April 30, 2004

War Crimes

British troops in torture scandal

Mistreatment of PoWs deepens controversy in Iraq

Julian Borger in Washington, Luke Harding in Baghdad, Sarah Hall and Conal Urqhuart in Jerusalem
Saturday May 1, 2004
The Guardian

The controversy over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners deepened last night when photographs were released apparently showing the torture of a PoW by a British soldier.
The Ministry of Defence launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the photographs, in which a prisoner appears to be battered with rifle butts, threatened with execution and urinated on by his captors.

The MoD investigation came as it was announced that the US military had launched an overarching investigation into interrogation procedures and the role of private contractors in military prisons across Iraq after revelations of torture and sexual abuse at an army-run jail near Baghdad.

With the scandal gathering momentum as photographs of the abuse were broadcast across the Arab world, President George Bush and Tony Blair declared themselves appalled by the conduct of US guards at Abu Ghraib prison.

And last night Mr Blair condemned the treatment of the prisoner by a British soldier in the latest photographs as "shameful".

The army's most senior officer, chief of general staff General Sir Michael Jackson, said at a hastily arranged press conference: "I am aware of the allegations which have been made today of the abuse of prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq.

"If proven, not only is such appalling conduct clearly unlawful, it also contravenes the British army's high standards."

The photographs were given to the Mirror newspaper by serving soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, who told the paper that such acts of brutality against prisoners in Iraq were widespread.

The soldiers said the man, thought to be an alleged thief, was thrown off the back of a moving wagon after his eight-hour ordeal, and it is not known whether he lived or died.

Earlier, scrambling to head off a backlash at the end of a terrible month for the American occupation of Iraq, Mr Bush said: "I shared a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way that they were treated."

An inquiry has found that Iraqi prisoners were beaten, threatened with mock execution, stripped and sexually humiliated.

According to one of the guards facing the possibility of court martial, Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick, a prisoner died under the stress of interrogation last November and his killing was covered up.

The photographs have provoked outrage particularly in the Middle East, forcing the US military yesterday to issue an unusual public apology.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the army's top spokesman in Baghdad, said there was "no excuse" for the soldiers' behaviour. "I feel as appalled as you do at the actions of these few," he told both Iraqi and western reporters last night.

A former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, Major General Geoffrey Miller, has been flown to Iraq and given the task of overhauling military prisons and interrogation procedures, under a newly created office - deputy commander for containment operations.

Six guards have been charged and at least two are likely to face court martial. Seven senior officers, including the jail's former commanding general, are under investigation and face disciplinary measures.

In an email from Iraq last night US military spokeswoman Jill Morgenthaler said the six US soldiers facing courts-martial had not received in-depth training on the Geneva Conventions.

According to military officials, the investigation will also encompass the role of private contractors in military prisons, after a military investigation found that two such firms, CACI International Inc and The Titan Corporation, played a central role in interrogation of prisoners and translation.

Neither company has returned repeated calls seeking comment, but an official at Titan told an American newspaper that his company supplied translators to the military.

Peter Singer, an expert on the privatisation of war at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and the author of a book on the subject, Corporate Warriors, said: "My sense is that the practices at Abu Ghraib are an aberration. However, my sense is that the contracting-out of interrogation is not limited to Abu Ghraib.

"We've pushed the boundaries of this far beyond everything we'd conceptualised. These contractors were originally intended for lawn-mowing at bases," he said.

In the wake of the scandal, five Democratic senators this week asked Congressional auditors to investigate the use and activities of private military contractors in Iraq.

Downing Street was yesterday unequivocal in its condemnation of the behaviour of the US soldiers, and said Mr Blair had been appalled by the pictures of prisoners being tortured and abused. The prime minister's official spokesman said the events at Abu Ghraib were "in direct contravention of all policy under which the coalition operates".

Asked about the possible impact of the images on Arab public opinion, the spokesman said: "We fully accept that these things should not happen. But the important point is to underline that actions of this kind are in no way condoned by the coalition and this is in contrast with what went before. The regime under Saddam carried out actions like this as a matter of policy."

Staff Sgt Frederick has claimed that the human rights abuses at the prison were systematic. He said he asked his superior officers for guidance several times and was ordered to do what he was told.

His uncle, William Lawson, claims the sergeant, a former civilian prison guard, was taking the blame for the actions of private contractors who gave the orders.

