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25 August, 2009

Inside the CIA's Haphazard Interrogation Program

Inside the CIA's Haphazard Interrogation Program

“It was a haphazard process, cobbled together in the months following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington by an agency that had never been in the interrogation business. The result was a patchwork program in which rules kept shifting and the goals often were unclear. . . . Yet Dick Cheney said the interrogation program was run by "highly trained professionals who understand their obligations under the law."

At times, the interrogators went too far, even beyond the wide latitude they were given under the Bush administration's flexible guidelines, according to newly unclassified documents released Monday. Interrogators took the simulated drowning technique of waterboarding beyond what was authorized. Mock executions were held. Family members were threatened. There were hints of rape.

If it was a terrifying process for the detainees, it was a bureaucratic nightmare for the interrogators. Until 2003, the agency provided its interrogators with rules on a case-by-case basis, sometimes giving permission by e-mail or even orally from CIA headquarters.

The interrogators were required to sign documents saying they understood the rules and would comply with them. Yet they were given ample room to improvise and make decisions about how much humanity to show to terror detainees.

While former Vice President Dick Cheney said the interrogation program was run by "highly trained professionals who understand their obligations under the law," the newly released documents suggest otherwise, at least in the early months.

The interrogators slapped prisoners, held a handgun to one's head, used power drills to make threats and left men shackled and naked in frigid rooms until they cooperated. "How cold is cold?" one officer said in the 2004 CIA inspector general's report released Monday. "How cold is life threatening?"

Continue reading:

Internment/Resettlement Specialist (31E)

Go Jobs! Go Army!

This job was actually posted at but was taken down. The first part is probably for the prisoners that are coming to the U.S. from Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan and secret prisons around the world. The "displaced civilian resettlement facility" is something else, likely to include people from a disaster area but also civilian insurrection. So this is real, people.

The "civilian internment camps" are probably also being readied due to the fact that the states are about to start letting low level prisoners out. So it's certainly all related:

Internment/Resettlement Specialist (31E)

Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel.

Specifically, see this section:

Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of an Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee (EPW/CI)camp.

Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of detention facility or the operation of a displaced civilian (DC) resettlement facility.

22 August, 2009

Common Sense 2009

Common Sense 2009

By Larry Flynt

The American government -- which we once called our government -- has been taken over by Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich. They are the ones who decide our fate. It is this group of powerful elites, the people President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "economic royalists," who choose our elected officials -- indeed, our very form of government. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of their corporate masters. In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government.

This was never more obvious than with the Wall Street bailout, whereby the very corporations that caused the collapse of our economy were rewarded with taxpayer dollars. So arrogant, so smug were they that, without a moment's hesitation, they took our money -- yours and mine -- to pay their executives multimillion-dollar bonuses, something they continue doing to this very day. They have no shame. They don't care what you and I think about them. Henry Kissinger refers to us as "useless eaters."

But, you say, we have elected a candidate of change. To which I respond: Do these words of President Obama sound like change? "A culture of irresponsibility took root, from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street."

There it is. Right there. We are Main Street. We must, according to our president, share the blame. He went on to say: "And a regulatory regime basically crafted in the wake of a 20th-century economic crisis -- the Great Depression -- was overwhelmed by the speed, scope and sophistication of a 21st-century global economy."
This is nonsense.

The reason Wall Street was able to game the system the way it did -- knowing that they would become rich at the expense of the American people (oh, yes, they most certainly knew that) -- was because the financial elite had bribed our legislators to roll back the protections enacted after the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Congress gutted the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial lending banks from investment banks, and passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which allowed for self-regulation with no oversight. The Securities and Exchange Commission subsequently revised its rules to allow for even less oversight -- and we've all seen how well that worked out. To date, no serious legislation has been offered by the Obama administration to correct these problems.

Instead, Obama wants to increase the oversight power of the Federal Reserve. Never mind that it already had significant oversight power before our most recent economic meltdown, yet failed to take action. Never mind that the Fed is not a government agency but a cartel of private bankers that cannot be held accountable by Washington. Whatever the Fed does with these supposed new oversight powers will be behind closed doors.

Obama's failure to act sends one message loud and clear: He cannot stand up to the powerful Wall Street interests that supplied the bulk of his campaign money for the 2008 election. Nor, for that matter, can Congress, for much the same reason.

Consider what multibillionaire banker David Rockefeller wrote in his 2002 memoirs:
"Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure -- one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."

Read Rockefeller's words again. He actually admits to working against the "best interests of the United States."

