Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maybe Those Who Claim Obama Is Naive Are Right

President Barack Obama has signed a presidential directive authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct secret operations to support rebels in Libya, according to government sources.

  Raw Story

He really thinks he controls the CIA?

As if they aren't there already.

...but what you will anyway.

About Libya

The no-fly zone was established long ago; the focus is now on attacking Gadaffi's ground forces, enabling rebel advancements, and regime change. Despite claims about Arab League and French leadership, the U.S. has provided the overwhelming bulk of bombs, jet fighters, intelligence and other resources. And now there is what The New York Times calls a "fierce debate" within the administration about whether to arm the Libyan rebels.

  Glenn Greenwald

Oh, yes, let’s do. Because that has ALWAYS worked out so well.

[O]ne good outcome from arming the Libyan rebels is that it will lay the foundation for our new war 10 years from now -- when Commander-in-Chief George Prescott Bush or Chelsea Clinton announce that we must wage war to stop the Libyan faction from threatening its neighbors and supporting Terrorism (with the weapons we provided them back in 2011). One of the most reliable ways that the posture of Endless War has been sustained is by our flooding the world with our weapons, only to then identify various recipients as our new (well-armed) enemy.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

I Never Watch Obama Speeches

Because he’s both predictable and full of bull.

But I do always read WIIIAI’s parsing of his speeches.

“Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well”. And “That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown in Libya.” If he does say so himself.

“Those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over Libya. Yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground, in a country whose leader has so often demonized the United States –- in a region that has such a difficult history with our country –- this American did not find enemies. Instead, he was met by people who embraced him. One young Libyan who came to his aid said, ‘We are your friends. We are so grateful to those men who are protecting the skies.’” A little less grateful that they shot up the Libyans who tried to embrace the pilot, but Obama left that party of the story out. Funny, that.

Really, if you kill a bunch of non-hostile, unarmed civilians, you don’t get to turn it into a heart-warming anecdote.


Yes, and I assume other pilots flying the same missions are praying they don’t crash, because after that one (which the US military denies - admission to come later, of course), there may not be any Libyan friends coming to the rescue.

It's Not Hypocrisy, It's Friendship

In Obama’s justification speech of Libyan intervention, he had the following to say regarding the hypocrisy of our “foreign policy”:

"It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action."


Begging the question, how is Libya’s situation (versus other repressive regimes) in our interests? At least he’s coming right out and admitting that it’s not about the Libyans.

"Wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States," Obama said.

Uh-huh. Like Zimbabwe? Like Sudan? Like Bahrain? Line ‘em up. Oh well, sometimes a “true friend” uses tough love.

....and hey, do what you will anyway.

War Powers

Two Republican congressmen, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (IL) and Rep. Justin Amash (MI), have introduced legislation to the House of Representatives that would prevent the United States from carrying out further military operations in Libya until such actions were authorized by Congress.

Johnson and Amash claimed that President Barack Obama lacked the constitutional authority to launch a military assault unless there was an imminent threat against the country.

"The Constitution empowers Congress to declare war and to provide for the Armed Services," Amash said Monday in a statement. "The President cannot constitutionally order an offensive military operation without Congress’s authorization. The argument is not about ‘consultation’ with Congress. It’s more fundamental than that. It’s about whether the President by himself can order an attack on another country when that country has not attacked or is not about to attack the U.S. The Constitution plainly forbids such action."

The Restoring Essential Constitutional Constraints for Libyan Action Involving the Military Act - or RECLAIM Act - would force President Obama to cease the use of force in Libya unless Congress specifically authorized such use of force. The bill would also block funding for the operations.

  Raw Story

First of all, the President has the cover of semantics behind him. The Constitution may forbid him from declaring war…

Under the United States Constitution, war powers are divided. Congress has the power to declare war, raise and support the armed forces, control the war funding (Article I, Section 8), and has "Power … to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution … all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof", while the President is commander-in-chief (Article II, Section 2). It is generally agreed that the commander-in-chief role gives the President power to repel attacks against the United States and makes the President responsible for leading the armed forces.[citation needed] In addition and as with all acts of the Congress, the President has the right to sign or veto congressional acts, such as a declaration of war.


…but I haven’t heard anything about any such declaration. In fact, I don’t believe we’ve ever declared war on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan either, but we certainly are making war on them.

Secondly, why do we need another piece of legislation? Why don’t we just enforce the Constitutional provision and the (redundant) legislation we already have?

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) was a United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a [Nixon] presidential veto.

Why isn’t the president (and those before him who have done the same) impeached?

Thirdly, Congressional approval is only a rubber stamp. If the president had gone to Congress asking for authorization to bomb Libya, he would have gotten it. He will certainly get it before his 60 days are up.

The only reason these two GOP representatives are presenting this legislation is to make a name for themselves and a stink for Obama. If we had a Republican president, it either wouldn’t be happening or it would be happening under the names of two Democrat reps.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

  Bob Herbert, NYT

Bush Does It Yet Again!

GE pays no taxes, fires workers, offers their jobs over seas, and Obama appoints [GE] CEO to chair the counsel on Jobs and Competitiveness. WHAT THE FUCK.

  Old American Century

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Because They Got Away With It

Approvals for sub-prime car loans have risen steadily since 2009 and are now at their highest rate since the recession hit, when lenders instantly became warier about approving loans for people with less than ideal credit scores. New data from automotive market research firm CNW show that sub-prime approvals in March are up more than 28 percent over where they stood in March of last year. The average credit score of consumers approved for auto loans has been shrinking accordingly every month since the first quarter of 2010.


If the auto loan trend continues unabated, the country may just be headed for more economic fallout.

