Thursday, April 30, 2009

World Panics Over New Media-Borne Virus


"Now, they're blaming me. I'm the new escape goat, I mean escape pig. Those lucky birds. Why don't we ever have a Kermit Flu?"

When I first heard about Pigmageddon -- the latest phenomenon set to wipe us all out, yet again -- I was ironically just leaving a relatively empty screening of the new movie “Earth”, featuring dying polar bears, elephants lost in the ever-growing deserts, and great white sharks which, if you believe what you read at peak slow-news times, were only taking a brief respite from ravaging tourist beaches to earn their actor’s union card. Tough luck, DisneyNature -- no one cares about “climate change” right now.

Our attention deficient culture has some new disaster porn, and it’s getting better TV ratings because, unlike the global warming phenomenon previously known as “seasons”, a virus actually kills people.

This disaster even has its own international scoreboard. Every day, you can compare your national immunity with other countries’. You can’t do that with the average flu! This one’s special, because it hasn’t killed enough people yet to lose count.

The disease is striking hard in major world centers. By this, I mean anywhere a government press conference is taking place on the issue. And where there’s government involvement, there’s political sensitivity.

Israel is calling it the “Mexican flu”, because this virus apparently came from Mexico, where nearly all the deaths have occurred. Well, that’s just not nice! Obama’s administration wants to call it the “H1N1 virus”, and others have suggested “North American virus”.

The European Commission is calling it “novel flu”, which sounds like something you pick up during a visit to Barnes and Noble.

But branding is everything, and no one really wants to die from a virus with a loser name. How about just so-subtly calling it “pig flu”, in Spanish? La Gripe De Puerco!

If the Mexicans don’t like it, or the Spanish feel it could be mis-attributed to them, let them take it up with the United Nations, or the International Criminal Court, or whatever useless bureaucratic entity has some free space on its schedule before we all get wiped out.


Spanish judge opens new Guantanamo probe


A Spanish judge yesterday opened a new investigation into alleged torture at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, according to a copy of the ruling seen by AFP.

Judge Baltasar Garzon would probe the "perpetrators, the instigators, the necessary collaborators and accomplices" to crimes of torture at the prison at the US naval base in southern Cuba, it said.

The judge based his decision on statements by Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, known as the "Spanish Taliban" and three other former Guantanamo detainees – a Moroccan, a Palestinian and a Libyan – who alleged they had suffered torture at the camp.

"It seems that the documents declassified by the US administration mentioned by the media have revealed what was previously a suspicion – the existence of an authorised and systematic programme of torture" at Guantanamo and other prisons including that in Bagram in Afghanistan, Garzon said.


Condi Rice Pulls A Nixon: When the President Does It, That Means It is Not Illegal


Condoleezza Rice was recently speaking at Stanford when students asked her an excellent question on waterboarding and torture. They have her answer on tape and it isn't pretty. Condi Rice absolutely pulls a Nixon.

Here are the relevant quotes:

"The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture."
Nothing we would do? Nothing? As I ask in the video above, what would happen if the president authorized you to murder someone, would it still not be illegal?

Next up, Condoleezza Rice denies any personal responsibility:

"I didn't authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency, that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department's clearance. That's what I did."

Oh I see, she just conveyed the authorization. And how is that different than giving the authorization?

By the way, lest we forget she "conveyed" the authorization for waterboarding, which has been considered torture and illegal under any and all treaties and laws of the United States.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu – NO WORSE THAN REGULAR FLU – Not Pandemic!


"Watch out for the bird-pig flu pandemic!"

By Chimpplanet

If the current swine flu “pandemic” is all bull, as I suspect, then why now?

I can think of two reasons. There are probably many other hidden reasons.

One is to take the heat off the recently released torture memos which implicate the all-powerful CIA and Judge Jim Bybee and may call for a formal investigation of the George Dubya Bush Administration.

Second is that big pharma wants to sell the US government billions of dollars more of vaccines like Tamiflu since the last purchase made years ago when thousands of Americans died from the bird flu pandemic. Oh, they didn’t? So why did we buy all that vaccine? Well, let’s buy some more just in case those flying pigs try to kill us.

From the television to the Internet, there's a lot of information circulating about the swine flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, swine flu is a respiratory disease commonly found in pigs.

