Saturday, March 04, 2006

Patriot Act passes, Senate doesn’t give a rat’s ass

In a by-now classic Rovian-doublespeak maneuver, the Senate passed the reauthorization of the horrendous USA Patriot Act, leaving basically intact the most onerous provisions, specifically no-knock, no-tell, warrantless searches. It gags the recipient of a warrant for ONE YEAR before he can go before a judge to complain.

What the hell is civil libertarian about that? Some knuckleheaded FBI freak slaps a FISA on me you had better believe I will start ten new blogs, screaming harassment and prior restraint all over the blogosphere and then we’ll take it to the Supreme Court.

It’s called prior restraint, people, and it is evil. Furthermore, as an unconstitutional law, I am required by moral duty to ignore it, challenge it, and to let as many people as possible know about it.

God damn, I hate politicians.

UAE port deal is typical BushCo operation

Now that the hysteria has died down a little bit and some facts are starting to surface, maybe it’s time we took a long, hard look at this issue of the DP World purchase of the P&O’s port properties, and their possible links to George W Bush and ultimately, it’s effect on national security.

Leaving aside the question of why municipal port facilities are owned by private enterprises in the first place, why is Bush so adamant that this particular sale go through? It’s obviously not in the public interest, as there have been
security flags raised by the Coast Guard, now that they have been prodded to take a second look at the deal, not to mention the rabid arousal of Congressional ire.

Obviously, the Congress should have been involved in a preview of the national security considerations from the beginning. Bear in mind that national security in this case refers not only to the possibility of DP World staging amphibious landings of Islamic jihadists, but also to the larger economic interests, including impact on American labor (as represented by the dockyard workers, shipping companies, etc.), as well as the effects generally on the economy of the United States.

My understanding is that deals involving foreign corporations require some minimal Congressional oversight and approval (but I could be wrong), such as the passage of the law that specially exempted Rupert Murdoch (a foreign-born media mogul) from the laws that bar foreign ownership of American media. (Now that’s a real national security issue that our “liberal” press has failed to report on). Recall that the merger of German automaker Mercedes-Benz with Chrysler required Congressional approval, for instance.

Not to beat about the bush, so to speak, but following the money, the fact of the matter is that this transaction is a typical underhanded and secret Bush family enterprise scam, viz., Bush sr controls the Carlyle Group, the Carlyle Group is invested in heavily by the UAE, and Bush jr is his father’s son.

For all the bells and whistles, go to
William Bowles’ article, ‘Frauds-R-Us’ The Bush Family Saga.

Rounding up the various members of George HW Bush’s family, Bowles breaks down the Bush family criminal history, present day connections and activities, starting with George HW’s theft of Geronimo’s skull, through BCCI and the Contras, to the World Trade Center’s dismal security, managed by son Marvin Bush.

It’s not a pretty story. In fact, it stinks.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The compleat Bush criminal files

Well, I've said it once, twice and I'll say it again: this administration, and in particular, George W Bush, is a criminal enterprise bent on sucking every last dime out of the American taxpayer, and not through taxes, the usual governmental route to civilian bankruptcy.

But finally we have the references indexed and online:

A Nazi in the pocket is worth 4 in the Bush

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dubai ports deal bruha is demagoguery

ZIM California unloading cargo
Why is everybody in such lather about this Dubai port deal?I keep hearing that this is some kind of national security issue. Excuse me, has anybody defined just what the hell the national security issue is? And don’t tell me that some terrorist organization is going to ship a freighter full of jihadists into Long Beach harbor.

What we have here is a foreign (read Arab) government-owned business that doesn’t have the best PR, but instead has a doofus of a President as an ally. In an attempt to boost their national defense credentials, the Democrats started this hysteria, and the Republicans, seeing the train about to leave the station, climbed on board, the better to distance themselves from a lame duck president who’s numbers are falling over a cliff.

This is just an attempt by manipulative politicians to jack up the war on terror rhetoric by jumping on the anti-terrorist bandstand. It is utter and blatant demagoguery on the part of Republicans and Democrats alike.

And what is homeland security anyway? Where is this homeland? I don’t live in any f*cking homeland. I live in America. Don’t you?

Congressman Pete King (R-NY), just said on Lou Dobbs that this is a matter “of life and death.”

Holy crap, where does this stuff end? I’m all for a congressional review of the deal, but tone down the rhetoric. Even Israel’s ZIM shipping company (which has done business with the UAE for years) ) is saying that DP World’s security is not an issue, has never been an issue, and they ought to know if anybody does.

Everybody take a deep breath and get a grip on reality, for Pete’s sake.

