“Emotion-free crisis management”

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

How does it feel to be a psychopath? Oh, that’s right…it doesn’t feel…at…all.

That boy needs therapy.

Anal rape as an instrument of US interrogation

Glenn Greenwald quoting from The Age (Australia):

David Hicks told his family when they visited him at Guantanamo Bay in 2004 that he had been anally assaulted during interrogation by the US in Afghanistan while he was hooded and restrained.

Anyone okay with this? Anyone? Bueller?

Category entry: Stupid (noun)

Stupid

Nicely inconspicuous, this one is.

Hat-tip Bradley @ Incertus, who has this update:

Curtis Allgier, a convicted burglar and white supremacist, briefly escaped from custody today by stealing a corrections officer’s gun and murdering him. This is not the first time Allgier has been a fugitive– he keeps running from authorities and trying to blend in with the general population.

Outsourced local “journalism” == offshore propaganda mill

Steve Benen.fnord

Do you clean yourself with petroleum? No, soap… Radio.

Hat-tip Tanya.

Republican congressman quotes founder of Ku Klux Klan on house floor

The Carpetbagger Report has the story, Think Progress has the video, via Meme.

It wasn’t an accident, he cited to Nathan Bedford Forrest as a Confederate general. Somebody should also remind him that the Confederate military lost that war.

That’s inappropriate

Adult content

A man walks into a talent agent’s office, and says, “We’re a family act, and we’d like you to represent us.”

The agent says, “Sorry, I don’t represent family acts. They’re a little too old-fashioned.”

The man says, “But this is really special.”

The agent says, “Okay, well what’s the act?”

He looks at the agent and says, “Well, that’s the act. What do you think?”

The agent just sits in silence for a long time. Finally, he manages, “That’s a hell of an act. What do you call yourselves?”

“The Aristocrats!”

First verse

Rush the flaccid dope fiend smelled like a pig, and wallowed in the deep crevasse that lay beneath his legs.

Related post:

Update: Here is what this is about.

Rush has the same first amendment rights as I do, but nobody pays me to be a racist.

Rightwing humor

I YouTube, you decide

Hat-tip pyrrho.

Here’s the unannotated video.

What do you think?

War. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Hat-tip Nicole Belle.

My wife: “I just agreed with Geraldo. I feel icky.”

This is where Bill O’Reilly went off the deep end without checking first to see if there was water in the pool.

Unfortunately (for him), no water.

Hat-tip Think Progress.

Related post:

Update: More from Brad Friedman.

High society

Copyright be damned, and torturers go to hell real quick

Terry Jones Here is Terry Jones. Via Why Now?

Call that humiliation?

No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch

Terry Jones
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this – allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world – have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God’s sake, what’s wrong with putting a bag over her head? That’s what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it’s hard to breathe. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can’t be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

It is also unacceptable that these British captives should be made to talk on television and say things that they may regret later. If the Iranians put duct tape over their mouths, like we do to our captives, they wouldn’t be able to talk at all. Of course they’d probably find it even harder to breathe – especially with a bag over their head – but at least they wouldn’t be humiliated.And what’s all this about allowing the captives to write letters home saying they are all right? It’s time the Iranians fell into line with the rest of the civilised world: they should allow their captives the privacy of solitary confinement. That’s one of the many privileges the US grants to its captives in Guantánamo Bay.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn’t rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it’s just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What’s more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting “stress positions”, which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It’s all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

And this brings me to my final point. It is clear from her TV appearance that servicewoman Turney has been put under pressure. The newspapers have persuaded behavioural psychologists to examine the footage and they all conclude that she is “unhappy and stressed”.

What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her “unhappy and stressed”. She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed, as they were in Abu Ghraib. The photographs should then be circulated around the civilised world so that everyone can see exactly what has been going on.

As Stephen Glover pointed out in the Daily Mail, perhaps it would not be right to bomb Iran in retaliation for the humiliation of our servicemen, but clearly the Iranian people must be made to suffer – whether by beefing up sanctions, as the Mail suggests, or simply by getting President Bush to hurry up and invade, as he intends to anyway, and bring democracy and western values to the country, as he has in Iraq.

· Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python
www.terry-jones.net

Weapons of mass seduction… Adults only please.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/11060813/view]

Via Skippy.

