Tag: TMC Politics

Jan 26

Human Rights: A Quaint & Obsolete Relic

Bradley Manning’s detention conditions got worse this week. He is now being held in total isolation in the brig at the Quantico, VA Marine Base. As has been reported by his friend David House, the only visitor he is allowed besides his lawyer, Manning’s mental and physical condition has been deteriorating steadily during his seven month long detention. Manning has no history violence or disciplinary infractions and that he is a pre-trial detainee not yet convicted of any offense.

Last Friday Jane Hamsher reported on Manning’s detention and a complaint that has been filed protesting his abuse:

For over five months, Bradley Manning has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch at the Quantico Brig against the recommendations of three forensic psychiatrists. Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, has filed an Article 138 Complaint under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, asserting that this represents an abuse of Brig Commander James Averhart’s discretion.

Coombs’ complaint was filed after the Brig Commander placed Manning under “suicide risk” and MAX custody earlier this week, which made his conditions dramatically worse. Glenn Greenwald broke the story about the inhumane conditions of Manning’s pre-trial confinement last month, shortly before the New York Times reported that the Justice Department strategy regarding Wikileaks was to “persuade” Manning to testify against Julain Assange.. . . . .

Bradley Manning has not been convicted of anything. Abusing his mental health classification while attempting to “persuade” him to testify against Julian Assange has alarming echoes of the techniques used to elicit false confessions from terrorist suspects.  It should alarm everyone that we could be watching pre-trial coersion becoming acceptable American shores.  If so, we can all wave goodbye to “innocent until proven guilty.”

Today Jane, accompanied by David House, went to Quantico to visit Manning and deliver a protest petition to brig officials. Instead they were detained at the gate and harassed by the MP’s who readily admitted they were ordered to do so.

Between 1:00 – 1:30 MPs took their IDs and made them sign a form that they could not deviate to the brig or else they would be considered trespassing. At this time, one of the MPs asked for Hamsher’s auto insurance card. MP Gunnery Sgt. Foster informed Hamsher that her car would be towed after declining to accept a digital copy of Hamsher’s insurance card. House and Hamsher offered to drive off the base but were denied, despite being detained only ten feet inside the base’s perimeter. The MPs then took the Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of House and Hamsher.

Around 1:40 the tow truck arrived and MPs instructed House and Hamsher to leave their vehicle, informing them that their vehicle would be searched. At 2:00 pm House observed military officers arriving and entering the MP outpost which oversaw their detainment. House expressed concern that he would miss Manning’s visiting hours but was told that he could neither exit nor move forward to the base. No explanation for House and Hamsher’s detainment was provided until, and they were held until 2:50 when they were informed they could leave the base. They were detained for two hours up until Manning’s visitation time period expired at 3:00 pm.

House and Jane have visited Manning in the past but not since Amnesty International filed a complaint to Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement. The Amnesty International complaint came on the heals of the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, submitting a formal inquiry about the conditions of Manning’s detention. House was banned today from seeing Manning. One of the question now is will he be banned in the future because of his reports on Manning’s condition under these harsh conditions.

I look around at the reports about the resumption of the military commissions at Guantanamo and the new policies on the use of Miranda in terrorist interrogations and I wonder is this still the United States? What happened to our principles of justice, not that they ever favored the underprivileged? Is this country turning into the new Soviet Russia?

Jan 24

Military Commissions to Increase at Guantánamo and More . . .

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Obama continues to make Dick Cheney proud.

U.S. Prepares to Lift Ban on Guantánamo Cases

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to increase the use of military commissions to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, an acknowledgment that the prison in Cuba remains open for business after Congress imposed steep new impediments to closing the facility.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees.

Charges would probably then come within weeks against one or more detainees who have already been designated by the Justice Department for prosecution before a military commission, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen; Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting, in an operation that never came to fruition, to attack oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz; and Obaydullah, an Afghan accused of concealing bombs.

The rules for admissible evidence that these commission operate under are far loser than a civilian court.

Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft explains:

One of those expected to be recharged and tried is Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who was captured in 2002. Al-Nashiri was originally charged by the Bush Administration with participating in the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. He was facing the death penalty. The Obama Administration moved to dismiss the charges against in in 2009. Al-Nashiri’s co-defendants were moved to federal court. Why wasn’t Al-Nashiri? The obvious answer is because the evidence against him was obtained by torture. His lawyer, Lt. Com. Stephen Reyes says:

“Nashiri is being prosecuted at the commissions because of the torture issue,” Mr. Reyes said. “Otherwise he would be indicted in New York along with his alleged co-conspirators.”

Most of those who will be charged and face the death penalty are not prosecutable in a civilian court because not only is all of the evidence against them was obtained through torture but the detainees themselves were tortured. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are prosecuting the wrong people. They should be trying Bush and Cheney who have both publicly confessed to personally authorizing torture.

And if you the average American citizen thought you were safe from this abuse, think again:

Obama administration keeps new policy on Miranda secret

The Justice Department has a new policy for terrorism interrogations — but officials won’t publicly release it

The Obama administration has issued new guidance on use of the Miranda warning in interrogations of terrorism suspects, potentially chipping away at the rule that bars the government from using information in court if it was gathered before a suspect was informed of his right to remain silent and to an attorney.

But the Department of Justice is refusing to publicly release the guidance, with a spokesman describing it in an interview as an “internal document.” So we don’t know the administration’s exact interpretation of Miranda, even though it may have significantly reshaped the way terrorism interrogations are conducted.

If Bush was bad, Obama is taking it to new levels.

Jan 23

Military Commissions to Increase at Guantánamo and More . . .

Obama continues to make Dick Cheney proud.

U.S. Prepares to Lift Ban on Guantánamo Cases

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to increase the use of military commissions to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, an acknowledgment that the prison in Cuba remains open for business after Congress imposed steep new impediments to closing the facility.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees.

Charges would probably then come within weeks against one or more detainees who have already been designated by the Justice Department for prosecution before a military commission, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen; Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting, in an operation that never came to fruition, to attack oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz; and Obaydullah, an Afghan accused of concealing bombs.

The rules for admissible evidence that these commission operate under are far loser than a civilian court.

Jerralyn Merrick at Talk Left explains:

One of those expected to be recharged and tried is Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who was captured in 2002. Al-Nashiri was originally charged by the Bush Administration with participating in the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. He was facing the death penalty. The Obama Administration moved to dismiss the charges against in in 2009. Al-Nashiri’s co-defendants were moved to federal court. Why wasn’t Al-Nashiri? The obvious answer is because the evidence against him was obtained by torture. His lawyer, Lt. Com. Stephen Reyes says:

“Nashiri is being prosecuted at the commissions because of the torture issue,” Mr. Reyes said. “Otherwise he would be indicted in New York along with his alleged co-conspirators.”

Most of those who will be charged and face the death penalty are not prosecutable in a civilian court because not only is all of the evidence against them was obtained through torture but the detainees themselves were tortured. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are prosecuting the wrong people. They should be trying Bush and Cheney who have both publicly confessed to personally authorizing torture.

And if you the average American citizen thought you were safe from this abuse, think again:

Obama administration keeps new policy on Miranda secret

The Justice Department has a new policy for terrorism interrogations — but officials won’t publicly release it

The Obama administration has issued new guidance on use of the Miranda warning in interrogations of terrorism suspects, potentially chipping away at the rule that bars the government from using information in court if it was gathered before a suspect was informed of his right to remain silent and to an attorney.

But the Department of Justice is refusing to publicly release the guidance, with a spokesman describing it in an interview as an “internal document.” So we don’t know the administration’s exact interpretation of Miranda, even though it may have significantly reshaped the way terrorism interrogations are conducted.

If Bush was bad, Obama is taking it to new levels.

Jan 22

Damning Praise for Obama from “Dead Eye” Dick

Damning, indeed.

