlled by the ING but the units are all of Kurdish origin."

The Kurds are mostly Sunni and they don't trust SCIRI, the party that will get most of the seats on the constitutional committee.

"Bruska Shaways, secretary general of Iraqs defense ministry and a senior KDP member says "around 80% of the new officer s above colonel are former Iraqi army.

...Many (Kurds) are wary of rebuilding an army that oppressed Kurds for decades..."It is not in our interest to have a strong Iraqi army, whether it has Kurds in it or not", said a PUK official."

That doesn't bode well. The U.S. is going to have a huge problem on its hands if it doesn't figure out what to do with the Kurds and Kirkuk, forget about the influence of Iran, which likely goes in both directions anyway.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:45 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 28 March 2005 9:02 AM EST
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