Need more? Here's what Rockefeller said in 1994 at a U.N. dinner: "We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis, and the nations will accept the New World Order."

They're gaming us. Our country has been stolen from us.

Continue reading at:

Corporate murder and Blackwater

the title is the link

Our fascist neo-christian storm troopers

More on 'the family' .. the title is the link

21 August, 2009

First Lady Requires 26 Servants

I count 22 servants, he says 26.

By Dr. Paul L. Williams

Update: First Lady Now Requires 26 Servants

“In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. See, that’s why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service." -- Michelle Obama

No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.

How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michele are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public:

1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (CHIEF OF STAFF)
6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE FIRST LADY)
7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (DIRECTOR AND PRESS SECRETARY TO THE FIRST LADY)
20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (STAFF ASSISTANT TO THE SOCIAL SECRETARY)
21. Bookey, Natalie (STAFF ASSISTANT)

12 August, 2009

"The Family" Filling in the Blanks

The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not "What do fundamentalists want?" but "What have they already done?"

The title is the link

11 August, 2009

Buy this book!

The mainstream has discovered their illumanati

Excerpt: "In public, they host Prayer Breakfasts; in private, they preach a gospel of "biblical capitalism," military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao as leadership models, the Family's current leader, Doug Coe, declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't.""

The title is the link

06 August, 2009

The Silence of the Sheep

“Is the Bush administration’s agenda now the Obama administration’s agenda? If not, what is? Exactly why are 130,000 U.S. troops hanging out in a bad part of town with a "kick me" sign taped to their backs? Inertia? Indecision? What?”

"Introduce a little anarchy
...upset the established order...
and everything becomes chaos.
I’m an agent of chaos."

"At midnight, I blow you all up."

The Silence of the Sheep
By William Lind

August 05, 2009 "" -- In early July, U.S. Army Colonel Timothy Reese committed truth. According to a story by Michael Gordon in the New York Times (reprinted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where I saw it), Colonel Reese wrote:

"... an unusually blunt memo (concluding) that Iraqi forces suffer from entrenched deficiencies but are now able to protect the Iraqi government and that it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.”

As the old saying goes, ‘Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,’” Reese wrote. “Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose.”

As usual, committing truth horrified Reese’s superiors. Michael Gordon reported: "Those (Reese’s) conclusions are not shared by the senior U.S. Commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno."

A spokeswoman for Odierno said that the memo did not reflect the official stance of the U.S. military and was not intended for a broad audience. Truth never is. On the situation in Iraq as on everything else, the American people get the mushroom treatment. That is how Brave New World works.

In fact, Colonel Reese’s conclusion, that we should leave Iraq as quickly as we can, is so obvious it raises some second-order questions. First, exactly why are we keeping 130,000 men in a horribly exposed position, their main LOC running parallel to a potential enemy’s front for 1000 miles, surrounded by a slowly accelerating civil war?

The official answer, that “we are there to back up the Iraqi government,” doesn’t wash. The Iraqi government and its security forces represent the currently dominant Shiite faction, nothing more. There is no state. There won’t be one until the Iraqis settle their own differences, by fighting. Our presence may delay that conflict, but cannot prevent it.

So, Mr. Obama, what’s the real agenda? Under Bush, we knew: an Iraq that had been reduced to an American client state was to provide us with military bases from which we could dominate the region and an unlimited supply of oil. Is the Bush administration’s agenda now the Obama administration’s agenda? If not, what is? Exactly why are 130,000 U.S. troops hanging out in a bad part of town with a “kick me” sign taped to their backs? Inertia? Indecision? What?

That’s one second-order question. Another one is, why is no one in Congress asking the first question? Iraq seems to have vanished off Washington’s radar screen, despite the fact that so long as we’re there, we are smoking in the powder magazine.

It seems that whatever the Obama administration’s agenda in Iraq is, it has gathered virtually unanimous support in Congress. Having worked on the Hill, I know some institutional reasons for that. Congress focuses on whatever the voters are focused on, which at the moment means the economy.

But even there, Iraq raises one of its hydra heads. The American occupation of Iraq continues to burn through money at the cyclic rate. So why aren’t the Blue Dog Democrats and other deficit hawks howling about our continued stay? All we hear is the silence of the sheep.

There are two possible explanations for the Obama administration’s remarkable failure to use its mandate to get out of Iraq while we still can. The first suggests some deep, dark plot, involving money, oil, the SMEC and the SMEC’s Washington’s agents in the White House. During the Bush administration, this explanation was plausible. It is still possible, but I think less likely true. The more likely truth is that the Obama administration is a mile wide and an inch deep.

