Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Nine Years, Two Wars, Hundreds of Thousands Dead – and Nothing Learnt" by Robert Fisk & Obama Continues Bush Policies???

The United States must stop presenting its warmongering as a result of misguided and ill-advised policies as if it were a clash between ‘our’ values and ‘theirs.’ It must get real and face the fact that it is not hated for its values, but for the lack thereof. from "The Lost Soul of the United States of America"
By Maryam Sakeenah September 10, 2010 "Dissident Voice"
Today's Menu:

# Nine Years, Two Wars, Hundreds of Thousands Dead – and Nothing Learnt by Robert Fisk

# Let's Stop Fulfilling Bin Laden's Goals By Ted Koppel

# Bush's Rendition Program Remains Unchecked
Keith Olbermann

# The Lost Soul of the United States of America By Maryam Sakeenah

# The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture by Andy Worthington

# US Soldiers 'Killed Afghan Civilians for Sport and Collected Fingers as Trophies' Soldiers face charges over secret 'kill team' which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war by Chris McGreal

First a word from Robert Fisk on the 9/11 anniversary and how America got it all wrong spreading death and chaos rather than peace and security.

Nine Years, Two Wars, Hundreds of Thousands Dead – and Nothing Learnt by Robert Fisk Independent UK Via, Sept. 11, 2010

Did 9/11 make us all go mad? How fitting, in a weird, crazed way, that the apotheosis of that firestorm nine years ago should turn out to be a crackpot preacher threatening another firestorm with a Nazi-style book burning of the Koran. Or a would-be mosque two blocks from "ground zero" - as if 9/11 was an onslaught on Jesus-worshiping Christians, rather than on the atheist West.

Indeed, on this grim ninth anniversary - and heaven spare us next year from the 10th - 9/11 appears to have produced not peace or justice or democracy or human rights, but monsters. They have prowled Iraq - both the Western and the local variety - and slaughtered 100,000 souls, or 500,000, or a million; and who cares? They have killed tens of thousands in Afghanistan; and who cares? And as the sickness has spread across the Middle East and then the globe, they - the air force pilots and the insurgents, the Marines and the suicide bombers, the al-Qa'idas of the Maghreb and of the Khalij and of the Caliphate of Iraq and the special forces and the close air support boys and the throat-cutters - have torn the heads off women and children and the old and the sick and the young and healthy, from the Indus to the Mediterranean, from Bali to the London Tube; quite a memorial to the 2,966 innocents who were killed nine years ago. All in their name, it seems, has been our holocaust of fire and blood, enshrined now in the crazed pastor of Gainesville.

This is the loss, of course. But who's made the profit? Well, the arms dealers, naturally, and Boeing and Lockheed Martin and all the missile lads and the drone manufacturers and F-16 spare parts outfits and the ruthless mercenaries who stalk the Muslim lands on our behalf now that we have created 100,000 more enemies for each of the 19 murderers of 9/11. Torturers have had a good time, honing their sadism in America's black prisons - it was appropriate that the US torture center in Poland should be revealed on this ninth anniversary - as have the men (and women, I fear) who perfect the shackles and water-drowning techniques with which we now fight our wars. And - let us not forget - every religious raver in the world, be they of the Bin Laden variety, the bearded groupies in the Taliban, the suicide executioners, the hook-in the arm preachers, or our very own pastor of Gainesville.

And God? Where does he fit in? An archive of quotations suggests that just about every monster created in or after 9/11 is a follower of this quixotic redeemer. Bin Laden prays to God - "to turn America into a shadow of itself", as he told me in 1997 - and Bush prayed to God and Blair prayed - and prays - to God, and all the Muslim killers and an awful lot of Western soldiers and Dr (honorary) Pastor Terry Jones and his 30 (or it may be 50, since all statistics are hard to come by in the "war on terror") pray to God. And poor old God, of course, has had to listen to these prayers as he always sits through them during our mad wars. Recall the words attributed to him by a poet of another generation: "God this, God that, and God the other thing. 'Good God,' said God, 'I've got my work cut out'." And that was just the First World War...

...And yes, I know the arguments. We cannot compare the actions of evil terrorists with the courage of our young men and women, defending our lives - and sacrificing theirs - on the front lines of the 'war on terror". There can be no "equivalence". "They" kill innocents because "they" are evil. "We" kill innocents by mistake. But we know we are going to kill innocents - we willingly accept that we are going to kill innocents, that our actions are going to create mass graves of families, of the poor and the weak and the dispossessed.

