August 24, 2009 archive

Aug 24

GOOD NEWS! Accountability: Holder to name Special Prosecutor for torture, and how Dems will use it

      Crossposted at progressiveelectorate.com

(I’d just like to state clearly, this is not a rebuttal to the diary posted by Something the Dog Said, rather, consider it a differing opinion)

From WaPo

Prosecutor to CIA Abuse Allegations

by abuse allegations, they mean torture.

More!

From a Daily Kos diary

Breaking: “profanity-laced screaming match” at the White House

    Amid reports that Panetta had threatened to quit just seven months after taking over at the spy agency, other insiders tell ABCNews.com that senior White House staff members are already discussing a possible shake-up of top national security officials.

“You can expect a larger than normal turnover in the next year,” a senior adviser to Obama on intelligence matters told ABCNews.com.    

and this on the heels of news this weekend

From isria.com

9 GOP Senators ask Holder for Mercy for Bus/Cheney

    Now, this is the key part of the news, because I do not think a 1/4 of the GOP Senate would put their necks out to save some no-name underlings.

    I think this is going all the way to the top, and, in my new found attempt to look at things in a glass half full view.

    Therefore, I give you my belief, as of now, that the ball is now rolling, it will build and build, and by the summer of 2010 going into 2012, America WILL lead to Bush and Cheney themselves.

    More below the fold

Aug 24

There Must Be a Reason…

How NOT to conduct honest research.

Fox911

Sociologists representing four major research institutions have published a study in the journal Sociological Inquiry examining how we support our false beliefs. They examined the false belief of many voters during the 2004 general election that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the Saudi/Al Queda attacks on September 11, 2001.

These researchers concluded that the false beliefs were not caused by lies told repeatedly by the Bush Administration, the New York Times, WaPo, FoxNews and assorted other mainstream media in print, broadcast, cable and radio, but reflected a mere quirk of the individuals’ own personal need to justify a war that was already being waged. Is this yet another example of dishonest publicly funded research, bought by historical revisionists instead of Big Pharma this time?

The researchers named their study “There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification,” and claim that their findings offer a serious challenge to democracy. The inference from that claim being, of course, that regular people are just too damned stupid and dishonest with themselves to justify letting them vote. Wow.

While it is a trivial observation that people tend to believe what they want to believe, and seek out information sources that support and/or confirm their already-held beliefs, I am certainly not convinced that Ph.D. sociologists should have so pointedly ignored the facts in this particular case of “What’s Wrong With WingNuts?” It was the Bush-Cheney administration that invented the lies, started the war, and was backed up in that false propaganda effort by the mainstream media establishment. Seems like giving political liars and media propagandists a free pass on misleading the public does serious damage to the credibility of erstwhile social science research!

Aug 24

Four at Four

No Cheney accountability, Holder doesn’t “go there”
Holder limits CIA probe to narrowest of scope

  1. The Washington Post reports Holder is set to appoint prosecutor for narrow investigation of CIA terror interrogations.

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

    Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

    Durham’s mandate, the sources added, will be relatively narrow to look at whether there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale criminal investigation of current and former CIA personnel who may have broken the law in their dealings with detainees. Many of the harshest CIA interrogation techniques have not been employed against terrorism suspects for four years or more.

    The NY Times reports President Obama did not interfere with Holder’s decision on the CIA torture investigation. However, Obama continued to say he prefered to be forward looking.

    The Washington Independent reports Civil liberties groups prepare a delicate message on the CIA probe. The limited scope is a severe setback.

    Worse than doing nothing at all” was how Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, described Holder’s possible decision to stop an inquiry at low-level interrogators…

Four at Four continues with Obama makes subtle and minimal changes to Bush detainee and rendition policies, and updates from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Aug 24

AG Holder Gives Us Half A Loaf On Accountablity

Well, it looks as though we will be getting half a loaf today in regards to torture accountability. The Washington Post is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder is going to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate about 12 instances where intelligence agents and contractors appear to have exceeded the guidance of the spurious Bybee and Yoo Torture Memo’s. While this is a good thing in and of itself, it is not really a good thing for long term torture accountability. Come on below the flip and the Dog will lay out why we should not get too excited about this.  

Aug 24

Angry about the “Lockerbie bomber” getting released?