While the virus can spread from pigs to people, you cannot get it by eating pork. Swine flu often spreads between people through coughing, sneezing or touching something contaminated with the virus – NO DIFFERENT THAN REGULAR FLU! And, no, you do not grow a little curly tail on your butt.

One state’s health officials said results from 15 suspected flu cases came back negative. This is true all over the US. CNN, FOX and other major news networks want you to worry so you watch them more often and their number of viewers increase and they get richer.

People infected with swine flu may not require any more medical attention than when they get the “regular” flu.

Do you know how many people die of the “regular” flu every year?

Get ready for some surprises, especially since the CDC keeps trumpeting flu-death annual numbers as 36,000. Like clockwork. Year in and year out. 36,000 people in the US die from the flu every year. Killer disease. Watch out. Get your flu shot. Every autumn. Don't wait. You might fall over dead in the street.

Here are the total flu deaths from the report. From 1979 to 2001, the stats were released every two years.

1979: 604
1981: 3,006
1983: 1,431
1985: 2,054
1987: 632
1989: 1,593
1991: 1,137
1993: 1,044
1995: 606
1996: 745
1997: 720
1998: 1,724
1999: 1,665
2000: 1,765
2001: 257

To prevent the spread of swine flu, the CDC recommends washing hands often, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding contact with sick people – JUST LIKE WHEN THE “REGULAR” FLU HITS!


Leahy Calls On Bybee To Testify On Torture


(Click on picture to enlarge)

Bybee signed memos that broadly justified torture and also authorized specific torture techniques to be used on a particular detainee, Abu Zubaydah.

Leahy has called on Bybee to resign his position as a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which he was appointed to before his role in the torture program was revealed.


US cyber-security 'embarrassing'


America's cyber-security has been described as "broken" by one industry expert and as "childlike" by another.

"I think we are seeing a real breaking point in security with consumers, business and even government saying enough, no more. Let's rethink how we do this because the system is broken," said Mr Mather.

Over the past couple of weeks, the heat has been turned up on the issue of cyber-security following some high profile breaches.

One involved the country's power grid which was said to have been infiltrated by nation states. The government subsequently admitted that it was "vulnerable to attack".

Meanwhile reports during the RSA conference surfaced that spies had hacked into the Joint Strike Fighter Project.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

FLASHBACK - Department of Homeland Security transporting flu on the highways?????



Is this flu outbreak being unleashed by our government to stop the pursuit of justice against elite government torturers?


“W’s” Tall Tales


“Waterboarding is fun. I believe my fraternity at Yale invented waterboarding.

At “Skulls and Bones”,Sigma Alpha Beta to you dummies, we used to initiate newbees by “beer-boarding”. It was a lot like waterboarding, except you were bombed out of your mind on good old Heineken. Only the best for “future deciders of the world”, as we called ourselves. The thought today makes me drool.

Of course, the CIA and the Pentagon didn’t want to waste all that good expensive beer on terrorists, so they used water instead. But it was purified spring water.

I tell you, I was “beer-boarded” at least 10 times and loved every second of it. It’s a lot like riding a roller coaster, scary at first but exhilarating afterwards.

So I don’t understand all the hoopla about this fun interrogation method. Maybe the CIA should have used beer after all. Then, no one would call it torture.”

(Written by Chimpplanet)


Judge Bybee's cruelty: In approving torture, his remoteness from the actual torturers increases his degree of responsibility


The CIA wanted assurance that the techniques would not violate laws against torture.

Bybee provided that assurance in chillingly detached prose. Here are some highlights:

Prolonged sleep deprivation is acceptable because "it cannot be said to constitute a threat of severe physical pain or suffering from the perspective of a reasonable person in Zubaydah's position." Indeed, "it is not uncommon for someone to be deprived of sleep for 72 hours and still perform excellently on visual-spatial motor tasks. ... In one case, even after 11 days of deprivation, no psychosis or permanent brain damage occurred. ... [T]he effects remit after a few good nights of sleep."

"Cramped confinement" for up to 18 hours in complete darkness in a "container" just large enough for "the individual" to "stand up or sit down" is fine because "[w]e have no information ... that the limited duration for which the individual is kept in the boxes causes any substantial physical pain," and "the use of the confinement boxes does not constitute a procedure calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality."

It's OK to put insects in Zubaydah's confinement box, knowing "he appears to have a fear of insects," because, "though the introduction of an insect may produce trepidation in Zubaydah ... it certainly does not cause physical pain." However, it's best not to tell him there will be insects in the box: "If you do so ... you must inform him that the insects will not have a sting that would produce death or severe pain."