The public is beginning to sense this, as President Obama’s falling approval ratings show. But within the Establishment, which includes Congress and most of the press, America’s first black President remains immune to criticism because he is America’s first black President. Were the current President, say, a Georgia cracker, the Establishment would already have him in the stocks, subject to a barrage of rotten fruit.

But even if President Obama were himself a man of depth and wisdom, an administration is much more than one man. Most of the Obama administration’s leading figures are merely second and third-stringers from the Clinton administration, resurrected as zombies (starting with Hillary herself). I don’t know of a single strategist among the lot. Most are playing at government, just as little girls play house.

If there is one among the lot who can think beyond the end of his nose – Jim Jones, has the cat got your tongue? –he would do well to quote Colonel Reese’s words to the President:

We now have an Iraqi government that has gained its balance and thinks it knows how to ride the bike in the race…Our hand on the back of the seat is holding them back and causing resentment. We need to let go before we both tumble to the ground.

With a thud that will be heard around the world.

William Sturgiss Lind, Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born July 9, 1947. He graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1969 and received a Master's Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 through 1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 through 1986. He joined Free Congress Foundation.


The title is the link

05 August, 2009

Bush to Barack O'Bomber

A seemless "change".

A picture says a thousand words.

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Implicated in Murder

This is so, so, so incredibly wrong. It’s just unbelievable that this was allowed to go on this long.

“Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades. Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Implicated in Murder

By Jeremy Scahill of The Nation

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting "illegal" or "unlawful" weapons into the country on Prince's private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.

These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct. Susan Burke, a private attorney working in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, is suing Blackwater in five separate civil cases filed in the Washington, DC, area. They were recently consolidated before Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia for pretrial motions. Burke filed the August 3 motion in response to Blackwater's motion to dismiss the case. Blackwater asserts that Prince and the company are innocent of any wrongdoing and that they were professionally performing their duties on behalf of their employer, the US State Department.

The former employee, identified in the court documents as "John Doe #2," is a former member of Blackwater's management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, "it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct." John Doe #2 says he worked at Blackwater for four years; his identity is concealed in the sworn declaration because he "fear[s] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration." He also alleges, "On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince's employ, Mr. Prince's management has personally threatened me with death and violence."


Doe #2 states in the declaration that he has also provided the information contained in his statement "in grand jury proceedings convened by the United States Department of Justice." Federal prosecutors convened a grand jury in the aftermath of the September 16, 2007, Nisour Square shootings in Baghdad, which left seventeen Iraqis dead. Five Blackwater employees are awaiting trial on several manslaughter charges and a sixth, Jeremy Ridgeway, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempting to commit manslaughter and is cooperating with prosecutors. It is not clear whether Doe #2 testified in front of the Nisour Square grand jury or in front of a separate grand jury.

The two declarations are each five pages long and contain a series of devastating allegations concerning Erik Prince and his network of companies, which now operate under the banner of Xe Services LLC. Among those leveled by Doe #2 is that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe":

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince's executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to "lay Hajiis out on cardboard." Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince's employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as "ragheads" or "hajiis."

Among the additional allegations made by Doe #1 is that "Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq." He states that he personally witnessed weapons being "pulled out" from dog food bags. Doe #2 alleges that "Prince and his employees arranged for the weapons to be polywrapped and smuggled into Iraq on Mr. Prince's private planes, which operated under the name Presidential Airlines," adding that Prince "generated substantial revenues from participating in the illegal arms trade."

Doe #2 states: "Using his various companies, [Prince] procured and distributed various weapons, including unlawful weapons such as sawed off semi-automatic machine guns with silencers, through unlawful channels of distribution." Blackwater "was not abiding by the terms of the contract with the State Department and was deceiving the State Department," according to Doe #1.

This is not the first time an allegation has surfaced that Blackwater used dog food bags to smuggle weapons into Iraq. ABC News's Brian Ross reported in November 2008 that a "federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food." Another former Blackwater employee has also confirmed this information to The Nation.

Both individuals allege that Prince and Blackwater deployed individuals to Iraq who, in the words of Doe #1, "were not properly vetted and cleared by the State Department." Doe #2 adds that "Prince ignored the advice and pleas from certain employees, who sought to stop the unnecessary killing of innocent Iraqis." Doe #2 further states that some Blackwater officials overseas refused to deploy "unfit men" and sent them back to the US. Among the reasons cited by Doe #2 were "the men making statements about wanting to deploy to Iraq to 'kill ragheads' or achieve 'kills' or 'body counts,'" as well as "excessive drinking" and "steroid use." However, when the men returned to the US, according to Doe #2, "Prince and his executives would send them back to be deployed in Iraq with an express instruction to the concerned employees located overseas that they needed to 'stop costing the company money.'"

