Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, May 28, 2005

... but we've made mess of Iraq, says hero colonel
By Frank WalkerMay 29, 2005The Sun-Herald

The British colonel who delivered a stirring speech to his troops before the Iraq War has slammed the US and its coalition partners for incompetence and lack of planning which has left Iraq in turmoil.

Colonel Tim Collins made headlines around the world for his rousing speech declaring the coalition was going into Iraq to liberate rather than conquer. He now questions the motives for the invasion and feels the wishes of the Iraqis have been ignored.

In a new book Mr Collins, who left the military last year, said the Coalition had no plan how to fill the vacuum after they removed Saddam Hussein.

"There was no evidence of any plan on the ground when I led my battle group forward in March and April 2003," he says in his book Rules Of Engagement. "I simply deplore the current state of affairs."


Says it all Posted by Hello
Frikin hell do we live in the dark ages, 35 yrs for a stolen TV. I really dont know about your country any more Christy

Man serving life for stealing TV
freed after 35 years in North Carolina prison

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) - After 35 years in prison for stealing a black-white television set, Junior Allen is a free man.

Allen, 65, walked out of prison Friday, ending a case that attracted widespread attention because he remained in jail while other inmates convicted of murder, rape or child molestation were released.

"I'm glad to be out," Allen told supporters outside Orange Correctional Center. "I've done too much time for what I did. I won't be truly happy until I see a sign that says I'm outside of North Carolina."

Allen was a 30-year-old migrant farm worker from Georgia with a criminal history that included burglaries and a violent assault when he sneaked into an unlocked house and stole a 19-inch black-white television worth $140 US.

Some state records say Allen roughed up the 87-year-old woman who lived there, but he was not convicted of assault.

Instead, he was sentenced in 1970 to life in prison for second-degree burglary. The penalty for the offence has since been changed to a maximum of three years in prison.

The state Parole Commission decided last year to release Allen if he behaved and completed a transitional work-release program. He worked at a restaurant washing dishes and floors and had no prison infractions during the past three years.

He did so well he was released several months early, on his 26th try at parole.
His parole could last up to five years, meaning he could gain complete freedom by age 70.
Rich Rosen, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor who took up Allen's case three years ago, said it was a shame that Allen had not been released decades ago. "At least he's got some years left," Rosen said.

Once outside the prison, Allen got into a car with two friends who were driving him to Athens, Ga., where he planned to meet relatives and return home to Georgetown, Ga.

Enoch Hasberry, the programs director at Carteret Correctional Center in Newport where Allen went through work-release, said he worries Allen might not adjust well to life on the outside.

"For a black-white TV, how much do you have to pay?" Hasberry said. "We've got an in-house joke here:

How much time would he have gotten if he had stolen a colour TV?"


Art from Iraqs Past Posted by Hello
Road to Damascus:
Next Step for the Crawford Caligula?
By Chris Floyd

Corrente notes some ominous moves of US Naval forces sent on an "unexpected mission" to "support anti-terrorist efforts" in "the Balkans and the Middle East." Meanwhile, Condoleeza Rice has moved from condemning Syria for "not doing enough" to stop insurgents moving across its borders into Iraq to blasting Damascus for knowingly allowing insurgents to stage their operations on Syrian soil. And US forces in Iraq are carrying out large-scale attacks near the Syrian border. How long before "hot pursuit" of insurgents carries them into Syria itself, or some other border incident -- contrived or genuine -- gives rise to war fever among the chickenhawks of the Potomac?

All the recent Zarqawi noise seems to be part of this buildup as well. Would a jihadi website controlled or supporting Zarqawi really be posting a stream of stories about his being wounded, taken out of action, passing on the baton to an aide, etc.? Wouldn't they instead be singing the praises of their invicible leader, or other such freeper-like propaganda? One possibility is that it's dat ole debbil psy-ops at work again -- possibly setting up a scenario that finds the "jihadis" confessing that their boss is safe and sound in Syria: yet another casus belli for Bush agression.

The Syrians are desperately trying to stave off the impending strike -- first by withdrawing from Lebanon, and today by announcing their large-scale efforts in arresting would-be foreign insurgents trying to get into Iraq. Over and over they keep signaling how cooperative they've been in the "War on Terror," hoping, perhaps, they'll win brownie points for taking part in Bush's priority project. But of course, the "war on terror" is demonstrably NOT Bush's priority: the domination of world energy resources -- by force and threat -- and the imposition of Bush-style crony capitalism -- again by force and threat -- are the real foreign policy priorities of the Bush Administration.

Syria is in the cross-hairs: when Bush is ready to pull the trigger, he will. It wouldn't matter if Syria handed over Osama bin Laden on a platter. It's not about terrorism, it's not about "keeping America safe" -- it's about the brutal expansion of elite power.

This has been obvious for a long time. Here's a take on the Syrian situation that I wrote about in The Moscow Times -- in April 2003:

As shovels scoop the shredded viscera of cold collaterals in Baghdad, and brisk hoses scour the blood from market stalls and children's bedrooms – festive preparations to make ready for the enthronement of the new lords of Babylon – we cast an anxious gaze beyond the barbed steel of the security perimeter, to a column of troops and ordnance rumbling toward the horizon. Whither are they bound? Who's next to feel the mailed fist of liberation?

At the moment, all signs point to Syria. Iran, of course, would be a more glittering prize – not to mention a more remunerative one for the unholy trinity of Oil, Arms and Construction whose mephitic spirits brood over the rising American Empire. But Iran is a big beast; first Iraq must be chewed, swallowed and digested before there is sufficient room in the imperial gut – and sufficient loot in the imperial treasury – for another sumptuous banquet.

Syria, however, would make a tasty snack – rough fare gulped down on the long, circuitous march to Persia and Cathay. What's more, a dose of shock and awe for Damascus would secure the rear for any eventual push on Teheran. And once recalcitrant Syria is brought to heel, the juicy olive of Lebanon would surely fall of its own ripe weight, without any need of brutal plucking. Then, with the equally cowed Jordan, it could serve as a – what should we call it? repository? refuge? – yes, a refuge for the troublesome hordes of Palestine, transferred – humanely and happily, of course – from the newly cleansed lands of Judea and Samaria...


