Your Brain Of Mud Or President Obama’s Magic Show In Cairo

On June 4th 2009, President Barack Obama (a man I voted for!) took the stage on the soil of one of the region’s most despotic and repressive regimes. But more than that, he was standing in the center of the geography of American imperial projections that has been the Middle East since the British, Germans, French and other smaller European nations were forced to leave it in the 1940s.
(Originally written in response to Obama’s first condescending speech to the A-rabs back in 2009. Reposted to reflect that nothing really has changed.) Details »

Photographing The Unseen Or What Conventional Photojournalism Is Not Telling Us About Ourselves


Unmarked 737 at "Gold Coast" Terminal Las Vegas, NV Distance ~ 1 mile 10:44 p.m.

Trevor Paglen is a man on a mission and it is one that reminds us that what makes any work of photography relevant, interesting, important or even significant, are the ideas and intentions that inform it. Anything else is merely gazing at pretty pictures. Details »

Marc Thiessen And The Art Of The Lie Or What Skills Do Presidential Speech Writers Really Have

It was an amusing interview. Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has written a book that argues for the efficieny of torture, relevance of illegal detentions, continued suspension of habeas corpus, the genius of Guantanamo and various other magnificently inane and stupid acts executed by the previous administration.

He came onto prime time TV to plug his newest collection of nonsense now compiled in a book and to of course parrot the idiocies of the hideous Lynn Cheney who has been insisting that those who defend the accused are in fact terrorist collaborators and possibly even Al-Qaeda sympathizers. Details »

Guantanamo Detainee Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah’s Petition for Habeus Corpus Is Granted!

In a remarkable, courageous and honest ruling, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, found that the government could not credibly support its allegation that Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah was part of the Taliban or al-Qaida, and that the evidence against him wasn’t sufficient to justify his continued detention. She ordered the government to release Al Rabiah “forthwith [1].” Details »

The ICRC Torture Report & The Search For The Truth

Contents
Introduction
1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime….

This is the Table of Contents of the recently released ICRC Report On The Treatment of Fourteen ‘High Value Detainees’ in CIA Custody.

It is also clear and precise in its indictment, for example:

The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The tireless and determined Mark Danner of the New York Review of Books has written more on this report and it makes for compelling and anxious reading.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, has been speaking across the country trying to garner support for an investigation into the actions of the Bush Administration and its now nearly countless violations of American and International Law.  We, Americans and non-Americans, need to join our voices to his. In his own words, his actions are meant to:

One path to that goal would be a reconciliation process and truth commission. We could develop and authorize a person or group of people universally recognized as fair minded, and without axes to grind. Their straightforward mission would be to find the truth. People would be invited to come forward and share their knowledge and experiences, not for purposes of constructing criminal indictments, but to assemble the facts. If needed, such a process could involve subpoena powers, and even the authority to obtain immunity from prosecutions in order to get to the whole truth.

Whether this will come to pass, I can’t tell.  That he is at least demanding it gives me hope.

Echoes of Guantanamo

It begins with the Haitians.

HIV/AIDS infected Haitians in fact.

It begins with George Bush, the senior.

It begins in 1991. Details »

Unfortunately, It Was A War Crime

For those of you who may have missed it, Vice President Dick Cheney recently admitted on TV to Jonathan Karl of ABC news that he in fact did authorize the use of torture techniques such as waterboarding and other forms of torture.  Details »