"They were told to go back in there and do what these contractors told them to. The big story is the war crimes committed by civilian contractors," Mr Lawson said.

Posted by el sacapuntas at 10:32 PM | Comments (188) | TrackBack

Gas prices

Dear Bernie Sanders,

I was just reading your "Buzz," and have a couple concerns about your position on gasoline prices.

You say that "Americans are paying far too much money for gas," but Americans pay much much less for gasoline then most of the rest of the world. We don't pay anywhere near the true cost for gasoline, which should include the cost of subsidies to oil companies, cleanups of oil spills, and the environmental destruction caused by the burning of oil, not to mention the devastating wars our country has fought to maintain access to foreign oil fields.

Why do you want OPEC to produce more gasoline? So that we'll burn it faster and expedite global warming? This makes no sense to me.

I'm tired of the argument that our economy needs cheap gas or it will grind to a halt. Europe is paying the equivalent of $5 per gallon, and has been for decades, and they are chugging along just fine. They've found ways to get the job done with less gas.

Bernie - I think you are an exemplary member of congress and I thank you for all of the great work that you do. But fighting for cheap gas just doesn't make sense. Maybe it's an easy way to get votes, but I would hope that you'd use the "Bernie Buzz" to educate your constituency, not to play on a popular but ill-advised efforts.



Posted by vegg at 01:53 PM | Comments (117) | TrackBack

April 23, 2004

America the Cover-up

Guy #1: Dude, young people are dying in Iraq every day.

Guy #2: No way bro, George W. says that we are winning the war on terror!

Guy #1:Oh yeah, peep some of these photos:


Guy #2: Dude, that sucks. Why, those young Americans had so much to give to society, yet now they are dead and for what? I am very concerned that this war is in fact an unwinnable one. I'm upset at the governement and their stream of lies that they have contintued to spew at the hopelessly incompitant American public. The money hungry media want nothing more than to promote false patriotism and fear as opposed to responsible reporting on the ground.

Guy #1: Whoa Dude, that was intense, I bet if I you read this, you'll get even more upset.

"Quite frankly, we don't want the remains of our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified," said John Molino, a deputy undersecretary of defense.

Guy #2: Unwarranted? Undignified? This administration SUCKS at lying.

But Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, said photos of caskets coming home from Vietnam had a tremendous impact on the way Americans came to view that war.

"As people began to see the reality of it and see the 55,000 people who were killed coming back in body bags, they became more and more upset by the war," he said. "This is not about privacy. This is about trying to keep the country from facing the reality of war."

Guy #1: See how powerful that is man? See what coffins do to your psyche?

Guy #2: Dude, I am so upset right now. I can't believe that we have followed this jerk in to war. How come he won't let the pictures be seen, what kind of bullshit propaganda is this? Oh, and what's this about re-instituting the draft? And what's this crap about letting Saddam's former regime back in?

Also, the Iraqi defense minister will meet with former commanders from Saddam's military to discuss recruiting high officers from the disbanded force into the new army that the U.S.-led occupation is rebuilding from scratch.


Guy #2: No, bro, I am not. This is a clear example of how the US never really gave a crap if Saddam was in power or not, in fact, we supported him through the Iran/Iraq war. Remember this picture:

Guy #2: Yeah, that's the same Donald Rumsfeld who bombed Saddam 20 years later. We can't forget that Saddam and the CIA used to high-five it up at the summer BBQ. Its aparent to me and it should be aparent to any clear thinking American, that Democracy and freedom of the Iraqi people is not something Dubya and his Cabal of Project for the New American Century cronies are concerned about. If Democracy and freedom are so important to this administration, why can't they acheive those goals in this country? Racism, poverty and lack of voter representation in Florida are GLARING issues that will be overshadowed by our "War on Terror".
Forget those issues, how about the abuse of power? This is just plain awful...



Posted by E at 03:48 PM | Comments (155) | TrackBack

April 15, 2004

Right Wing Eye for America

Absolute Gold!!


Posted by E at 03:38 PM | Comments (604) | TrackBack

A steaming pile of Bush-sh*t

Today, the Bush-Cheney campaign took a decidedly different turn in its quest to get voters to see eye-to-eye with the evil neo-conservative agenda of pain.
This is a completely different campaign effort for the Bush camp, who recently tried to explain this picture to the news media.

However, they have still yet to explain this one.