...And last week, Bush courtiers suddenly began trumpeting the fact that the repressive Syrian regime – a Baathist Party state, just like Iraq! – sadistically tortures its prisoners, who are often snatched in secret arrests and held without charges or trial. This fact has hitherto been conveniently overlooked by the Bushist Party state, which has been sending some of its own Guantanamo zeks – often snatched in secret arrests and held without charges or trial – to Syria's torture chambers for "special interrogation.

"But as Saddam has learned, doing America's dirty work – which he did for many years, bombing, brutalizing and gassing with the gushing support of Ronald Reagan, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George Bush Senior – cuts no ice when the courtiers change their plans. So keep looking for that light on the road to Damascus – not the blinding glory that converted Saul of Tarsus, but the flash of flesh-chewing MOABs launched by the Crawford Caligula,

George Widowmaker Bush.


Art for Everyone Posted by Hello
The Answer Is Fear
By Robert ParryMay 26, 2005

One benefit of the new AM progressive talk radio in cities around the United States is that the call-in shows have opened a window onto the concerns – and confusion – felt by millions of Americans trying to figure out how their country went from a democratic republic to a modern-day empire based on a cult of personality and a faith-based rejection of reason.

“What went wrong?” you hear them ask. “How did we get here?”

You also hear more detailed questions: “Why won’t the press do its job of holding George W. Bush accountable for misleading the country to war in Iraq? How could the intelligence on Iraq have been so wrong? Why do America’s most powerful institutions sit back while huge trade and budget deficits sap away the nation’s future?”

There are, of course, many answers to these questions. But from my 27 years in the world of Washington journalism and politics, I would say that the most precise answer can be summed up in one word: fear.
It’s not fear of physical harm. That's not how it works in Washington. For the professionals in journalism and in intelligence, it’s a smaller, more corrosive fear – of lost status, of ridicule, of betrayal, of unemployment. It is the fear of getting blackballed from a community of colleagues or a profession that has given your life much of its meaning and its financial sustenance.

Dynamic of Fear

What the American conservative movement has done so effectively over the last three decades is to perfect a dynamic of fear and inject it into the key institutions for generating or disseminating information.

This strategy took shape in the latter half of the 1970s amid the ashes of the Watergate scandal and the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Conservatives were determined that those twin disasters – getting caught in a major political scandal and seeing the U.S. population turn against a war effort – should never happen again.

As I describe in Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, the initial targets of the Right's “war of ideas” were the national news media and the CIA’s analytical division – two vital sources of information at the national level.

The U.S. press was blamed for exposing President Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks and for spreading dissension that undermined morale in the Vietnam War. The CIA analysts had to be brought under control because the driving rationale for the conservative power grab was to be an exaggerated threat assessment of America’s enemies.

If the American people saw the Soviet Union as a leviathan coming to swallow the United States, then they would surrender their tax dollars, their civil liberties and their common sense. Conversely, if the CIA analysts offered a nuanced view of the Soviet Union as a rapidly declining power falling farther behind the West technologically and desperately trying to keep control of its disintegrating sphere of influence, then Americans might favor a shift in priorities away from foreign dangers to domestic needs. Negotiation – not confrontation – would make sense.

Neocon Wars >>>continued

Dubya Indemnity:
Bush Renews Protection for War Pork Cronies
Chris Floyd Friday, May 27, 2005

The remarkable Deep Blade reminds us of an important story that slipped completely beneath the media radar last week. (And my, isn't that a surprise!) George W. Bush has quietly renewed the infamous Executive Order 13303. (Or rather, it would be infamous if anyone knew about it.) This imperial edict, first promulgated in May 2003, bestows complete immunity -- civil, financial, even criminal -- on all US corporate interests involved in any way with Iraq's oil. Deep Blade provides a panoply of backing documents, so scoot on over there and check it out.

I first wrote about Order 13303 in the Moscow Times in August 2003, following up on reporting by Steve Kretzmann and Jim Vallette. Here's an except from that MT piece:...

In the order, Bush proclaims that any legal action taken for any reason against any American corporation dealing in "Iraqi petroleum products" at any point in the process – from well-head to gas-pump to boardroom – "constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security" of the United States. In fact, the very possibility that one of Bush's oil pets might be held accountable for its actions while gorging on Iraqi crude is so terrifying that the Looter-in-Chief has declared a "national emergency" to deal with the situation. (A "national emergency" that he forgot to mention to, er, the nation.)

The Bush edict grants a blanket immunity to all traffickers in Iraqi oil – as long as their moolah finds its way, by hook or crook, into the coffers of "United States persons or entities." Bush declares flatly that any "judicial process" launched against these protected entities "shall be deemed null and void." And how to guarantee that his partners and patrons won't be troubled by some rogue nation that still clings to the outmoded principle of law and order? Simple: one of the agencies authorized to "employ all powers" necessary "to carry out the purposes of this order" is our old friend, the Defense Department...

The full story can be found here:

Dubya Indemnity: Bush Barons Beyond the Reach of Law


Art for Everyone Posted by Hello

BAY AREA / Anti-war sailor lifts foes of Iraq policy / Sentence for defying deployment orders less than expected
Pablo Paredes was demoted and sentenced to hard labor for refusing to go to the Persian Gulf. Associated Press photoby Denis Poroy
 Posted by Hello
Anti-War Sailor Lifts Foes of Iraq Policy
By Joe Garofoli The San Fransisco Chronicle
Saturday 28 May 2005
Sentence for defying deployment orders less than expected.

Pablo Paredes' name will be invoked by antiwar veterans and activists at Memorial Day events in the Bay Area and elsewhere this weekend, but not because he was sentenced to three months of hard labor and busted down to the Navy's lowest rank for refusing to board a ship bound for the Persian Gulf.