Related posts:

A tribute, of sorts

Related post:

Update: More tribute!

The case for war on invasion and occupation of Iraq

This video is about an hour long.

Hat-tip P.S. Burton.

Recommended listening (which is much less than an hour long):

Update: I decided to take Nicole Belle’s advice, which is true. There was never a war declared on Iraq. It was and is an invasion and occupation in violation of international law.

What do you call a guilty plea made under conditions of likely torture and with denial of prepared counsel?

David Hicks (pictured here) pled guilty to a charge today. It was the only way he was going to be allowed to make any kind of deal to go home. Ever.

I have no idea if the charges are based on anything but speculation. I’ll never believe justice was done under these conditions.

The plea to a late night specially convened military commission came after an apparent deal was reached between his defence attorney and the prosecution.

They couldn’t even stand the light of day in Guantanamo Bay.

Dong Hits 4 Kenneth: 420Hz on your radio receiver

Kenneth Starr loves the Clenis.

Recommended listening:

“I don’t have my glasses” — blinded by ambition?

Or just a bad liar.

Hat-tip John Amato.

On Bullshit

Because evil is stupid.

The Iraq Quadrennial Remembrance

Social Anxiety- A common thread?

Hypothesis: Anxiety disorders play a key role behind the immense popularity of internet interactions.

Disclaimer: This observation isn’t backed by Harvard studies (as far as I know), I didn’t read up on it or seek supporting statistics; Im working from simple observation.

Basis: First a reference here or there: A favorite blogger will mention a bout of agoraphobia, a reader comments on ‘being shy’. A friend links to a friend who has just endured a terrible panic attack.

Skip to a thread forum where one person admits to crippling anxiety disorder. First one, then three, then nine people come out of the woodwork with words of encouragement and similar confessions.

Overthink: Doesn’t it make sense that the internet would provide the best socializing alternative for those with acute shyness, agoraphobia or crippling anxiety? We all need to socialize. Trends in westernized cultures actually exacerbate feelings of isolation, both through social stigmas toward people with mental health hang-ups, and a general movement toward solitary activities, independent pursuits, and families that are supposed to be ‘self-sufficient’ rather than integral members of cohesive societies that rely upon, and provide for others in their community.

Solutions: Hm. Do you approach the individual or the society? I don’t know how to cure societal ailments, but on the individual anxiety issue, maybe ask whig.

Things we do not know we don’t know — but intend to find out

Related post:

iRaq is not an Apple product

Anntisocial

No.

At long last, Ms. Coulter, have you no decency?

One of my challenges as a blogger is setting appropriate boundaries which do not reward hate with links and attention. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and we cannot ignore when it happens, but my preference is to respond in quiet ways that help build a consensus of rebuke.

I will pass the microphone keyboard over to Skippy and allow him to introduce Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards.

Update: I think the Anonymous Liberal does a good job of explaining what happened. And yes, we are giving attention to someone that I’d rather not; it will help her gain more notoriety and she will not go away soon: with George Bush in recession she is the new face of the Republican party.

Let me emphasize this, no one is a “faggot.” The word means something to be set on fire. It is hateful, and it is not a neutral term.

Update 2:

Hat-tip Minor Ripper.

What kind of shameful regime puts an innocent 9-year old child in a prison for two years?

A penalogical approach to family values?

Please read an update on the unAmerican concentration camps by Peterr.

Smears

Rock the casbah?

Not like this, you did not think?

Update: More from river, via Glen.

Punk, what have you wrought?

Not funny

Hat-tip egalia.

Louie C.K. demonstrates that Bill Donohue is not credible

This is the same guy who is bashing my friend Melissa McEwan, without basis.

Hat-tip Lindsay, who has much more.

Confession of an interrogator

Copied from the Washington Post. The writer is Eric Fair, he served as a contract interrogator in Iraq in 2004. Hat-tip Scott Horton of Stress.

A man with no face stares at me from the corner of a room. He pleads for help, but I’m afraid to move. He begins to cry. It is a pitiful sound, and it sickens me. He screams, but as I awaken, I realize the screams are mine.