  Washington Independent


I just watched "Inside Job" - the documentary about the 2008 financial fiasco - interesting, mind-boggling, and totally outrageous. And they're still at it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

In the Zone

The US has been giving the impression that it has backed away from the bombing campaign in Libya. It has now emerged that while the initial intensity of the high-altitude air strikes and cruise missile attacks has diminished, the US has not let up. In a dramatic and significant escalation of the assault on Gaddafi's forces, the US has deployed low-flying, heavily-armed aircraft against Libyan armour.

It is a deployment far removed from the initial concept of a "no-fly" zone.


The use of the close air support aircraft has fuelled claims that the US is actively co-ordinating tactics with the rebels. Aware of the controversy any such admission could unleash, Gortney, director of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US actions were in support of the UN-backed resolutions to protect Libyan civilians. "We're not in direct support of the opposition, that's not part of our mandate, and we're not co-ordinating with the opposition," he added. He described the US strategy as one of continuing "to pressure them where we think it's going to give us the best effect".

  UK Guardian

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

There Are Some Good Things About Being Old

Generally, the things you won't live to see.

More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.

The shortage threatens sanitation in some of the world's fastest-growing cities but also poses risks for wildlife if cities pump in water from outside, said the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  Raw Story

Of course that will all be taken care of once water is universally privatized.

And speaking of privatized…I heard an NPR story the other day describing how prison privatization has not been a good thing. Imagine that.

There's an App for That

Some day soon, when pro-democracy campaigners have their cellphones confiscated by police, they'll be able to hit the "panic button" -- a special app that will both wipe out the phone's address book and emit emergency alerts to other activists. The panic button is one of the new technologies the U.S. State Department is promoting to equip pro-democracy activists in countries ranging from the Middle East to China with the tools to fight back against repressive governments.

  Glenn Greenwald

And here I was thinking that would be a good thing for democracy activists in the U.S.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meanwhile, Back in Egypt

[A]ctivists have documented torture at the hands of military police at the Egyptian Museum, the violent breakup of protests at Cairo University, and a recent decision to ban protests and strikes. Last night there was a demonstration at Tahrir Square against this decision, in which protestors called for the trial of [Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,] alongside Mubarak. According to various sources, Egyptian media have been given instructions against criticizing the army and its senior leaders — an indeed no Egyptian newspaper has mentioned the allegations of torture at the Egyptian Museum, despite reports by Human Rights Watch and local NGOs.

  The Arabist

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Sunday

When Do We Get to Ban the Catholic Church Outright?

The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province—a group of Jesuits who serve the Northwest—has agreed to pay a settlement of $166 million to childhood victims of sexual and physical abuse. The abuse of approximately 500 Native Americans and Alaskan Natives is reported to have taken place at mission and boarding schools operated by the Jesuits on Indian Reservations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana.

  Jonathan Turley

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Domino Update

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah said on Friday he was ready to cede power, the third Arab ruler who may be forced out by popular protests which began in North Africa and have now spread into the Gulf, Syria and Jordan.

Saleh said he said he would cede power only into "safe hands" and Yemeni political sources said talks were under way to work out the details of a peaceful transition.

But in Syria, protests challenging the rule of President Bashar al-Assad spread across the country after security forces killed dozens of demonstrators in the southern city of Deraa.

  Raw Story

The Syrian government has reportedly opened fired on protesters soon after President Bashar al-Assad promised to put an end to protests. The reported massacre occurred in the city of Sanamin near Daraa. Given President Barack Obama’s rationale for going to war in Libya, doesn’t that mean we will soon be bombing Damascus as we have Tripoli?

  Jonathan Turley

Yeah, maybe not.

Strongly condemning the violence against demonstrators in Syria and Yemen, the Obama Administration has urged leaders of the two countries to pursue political dialogue to resolve the current crisis.
The Obama Administration "urges the leaders of these countries to pursue peace (and) political dialogue with broad swaths of their country," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Friday.

  Hindustan Times

Syrian authorities have detained two Americans amid an unprecedented wave of protests in the repressive Middle East nation, relatives and state media said Saturday.


On the other hand…

Can We Take a Hint?

Opposition politicians drove Canada's Conservative government out of office on charges of sleaze and mismanagement on Friday, setting the scene for an early May election that polls indicate the Conservatives will win.

Opposition legislators threw papers in the air in glee after voting 156-145 in the House of Commons to defeat the minority government, which they say is tainted by sleaze, has mismanaged the economy and is overly secretive.

  Raw Story

Vermont Senators: It's Up to You

Last night, the Vermont House of Representatives debated and approved by a 92-49 a bill that would create a single payer system in the state. Shumlin praised the move as making Vermont the first state where “health care will be a right and not a privilege“

  Think Progress

Massachusetts…Vermont…why can’t they move south where it’s warmer?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, March 25, 2011

President Bush Makes Another Extremely Inappropriate Appointment

Oh, wait.

One of the most intense scandals the field of psychology has faced over the last decade is the involvement of several of its members in enabling Bush's worldwide torture regime. Numerous health professionals worked for the U.S. government to help understand how best to mentally degrade and break down detainees. At the center of that controversy was -- and is -- Dr. Larry James. James, a retired Army colonel, was the Chief Psychologist at Guantanamo in 2003, at the height of the abuses at that camp, and then served in the same position at Abu Ghraib during 2004.

Today, Dr. James circulated an excited email announcing, "with great pride," that he has now been selected to serve on the "White House Task Force entitled Enhancing the Psychological Well-Being of The Military Family." In his new position, he will be meeting at the White House with Michelle Obama and other White House officials on Tuesday.

  Glenn Greenwald

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Here's Your Change

[THEN...In a 2007 Charlie Savage interview] Obama said, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."


In a March 21, 2011, letter to congressional leaders, Obama wrote that "as part of the multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, U.S. military forces, under the command of Commander, U.S. Africa Command, began a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Obama Cripples Miranda

Today, the Obama DOJ unveiled the latest -- and one of the most significant -- examples of its eagerness to assault the very legal values Obama vowed to protect. The Wall Street Journal reports that "new rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades."