Instead, supporters see a pinprick of hope in the no-jail-time sentence that the 23-year-old Paredes received this month - hope that the military's attitude is softening toward dissenters, or at least that the relatively light sentence will encourage other active-duty soldiers to speak out.

Antiwar veterans groups say they have seen an uptick in the number of inquiries from active-duty veterans since Paredes was convicted by a military judge May 11 in San Diego for refusing to board the Persian Gulf-bound amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard in December. He has 10 months left in his enlistment but is seeking to be discharged as a conscientious objector.

This week, antiwar activists are watching upcoming court-martial at Fort Stewart, Ga., of Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Benderman, a 10-year-veteran who refused to redeploy to Iraq after his first tour in 2003 and said he was a conscientious objector.

"We've been seeing an extraordinary amount of searching by active duty people looking for ways to avoid deployment or redeployment," said Dennis O'Neil of the antiwar group Bring Them Home Now. The Paredes case, he said, "is planting a seed."

That was the fear that Navy prosecutor Lt. Brandon Hale expressed in court. Paredes "is trying to infect the military with his own brand of disobedience," Hale said. "Sailors all over the world will want to know whether this will be tolerated. Sailors want to know whether what he did is a good way to get out of deployment."

Other dissenters and legal advocates see the case has having more of a cultural impact than legal one.

Nuclear Talks End in Discord
The U.N. conference stumbles over priorities.

The U.S., focused on North Korea and Iran, is criticized over its own weapons stockpile.
By Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer

UNITED NATIONS — A monthlong conference aimed at curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons ended in failure Friday after being scuttled by arguments among the United States, Iran and Egypt. Representatives of more than 150 nations convened at U.N. headquarters to seek ways to stop more countries from developing nuclear weapons, prevent terrorists from acquiring them, and get a renewed commitment from atomic powers — especially the United States — to significantly reduce their stockpiles.

But strong disagreements over priorities prevented substantive efforts to address the gaps between the world's nuclear haves and have-nots.

The United States tried to keep the focus on alleged nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea instead of its pledges to whittle down its own arsenal.

Iran, which contends that its atomic program is strictly for generating electricity, refused to discuss proposals to restrict access to nuclear fuel and objected to being singled out as a "proliferation concern." And Egypt joined Iran in demanding that the conference address Israel's nuclear status and declare the Middle East "a nuclear-free zone."

"The conference after a full month ended up where we started, which is a system full of loopholes, ailing and not a road map to fix it," Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna as the conference fizzled to a close.>>>continued


Art for Everyone Posted by Hello
Burning Crosses Signal Return of Ku Klux Klan
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
Saturday 28 May 2005

Police in Durham, North Carolina, have launched an investigation after three crosses were set alight in one night - triggering fears that the Ku Klux Klan may have targeted the city. Yellow leaflets, purportedly produced by the KKK, were found at the site of one of the burning crosses.

While burning crosses have long been associated with the Klan, people in Durham said this was the first time for a generation that such an incident had been reported in the city. Students of the Klan also say that it is vastly reduced in its membership and influence from 40 years ago. It may be that the crosses were simply set ablaze by pranksters.

"At this day and time, I thought we'd be beyond that," said the city's mayor, Bill Bell. "People do things for different reasons, and I don't have the slightest idea why anyone would do this."

The first burning was reported at around 9.20pm outside one of the city's churches, the second 40 minutes later next to a construction site and the third half-an-hour later at an intersection in the city centre. Each cross was around 7ft tall and 4ft across. They had all been wrapped in sacking and doused with kerosene. "We're working with the FBI in investigating this, but right now we don't have any leads," said Kammi Michael, a spokesperson for the Durham Police Department. Durham's population of around 200,000 is evenly split between white and black and the city has long enjoyed a reputation for having little racial friction. Mr Bell, who entered politics in 1972, said that even after the assassination of Martin Luther King which sparked riots elsewhere across the country, the city was able to remain relatively calm.

But observers say that even today the KKK retains a strong presence in parts of the US South, where there are said to be between 30 and 50 cross burnings reported every year. Many of them are known to be carried out by the Klan.

Joe Roy, chief investigator for the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, an Alabama-based campaign group, said that North Carolina had 37 active "hate groups", including neo-Confederate and neo-Nazi organisations. Of all of these, the Klan is most active.

"You've got a lot of Klan presence in North Carolina - always have," said Mr Roy. "Something may have touched them off." In recent weeks there have been other reports of KKK leaflets being distributed across the South. In Philadelphia, Mississippi, where in two weeks the trial is due to start of an 80-year-old former Klan member accused of organising the 1964 killing of three civil rights workers, leaflets apparently printed by the KKK were discovered two weeks ago.

In Durham, part of North Carolina's prosperous "technology triangle", local people have been holding vigils since the burning crosses were discovered on Wednesday evening.

"I think that the community is bringing itself together. I've heard nothing negative, just shock from everyone," said Mayor Bell.

Theresa El-Amin, director of the Southern Anti-Racism Network, which organised a community meeting, told the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper: "People in Durham are not going to let this go down. This is a mean and evil thing."


Wankers Posted by Hello
Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity
by Matthew Rothschild

When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, he was asked whether he "ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise, and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison." Sanchez, who was head of the Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force-7 in Iraq, swore the answer was no. Under oath, he told the Senators he "never approved any of those measures to be used."

But a document the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) obtained from the Pentagon flat out contradicts Sanchez’s testimony. It’s a memorandum entitled "CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy," dated September 14, 2003. In it, Sanchez approved several methods designed for "significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee." These included "sleep management"; "yelling, loud music, and light control: used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock"; and "presence of military working dogs: exploits Arab fear of dogs."

On March 30, the ACLU wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging him "to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony."