This is why we created the obscene definition of "collateral damage". For if "collateral" means that these victims are innocent, then "collateral" also means that we are innocent of killing them. It was not our wish to kill them - even if we knew it was inevitable that we would. "Collateral" is our exoneration. This one word is the difference between "them" and "us", between our God-given right to kill and Bin Laden's God-given right to murder. The victims, hidden away as "collateral" corpses, don't count any more because they were slaughtered by us. Maybe it wasn't so painful. Maybe death by drone is a more gentle departure from this earth, evisceration by an AGM-114C Boeing-Lockheed air-to-ground missile less painful, than death by shards from a roadside bomb or a cruel suicider with an explosive belt.

That's why we know how many died on 9/11 - 2,966, although the figure may be higher - and why we don't "do body counts" on those whom we kill. Because they - "our" victims - must have no identities, no innocence, no personality, no cause or belief or feelings; and because we have killed far, far more human beings than Bin Laden and the Taliban and al-Qa'ida.

Is the Obama administration continuing the Bush/Cheney Rendition/Torture Program

Bush's Rendition Program Remains Unchecked
Keith Olbermann -Countdown - Renditions
Sept. 10, 2010

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama making up excuses for keeping POWS at Gitmo- he fears any sort of open and fair public trials in which details of abuse and torture might be released and that most of them are innocent - Revealing such information publicly leaves Obama in a bind about being then pressured to go after the torturers and their enablers ie government attorneys and the Bush administration and now members of Obama's administration-differnt president same old same old-

As I have said in a previous post the one thing Obama doesn't like is a "snitch" or disloyalty and that Presidents he assumes are required to defend each other because committing various criminal or immoral acts and betraying the public trust is just part of the job description for being in the White House.

If Obama allows the DOJ to go after Bush and his cronies then the DOJ might have to also go after Obama and former President Clinton & Bush #1- so where does it end -in the last 60 years in America there may only be one possibly two president's whose hands are not soaked in the blood of innocents.

Myself I'm not convinced that abuse and torture as defined by international agreements is not taking place. Nor am I convinced that renditions and sending POWs to countries where they will or are now being is not ongoing.

Nor do I believe that the US military has in anyway cleaned up its act and that innocent civilians are murdered with impunity or the family is sent 5,000 dollars to keep them quiet -similar to how BP and Obama shut down criticisms in the Gulf with similar pitiful settlements.

Let's Stop Fulfilling Bin Laden's Goals By Ted Koppel
September 10, 2010 "Washington Post" via Information Clearing House

-- The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded far beyond anything Osama bin Laden could possibly have envisioned. This is not just because they resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, nor only because they struck at the heart of American financial and military power. Those outcomes were only the bait; it would remain for the United States to spring the trap.

The goal of any organized terrorist attack is to goad a vastly more powerful enemy into an excessive response. And over the past nine years, the United States has blundered into the 9/11 snare with one overreaction after another. Bin Laden deserves to be the object of our hostility, national anguish and contempt, and he deserves to be taken seriously as a canny tactician. But much of what he has achieved we have done, and continue to do, to ourselves. Bin Laden does not deserve that we, even inadvertently, fulfill so many of his unimagined dreams.

and :

The Lost Soul of the United States of America By Maryam Sakeenah September 10, 2010 "Dissident Voice"

The name ‘Ground Zero mosque’ is an inaccurate, exaggerated and dramatic construct indicative of the desire by some elements to exploit the widespread Islamophobia in the U.S in order to obstruct a venture essentially courageous and needful.

I say ‘needful’ because of its true symbolism that has escaped many who have been swept away by the tide of Islamophobia. If any community has borne the brunt of what happened on 9/11, it is the Muslims. Not only do they suffer America’s wars in tottering Afghanistan and devastated Iraq, but also the assault on civil liberties jeopardizing Muslim identity globally, Islamophobia in all its facets_ discrimination, racial profiling, stereotyping, bias and a sightless demonization campaign. The construction of an Islamic Community Centre could be America’s conciliatory overture to the marginalized Muslim community, its initiative to start the healing process. The Centre could function as a sacred space for a victimized community to work to restore its true image and ethos, to highlight the role and contribution of Islam in society, and to actively engage with the American community. The United States, priding itself for its liberalism, must yield that necessary sacred space.

The United States must stop presenting its warmongering as a result of misguided and ill-advised policies as if it were a clash between ‘our’ values and ‘theirs.’ It must get real and face the fact that it is not hated for its values, but for the lack thereof.