But, to get serious for a moment, it looks as though the Bush/Cheney Administration of Pain, is pulling the wool over our eyes...or is it?

In Bush's Press Conference on Tuesday, or as he calls it, "an unfair attack on my values and beliefs in secrecy and the un-freedom of the press", he gives us some pretty definative reasons for the Iraqi mess:

America's commitment to freedom in Iraq is consistent with our ideals, and required by our interests.

Our ideals and our interests...hmmm...I'm not sure what those ideals and interests are, George W. McOccupation, can you tell me? No...ok, I'll look them up instead.

(Type "America's Interests" into Google and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky"...and that is what you get...AMAZING)

I bet George W. McBloodthirstyforoil didn't have Howard Dean in mind when he gave his press conference on Tuesday.

Some more winning quotes:

Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of State Rumsfeld, and a number of NATO defense and foreign ministers are exploring a more formal role for NATO, such as turning the Polish-led division into a NATO operation, and giving NATO specific responsibilities for border control.


2) A Polish led division? There isn't much Vodka in Iraq, George W. McCorporateTool.

3) Border control...hmmm....that doesn't seen like something very important...we better not involve the most high-tech and disciplined military in the world do it. Leave it to the Latvians.

Now is the time, and Iraq is the place, in which the enemies of the civilized world are testing the will of the civilized world. We must not waver.

Many have taken into question George W. McEveryChildLeftInTheGutter's pre-occupation with Armageddon-like status to the Middle East, this is his religion talking. This is a quote from the article:

After seven years under this satanic figure's tyrannical rule, Christ and the saints -- presumably represented by George Bush & Co. -- will return and conquer the powers of evil at Armageddon, an ancient battlefield outside of Haifa in northern Israel, not far from Iraq. Ensconced in Jerusalem, Christ will then reign peacefully for a thousand years, the Millennium.

Another poignant article on Bush & Co's Religion.

...more from the Press Conference of George W. McStateSponsoredTerrorism:

. Look, nobody likes to see dead people on their television screens -- I don't. It's a tough time for the American people to see that. It's gut-wrenching. One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members who have lost their life. It is a -- it is -- it's a chance to hug and weep and to console and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world.

1) Hmmm...consoling those who have lost their lives...that is sure tough to do.

2) Wait a minute...has Bush had a photo op with ANY family of a fallen soldier? Have we been shown ANY funerals or ANY caskets being unloaded off of planes?

3) The last part of the quote: Freedom for the World...how is establishing bases in 100+ countires on this planet and attempting economic blackmail for those who don't let you base troops there (Turkey)

Finally, the quote of the night (which happened to coincide with the end of the press conference):

Well, you deliver a lot of speeches and a lot of them contain similar phrases, and they vary very little from one to the next. And they often include a pretty upbeat assessment of how things are going -- with the exception of tonight's pretty somber assessment, this evening.

THE PRESIDENT: It's a pretty somber assessment today, Don, yes.

Q I guess I just wonder if you feel that you have failed in any way? You don't have many of these press conferences, where you engage in this kind of exchange. Have you failed in any way to really make the case to the American public?

THE PRESIDENT: I guess if you put it into a political context, that's the kind of thing the voters will decide next November. That's what elections are about. They'll take a look at me and my opponent and say, let's see, which one of them can better win the war on terror? Who best can see to it that Iraq emerges as a free society?

Don, if I tried to fine-tune my messages based upon polls, I think I'd be pretty ineffective. I know I would be disappointed in myself. I hope today you've got a sense of my conviction about what we're doing. If you don't, maybe I need to learn to communicate better.

I feel strongly about what we're doing. I feel strongly that the course this administration has taken will make America more secure and the world more free, and, therefore, the world more peaceful. It's a conviction that's deep in my soul. And I will say it as best as I possibly can to the American people.

I look forward to the debate and the campaign. I look forward to helping -- for the American people to hear, what is a proper use of American power; do we have an obligation to lead, or should we shirk responsibility. That's how I view this debate. And I look forward to making it, Don. I'll do it the best I possibly can. I'll give it the best shot. I'll speak as plainly as I can.

One thing is for certain, though, about me -- and the world has learned this -- when I say something, I mean it. And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important for keeping world peace and freedom.

Thank you all very much.

1) There's that conviction again- staring all us non-believers right in the face.