The problem is, Gonzales may himself have committed perjury in his Congressional testimony this January. According to a March 6 article in The New York Times, Gonzales submitted written testimony that said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured, whether those individuals are being transferred from inside or outside the United States." He added that he was "not aware of anyone in the executive branch authorizing any transfer of a detainee in violation of that policy."
"That’s a clear, absolute lie," says Michael Ratner, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who is suing Administration officials for their involvement in the torture scandal. "The Administration has a policy of sending people to countries where there is a likelihood that they will be tortured."

The New York Times article backs up Ratner’s claim. It says "a still-classified directive signed by President Bush within days of the September 11 attacks" gave the CIA broad authority to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogations. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International estimate that the United States has transferred between 100 and 150 detainees to countries notorious for torture.

So Gonzales may not be the best person to evaluate the allegation of perjury against Sanchez.
But going after Sanchez or Gonzales for perjury is the least of it. Sanchez may be personally culpable for war crimes and torture, according to Human Rights Watch. And Gonzales himself was one of the legal architects of the torture policies. As such, he may have been involved in "a conspiracy to immunize U.S. agents from criminal liability for torture and war crimes under U.S. law," according to Amnesty International’s recent report: "Guantánamo and Beyond: The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power."

As White House Counsel, Gonzales advised President Bush to not apply Geneva Convention protections to detainees captured in Afghanistan, in part because this "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act," Gonzales wrote in his January 25, 2002, memo to the President.

Gonzales’s press office refused to provide comment after several requests from The Progressive. In his Senate confirmation testimony, Gonzales said, "I want to make very clear that I am deeply committed to the rule of law. I have a deep and abiding commitment to the fundamental American principle that we are a nation of laws, and not of men.">>>continued


Art For Girls. Posted by Hello

What Would Jesus Do?

Live Link Above.

Immunity in suit sought for pope
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

The Vatican has sought the intervention of the U.S. State Department to declare Pope Benedict XVI immune from a sexual abuse lawsuit filed here, according to court documents.

A church official contacted the State Department May 20, asking it to notify a Houston federal court of the pope's immunity as the head of a foreign state, according to the defense motion. Vatican attorneys requested a delay on the matter Thursday.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which also was named as a defendant in the suit, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The lawsuit filed by plaintiffs identified as John Does I, II and III accuses the pope, then acting as a cardinal, of conspiring to cover up the alleged abuse about a decade ago. The suit names a former seminary student as the alleged abuser.


The Bonifaz Memo.

To: Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
From: John C. Bonifaz
Date: May 23, 2005
RE: The President’s Impeachable Offenses

The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution: “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

In light of the emergence of the Downing Street Memo, Members of Congress should introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach George W. Bush, President of the United States.



Art For Boys. Posted by Hello

Young Reporter At Chicago Sun-Times REAMS Bush.

Freedom's just another word for dodging tough questions

May 27, 2005


The news from Washington is like a bad Broadway show, the kind that promises to make you laugh and cry and be better than "Cats."

The comedy came first. On Monday, President Bush stood beside Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a "Joint Press Availability."

---Joint Press AVailability...WTF is that...?---

Asked if the Iraqi insurgency was getting more difficult to defeat militarily, Bush answered with a classic Dubya-ism.

"No, I don't think so," he said, "I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight."

It's the sort of answer that makes you pause and scratch your head for just long enough to give him a chance to change the subject. He's quite masterful at doing this, which made me wonder if he hadn't taken Karzai aside before the press conference and whispered in his ear, "Listen, Hammie, these reporters are tricky. You better let me handle 'em. I've got 'em wrapped around my finger with this whole newspeak war-is-peace idea Karl found in some book from the 1980s."

But Bush's Orwellian logic -- good for only a cynical chuckle -- was definitely not the comic high point of the afternoon. Instead, for sheer free press-thwarting brilliance, Karzai easily won the day.

After the two men made some opening remarks, talking about the glories of bringing democracy to Afghanistan, Bush announced, "And in the spirit of the free press, we'll answer a couple of questions."

Afghanistan's 'free' press

The first question dealt with the military's treatment of Afghan prisoners of war. It was full of facts and details and built-in follow-ups, so you could tell the reporter asking it would probably never get called on again. And, after this rocky start, Bush decided to let the American reporters cool their heels for a while.

"Somebody from the Afghan press?" he asked next.

There was an awkward silence, which Karzai gamely tried to fill in by asking, "Anybody from the Afghan press? Do we have an Afghan press?"

Then he spotted the single reporter his government had permitted to travel outside Afghanistan.

"Oh, here he is," Karzai said, as the room filled with the not-quite-warm laughter of people who suspect they might actually be the butt of a joke but aren't sure.

It turned out, National Public Radio journalist David Greene reported later, there were nine other Afghan reporters who were to have followed Karzai on his U.S. visit but, at the last minute, the Karzai government decided to withhold their travel permits for fear the journalists might try to escape their troubled homeland.

Bush seemed genuinely surprised that the Afghan reporters weren't there -- American journalists had been asked to fill in their empty seats -- so it seems that Karzai forgot to mention to his good friend that the whole free press thing has a slightly different meaning in the burgeoning democracy that is Afghanistan.

I imagine they had a pretty good laugh about that one.

And I bet Bush was jealous.

Making a grown man cry

Later in the week, the comic first act on Pennsylvania Avenue gave way to a tragic second act on Capital Hill.

Reports are divided as to whether Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) was crying or just fighting back tears as he spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday. But either way, he was obviously very emotional as he begged his Republican colleagues to reconsider their party line support of John Bolton, the Bush nominee for ambassador to the United Nations.

"I know some of my friends say, 'Let it go, George. It's going to work out,' " Voinovich said. "I don't want to take the risk. I came back here and ran for a second term because I'm worried about my kids and my grandchildren."

It was also clear that Voinovich was worried for his political life. Conservative groups are already running ads against him, and Bush allies have been busily trashing him to anyone who'll listen.

The pressure, Voinovich told one interviewer, has been "overwhelming."

Listening to Voinovich's desperately cracking voice was utterly heartbreaking. And so was this line, written by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Sabrina Eaton after the close of the senator's speech: "With that, Voinovich returned to his seat and fidgeted with a yellow highlighting pen until he regained his composure."