Petraeus enlightens with an analogy that the proposed act is like the Taliban’s, and that ‘The Taliban do the same (burn sacred books?!).’ This sweeping statement again takes as given the myth that the wars going on are about values, religions, scriptures and not policies. The Taliban’s fight never has been about American, Western or Christian values. The logic used here implies that if it was not for images being used to threaten American interests, deranged fanatics like Terry Jones may attack and insult what is most sacred to Muslim sensibility, stab in the softest part, strike where it hurts most and crush the very heart and soul of the world’s 3 billion Muslims! The Taliban may be a reviled demon everybody loves to spit on. However, by attempting to strike a comparison between this global enemy and the despicable lunatic from Florida, Petraeus makes the contrast in their respective moral standing only too obvious.

Because, for a Muslim who takes his religion seriously, it is inconceivable to desecrate or even disparage any religious scripture or symbol. It is a core Islamic belief to acknowledge the Divine origin of all revealed religion. The Quran says: “Do not revile those who they invoke apart from God.. .” (Surah Anaam, verse 108). Muslims_ or even the Taliban for that matter_ cannot by any means respond to Jones’s lunacy in equal measure for the demand their faith makes on them. The universalism and pluralistic vision of Islam originating in its basic texts revealed 1400 years ago sets a standard that secular, liberal American society would take ages to reach. The fact that it can allow sick-minded hate-mongers like Jones to not only exist in society but actually propagate and promote their devilish cult with impunity while conventional self-congratulatory lip-service to pacify a minority’s raw sentiments goes on in the backdrop, ought to explode the bubble of what the U.S ‘stands for’. It ought to lead to a serious rethink, for it is about the very soul of America.

The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture by Andy Worthington Via Sept. 11, 2010

When Barack Obama came to power, there was a sudden wave of interest in Guantánamo, and in President Bush’s legacy of torture and secret detention, but nine years on from 9/11, eight years and eight months since Guantánamo opened, and 20 months into Obama’s presidency, it is clear that, far from closing Guantánamo, as he promised in an executive order on his second day in office, President Obama now oversees a culture of indifference with regard to the fate of the Guantánamo prisoners, those held in the US prison at Bagram airbase, and others subjected to the CIA’s program of “extraordinary rendition” and secret prisons, many of whom are still unaccounted for.

No justice at Guantánamo

At Guantánamo, 176 prisoners await justice. Of these men, 93 have been cleared for release by the President’s interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force, but they remain held either for two particular reasons. The first — in the cases of men from countries including China, Libya, Syria and Tunisia, who cannot safely be repatriated — is because of difficulties in securing third countries that will take them and because the Obama administration challenged a judge’s ruling that they should be resettled in the US, and also stamped out internal efforts to do so that were initiated by former White House Counsel Greg Craig (who lost his job as a result).

...No appetite for trials

Capitulating to hysterical criticism, President Obama has backed down from Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement in November 2009 that five men, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would face federal court trials in New York for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and also appears to have backed down from Holder’s proposal to try five other men by Military Commission.

Only two of these cases have proceeded to trial — that of Omar Khadr, a former child prisoner, whose trial (halted by his lawyer’s illness last month) is scheduled to resume next month, despite fierce international criticism, and that of Ibrahim al-Qosi, a cook for Osama bin Laden’s entourage, whose trial was conveniently sidestepped when he accepted a secretive plea deal in July. (Another man, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, is serving a life sentence after a one-sided trial in October 2008, in which he refused to mount a defense, and another, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was transferred to New York in May 2009, before the backlash against federal court trials began, and his trial is scheduled to begin next week).

Why Obama’s detention policy is unjust — and encourages inertia

As with the prisoners in general, the administration has settled into a cosy rut, content to rely on the legislation passed by Congress the week after the 9/11 attacks — the Authorization for Use of Military Force — as its justification for holding prisoners indefinitely, with occasional interruptions for their habeas petitions, or for trials by Military Commission. What no one wants to discuss is that the AUMF is, essentially, the founding document of the Bush administration’s indefinite detention program, used as the justification for holding prisoners neither as prisoners of war, according to the Geneva Conventions, or as criminal suspects to be tried in federal courts.

The fact that the Obama administration publicly declared an end to the coercive interrogations and torture practices that were also part of President Bush’s program does not compensate for the fact that the detention policy itself remains fatally flawed, authorizing the detention of the Guantánamo prisoners as a unique category of human being, even if they are no longer referred to as “enemy combatants.” Moreover, in maintaining this woeful state of affairs, the administration, Congress and the judiciary are all implicated.

also see:

US Soldiers 'Killed Afghan Civilians for Sport and Collected Fingers as Trophies' Soldiers face charges over secret 'kill team' which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war by Chris McGreal The Guardian via Common Dreams, Sept. 09, 2010

and so it goes,

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