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"It's morning in America, Hackenbush, and you work the nightshift."

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Well, there went all my carefully rationed blogging. However, if you run out of things to read, there are new reviews at www.liheliso.org, J LHLS blog and also the good folks on the sidebar. Oh, and don't forget to chant "Rumsfeld must resign" as often as possible. Even "The Economist" is sick of him.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:15 AM PST [Link]

JW Lindh - Early Victim of POW Mistreatment

And here we have someone else who didn't get any Geneva conventions from his enlightened Western, presumably Christian captors:

Doesn't look like Due Process to me either, the bastards.

I remember hearing a rumor that Lindh was wounded and while he was tied to a stretcher, the Marines beat him so badly they broke a couple of ribs. Since when do our Marines brutalize a helpless man whoever he is? Or keep him tied up in a storage container? (see entry below)

What's wrong with our Military? Please, God, what's wrong with our Military? The way things are going, we might ALL need the Generva Convention someday.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:07 AM PST [Link]

Johnny Walker Lindh - US Military Mistreatment Prototype

"The pictures of Lindh appear to be souvenir photographs. One official who has seen the images told CNN on Friday that Special Forces troops are shown 'posing' with their prisoner. Another source familiar with the photographs said a profanity is written across Walker Lindh's blindfold."

POSING!?

"The Geneva conventions prohibits activities that might humiliate prisoners.

"'There is nothing sinister here. It's just plain stupid what they did,' a senior defense official said. One source said the matter "will be looked at," but Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told reporters he has not ordered an investigation. He also said he has not seen the images." (Emphasis mine)

~snip~

"As proof, the legal team said after Walker Lindh talked with the military, he was no longer bound naked to a stretcher and kept in a shipping container. They have also said his conditions improved after he spoke with the FBI."

They kept a bound and wounded man in a shipping container? Are these monsters or Marines? Who, under the Geneva conventions, could allow such a thing?

And don't tell me it's 911's fault, we are presumably civilized people who respect our fellow humans, follow the Geneva conventions, and believe people are innocent until proven guilty. It that's changed because of 911, we are no longer a great nation (if we ever really were one).

~snip~

"Walker Lindh's legal team has told the court that home videos and still camera shots taken by soldiers and later discovered by the military were confiscated and their recordings and images destroyed as soon as a superior learned of their existence -- before attorneys filed discovery motions."

Destroying evidence, that's good.

~snip~

"In another matter, the government Friday responded to a defense motion requesting an interview with a man identified as CS-1, a CIA officer who was present with the late CIA officer Johnny 'Mike' Spann when the two interviewed Walker Lindh after the prison uprising at Mazar-e-Sharif.

"In its court filing, the government refused to produce CS-1 -- short for "confidential source one" -- saying he declined the interview request. The defense can now move to subpoena CS-1, but the government could try to quash any such subpoena."
U.S. troops took photos of blindfolded Walker Lindh, by Barbara Starr, CNN, April 12, 2002

I know this is old news, but it also should have sent up red flags everywhere that our Military is to some extent out of control.

And just as a word to the wise, if there's a Military coup in the U.S., well, we know what we can expect.

Thank you for your attention.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:04 AM PST [Link]

TREATMENT DURING INTERROGATION

Methods of Ill-Treatment

• Hooding, used to prevent people from seeing and to disorient them, and also to prevent them from breathing freely. One or sometimes two bags, sometimes with an elastic blindfold over the eyes which, when slipped down, further impeded proper breathing. Hooding was sometimes used in conjunction with beatings thus increasing anxiety as to when blows would come. The practice of hooding also allowed the interrogators to remain anonymous and thus to act with impunity. Hooding could last for periods from a few hours to up to two to four consecutive days, during which hoods were lifted only for drinking, eating or going to the toilets

• Handcuffing with flexi-cuffs, which were sometimes made so tight and used for such extended periods that they caused skin lesions and long-term aftereffects on the hands (nerve damage), as observed by the ICRC