"A variety of stress positions may be used" for long periods because they merely "involve the use of muscle fatigue to encourage cooperation and do not themselves constitute the infliction of severe physical pain or suffering."

Go ahead and waterboard him. Admittedly, the procedure "causes an increase in carbon-dioxide level in the individual's blood. This increase in the carbon-dioxide level stimulates increased effort to breathe. This effort plus the cloth [placed over the mouth and nose and saturated with water] produces the perception of 'suffocation and incipient panic,' i.e., the perception of drowning." But "although the subject may experience the fear or panic associated with the feeling of drowning, the waterboard does not inflict physical pain. ... The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode."


President's way Bush league


(Click on picture to enlarge)

Many Americans want the Bush administration officials who employed and sanctioned torture to face justice. President Barack Obama hinted the attorney general might investigate this whole ugly business.

Republicans, who have become America's champions of war and torture, are fiercely resisting any investigation and lauding torture's benefits. So too are some senior intelligence officials.

Torture is a crime under U.S. law. It is a crime under the Third Geneva Convention, and the UN's anti-torture convention, both of which the U.S. signed. Kidnapping and moving suspects to be tortured in third countries is a crime. Torture violates core American values.

In 1945, the U.S. hanged Japanese officers for war crimes for inflicting "water-boarding" (near drowning) on U.S. prisoners -- exactly what the CIA inflicted on its Muslim captives.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bush aware of 'unreliability' of torture info


A US military agency warned the Bush administration about the 'unreliability' of information obtained through torture, according to a report.

In July 2002, the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency notified the former administration that torture yields 'unreliable information,' just weeks before the Justice Department authorized use of harsh interrogation techniques, The Washington Post reported.


What is the smallest nation of the world?


The Vatican Army

The Vatican City in central Rome ranks as the smallest nation of the world. It measures 0.17 square miles. The population in 2007 was 821 and in 2008 it was 900.

(They had 79 new births and yet the entire population is celibate?)

Ranking second is the nation of Monaco at 0.75 square miles. Monaco's population is 32,796 (July 2008).


FLASHBACK: Pentagon prepares for military strikes against Iran


14 February 2006

An article in last weekend’s edition of the Sunday Telegraph in Britain confirms that the US is drawing up plans for air and missile strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Long-distance B2 bombers, each carrying up to 20 tons of precision bombs and flying from bases in the US, would most likely be involved.


US lawmakers vow public probe into torture


US lawmakers say despite Obama's reluctance, they will push for a public inquiry into torture techniques practiced during the Bush era.


“Don’t worry America. We will have an independent inquiry into torture just like we had for JFK’s suicide and the 9/11 earthquake that knocked down the WTC. Then, we will hang all the military privates and CIA clerks involved and give a special medal to Bush and Cheney for a job well done.”



Iran leader blames U.S. for bombings in Iraq


Iran's top authority said on Saturday that U.S. forces were "the main suspects" in bomb attacks that killed dozens of Iranian pilgrims in Iraq this week.


Dick Cheney and George Bush



Worried about swine flu? Wash your hands


Worried about swine flu? There is one easy way to protect against infection, health experts agree -- handwashing.

Global health officials are worried about an unusual new strain of flu that may have killed as many as 68 people in Mexico, with 1,000 showing possible symptoms.

It has infected at least eight people in the United States.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Recipe: How To Become America’s Strongest Ally


By Chimpplanet

Steal Tons Of Top Secret Files

Pollard's routine was to gather documents during the week. He had several large identical brief cases given to him by the Israelis that he would use to remove material from work. Then he would transfer the documents to suitcases, sometimes while in his car. At the end of the week he would drop the documents off with the Israelis for copying. At the end of the weekend Pollard retrieved whatever documents needed to be returned, along with orders for what types of information to get over the next week. On occasion, the Israeli handlers would ask for specific documents by number, suggesting that Pollard wasn't the only agent illegally feeding them information. Pollard himself has discounted that claim, demonstrating that Israeli intelligence analysts would review the citation lists of documents that they had already received, and modify the document numbers to identify revised or more highly classified editions.

More here

Kill 34 US soldiers and lie about it

On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. The USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.

