Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: When Is Enough, Enough and Which Lady Justice Will It Be?

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Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When Is Enough, Enough and Which Lady Justice Will It Be?

When is Enough, Enough?

“We just don’t understand why Democrats don’t stop the government’s spying on US citizens”, and a million dead Iraqis later, Bush is still not a mass murderer who is acting on behalf of America’s corporate interests but a confused and incompetent president who “mistakenly” believes that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and of course, Adolf Hitler was just some mad man …

Today, America is left with an economy in shambles. The neoconservatives (who by the way, did not just fall from the sky) have greatly eroded our personal liberties and made a mockery of the Constitution and the concept of separation of the branches of the government. Our educational infrastructure is in dire condition. The country’s healthcare system is near collapse and quite unaffordable to millions of Americans. Thanks to the neoconservatives, America is now viewed and hated as a symbol of torture, arrogance, and thievery around the world, and on and on, and yet there are those in our progressive midst who naively believe that Hillary or Obama are going to bring about significant changes. Imagine President Obama or Clinton carrying on the legacy of the Bush signing statements or initiating the bombing of Iran to appease Israel.

Can a system that does not even allow a presidential candidate to say that the people are “frustrated and bitter”, which is quite an understatement, in any way reflect the aspirations of the majority of the American people?

Don’t get me wrong. I myself have often voted for many of these Democrats, in hopes of creating some breathing space for the common people and as a tactic for bringing about divisions among the owning classes, and I do believe that there are genuine differences between the Democrats and the Republicans, but looking at the picture from the perspective of “us versus them”, I view the Democrats, just like the Republicans, as true representatives of the corporate and the owning minority and therefore not friends of the American people. They might utilize different methods than the Republicans, but when it comes down to class interests, they sell us out without hesitation as they always have in the past. To paraphrase this, in a good cop, bad cop performance, the Democrats have generally played the role of the good COP.

How meager are our aspirations for the future of our country! Would we be content with someone who can perhaps close down one or two of the many torture chambers for which the US is now infamous, bring back a portion of our troops from Iraq, or maybe sink us even deeper in the Middle East, and continue snooping through our phone calls and email messages while increasing the dictatorial powers of the government in the name of “war on terror” and “national security”?

Today’s world is facing some unprecedented and life-threatening challenges: the crisis with fossil fuels, the global warming disaster, the resulting poverty, disease epidemics, and the imminent decline of an empire. The Republican and Democratic response to these challenges is international belligerence theorized under the so-called “War on Terror” and tightening the screws inside the United States: increased spying activities against US citizens, eroding personal liberties, internment camps, and drastic cuts in public spending.

Needless to say, such policies can only increase the gap between the rich and the poor, augment social tensions, and bring about further worldwide insecurity. The only ones benefiting from such policies are a handful of corporations that control the media and other pillars of power, the likes of Halliburtons, KBR, Blackwater . . . . The people in their millions, on the other hand, will be condemned to a life of increasing austerity and misery.

When the citizens of France sent Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to the guillotine in 1793, theirs was not an act of savagery but one of culture and resistance, for you either witness the majority of the masses at the bottom get crushed while the society sinks into a culture of corruption and despair, or you help crush the few at the top and hand power to the people. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the French were able to rise up to the occasion.

More than two centuries later, here in America, the people are in the grips of yet another despot, much more brutal, corrupt, and destructive than King Louis XVI: American corporatism. This one is bent on destroying, not only America but the environment and the world with it. Just like King Louis, the corporate rule has to be dealt with to save the humanity.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in November 1787. Six years later, the rising masses in France took up similar slogans when they rebelled against the tyranny of the King.

This is by no means an invitation to violence of any kind, for I am a man of peace, but it is the people’s inalienable right to decide the type of society they would like to live in, its economic infrastructure, and the culture and democratic institutions that go with it; there is a limit, aline. I realize this is easier said than done, especially since the “when” and the “how” is not so clear and still needs to be worked out, but as long as our focus is the farcical electoral process, we will never be able to strategize any meaningful and far-reaching changes.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to the polls and voting for your favorite candidate – the one that you think can do the least amount of harm, but as Noam Chomsky put it in one of his interviews, “the election is a marginal affair, it should not distract us from the serious work of changing the society and the culture and the institutions, creating a democratic culture.”

Unfortunately, America has sustained enormous damage during the years of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush administrations. With the merger of corporatism and the government, we are well on our way down the slippery slope of dictatorship and fascism, American-style, as much as many of us hate to admit. It is only in this light that the actions of the US intelligence agencies in spying on Americans, the suspension of personal liberties, and the establishment of internment camps (under the pretense of apprehending “illegal aliens”) can be viewed and understood. We should not accept such a dismal future for our children. We cannot swallow the big lie and remain silent. With every passing day we are losing our ability to reverse the mishap more and more.

In addition, several agents contended that military interrogators impersonated FBI agents, suggesting that the ruse was aimed in part at avoiding blame for any subsequent public allegations of abuse, according to memos between FBI officials.

The accounts, gleaned from heavily redacted e-mails and memorandums, were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an ongoing lawsuit. They suggest that extremely aggressive interrogation techniques were more widespread at Guantanamo Bay than was acknowledged by military officials.

The documents also make it clear that some personnel at Guantanamo Bay believed they were relying on authority from senior officials in Washington to conduct aggressive interrogations. One FBI agent wrote a memo referring to a presidential order that approved interrogation methods "beyond the bounds of standard FBI practice," although White House and FBI officials said yesterday that such an order does not exist.

Instead, FBI and Pentagon officials said, the order in question was signed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in December 2002 and then revised four months later after complaints from military lawyers that he had authorized methods that violated international and domestic law.