• Beating with hard objects (including pistols and rifles), slapping, punching, kicking with knees or feet on various parts of the body (legs, sides, lower back, groin)

• Pressing the face into the ground with boots

• Threats (of ill-treatment, reprisals against family members, imminent executive or transfer to Guantanamo)

• Being stripped naked for several days while held in solitary confinement in an empty and completely dark cell that included a latrine

• Being paraded naked outside cells in front of other persons deprived of their liberty and guards, sometimes hooded or with women's underwear over the head

• Acts of humiliation such as being made to stand naked against the wall of the cell with arms raised or with women's underwear over the head for prolonged periods, while being laughed at by guards, including female guards, and sometimes photographed in this position

• Being attached repeatedly over several days, for several hours each time, with handcuffs to the bars of their cell door in humiliating (i.e. naked or in underwear) and/or uncomfortable position causing physical pain

• Exposure while hooded to loud noise or music, prolonged exposure while hooded to the sun over several hours, including during the hottest time of the day when temperatures could reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher

• Being forced to remain for prolonged periods in stress positions such as squatting or standing with or without the arms lifted.
Skimble, May 6, 2004

Does anyone else want to call that "a Frat hazing"? I think all this is illegal even in the U.S. if it's non-consensual.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:03 AM PST [Link]

What is that? 1% heroes, 99% mixed?

"'What I found particularly disturbing in her (Brig. Gen. Karpinski) testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers," Taguba wrote."

How on earth did this woman get to be a Brig. General?

"At least one of the accused Abu Ghraib guards is basing his defense on claims he was not properly trained, a claim the Taguba report backs up -- and lays at the feet of Karpinski."

Yeah, well, but there's that basic humanity, "Do unto others, etc.", and "How would you feel it if it was you?" stuff that make this defense complete and utter horseshit.

How much training (as a human being) do you need not to not sexually humiliate, abuse, terrorize, and torture people you have power over? Are we that fucked up as a society that this HAS TO BE EXPLAINED?

~snip~

"The news about the 800th MP Brigade and Abu Ghraib is not all bad. Taguba praises several units and soldiers for carrying out their duties properly and upholding Army values despite 'significant obstacles' and 'extremely poor conditions.'

"Among them were the 744th MP Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Dennis McGlone; the 530th MP Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Stephen J. Novotny; and the 165th MI Battalion and Lt. Col. Robert P. Walters Jr.

"Taguba especially singled out Master-at-Arms Pfc. William J. Kimbro, U.S. Navy dog handler, who 'knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the military intelligence personnel at Abu Ghraib;' Spc. Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company who 'discovered evidence of abuse and turned it over to military law enforcement;' and 1st Lt. David O. Sutton, 229th MP Company, who 'took immediate action and stopped an abuse, then reported the incident to the chain of command.'"
800th MP unit: History of abuse, failure, UPI, May 5, 2004

Okay then, so let's hear it for the good guys in Iraq and everywhere. Not that it changes anything, but bravo anyway, guys.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:02 AM PST [Link]

Colin Powell does not speak truth

"Powell has publicly defended his 2003 speech to the U.N. Security Council, which alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that have never been found. But Armitage said that the speech was 'a source of great distress for the secretary.'"
Magazine Article Raises New Questions About Powell's Role, by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, May 6, 2004

Good.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:01 AM PST [Link]

Kenneth Roth speaks truth

"That is the classic "ticking bomb" scenario that proponents of torture always bring forward ... But what we've found is that it puts you on a slippery slope that leads to extensive torture. If you can use torture against somebody who today you believe knows where the ticking bomb is, why not use torture on the person who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows where the ticking bomb is going to be in two weeks?"

I hope to God we aren't, but I think we might be very much on that slippery slope.

~snip~

"Q: Is there any way of knowing how widespread the problem really is? Do we know, for example, what the conditions are like for detainees being held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay?

