Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 7th, 2008

Negroponte raises death squads for Pakistan

Posted by Charles II on May 7, 2008

Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times:

A longstanding disconnect between the Pakistan and United States militaries is largely responsible for the inability of the “war on terror” to nail key targets such as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, as well as military failures against the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

Former US ambassador to Honduras, Mexico and the Philippines and presently Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, aims to change this by creating special Pakistani units, trained by the US, to go after key figures….

The training by the US of Pakistani special forces is based on Negroponte’s initiatives in Nicaragua and the Philippines, where indigenous armies were cultivated to further the US’s battles. In the case of the Philippines, it is against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and separatists on the island of Mindanao. In Nicaragua, special forces were trained as a bulwark against the revolutionary Sandinista government in the 1980s.

I feel especially aggrieved because I said back in the summer that the US should train Pakistani Special Forces to conduct operations against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Pakistan rather than use US troops in-country. Unfortunately, I know how Negroponte will implement that: turn the trainees against the population at large, engage in kidnappings and torture, and end up with the Pakistani government itself discredited and the nation in civil war.

Let me make it clear: that is not what I or any American should want. It is wrong and it will fail.

Posted in Law of Unintended Consequences, Pakistan, terrorism | 3 Comments »

Apologies: comments restored

Posted by Charles II on May 7, 2008

Sorry, folks. Akismet went a little crazy and blocked a number of comments. These have been restored.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

For The Person On The Go

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 7, 2008

An MP3 and video player you can charge with a hand crank!

This is pretty danged cool, though the 2 GB memory is stingy as these players go. Considering its relatively huge size, it’d be nice if they could outfit it with more memory than an iPod Shuffle. Though it does make me wonder if Trevor Baylis could pull off an iPhone or iTouch knockoff with a crank attached. Now THAT would be most excellent!

Posted in energy, environment, Good Things, technology | Comments Off on For The Person On The Go

The professoriat and John Yoo

Posted by Charles II on May 7, 2008

First, some good news. A full professor at Berkeley has asked the Academic Senate to investigate whether John Yoo should be held to account under the faculty rules for having advised the Bush Administration that torture is acceptable. He asked that the Senate appoint an investigative panel with expertise in

moral philosophy, professional ethics, the role of the university, international relations, human rights, and constitutional law

The bad news: the request was rejected, and with a particularly specious argument, namely that

Creating the panel you recommend to examine Prof. Yoo’s conduct would be defamatory on the face of it. Besides that, there’s the practical problem of finding committee members with the expertise you outline.

Can one imagine a more ridiculous claim that the commission of a wrong cannot be investigated because the mere act of investigation would be defamatory?

Probably you can, because that claim is followed by the claim that Berkeley lacks experts in moral philosophy, constitutional law, and international relations. I guess these people don’t count:

  • Niko Kolodny (Ph.D., University of California–Berkeley). His main interests are in moral and political philosophy.
  • Samuel Scheffler (Ph.D., Princeton University). His research interests lie mainly in moral and political philosophy.
  • R. Jay Wallace (Chair) (B. Phil., University of Oxford; Ph.D., Princeton University). His interests lie mainly in moral philosophy and the history of ethics.
  • Kathryn Abrams. Abrams teaches feminist jurisprudence, voting rights and constitutional law.
  • Diane Marie Amann. Recent works have focused on legal responses to U.S. policies respecting executive detention at Guantánamo and elsewhere, on the use of foreign and international law in U.S. constitutional decision making
  • Jesse H. Choper Choper was one of the three major lecturers at U.S. Law Week’s Annual Constitutional Law Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Ron Hassner – religious violence, Middle Eastern politics, and territorial disputes
  • Philip Tetlock – accountability systems, de-biasing judgment and choice, and political psychology
  • Robert Powell – game theory, deterrence
    Steven Weber – international organization, European integration
  • When dodges like pretending that Berkeley doesn’t have experts are used to avoid an unpleasant duty, one can say that academia is rotting out.

    Posted in corruption, crimes, doing the right thing, torture | 10 Comments »

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