"W" getting all his torture and death squad ducks in a row.
"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."
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.