June 02, 2009 MSNBC
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By William Norman Grigg
June 01, 2009 “Pro Libertate”
The eyewitness account provided by Abu Ghraib inmate Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, describing one of numerous episodes of sexual abuse by U.S. interrogators, including rape, homosexual rape, sexual assaults with objects including a truncheon and a phosphorescent tube, and other forms of sexual abuse and humiliation of detainees.
We need to dispense immediately with the idea that releasing the second batch of photos depicting torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib and six other installations would create an unacceptable danger to U.S. troops in the region.
Though it seem callous of me to point out as much, we should recognize that people who enlist in the military are paid, trained, and equipped to confront danger. We should also recognize that we do the cause of liberty no favors if we make it easier to invade and occupy foreign countries; indeed, we ought to do everything we can to accentuate the difficulty of carrying out criminal enterprises of that sort.
While we should focus most of our hostile attention on the policymakers responsible for sending the military on imperial errands of that sort, we shouldn’t ignore the moral responsibility of every individual who enlists in the military and carries out the killing business such immoral policies entail.
Given the pervasive stench of imperial corruption exuded by all of our public institutions, I cannot understand how anybody possessing the moral equivalent of the sense of smell could enlist in the military, or remain therein – as if that particular organization enjoys some peculiar immunity from the decadence that afflicts the rest of the Regime.
Fresh from the success of the Viva Palestina: Lifeline from Britain to Gaza aid convoy – which took over 100 vehicles to Gaza from the UK, Minister of Parliament, George Galloway has linked up on his US tour with the Vietnam veteran and peace campaigner, Ron Kovic, to launch a similar, but even larger venture from the States.
Galloway announced the initiative at a 1000-strong meeting in Anaheim, South California, rounding off a packed-out, coast to coast speaking tour highlighting the Palestinian cause.
“There’s a new atmosphere in the US over Palestine,” says Galloway, “the phenomenal response to this tour demonstrates that.”
June 01, 2009 MSNBC Keith Olbermann
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General Rick Sanchez Calls for War Crimes Truth Commission
By Jack Hidary
June 01, 2009 “Huffington Post”
In front of a packed audience tonight at the Times Center in New York City, General Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of all coalition forces in Iraq, called for a truth commission to investigate the abuses and torture which occurred there.
The General described the failures at all levels of civilian and military command that led to the abuses in Iraq, “and that is why I support the formation of a truth commission.”
The General went on to say that, “during my time in Iraq there was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniques.”
I interviewed General Sanchez after the event and asked him to elaborate on why he felt the US needed such a commission. “For the American people to really know what happened, ” he replied, “…this was an institutional failure, a personal failure on the part of many….”
“If we do not find out what happened,” continued the General, “then we are doomed to repeat it.”
Sent to DS by the author, thanks, Robert.
Oratory Commands High Ground, But Decisions Decidedly Middle Ground
With Dubya’s counterfeit boast, “I’m the Decider,” still ringing in my ear, it’s appropriate to ask: who runs our government, who makes policy, and who most benefits? Barack Obama has evolved marvelously from savvy campaigner to commanding, inspiring President. But to what end? Is he playing it safe to shore up power, eventually to challenge entrenched forces and bring about systemic reform? Or will he become a voice of the vested, as when recently pitching American cars, the pragmatist who partners with, rather than defies the status quo?
June 2, 2009
Nader: Ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe Offered Bribe to Drop Out of 19 Battleground States in ’04 Election
Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader accuses former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe of trying to bribe him to stay off the presidential ballot in nineteen so-called “battleground” states in 2004. McAuliffe is currently running for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. [includes rush transcript]
Ralph Nader and Labor Professor Harley Shaiken Discuss the Bankruptcy and Future of General Motors
Auto giant General Motors filed for Chapter 11 yesterday in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in US history. Shortly after the filing, GM said it would close fourteen more plants, including seven in Michigan, and cut up to 21,000 more jobs. More than 2,000 car dealerships will be shut down, as well. After the factory closings, GM will have fewer than 40,000 workers buildings cars in the United States, one-tenth of a workforce that numbered nearly 400,000 in the 1970s. [includes rush transcript]
by Glenn Greenwald
June 1, 2009
It was one thing when President Obama reversed himself last month by announcing that he would appeal the Second Circuit’s ruling that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) compelled disclosure of various photographs of detainee abuse sought by the ACLU. Agree or disagree with Obama’s decision, at least the basic legal framework of transparency was being respected, since Obama’s actions amounted to nothing more than a request that the Supreme Court review whether the mandates of FOIA actually required disclosure in this case. But now — obviously anticipating that the Government is likely to lose in court again (.pdf) — Obama wants Congress to change FOIA by retroactively narrowing its disclosure requirements, prevent a legal ruling by the courts, and vest himself with brand new secrecy powers under the law which, just as a factual matter, not even George Bush sought for himself.
The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman — called The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 — that literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any “photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.” As long as the Defense Secretary certifies — with no review possible — that disclosure would “endanger” American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure. The certification lasts 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.
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NEW YORK – In an important ruling affecting the public’s access to records regarding the cases of Guantánamo detainees, a federal court today denied a government motion to seal unclassified information related to those cases. Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, citing a “First Amendment and common law right to access” judicial records, ruled that the government cannot suppress unclassified documents and must seek court approval to seal specific information.
The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:
“Today’s decision is a victory for transparency. For far too long, the government has succeeded in keeping information about Guantánamo secret, and used secrecy to cover-up illegal detention and abuse. The decision marks an important step towards restoring America’s open court tradition that is essential to both accountability and the rule of law.”
Leading Rights Groups Call On Obama To Release Prisoner Abuse Photos Continue reading