2) Election decisions, if George W. McLyingSOB had his way, would have nothing do to with little things such as the economy, health care or corrupt CEO's taking all of our money and investing it in statue of Daivd ice sculptures that urinate Vodka (Tyco's former CEO Dennis Koslowski)...it would be about his ability to kick a decrepid military's ass in the desert!

3) His plain speech, I'm sure the whole world knows that when George W. McInGreatNeedOfASpeechTrainer says something, he means it.

Remember...Leave No Child Behind,


Posted by E at 02:12 PM | Comments (640) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004


Well, its official. This company is corrupt. No bones about it. In their latest move, Halliburton has finally gone overboard. I fail to see how the clear connection between Cheney and Halliburton can be downplayed this time. I mean, come on, look at the guy! Nobody ever gets away with that lie!


Its not that Dick Cheney is a neo-conservative, an inherintly evil, power grabbing, oil swilling, a planner of total global economic and cultural domination maniac...

Ok, maybe he is.

But that's not the point.

The point is that Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellog Brown and Root (KBR) have had some unfortunate problems keeping their employees alive and un-kidnapped. Talk about lack of security at work.

In response to the recent wave of kidnappings, KBR and Halliburton have issued this poignant response.

This is one of those pivotal moments when we hope all those in Iraq – soldiers, civilian workers and the Iraqi people – feel the power and spirit of a united America.


Are they crazy? We are united? Since when? Do they think we all have oil on the brain?

Yes, yes, we know he does.

However, Halliburton and KBR are still in Iraq and will be there for some time.

This is one of their propaganda films.

Good thing they are looking out for us---



Posted by E at 03:07 PM | Comments (229) | TrackBack

April 07, 2004


638 and counting. This is our Vietnam, plain and simple.


President Bush, always the optimist, had this to say regarding the Shia Cleric Sadr:

Well, I think there's -- my judgment is, is that the closer we come to the deadline, the more likely it is people will challenge our will. In other words, it provides a convenient excuse to attack. In this particular incident, with Sadr, this is one person who is deciding that rather than allow democracy to flourish, he's going to exercise force. And we just can't let it stand. As I understand, the CPA today announced a warrant for his arrest. This is one person -- this is a person, and followers, who are trying to say, we don't want democracy -- as a matter of fact, we'll decide the course of democracy by the use of force. And that is the opposite of democracy. And it's -- that's why the CPA issued the statement they issued.


“This is one person who is deciding that rather than allow democracy to flourish, he's going to exercise force. And we just can't let it stand.” George W. Bush 4/6/04

I hate people who exercise force and who “challenge our will”.

Also, taken out of context (he is referring to Sadr and his followers), this quote is unbelievably perfect for W:

“…as a matter of fact, we’ll decide the course of democracy by the use of force. And that is the opposite of democracy”

Put it on a poster and preach to the world.

Granted, loony Shia Clerics holed up in Mosques with thousands of armed followers are not exactly democracy, but what our Prez-i-dent said right there should make you cringe.

The coming weeks bring the June 30th deadline of transfer, closer and closer. Clearly, George W. has a great idea of how that will go down:

We're now in the process of deciding what the entity will look like to whom we will transfer sovereignty.

What will the entity be? A democratic government? A military dictatorship? A socialist republic?


Yes, you with the Kalishnakov and the sticks of dynamite:


(for those of you who don't know what the Caliphate was...)

No, no, no...That's religious fanatisicm young man, and that is why these two young Americans from Iowa will soon be applying high voltages to your sensative areas.


Yes, you , the Secretary of Defense shaking hands with the evil dictator whom our governement once gave chemical and biological elements to...those same elements were the building blocks for the WMDs that killed 5,000 Kurds...all of this in the hopes of de-stabilizing Iran so that we can get their oil:

I don't think you get it. Iraq is ours now. Nobody else's. We control it. Our oil. Our land. Our bases. The people can call it whatever they want. Its ours. Lay off France and Germany, you frog and bratwurst eating, public transportation using bastards! Screw you Russia. You botched Afganistan and now that's ours two. Go freeze in Siberia! We've got the firepower and you've got nothing. Its our colony, oops...I mean we're protecting it. You know what...screw it...its our Colony: New Texasistan. Deal with it, pussies.

(The newest Bush propaganda film)

That guy was an asshole. How did he get to be in charge.

As you can see the competing views are pretty hard line. Here's to hoping it falls somewhere in the middle.



