Friday, October 27, 2006

For God's Sake Please Kick These Psychopaths OUT!

Signs of the Times for Fri, 27 Oct 2006

Cheney endorses simulated drowning

[don't be coy. This is Waterboarding and it is torture.]

By Demetri Sevastopulo
Oct. 27, 2006

Dick Cheney, US vice-president, has endorsed the use of "water boarding" for terror suspects and confirmed that the controversial interrogation technique was used on Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the senior al-Qaeda operative now being held at Guantánamo Bay.

Mr Cheney was responding to a conservative radio interviewer who asked whether water boarding, which involves simulated drowning, was a "no-brainer" if the information it yielded would save American lives. "It's a no-brainer for me," Mr Cheney replied.

The comments by the vice-president, who has been one of the leading advocates of reducing limitations on what interrogation techniques can be used in the war on terror, are the first public confirmation that water boarding has been used on suspects held in US custody.

A spokeswoman for Mr Cheney denied that he had endorsed or confirmed the use of water-boarding.

"The VP was talking about the interrogation programme, clearly noting that we do not torture and we live up to our international treaty obligations. He does not discuss any techniques or methods that may or may not be used in questioning," said Lea Anne McBride.

Mr Cheney said recent legislation passed by Congress allowed the White House to continue its aggressive interrogation programme.

But his remarks appear to stand at odds with the views of three key Republican senators who helped draft the recently passed Military Commission Act, and who argue that water boarding is not permitted according to that law.

"[It's] a direct affront to the primary authors of the Military Commission Act in the Senate - John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner - all of whom have publicly stated that the legislation signed by the president last week makes water boarding a war crime," said Jennifer Daskal, advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "This is Cheney ignoring the consensus of his own Pentagon," she said, referring to comments by senior officials that harsh interrogation techniques do not produce reliable intelligence.

John Bellinger, the State Department legal adviser, last week declined to answer specific questions on water boarding, saying Congress would have to determine whether specific interrogation techniques were permissible under the Geneva conventions.

[On September 6, 2006, the United States Department of Defense released a revised Army Field Manual entitled Human Intelligence Collector Operations that prohibits the use of waterboarding by U.S. military personnel. The revised manual was adopted amid widespread criticism of U.S. handling of prisoners in the War on Terrorism, and prohibits other practices in addition to waterboarding. The revised manual applies to U.S. military personnel, and as such does not apply to the practices of the CIA.[6]- Wikipedia]

The Bush administration was forced to work with Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act after the Supreme Court ruled that al-Qaeda suspects were entitled to some protections under the Geneva convention. "Any procedures goingforward would have to comply with the standardsof Common Article 3 [of the Geneva conventions], including the prohibition oncruel, inhuman and degrading treatment . . . ," Mr Bellinger said. "Congress would have to agree that theyare permitted under the law."

Asked in the radio interview whether he would agree that the debate over terrorist interrogations and water boarding was "a little silly", Mr Cheney responded: "I do agree".

[DO you want this man holding your life, your child's life in his hands??]

"I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation," he said.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just Give Me a Bag :(

Ok, it's bad enough to be ashamed of your country of birth (see previous entry), but it's even worse to become ashamed of your adopted home. The Western world is definately circling the drain . . .

Blue Ibis
Harper vows Canadian support for Israel

Last Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2006 9:36 AM ET
CBC News

Canada will not remain neutral when Israel is involved in a fight to defend itself against extremists, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a speech to the Jewish community on Wednesday.

Speaking at a B'nai Brith dinner in Toronto, Harper made no apologies for the stance of his government on Israel, saying the Jewish state can expect the full support and friendship of Canada.

"When it comes to dealing with a war between Israel and a terrorist organization, this country and this government cannot and will never be neutral," Harper said.

"Those who seek to destroy the Jews, who seek to destroy Israel, will ... ultimately seek to destroy us all. It is why Canada's new government has reacted with speed and spoken with clarity on the recent events in the Middle East."

Harper quickly sided with Israel in July after it launched an offensive into Lebanon to fight Hezbollah, which had captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

Harper said, however, that the Palestinian people need a future that is fair and just and he hopes that a two-party solution, in which the Palestinian people have their own state, will one day have Palestinians and Israelis living side by side in peace.

"Issues of human dignity, of giving people the opportunity to build their community, to realize their own dreams - as long as they respect the rights and dignity of others - are values we also share."

Harper's remarks resonated with members of the Jewish community at the dinner.

Michael Mostyn, a member of B'nai Brith, said Wednesday night that the strong pro-Israel stance of the Conservative government has not gone unnoticed by the Jewish community. [getting those votes sewn up?]