In a Jan. 21, 2004, e-mail, an FBI agent wrote that "this technique [of impersonating an FBI agent], and all of those used in these scenarios, was approved by the DepSecDef," referring to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz.

Deputy Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a statement last night that Wolfowitz "did not approve interrogation techniques." Whitman also said "it is difficult to determine" whether the impersonation technique "was permissible or not," but that such a tactic was not endorsed by Rumsfeld.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in an interview that the incidents described in the documents "can only be described as torture."

The government is holding about 550 people detained in the war on terrorism at a prison on the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay. Some have been held for nearly three years without charges or access to attorneys. Several dozen have taken advantage of a June ruling by the Supreme Court and petitioned federal courts to challenge their imprisonment.

Some of the FBI memos were written this year after a request from agency headquarters for firsthand accounts of abuse of detainees, officials said.

An overall theme of the documents is a chasm between the interrogation techniques followed by the FBI and the more aggressive tactics used by some military interrogators. "We know what's permissible for FBI agents but are less sure what is permissible for military interrogators," one FBI official said in a lengthy e-mail on May 22, 2004.

In another e-mail, dated Dec. 5, 2003, an agent complained about military tactics, including the alleged use of FBI impersonators. "These tactics have produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature to date and . . . have destroyed any chance of prosecuting this detainee," the agent wrote. "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will be not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [by] the 'FBI' interrogators."

In another e-mail, an unidentified FBI agent describes at least three incidents involving Guantanamo detainees being chained to the floor for extended periods of time and being subjected to extreme heat, extreme cold or "extremely loud rap music."

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water," the FBI agent wrote on Aug. 2, 2004. "Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18 to 24 hours or more."

In one case, the agent continued, "the detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

In an e-mail dated Aug. 16, 2004, an agent from the FBI's inspection division reported observing a detainee sitting in an interview room at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta "with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe light flashing." The same agent said that he or she did not witness any "physical assaults" while at Guantanamo.

A detainee, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi of Sudan, an alleged paymaster for al Qaeda and accused associate of Osama bin Laden, has claimed similar abuse in documents contesting his imprisonment that were filed in federal court in Washington last month. He alleges Guantanamo Bay interrogators wrapped prisoners in an Israeli flag, showed them pornographic photos and forced them to be present while others had sex. Military officials denied his allegations.

The documents also contain what may be the first witness account of the use of military dogs to intimidate detainees during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay. In an undated and heavily redacted memo, initially classified "Secret," an FBI employee reported that members of the agency's Behavioral Analysis Unit had witnessed the use of "loud music/bright lights/growling dogs" during interviews by U.S. military personnel at the island prison.

The Army was embarrassed by photos of snarling military dogs and cowering detainees in Iraq, which officials acknowledged later had violated the Geneva Conventions protections for military prisoners. But officials have maintained steadfastly that the technique was never used in Guantanamo Bay.

The issue is particularly pertinent to statements by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who commanded the Guantanamo Bay prison from October 2002 to March 2004. Miller has acknowledged urging in September 2003 that military dogs be sent to Iraq to help deter prison violence, but he told a team of Defense Department investigators in June -- and many reporters -- that "we never used the dogs for interrogations while I was in command" of Guantanamo Bay.

Miller's statement contradicted other sworn testimony -- by the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad -- that Miller acknowledged using dogs to intimidate prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and recommended a similar approach in Iraq.

Miller, who took over the Iraq prison operation after the Abu Ghraib abuses became public, recently left that job for an assignment as the Army's chief of installations and could not be reached through Army and Pentagon spokesmen yesterday. Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, a spokesman on Guantanamo Bay issues, said he had no comment on the allegation of use of dogs.

Names of the Detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The Pentagon has declined to identify the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, most of whom were captured in Afghanistan during and after the 2001 war there. Below is the largest list of names made public thus far, encompassing: 367 men whose identities have appeared in media reports, on Arabic Web sites and in legal documents.

Some names came from family members of detainees who have sent letters home through the International Committee of the Red Cross. Seventy-three people on the list have been sent back to their home countries for further detention or for release. They are marked with an "R." Several of those have been interviewed by reporters.

Many names came from two Web sites that monitor the status of Guantanamo detainees: the Arabic-language Alasra ( and the Britain-based CagePrisoners (

Alasra lists 202 names and Cage Prisoners about 330. The two sites, which advocate the release of the detainees, have published lists of names, photographs and documents provided by families. Alasra is registered to an unknown individual in Saudi Arabia, and Cage Prisoners is registered to a group of Muslim computer programmers based in Britain. Sixty-two names came from an official publication of the Yemeni Defense Ministry in January, and the names of 58 Pakistanis were published by a Pakistani newspaper in October 2002. In that same month, al Qaeda supporters in Afghanistan distributed a list naming "57 al Qaeda members" who were prisoners at Guantanamo.

How the Names Made the List

For three years, Washington Post researchers have been compiling the names and countries of origin of detainees from unofficial, public sources: news accounts, legal documents, interviews with attorneys and relatives, and information from detainee support sites on the Web. The Post is printing only names that it has verified from a single reputable source or multiple sources. Some names have been transliterated from Arabic or have alternative spellings.

Related story: Holding Cell In War on Terror (Post, May 2, 2004)

Guantanamo Bay Detainees by Last Name

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Sort the Detainees by Nationality

___ Pentagon Documents ___

Conditions at Guantanamo Bay
Memos detail conditions at detention center and the concerns of Red Cross observers who visited the facility.

A German-born Turkish citizen told U.S. lawmakers Tuesday of abuses he says he suffered while detained by the United States in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo, AP relates

When is enough, enough?

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