Doe #2 also says Prince "repeatedly ignored the assessments done by mental health professionals, and instead terminated those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men." He says Prince and then-company president Gary Jackson "hid from Department of State the fact that they were deploying men to Iraq over the objections of mental health professionals and security professionals in the field," saying they "knew the men being deployed were not suitable candidates for carrying lethal weaponry, but did not care because deployments meant more money."

Doe #1 states that "Blackwater knew that certain of its personnel intentionally used excessive and unjustified deadly force, and in some instances used unauthorized weapons, to kill or seriously injure innocent Iraqi civilians." He concludes, "Blackwater did nothing to stop this misconduct." Doe #1 states that he "personally observed multiple incidents of Blackwater personnel intentionally using unnecessary, excessive and unjustified deadly force." He then cites several specific examples of Blackwater personnel firing at civilians, killing or "seriously" wounding them, and then failing to report the incidents to the State Department.

Doe #1 also alleges that "all of these incidents of excessive force were initially videotaped and voice recorded," but that "Immediately after the day concluded, we would watch the video in a session called a 'hot wash.' Immediately after the hotwashing, the video was erased to prevent anyone other than Blackwater personnel seeing what had actually occurred." Blackwater, he says, "did not provide the video to the State Department."

Doe #2 expands on the issue of unconventional weapons, alleging Prince "made available to his employees in Iraq various weapons not authorized by the United States contracting authorities, such as hand grenades and hand grenade launchers. Mr. Prince's employees repeatedly used this illegal weaponry in Iraq, unnecessarily killing scores of innocent Iraqis." Specifically, he alleges that Prince "obtained illegal ammunition from an American company called LeMas. This company sold ammunition designed to explode after penetrating within the human body. Mr. Prince's employees repeatedly used this illegal ammunition in Iraq to inflict maximum damage on Iraqis."

Blackwater has gone through an intricate rebranding process in the twelve years it has been in business, changing its name and logo several times. Prince also has created more than a dozen affiliate companies, some of which are registered offshore and whose operations are shrouded in secrecy. According to Doe #2, "Prince created and operated this web of companies in order to obscure wrongdoing, fraud and other crimes."

"For example, Mr. Prince transferred funds from one company (Blackwater) to another (Greystone) whenever necessary to avoid detection of his money laundering and tax evasion schemes." He added: "Mr. Prince contributed his personal wealth to fund the operations of the Prince companies whenever he deemed such funding necessary. Likewise, Mr. Prince took funds out of the Prince companies and placed the funds in his personal accounts at will."

Briefed on the substance of these allegations by The Nation, Congressman Dennis Kucinich replied, "If these allegations are true, Blackwater has been a criminal enterprise defrauding taxpayers and murdering innocent civilians." Kucinich is on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and has been investigating Prince and Blackwater since 2004.

"Blackwater is a law unto itself, both internationally and domestically. The question is why they operated with impunity. In addition to Blackwater, we should be questioning their patrons in the previous administration who funded and employed this organization. Blackwater wouldn't exist without federal patronage; these allegations should be thoroughly investigated," Kucinich said.

A hearing before Judge Ellis in the civil cases against Blackwater is scheduled for August 7.


04 August, 2009

President Carter: Many Children Tortured Under Bush

By Ralph Lopez

Read at:

While Congress says it is gearing up to investigate what is old news, that CIA and Special Ops forces are killing al-Qaeda leaders, a decision of far different gravity is being contemplated by Attorney General Eric Holder. The new insistence of Congress on its oversight role, conspicuously absent throughout 8 years of Bush, is suddenly rearing its head in the form of questioning a policy which has been in place with no controversy for years. The U.S. has been hunting and killing al-Qaeda leaders outside of official war zones since 2004, when The New York Times reported that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had signed an order authorizing Special Forces to kill al-Qaeda where they found them.

As recently as September 2008, CBS reported that Special Forces struck Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. The decision faced by Holder, whether or not to appoint a Special Prosecutor on torture, is of a different gravity altogether. A weight of evidence keeps building which indicates torture was employed on innocent men, that it didn't work, and that it didn't prevent any attacks. And it gets worse.