More Here

Have the richest and strongest lobby in Washington

In the AIPAC espionage case, the deliverer of the espionage material, Larry Franklin was found guilty and sentenced to twelve years but the recipients of this material, two ex AIPAC employees may have their cases dropped. This maybe unconformable to fathom but it seems that when dealing with potential allegations of impropriety or investigations of Israel, AIPAC, or government officials involved with these entities our government seems to bury the story, our media ignores it, until the story dies under the power and influence of political and media lobbying of its own lobbying volition.

More Here

By blackmailing US government with the secrets stolen?

Israel, purportedly our friend, has been spying on us all. And we're not talking about individual spooks like Jonathan Pollard, or small-time networks such as the 140 Israelis arrested by the FBI prior to 9/11, or the 60 arrested since (including 5 arrested who were cheering and celebrating as the World Trade Towers collapsed).

More Here

Mix all above and let simmer for 60 years.

(For more PLANET OF THE CHIMPS click here)

Pentagon To Release New Images Of Prisoner Abuse


The Obama administration has agreed to release dozens of photographs depicting alleged past abuses of detainees at U.S. prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The agreement follows a legal suit filed in 2004 by a prominent human rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), requesting the government release 42 photos or demonstrate reasons for not doing so.

The ACLU said on April 23 that the court considering the case has received a letter from the Justice Department agreeing to the request.

According to the ACLU, the photos will be made available by May 28 and include not just the original 42 requested but a "substantial number" of other images.


Are Members of Congress Being Blackmailed?


For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.

There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).


(Or from further away, like Israel? Remember that Pollard shipped tons of secret information to Israel before he was arrested for spying. Pollard had no idea what secrets he was stealing. He just would fill a suitcase a day and ship it to them. Israel is probably still sifting through the files.)


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Matthews Demands: How Do We Prosecute Bush and Cheney?


"We did it, baby, we beat the system and got away with it. We're above the law!"

An overly eager Chris Matthews, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," actually raised the prospect of prosecuting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney over the CIA interrogation memos as he pressed Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "But how do we do it? Under what law do we go after them?"

To which even the liberal Schultz initially balked, as she tried to rein in Matthews: "Well I think we need not to get ahead of ourselves Chris."

However Schultz, after Matthews' continued to push, relented and gave the MSNBC host a response more to his liking as she warned:

"There is no one that is above the law in the United States of America."


Senate report on prisoner abuse connects dots all the way to the top



A HIGH-LEVEL US Senate report published yesterday directly implicates senior members of the Bush administration in the extensive use of harsh interrogation methods against al-Qaeda suspects and other prisoners around the world.

The 232-page report, the most detailed investigation yet into torture by US military and intelligence personnel, undercuts the claim of Paul Wolfowitz, a former deputy defence secretary, that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was the work of "a few bad apples".

The report adds to the debate in the US since President Barack Obama, who regards the techniques as torture, opened the way for possible prosecution of members of Bush's government.





As "Morning Joe" misses the point on torture


I've just sat through a half hour of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as Scarborough, Mika and their guests, including Chuck Todd, pretend that yesterday never happened.

To review, yesterday, the Levin report revealed some startling things, none more startling than this:

The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003.

In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Saddam's regime.

The use of abusive interrogation -- widely considered torture -- as part of Bush's quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them.

In other words, the push from Cheney, Rumsfeld, and even Condi Rice, was not about preventing an imminent attack, or, as Joe Scarborough keeps insisting, a matter of political differences between the old and new administrations.

The torture programs devised by Rumsfeld, largely, via reverse-engineering the SERE program was being used in much the same way the Maoist Chinese used it against our soldiers during the Korean War: to produce false confessions that would justify an invasion of Iraq that President Bush was at the time claiming he wasn't even considering.


Saddam is Hanged for His Crimes, Who will Hang Bush/Blair for Theirs?


"The day you stop kissing my butt, Saddam, your ass is mine."

Saddam was originally a CIA man recruited to assassinate the previous Iraqi president Abdel-Karim Qassem, who started taxing British and American oil companies in a first step to nationalize Iraq's oil resources.

Later when CIA was able to topple Qassam's presidency Saddam was sent back to Iraq to become the chief security officer, and later became the president.

The American administration provided Saddam with weapons and intelligence, and through its Israel proxy, provided Iran also with weapons and intelligence.

American military industry and logistical Bechtel profited tremendously by selling weapons and building Saddam's chemical plant to build chemical weapons that were used to bomb Kurdish Halabja.