"Certainly foreign policy has an impact, as it would with any other immigrant group here in Canada," he said.

But Mostyn added that support can shift and the Conservative party should not take support from one group for granted because there are many issues of concern to all voters.

"I think Jewish voters are like all other Canadians. There are a multitude of issues that concern them. They are concerned about taxes and security," said Mostyn.

Last week, Harper said the federal Liberal party leadership candidates are anti-Israeli after Michael Ignatieff had said Israel's bombing of the Lebanese town Qana in July, which killed dozens of civilians, was a war crime. [tacky, tacky, Michael. It's rude to accurately name the deed. Look what happens . . .]

Ignatieff, who describes himself as a "lifelong friend of Israel," said Harper's response was inappropriate and Harper was trying to gain politically by commenting on Middle East issues.
Must be a big old campaign contribution on the line here, ya think? After all, minority governments have short lifespans. Gotta get that vote sewn up asap. Here is just a small part of what these "life-long" friends are "fully supporting":

Rights group: Shin Bet denies vital treatment to Palestinians

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

The Shin Bet security service is systematically preventing Palestinians who need medical treatment unavailable in the territories from entering Israel, a new report by the nonprofit organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) charges.

According to the organization, in many cases, patients have been denied urgent, life-saving treatment.

The report says that the Shin Bet automatically refuses entry permits, and reconsiders its decisions only if legal action is begun.

In response, the Shin Bet said that it has to balance security considerations against human rights, and noted that terrorist groups have tried to take advantage of Palestinian patients with entry permits in order to carry out attacks inside Israel.

The report, a copy of which was given to Haaretz, claims that the Shin Bet has veto power over all requests by Palestinian patients seeking to enter Israel for medical purposes or to travel from the territories abroad. Many of the requests are turned down on the grounds that the individual is "forbidden entry." That is a classification for Palestinians whom the Shin Bet considers potential threats to national security.

However, it is rare for someone to be tagged as "forbidden entry" because of specific information about that individual. In most cases, the label is based on general profiles of potential terrorists.

The human rights group carried out an analysis of refused entry requests and concluded that the Shin Bet applies very general criteria in its decisions. According to the analysis, those between the ages of 16 and 35, and sometimes 18 and 40, are considered "dangerous." Single men and women, or those who are married but childless, are usually turned down. Anyone with a record of security offenses, even minor ones (i.e. former prisoners), or with possible motives for revenge (a family member hurt by the Israel Defense Forces), is also turned down, as are students, because universities are described as "hotbeds of terrorism," and AIDS patients (the stigma that the disease carries in Palestinian society opens the patient to blackmail: attack in order to cleanse the family name).

The organization decribes the use of these profiles as collective punishment, and emphasizes that denying medical treatment to Palestinian patients violates their human rights. For some patients, no medical treatment is tantamount to a death sentence.

Even though responsibility for medical services in the territories were transferred to the Palestinian Authority under the Gaza and Jericho agreement of 1994, in practice, the PA cannot meet its population's medical needs, and therefore sends many patients to Israel and Arab countries for treatment.

According to PHR, international law and agreements to which Israel is party require it to provide for the medical needs of the population in the territories. Israel refuses to acknowledge any such legal obligation, but responds to some requests out of "humanitarian concerns." In those cases, Israel charges the Palestinians for the medical treatment.

The report's authors say that the Shin Bet refuses to invest the funds and manpower necessary for more detailed evaluations of Palestinian requests to enter Israel for medical purposes, and as a result, most are automatically turned down. The applicant, who receives a response to his request through the Civil Administration, is never told why the request was turned down, nor is there an easy method of appealing the decision. Many applicants are not even aware that there is a possibility of appealing.

Although hundreds of Palestinian applicants are turned down, the vast majority of those who appeal with the help of PHR are allowed entry into Israel. According to the organization, out of 138 requests it handled last year on behalf of patients who were denied entry permits, 116, or 84 percent, were ultimately approved.

However, whenever the group turns to the High Court of Justice, the state asks the court to treat the case as an exception and avoid making a precedent-setting ruling. And in cases where the state insists on its refusal to allow the petitioner to enter Israel, the court usually upholds this position, on the basis of intelligence that the petitioner is not allowed to see.

The report's authors recommend that the entire method of granting permits be reformed.

According to PHR, "the Shin Bet enjoys secure anonymity that gives it infinite control, which even the High Court has trouble limiting. Denying patients care constitutes torture." The group therefore suggests doing away with the Shin Bet's veto power over requests for entry permits, arguing that the decision in disputed cases should be placed in the hands of an authorized medical professional.