Bush's own FBI Director Robert Mueller recently confirmed to the New York Times what he told Vanity Fair a year ago, that "to [his] knowledge" torture didn't prevent a single attack. Former Legendary CIA Director William Colby has said that torture is "ineffective."

Harper's Magazine's Scott Horton nows suggests there are two Eric Holders at war with each other: Holder the good soldier who knows well the preference of his boss for prosecutions to not take place, and Holder the servant of the law who is aware that what he does now may determine what is likely to happen again.

It is becoming clear that such an investigation, if it happens, will not stop with a few low-ranking scapegoats. Horton notes: "President Obama's assurance to CIA officials who relied on the opinions of government lawyers in implementing these programs, an assurance that Holder himself repeated, would have to be worked in. That suggests that the focus would likely be on the lawyers and policymakers who authorized use of the new techniques."

What changed with Holder? Horton writes in "The Torture Prosecution Turnaround?":

Holder began his review mindful of the clear preference of President Obama's two key political advisers - David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel - that there be no investigation. Axelrod and Emanuel are described as uninterested in either the legal or policy merits of the issue of a criminal investigation. Their concerns turn entirely on their political analysis.... Holder initially appeared prepared to satisfy their wishes.

This attitude seemed to change after Obama's speech at the CIA, when Emanual and Axelrod moved out front to say there would be no prosecutions. According to Horton:

"In the days after Obama's speech at the CIA, both Axelrod and Emanuel insisted that the White House had made the decision that there would be no prosecutions. According to reliable sources, that incensed Holder, who felt that the remarks had compromised the integrity both of the White House and Justice Department by suggesting that political advisers made the call on who would or would not be criminally investigated."

To make things worse for the Bush administration, evidence is emerging that they can no longer even rely on exhibit A and B of the Torture Works theory, Al Zabudaya and Kalid Shiek Mohammed, the latter of whom is still confessing to everything short of being the real Boston Strangler. I guess if I'd been waterboarded 82 times I'd be babbling too. The FBI Special Agent who interrogated Abu Zubayda, recently breaking a 7-year silence after reading the "torture memos," wrote in The New York Times:

"One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn't been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence ... This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives."

Then there is the political risk to the Obama administration that Axelrod and Emanual have miscalculated, and that, in fact, the rest of the president's agenda is hamstrung while a growing number of Americans call for existing laws to be enforced. What is haunting Americans could be, in Washington jargon, "sucking oxygen" out of the debate, and "moving forward" is a pipe dream until pending business is dealt with. Spontaneous and planned rallies calling for a Special Prosecutor are growing, not diminishing. In addition, the worse revelations may be yet to come in the horrifying saga of what happened when, as Major General Anthony Taguba says:

[a] permissive environment [was] created by implicit and explicit authorizations by senior US officials to "take the gloves off" ...

President Jimmy Carter wrote that the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the Pentagon "have gathered substantial testimony of torture of children, confirmed by soldiers who witnessed or participated in the abuse." In "Our Endangered Values" Carter said that the Red Cross found after visiting six U.S. prisons "107 detainees under eighteen, some as young as eight years old." And reporter Hersh, (who broke the Abu Ghraib torture scandal,) reported 800-900 Pakistani boys aged 13 to 15 in custody.

Journalist Seymour Hersh's (who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal) bombshell before the ACLU some years ago has been in a temporary slumber, as there is question as to whether the videotapes in possession of the Pentagon were among those claimed to be destroyed. Destroyed or not, there is still the conscience of soldiers and agents who bore witness to contend with, as the reign of political terror against whistleblowers which characterized the Bush administration subsides. Hersh said:

" Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said at the time:

"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."

A compilation in November 2008 of other evidence of alleged incidents involving children at the time recounts:

· Iraqi lawyer Sahar Yasiri, representing the Federation of Prisoners and Political Prisoners, said in a published interview there are more than 400,000 detainees in Iraq being held in 36 prisons and camps and that 95 percent of the 10,000 women among them have been raped. Children, he said, "suffer from torture, rape, (and) starvation" and do not know why they have been arrested. He added the children have been victims of "random" arrests "not based on any legal text."

· Former prisoner Thaar Salman Dawod in a witness statement said, "[I saw] two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and [a U.S. soldier] was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners."

· Iraqi TV reporter, Suhaib Badr-Addin al-Baz, arrested while making a documentary and thrown into Abu Ghraib for 74 days, told Mackay he saw "hundreds" of children there. Al-Baz said he heard one 12-year-old girl crying, "They have undressed me. They have poured water over me." He said he heard her whimpering daily.