Ironically, it was the administration -- and its followers -- that defended the sanctity of Miranda back in late 2009, when the Cheney/Kristol/Limbaugh/Palin Right attacked Obama for Mirandizing the "underwear bomber" as soon as he was taken into custody. Back then, the White House and its loyalists stridently argued that Miranda does not interfere with effective interrogations and that, in any event, it is a pillar of our justice system that should not be eroded.


Worse, the administration tried but failed to convince Congress to modify [Miranda] with legislation. But, as we well know, nothing deters a President's will: so they just went ahead and did it on their own.


With a swoop of a pen -- more than 9 years removed from the 9/11 attacks -- Barack Obama has done more to erode Miranda than any right-wing politician could have dreamed of achieving.

  Glenn Greenwald

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Rest of the Story

I was a bit astonished this morning in watching CNN to see a story on the rescue of U.S. pilots after their F-15E Eagle crashed in Libya. The story did not mention what would appear the most newsworthy aspect of the story: the allegation that our helicopter mowed down Libyans who ran out to help the pilots.

Various news organizations are reporting that six Libyans were shot after coming to the rescue of the pilots in a field outside of Benghazi. The helicopter strafed the people running to the site. One young boy may have to have his leg amputated.

  Jonathan Turley

Buyer's Remorse

Western forces have unleashed their biggest military attack in the Arab world since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, targeting Muammar Gadhafi's air defenses and armored vehicles near the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the east of the country.


A Libyan government official said 64 people died in the Western air strikes and the head of the Arab League, which supported Libyan no-fly zone, said the organization had not endorsed attacks on ordinary Libyans.


In comments carried by Egypt's official state news agency, Secretary-General Amr Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the situation in the Arab world and particularly Libya.

"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," he said.

"He requested official reports about what happened in Libya in terms of aerial and marine bombardment that led to the deaths and injuries of many Libyan civilians. He pointed out that he asked for the full data to know what actually happened," MENA said


They didn’t realize who they were getting help from?

Obama in America Latina

Obama was in El Salvador, where he visited the tomb of Oscar Romero. If he apologized for the US’s financing of the death squads that murdered the archbishop, I must have missed it.


Obama goes to Chile, totally fails to apologize for US support for the 1973 coup, much less send Henry Kissinger in chains.


“I think it’s very important for all of us to know our history. And obviously the history of relations between the United States and Latin America has at times been extremely rocky.” But it’s also important “that we’re not trapped by our history,” which I think means that Chile should forget about the US’s role in establishing a brutal military dictatorship, just like we have.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

More Empire Irony

[Obama] described the bombing as “a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone”. In case you hadn’t noticed, a no-fly zone, with specific geographic parameters, has not been declared yet; we’re just blowing shit up.


Preparing a no-fly zone by flying over to drop bombs.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Classic Black

The Best Military on Earth

In the first Western air force loss of the campaign, a U.S. F-15E crashed in Libya overnight and its two crew members were rescued, the U.S. military said. The crash was likely to have been caused by mechanical failure and not hostile fire, it said.


They’re going to say that whether it’s true or not, but if it is, who do we sue?

Our "enemies" win when we go broke via military spending.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE here.

Yes, Virginia, Libya Does Have Oil

Consider our Libyan war as a Keynesian exercise in “stimulus” spending: liberals who might otherwise object can take solace in the fact that Operation “Odyssey Dawn” has so far cost us the equivalent of the Republicans’ entire proposed budget cut. Every missile we send sailing into Gadhafi’s bunker costs anywhere from $600,000 to over a million. And by going to war with Libya we won’t just be selfishly stimulating our own economy, we’ll also be helping the Libyans even as we unleash destruction from the skies – at least, that’s the sort of Bizarro-logic employed by champions of the “broken window” fallacy, such as Paul Krugman.

As to the name given this operation by the Psyops department over at the Pentagon, “Odyssey Dawn,” it sounds like a women’s perfume, which brings to mind the true authors of this war, the three Amazons of the State Department: Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. These busy gals are the real powers-behind-the-throne, who reportedly nagged Obama until he reluctantly agreed to intervene. It’s what you might call an ultra-feminist foreign policy: we’re taking the whole world to America’s maternal breast. With these Amazons at the helm – acting in concert with its European allies, and whichever Third World despots know what’s good for them – the US will act on its “responsibility to protect” – what? Whom? Whatever victim group can be sufficiently valorized to play the lead in a familiar narrative, one that always ends with sending in the Marines.

  Justin Raimondo

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

A Much-Needed Step Forward in the Struggle Against Loss of Civil Liberties

[In] a move that shocked many people at the time -- though which turned out to be completely consistent with his character -- Obama, once he had the nomination secured in July, 2008, turned around and did exactly that which he swore he would not do: he not only voted against the filibuster of the bill containing telecom amnesty, but also voted in favor of enactment of the underlying bill. That bill, known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, was then signed into law by George W. Bush.


Immediately upon enactment of the Bush/Obama-supported FISA Amendments Act, the ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking to enjoin its enforcement on the ground that the law's expanded warrantless eavesdropping powers violated the Fourth Amendment.


But today, a three-judge appellate court dealt a serious blow to the Bush/Obama tactic for shielding government eavesdropping from judicial review (i.e., placing secret executive surveillance above and beyond the rule of law). The unanimous court ruled that the plaintiffs' fear that they will be subjected to this expanded warrantless eavesdropping is reasonable given the sweeping powers the law vests in the Executive, that these fears substantially impede their work, and that these impediments constitute actual harm sufficient to allow them to challenge the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act.


It rejected the Bush/Obama claim that citizens must prove they have been targeted by an illegal presidential program before they have the right to ask a court to declare it illegal.


