Posted by: quiscus | April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010

1.  Of course they recanted – they knew it was lies from the start:

“The Justice Department has quietly recanted nearly every major claim the Bush administration had made about “high-value” detainee Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo prisoner who at one time was said to have planned the 9/11 attacks and was the No. 2 and 3 person in al-Qaeda.

Additionally, Justice has backed away from claims intelligence officials working in the Clinton administration had also leveled against Zubaydah, specifically, that he was directly involved in the planning of the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa.

The document also refutes every statement George W. Bush made publicly about Zubaydah, who the former president claimed was one of al-Qaeda’s “top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.”

For the first time, the government now officially admits that Zubaydah did not have “any direct role in or advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” and was neither a “member” of al-Qaeda nor “formally” identified with the terrorist organization. The government now claims Zubaydah is being detained based on his “actions” as an “affiliate” of al-Qaeda.”

2.  “Honest in the Worst Way

McConnells and Chertoffs have always been around.  During the Civil War contractors in Philadelphia made army boots out of cardboard and uniform jackets that fell apart after being worn once or twice.  Trying to make money off of government contracts goes back even farther than that with Cicero having prosecuted corrupt governors who robbed the treasury of the Roman Republic.  Today’s snake oil vendors will always be with us, particularly as both Republicans and Democrats appear to be enamored of the war on terror which will apparently go on forever and everywhere.  As it is global and terror is a tactic you can bet it will never end until it bankrupts the United States, which just might come sooner than most people think likely.

What is lacking is any restraint on the activity of the promoters of the war economy.  The salesmen for total war would not be so dangerous if they were not portrayed as experts and given a platform to parlay their former government positions into private gain.  A skeptical media would be nice, asking hard questions about what financial interests former senior government officials might have.  But we are long past the point where we might expect the media to do its job or do anything at all but promote the long war, which presumably sells newspapers and ad time on television.  It would also be nice to stop senior government officials from setting up their own companies like The Chertoff Group that then turning around to do contracting with the government.  That’s not only unseemly, it involves potential conflict of interest and could lead to more serious forms of corruption.  It would be far better to close the revolving door completely and send the Chertoffs and McConnells off to a comfortable retirement somewhere where they would no longer be reaching into in the taxpayers’ pockets to fund scanners we don’t need and a new global conflict, which, if the pattern holds true to form, will no doubt be dubbed the war on cyber.”

3.  “The Obscenity of War

The public is unlikely to oppose something that gets less and less coverage. While the press is focused on the salacious details of Republican National Committee spending on lavish trips, especially one outing to a Los Angeles strip club, the cost to the U.S. taxpayer for the war in Afghanistan is estimated now to be more than $260 billion. The cost in lives lost, in people maimed, is incalculable. The real obscenity is war. Ellsberg hopes that the Eikenberry memos will be just the first of many leaks, and that a new wave of Pentagon Papers will educate the public about the urgent need to end Obama’s war.”

4.  “Federal Judge: Bush Administration was Criminal Conspiracy”

5.  “Geithner: Pickpocketing Trillions from the People to Give to the Oligarchy Was “Deeply Unfair”, But We … Um … Had To”

6.  “Israel and Paestine.The Lobby vs. America: On Netanyahu’s Lies and the Spineless Politicians ”

7.  “Rendition and the “Global War on Terrorism”: 28 Nations Have Supported the US in the Detention and Torture of “Suspects”

Countries that held prisoners in behalf of the U.S. based on published data are Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Libya, Lithuania, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zambia. Some of the above-named countries held suspects in behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA); others held suspects in behalf the U.S. military, or both.

Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, termed the detention policies used by the U.S. “Crimes against Humanity”:

“These instances of the enforced disappearances of human beings and their consequent torture, because they are both widespread and systematic, constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, which have been ordered by the highest level officials of the United States government…”

8.  “Mongolia: The Pentagon’s Trojan Horse. US-NATO Partner Wedged Between China And Russia

With its vast expanse (over 600,000 square miles) and its sparse population (less than 3 million people with almost 40 percent living in the capital), Mongolia is the optimal location for U.S. military surveillance (ground, air and satellite) to monitor China and Russia simultaneously. The nation’s new U.S.-educated head of state is not likely to deny Washington’s requests in that regard. ”

9.  “The criminal NSA eavesdropping program

That means that all 3 federal judges to consider the question have concluded that Bush’s NSA program violated the criminal law (FISA).  That law provides that anyone who violates it has committed a felony and shall be subject to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each offense.  The law really does say that.  Just click on that link and you’ll see.  It’s been obvious for more than four years that Bush, Cheney, NSA Director (and former CIA Director) Michael Hayden and many other Bush officials broke the law — committed felonies — in spying on Americans without warrants.  Yet another federal judge has now found their conduct illegal.  If we were a country that actually lived under The Rule of Law, this would be a huge story, one that would produce the same consequences for the lawbreakers as a bank robbery, embezzlement or major drug dealing.  But since we’re not such a country, it isn’t and it doesn’t.

Although news reports are focusing (appropriately) on the fact that Bush’s NSA program was found to be illegal, the bulk of Judge Walker’s opinion was actually a scathing repudiation of the Obama DOJ.  In fact, the opinion spent almost no time addressing the merits of the claim that the NSA program was legal.  That’s because the Obama DOJ — exactly like the Bush DOJ in the case before Judge Taylor — refused to offer legal justifications to the court for this eavesdropping.  Instead, the Obama DOJ took the imperial and hubristic position that the court had no right whatsoever to rule on the legality of the program because (a) plaintiffs could not prove they were subjected to the secret eavesdropping (and thus lacked “standing” to sue) and (b) the NSA program was such a vital “state secret” that courts were barred from adjudicating its legality.

Those were the arguments that Judge Walker scathingly rejected.  All of the court’s condemnations of the DOJ’s pretense to imperial power were directed at the Obama DOJ’s “state secrets” argument (which is exactly the same radical and lawless version, as TPM compellingly documented, used by the Bush DOJ  to such controversy).

In December, 2005, The New York Times revealed that the Bush administration had been doing for years exactly that which the law unambiguously said was a felony:  eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans (telephone calls and emails) without warrants.  We knew then it was a crime.   Three federal judges have now concluded that it was illegal.  And yet not only do we do nothing about it, but we stand by as the Obama administration calls this criminal program a vital “state secret” and desperately tries to protect it and the lawbreakers from being subject to the rule of law.  This decision may make it more difficult for the Obama administration to hide behind sweeping secrecy claims in the future, but it won’t negate the fact that we have decided that our leading political officials are completely free to commit crimes while in power and to do so with total impunity.”

10.  “Timothy Geithner is a Sniveling Scamster

Whew. That was fast. It didn’t take long for Wall Street to figure out how to game Obama’s new mortgage modification program, did it? The plan was hyped as help for “struggling homeowners”, but it turns out, it’s just another stealth bailout for pudgy bank-execs. It’s funny, the program hasn’t even kicked in yet and, already, bigtime speculators are riffling through their filing cabinets looking any garbage paper they can find to dump on Uncle Sam.”

11.  “Out-Republicaning the Republicans

Obama Revives Clinton’s Disastrous Triangulation Strategy”

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