Obama said today:
We tortured some folks.
We did some things that were contrary to our values.
What does this mean? What is the big picture? Initially, we applaud Obama admitting to this unsavory chapter in U.S. history. The government has denied for years that the U.S. tortures, even though we in the alternative media exposed the torture 10 years ago. And it wasn’t just “some folks” we tortured. The torture was widespread and systemic. And it wasn’t just bad guys who were tortured:
- The commander of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Janis Karpinski, estimates that 90% of detainees in the prison were innocent
- The number two man at the State Department under Colin Powell, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, says that many of those being held at Guantanamo Bay were innocent, and that top Bush administration officials knew that they were innocent
- U.S. military files show that many Guantánamo prisoners were held on the flimsiest grounds such as wearing a Casio watch, being a prisoner in a Taliban jail, driving cabs in certain geographic regions, or being Al Jazeera reporters
- Many state that those tortured were mainly innocent farmers, villagers, or those against whom neighbors held a grudge. Indeed, people received a nice cash reward from the U.S. government for turning people in as “suspected terrorists” (and see this movie)
redonyellow: Sacrifice of Angels
In counterterrorism circles, the standard response to questions about the possibility of future attacks is the terse one-liner: “Not if, but when.” This mantra supposedly conveys a realistic approach to the problem, but, as Joseba Zulaika argues in Terrorism, it functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. By distorting reality to fit their own worldview, the architects of the War on Terror prompt the behavior they seek to prevent - a twisted logic that has already played out horrifically in Iraq. In short, Zulaika contends, counterterrorism has become pivotal in promoting terrorism. Exploring the blind spots of counterterrorist doctrine, Zulaika takes readers on a remarkable intellectual journey. He contrasts the psychological insight of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood with The 9/11 Commission Report, plumbs the mindset of terrorists in works by Orianna Fallaci and Jean Genet, maps the continuities between the cold war and the fight against terrorism, and analyzes the case of a Basque terrorist who tried to return to civilian life. Zulaika’s argument is powerful, inventive, and rich with insights and ideas that provide a new and sophisticated perspective on the War on Terror.
Israel has instituted a no-man’s land 3 km deep into the Gaza Strip, shrinking the territory by 40%.
stopprism: If U.S. goverment officials really want to promote American business and give the economy a boost, forget the crony-tastic Export-Import Bank; they should just stop making services based here look like convenient extensions of snoopy government agencies. But that’s not the tack they’re following. Instead, Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ordered Microsoft to cough up emails stored in another country, chalking up another win for tech companies based anywhere else. According to CNet’s Charles Cooper: ”A federal judge said Thursday that Microsoft can’t prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from obtaining emails stored in a data center overseas in a case that has raised concern among Internet privacy groups and technology companies. Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska today ordered Microsoft to comply with a December warrant allowing the DOJ to obtain a customer’s email-account data stored in Dublin, Ireland. The U.S. government is seeking the emails in connection with a criminal investigation.” The case isn’t over yet. Preska stayed her order while Microsoft takes it to the next level. The company’s General Counsel Brad Smith commented, “We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the U.S. and around the world.” There’s no doubt the company will continue to fight the government’s effort to extract information from around the world using the company as a proxy - out of survival instinct if for no other reason. Communications companies elsewhere are already using the long reach of the United States government as a marketing point for services located outside of U.S. jurisdiction. After the National Security Agency scandal broke last year, Daniel Castro of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation remarked, “Countries are competing to be the Cayman Islands of data privacy.” And yes, more than a few of these “data havens” are governed by officials every bit as intrusive as ours. International telecom Vodafone recently clarified just how snoopy many governments can be. But the U.S. is the country with the PR problem on the issue, whatever the worldwide reality. Microsoft has a chance of winning this case. Just how the Fourth Amendment applies to data flowing around the globe is a matter that’s still in flux. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the government’s interpretation of search and seizure protections is bogus, and glosses over the inconvenient (for officials) reality that simply copying data from wherever it’s stored is a seizure. By continuing to treat U.S.-based services as wiretaps on the world, American officials hammer civil liberties at home, and hand a huge marketing win to companies overseas.
exposethetpp: Corporations suing nations’ governments.
For taxpayers’ money. For YOUR money.
Don’t become an ATM for the likes of Philip Morris, Cargil, Chevron.
Stop Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Go here: www.ExposeTheTPP.org
Share this. Now.
Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 277
 John Cooley, Unholy war, 1999, pg 88-89.
 Steve Coll, Ghost wars, 2004, pg 102, 151.
 Charles Freeman, interview with the author, April 2004.
 Some analysts argue that the Soviet Union was already looking for a way out of Afghanistan and planning its withdrawal, under Mikhail Gorbachev, when the Stingers were introduced, and that the missiles themselves had only a marginal impact. The supply of the Stingers did, however, create a big problem for the CIA after the war ended, and the agency scrambled to buy back excess Stingers rather than let them fall into the hands of terrorists around the world.
Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 275-276
 Retired CIA official, interview with the author, June 2004.
 John Cooley, Unholy wars, 1999.
 George Crile, Charlie Wilson’s war, 2003.
[12-17] Steve Coll, Ghost wars, 2004.
Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 274-275
 Former CIA official, interview with the author, March 2004.
 John Cooley, Unholy wars, 1999.
 John Cooley, Unholy wars, 1999, pg 32.
orwellianlegacy: [Above from pages 35 and 36 of the Obama Administration’s “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance.”] According its own definition, the Obama Administration could be considered a terrorist organization:
- Dangerous to human life;
- Dangerous to property;
- Dangerous to infrastructure;
- Violations of U.S. law;
- To intimidate or coerce;
- To influence the policy of government;
- To affect the conduct of government;
- Mass destruction;
- Facilitate or support terrorism and/or terrorist activities.
Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 273-274
 Martha Kessler, interview with the author, April 2004.
 Robert Baer, interview with the author, March 2004.
Devil’s Game by Robert Dreyfuss, pg 272-273
 Retired CIA official, interview with the author, March 2004.