The report also accuses the Shin Bet of trying to exploit Palestinian patients' difficult situations in order to recruit family members as informers, by conditioning permits for medical treatment on a promise to supply information.

The Shin Bet responded that its sole goal is to limit terrorism, and that is the sole criterion for approving or refusing Palestinian requests for entry into Israel. It also maintained that its policies undergo legal scrutiny.

Just pass me that sick bag,please. BI

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's Just Business Research . . . Really.

Another example of the pathocratic, paramoralistic reasoning that rules the world today. Whatever costume they wear, zionist, illuminati, communist, fascist, remember what we are really talking about are PSYCHOPATHS. THEY are the wolves in sheeps' clothing, whom we ignore at our peril.

Excerpt from the Signs page weekly feature Economic Commentary.

By Donald Hunt
October 16, 2006

....[W]ars, even disastrous ones, make some people rich. They just benefit at the expense of their home society and currency. George Ure blames those fictive psychopaths, the corporations, and those real psychopaths who benefit from those corporations, for the chronic warfare that so damages the average people of the world:

The West is hostage to a view that is profit-oriented; power derives from money, and money flows from corporations. Corporations exist to grow - and without growth profits shrink, and without profits the whole of the Western paradigm is in trouble. When growth doesn't exist to increase standards of living, the excess production must be spent somewhere else, and wars are a fine place to blow up, burn up, and shoot up excess production. I note that as soon as the gunfire stopped Lebanon last month, in came the bankers to make money. It has been almost too pat, too smooth, too orchestrated, at least for my taste.

To get a better understanding of how the psychopaths is charge think and act, ponder the following economic experiment. The economy itself is a weapon in their hands:

Gaza as Laboratory: The Great Experiment

Uri Avnery
October 14-15, 2006

Is it possible to force a whole people to submit to foreign occupation by starving it?

That is, certainly, an interesting question. So interesting, indeed, that the governments of Israel and the United States, in close cooperation with Europe, are now engaged in a rigorous scientific experiment in order to obtain a definitive answer.

The laboratory for the experiment is the Gaza Strip, and the guinea pigs are the million and a quarter Palestinians living there.

In order to meet the required scientific standards, it was necessary first of all to prepare the laboratory.

That was done in the following way: First, Ariel Sharon uprooted the Israeli settlements that were stuck there. After all, you can't conduct a proper experiment with pets roaming around the laboratory. It was done with "determination and sensitivity", tears flowed like water, the soldiers kissed and embraced the evicted settlers, and again it was shown that the Israeli army is the most-most in the world.

With the laboratory cleaned, the next phase could begin: all entrances and exits were hermetically sealed, in order to eliminate disturbing influences from the world outside. That was done without difficulty. Successive Israeli governments have prevented the building of a harbor in Gaza, and the Israeli navy sees to it that no ship approaches the shore. The splendid international airport, built during the Oslo days, was bombed and shut down. The entire Strip was closed off by a highly effective fence, and only a few crossings remained, all but one controlled by the Israeli army.

There remained a sole connection with the outside world: the Rafah border crossing to Egypt. It could not just be sealed off, because that would have exposed the Egyptian regime as a collaborator with Israel. A sophisticated solution was found: to all appearances the Israeli army left the crossing and turned it over to an international supervision team. Its members are nice guys, full of good intentions, but in practice they are totally dependent on the Israeli army, which oversees the crossing from a nearby control room. The international supervisors live in an Israeli kibbutz and can reach the crossing only with Israeli consent.

So everything was ready for the experiment.

THE SIGNAL for its beginning was given after the Palestinians had held spotlessly democratic elections, under the supervision of former President Jimmy Carter. George Bush was enthusiastic: his vision of bringing democracy to the Middle East was coming true.

But the Palestinians flunked the test. Instead of electing "good Arabs", devotees of the United States, they voted for very bad Arabs, devotees of Allah. Bush felt insulted. But the Israeli government was ecstatic: after the Hamas victory, the Americans and Europeans were ready to take part in the experiment. It could start:

The United States and the European Union announced the stoppage of all donations to the Palestinian Authority, since it was "controlled by terrorists". Simultaneously, the Israeli government cut off the flow of money.

To understand the significance of this: according to the "Paris Protocol" (the economic annex of the Oslo agreement) the Palestinian economy is part of the Israeli customs system. This means that Israel collects the duties for all the goods that pass through Israel to the Palestinian territories - actually, there is no other route. After deducting a fat commission, Israel is obligated to turn the money over to the Palestinian Authority.

When the Israeli government refuses to pass on this money, which belongs to the Palestinians, it is, simply put, robbery in broad daylight. But when one robs "terrorists", who is going to complain?

