Archive for Torture
Local blogger, gadfly and muckraker Jason Bugg traveled to Georgia Diagnostic Prison to bear witness to the Troy Davis execution, here’s an excerpt and a link to the entire story…
I’m not a journalist; I’m a guy who writes simple little things for this blog. Thanks to the readers of this blog, I went down to Jackson, Georgia yesterday to see what was happening at the vigil and protest for Troy Davis. I’ve never been close to anything like what I saw. I’ll do my best to add in names of people and try to recount things that they said, but what I’ve included here are my impressions, and should by no means be treated as authoritative.
The successive waves of document dumps by WikiLeaks have revealed just how much goes on behind the scenes, some aimed at driving the public to where leaders want to go. I am old enough (barely) to remember the Gulf of Tonkin incidents. Signal intelligence declassified by the National Security Agency in 2005 reveals that Americans were the first to fire (warning shots unreported at the time) in the first incident and the second reported incident – as we already knew – never took place. The USS Maddox took a single bullet hole. No Americans were injured. But records doctored to support claims of a second attack gave the Johnson administration a blank check to escalate the Vietnam war. Nearly 60,000 Americans and countless numbers in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia lost their lives in the aftermath. Because of leaks, Americans did not have to wait forty years to find out about the lies behind nonexistent WMDs, prisoner abuse and government-sponsored torture. Lies and secrecy seem to have a pretty high potential for doing great harm. It’s hard to imagine what greater damage the truth can do.
And now some reaction to the reaction to the WikiLeaks document release.
Beyond the inadvisability of giving unlimited access to diplomatic cables to plainly unreliable employees, the leaks so far have done remarkably little harm to the reputation of the US internationally. But the apparent marshalling of corporate America, assorted showboating legislators and, quite possibly, techno-savvy “patriots” acting as guerrilla deniers of service in an attempt to harass WikiLeaks out of existence may be what, in the end, does the real harm. The country’s over-reaction is looking increasingly like that of a bully who, having had his nose put slightly out of joint, is determined to batter the upstart into a pulp. If America wanted to convince the entire online world that it has no sense of perspective, the past few days have been a triumph. Talk of boycotts is now in the air.
The media was quick to declare the Obama honeymoon over this summer. Yet supporters exhilarated by Barack Obamaâ€™s stunning win in November 2008 were still willing to cut him a lot of slack. That slack just ran out.
If you’ve been paying attention to the site in the last few days, you’ll notice that some wacky little thumb buttons have appeared beneath each person’s post. Thumbs can be useful things: they’ve allowed humans to operate tools, like Playstation; they’re good for sticking in dykes and in pies; there’s a rule named after them; they show up in gladiator movies; they’re essential for hitchhiking; they hurt like hell when you whack them with a hammer; and, it’s really hard to blow up a balloon (much less tie off the end) without them.
But what do these buttons mean in the context of this site? Hell if we know. Do they indicate one’s agreement with a post or simply an appreciation for its quality? Are they informative at all…or merely useful for diffusing boredom and frustration — the blog equivalent of bubble wrap?
Green thumb, red thumb…Red thumb green. Green thumb, up thumb! Up thumb green! Red thumb, bad thumb…Thad thumb thad. Good thumb, Up thumb! Bad poem, bad.
We welcome your thoughts on this very important matter.
I’ve gotten a lot of guff for my post last week handicapping the Republican congressional primary field here in the 11th…not for what I predicted so much as the fact that the prediction appeared here in this pinko e-rag and under my own shiny new byline. You see, for today’s Republicans, this is a betrayal of the first order: “Thou shalt not lie with liberals as with conservatives: it is an abomination!”
Of course, there are so many orders of betrayal among local Republicans these days it’s kind of hard to keep track anymore.
Having worked for Republican candidates all my life and professionally for the last three years here in Asheville — heck, above my screen hangs a picture of me and President Reagan at a White House Christmas Party and another of me and President George H.W. Bush at a private BBQ on the south lawn of the White House; I could go on, but you get the idea — I can honestly say that I can’t see this happening again anytime soon. The Republican Party I knew for so many years has gone off the rails — effectively destroyed here locally from within — by sanctimonious bigots, religious zealots, misanthropic doctrinaire Randians, and most importantly by piss-poor, unelectable candidates.
The entire torture affair is a terrible chapter in our American history. This song captures the angst. Via BoingBoing:
President Barack Obama moved immediately to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects within the next year.Â As part of the plan, he asked his staff to review each of the 200+ cases.Â That’s where we started bumping up against the Bush Legacy:
“President Obama’s plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials — barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees — discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.
Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is “scattered throughout the executive branch,” a senior administration official said.
Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration’s focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.”
Over at Powerline, a major message center in Right Blogistan, they’re trying to explain why it’s o.k. for Sarah Palin to say that she was against the Bridge to Nowhere without ever explaining that she was a fan of it before she was a rival. They do a standard “attack the left wing media” angle and then this happens:
It’s true that when Palin uses her “thanks, but no thanks” line she omits certain information — her initial support for the project, the fact that Congress revoked the earmark, and the fact that Bridge had become an embarrassment by the time Palin nixed it. But the fact remains that nothing Congress did would have prevented Alaska from using federal money to build the bridge. It was Palin who stopped this from happening.
While you’re anxiously waiting for the Starbucks to open on the ground floor of the Parkside Condo Highrise, come bite your fingernails with a gaggle of liberals down at the Asheville Brewing Company. In this brave, new Asheville where condo developers can scheme with City and County staff to buy our public park land and turn it into luxurious living for the millionaires among us, it’s vital that we plebians behave as though nothing is wrong.
We can ignore Maj. Gen. Taguba leveling war crimes charges against George W. Bush and KBR telling our military to suck on it in Iraq. We can ignore the occupation of Iraq altogether while pretending that the do-nothing Democrats in Congress have already held the Bush administration to account. Global warming? Fuggedaboutit. Gas prices? F5 that shit. A massive wave of foreclosures, ballooning national debt, the plunging value of the dollar? Who has the time?
Come whistle while Rome burns tonight at the Asheville Brewing Company, 77 Coxe Ave., Downtown Asheville. Drinking Liberally, that left-leaning cabal of well-educated, well-heeled, well-bourbon political love children comes together for another Thursday night praising the light and cursing the darkness. We’ll start at 7ish and go until the goings gone. Everyone’s welcome. The only cost is your tab.
“There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” – (Ret.) Major General Antonio Taguba
Major General Taguba was responsible for investigating the torture at Abu Ghraib.
Congressman Shuler, will you stand up for human rights and the American way of life, or will you stand idly while war criminals skate by without being held to account? Please call for a War Crimes Tribunal to be formed and held in the public arena. Please do this without another moment’s delay.