· Al-Baz also told of a 15-year-old boy "who was soaked repeatedly with hoses until he collapsed." Amnesty International said ex-detainees reported boys as young as 10 are held at Abu Ghraib.

· German TV reporter Thomas Reutter of "Report Mainz" quoted U.S. Army Sgt. Samuel Provance that interrogation specialists "poured water" over one 16-year-old Iraqi boy, drove him throughout a cold night, "smeared him with mud" and then showed him to his father, who was also in custody. Apparently, one tactic employed by the Bush regime is to elicit confessions from adults by dragging their abused children in front of them.

· Jonathan Steele, wrote in the British "The Guardian" that "Hundreds of children, some as young as nine, are being held in appalling conditions in Baghdad's prisons...Sixteen-year-old Omar Ali told the "Guardian" he spent more than three years at Karkh juvenile prison sleeping with 75 boys to a cell that is just five by 10 meters, some of them on the floor. Omar told the paper guards often take boys to a separate room in the prison and rape them.

· Raad Jamal, age 17, was taken from his Doura home by U.S. troops and turned over to the Iraqi Army's Second regiment where Jamal said he was hung from the ceiling by ropes and beaten with electric cables.

· Human Rights Watch (HRW) last June put the number of juveniles detained at 513. In all, HRW estimates, since 2003, the U.S. has detained 2,400 children in Iraq, some as young as ten.

· IRIN, the humanitarian news service, last year quoted Khalid Rabia of the Iraqi NGO Prisoners' Association for Justice(PAJ), stating that five boys between 13 and 17 accused of supporting insurgents and detained by the Iraqi army "showed signs of torture all over their bodies," such as "cigarette burns over their legs," she said.

· One boy of 13 arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 was held in solitary for more than a year at Bagram and Guantanamo and made to stand in stress position and deprived of sleep, according to the "Catholic Worker."

Attorney General Holder is a man of conscience who now serves both President Obama and the law. A Newsweek piece last week says he has no illusions that:

Such a decision [to appoint a special prosecutor] would roil the country, would likely plunge Washington into a new round of partisan warfare, and could even imperil Obama's domestic priorities, including health care and energy reform. Holder knows all this, and he has been wrestling with the question for months. "I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda," he says. "But that can't be a part of my decision."

There can be redemption for a nation which faces its past. One that does not can only become more monstrous.

Butchers: The hidden truth about Israel's kidney theft ring

Over the years, many have accused Israel of trafficking in the organs of Palestinians. The Palestinians themselves have no doubt that the practice is common.

Unfortunately, many of the websites trumpeting charges of Israeli organ theft often display an undeniable anti-Semitic bent. Some of the allegations I've looked into do indeed appear to be spurious. (I would, for example, dismiss any claim that traces back to so notorious a source as La Voz de Atlan.) But before you categorize all such accusations as fantasies, consider: As recently as 2004, the State Department officially denounced as mythical the claim that organ trafficking occurs in the United States. As we now know, that "myth" had a basis in reality.

Knee-jerk accusations of anti-Semitism should not deter us from conducting candid and unbiased research into Israel's record. I would note that those who discuss organ trafficking in India and China are not accused of racial animosity toward the Indians or the Chinese.
-- Joseph Cannon

Butchers: The hidden truth about Israel's kidney theft ring

By Joseph Cannon

Where do the kidneys come from?

I'm talking about the kidneys offered by an "organist" named Izzy Rosenbaum. The FBI scooped him up in a corruption probethat focused on pay-offs to New Jersey pols (nothing surprising about that) and money laundering by prominent rabbis:
The probe also uncovered Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, who is accused of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant. According to the complaint, Rosenbaum said he had been brokering sale of kidneys for 10 years.

"His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000," said Marra.
Marra is a US attorney involved with the case. News accounts like the one quoted above have led the public to believe that the "donors" were both willing and compensated, and that this operation was purely private. But good evidence indicates that the matter is far, far more troubling.

The kidneys were "donated" at gunpoint by unwilling victims.

The Israeli government directed Rosenbaum's grisly scheme.

Major American hospitals wittingly participated in the plot.

Before we get to that evidence, let us confront two simple questions: Whosekidneys, exactly, were taken? And what kind of doctor would extract a kidney from a healthy patient?
"I am what you call a matchmaker," the complaint quotes Rosenbaum as telling the undercover agent.