Update: Molly Ivins brings some sanity to the party in "It's the Corporation, Stupid," and Robert Scheer at The Nation supplies

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Former CIA pro rejects Bush's use of torture

From Elaine of Kalilily as posted on Blog Sisters:

One of the great things about the net is that, if you can't get a mainstream medium to publish something, you can always post it.

A college chum of mine, a former CIA polygraph specialist who served in Vietnam, has tried to get the following Op-Ed piece accepted by several newspapers. They wouldn't even accept it as a "letter to the editor." I had intended to post it on my weblog, but the server's been down for several days. Besides, it occurred to me that posting it here might help to get it circulated. Please feel free to use it in your own blogs.

FYI, this former CIA lie detector,
John F. Sullivan, is the author of Of Spies and Lies: A CIA Lie Detector Remembers Vietnam. He has another book ready for publishing that was held up by CIA censors. Here's his thus-far unpublished Op-Ed essay:

Bush and Torture

by John F. Sullivan, former CIA polygraph interrogator in Vietnam.

During Mr. Bush’s press conference on January 19, one of the correspondents asked the president to clarify his position on torture. “Americans don’t torture,” summed up his response. I don’t know if Mr. Bush was suggesting that Americans didn’t torture in the past, weren’t currently engaging in acts of torture, or wouldn’t engage in such acts in the future, but I do know that during my five years in the U.S. Army and 31 years as a polygraph examiner/interrogator with the CIA, I became aware that Americans did torture.

Torture and prisoner abuse have been a part of every war in which America has engaged, at least in my lifetime, but was never a sanctioned policy. Torture has been to the U.S. Government, and police agencies which use it, analogous to what sexual misconduct on the part of Catholic priests has been to the Catholic Church: publicly denied, privately acknowledged, and occasionally tacitly approved. That changed with 9/11.

Vice President Cheney’s suggestion that in response to 9/11 we may have to go to the “dark side” of intelligence in our fight against terrorism, the administration’s declaring al Qaeda and other terrorists as enemy combatants, not POWs, in order to deny them protection under the Geneva Convention, and the Department of Justice’s memorandum of August 2002, which redefined torture, made it clear that “the gloves were off” and that in the pursuit of terrorists, “anything goes.” Torture went from being a “dirty little secret” to a condoned policy.

Of the aforementioned, the most insidious was the Department of Justice’s August 2002 memorandum which defined a coercive technique as torture, “…only when it induced pain equivalent to what a person experiencing death or organ failure might suffer.” This is an obscenity.

How does one determine when an individual being “coerced” has reached the point of being tortured – by the decibel level of the victim’s screams? I assume the person making that decision is the interrogator. If so, what training has he or she had in making such assessments? I would hope that no doctor would ever participate in such an exercise and contend that any doctor, who would, not only violates his Hippocratic Oath but is also right down there with the infamous Dr. Mengele.

In analyzing Mr. Bush’s “Americans don’t torture,” statement, I conclude that he based his statement on the DOJ’s definition of torture and that those pictured in the Abu Ghraib photos didn’t meet his criteria for torture. I would like to think that Mr. Bush does not share Rush Limbaugh’s view that what happened at Abu Ghraib was nothing more than a fraternity prank, but am concerned that many Americans might agree with Limbaugh.

My first reaction to those pictures was rage – rage at the sheer sadism depicted; rage at the stupidity of those who allowed the torture, rage at the lack of cultural awareness, and lastly, rage over the fact that those pictures were going to cost American GIs their lives.

The Abu Ghraib pictures make a great recruiting poster for al Qaeda, and I posit that more Muslims were recruited for the Jihad as a result of those pictures than GIs were saved as a result of information coming from torture victims.It seems logical to me that an al Qaeda/terrorist fighting in Iraq, who saw those pictures, might be more motivated as well as more inclined to fight harder so as not to get captured. Do the battle cries “Remember the Alamo,” “Remember the Maine,” or “Remember 9/11” ring any bells? How about “Remember Abu Ghraib?”

What are the implications of those pictures for any American GIs who might get captured? Can anyone imagine the reaction in America if similar pictures of American GIs were coming out of Iraq? Were that the case, I don’t think our military would have to worry about recruitment shortfalls for as long as the war on terror is waged.

Senator McCain, in commenting on his ordeal in North Vietnam and in referring to his torturers, noted that one of the things that sustained him and his fellow POWs was their belief that, “We are better than this.” The Abu Ghraib photos seem to indicate that we are not better than we were back then.

It would be great if you could mention -- or even reprint -- this essay in your own blogs.