Free Don Siegelman

h/t Ellroon @ Rants from the Rookery, and thanks to BradBlog.

Jena, Louisiana

Whose mission?

Hat-tip Ellroon.

Witness, receive and transmit.

Philip Workman

Killed by the state of Tennessee.

Pictures of beautiful women

Don Imus is more despicable than anyone I can think of. Not only does he have the need to be insulting and rude to his audience and guests, he thinks that in the life of a young woman who has achieved some accomplishment deserving praise, she ought to be cussed at with racist and sexually offensive terms. Don is a wealthy, wealthy man. He’s got everything money can buy, doesn’t he? And all he’s got for it is hatred and disgust for himself and everyone on the planet.

Yeah, I’m big pimpin’ alright. I’m telling you. These are women who deserve respect.

But you gotta go read the General, so you know what this is about. Inform yourself about the people you see on television and listen to on the radio, see the victims of their hatred, and be disgusted. I won’t demand anyone be fired, no. If his employers intend to convey the message he conveys, they should keep him on, and they should wear him as a badge of pride, such as cometh before the fall.

Update: MSNBC has reportedly fired Don Imus. No word on CBS yet.

Update 2: CBS has also canceled his contract. Hat-tip Waveflux.

War. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Hat-tip Nicole Belle.

More than a few loose ends

Rez Dog at Mockingbird’s Medley provides a good wrap-up of some very suspicious military deaths that require investigation. I’m copying the whole thing because I don’t want you to have to go farther than necessary to find out more information about each of these cases.

A petition worth your attention is one on behalf of PFC LaVena Johnson whose death in Iraq was ruled a suicide despite obvious signs of a beating. Read the whole story at Welcome to Pottersville. I found the story at Shakespeare’s Sister where Waveflux has been blogging the story for a while.

Here’s yet another suspicious set of circumstances that masks the reality that the chain of command would rather ignore. Here in Arizona, we have a similar military death, SPC Alyssa Petersen of Flagstaff, whose suicide came after she was displayed too much empathy with detainees and was unable to interrogate them as directed.

Arizona, of course, has the well-known case of fabricated events in the death of SPC Pat Tillman but everybody knows that. The less well-known are easily overlooked by the electronic circus that passes for news in this country. All the more reason for citizens to speak out and ask questions.

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

Do you prefer plagues of locusts?

Derek Hale, age 25, Iraq veteran

Derek Hale

Murdered, November 6, 2006.

Nov. 6 — Derek Hale is shot to death by Wilmington Police Lt. William Browne, while Browne and other officers and troopers were attempting to “take Hale into custody.”

Nov. 7 — Police release some information about the killing. In a written statement, Wilmington police say Hale (whom they hadn’t yet named) was shot three times because an “officer in close proximity to the developments feared for the safety of his fellow officers and believed that the suspect was in a position to pose an imminent threat. That officer then utilized deadly force.”

Nov. 8 — Police identify Hale. Asked if he ever threatened officers, police say, “In a sense, when he did not comply with their commands.” As to why Hale was being sought, Wilmington police defer to the Delaware State Police, who declined to comment.

More from William Grigg. Hat-tip Wayne and Hope.

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:

Is that a “Known Unknown?”

Click chart for more from BradBlog.

What did the president know and when did he know it? Who would have known before Rove and Cheney?

Related post:

Meanwhile, across the pond

Hat-tip Allison Margolin.

Who is paranoid?

Hat-tip nuevo mexican.

Nine years old.

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

First they hurt our children, then deny them medicine

Yesterday, Shakes wrote,

I missed it last night, but watched the whole thing in six pieces on ABC’s website: In an Instant: The IED Explosion, Bob Woodruff’s 36-Day Coma, Wounded Warriors, Are We Ready for Our Injured?, The Human Cost of War, and Woodruff’s Closing Thoughts. It’s absolutely staggering, and I highly recommend it, with the warning that it is deeply upsetting, so be prepared. But it’s a must-see. Truly.

I finally finished watching it today, and recommend you watch the whole thing from beginning to end.

Incidentally, I read that veterans overwhelmingly support medical marijuana. For the pain and suffering that it can relieve those suffering traumatic brain injuries, nothing else in the world would help more.

I’m very happy for Bob Woodruff and his family, and glad that he received the best quality medical care in the world. But people not so visible in the public eye are more likely to fall through the cracks, and those with internal brain damage are hard to treat with any technique; often the risks in trying to correct it with surgery are higher than the damage could possibly justify if we even had the diagnostic capability to know precisely what was wrong in all cases. Cannabis helps the neurons in the brain that still work.

A penalogical approach to family values?

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

Adult content

Hat-tip Ellroon.

Rock the casbah?

Not like this, you did not think?

Update: More from river, via Glen.