I’ve long since quit watching CNN but sometimes when I’m flipping through channels I catch a little piece of it here and there.  The other day I was subjected to an outraged, absolutely outraged Wolf Blitzer confronting Scotland’s equivalent of our Attorney General over the release of the man convicted of being the main perpetrator of the Lockerbie plane bombing.  Wolfie just went on and on about “mass murderers!” and the like, totally ignoring the fact that our own country is engaged in the business of slaughtering far more innocent people, in an ongoing consistent fashion, than any terrorist’s wildest dreams.

Nevertheless, there was never any doubt whatsoever in Wolfie’s little shrink-wrapped brain about the actual guilt of the man in question.   No, he was the “lone gunman”, he was the absolute nexus of evil in this case, right?   The Scottish guy was pretty interesting, he never wavered, never bought into the emotion, and was quick to admit that yes, this was the man convicted.  He never said the guy did it, he just said he was “convicted”.   Which is certainly true.  He was convicted.  

Well why don’t we take a little trip into The Memory Hole about this case, just for the pure rollicking heck of it, not that it will matter, but I’d just like to share a few little tidbits regarding this case that most people don’t even think about anymore, except of course for the families of those killed, as Wolfie was pointing out ad nauseum to the Scottish fellow.

It was claimed some time ago that key evidence in the Lockerbie case was in fact planted by the CIA:

http://www.independent.co.uk/n…


Crucial evidence against two Libyans for the Lockerbie bombing was planted by the CIA, it was claimed in the Commons yesterday.

A fragment of circuit board alleged to have been part of the bomb’s timing mechanism is the sole item of physical evidence linking the two Libyans to the December 1988 bombing. But Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, declared: “I have come to suspect that the timing device in question was not that of Pan Am 103 but a different timing device that the CIA had picked up from the Libyans … I have been driven to the conclusion that the device was a CIA plant.”

Mr Dalyell, a long-standing critic of US and British government insistence that Libya was behind the attack, said an analysis of the fragment had shown it had been exposed to a temperature of 4,000deg C. But a Swiss police specialist had cast doubt on this, saying the explosion would have lasted only a fraction of a second in outside air temperatures of about minus 40C.

Accusing the Crown Office, the Scottish prosecuting authority, of failing to follow up the right leads, Mr Dalyell said – to strident denials from Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, the Scottish Office minister – that it had allowed itself for six years “to be suborned by political pressure into failing to carry out its duty”.

He said this was a “wicked” dereliction of duty that brought shame on Britain.

Aug 24

It is Official-Mandatory Unicorn Flu Shots

Waited on the most nasty news of the day and of course found it.  The flu shots scheduled for this fall come from the Ukrane.  The Czech Republic has refused the shot based upon the fact it is not tested.  German doctors have linked it to Guillian Bar Syndrome and you did not see it on CNN.

Health care?

Aug 24

Taking a little break from substance

The idiots have gotten to me!

The lunatics are on the hill!

Photobucket

Until I resolve this frustration (with idiots and lunatics) and get it out of my system, I seem to just not care very much.

Photobucket

That being said, lol, I will probably be back at it tomorrow!

Aug 24

Samuelson transforms Glaeser’s hackery into The HSR Stupid / Update

Morris says he and his tag-team High Speed Rail partner Ed Glaeser … that’s HSR or #HSrail for short … are taking at least a one week break. So Robert Samuelson steps into the breach.

He repeats the old familiar argument:

  • (1) Amtrak requires operating subsidies.
  • (2) Rail operators overseas had the same problem.
  • (3) Rail operators overseas found out that increasing the speed solved the problem.
  • (4) So if we do the same thing, it will lose money.

Why does (4) follow from (1), (2), and (3)? It doesn’t, of course, its just guilt by association given the form and shape of an argument to allow intellectually dishonest rhetoric to pass as if it were real argument.

Aug 24

CIA IG Report Due Today (Updated with Link to Report)

From emptywheel over at Firedoglake:

(Today is CIA IG Report day. While we wait, I’m re-posting two posts I did in June describing what we already know is in the report.)

In this post, I reviewed the known contents of the CIA IG Report’s 6-page section on torture for those who seem to forget we’ve seen substantive bits from that in the Bradbury memos. In this post, I’ll look at what else shows up in the Bradbury memos. In a follow-up post, I’ll look at what IG Report contents we haven’t seen (and therefore are all but guaranteed not to see).