That dream, along with a host of other nightmares, has plagued me since my return from Iraq in the summer of 2004. Though the man in this particular nightmare has no face, I know who he is. I assisted in his interrogation at a detention facility in Fallujah. I was one of two civilian interrogators assigned to the division interrogation facility (DIF) of the 82nd Airborne Division. The man, whose name I’ve long since forgotten, was a suspected associate of Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad, the Baath Party leader in Anbar province who had been captured two months earlier.

The lead interrogator at the DIF had given me specific instructions: I was to deprive the detainee of sleep during my 12-hour shift by opening his cell every hour, forcing him to stand in a corner and stripping him of his clothes. Three years later the tables have turned. It is rare that I sleep through the night without a visit from this man. His memory harasses me as I once harassed him.

Despite my best efforts, I cannot ignore the mistakes I made at the interrogation facility in Fallujah. I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself.

American authorities continue to insist that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident in an otherwise well-run detention system. That insistence, however, stands in sharp contrast to my own experiences as an interrogator in Iraq. I watched as detainees were forced to stand naked all night, shivering in their cold cells and pleading with their captors for help. Others were subjected to long periods of isolation in pitch-black rooms. Food and sleep deprivation were common, along with a variety of physical abuse, including punching and kicking. Aggressive, and in many ways abusive, techniques were used daily in Iraq, all in the name of acquiring the intelligence necessary to bring an end to the insurgency. The violence raging there today is evidence that those tactics never worked. My memories are evidence that those tactics were terribly wrong.

While I was appalled by the conduct of my friends and colleagues, I lacked the courage to challenge the status quo. That was a failure of character and in many ways made me complicit in what went on. I’m ashamed of that failure, but as time passes, and as the memories of what I saw in Iraq continue to infect my every thought, I’m becoming more ashamed of my silence.

Some may suggest there is no reason to revive the story of abuse in Iraq. Rehashing such mistakes will only harm our country, they will say. But history suggests we should examine such missteps carefully. Oppressive prison environments have created some of the most determined opponents. The British learned that lesson from Napoleon, the French from Ho Chi Minh, Europe from Hitler. The world is learning that lesson again from Ayman al-Zawahiri. What will be the legacy of abusive prisons in Iraq?

We have failed to properly address the abuse of Iraqi detainees. Men like me have refused to tell our stories, and our leaders have refused to own up to the myriad mistakes that have been made. But if we fail to address this problem, there can be no hope of success in Iraq. Regardless of how many young Americans we send to war, or how many militia members we kill, or how many Iraqis we train, or how much money we spend on reconstruction, we will not escape the damage we have done to the people of Iraq in our prisons.

I am desperate to get on with my life and erase my memories of my experiences in Iraq. But those memories and experiences do not belong to me. They belong to history. If we’re doomed to repeat the history we forget, what will be the consequences of the history we never knew? The citizens and the leadership of this country have an obligation to revisit what took place in the interrogation booths of Iraq, unpleasant as it may be. The story of Abu Ghraib isn’t over. In many ways, we have yet to open the book.

About Rush Limbaugh

Intervention

Glenn Greenwald writes about the case of Maher Arar, an innocent Canadian man who was tortured on behalf of the Cheney/Bush maladministration, in a case of mistaken identity.

Via Andrew Sullivan, here is a video about the case.

Here is Patrick Leahy examining the war criminal Alberto Gonzales (audio only).

As CNN reports,

Canada’s prime minister apologized to Maher Arar on Friday and announced the government would compensate him C$10.5 million (US$8.9 million) for its role in his deportation from the U.S. to Syria, where he was tortured while held in prison for nearly a year. . . .

“On behalf of the government of Canada, I want to extend a full apology to you and Monia as well as your family for the role played by Canadian officials in the terrible ordeal that you experienced in 2002 and 2003,” Harper said. Arar and his wife, Monia Mazigh, and their young son and daughter now live in Kamloops, British Columbia.

“I sincerely hope that these words and actions will assist you and your family in your efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in your lives,” Harper said, adding the compensation package would also pay for his estimated $1 million in legal fees.

When your friends have to apologize for your bad behavior, it’s time.

Someone knows what it’s like to be the sad man

Doctor Biobrain remains the greatest psychoanalyst of the neoconservative mind anywhere on the net. Dick Cheney serves as his model psychopath, as examined by interviewer Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Here’s the video.

He looks to me like a man on the edge of a breakdown, he will have to cry soon. Thank you Mary.

Seeds

Via skippy.