Anyone who has ever cried at work knows exactly what that moment felt like, trying so hard to fight back tears that it only makes you cry more. It is the loneliest feeling in the world.

'Cats,' at least, was quick

I think we heard the Bush administration in full voice this week, laughing at those who ask questions, wringing tears from those who would dare dissent.

If it were a Broadway show, you could buy a ticket, watch the show and then walk out into the open air. But this is our real life, and there are not even fire exits.

The carriges that hold heros, instead of monarchs. BRING THEM HOME NOW. Posted by Hello

Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Dear Majesty...
What are your thoughts on current world events? Because see, you are one who actually has the power to stop the crimes of powerful, evil men, with one word from your lips. Posted by Hello

Wall Street Journal Turns on Republicans.

---Gee that only took 5 or 6 YEARS...---

Wall Street Journal rebukes Republican Congress

America's largest newspaper and quintessential conservative editorial page blasted Republicans in Congress on Friday in an editorial titled "Republicans at Bay," RAW STORY has learned.

The editorial (paid-restricted), which hammers Republicans for failing to produce anything of substance in the 2005 session of Congress, may be a troubling sign for Republicans, as the Journal's editorial page leans heavily to the right.

The Journal also recently turned on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), who has been mired in ethics scandals; while they noted that they believe DeLay has faced unfair criticism from Democrats, they said he was tainted with the odor of the Beltway.

"Americans have learned to expect little from Congress, and by that standard the 109th version controlled by Republicans has met expectations," the editorial begins. "On the other hand, anyone who hoped that the GOP would make something of its historic governing opportunity is bound to be disappointed so far."

"Five months in, Congress can point to the following achievements: a bankruptcy bill 10 years in the making, and a class-action reform watered down essentially to a jurisdictional change to federal from state courts," it continues. "That's about it. Among the 2004 campaign promises that aren't close to being fulfilled are making the Bush tax cuts permanent, reforming Social Security and expanding the market for private health care. Instead of any of those big three, Congress next seems poised to pass a subsidy-laden energy bill and a highway bill with some 4,000 earmarks for individual Members. For this we elected Republicans?"

While the editorial takes pains to note that it doesn't endorse the Democrats' idea that Republicans are "overreaching," it blasts the Republican Congress for a failure of leadership.

"The Democratic/media explanation for this performance is that Republicans are "overreaching" and trying to "govern from the right," the Journal's editorial board writes. "We should be so lucky. The fact is that they are governing from nowhere at all. Far from pushing their agenda, they seem cowed by their opposition into playing it safe and attempting too little."

Both the House and Senate faced the Journal's ire.

"The House lost precious time recovering from its blunder of changing ethics rules to protect Tom DeLay, while the Senate wasted weeks tiptoeing to the edge of changing the filibuster rule only to back down this week as seven Republicans undercut Majority Leader Bill Frist," they write. "GOP Senators also created the messy distraction over John Bolton's nomination, preening their ambivalence for media applause rather than confirming their President's man."

On Social Security, they caution: "Individual Democrats are not going to break with their party leadership when they can see that Republicans are divided."

Ultimately, the Journal's board writes, the test of the Republicans' mettle will be in their ability to confirm Bush Supreme Court nominations.

"Above all, the fight over Mr. Bush's Supreme Court nominations will determine whether the GOP's Senate majority counts for anything at all," they pen. "The voters don't expect miracles, but they do expect better than what Republicans have so far been able to produce."

Via.. www.rawstory.com

Support Our Troops, by getting them out of the homes of Iraqis and back to thier families. Posted by Hello

The White House Wants to Search Web for Terrorists.

White House Wants Search Limits Overturned

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Fri May 27, 7:55 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.

The legal filing with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York comes amid a debate in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act and whether to expand the FBI's power to seek records without the approval of a judge or grand jury.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses.

Continues,..Link in Headline.

---Dear Georgie, Welome to Reb Nation you warmongering, chickenshit deserter.---

OhhhhhYeah Hell just this time Christy
I couldn't help myselfPosted by Hello



Bush Chortles While Navy SEAL Is Hung Out to Dry
by susanhu
Fri May 27th, 2005 at 11:46:41 AM PDT

Update [2005-5-27 18:18:33 by susanhu]: Navy Lt. Andrew Ledford, a SEAL commander, was found innocent today. He's been through hell. I hope his life goes smoothly for a while.
The "smirking chimp" dares to say this to Navy cadets while he allows a U.S. Navy Seal lieutenant -- himself a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and one of the U.S. Navy's best and brightest -- to be hung out to dry, and allow the C.I.A. to cover up its murder?

My fury knew no bounds as I listened to Bush's live speech before the Naval Academy this morning, and heard him say (via White House transcript):

In keeping with long-standing tradition, I hereby absolve all midshipmen who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. (Laughter and applause.) I leave it to Admiral Rempt to define exactly what "minor" means. (Laughter.)

And all I could see, while Bush smirked and chortled, were these images of the dead Manadel al-Jamadi:

As Bush warned the Navy cadets about "the dangers ahead," I wondered if the cadets thought of the fate of their Navy SEAL brothers -- including Andrew K. Ledford, a "32-year-old U.S. Naval Academy graduate," reports the Bakersfield Californian newspaper.

The C.I.A. and civilian contractors are getting off while a Navy Seal, who was not adequately trained for the Iraq mission -- and who did not kill Manadel al-Jamadi -- is in the dock.
Navy personnel who've been interviewed are pissed off and bitter : : :

The Los Angeles Times reported on May 25 that "[n]o charges were brought over Jamadi's death, but 10 SEALs were accused of brutalizing him and other prisoners":

No CIA operatives or employees have been charged, which has embittered some Navy personnel.
Asked about his attitude on the case against [Lt. Andrew K.] Ledford, [former Petty Officer Dan Cerrillo] Cerrillo said: "I'm not very happy about it, because I don't think the whole thing is right."