It is, of course, possible that the Supreme Court can review and reverse this ruling, but the Second Circuit is a well-regarded court -- situated on the level immediately below the Supreme Court -- and this well-reasoned decision will have significant sway.

  Glenn Greenwald

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reminder: Protest for Brad Manning Tomorrow

[T]here is a planned protest outside the Quantico brig on March 20, expected to be fairly large in size, with others being planned at military detention facilities around the country for later dates).

If you can attend, please do so.

Friday, March 18, 2011

About Time

The forced nudity imposed on Bradley Manning followed by the forced resignation of P.J. Crowley has clearly created a media tipping point in this story. In addition to the scathing New York Times Editorial from Monday (Manning's treatment "conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects"), editorial condemnation has now come from The Los Angeles Times ("punishment, not protection, is the purpose of these degrading measures") and The Guardian ("There was at least the ghost of an excuse for bullying foreign combatants but no US need for mistreating one of their own"). Perhaps most notably, even the military-revering, establishment-defending Washington Post Editorial Page today emphatically condemns these conditions as "uncomfortably close to the kind of intimidating and humiliating tactics disavowed after the abuses at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons that eroded the country’s standing in the world."

The abusive treatment of Manning is indeed now reverberating internationally. Der Spiegel has a long article on the conditions of Manning's detention.

  Glenn Greenwald

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We Could Use a Little Luck

Blogging will be little to none for the next week or so. Remember to protest on behalf of Brad Manning.

Have a great St. Pat's Day.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yeah, Right

Our "diplomat" in Pakistan was just acquitted. I wonder what that deal cost us.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The More Things Change...

Today the State Dept publicly urged him not to return home before the elections, which is said would be “destabilizing” and “could only be seen as a conscious choice to impact Haiti’s elections.” And, er, what exactly is wrong with that? However, spokesmodel Mark Toner declared, “The decision to allow Mr. Aristide to return is up to the Government of Haiti. Under the Haitian constitution, he has the right to return to his country.” If he has a constitutional right to return, how is it “up to” the government of Haiti whether to ban him? Toner is unambiguously signaling that we’d be okay with Haiti continuing the unconstitutional policy of banning Aristide from the country (just as they ban his party from elections). Condi Rice, another supporter of the forced exile of Aristide, couldn’t have said it better.


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Go, Madison, Go, Sis

My Madison sister and friend running in this year's Shamrock Shuffle:

Yet Again, Nato Killing Afghani Children

An air strike by NATO-led forces killed two children as they were watering fields in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province late on Monday, an Afghan official and lawmaker said.

Raw Story

How long before the Afghan people rise up against their US puppet and run us all out? Perhaps getting an Ayatollah in his place, as happened in Iran.


I have nothing to say on Japan for two reasons: 1) It's almost unimaginably bad and about to be worse, and 2) you are probably inundated with news from many other sources. I have a Japanese friend whose family is all there. Fortunately, she was able to reach them a couple of days ago, and they are all okay. Not so for many thousands of others, unfortunately.

Apparently Not Smart Enough to Figure It Out

[F]ormer Rep. and now Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) has been in a similar battle [to Wisconsin Governor Walker] with Democrats in his state over budget cuts and union organizing rights. And the polls at least now have a verdict. His popularity has dropped dramatically in recent polls and a new one shows that if he had to run again against Ted Strickland, the guy he narrowly beat last November, he'd lose by a whopping 15 points.


This is what I will never understand: the people who vote Republicans into office don't like it when their job security, their social security and their pensions are threatened. What is it they don't understand about Republican policy? Why do they vote for people whose goal is to take away what little they have left?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Obama is finding support for his conduct in the Manning/Crowley episode from the Far Right.

  Glenn Greenwald

He finally got their approval. He’s been working awfully hard at it.

So, in Barack Obama's administration, it's perfectly acceptable to abuse an American citizen in detention who has been convicted of nothing by consigning him to 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, barring him from exercising in his cell, punitively imposing "suicide watch" restrictions on him against the recommendations of brig psychiatrists, and subjecting him to prolonged, forced nudity designed to humiliate and degrade. But speaking out against that abuse is a firing offense.

  Glenn Greenwald

This will be the first Wonkbook lede that isn’t about economic or domestic policy. It’s just about right and wrong. Over the weekend, the Obama administration forced the State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley to resign. The reason? He’d told the truth.


[I]n an apparent act of revenge, [Bradley Manning’s] captors are subjecting him to sleep deprivation, prolonged time in isolation and continuous nude spot-checks -- conditions that Daniel Ellsberg calls “right out of the manual of the CIA for ‘enhanced interrogation’.”


The Obama campaign was only three years ago, but it had strong opinions on this sort of thing. “To lead the world, we must lead by example,” Candidate Obama said in October of 2007. “We must be willing to acknowledge our failings, not just trumpet our victories. And when I’m President, we’ll reject torture - without exception or equivocation.”

  Ezra Klein / WaPo

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What Did I Tell You?

CNN reported this afternoon that State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley is resigning over public statements last week about Bradley Manning's imprisonment.


I said that would happen – well, I said he would get fired, and that’s really what happened, of course.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Firemen, Woop! Farmers, eh, Not So Much

UPDATE: I must add in defense of the tractors, it's a lot of miles from the majority of the farms to Madison, and getting your tractor there is bound to be a costly undertaking; so unless you're a big business farmer, in which case you probably support Walker, you probably have a hard time affording the trip. So...giant Woop! to the 50 who made it.

Original post...

Madison firemen (and whoever joined them) pulled $600,000 out of M&I Bank by closing time, but the tractor rally that was supposed to be thousands turned out to be 50.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Welcome to Stalin's America

A US judge ordered Twitter to hand over data of three users in contact with the controversial website WikiLeaks, rejecting arguments the move violated freedom of speech and privacy.