Cheney: Obama has learned that Bush policies were right

By Daniel Strauss

01/17/11 05:18 PM ET

President Obama has “learned from experience” that some of the Bush administration’s decisions on terrorism issues were necessary, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery last July, Cheney said he thinks Obama has been forced to rethink some of his national security positions now that he sits in the Oval Office.

“I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he’s learned from experience. And part of that experience was the Democrats having a terrible showing last election.”

Cheney also asserted that Obama has learned that the prison at Guantanamo Bay simply cannot be closed, despite the promises he made while campaigning for the White House.

“I think he’s learned that he’s not going to be able to close Guantanamo,” Cheney said. “That it’s – if you didn’t have it, you’d have to create one like that. You’ve got to have some place to put terrorists who are combatants who are bound and determined to try to kill Americans.”

Cheney made the comments about Obama in an interview that is set to air Tuesday on NBC’s “Today.” The interview was Cheney’s first since before he underwent heart surgery in July. Doctors introduced a device into his heart that pumps blood from the ventricle chamber to his aorta.

From a “dead man walking”

Jan 20

The New Drinking Game: Anthony Weiner’s “Half Time Report”

We may have lost Alan Grayson to a teabagger but we still have Anthony Weiner calling the plays and the players at half time in the HCR bill repeal debates in the House. Sometimes the House provides some really great entertainment.

WEINER: There have basically been three formations of the argument by the Republicans. First, they start by making things up, you kind of have to wonder if any of them actually read the bill…”130,000 new agencies” – NOT TRUE. “New IRS agents” – NOT TRUE. “Death Panels” – NOT TRUE. “Members aren’t covered” – NOT TRUE. “No Tort Reform in it” – NOT TRUE. You know, I want to just advise people watching at home playing that now popular drinking game of “you take a shot whenever Republicans say something that is not true,” please assign a designated driver, this is going to be a long afternoon!

If this “game” continues over the next two years, the need for liver donors is going to increase exponentially.

Jan 17

MLK: Be True to What You Said on Paper

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968 – the day before he was assassinated

Jan 14

“Gangstas”, Goldman and Twitter

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Which Is More “Gangsta,” 50 Cent’s Twitter Stock Pitch or Goldman’s Facebook Deal?

Music was Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s second career. News reports say he began dealing crack at the age of twelve, after the murder of his coke-dealer mother. Early tracks like “Ghetto Quran” and “How to Rob” reflect a brutal, street-hustling life, and Jackson has the bullet wounds to match. He’s talented, wildly successful, and I sure wouldn’t mess with him.

But when he starts mixing social media with pumped-up investment pitches, 50 Cent is moving into Goldman Sachs territory. “Fitty” reportedly earned millions for touting a stock on Twitter, without disclosing that he owned shares in the company. How does that stack up against Goldman’s own social media deal with Facebook? When you move into the stock market, you’re going where the real gangstas roll. . . . . .

“Ok ok ok my friends just told me stop tweeting about HNHI so that we can get all the money. Hahaha check it out its the real deal.”

50 Cent about a marginal stock all weekend and into early Monday, calling it “BIG MONEY” and saying “you can double your money right now.” The effect was mindblowing.

Jackson’s credited with moving the stock of a company called HNHI by $50 million dollars in one day, even though its own auditor reportedly “expressed concerns about its financial future.” Fitty didn’t mention that he held 30 million shares of the stock, which he picked up for $750,000 last fall. Yesterday’s surge reportedly netted him somewhere between $8.7 million and $10 million. No wonder so many news accounts repeated the name of his hit album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

HNHI increased in value by about 200%. Even after it dropped more than 23% today, Jackson was way ahead of the game. Fitty’s attorneys presumably got a little worried, because the disclaimers started appearing late Monday: “HNHI is the right investment for me it might not be for u! Do ur homework,” “I own HNHI stocks thoughts on it are my opinion. Talk to your financial advisor …”

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