Rumsfeld's famous hand shake with Saddam provides the proof on that.


We do not torture. By George W. Bush



Condi Rice approved CIA waterboarding


"The blood of a million Iraqis is in your hands, Condi."

The CIA's use of waterboarding to interrogate terrorism suspects was approved by Condoleezza Rice as early as 2002, a senate report reveals.

As national security adviser, Ms Rice consented to the harsh interrogation of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah, the Senate Intelligence Committee found.

Memos released last week show that he and another key detainee were subjected to waterboarding 266 times.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Media continue to ignore Cheney role in authorizing torture tactics


Summary: Media outlets continue to cite Dick Cheney's criticism of President Obama for releasing previously classified Justice Department memos authorizing the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques while ignoring Cheney's self-acknowledged role in authorizing the use of those techniques.


Cheney's Right: Release Everything


"Mr. Cheney is correct to propose that the public should have more information about the CIA's torture program, but disclosure should be comprehensive. The new administration should begin by declassifying documents that would shed light on the role of Mr. Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials in authorizing that program," says Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project


Bush legal adviser met with cries of 'war criminal' at debate


John Yoo, one of the legal architects of the Bush Administration's "torture policies," was met with outrage at a talk given at Chapman University in California Tuesday, where he reportedly faced cries of "war criminal" as he approached the stage.

As he neared the podium to speak, he was met with shouts of "war criminal," the local newspaper said. An audience member shouted, "He doesn't belong in the university – he belongs in jail."

The former Bush legal adviser seemed immune to the haranguing.

According to the Orange County Register, "Yoo responded with a slight smile."


Obama open to pursuing Bush lawyers over torture


(Click on image to enlarge)

President Obama on Tuesday opened the possibility of prosecuting Bush-era lawyers who authorized brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists, and he suggested that Congress might order a full investigation.

Less than a week after declaring that it was time for the nation to move on rather than “laying blame for the past,” Obama described what might be done next to investigate what he called the loss of “our moral bearings.”


Bush policy 'led to Abu Ghraib'


US government backing for the CIA's harsh interrogation methods set the tone for abuses by US troops towards detainees in Iraq, a US report says.

It was not appropriate simply to blame low-ranking officers for what occurred at Abu Ghraib prison, the report by the Senate Armed Services Committee said.

Top officials had sent the message that such acts were appropriate, it stated.

The report follows the release of Bush-era memos that justify the use of what some critics say amounts to torture.

The memos detail a range of methods the CIA could use on terrorism suspects under the previous government.


Lieberman: U.S. to accept any Israeli policy decision


The Obama Administration will put forth new peace initiatives only if Israel wants it to, said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in his first comprehensive interview on foreign policy since taking office.

"Believe me, America accepts all our decisions," Lieberman told the Russian daily Moskovskiy Komosolets.


On October, 2001, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his foreign Minister Shimon Peres. "Don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America."


"The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate."
-- Senator Fullbright, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 10/07/1973 on CBS' "Face the Nation".


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NYT Calls On Congress To Impeach Former Bush-DOJ Lawyer


Here is the call to impeach Bybee, former Bush-DOJ lawyer, now a federal judge:

NYT: "These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him."

Here is the call to Congress (Pelosi, Senate, House) to conduct an investigation:

NYT: "And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it."

What is it going to take to fully apply the lessons of Nuremberg; and fully assert the Geneva Conventions?


President Obama’s Tortured Disconnect


Attorney General Eric Holder’s pronouncements about the government’s recommitment to the “rule of law” and his boss’s pronouncements about the need for “reflection and not retribution” are fundamentally at odds. The Obama administration cannot have it both ways, and the case of torture enabler Jay Bybee has brought that into sharp focus.

Key Bush administration players knew that the torture regime pushed by Vice President Cheney was morally and legally wrong. This is why they sought to first keep it secret and then give it legal cover by going to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel where Bybee, as well as Stephen Bradbury and John Yoo, reverse engineered memos justifying the most vile forms of interrogation after the fact.

When the existence of the memos and their shabby justifications became known, Michael Mukasey, who in retrospect arguably was even worse than Alberto Gonzalez as attorney general because of his refusal to undo the harm Gonzo had wrought, argued that lawyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president — and that a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.

