Posted by: quiscus | March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009

1.  A great start:

“Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials

A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic framework to justify the use of torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said.

Last October, when the Miami court handed down the conviction, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey applauded the ruling and said: “This is the first case in the United States to charge an individual with criminal torture. I hope this case will serve as a model to future prosecutions of this type.”

2.  “ Washington Post Shills for Terrorists

Not all terrorists are equally damndable, apparently.

The Washington Post has an article today on the Iraqi government’s plan to shut down the camp of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq, or MEK. This is a violent Marxist organization that was designated by the State Department as terrorists in 1997 because of their long record of killing civilians (they also killed some Americans). But the Post characterizes MEK as merely an “Iranian opposition group.”

The Bush administration -especially Dick Cheney – loved and protected the MEK because the MEK ginned up information to justify threatening to attack Iran. The Post notes that “U.S. officials credit the MEK with providing information about Iran’s nuclear program.”

The Post neglects to mention that MEK’s allegations turned out to be crap and were debunked by a National Intelligence Estimate in late 2007.

MEK sanctified U.S. aggression, and thus they were the good guys. The Washington Post’s Middle East reporting continues its hallowed tradition of rising above the facts…

3.  Amazingly delusional:

Ashcroft: Some forms of waterboarding might be legal

Is it any surprise that a man who spends free time making sculptures out of barbed wire still does not believe his approval of torturing prisoners was wrong?

Speaking with former Nixon White House counsel John Dean on Thursday night, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann tried to make sense of Ashcroft’s justification for signing off on waterboarding.

“There are things that you can call waterboarding that I am thoroughly convinced are not torture,” said Ashcroft in a video shot by an attendee at the UT lecture. “There are things that you can call waterboarding that might be torture. And the point that ought to be understood is that throwing a term around recklessly for its emotional content doesn’t really get you anywhere.”

“… Must be great to go through life without a conscience or without embarrassment,” concluded Olbermann.”

4.  “A second former high-level Bush administration official has confirmed that the neocons implemented a policy of torture. The chief lawyer for Guantanamo litigation – Vijay Padmanabhan – said that torture was widespread.

This confirms what Colin Powell’s chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has said.

5.  “Newsweek’s unintentionally revealed, central truth

In his just-released cover story on Paul Krugman’s status as Obama critic, Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas includes these observations:

By definition, establishments believe in propping up the existing order. Members of the ruling class have a vested interest in keeping things pretty much the way they are.  Safeguarding the status quo, protecting traditional institutions, can be healthy and useful, stabilizing and reassuring.

Thomas then acknowledges what is glaringly obvious not only about himself but also most of his media-star colleagues:  “If you are of the establishment persuasion (and I am) . . .”

One day in the near future, Thomas should have a luncheon or perhaps a nice Sunday brunch at his home, invite over all of his journalist friends who work in the media divisions of our largest corporations, and they should spend 15 minutes or so assembling these sentences together, and then examine what these facts mean for the actual role played by establishment journalists, the functions they fulfill, whose interests they serve, and the vast, vast disparities between (a) those answers and (b) the pretenses about their profession and themselves which they continue, ludicrously, to maintain.  To make the discussion less strenuous on the guests’ brains, Thomas, as a good host, could provide visual illustrations such as this and this.

Also, in the name of consumer protection, television news shows and the largest newspapers ought to place that above-excerpted paragraph by Thomas as a warning at the top of every product they produce.

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