"There are serious concerns about Guantánamo. The people who are leaving, who we have been able to interview, tend to be the low-level people. One huge gap we have in our knowledge about the entire detention system -- whether it's Guantánamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib or the miscellaneous undisclosed detention facilities that supposedly exist -- is that we have no idea how the so-called high-value detainees are being treated. When the low-level people -- the nobodies who are released because they're of no value to the United States -- when they complain of treatment that clearly crosses the line into prohibited areas, you can only imagine how the high-value detainees are being treated.

"Q: What is known about where they are and the conditions under which they're being held?

"For the most part, they seem not to be at Guantánamo. Whether they are at Bagram or at other facilities, we just don't know. One of the things we're pushing the Bush administration to do is to admit where all of its detention facilities are. The Red Cross has access to Guantánamo. But if there are undisclosed detention facilities where the Red Cross doesn't have access, that's an absolute invitation to the worst form of abuse.

"One thing we've learned in looking at dictatorships around the world is that, when people disappear, that's when the worst atrocities are committed. And in effect, we have a system of disappearance that the United States is running today, where people are picked up, sent off to detention facilities, and nobody even knows where they are. Their detention may not even be acknowledged unless it happens to be picked up by the press."

~snip~

"Q: It was hard to miss the irony this week. As we heard more about the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, we learned that Thomas Hamill -- the American contractor taken hostage in Iraq -- was treated well by his captors. Pvt. Jessica Lynch was also apparently treated well during her captivity in Iraq. Is there a case to be made that the Iraqi 'evildoers' are treating Americans better than Americans are treating some Iraqis?

"I don't know that I'm in the position to make that case. But let me make two points. One is that the duty to avoid torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment is an absolute duty. So even if the other side is violating that rule, the United States still has an absolute duty to abide by it. And indeed, failure to abide by it is a criminal offense punishable any place in the world."

And even in Heaven and Hell.

"That's one thing to remember. Second, when we have rules like this, it's not simply for fighting against what may be a largely lawless insurgency in Iraq. One has rules because they apply around the world. The United States should be very reluctant to lower the bar on international standards. Imagine a future war with, say, China over Taiwan. The Chinese government is already beginning to question whether the laws of armed conflict are really just Western impositions, whether these are things that should bind China as well. In a possible future war, if American service members are taken into Chinese custody, you don't want to give the Chinese government an excuse to start mistreating them in detention under the theory that Donald Rumsfeld already authorized these "stress and duress" interrogation techniques.

"So this is not only a matter of living up to American values of treating others properly. There's also a direct element of self-interest in this. American service members are going to suffer if Bush and Rumsfeld essentially vitiate the basic norms of the Geneva conventionss and other elements of international law."
Stress and duress. Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth says America's use of coercive interrogation techniques inevitably leads to nightmares like Abu Ghraib, by Tim Grieve, Salon, May 6, 2004 (Sorry, it's a subscription thingy.)

And those rules STILL apply to the United States.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:59 AM PST [Link]

"Mr. Bush needs to invite to Camp David the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the heads of both NATO and the U.N., and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. There, he needs to eat crow, apologize for his mistakes and make clear that he is turning a new page. Second, he needs to explain that we are losing in Iraq, and if we continue to lose the U.S. public will eventually demand that we quit Iraq, and it will then become Afghanistan-on-steroids, which will threaten everyone. Third, he needs to say he will be guided by the U.N. in forming the new caretaker government in Baghdad. And fourth, he needs to explain that he is ready to listen to everyone's ideas about how to expand our force in Iraq, and have it work under a new U.N. mandate, so it will have the legitimacy it needs to crush any uprisings against the interim Iraqi government and oversee elections - and then leave when appropriate. And he needs to urge them all to join in."
Restoring Our Honor, by Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times Op/Ed, May 6, 2004

Thomas L. Friedman really needs his meds adjusted (again) if he thinks bush would ever ever ever do the above.