Bush and Cheney are probably out of the reach of any U.S.-based tribunal and I have somewhat less problem with the CIA interrogators skating since they did, after all, rely on the OLC opinions no matter how perniciously self-serving they were. But Mukasey’s flimflammery notwithstanding, Bybee was a knowing enabler and as such is unfit to wear the black bathrobe of a U.S. Circuit Court judge.

While Bradbury and Yoo also have earned their day in the dock, Bybee must be impeached or forced to resign from the federal bench because he has proven himself in word and deed to be unfit to judge others.

Is Bybee a fall guy like Scooter Libby was? To an extent that is true, but he should not be forgiven his ill deeds any more than Cheney’s chief aide should have been forgiven perjuring himself and obstructing justice.


Who Are the Torture Memo Authors?


For all the (justified) clamor over the Bush administration's torture memos that were released yesterday, there's been surprisingly little attention paid to the two authors of those documents.

As officials in the department's Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury authored the four memos. The first was written in 2002 by Bybee, and the latter three in 2005 by Bradbury. So: who are Bybee and Bradbury?

Bradbury first. He served as an attorney-adviser in the OLC during the George H. W. Bush administration, before clerking for Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas and working for Ken Starr's law firm. Bradbury returned to OLC in 2004, as a Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. It was in this capacity that he wrote the three memos released yesterday.

But what happened next is perhaps even more interesting. Shortly after the writing the memos, Bradbury was nominated by President Bush to head the OLC. The previous chief, Jack Goldmsith, had rescinded some of the more sweeping and radical memos DOJ opinions, that, in Goldsmith's view, gave too much power to the executive branch to prosecute the war on terror. Bradbury was seen as a Bush loyalist who would reinstate those opinions.

Senate Democrats blocked Bradbury's nomination. But somehow, the Bush administration kept him as acting head of the OLC -- apparently in violation of the law -- where he remained until the Bushies left office in January.

In that position, Bradbury compounded the damage he had done with the memos. As we summarized back in 2007, he argued that the administration was not required to try detainees in federal courts and that detainees were not entitled to habeas corpus; and that Geneva Conventions language barring "humiliating and degrading treatment" was vague and subject to "uncertain and unpredictable application." And he wrote an opinion declaring that Harriet Miers didn't have to testify in the U.S. attorneys investigation.

It's unclear what Bradbury has been doing since leaving DOJ in January. If anyone knows, we'd be interested...

As for Bybee, he served in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration, then was an associate counsel to President George H. W. Bush. He spent most of the 90s teaching law at Louisiana State University, before in 2001 being appointed an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. While there, he wrote four memos, subsequently released by the Obama administration (one yesterday, three last month), justifying the use of harsh interrogation techniques including waterboarding.

In 2003, President Bush nominated Bybee to serve as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. After an initial hold up, Bybee was confirmed by the Senate.

Thanks to Bybee's authorship of the memos, a Spanish judge is considering indicting him -- as well as five other former Bush administration officials -- for war crimes

Bradbury did not respond to an email sent to his personal address. The public relations office of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Bybee did not respond to a voice-mail message left about Bybee.


Dick Cheney defends torture


By Chimpplanet

Former US Vice-President Dick Cheney has urged the CIA to release memos which he says show harsh interrogation techniques such as water-boarding work.

The real question - of course - is whether waterboarding or other torture methods were justified under US and international law and under any circumstances.

Don’t you think that by now, the Bush White House would have been waving any torture successes like they wave all the lies they published during the eight years?

Experts have proven in the past that torture does not really work as the tortured will confess to anything eventually.

It’s bad enough to waterboard someone once, but to waterboard one prisoner 266 times? Multiply that by the hundreds of prisoners (many innocents) and by up to 6 years. This sounds worse than the Inquisition.

And of course, all along, George W. Bush claimed, “We do not torture.”


Monday, April 20, 2009

Impeach Bybee: The Growing Movement to Unseat Bush Torture Lawyer Turned Federal Judge



While the leadership of the Democratic Party remains silent on Obama's refusal to hold torturers accountable, activists are demanding a special prosecutor and calling on Congress to impeach Jay Bybee.

In the Sunday New York Times, the paper's editors call for the impeachment of Judge Jay Bybee, author of one of the now infamous torture memos released last week. Bybee is now a federal judge. In its editorial, "The Torturers' Manifesto," the Times argued:

[The] investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution.

Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

Of course, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Cheney, Bush and a slew of others belong on trial with Bybee, not just as witnesses in his case and the Times should be calling for that as well.