President Barack Obama's administration obtained a court order last year seeking information from the Twitter accounts as it considers action against WikiLeaks.


Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan, based in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, rejected the argument made by the three Twitter users' that the order would have a "chilling effect" on freedom of speech.

"The Twitter order does not seek to control or direct the content of petitioners' speech or association," she wrote.

  Raw Story

So, as long as they don’t try to tell you what to say, they can take your information. No, that won’t chill anybody’s desire to say something, will it?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Now THAT's How You Do It, Folks

A website titled "Keep on eye on Marshall & Ilsley Bank" had been targeting the M & I Bank since last month. "After working families gave Marshall and Ilsley Bank (M&I) a $1.7 billion bailout in 2008," the site explains, "their executives did an about face and funded Governor Scott Walker's attack on our right to collectively bargain. In fact, their financial help combined was more than what the Koch Brothers contributed. And while Governor Walker was demanding austerity from working people, M&I CEO Mark Furlong got an $18 million golden parachute. Even after the bank was having diffulty paying back its TARP loan."


Members of the Wisconsin firefighter's union set out for a local branch of the M & I Bank on Thursday to withdraw their personal savings. [...] [M]embers of the union withdrew close to $200,000 from the bank."

  Raw Story

Madison, your firefighters are as awesome as your dedicated Capitol campers.

State Department Official About to Be Fired

I was invited to a presentation at MIT this afternoon, given by P.J. Crowley of the U.S. State Department. His role there is Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs. Mr. Crowley was at MIT to talk about the role of social media in government. During the Q&A, Mr. Crowley stated that he felt Bradley Manning, who has been in military custody since May 2010 for his connection to WikiLeaks, is being “mistreated” while in custody.

When Mr. Crowley said that, people in the room applauded. He was later asked by a BBC reporter in the room if everything he said today was “on the record,” to which he said yes.

Regardless what Bradley Manning may have done, no prisoner deserves the conditions and mental torture he’s been subjected to, as reported by various sources, including The Washington Post.

So, That Just Happened

Charlie deTar: There’s an elephant in the room during this discussion: Wikileaks. The US government is torturing a whistleblower in prison right now. How do we resolve a conversation about the future of new media in diplomacy with the government’s actions regarding Wikileaks?

PJCrowley: “I spent 26 years in the air force. What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why the DoD is doing it. Nevertheless, Manning is in the right place.”

My Heart’s in Accra

President Obama [...] gave this explanation when Jake Tapper asked him about PJ Crowley’s condemnation of Manning’s treatment.

”With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.”

Empty Wheel

I have no doubt that George Bush asked the DoD whether everything was being run professionally at Guantanamo and they assured him that they were. Perhaps the reason there haven't been any Wall Street prosecutions is because Obama asked Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein if there was any fraud and those banking executives assured the President that there wasn't.

Glenn Greenwald

[Daniel] Ellsberg, a former military analyst known for having leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and other papers in 1971, fired off a quick response to Obama's remarks in an op-ed for the Guardian, writing, "If Obama believes that, he'll believe anything. I would hope he would know better than to ask the perpetrators whether they've been behaving appropriately."

"I can just hear President Nixon saying to a press conference the same thing," Ellsberg suggested, making a sarcastic reference to his own history as a whistleblower: "'I was assured by the the White House Plumbers that their burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg's doctor in Los Angeles was appropriate and met basic standards.'"

"If President Obama really doesn't yet know the actual conditions of Manning's detention," Ellsberg added, "if he really believes, as he's said, that 'some of this [nudity, isolation, harassment, sleep-deprivation] has to do with Private Manning's wellbeing', despite the contrary judgments of the prison psychologist – then he's being lied to, and he needs to get a grip on his administration."

Raw Story

He knows. He’s okay with it. He owns the torture rights now.

Barack Obama isn't worth one of Bradley Manning's toenail clippings, and the fact that he remains one of the most respected and admired people on the planet even as he facilitates and glibly validates Manning's torture—with an army of apologists eager to rationalize away not only this, but far worse for him—is a sorry statement on humanity.

John Caruso

Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wagons Tractors Ho!

War on Unions

“Scott Walker was not elected with a mandate to bust unions and to strip collective bargaining rights. He did not mention that in his campaign. He talked about balancing the budget. He made some vague statements, you know, about shared sacrifice. But he absolutely did not campaign promising to do what he is now doing. Obama, on the other hand, campaigned promising to strengthen union rights. He promised, again and again, whenever he had a labor audience, that he was going to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, and he promised to stand with them.” – Naomi Klein

Rallies for workers’ rights are spreading across the country. In Michigan, over a thousand people rallied at the State Capitol in Lansing to oppose a measure allowing the breaking of labor contracts by placing schools and districts under emergency management. In a scene reminiscent of Wisconsin, hundreds of demonstrators packed the Capitol Rotunda chanting slogans. Protests were also held against anti-union bills Tuesday in Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Florida and Tennessee.Meanwhile, in Idaho, the state legislature has given final approval to a measure restricting the collective bargaining of public school teachers. The bill would limit teachers’ collective bargaining to salaries and benefits. It also ends teacher tenure, limits teacher contracts to one year, and removes seniority as a factor in determining layoffs.

As a wave of anti-union bills are introduced across the country in the wake of the Great Recession, many analysts are picking up on the theory that award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein first argued in her bestselling book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In it, she reveals how those in power use times of crisis to push through undemocratic, radical, free market economic policies.


From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.

You can read that book, or you can read Amy Goodman’s interview with Klein here.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still Killing the Gulf

BP’s oil disaster last summer gushed at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing the largest accidental marine oil spill in history - and the largest environmental disaster in US history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons toxic dispersants, including one chemical that has been banned in the UK.