...the U.S. public will eventually demand that we quit Iraq...

Hey, I'm demanding that NOW. Sigh.

...and it (Iraq) will then become Afghanistan-on-steroids...

Because of us, Thomas, let's face it, Iraq is a mess and will be a mess for a very long time BECAUSE OF US.

Look, buddy, the truth shall set you free. The truth and a better psychotropic cocktail than you've got going on right now shall set even you free. You'll probably still be an asshole, but a free and chemically balanced one; definitely a step in the right direction.

U.S. OUT OF IRAQ RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:57 AM PST [Link]

Friday, May 7, 2004

"Why was it such a big deal that, for three days next month, all the on-deck circle and pitchers mounds at Major League Baseball games were supposed to carry an advertisement for the movie 'Spider-Man 2'?"
Outrage and fear over 'Spiderman' ads Why this was such a big deal, by Keith Olbermann, MSNBC News, May07, 2004

Because baseball is sacred.

I mean, what next? Ads printed on communion wafers?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:51 PM PST [Link]

The Mayerson Voter Registration Drive Drives On!

Indiana
Voter Registration
Secretary of State
League of Women Voters
Rock the Vote
I Want to Vote These people so seriously want you to vote that they will send you the completed forms with an addressed envelope for you to send into voter registration in your area. Much easier than most Secretary of State sites. GM

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:54 PM PST [Link]

"'I call them utopians,' Wilkerson said. 'I don't care whether utopians are Vladimir Lenin on a sealed train to Moscow or Paul Wolfowitz. Utopians, I don't like. You're never going to bring utopia, and you're going to hurt a lot of people in the process of trying to do it.'"
Powell Would Not Want to Serve 4 More Years, Aide Says, by Arshad Mohammed, Wired News, May 5, 2004

Hey! I liiiike this Wilkerson guy! He's corrrect!

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:54 PM PST [Link]

"Meanwhile his mentor from the National War College, Harlan Ullman, describes the US national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as a 'jerk'."
Powell aides go public on rift with Bush. Chief of staff says secretary of state is fed up with apologising for the administration and is disdainful of 'ideological' hawks, by Gary Younge in New York, Guardian, May 6, 2004

Well, yesss, jerk is one of the words I use for the Rice.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:28 PM PST [Link]

Ladies and Gentlemen, our representative in Iraq: Lynndie England


Franklin Harris has captioned this photo: "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the G.I.s" and I'm not sure how I feel about this.

On the other hand, I wonder how the professional and legal B&D playrooms will feel when their clientele begin to ask for this. Will they have to redecorate? Will there be Abu Ghraib nights? Ew, but entirely possible I suppose.

Commerce is God. Isn't that one of the stupid reasons we're in Iraq?

Franklin Harris has more on Ilsa, I mean Lynndie England. Against my will, I heard part of The John and Ken or whatever those rightwing assholes on Clear Channel are in the afternoon trying to get her off the hook. I think they had her mother, who has a very distinctive voice, on the line and who said that Lynndie was at Fort Bragg and was pregnant. Here's links:

"Some published reports provide more details on England herself, suggesting England became pregnant while deployed. The Army will not comment on those reports."
Soldier Accused Of Allegedly Abusing Iraqi Prisoners Sent To Fort Bragg, WRAL, May 4, 2004

"Family members of an Army reservist photographed with naked Iraqi prisoners said Tuesday she was merely a 'paper-pusher' who was in the 'wrong place at the wrong time.'"
female war criminal's family furious at AWOL's comments, Daily Kos, May 5, 2004

In the wrong place at the wrong time doing one of the fucking most incredible wrong things I've ever seen photographed. That doesn't wash, there's basic human decency and if there's absolutely no other guideline, use the Golden Rule, for God's sake. And leave 911 out of it, it has nothing to do with it. If we've become savages because of 911, my spam filter must have eaten the notification email.