Lt. Ledford was Cerrillo's superior in the SEAL unit. "Cerrillo testified under immunity," reported the LAT, "that he was the SEAL beating the prisoner and pushing his face into the sand."

But Cerrillo, who served under Ledford in Foxtrot Platoon, said he was acting on the orders of "those people we're not supposed to talk about" — one of the euphemisms witnesses and attorneys use to avoid mentioning the CIA. (Other phrases include "the agency," "another governmental agency" and "security personnel.")

Yesterday, Lt. Ledford retracted his confession to the death of Iraqi prisoner, Manadel al-Jamadi, and says his confession was coerced after eight hours of interrogation. (Imagine a highly trained Navy SEAL who cracks under interrogation, and one can only wonder what methods were used to get him to sign a confession he's now recanted.) The NYT story about the retraction is below.

First, it's important to view how the C.I.A. is treating this case, and how it is blatantly abandoning any responsibility for the murder its people committed.

"Testifying behind a curtain to protect his identity," reported the LAT, "a CIA operative told a court-martial Tuesday that he saw a Navy SEAL "pummeling" a defenseless prisoner in Iraq."
Here's more about the setting in which this CIA operative testified, and what judicial rights were bent to accommodate his status:

The public was banned from the courtroom while the CIA operative testified about secret or classified material. During the rest of his testimony, the public was kept on the other side of the curtain shielding the operative.

In the unclassified part of the CIA operative's testimony, none of the six officers acting as jurors asked any questions — as is their right — that would reconcile his version of events with Cerrillo's. A CIA attorney was present for the entire testimony.

TIME FOR A RANT: I need a break. I work on this story, then I have to stop because my heart is beating so fast, and I'm so ANGRY with our government.

Besides murdering Mr. al-Jamadi -- and permitting the torment and abuse of god knows how many other prisoners -- Bush-on-down are now screwing with the morale of our soldiers. Bush et al. are destroying the lives and careers of some of the most talented, smart, physically gifted members of our military -- precisely the kind of military personnel we need for missions for which they are qualified, not for the tasks they had not been trained to do.

And today that asshole Bush has the nerve to speak to the graduating class of the naval academy, many of whom will someday be officers, just like Ledford, who will be drug through the mud and destroyed as part of the immense cover-up by our government from the top on down.


The LAT reports: >>>>continued


The row has strained relations between Venezuela and the US. Posted by Hello
Ohhhhh they are good, invade a country who has done nothing to the
U>S>A and leave a terrorist who bombs planes free to wander the country
at will. Ohhhh Yeah Excellent

US blocks extradition of 'bomber'

The US has rejected Venezuela's request for it to extradite a Cuban-born terror suspect over a 1976 airline bombing that killed 73 people.

Washington told Venezuela that its request to extradite Luis Posada Carriles lacked sufficient evidence.

The 77-year-old former CIA employee was charged last week with illegal entry into the US from Mexico.

He has denied involvement in the plot to blow up the Cubana Airlines plane on a flight from Caracas to Havana.

Venezuela could make another extradition request if it provides more evidence, a US state department official told reporters.

Mr Posada Carriles faces a hearing at a US immigration court on 13 June, which could decide to deport him.

He is expected to apply for asylum at that hearing.


A naturalised Venezuelan, Mr Posada Carriles was twice acquitted by Venezuelan courts of plotting to bomb the plane.

He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 while awaiting a trial on appeal.
The US says it will not deport Mr Posada Carriles to any country that would hand him over to Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba.

Venezuela has said it will not hand Mr Posada Carriles over, and Mr Castro has insisted he will be happy to see him tried there.

Earlier this week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he would consider breaking diplomatic ties with the US if the extradition request was knocked back.

But on Friday, a statement from Venezuela's foreign ministry said Mr Chavez's comments "cannot be considered an ultimatum".

It said Caracas would continue to push for Mr Posada Carriles to be handed over "until justice is done".


Friday, May 27, 2005


PRE-WAR QUESTIONS Congressman seeks 100,000 to sign letter on Downing Street memo inquiry

A Michigan congressman has decided to take his case for an Iraq inquiry to the people.

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) seeks to amass 100,000 signatures from U.S. citizens calling on President Bush for more answers about a 2002 meeting during which a senior British official said intelligence was "being fixed" to present a case for the Iraq war, RAW STORY has learned.

The congressman's office says Conyers hopes to present the letter to the President in person, in what may be a media event; they believe the letter could have a "viral effect" and spark new interest in the steps taken by the Bush Administration in the run-up to the Iraq war and the so-called "Downing Street Memo."

The memo, official minutes of a 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of British intelligence MI-6 and various members of the Bush administration, noted that MI-6 director Richard Dearlove said, “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

The following was posted on the Congressman's website; the petition is viewable here.
Conyers and eighty-eight other members of Congress issued a letter to the White House on May 5 requesting an explanation and answers to questions about whether the President misled Congress into voting for the Iraq war.

The White House has ignored the letter.

White House press secretary Scott said he had “no need to respond,” according to the New York Times.

Conyers has indicated that he may send a delegation to London to further investigate the memo.
First, the memo appears to directly contradict the Administration's assertions to Congress and the American people that it would exhaust all options before going to war. According to the minutes, in July 2002, the Administration had already decided to go to war against Iraq.
Second, a debate has raged in the United States over the last year and one half about whether the obviously flawed intelligence that falsely stated that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was a mere "failure" or the result of intentional manipulation to reach foreordained conclusions supporting the case for war. The memo appears to close the case on that issue stating that in the United States the intelligence and facts were being "fixed" around the decision to go to war.

These are not routine questions within a partisan give and take. Under the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8), the Congress has the sole power to declare war. If the Executive Branch deceives the Congress in this duty, it represents an attack of our democracy of the most serious nature. These Constitutional questions are not going away and must be answered forthrightly and completely by this Administration.

I and 88 of my colleagues (that number is growing - more on that soon) asked the Administration to come clean about these troubling allegations. Our inquiries have been met with silence.

