Saturday, January 27, 2007


Return from Oblivion

What mythical beast are you?

You're a dragon. You're smart and cunning, and enjoy taking risks. Your need for independence is an advantage, but sometimes it alienates you from others. As far as *good* and *evil*, you're pretty neutral--but you may have something of a wicked streak.
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Sunday, March 26, 2006


Spinning Propaganda

The Washington Post has this amusing article about the Lincoln Group's distaste for the "P" word:
The Word at War
Propaganda? Nah, Here's the Scoop, Say the Guys Who Planted Stories in Iraqi Papers
By Lynne Duke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 26, 2006; D01

Oh, no, not at all -- the Lincoln Group does not do propaganda. Sure, the firm's been tarred by some in Congress, the media and the defense establishment for paying Iraqi newspapers to publish hundreds of "news" stories secretly written by U.S. troops.

But Paige Craig, the West Point dropout and former Marine intelligence specialist who is the Lincoln Group's president, says the practice is not propaganda. The word carries such baggage, such suggestions of mind control. So in an industry in which euphemism thrives, a more elegant word is deployed.

"We call it 'influence,' " says Craig, whose business has 12 U.S. government contracts totaling more than $130 million.
That's epitomizes the Bush League's entire philosophy - they really think words create reality rather than describing it. To paraphrase Shakespeare: Waterboarding by any other name would still be torture.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Dick Cheney's Undisclosed Location Revealed

I expect Dick Cheney will be vacationing here. I mean, how could he resist?

Friday, March 24, 2006


Bush's Influence on the Military

I cannot believe this level of pure hypocrisy is being reported without more comment:
Challenge for U.S.: Iraq's Handling of Detainees
New York Times
CAMP JUSTICE, Iraq — The blindfolded detainees in the dingy hallway line up in groups of five for their turn to see a judge, like schoolchildren outside the principal's office.

Each meeting lasts a few minutes. The judge rules whether the detainee will go free, face trial or be held longer at this Iraqi base in northern Baghdad. But Firas Sabri Ali, squeezed into a fetid cell just hundreds of yards from the judge's office, has watched the inmates come and go for four months without his name ever being called.
Such is the challenge facing the American military as it tries to train the Iraqi security forces to respect the rule of law. Three years after the invasion of Iraq, American troops are no longer simply teaching counterinsurgency techniques; they are trying to school the Iraqis in battling a Sunni-led rebellion without resorting to the tactics of a "dirty war," involving abductions, torture and murder.

The legacy of Abu Ghraib hampers the American military. The legacy of Abu Ghraib hampers the American military. But the need to instill respect for human rights has gained a new urgency as Iraq grapples with the threat of full-scale civil war and continuing sectarian bloodletting. It is not uncommon now for dozens of bodies, with hands bound and gunshot wounds to the heads, to surface across Baghdad on any given day.

The Americans are pushing the Shiite-dominated Iraqi forces to ask judges for arrest warrants, restrain their use of force and ensure detainees' rights.
(Emphasis added.)
Interestingly, W and his Bush League minions think asking US Judges for warrants is impractical in a post 9/11 world. The Bush League wants to lock up "enemy combatants" forever with no judicial review.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Recent Surge of Violence

The phrase "recent surge of violence" has replaced "turning the corner" as the lead chiché in Iraq War reporting. EarlG of notes this phrase has been used since 2003:
This morning I learned that Pentagon officials have said that force levels in Iraq would not be cut "anytime soon," apparently because of a "recent surge in violence" sweeping Iraq. But what struck me most about that news was votesomemore's response in this thread claiming that, "There is ALWAYS a 'recent surge in violence.'"

That got me thinking. Is there always a "recent surge in violence" in Iraq? I Googled the phrase, and discovered that the answer to the question is, well, yes.
(Source: Democratic Underground post "Recent Surge of Violence, March 4, 2006)
Thesaurus, anyone?

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Another Bush League Torture Scandal

More horror stories of Bush League incompetence and disregard for the law, human rights, or anything else:
Before and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused Detainees
As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.
Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said.

The story of detainee abuse in Iraq is a familiar one. But the following account of Task Force 6-26, based on documents and interviews with more than a dozen people, offers the first detailed description of how the military's most highly trained counterterrorism unit committed serious abuses.

It adds to the picture of harsh interrogation practices at American military prisons in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as at secret Central Intelligence Agency detention centers around the world.