The Palestinian Authority - both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - needs this money like air for breathing. This fact also requires some explanation: in the 19 years when Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip, from 1948 to 1967, not a single important factory was built there. The Jordanians wanted all economic activity to take place in Jordan proper, east of the river, and the Egyptians neglected the strip altogether.

Then came the Israeli occupation, and the situation became even worse. The occupied territories became a captive market for Israeli industry, and the military government prevented the establishment of any enterprise that could conceivably compete with an Israeli one.

The Palestinian workers were compelled to work in Israel for hunger wages (by Israeli standards). From these, the Israeli government deducted all the social payments levied on Israeli workers, without the Palestinian workers enjoying any social benefits. This way the government robbed these exploited workers of tens of billions of dollars, which disappeared somehow in the bottomless barrel of the government.

When the intifada broke out, the Israeli captains of industry and agriculture discovered that it was possible to get along without the Palestinian workers. Indeed, it was even more profitable. Workers brought in from Thailand, Romania and other poor countries were ready to work for even lower wages and in conditions bordering on slavery. The Palestinian workers lost their jobs.

That was the situation at the beginning of the experiment: the Palestinian infrastructure destroyed, practically no means of production, no work for the workers. All in all, an ideal setting for the great "experiment in hunger".

THE IMPLEMENTATION started, as mentioned, with the stoppage of payments.

The passage between Gaza and Egypt was closed in practice. Once every few days or weeks it was opened for some hours, for appearances' sake, so that some of the sick and dead or dying could get home or reach Egyptian hospitals.

The crossings between the Strip and Israel were closed "for urgent security reasons". Always, at the right moment, "warnings of an imminent terrorist attack" appeared. Palestinian agricultural products destined for export rot at the crossing. Medicines and foodstuffs cannot get in, except for short periods from time to time, also for appearances, whenever somebody important abroad voices some protest. Then comes another "urgent security warning" and the situation is back to normal.

To round off the picture, the Israeli Air Force bombed the only power station in the Strip, so that for a part of the day there is no electricity, and the water supply (which depends on electric pumps) stops also. Even on the hottest days, with temperatures of over 30 degrees centigrade in the shade, there is no electricity for refrigerators, air conditioning, the water supply or other needs.

In the West Bank, a territory much larger than the Gaza Strip (which makes up only 6% of the occupied Palestinian territories but holds 40% of the inhabitants), the situation is not quite so desperate. But in the Strip, more than half of the population lives beneath the Palestinian "poverty line", which lies of course very, very far below the Israeli "poverty line". Many Gaza residents can only dream of being considered poor in the nearby Israeli town of Sderot.

What are the governments of Israel and the US trying to tell the Palestinians? The message is clear: You will reach the brink of hunger, and even beyond, if you do not surrender. You must remove the Hamas government and elect candidates approved by Israel and the US. And, most importantly: you must be satisfied with a Palestinian state consisting of several enclaves, each of which will be utterly dependent on the tender mercies of Israel.

AT THE moment, the directors of the scientific experiment are pondering a puzzling question: how on earth do the Palestinians still hold out, in spite of everything? According to all the rules, they should have been broken long ago!

Indeed, there are some encouraging signs. The general atmosphere of frustration and desperation creates tension between Hamas and Fatah. Here and there clashes have broken out, people were killed and wounded, but in each case the deterioration was halted before it became a civil war. The thousands of hidden Israeli collaborators are also helping to stir things up. But contrary to all expectations, the resistance did not evaporate. Even the captured Israeli soldier has not been released.

One of the explanations has to do with the structure of Palestinian society. The Hamulah (extended family) plays a central role there. As long as one person in the family is working, the relatives, too, do not die of hunger, even if there is widespread malnutrition. Everyone who has any income shares it with all his brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, cousins and their children. That is a primitive system, but quite effective in such circumstances. It seems that the planners of the experiment did not take this into account.

In order to quicken the process, the whole might of the Israeli army is now being used again, as from this week. For three months the army was busy with the Second Lebanon War. It became apparent that the army, which for the last 39 years has been employed mainly as a colonial police force, does not function very well when suddenly confronted with a trained and armed opponent that can fight back. Hizbullah used deadly anti-tank weapons against the armored forces, and rockets rained down on Northern Israel. The army has long ago forgotten how to deal with such an enemy. And the campaign did not end well.

Now the army returns to the war it knows. The Palestinians in the Strip do not (yet) have effective anti-tank weapons, and the Qassam rockets cause only limited damage. The army can again use tanks against the population without hindrance. The Air Force, which in Lebanon was afraid to send in helicopters to remove the wounded, can now fire missiles at the houses of "wanted persons", their families and neighbors, at leisure. If in the last three months "only" 100 Palestinians were killed per month, we are now witnessing a dramatic rise in the number of Palestinians killed and wounded.