The press has also been negligent is giving this matter the attention it deserves.
I am committed to seeing this through until we get the answers we deserve. But I need your help.

The conventional wisdom, which unfortunately governs Washington's political discourse, hold that the American people have long ago made peace with the mistakes or deceptions which led us into war. Help me prove them all wrong. I want to show the White House, the Press and my congressional colleagues that nothing could be further from the truth.

That is why today I am giving you the opportunity to sign on to a letter asking the same questions of the President that now nearly 100 Members of Congress have asked. If I get at least 100,000 signatures on this, I will personally deliver the letter to the White House.
If you want to sign on to this letter, go to my website (www.johnconyers.com).

I also want you to know that I am exploring many, many avenues to get to the truth about this matter.

Thank you in advance for your help and assistance.


Art for Everyone Posted by Hello
SECRET PLANS Eighty-eight members of Congress call on Bush for answers on secret Iraq plan

Eighty-eight members of Congress have signed a letter authored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) calling on President Bush to answer questions about a secret U.S.-UK agreement to attack Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In the letter, Conyers and other members say they are disappointed the mainstream media has not touched the revelations.

"Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a "runaway bride" to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers," Conyers writes. "The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so."

"The Times reports, based on a newly discovered document, that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a meeting in which he expressed his support for "regime change" through the use of force in Iraq and was warned by the nation's top lawyer that such an action would be illegal," he adds. "Blair also discussed the need for America to "create" conditions to justify the war."

The members say they are seeking an inquiry.

"This should not be allowed to fall down the memory hole during wall-to-wall coverage of the Michael Jackson trial and a runaway bride," he remarks. "To prevent that from occuring, I am circulating the following letter among my House colleagues and asking them to sign on to it."

The letter follows.

May 5, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write because of troubling revelations in the Sunday London Times apparently confirming that the United States and Great Britain had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in the summer of 2002, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action. While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your Administration. However, when this story was divulged last weekend, Prime Minister Blair's representative claimed the document contained "nothing new." If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own Administration.

The Sunday Times obtained a leaked document with the minutes of a secret meeting from highly placed sources inside the British Government. Among other things, the document revealed:

* Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a July 2002 meeting, at which he discussed military options, having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq.

* British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged that the case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran."

* A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.

* A British official "reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As a result of this recent disclosure, we would like to know the following:

1) Do you or anyone in your Administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

We have of course known for some time that subsequent to the invasion there have been a variety of varying reasons proffered to justify the invasion, particularly since the time it became evident that weapons of mass destruction would not be found. This leaked document - essentially acknowledged by the Blair government - is the first confirmation that the rationales were shifting well before the invasion as well.

Given the importance of this matter, we would ask that you respond to this inquiry as promptly as possible. Thank you.


Members who have already signed letter >>>continued

To read the letter in PDF format, including signatures, click here.


Art For Girls. Posted by Hello

Something my Mom sent me. Posted by Hello

Oh Condi, you deserve it.

Rice interrupted by enactment of Abu Ghraib abuse

Fri May 27, 2005 06:15 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Demonstrators interrupted a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday by recreating an image of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in which a hooded prisoner stood with his arms outstretched attached to electric wires.

Amid tight security at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, three women and one man pulled on black hoods and cloaks and stood on their seats, acting out the scene caught in one of the photographs of abuse that undermined U.S. prestige abroad.

Rice initially continued her speech on American foreign policy under President George W. Bush but paused when the protesters shouted "Stop the torture. Stop the killing. U.S. out of Iraq," as police led them out of the auditorium.

Medea Benjamin, one of the protesters, said they were kept in police custody for about an hour and a half and then released with a misdemeanor citation. "We feel we made our point," said Benjamin, a founding director of the human rights group Global Exchange.

A military jury convicted a female soldier earlier this month to six months in prison for abuses at Abu Ghraib, including wiring the hooded Iraqi prisoner in the photo.

The pictures of the mistreatment, which included sexual humiliation, badly damaged the international image of the U.S. military as it struggled to stabilize Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

Link In Headline.

Art for Everyone Posted by Hello


Muslims Riot World Wide Against Koran Abuse.

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Waving copies of the Koran and chanting anti-American slogans, Muslims across the world took to the streets on Friday to protest at abuse of their holy book by interrogators at a U.S. prison camp in Cuba

In Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, outraged Muslims burned U.S. flags and vowed revenge.

"O America, listen, listen, with my blood I will protect my Koran," shouted thousands of Lebanese at a Hizbollah rally in a Shi'ite suburb of Beirut. "America is the enemy of Muslims." Similar protests swept the country's Palestinian refugee camps, where bearded Islamists hoisted pictures of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, and his Iraq-based ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp said on Thursday that the U.S. military had identified five incidents of "mishandling of a Koran" by U.S. personnel there.


Military Deserters Flee To Canada
About 6,000 Soldiers Deserted From Iraq War; 150 Fled To Canada
POSTED: 10:24 am EDT May 26, 2005
UPDATED: 11:07 am EDT May 26, 2005

TORONTO -- Thirty-five years after Vietnam, Canada is still a safe haven for those fleeing service in the U.S. military.

WESH 2 News's Raoul Martinez went to Canada to track down military deserters.
"I did it for the best of my family, for the best of my conscience," said Pfc. Joshua Key, of the U.S. Army.

The Keys are a typical, young, all-American family with four beautiful children.

"I felt like we (were) the most wanted family in America because you know everybody's eyes are looking for you," Key said.

Key and his family fled to Toronto.

"Now, we're technically refugees in Canada," his wife, Brandi, said.

"I know that I'll never be able to go home," Joshua Key said.

Key is a deserter from the Army.

"If you do get apprehended, if you do get caught, you're always going to be considered a coward, you're always going to be considered a deserter and that's going to follow you for the rest of your life," Key said.

He served eight months in Iraq's volatile Sunni triangle with the 43rd combat engineer company. He raided homes and flushed out terrorists. As a soldier, he decided the war in Iraq was unjustified.