Habeus corpus ad testificandum

And the eyes of the world are watching now

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.

Who is being protected or served?

Hat-tip Radley Balko.

What do you create?

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.

A few days late

NTodd has an interesting perspective on the issue of birth control, of which abortion is only one component. I tend not to write about this issue often because it is so deeply a matter of personal conscience what determines the relative value of a given human life over another. I also take a Monty Pythonesque view on the issue of contraception, which is to say their true view and not the view they satirize by their famous song.

Let me take a moment to point out the obvious hypocrisy of anyone with a purportedly pro-human life outlook being advocates of war. Obviously they value some lives more than others, and some are entirely dispensable to them.

No sane person wants there to be unwanted children or abortions, if it were possible to avoid having them without doing violence to women (or men). We should not want to mutilate people’s genitals, we should not want there to be any harm done to the innocent.

We don’t often enough stop to consider that the cause of violence is usually violence. Stop non-consensual sex and you will stop most or all of the abortions that occur. Stop adultery and you will stop the rest.

Oh, but you don’t want to stop adultery, going by what I see.

Except to punish the woman, because she is the one who is subject to violence from her spouse if she is caught with child.

We have to end the violence done to women, and you know that divorce must be a right for that very reason. But what many of you don’t know or publicly admit due to the risk of persecution is that violence can be tamed by cannabis — marijuana. It is a lie and an obvious one at that when prohibitionists associate cannabis with violence, when the only violence is involved in the criminal aspects of prohibition itself.

End cannabis prohibition and you will see that the very thing you criticize about “hippies” is their non-violence.

End cannabis prohibition and you will end the war in Iraq and in the rest of the middle east. Cannabis can be grown to fuel our economy. Cars and trucks can run on clean biological oils. Paints and chemicals can be made from it. Cannabis may be sacred but she is also profane. We have a petroleum economy today but we cannot have a petroleum economy forever.

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.

Wherein I show off my novice drawing skills

Egg drawing
(pencil on newsprint)

“Keep the egg from fully cracking”

That’s a direct quote from the man who is sending 21,500 American men and women on a fool’s errand of putting Humpty-Dumpty together again, at risk of their lives.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, you know, that’s an interesting question. I don’t quite view it as the broken egg; I view it as the cracked egg –

MR. LEHRER: Cracked egg?

PRESIDENT BUSH: — that — where we still have a chance to move beyond the broken egg. And I thought long and hard about the decision, Jim. Obviously it’s a big decision for this theater in the war on terror, and you know, if I didn’t believe we could keep the egg from fully cracking, I wouldn’t ask 21,000 kids — additional kids to go into Iraq to reinforce those troops that are there.

Watch the interview here.

Hat-tip Shakes. Read the rest of this entry »

War is the enemy of the poor, and the rich

When you spend lives and treasure to destroy lives and treasure, you impoverish yourself.

Listen to Doctor King.

Adult content

End cannabis prohibition and the war will end peacefully. That is my advice.

Mychal Judge

Mychal F. Judge

Murdered, September 11, 2001.

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.

Now, withdraw

The Xsociate reminds us that we are not satisfied to stop an escalation or prevent a wider war. End the war.

Vox populi

Now it’s just about time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode.

Hat-tip JC Christian.

Concentration camp

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

Hat-tip cookie jill.

Imagine

Hope writes,

Some plants, if not all, contain some amazing healing properties for human beings and animals. There are discoveries to be made…horizons to reach.

Imagine if a chemical company, like Dow or Monsanto, could “engineer” a plant that could actually treat and cure some illness, ease pain and inflammation, and make a person feel better. Talk about money growing on trees…or bushes or grasses! Would that not be the discovery of the age? A plant that prevents, eases, and cures some of the misery of human kind! That is so exciting!

Mankind has already been given this plant and others. This amazing plant has already been discovered, although somewhat barely. Yet….and this is the big question….Why won’t the authorities and the powers that be let you have it?

Why?

Why this great insult and injustice to humanity? Why is it kept from us, the people, and even scientists are hard pressed to even consider studying it?

Why exactly is this prohibition being done and on such a large and dramatic scale?

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.

Peace Mom

Hat-tip maha.

Witness

Remember the stakes

Jose Padilla is an American citizen.

Shock the monkey

Just a number?

What have you done?

Tomorrow is Eid ul-Adha, the Islamic day of the sacrifice feast. And CNN is reporting that Saddam Hussein has been hanged on the very eve.

What’s next?

Four forced confessions,  three henchmen, two purple gloves, and a US body count higher than 9/11.

Dishonorable.

John McCain (center)

John McCain voted for torture.

Shakespeare’s Sister has more reasons not to respect him now, even if he was respectable at some time in the past.

Related post:

Konzentrationslager

Just go read.

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