According to chemist Bob Naman, these chemicals create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. Naman, who works at the Analytical Chemical Testing Lab in Mobile, Alabama, has been carrying out studies to search for the chemical markers of the dispersants BP used to both sink and break up its oil.

Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from this toxic mix are making people sick, Naman said. PAHs contain compounds that have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.

“The dispersants are being added to the water and are causing chemical compounds to become water soluble, which is then given off into the air, so it is coming down as rain, in addition to being in the water and beaches of these areas of the Gulf,” Naman told Al Jazeera.

“I’m scared of what I’m finding. These cyclic compounds intermingle with the Corexit [dispersants] and generate other cyclic compounds that aren’t good. Many have double bonds, and many are on the EPA’s danger list. This is an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”


Pathways of exposure to the chemicals are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact.


Many of the chemicals present in the oil and dispersants are known to cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, kidney damage, altered renal function, and irritation of the digestive tract. They have also caused lung damage, burning pain in the nose and throat, coughing, pulmonary edema, cancer, lack of muscle coordination, dizziness, confusion, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, difficulty breathing, delayed reaction time and memory difficulties.

Further health problems include stomach discomfort, liver and kidney damage, unconsciousness, tiredness/lethargy, irritation of the upper respiratory tract, hematological disorders, and death.


”There is still a large amount of crude in the marshes and buried on the beaches. As long as that pathway is there for exposure, these problems will continue quite a long time into the future."

  Dahr Jamail

Up the Ante

Joe Conway, president of the Madison firefighters’ union, said recently that the political situation has grown so dire in Wisconsin, he’d support a general strike.

“We should start walking out tomorrow, the next day … See how long they can last,” he told reporters with The Uptake. “This is a nation-wide movement to attack all working men and women in Wisconsin and the United States.”

  Raw Story

Union Protests in Indianapolis

Facing down icy conditions, tens of thousands of union workers and supporters gathered outside Indiana's statehouse Thursday to protest a bill that would strip all union workers of their bargaining rights.

  Raw Story

Protest Planned for Brad Manning

Yesterday, the Quantico base commander denied Manning's formal request for less harsh treatment -- including an end to his forced nudity and 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement.


In the wake of the prolonged forced nudity to which Manning is now being subjected, Amnesty has escalated its denunciations: as the Associated Press put it today, the group is now "urging people to complain to the Obama administration about the confinement."

  Glenn Greenwald

Of course, it’s not like the Obama administration isn’t aware there’s something to complain about.

[T]here is a planned protest outside the Quantico brig on March 20, expected to be fairly large in size, with others being planned at military detention facilities around the country for later dates).

If you can attend, please do so.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Walker to Wisconsin: In Your Eye!

The Wisconsin state Senate has just passed the anti-collective-bargaining provisions. The vote was 18-1. That's all Republicans voting. One moderate GOPer voted no.


The Republican leadership convened a special conference committee late in the day to take up the collective bargaining provision only, separate and apart from the budget bill it was a part of.


Because it [was] no longer part of a budget bill, the collective bargaining provision [was able to get] a final vote in the Senate with or without the Senate Democrats who fled the state to deny Republicans a quorum.


The very interesting part of this deal is that the governor insisted the bill was necessary to ease the financial woes of the state - ie, the budget. And they disconnected it from the budget bill in order to pass it. So, what do you think? Did they show their hand? Did they just prove it was all about union busting? Oh, I think so.

That won't be the end of it. The tractors are on their way.

They should have wagons attached to carry the tar and feathers.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Nation of Laws

It’s official.

A “nation of laws” has new meaning.

President Obama yesterday signed an Executive Order which, as The Washington Post described it, "will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay" and "all but cements Guantanamo Bay's continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy."


I'm writing about this merely to address the excuse from the White House and its loyalists that the fault for this policy, this inability to "close Guantanamo," lies with Congress, which forced the President to abandon his oft-stated campaign pledge.


The preservation of the crux of the Bush detention scheme was advocated by Obama long before Congress' ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. It was in May, 2009 -- a mere five months after his inauguration -- that Obama stood up in front of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives and demanded a new law of "preventive detention" to empower him to imprison people without charges: a plan the New York Times said "would be a departure from the way this country sees itself." It was the same month that the administration announced it intended to continue to deny many detainees trials, instead preserving the military commissions scheme, albeit with modifications. And the first -- and only -- Obama plan for "closing Guantanamo" came in December, 2009, and it entailed nothing more than transferring the camp to a supermax prison in Thompson, Illinois, while preserving its key ingredients, prompting the name "Gitmo North."


As as happened over and over, while progressives and civil libertarians are furious about the new Order, former Bush officials and right-wing Warriors are ecstatic.


As always, the most harmful aspect of the Obama legacy is that he has converted what were once controversial right-wing Bush policies into unchallenged bipartisan consensus, to endure indefinitely and without any opposition from either party. And, to underscore the point once more: Obama's plan as President (as opposed to as a candidate) was never to dismantle the Bush/Cheney system at Guantanamo; before Congress acted at all, his only objective was to preserve its core, defining features and then move that system to Illinois.

  Glenn Greenwald

Today's History Lesson for the Under 50 Crowd

(Okay, for the one person who stumbles upon this post looking for pictures of something.)

Why Is Iran Our Enemy?

After you answer that question, recall this:

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh (1882-1967) was a lawyer, professor, author, Governor, Parliament member, Finance Minister, Defense Minister, and democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran.

Mossadegh fought both internal corruption and British colonialism, enacted social reforms and nationalized the Iranian oil industry. In 1953, he was overthrown by a British-American coup, arrested and tried as a traitor in military tribunal court. It was the CIA's first successful dismantling of a foreign government, and Iran has not known democracy since.

  The Mossadegh Project

”First” successful overthrow. And who did they empower? Why, the Shah, of course. And when the people could take no more, they rose up and in the struggle were taken by the Ayatollah. I’m sure they thank us every day.