But let's remember, this is the paper that the Bush administration used as a conveyor belt for its deadly lies so expectations of it should be low.


“C’mon USA, invade Iran, already, so we can stop making up silly news stories like this.” – God’s Chosen People


Intel. Report: Iran Will Use Latin America to Attack US, Israel

Just two days after US President Barack Hussein Obama shared a controversial and landmark handshake with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has released a study analyzing the flowering alliance between the increasingly anti-Western Latin America and the virulently anti-Israel Iran.

The study was conducted at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), a non-governmental organization dedicated to Israeli intelligence and terrorism issues.

According to the study, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is using anti-Western Hugo Chavez as a springboard into several Latin American countries, such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, where he intends to establish a religious, terrorist, political and economic foothold in South America.

Iran has already made major inroads in its relationship with Venezuela and Bolivia, largely based on shared anti-American sentiments.

Iran will utilize this developing relationship to challenge the United States, parts of Asia, and Africa, said the study.


Former President George W. Bush's torture enablers off hook


The White House on Sunday said that Bush administration policymakers would get a pass along with the CIA agents who waterboarded terrorists.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said the new administration would not use the courts to go after Justice Department and White House officials involved in devising policy outlined in so-called "torture memos" under former President George W. Bush.

Last week, President Obama said CIA agents who used "enhanced interrogation techniques" were off the hook and Emmanuel said policymakers "should not be prosecuted either and that's not the place that we go."

"What people need to know, this practice and technique, we don't use anymore. He [Obama] banned it," Emanuel said on ABC's "This Week."

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden charged that techniques used on top Al Qaeda terrorists "made us safer," and public release of the memos endangered national security.

"I think that teaching our enemies our outer limits, by taking techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine, more difficult for CIA officers to defend the nation," Hayden said on "Fox News Sunday."


Obama seeks to boost CIA morale (after torture memos release)


US President Barack Obama is to visit the CIA, in a bid to reassure staff stung by the release of memos detailing harsh interrogation techniques.

The visit follows comments by a former CIA chief who said the memos would limit its ability to pursue terrorists.

Mr Obama released the memos last week but said CIA staff would not be prosecuted for the methods, which critics say are torture.

It has been revealed that two al-Qaeda suspects were waterboarded 266 times.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thought For The Day


“Why do we torture people who are torturing people to show that torturing people is wrong?”


Rip Van America: Wake Up & Prosecute The Torturers


Now, if only a few more of us could wake from our slumbers and git'r'done.

We've got to put Cheny, Bush, Condi, Alberto, Rumsfeld, Rove, Tenet, and SO many others, in the pokey. Really, we have no choice.

If you're one of those still gently snoring out there, post Inauguration, you might want to turn your gaze away from the forsythia for a moment to peruse Mark Danner's New York Review Of Books (Vol. 56, No. 7, April 09) article titled "The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means".

See, I've now made it almost impossibly easy for you to segue over there and see what you MUST attend to, now that you and I have awakened from our perhaps-deserved, if-lengthy nap.

The piece opens with a quote from Dick Cheney, so it's not for the faint of heart.

Dick Cheney still has, will always have, the ability to scare the bejezus out of me. If someone decides to release a film series titled "The Cheney-Saw Massacres," it will outsell anything heretofore extant in the Horror genre. I hear that voice—and, God knows, we are all still hearing it way too often—and it conjures up Humphrey Bogart in "The Caine Mutiny," Jack Nicholson, in "A Few Good Men," Laurence Olivier, in "Richard III," Anthony Hopkins, in "The Silence of the Lambs."

Cheney wakes up of a morning, and it's always the Dawn of Armageddon. He puts on his shapeless suit, straps on his gun, looks in the mirror and tries to simulate a smile where both sides of his Quasimodo-like visage match, splashes on some Aqua Velva, and prepares for. . .The Rapture. And he knows his daughter, who suffers from The Gay, ain't goin' up with him.


2 authors of Bush administration torture memos under pressure


Two legal officials of Bush administration who wrote torture memos are under pressure to be impeached or disbarred following release of those memos on Friday.

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party adopted a resolution on Saturday to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Judge Jay Bybee, charging him with facilitating the authorization of torture when employed by the United States Department of Justice of Bush administration.