How can a population that is hit by hunger, lacking medicaments and equipment for its primitive hospitals and exposed to attacks on land, from sea and from the air, hold out? Will it break? Will it go down on its knees and beg for mercy? Or will it find inhuman strength and stand the test?

In short: What and how much is needed to get a population to surrender?

All the scientists taking part in the experiment - Ehud Olmert and Condoleezza Rice, Amir Peretz and Angela Merkel, Dan Halutz and George Bush, not to mention Nobel Peace Price laureate Shimon Peres - are bent over the microscopes and waiting for an answer, which undoubtedly will be an important contribution to political science.

I hope the Nobel Committee is watching.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's hot new book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006)

Signs of the Times: News you won't get anywhere else. Your government certainly won't tell you. (Clickable link)

Blue Ibis


Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006)

Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas - Oh dear. I'm sure he didn't mean it. In Illinois' Sixth Congressional District, long represented by Henry Hyde, Republican candidate Peter Roskam accused his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, of planning to "cut and run" on Iraq.

Duckworth is a former Army major and chopper pilot who lost both legs in Iraq after her helicopter got hit by an RPG. "I just could not believe he would say that to me," said Duckworth, who walks on artificial legs and uses a cane. Every election cycle produces some wincers, but how do you apologize for that one?

The legislative equivalent of that remark is the detainee bill now being passed by Congress. Beloveds, this is so much worse than even that pathetic deal reached last Thursday between the White House and Republican Sens. John Warner, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The White House has since reinserted a number of "technical fixes" that were the point of the putative "compromise." It leaves the president with the power to decide who is an enemy combatant.

This bill is not a national security issue-this is about torturing helpless human beings without any proof they are our enemies. Perhaps this could be considered if we knew the administration would use the power with enormous care and thoughtfulness. But of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place.

Death by torture by Americans was first reported in 2003 in a New York Times article by Carlotta Gall. The military had announced the prisoner died of a heart attack, but when Gall saw the death certificate, written in English and issued by the military, it said the cause of death was homicide. The "heart attack" came after he had been beaten so often on this legs that they had "basically been pulpified," according to the coroner. [getting nauseous yet?]

The story of why and how it took the Times so long to print this information is in the current edition of the Columbia Journalism Review. The press in general has been late and slow in reporting torture, so very few Americans have any idea how far it has spread. As is often true in hierarchical, top-down institutions, the orders get passed on in what I call the downward communications exaggeration spiral.

For example, on a newspaper, a top editor may remark casually, "Let's give the new mayor a chance to see what he can do before we start attacking him."

This gets passed on as "Don't touch the mayor unless he really screws up."

And it ultimately arrives at the reporter level as "We can't say anything negative about the mayor."

The version of the detainee bill now in the Senate not only undoes much of the McCain-Warner-Graham work, but it is actually much worse than the administration's first proposal. In one change, the original compromise language said a suspect had the right to "examine and respond to" all evidence used against him. The three senators said the clause was necessary to avoid secret trials. The bill has now dropped the word "examine" and left only "respond to."

In another change, a clause said that evidence obtained outside the United States could be admitted in court even if it had been gathered without a search warrant. But the bill now drops the words "outside the United States," which means prosecutors can ignore American legal standards on warrants.
[Doesn't that make you feel safe from the "turr'ists"?]

The bill also expands the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant to cover anyone who has "has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." Quick, define "purposefully and materially." One person has already been charged with aiding terrorists because he sold a satellite TV package that includes the Hezbollah network.

The bill simply removes a suspect's right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open.

As Vladimir Bukovsky, the Soviet dissident, wrote, an intelligence service free to torture soon "degenerates into a playground for sadists." But not unbridled sadism-you will be relieved that the compromise took out the words permitting interrogation involving "severe pain" and substituted "serious pain," which is defined as "bodily injury that involves extreme physical pain."

In July 2003, George Bush said in a speech: "The United States is committed to worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes, whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit."

Fellow citizens, this bill throws out legal and moral restraints as the president deems it necessary - these are fundamental principles of basic decency, as well as law.
[don't like Bush? Say so? These could be for you]

[Nazi Torture Instruments from Museum of World War II]

Molly continues:
I'd like those supporting this evil bill to spare me one affliction: Do not, please, pretend to be shocked by the consequences of this legislation. And do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and see works by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Comment on this article at the SOTT Forum - Best discussions on the Web