When did the coup occur? Right after Mossadegh nationalized the oil company (which is now BP), of course.

Up with democracy. Down with the CIA.

Go Wisconsin!

Tomorrow is the hundredth anniversary of International Women's Day-- a good place to celebrate such an important date would be up at the Capitol.

The Raging Grannies, a local group of older musician activists, is organizing the Elderly March at the Capitol for Friday.

Saturday, organizers hope to have the biggest turnout yet, with Farm/Labor planning on a thousand plus tractor rally around the Capitol Square.

  First Draft

Now that’s a spectacle I’ll be looking forward to.

Power in a Union

Pickers' Local 608. Jude at First Draft informs us that 608 is the Madison area code.

There Is Power in a Union
(Billy Bragg)

There is power in a factory, power in the land
Power in the hands of a worker
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don't stand
There is power in a Union

Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers' blood
The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud
War has always been the bosses' way, sir

The Union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters from many far off lands
There is power in a Union

Now I long for the morning that they realise
Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
But who'll defend the workers who cannot organise
When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?

Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child
There is power in a Union

The Union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters together we will stand
There is power in a Union.

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Internet activists now have their own political party. Actually, there has been a National Pirate Party since 2006, but it is not officially recognized anywhere. The first state to officially register a Pirate Party guessed it....Massachusetts.

Why can't Massachusetts move somewhere warm?

Maybe in warm climates where you actually mingle with your fellow creatures all year round instead of holing up inside your home to stay out of the cold, your liberal tendencies fade.

That may be happening to me.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Fever Spreads and the People Rally

A new campaign by a national network of activists kicked off Monday morning with a splash as it led hundreds of fed up homeowners in a series of protests that brought business to a halt at a major bank and the House speaker's office.

The National People's Action network picked Monday to launch the "Make Wall Street Pay" campaign.


Moving from [National Association of Attorneys General's Convention], the crowd made their way to a Bank of America branch on Pennsylvania Ave. While about 300 stood outside, another 300 moved indoors, filling up the lobby and bringing business to a standstill.

Then, they went to see if Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was available, filing into his Capitol Hill offices to send an unambiguous message: Wall Street must pay.

  Raw Story

Now we’re talking.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Reclaiim Democracy

Sign a petition to reverse Citizens United.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And on Top of It All

A recent agreement has finally given the green light to permitting Mexican truck drivers into the US. Expect more border problems as uneducated, unemployed American truck drivers take it out Mexican truck drivers.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And If We Lose Our Hold on the Sauds....

It's all over.

Coming off two days of demonstrations, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry warned Saturday that it would crack down on protesters who continue to take their grievances to the streets.

Saudi security forces will be “authorized to take all measures against anyone who tries to break the law and cause disorder,” the ministry said, according to the country’s state-run news agency.

  Stan Goff

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Update on Our 'Diplomat' in Pakistan

Raymond Davis’ close ties with the TTP (the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) has also been established.

“Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency.” the official told the Express Tribune.

According to the police the man was exchanging phone calls with nearly 30 militants belonging to the banned Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi groups.


The news that the CIA contractor recruited for the Taliban came when the US was encouraging Pakistan to send military against Taliban forces near the Afghanistan border.

Oooh. No wonder Hillary and Barack were so keen on getting him out of Pakistan when he was arrested. Oops. Too bad they didn’t.

[W] hen arrested Raymond Davis displayed a Department of Defense contractor ID [but] his name was missing in the list of Embassy workers submitted a week prior.


According to sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office the US has been pressing them to forge the backdated list of the Embassy staff and include the Raymond Davis name into it. If his name appears on the list he would qualify for immunity for all of his activities while in Pakistan.

Man, when the boat started leaking, it didn’t go slowly, did it? The best possible outcome of all this would be the destruction of the CIA. I don’t see that happening, but at least the cards are on the table where everyone can see them.

Now a senior Pakistani intelligence official has been quoted in the local media saying he fears there are possibly hundreds of CIA contractors operating in the country.

Yeah, I think that would be a safe bet.

Rain on Wisconsin's Parade

And I hate to have to say that I agree with him, even though we both hope he's wrong.

I am proud of the Wisconsin workers, and that’s why my prognosis is all the sadder. They were undercut years ago by the Democratic Party and their own leadership.

The unions and the public workers are going to lose. I’d love to be proven wrong, and maybe my math is no good, but even if they don’t lose this one, the trade union movement in the United States has been a dead letter for quite some time now.


When the trade union movement decided to join itself at the hip with the Democratic Party, they brought this on themselves. They consistently spend members’ money on Dem politicians, making them a direct target of the Republicans, who represent many anti-union interests already, but who had now been given a direct political stake in busting the unions.


Union resources are a Piper Cub against the business class’s F-16. In no time at all, the unions came to depend on the Democrats, and on elections, instead of facing off against employers directly and without the legal sanctions that they accepted ever since Taft-Hartley.

Democrats pushed through one neoliberal measure after another, undercutting the unions, and like an abused spouse that can’t leave, union leadership sent their members back again and again to vote, vote, vote Democratic.


The highest union density is in New York with 24.2%. The lowest is North Carolina with 3.2%. Wisconsin is 14.2%; and Wisconsin voters – knowing damn well that Republicans are anti-union – elected Scott Walker as Governor with 52.3% against Tom Barrett, who received 46.5% of the 2010 Wisconsin vote. Even long time Senator Russ Feingold was displaced by Republican Ron Johnson in a 51.9% to 47% race.


This national Republican campaign was launched fully cognizant of the balance of forces, and the reason they went green-light on it is because the numbers worked.

  Stan Goff

Stan has other disheartening numbers for unions in that article if you care to read it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Solidarity is a two way street, and it is absurd to expect people working for $9 an hour to support a union movement that has long since abandoned them.