"Six suspects—Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner; Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl; Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy Sivits—are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after becoming pregnant."
Torture at Abu Ghraib, by Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, May 5, 2004 issue

Megan, Sabrina, Lynndie... Disgusting. I'm ashamed of these women.

"Though there have been reports that England is pregnant and engaged to fellow soldier Spc. Charles Graner, of Uniontown, one of the six soldiers charged with abuse, Goin said England's family has been told no such thing."
Humiliating prison photo shocks soldier's friends at home, by Paula Reed Ward and Joe Fahy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 04, 2004

Whew, that wore me out.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:25 PM PST [Link]

Thursday, May 6, 2004

http://www.booksforsoldiers.com/

If you've got any books laying around that need a good home, well, I can't think of a better one right now.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:02 PM PST [Link]

The Mayerson Voter Registration Drive Drives On!

Illinois
Voter Registration
Secretary of State
League of Women Voters
Rock the Vote
I Want to Vote These people so seriously want you to vote that they will send you the completed forms with an addressed envelope for you to send into voter registation in your area. Much easier than most Secretary of State sites. GM

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07:17 PM PST [Link]

"It also included an allegation from one detainee that a male juvenile had been raped by a translator: 'They covered all the doors with sheets. I heard the screaming... and the female soldier was taking pictures.'"
Abuse At Abu Ghraib, 60 Minutes II, May 5, 2003

Yuck. And I thought women getting off on prison rape in the "Oz" TV show was sick. This is a whole new and horrible level. And YES, in light of photographic evidence and a scathing report by General Taguba, I believe this happened just like the other horrors in that prison.

There's no such thing as just one in these cases. So I must wonder how deep the rot goes.

Nothing against reservists, but war is obviously too serious to leave to armatures and part-time soldiers. And that being the case, it's way to serious for the armatures and full-time idiots in the White House.

I really don't think things in Iraq could be worse if our Military just left, just packed and left. Send money, send aid, and most importantly apologize, but get the fuck out of Iraq NOW.

And later in the same article:

Sgt. Frederick, a corrections officer when he is not on active duty, blames his predicament on his commanders.

Oh, well, that explains everything.

Fuck.

It was American soldiers serving as military police at Abu Ghraib who took these pictures. The investigation started when one soldier got them from a friend, and gave them to his commanders. 60 Minutes II has a dozen of these pictures, and there are many more – pictures that show Americans, men and women in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners.

God bless this good soldier, and, YES, I know this is the majority and those are the troops I'm supporting.

"Our soldiers could be taken prisoner as well. And we expect our soldiers to be treated well by the adversary, by the enemy. And if we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect … We can't ask that other nations to that to our soldiers as well." General Kimmitt

Well, as soon as the United States begins adhering to the Geneva conventions again, we might be able to hope for that again, General.

Six months before he faced a court martial, Frederick sent home a video diary of his trip across the country. Frederick, a reservist, said he was proud to serve in Iraq. He seemed particularly well-suited for the job at Abu Ghraib. He’s a corrections officer at a Virginia prison, whose warden described Frederick to us as 'one of the best.'"

One of the best what?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07:16 PM PST [Link]

"She illustrates an article on her website, blessedcause.org, called "President Bush, National Hero" with a painting of the president alongside the ghostly figures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who rest their hands upon his shoulders, heads bowed. A halo of light emanates from Bush's head; in intersection with the horizontal of the presidential lectern, it appears to form a crucifix."
The Divine Calm of George W. Bush, by Rick Perlstein, Village Voice, May 3, 2004 (Via Cursor.org)

Ew. Well, there's one vote we know bush will get, unless that crazy woman is hospitalized to get the help she so obviously needs. Ew.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 07:14 PM PST [Link]

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

The Nun's Story at "9 Chickwood Lane"

Click on Link for a Sister Aramus story at "9 Chickwood Lane".

