Friday, February 08, 2008

Barack Obama To Pull out of Iraq and stop the use of Torture

Bush Regime still claiming the Torture Technique of Waterboarding is legal. And that the intelligence agencies can use whatever " techniques " they see fit to use. We are still waiting for Hillary Clinton to come out and take a stand against the use of torture or Interrogation Techniques that have been used by US personnel . Or is Hillary once again going to defend the use of these tecniques which have been outlawed by the Geneva Conventions and International Laws and Agreements.

A November Preview?,February 6, 2008 Arianna Huffington at theThe Huffington Post in which she compares John McCain's defense of the status quo and more torture and war to Barack Obama's insistence that if he becomes president it will not be business as usual .

So here's Barack Obama's speech in which he talks specifically about the Federal Government's role in 'disaster relief ', ending the Iraq War, using diplomacy in dealing with countries like Iran, Syria , Pakistan etc. rather than bullets and bombs.
Note Obama also speaks about " torture " and that he believes that " Torture " can never be justified . He also speaks about how the Bush Regime has done a great deal to help wealthy Americans while ignoring the needs of the the average American or the poor.

From Bush Regime again is insistant that the torture techniques of Waterboarding is legal
Thursday, February 7, 2008 by The Los Angeles Times
Waterboarding Is Legal, White House Says

The assertion stuns critics and revives debate over the widely condemned interrogation technique.
by Greg Miller

WASHINGTON — The White House said Wednesday that the widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding is legal and that President Bush could authorize the CIA to resume using the simulated-drowning method under extraordinary circumstances.0207 05

The surprise assertion from the Bush administration reopened a debate that many in Washington had considered closed.

Two laws passed by Congress in recent years — as well as a Supreme Court ruling on the treatment of detainees — were widely interpreted to have banned the CIA’s use of the extreme interrogation method.

But in remarks that were greeted with disbelief by some members of Congress and human rights groups, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that waterboarding was a legal technique that could be employed again “under certain circumstances.”

Fratto said the nation’s top intelligence officials “didn’t rule anything out” during congressional testimony Tuesday on CIA interrogation methods, and he indicated that Bush might consider reauthorizing waterboarding or other harsh techniques in extreme cases, such as when there is “belief that an attack might be imminent.”

Is this just a further attempt on the Bush administration's part to justify their actions since 9/11 and to avoid prosecution.
We should always remember even Hitler used the legal system to justify and to encode into law most of his insane and inhuman actions. Once again people need to be reminded that just because an action is claimed to be legal does not mean that it is moral or right .If the administration is willing to publicly acknowledge the use of Waterboarding as an interrogating technique then what else are they doing during their secret interrogations.
This should be a wake-up call to those who think the Bush administration having less than a year left in its mandate is not capable of inflicting more damage on America's laws and institutions and America's reputation .
Are they just trying to prepare the ground work for their defense once they are out of office. Are the members of the United States intelligence community , the CIA , the Pentagon etc. attempting to find ways to avoid criticism or even prosecution once the Bush Administration is out of power.

For more on the continuing injustices of the Bush Regime here is an article from the Washington Post also reported at TruthOut about how there is a big discrepancy in the way those who are arrested and sentenced for Illegal possession of Crack-cocaine (more often Black, Hispanic and/or poor) and those sentenced for possession of regular Cocaine (mostly white and middle class) :

Crack-Sentencing Reductions Decried, By Darryl Fears, The Washington Post, 07 February 2008

Mukasey: gang members would be let go.

The Bush administration wants Congress to thwart a plan to give thousands of federal crack cocaine offenders a chance to marginally reduce prison sentences that are a hundred times more severe than those meted out for powder cocaine offenses.

In a statement prepared for his scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary Committee today, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said that unless Congress acts, "1,600 convicted crack dealers, many of them violent gang members, will be eligible for immediate release into communities nationwide" under a decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

"Retroactive application of these new lower guidelines will pose significant public safety risks . . ." Mukasey said in the statement. "Many of these offenders are among the most serious and violent offenders in the federal system and their early release . . . would produce tragic, but predictable results."

The commission, an independent body created by Congress to set parameters for people convicted of federal crimes, voted in December to retroactively apply more relaxed sentencing guidelines to current inmates. The action was aimed at offsetting a disparity between prison time meted out to those convicted of possession or sale of crack cocaine and the sentences given for powder cocaine crimes.