"It's wrong, it's very immoral. We're there under lies and different pretenses that were fabricated," Key said.

To the Army, he's a wanted criminal.

"I went to fight for my country. To me, the Army, they lied to me from the beginning," Key said.
"My husband is not a coward for he went and fought," Brandi said.

During a two-week leave in 2003, Key abandoned his unit.

"I know I'm a deserter. I deserted my fellow comrades and everything," Key said.





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1646 Fatalities
In hostile actions: 1263In non-hostile actions: 383



Art For Boys. Posted by Hello

Uh Oh.

Give Rumsfeld the Pinochet Treatment, Says US Amnesty Chief
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service

Thursday 26 May 2005

If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal.
-- William Schulz, Amnesty Intl USA

Washington - If the administration of President George W. Bush fails to conduct a truly independent investigation of US abuses against detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, foreign governments should investigate and prosecute those senior officials who bear responsibility for them, the head of the US chapter of Amnesty International said here Wednesday.

Speaking at the release of Amnesty's annual report, William Schulz charged that Washington has become "a leading purveyor and practitioner" of torture and ill-treatment and that senior officials should face prosecution by other governments for violations of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Among those officials, Schulz named Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet, and senior officers at US detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

"If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal," said Schulz, who added that violations of the torture convention, which has been ratified by the United States and some 138 other countries, can be prosecuted in any jurisdiction.

"If those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them," he added. "The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as (former Chilean dictator) Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998."

Schulz also called on state bar associations to investigate administration lawyers who helped prepare legal opinions that sought to justify or defend the use of abusive interrogation methods for breach of their professional and ethical responsibilities.

He cited, in particular, Vice President Dick Cheney's general counsel, David Addington; Pentagon General Counsel William Haynes; and top officials in the Justice Department's Office of General Counsel, one of whom, Jay Bybee, has since been confirmed as a federal appeals court judge.

"A wall of secrecy is protecting those who masterminded and developed the US torture policy," Schulz said. "Unless those who drew the blueprint for torture, approved it, and ordered it implemented are held accountable, the United States' once-proud reputation as an exemplar of human rights will remain in tatters."

Schulz's appeal for foreign governments to take the initiative coincided with the launch of a bipartisan drive endorsed by some 350 attorneys and legal scholars urging the administration to establish an independent commission to address the allegations of abuse and torture, including an assessment of the responsibility of senior administration officials and military officers.

"By establishing an independent bipartisan commission to fully investigate the issue of abuse of terrorist suspects," said John Whitehead, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Ronald Reagan administration, "Congress and the president have a unique opportunity to send a message to the rest of the world that the United States is committed to respecting the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings, whether they are US citizens or prisoners of war."

Whitehead said a high-level, independent investigation was necessary because the Pentagon's ongoing or recently completed investigations were too narrowly focused and not designed to produce recommendations to prevent future abuses.

Among the signers of the initiative, which was sponsored by the bipartisan Constitution Project at Georgetown University, were prominent right-wing activists including David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, two former Republican congressmen, as well as former US ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering, and former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director William Sessions. The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) also endorsed the statement, as did more than a dozen military law specialists and retired high-ranking military officers.

Since the abuses first came to light with the publication of photos of prisoners at Abu Ghraib 13 months ago, the Pentagon has carried out dozens of reviews, courts-martial, and disciplinary proceedings. But virtually all of them have dealt only with the responsibility of the soldiers who carried out the abuses or their immediate superiors.

The failure to address the responsibility of officials and officers at the top of the command chain, particularly in light of the disclosure of memos which appeared to authorize at least some of the tactics carried out against detainees, has provoked repeated demands by human rights groups to appoint an independent commission to conduct a thorough examination. Last summer, the 400,000-lawyer American Bar Association joined Amnesty, Human rights Watch, Human Rights First, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in those demands.

But the Bush administration has rejected them, arguing that the Pentagon's own efforts to investigate and prosecute abuses were adequate. The Republican leadership in Congress has also paralyzed efforts by Democratic and some Republican lawmakers to create a commission.

The refusal to investigate translates into effective "tolerance" for torture and mistreatment, Schulz said, resulting not only in the spread of such practices but also in the destruction of US credibility when it assails other countries, such as Syria or Egypt, for human rights violations.

"It is the height of hypocrisy for the US government itself to use the very torture techniques that it routinely condemns in other countries," he said. "When the US government then calls upon foreign leaders to bring to justice those who commit or authorize human rights violations in their own countries, why should those foreign leaders listen?"

As he spoke, the ACLU released new documents it had obtained from the FBI under court order that disclosed that prisoners held at Guantanamo complained that guards there had repeatedly mistreated the Koran. In one 2002 summary, an FBI interrogator noted a prisoner's allegation that guards had flushed a Koran down a toilet.

The disclosure comes on the heels of controversy over a Newsweek report saying that government investigators had corroborated an almost identical incident. Newsweek ultimately retracted its story because a confidential government source could not be confirmed.

Other documents released Wednesday by the ACLU provided accounts of beatings, planned suicide attempts, hunger strikes to protest mistreatment and sexual assaults, including an incident in which a female guard fondled a detainee's genitals while he was held down by male guards.

"The United States government continues to turn a blind eye to mounting evidence of widespread abuse of detainees held in its custody," said ACLU director Anthony Romero. "If we are to truly repair America's standing in the world, the Bush administration must hold accountable high-ranking officials who allow the continuing abuse and torture of detainees."


THIS IS NOT A JOKE. It was NOT 'seven bad apples' either. All that has been hidden from us is about to come into the light. DON'T YOU DARE LOOK AWAY. LOOK AT THAT MANS LEGS. THIS is Abu Ghraib. Prepare yourself, it is about to get WORSE. The photos you have been LIED TOO about are coming out. Juges orders. DONT YOU DARE TURN AWAY. DONT EVEN BLINK. It is time to bear witness. I hope we survive it. Posted by Hello
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