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:27 PM PST [Link]

The Mayerson Voter Registration Drive Drives On!

Idaho
Voter Registration
Secretary of State
League of Women Voters (scroll down)
Rock the Vote
I Want to Vote These people so seriously want you to vote that they will send you the completed forms with an addressed envelope for you to send into voter registation in your area. Much easier than most Secretary of State sites. GM

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:46 PM PST [Link]

Only a chickenhawk would diss on the Geneva Conventions

"The foundation for the crimes at Abu Ghraib was laid more than two years ago, when Mr. Rumsfeld instituted a system of holding detainees from Afghanistan not only incommunicado, without charge, and without legal process, but without any meaningful oversight mechanism at all. Brushing off his violation of the Geneva conventionss, Mr. Rumsfeld maintained that the system was necessary to extract important intelligence. But it was also an invitation to abuses -- and reports of those abuses have been appearing since at least December 2002, when a Post story reported on harsh "stress and duress" interrogation techniques bordering on physical torture. Other reports by journalists and such groups as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented the lawless detention and criminal treatment of detainees, including the deaths of at least two prisoners at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan that were ruled homicides by military investigators. Yesterday the Army revealed that two Iraqi prisoners were killed by U.S. prison guards last year and that 20 other detainee deaths and assaults are still being investigated in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one has been criminally charged in any of these deaths."

War is horrible enough with the Geneva conventions. Only a chickenhawk would believe it could be anything but monstrous without them.

"We have been saying for some time that Congress has neglected its responsibility to oversee the administration's conduct and provide the missing legal framework for handling foreign detainees. The result of its inaction and of the administration's refusal to respond to previous reports of abuses is the scandal of Abu Ghraib, which has done incalculable damage to the U.S. position in Iraq and around the world. The only way to even partial recovery is a full and independent congressional investigation of the abuses, both in Iraq and elsewhere; prosecution of all those responsible for crimes; and, finally, a resolve to handle prisoners in conformance with American standards of decency."
A System of Abuse, Washington Post, May 5, 2004

You mean, what used to be American standards of decency. Those standards, the ones I grew up to believe in, went out the window on December 12, 2000.

Is it November yet? Is the bush junta in hell yet? Are we free again yet? Do we have a future again yet?

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:44 PM PST [Link]

Someday we'll look back... and it will be just as bad

"It seems gloomily possible that in years to come, when people in the Middle East recall the invasion of Iraq, they will speak not of lost American lives or the toppling of a brutal dictator. The most enduring image of the occupation may be those pictures of grinning American soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners. This is the kind of outcome no one wanted, although one that the Bush administration should have worried about long ago, and taken far more care to avert. Now all the president and his top officials can do is clean up the mess and express the country's deep regrets. So far, they have accomplished neither."
The Torture Photos, NY Times, May 5, 2004

The most enduring image of the occupation may be those pictures of grinning American soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners.

Yeah, well, that and the little boy with his arms blown off. And 1.5 million in London protesting against this war before it started. And nighttime photos of "shock and fucking awe". And the smashed up cases in the Baghdad museum. And Saddam Hussein's dental exam. That's what I'll remember. Oh, and Mission fucking Accomplished.

Does anyone else remember how peaceful Iraq was in 2000? It seems like waking compared to the nightmare we have there now.

I don't see how I can ever be proud of being an American again. It's not the torture photos, it's everything since they stopped the recount on December 12, 2000.

The terrorists have won and they used our own so-called government to do so.

I really want Kerry to be president, like right now, because he can only be an improvement and I can stop cringing every time I think about what we have now in the White House.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:39 PM PST [Link]

"The Walt Disney Co. will not allow its Miramax subsidiary to distribute a new documentary by controversial director Michael Moore that criticizes President Bush, the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing Miramax and Disney executives."
Disney blocks release of anti-Bush film, LA BizJournal, May 5, 2005

Okay, let's tone that headline down a little, it does state later in the article:

New York-based Miramax, which Disney has owned for 10 years, can seek another distributor and share the profits.