Posted by E at 02:38 PM | Comments (239) | TrackBack

April 04, 2004

Why Richard Clarke is a Hero


Sat Apr 3, 8:01 PM ET by Richard Reeves

Richard Clarke seems an odd duck, or perhaps I mean that you probably would not want to go on a duck-hunting trip with him. He comes across, in both appearance and in interviews, as arrogant, tough to get along with, a loner who spent hours one early morning working out the precise wording of his public apology to the families of Sept. 11 victims. He is also smart as hell and is telling very unpleasant truth in a critical whirl of many truths -- and many lies.

He is a national hero -- odd in that, too. There is no real American tradition of resignation in protest or whistle-blowing. In Great Britain, after all, which does have such an honorable tradition, two members of Prime Minister Tony Blair 's Cabinet, Robin Cook and Clare Short, resigned to protest that government's role in the Iraq war. Americans prefer team play, loyalty, patriotism as an end in itself. My country, right or wrong.


The retribution for disloyalty is sure and usually swift. The most famous U.S. government official to blow the whistle was Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, three times the Democratic nominee for president. He quit to begin a lecture tour attacking his old boss, President Woodrow Wilson, declaring that the president's slogans about keeping us out of war were a fraud, that Wilson did plan to take the United States into the great European war if he was re-elected in 1916. The crowds that once cheered and cheered the old Boy Orator of the Platte booed and chucked rotten tomatoes at Bryan until he went home to find a new line of work.

That's the way it usually works here, and that's how it will probably be for Clarke when his celebrity or notoriety has passed. I laugh when I hear that he is "profiteering," dissing the president to sell his book. He may make a few bucks now, but he will surely lose a lot later. But whistle-blowers don't do it for the money. More often than not they pay a high price economically and in their private lives, losing friends and family. Who hires the disloyal? Who can stand living with someone ducking scorn, tomatoes and death threats?

Clarke, I would wager, did not speak out because he wants to own the world; he was happiest running it from behind the curtains. That's the usual profile of such dissenters -- or "squealers" in American jargon. They think, or come to think, they are smarter or more righteous than compromising bosses and adversaries living with official lies.

Profiteers are more like Karen Hughes than Richard Clarke. What is the word for a woman who quits to spend more time with her children and then takes off on $50,000-a-night lecture tours, writes about about how wonderful her boss is, and then rejoins the team at the White House? "Real American," I call her. "Public service" offers celebrity and deferred compensation. For the talented, government salaries are low, but the visibility is high. Ask George Stephanopoulos, or James Carville or Bill Clinton.

What Clarke has done, whatever his reasons or persona, is to break the chain of secrecy. Thank you. More than 20 years ago, I wrote about what happened to other angry men, heroes of mine, who rose up to say the emperor has no clothes -- Curt Flood, the baseball player who questioned the old reserve system, and a Pentagon auditor named Ernest Fitzgerald:

"If you buck the system, you are almost inevitably going to be destroyed. ... To keep the rest of us in line, established power had to make brutal examples of those who dared to challenge the order of things. In the end, though, it wasn't sad. Because some of us would not bend, the rest of us had the small measure of freedom that came with the tiny chance that we might be the next one to stand up."

I still believe that, and this as well: Clarke is important because he is revealing the secrets the government held before Sept. 11, 2001. If those "secrets" -- threats and dangers, not intelligence procedures -- had been shared with the American people by their leaders, there might not have been catastrophic tragedy that day. We, 280 million of us, would have been aware, awake, looking for bad guys, listening for danger.

It's not about connecting the dots; it's about connecting the people. The price of freedom is vigilance, but our own government, hiding its secrets, never let us know what we should have been looking for all those dangerous years.

Posted by el sacapuntas at 01:25 PM | Comments (261) | TrackBack

April 02, 2004

Wonderful Defense

These guys are part of the "Coalition of the Willing"

I'm really glad Fiji is hookin' us up in Iraq. If only Samoa would donate some troops with the readiness that these guys show, then I'd be all for the war. Holla atcha boy George W. The guy on the right looks really tough.

Posted by E at 12:42 AM | Comments (1942) | TrackBack

April 01, 2004

Visualize World News

This is a really cool "google hack":

Posted by flood at 05:38 PM | Comments (697) | TrackBack

Visualize World News

This is a really cool "google hack":

Posted by flood at 05:37 PM | Comments (403) | TrackBack