It is also an ugly fact that the total failures of the American public education system have everything to do with a country full of people so stupid that they listen to Glenn Beck. The teachers (and their unions) do in fact have something to do with that.

The Republicans have a strategy that is delusional and self destructive. We have no strategy at all. So even when they lose by blowing themselves up, and we gain an advantage, we can never profit by it and they can always recover. This is how we went for the almost unbelievable democratic victories of 2008 to the election of the tea bag republicans in less than two years.


Juan Cole Answers My Question

I have been wondering how the rebel forces in Libya have been able to mount such a successful attack on several cities in such a short time.

It appears that the push to the west is being pursued by army defectors and small-town youth who are functioning as ‘men on the spot’ rather than being directed by a central rebel military command from Benghazi.

  Juan Cole

Army defectors. Always there is a good reason to keep your army well paid, well fed, and well treated. I don’t imagine the American commanders are learning the lesson, though.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


Prisoner of conscience Brad Manning isn't the only one stripped bare. Our government's true identity is fully exposed in his ordeal as well.

On February 4, Dennis Kucinich asked DOD to allow him to visit Bradley Manning so he could assess his conditions of confinement. On February 8, Robert Gates wrote Kucinich a short note telling him we was referring his request to Secretary of the Army, John McHugh. In a letter dated February 24–but apparently not received in Kucinich’s office until March 1–McHugh told Kucinich he was referring his request to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.

In short, a full month after the date when a member of Congress requested a visit with Manning, DOD is still stalling on a real response with bureaucratic buck-passing.

Empty Wheel

As far as I know, Kucinich is the only person in our government, including President Peace Laureate, who has expressed any concern about the treatment of Pvt. Manning (and he only after many months and an increased international expression of concern). Where is Bernie Sanders? Where is Barney Frank? President Peace Laureate has shown his colors long ago and our Congress is overwhelming made up of syncophants and moral degenerates, so I’m not surprised about any of them, but what about these other guys? I thought they had courage and at least some moral integrity.

The conditions that Pvt. Manning has been held under have been outrageous from the start. He has suffered shackling, solitary confinement and he has not been allowed normal contact with visitors and the outside world. His visitors have been denied access to him and now the latest humiliating tactic being used by the Department of Defense is to force Pvt. Manning to strip naked in his cell for hours!


How can a detainee who has not been convicted of anything and has been an exemplary prisoner be subjected to this kind of treatment?

Lawrence Rafferty

As of this date, Manning has been tried for nothing. As of this date, Manning has been convicted of nothing.


The victim can never escape these lacerating questions:

How is it possible that human beings could treat another person in this manner?

How can I survive in a world in which such cruelties not only occur with soul-destroying regularity, but in which these cruelties are considered necessary and moral?

If the victim should conclude that he cannot survive in such a world -- and how can we be surprised that this should be his judgment? -- his soul will be lost. Even if his body continues to function, he will survive in a world rendered eternally bleak, with terror lurking in every moment. The possibility of joy is extinguished.

This is evil.


A Marine spokesman says that "[Manning’s] underwear was taken away from him as a precaution to ensure that he did not injure himself."

But [...] Manning "has not been elevated to the more restrictive 'suicide watch' conditions."

Once Upon a Time

As I understand it, the reason for this distinction is that if they put Manning on suicide watch, they have to have a psychiatrist’s recommendation, and the psychiatrists all say he is not suicidal. Therefore, the brig officers are not protecting Manning from himself. They are quite simply intentionally humiliating him and trying to break him. I imagine that by now (approaching one year of solitary, humiliating treatment), Manning’s mindset must be similar to that of POWs in foreign countries, and he must surely see his cagers as the enemy.

[Quoting Manning’s lawyer:] “If a person is at risk of self-harm, then you get them treatment, you get them to a mental health professional and address the issue — you don’t strip them,” he said, adding in a separate telephone interview, “There is no excuse, no justification to having a soldier stand at attention naked. There can be no mental health reason for that.”


[T] hese cruelties and the purported "justifications" offered by the military, all in a notably high profile case, definitively put the lie to the propaganda spewed by the U.S. government in response to the torture, including sexual humiliation, revealed at Abu Ghraib: that such incidents were an "aberration" perpetrated by a few "bad apples." [... ]No honest observer can regard these actions of the U.S. government and its military as "aberrations": these actions are brazenly offered as U.S. government policy.

Fascism has come to America.

And no, it didn't come in jackboots. It didn't come in massed, marching ranks. It didn't come in greasy-haired frothers ranting on a stage.

It came with cool. It came with savvy. It came wearing the mask of past evils redeemed by the image of a persecuted minority elevated to power. It came spouting scripture, hugging bright children, quoting pop music, sporting pricey leisure threads.


And in the guise of a young, hip, educated progressive, it has just now declared that anyone who reveals any hidden evil committed by the fascist state is subject to prosecution for a capital crime. That's right. It has revealed that you -- you American citizen, you patriot, you believer in goodness and justice and genuine democracy -- you can be killed by the government if you tell the truth.


Although American officials have repeatedly said that none of leaks attributed to Manning and to WikiLeaks have caused any bodily harm to any agent of American imperial power around the world, Manning is being accused of "threatening national security" and "aiding the enemy."


It could not be clearer. The release of any information that the American government declares might be of any use whatsoever to any possible "hostile" force -- real, imagined, or possibly run by American provocateurs -- somewhere in the world at some point in time is a crime that can be punishable by death. Thus any person or any entity that reveals embarrassing or criminal facts that the government wishes to keep hidden now stands in the shadow of death.

Chris Floyd

"Good corporal, good corporal, don't you know the fate
Of all those who speak the hard truth to the State
And all who trouble the people's sweet dreams?
They're mocked into scorn and torn apart at the seams...."

--Chris Floyd