From what we can reconstruct, the report appears to include the following:

Intro and summary

A history of CIA’s involvement in torture

A description of the development of the torture techniques as if they were developed for use for Abu Zubaydah

A review of the legal authorization for the program, with the critique that doctors were not involved in the pre-authorization review and, probably, a description of the ways that torture as practiced exceeded the guidelines included in Bybee Two  

An erroneous claim that everyone who should have been briefed was briefed

Apparently a general review of how the program was implemented, including a description of the close involvement of medical personnel, and a description of what was done to which High Value Detainees

A description of the decision to videotape and apparent reviews of what a review of the videotapes and cables revealed about whether the torture was what it was claimed to be

Forty pages of completely redacted material

The Effectiveness section

A policy section that notes that the program includes many of the same techniques as the State Department qualifies as abusive

Three pages of recommendations

A number of Appendices–the CIA appears to be hiding the very existence of about five of these and most of the contents of the rest of them

This Report has been delayed over and over again, and we can expect a lot of it to be redacted.

And in a related story, the New York Times reports Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases, to-wit:

The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter.

I have a whole lot of questions about all this.  I have to wonder, during the time of the very long delay before releasing the CIA IG report, whether those who are the most vulnerable to prosecution were allowed to lobby for much of the report to be redacted.  I recall reading somewhere that this was the case — so if anyone can offer a link, I’d be grateful.

The New York Times story weasles out of using the word “torture,” by the way.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the report — 122 pages.

Aug 24

Weekly Torture Action Letter 21 – History and AG Holder.

Happy Monday and welcome to the Dog’s ongoing letter writing campaign for accountability to the rule of law for the apparent Bush Administration State Sponsored Torture program. For those playing our home game, the way this works is every Monday the Dog writes a letter to decision makers urging them to take action under our legal obligations, both Federal and International, to investigate and where evidence of criminality exists prosecute those who ordered, those who justified and those who carried out torture in the name of the United States of America. You get involved by either cut and pasting the letter to the links the Dog provides, or writing your own letter based on this weeks ideas.  

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Aug 24

End SOCIALIST Fire Departments! Epic FAIL and WIN! A dummy FaceBook group, dummies just love it

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    A big Hat Tip to  one of my favorite bloggers on teh tubes and fellow Dharma Bum, Inky99, who diaried this yesterday night, but it was too good for me to resist, so I gave it a try myself.

     I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

     1 Million Strong Against Our SOCIALIST Fire Departments: The FaceBook Group

     The facebook group is administrated by Troy Conrad, who anyone who knows how to use teh google can quickly learn is a comedian, and apparently quite talented as well.


By Danny Fucking DeVito!!

Just wanted to thank you for the invite, hardly got the time for social Networking but will try my best to call in at tines and say hi

     If the twisted mind of Danny DeVito is in on the joke, it’s gotta be good.

     Troy Conrad’s comedyjesusshow can be seen here, and is touted as Comedy’s Answer to the Religious Right

     The dittoheads, of course, swallow this hook, line and sinker.

More hilarity below the fold.

Aug 24

Docudharma Times Monday August 24

 Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases



By DAVID JOHNSTON

Published: August 24, 2009


WASHINGTON – The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter.

The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general but have never been released.

The lost legends of American soft rock

As 1980s pop stars from Britain leap on to the crowded revivalist bandwagon, Ben Walsh wonders what happened to their US cousins

  Monday, 24 August 2009

Learn to fly again/ learn to live so free”, wailed Mr. Mister on the power ballad “Broken Wings”. The likes of T’Pau, Kim Wilde, Nick Heyward and Bananarama are pulling in legions of nostalgia fiends as part of Rewind, the wildly popular national Eighties revival tour. But whatever happened to their American counterparts, the Eighties soft-rockers and power balladeers? And what happened to the hair? Has it been gathered up in a crate and deposited in a huge warehouse, Indiana Jones-style, to be studied by future perpetrators of soft-rock?

The recent demise of the superb director/writer John Hughes has generated a lot of Eighties reminiscing, but this odd, garish and evocative decade has never strayed very far from my thoughts. Mainly, because the lyrics that decorated the hits of the day, however corny, however absurd, are enormously memorable. They stick.

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