Had the transaction been real, federal authorities said, it would have been the most recent chapter in Rosenbaum's 10-year career as an illicit middleman. In each case, he would take a blood sample from a prospective recipient and give it to an associate at an insurance company who could analyze it at a lab without arousing suspicion. The sample would then be shipped to Israel, and the necessary people paid off to find a match.

"He prayed on vulnerable people, " said assistant US district attorney Mark McCarron.
Rosenbaum would then arrange the donor's flight to New York, including obtaining a visa, authorities said. Once the donor arrived in the US, Rosenbaum would help fabricate a relationship between donor and recipient -- a story both would repeat during interviews with medical professionals. The two might pretend to business associates, for instance, or close friends from a religious congregation.

"The hospitals seemed to be in the dark," McCarron said.
As we shall see, we should take that last statement with a grain of salt roughly the size of Lot's wife.

A close reading of the actual indictment of Rosenbaum (pdf) is troubling. Rosenbaum spilled his guts (so to speak) to an undercover informant posing as a prospective organ purchaser. During these interviews, an FBI agent posed as the purchaser's secretary.

Let's look at some excerpts from the indictment. "UC" refers to the informant, whose real name is Solomon Dwek.

The UC asked defendant ROSENBAUM how defendant ROSENBAUM could obtain a kidney on behalf of UC’s uncle, and defendant ROSENBAUM explained that defendant ROSENBAUM could send a blood sample from the UC’s uncle to Israel to find a matching prospective donor. Defendant ROSENBAUM added that "if you want to arrange it faster, then I, I bring the donor over here... The hospital is the authority who decide it's a match or not. Not me, not you, not him, not nobody."

Defendant ROSENBAUM then explained that it would be necessary to fabricate some sort of relationship between the donor and the recipient. Defendant ROSENBAUM stated that "we put together something–-the relationship. The hospital is asking what's the relationship between" the donor and the recipient. Defendant ROSENBAUM continued, "So we put in a relationship, friends, or neighbor, or business relations, any relation."

Defendant ROSENBAUM explained that he was not a surgeon and that once he had brought a willing donor to this country, "it's beyond my control." He did add that "I take care of [the donor] after, after the surgery also." When pressed on this last point, defendant ROSENBAUM explained that "I place him somewhere," to look after the donor. Defendant ROSENBAUM further stated: "You have to babysit him like a baby because he may have a language problem, maybe not." Defendant ROSENBAUM explained the process of finding a donor in Israel and stated that "[t]here are people over there hurting . . . One of the reasons it's so expensive is because you have to shmear (meaning pay various individuals for their assistance) all the time."

Defendant ROSENBAUM indicated that among those who would need to be paid were the donor and the doctors in Israel who would examine the donor, and further added that there would be expenses incurred for preparing the Visa work and paying the donor's expenses while in the United States. The only evidence that the donor would be willing came from Rosenbaum, who had the following motives for lying:

1. He needed to ease the conscience of the prospective recipient.

2. He needed to justify the large amount of cash involved.

3. He needed to protect the hospitals and doctors involved with his operation. Rosenbaum understood that he was engaged in a risky business, and that even if he got caught, he would still need to provide cover for any hospital or surgeon connected to this wretched business.

Do we have evidence of that the donors were coerced? Yes. In fact, we have the testimony of an "insider" witness:
Nancy Scheper-Hughes of the University of California, Berkeley, was and is very clear as to Rosenbaum's role in the ring.

"He is the main U.S. broker for an international trafficking network," she said.

Her sources include a man who started working with Rosenbaum imagining he was helping people in desperate need. The man then began to see the donors, or to be more accurate, sellers, who were flown in from impoverished countries such as Moldova.

"He said it was awful. These people would be brought in and they didn't even know what they were supposed to be doing and they would want to go home and they would cry," Scheper-Hughes said.

The man called Rosenbaum "a thug" who would pull out a pistol he was apparently licensed to carry and tell the sellers, "You're here. A deal is a deal. Now, you'll give us a kidney or you'll never go home.'
(Moldava, incidentally, is a small country bordering the Ukraine.)

Scheper-Hughes, who is writing a book on this topic, went to the FBI in 2002. They dismissed her evidence. The State Department issued a 2004 report which labeled organ trafficking an "urban legend." By contrast, authorities in other countries acted on her leads and made arrests.
Scheper-Hughes had better luck in Brazil and in South Africa, where law enforcement corroborated her findings and acted decisively.

But the ring kept operating elsewhere. Scheper-Hughes visited villages in Moldova where, "20% of the men were siphoned off to be kidney sellers in this same scheme."