The new account reveals the extent to which the unit members mistreated prisoners months before and after the photographs of abuse from Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, and it helps belie the original Pentagon assertions that abuse was confined to a small number of rogue reservists at Abu Ghraib.

The abuses at Camp Nama continued despite warnings beginning in August 2003 from an Army investigator and American intelligence and law enforcement officials in Iraq. The C.I.A. was concerned enough to bar its personnel from Camp Nama that August.

It is difficult to compare the conditions at the camp with those at Abu Ghraib because so little is known about the secret compound, which was off limits even to the Red Cross. The abuses appeared to have been unsanctioned, but some of them seemed to have been well known throughout the camp.
Many were initially reluctant to discuss Task Force 6-26 because its missions are classified. But when pressed repeatedly by reporters who contacted them, they agreed to speak about their experiences and observations out of what they said was anger and disgust over the unit's treatment of detainees and the failure of task force commanders to punish misconduct more aggressively. The critics said the harsh interrogations yielded little information to help capture insurgents or save American lives.
(Source: New York Times, March 18, 2006 [emphasis added.])
Long story short: there was widespread torture of Iraqi detainees by US troops. This was at least ignored - but more probably condoned and possibly expressly ordered by the top brass. Despite the mounting evidence, none of the persons responsible for either ordering, inciting or tolerating these war crimes will be investigated unless and until the Democrats regain control of at least one branch of Congress. America's reputation and honor have been permanently stained by W and his Bush League minions, yet the Republicans don't care.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


US Launches Major Public Relations Offensive

In an effort to reverse sliding poll number, W's Bush League minions conducted a massive military campaign calculated to make US voters think something effective was done:
US launches major Iraq offensive
The US military says it has launched its biggest airborne operation in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, targeting insurgents near the city of Samarra.
More than 50 aircraft and 1,500 Iraqi and US troops have been deployed in the assault, a military statement says.

A bomb attack on the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, 100km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, last month sparked widespread sectarian violence.

There are no independent reports of Thursday's offensive so far.

The US military said the assault, dubbed Operation Swarmer, was intended to "clear a suspected insurgent operating area" north-east of Samarra.

Helicopters were used to carry mostly Iraqi troops into Salahuddin province, where the Pentagon said at least 41 suspected insurgents had been arrested by the end of the day.

No missiles were fired or bombs dropped by the fixed-wing aircraft providing cover, the US military confirmed. It was unclear whether the suspected insurgents had offered resistance.
(Source: BBC News, March 16, 2006)
So, they rounded up "at least 41" Sunnis who will probably wind up tortured and killed by Negroponte-inspired Shi'ite death squads. I'm sure the right wing chorus is shouting from the rooftops how "the corner has been turned" yet again.

What utter bilge. Iraq's only hope for peace in the near term is for about a million troops to come in and stop the sectarian killing until the cycle of revenge damps out for awhile. Unfortunately, Iraq's misery will go on until Bush leaves office. Until then, El Busho will continue trying to "cover his bleeding ass with the flag of victory" while characterizing the death toll as "messy."


Child Abuse Cover-Up

I don't know what angers me more: the rampant child abuse hellholes marketed as "boot camps for troubled teens" or the willingness of authorities to cover up the resulting deaths:
Pathologist: Teen Didn't Die From Illness
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 15, 2006; 7:07 AM

TAMPA, Fla. -- A pathologist who observed the second autopsy of a 14-year-old boy who was punched and kicked by guards at a juvenile boot camp said Tuesday the boy may not have died of a blood disorder as a medical examiner had ruled.

Dr. Michael Baden, who observed the new autopsy on behalf of the teen's family, said it was clear Martin Lee Anderson did not die from sickle cell trait, or from any other natural causes.
Anderson was sent to the Bay County Sheriff's Office boot camp on Jan. 5 for a probation violation. A surveillance video showed guards kicking and punching him after he collapsed while exercising on his first day at the camp, and he died at a hospital early the next day.
The second autopsy was ordered after the teen's parents questioned the findings of Bay County's medical examiner, and was conducted Monday by Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams.

"My opinion is that he died because of what you see in the videotape," said Baden, referring to the surveillance video.
Smart money says the county medical examiner knew full well this kid was beaten to death, but wanted to protect the county from a big lawsuit and ensure the officers were free to continue abusing the inmates. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but I doubt beating an uncooperative kid senseless is an effective way of teaching him not to use violence against those he himself finds both frustrating and weaker.

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