Justice Dept. Memos' Careful Legalese Obscured Harsh Reality


The four Justice Department memos to the CIA's top lawyer that were released last week reflect an effort by Bush administration appointees to create finely tuned justifications for harsh interrogation techniques, all under a blanket of secrecy covering the agency's prisons and the questioning.

In the wake of the memos' disclosure, it is clear that the lawyers and the CIA got it wrong in measuring the methods against their selected legal test: that they must not "shock the conscience." The brutality of the interrogation measures -- including repeatedly slamming people into walls, simulating their drowning and stuffing them into dark, constricting boxes -- shocked the conscience of at least some.

President Obama said the approved techniques "undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer."

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said that although the CIA was urgently trying to get information after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, its "methods, read on a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009, appear graphic and disturbing."

To supporters of the Bush-era practices, the length, precision and detail of the memos show that -- even in the absence of public scrutiny -- legal red lines were carefully considered and that precautions were taken to avoid causing death or what the memos' authors considered illegal pain.

To critics, the sterile wording and articulation of seemingly arbitrary safeguards to sanction what many consider torture evoke totalitarianism.

To endorse the CIA's interrogation plans, the experts in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel had to parse highly specific terminology in a collection of relatively recent U.S. anti-torture statutes, international laws and treaties, with few directly applicable judicial rulings to serve as guideposts.

They also had to weigh contemporary politics, since the "shock the conscience" test was a target they knew would move.


CIA torture exemption 'illegal'


US President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA agents who used torture tactics is a violation of international law, a UN expert says.

The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, says the US is bound under the UN Convention against Torture to prosecute those who engage in it.

Mr Obama released four "torture memos" outlining harsh interrogation methods sanctioned by the Bush administration.

Mr Nowak has called for an independent review and compensation for victims.

"The United States, like all other states that are part of the UN convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court," Mr Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard.

The memos approved techniques including simulated drowning, week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and the use of painful positions.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Winking at CIA abuse


Former U.S. president George W. Bush knew what he wanted from his pliant justice department officials – a green light to treat 9/11 terror suspects roughly – and they were eager to oblige.

Government lawyers whose job it was to be the president's conscience "employed twisted and macabre legal reasoning to authorize the unspeakable," says David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor and contributor to the New York Times.

Americans got a depressing eyeful of the fallout from that unholy alliance this week when President Barack Obama ordered the justice department to release an inch-thick set of memos from 2002 to 2005 that authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to use a range of brutal coercive techniques.

The memos shed light on "a dark and painful chapter" in U.S. history, Obama said.


In quotes: George W. Bush on torture


From a commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture to a defence of waterboarding: President Bush in his own words

— “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.” President Bush on UN Torture Victims Recognition Day 26 June 2003

— “Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law … Many have been detained, arrested, thrown in prison and subjected to torture by regimes that fail to understand that their habits of control will not serve them well in the long term.” Statement by President Bush released by the White House on June 26, 2005

— "We do not torture." President Bush to reporters during a visit to Panama in November 2005

— “The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror — the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.” President Bush on his veto of a bill that would have outlawed waterboarding in March 2008

— “I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved ... I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it.” President Bush in an interview with ABC about interrogation tactics used on detainees in April 2008


UN expert criticizes US torture decision


An Austrian newspaper quotes the U.N.'s top torture investigator as saying President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA operatives who used questionable interrogation practices violates international law.

Manfred Nowak is quoted in Der Standard as saying the United States has committed itself under the U.N. Convention against Torture to make torture a crime and to prosecute those suspected of engaging in it.

Obama assured CIA operatives on Thursday they would not be prosecuted for their rough interrogation tactics of terror suspects under the former Bush administration.

Nowak also says in the newspaper interview published Saturday that a comprehensive independent investigation is needed, and that it is important to compensate victims.


Friday, April 17, 2009

How Big Was It?


"Ask anyone, it is at least this big, no kidding."

"I was with him for over 8 years, and it was no bigger than this."

"He showed it to me when I was thinking of impoeaching him and it was this big."

"He let me touch it once or twice. It was about this big."

"Condi only saw it in the dark and it was no bigger than this."

"He showed it to me when he was drunk once and it was this bitg."

I saw it in Iraq once and it was about this big."

"I saw it during the campaign and it was about this size."

"Yeah, he showed it to me too and it was aboit this big."

"Ah, screw you all. Ask the German Chancellor, she'll tell you the truth."

"It was so small, I could hardly see it."