But still, what the fuck is wrong with Disney? Is Eisner still in charge or isn't George Schultz, an old Reagan crony, CEO now? I cannot remember and I must go to work now, so if you know, please leave a link in the comments and I'll edit this entry, with thanks.

EDIT: According to Cursor:

"Moore responds to the article, which also says that according to Moore's agent, Disney CEO Michael Eisner 'expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.'" Cursor.org

it's still Eisner. Figures.

I don't care who's running Disney; THIS SUCKS.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:39 AM PST [Link]

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

"Torture and ill-treatment - abuses in US prisons and jails The US Constitution guarantees that 'cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted'.

"The USA has ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Yet in prisons and jails across the USA inmates are being tortured or ill-treated."
Rights for All, Amnesty International

"In April of 1992, after suffering bouts of mental deterioration, Dortch was taken from the VCU (Violent Control Unit) of the SHU to the prison hospital. The guards had been ordered by the prison administration to wash fecal matter off the prisoner, who had smeared himself repeatedly over a period of weeks. At the prison infirmary, guards prepared a steel tub with boiling water to 125°, then grabbed a delusional Dortch shoved him into the steaming water, and held him there screaming for 15 minutes. When the hospital staff, frightened off earlier by the vigilante behavior of the troop of guards, returned to the area, guards were observed violently scrubbing the prisoner with wire brushes. (The lead nurse testified in Madrid to hearing one of the guards tell his superior over the telephone, 'It looks like we have us a white boy.')"
Boiled Prisoner Wins Case, Sonic.net

It's not Iraq, it's something inhuman that happens far too often when one human being has power over another. It might be spousal abuse, child abuse, murder, rape, you name it; this insanity has been with us for a long time, but it seems like it's getting worse. I've no idea why, possibly it's the growing despair and powerlessness people feel due to how fucked up the country is. Possibly it's just fun to kick the shit out of someone who can't fight back. I wouldn't know. But I do know it's not Iraq or Afghanistan or the terrorists, it's some kind of rot inside far too many of the people we are sending to "liberate" those places. And it's the same kind of rot inside GW Bush, R Cheney, D Rumsfeld, C Rice, C Powell, and all the other people who are responsible for the rape of Iraq.

Edit: I can link to other prison torture stories if anyone is interested. Pelican Bay in California has quite a few.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 09:01 PM PST [Link]

The Mayerson Voter Registration Drive Drives On!

Hawaii
Voter Registration
Secretary of State
League of Women Voters
Rock the Vote
I Want to Vote These people so seriously want you to vote that they will send you the completed forms with an addressed envelope for you to send into voter registation in your area. Much easier than most Secretary of State sites. GM

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:24 PM PST [Link]

"This prison system must be abolished immediately. The US will not be free of Abu Ghraib until all captives - including those in Guantánamo - are turned over to some international authority for immediate processing. Lawyers, laws, and courts can sort any criminals. Intelligence must be gained through lawful means. You cannot torture your way to democracy."

You can't foster democracy at the end of a gun either. But, that's not why the bush junta took us to Iraq in the first place.

"Only through total, self-administered accountability will American troops again be able to look every Iraqi in the eye and say, 'Trust me, I'm here to help you, my friend.'"
US military's bad-guy dragnet - a terrible way to win a war, by Larry Seaquist, CS Monitor

Dream on, Larry, who's going to trust the people who just blew their city/home/family/neighborhood up? Nobody likes an invading army and occupation, and it's not a mystery why.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:21 PM PST [Link]

Monday, May 3, 2004

There is a really good review of General Clark's Winning Modern Wars at J LHLS blog.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 10:09 PM PST [Link]

The Mayerson Voter Registration Drive Drives On!