An unnecessary war

Glenn Greenwald:

In our political discourse, there just no longer is a strong presumption against war. In fact, it’s almost as though there is a reverse presumption — that we should proceed to wage wars on whatever countries we dislike or which are defying our orders in some way unless someone can find compelling reasons not to. The burden is now on those who would like not to engage in a series of endless wars to demonstrate why we should not.

Update: Dr. James Benjamin has more, on the banality of warfare in American discourse.

Please read

A voice from the darkness

Copied from the LA Times. Public domain asserted. Hat-tip egalia.

By Jumah al-Dossari, JUMAH AL-DOSSARI is a 33-year-old citizen of Bahrain. This article was excerpted from letters he wrote to his attorneys. Its contents have been deemed unclassified by the Department of Defense.

January 11, 2007

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba — I AM WRITING from the darkness of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo in the hope that I can make our voices heard by the world. My hand quivers as I hold the pen.

In January 2002, I was picked up in Pakistan, blindfolded, shackled, drugged and loaded onto a plane flown to Cuba. When we got off the plane in Guantanamo, we did not know where we were. They took us to Camp X-Ray and locked us in cages with two buckets — one empty and one filled with water. We were to urinate in one and wash in the other.

At Guantanamo, soldiers have assaulted me, placed me in solitary confinement, threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my daughter and told me I will stay in Cuba for the rest of my life. They have deprived me of sleep, forced me to listen to extremely loud music and shined intense lights in my face. They have placed me in cold rooms for hours without food, drink or the ability to go to the bathroom or wash for prayers. They have wrapped me in the Israeli flag and told me there is a holy war between the Cross and the Star of David on one hand and the Crescent on the other. They have beaten me unconscious.

What I write here is not what my imagination fancies or my insanity dictates. These are verifiable facts witnessed by other detainees, representatives of the Red Cross, interrogators and translators.

During the first few years at Guantanamo, I was interrogated many times. My interrogators told me that they wanted me to admit that I am from Al Qaeda and that I was involved in the terrorist attacks on the United States. I told them that I have no connection to what they described. I am not a member of Al Qaeda. I did not encourage anyone to go fight for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have done nothing but kill and denigrate a religion. I never fought, and I never carried a weapon. I like the United States, and I am not an enemy. I have lived in the United States, and I wanted to become a citizen.

I know that the soldiers who did bad things to me represent themselves, not the United States. And I have to say that not all American soldiers stationed in Cuba tortured us or mistreated us. There were soldiers who treated us very humanely. Some even cried when they witnessed our dire conditions. Once, in Camp Delta, a soldier apologized to me and offered me hot chocolate and cookies. When I thanked him, he said, “I do not need you to thank me.” I include this because I do not want readers to think that I fault all Americans.

But, why, after five years, is there no conclusion to the situation at Guantanamo? For how long will fathers, mothers, wives, siblings and children cry for their imprisoned loved ones? For how long will my daughter have to ask about my return? The answers can only be found with the fair-minded people of America.

I would rather die than stay here forever, and I have tried to commit suicide many times. The purpose of Guantanamo is to destroy people, and I have been destroyed. I am hopeless because our voices are not heard from the depths of the detention center.

If I die, please remember that there was a human being named Jumah at Guantanamo whose beliefs, dignity and humanity were abused. Please remember that there are hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo suffering the same misfortune. They have not been charged with any crimes. They have not been accused of taking any action against the United States.

Show the world the letters I gave you. Let the world read them. Let the world know the agony of the detainees in Cuba.

All 7 and we’ll watch them fall

Concentration camp

Watch it, and don’t miss seeing the children behind barbed wire.

Hat-tip cookie jill.

Impeachment

If George Walker Bush goes before the American people this week to commit thousands more men and women, many of whom have already seen more than one tour of duty, to subject them to the serious risk of death or permanent disability if they have not been mentally scarred for life already, against the advice of his generals, the congress and the vast majority of the American people, he is non compos mentis.

Of course it may be suspected this has already long been the case.

The madness of King George places all of us in serious danger.

The man who will fall forever

Comma Karma.

And welcome d r i f t g l a s s to the blogroll. Along with Spocko’s Brain and some others that I’ve added recently and neglected to mention.

Remember the stakes

Jose Padilla is an American citizen.

Shock the monkey

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