Nearly 20,000 inmates could be released over a span of seven to 10 years after the plan takes effect March 3. Mukasey wants Congress to act in about three weeks.

Under current law, possession of five grams of crack cocaine triggers the same mandatory minimum sentence as possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine. Because most crack cocaine offenders are black, and most powder cocaine offenders are white and Latino, civil rights activists, some lawmakers and scores of judges have said this disparity is discriminatory.

When the commission eased the guidelines in May, Congress had until November to prevent them from going into effect. It declined to do so. After that, the commission moved to apply the guidelines retroactively.

and here's another disturbing story courtesy of; this time about the FBI and private contracors given a " Shoot to Kill " without fear of repercussions legal or otherwise :

FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill',By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive. February 8, 2008.

The FBI has a new set of eyes and ears, and they're being told to protect their infrastructure at any cost. They can even kill without repercussion.

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does -- and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law. InfraGard is "a child of the FBI," says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'


and the torture stories continue as we see in this article from Time Magazine New Charges of Guantanamo Torture, Feb. 8, 2008

Adam Zagorin, of Time Magazine, reports: "in 2005, CIA officials ordered the destruction of videotapes depicting the harsh interrogation of prisoners in the agency's secret overseas prisons. CIA Director Michael Hayden admitted that in December 2007 amid a public debate over the use of 'waterboarding' on detainees and whether or not the technique - which simulates drowning - constituted torture. At that time, Hayden said that only a few prisoners were ever subjected to 'special interrogation techniques,' which can include waterboarding, and that nothing was recorded on video after 2002. That claim is now coming under additional scrutiny, in part due to a classified briefing that will be delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this Friday."

Majid Khan, 27, a former suburban Baltimore high school student, was first seized by authorities in Pakistan, where he said he was visiting his brother. Khan then spent more than three years in a secret overseas CIA "black site" before President Bush ordered his transfer to Guantanamo along with 13 other high-value detainees. Also transferred was alleged 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheik Mohammed, who had allegedly ordered Khan to research attacks on American water reservoirs and gas stations.

Khan's lawyers are armed with more than 500 pages of top-secret notes taken during recent sessions with their client at Guantanamo; they will use the material to describe his interrogation and detention to the Intelligence Committee. Though details are highly classified, his lawyers claim that he and others were tortured and videotaped, charges that Hayden and other CIA officials deny. On Feb. 5, Hayden admitted to Congress that the CIA had used waterboarding on Khaled Sheik Mohammed and two others. The CIA continues to assert that it does not engage in torture.

And as for insensitivity and racism; here is a glimpse of the sort of insensitive and possibly racist personality in charge of Homeland Security and Immigration and Security in the United States :
DHS Official Accused of Misleading Congress,By Spencer S. Hsu, The Washington Post, 08 February 2008

Party photos reveal worker's dark makeup that Myers denied noticing.

Democratic lawmakers yesterday accused Julie L. Myers, an assistant secretary of homeland security, of misleading Congress after photographs emerged of Myers at an office Halloween party honoring a white employee dressed as an escaped prisoner with dreadlocks and makeup that made him look African American or Hispanic.

Myers, whose Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency runs the nation's 32,000-bed immigration detention system, was on a three-judge panel that gave a "most original costume" award to the worker at an ICE charity event Oct. 31. Myers subsequently apologized, saying the costume could leave "a negative impression" of ICE's respect for people whom it detains and explained that she learned only the next day that the man was wearing makeup.

Myers's Senate confirmation was delayed until December partly as a result of the controversy, and she told lawmakers who inquired last fall that she had immediately instructed aides to order that the digital photographs of the worker be deleted. The images aired on CNN yesterday, however, after the cable news network obtained 113 official photographs of the party, including recovered versions of all the deleted ones, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

So the Bush Regime has encouraged in one way or another a climate of insensitivity , racism, xenophobia and lying and corruption and the notion that those in positions of authority are above the Law.

The problem is that if Obama wins will he be able to clean up the mess left by Bush and the Neocons and the Radical Religious Right. It will not be easy since almost every department in the United States Federal Government has been compromised and infiltrated with these " True Believers " or Neocon Ideologues . They believe that they are on the side of the angels as it were and are therefore beyond criticism

and so it goes,

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