Georgia
Voter Registration
Secretary of State
League of Women Voters
Rock the Vote
I Want to Vote These people so seriously want you to vote that they will send you the completed forms with an addressed envelope for you to send into voter registation in your area. Much easier than most Secretary of State sites. GM

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 06:34 PM PST [Link]

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse in Iraq...

"Just so we're clear, this isn't an 'aww shucks' fuck-up we're talking about, here. This is a genuine, bonafide 'holy shit' fuck-up. Nobody likes to hear that their prisoners are being stripped naked or urinated on, but it's the sort of thing that the Middle East tends to get particularly uppity about. I don't know what it is about thousands of years of trying to eke out a civilized existence among all those sand dunes and oil fires, but the Arabs as a people seem to consider sexual abuse one of their hot buttons. Check out this quote from Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the London-based Al-Arabi newspaper (courtesy of CNN.com):

"'It is absolutely shocking. I think this is the end of the story, the straw that broke the camel's back, for America,' he told the UK Press Association.

"'People will be extremely angry. ... Sexual abuse is the worst thing in that part of the world. It is shocking to all Muslims. America has lost the battle completely. I believe there will be more attacks.'

"Well, that doesn't sound too good, now does it? Let's review, shall we?

"Step 1: Terrorists attack America

"Step 2: Bush uses flimsy allegations of hidden caches of weapons of mass destruction and completely baseless links to terrorist attack on America to send us to war with Iraq

"Step 3: Iraq loses comically short war and U.S. troops occupy the country

"Step 4: Bush realizes he forgot to figure out a plan for rebuilding Iraq after the war, fumbles around while more American soldiers die at the hands of Iraqi guerillas

"Step 5: American soldiers get fed up with the situation and take out their frustrations by completely humiliating Iraqi prisoners

"Step 6: Terrorists want to attack America

"Tremendous! You know, I feel bad for the soldiers involved. It's got to be hell being over there, waiting for the top brass to come up with some intelligent plan for putting Iraq back together without exposing more Americans to avoidable danger. I can see how they'd want to take out their irritation on some of the Iraqis. I don't condone it, but I understand how it could have happened. What I don't understand is why they fucking photographed it. Did they honestly say, 'Hey, you know what would be fun? Let's horribly violate the Geneva conventions and take pictures of it! The guys back home will get a huge kick out of it!' How did it cross no one's mind that the pictures might get out, and that it might, just maybe, end up being a huge international relations fiasco? It would be another thing if these were the troops in charge of watching over Saddam Hussein. No one would make a fuss if the pictures showed troops pissing on Saddam Hussein. At this point, I think the world is willing to grant us that one. But doing it to random Iraqis, the majority of whom were most likely not Saddam Hussein (although the hoods make it hard to tell), was just asking for trouble."
Wow, We're Asking For It, Something Awful, May 2, 2004

"Terrorists like Osama bin Laden have always intended to use their violence to prod the United States and its allies into demonstrating that their worst anti-American propaganda was true. Abu Ghraib was an enormous victory for them, and it is unlikely that any response by the Bush administration will wipe its stain from the minds of Arabs. The invasion of Iraq, which has already begun to seem like a bad dream in so many ways, cannot get much more nightmarish than this."
The Nightmare at Abu Ghraib, NY Times, May 3, 2004

How deep does the rot in our society, government, and military go? What must we do to repair it?

My so-called goverment will never apologize, but I will:

I'd like to apologize to everyone in the world for the United States' inability to follow the Geneva conventions, which are supposed to keep war a civilized affair, which it can never be, but we have to pretend it is so we can keep having them for some reason.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 06:26 PM PST [Link]

Sunday, May 2, 2004

I have two new pieces at Sequential Tart this May:

An interview with Miktar Dracon

and

A revessay on Justin Hall's True Travel Tales.

Enjoy!

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 01:28 PM PST [Link]



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