Continue reading

03 August, 2009

Cap-and-Trade Could Benefit Organized Crime

Excuse me, do you know where I can go to get carbon credits?

At least somebody has his thinking cap on.

International Cap-and-Trade Regime Could Benefit Organized Crime by Creating Carbon Credit Black Market, Senator Warns

( – Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) said the cap-and-trade legislation passed by the House of Representatives could be a boon for organized crime in the United States by creating a carbon credit industry that could spawn fraud, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Barrasso spoke Thursday after a hearing by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that focused on climate change and national security.

“The hearing this morning was specifically about national security and climate change, and I view a big part of that is what Interpol is saying--187 different countries are involved--and they’re saying if you need carbon credits, the place to turn to is organized crime if we put in a cap-and-trade program.”

Barrasso asked that a May 30 article by Reuters News Service be entered into the record. The article features an interview with Peter Younger, an environmental crimes specialist with Interpol, the world's largest international police agency.

In the article, Younger refers to the United Nations REDD program--Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation--that would generate billions of dollars by rewarding countries that conserve forests and allowing them to sell for profit “carbon credits” to developing countries, an idea similar to the cap-and-trade legislation being debated in the U.S. Senate.

“If you are going to trade any commodity on the open market, you are creating a profit- and-loss situation,” Younger told Reuters. “There will be fraudulent trading of carbon credits.”

“In future (sic), if you are running a factory and you desperately need credits to offset your emissions, there will be someone who can make that happen for you,” Younger said. “Absolutely, organized crime will be involved."

At Thursday's Senate hearing, Barrasso warned, “We should all be concerned because these groups are a threat to national security. … Some even operate within our own borders.”

“If we endeavor to create a carbon trading scheme here in the U.S., we have to know the national security implications of such an approach,” Barrasso said. “But we need to know, is Interpol’s assessment shared by our intelligence community?” Barrasso added that the committee had not been briefed on that subject, if that’s the case.

The senator also said he sent letters on Wednesday to the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency asking if the agencies are aware of Interpol’s assessment and, if so, what is being done with the information.

The letters also noted that two EPA investigators are working with the Interpol’s pollution crime working group. Barrasso had asked the Congressional Research Services (CRS) to provide information about how much of the intelligence community’s staffing and budget resources are being used on climate change and security issues.

The CRS responded on July 29, saying that the intelligence community “is not engaged in evaluating scientific judgments concerning global climate change” and that “existing resources--both budget and personnel”--are being used, although details were classified.

While many witnesses and committee members at the hearing said that climate change issues such as droughts, hunger, poverty, and lack of water around the world are a threat to U.S. national security, Barrasso said what will likely happen in this country if cap-and-trade becomes law is a concern that is closer to home.

“Organized crime will be the place to go to get carbon credits,” said Barrasso.

Currency Wars

The Battle of Waterloo. The deaths of six US presidents. The rise of Adolf Hitler. The deflation of the Japanese bubble economy, the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis...

"In a new Chinese bestseller, Currency Wars, these disparate events spanning two centuries have a single root cause: the control of money issuance through history by the Rothschild banking dynasty. Even today, claims author Song Hongbing, the US Federal Reserve remains a puppet of private banks, which also ultimately owe their allegiance to the ubiquitous Rothschilds.

In China, which is in the midst of a lengthy debate about opening its financial system under US pressure, the book has become a surprise hit and is being read at senior levels of government and business. The book's publisher, a unit of state-owned CITIC groups, says Currency Wars had sold almost 200,000 copies, with an estimated 400,000 extra pirated copies in circulation.

Song, an IT consultant and amateur historian who has lived in the US since 1994 and is now based in Washington, says his interest was sparked by trying to uncover what lay behind the Asian crisis in 1997. Song argues that the Fed's key functions are ultimately controlled by five private banks, such as Citibank, all of which maintain a "close relationship" with the Rothschilds." [Strangely, the book hasn't been translated into English yet.]


Parasite Watch
"Hedge fund manager George Soros [birth name Gyorgy Schwartz] who predicted the global credit crunch has said the financial crisis has been 'stimulating' and the culmination of his life's work. And while the financial crisis continued to deepen across the globe, the 78-year-old still managed to make $1.1 billion last year.
"It is , in a way, the culminating point of my life's work", he told national newspaper The Australian. Soros is one of 25 top hedge fund managers from across Wall Street who have defied the credit crunch crisis to reap a total of $11.6 billion last year. "

"Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused George Soros of ruining the Malaysian economy with "massive currency speculation". --