Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for April 27th, 2009

Contract on Evo?/update3

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2009

Los Tiempos of Cochabamba reports that there has been a (fortunately failed) assassination attempt against Bolivian president Evo Morales and his vice president Alvaro Garcia. The government blamed a terrorist band of left-extremist Irish and Croatians. This is certainly possible. It would presumably mean an assassination-swap, in which extremists trade their services for a hit against their enemies.

Three people were killed, and two others arrested. The attackers had high caliber weapons, C-4 explosive, and at least one hand grenade. The attack occurred in Santa Cruz, a bastion of right-wing anti-governmentalists.

Meanwhile, according to Hoy Bolivia the right is claiming that this was actually an attempt to decapitate their leadership.

Also in Santa Cruz, the home of Cardinal Julio Terrazas was bombed, according to la Prensa.

Watch this space for developments.

Update: CNN has the story.

Update: Daniel McLaughlin, The Independent:

Police say the would-be assassins were captained by Eduardo Rozsa Flores, who led an extraordinary life that began and ended in Santa Cruz, a hotbed of Morales opposition. Mr Flores, who was born in the city in 1960 to Hungarian and Spanish parents, grew up in Hungary, where he was a communist youth leader and acted as a translator for Carlos the Jackal. After covering the start of the Yugoslav wars as a journalist, Mr Flores formed an international volunteers’ brigade fighting for Croatian independence. When the war ended in 1995, he turned to writing poetry and political essays, played himself in a film based on his life, swapped Catholicism for Islam and supported causes from Hungarian nationalism to autonomy for Santa Cruz.

In an interview, recorded to be broadcast in the event of his death, Mr Flores said unnamed figures had asked him to return to his homeland to organise the defence of Santa Cruz in the event of a violent government crackdown on the region. But he insisted he had no intention of attacking the Bolivian capital, La Paz, or of toppling the President. He planned to fly to Brazil last October, before being smuggled into Bolivia, where he would start forming his militia. How a 24-year-old from Tipperary joined that fledgling militia is still a mystery to his parents, who refute Bolivia’s depiction of their son as a deadly assassin. A former engineering student who had worked as a bouncer and security guard, Mr Dwyer described his existence as “travelin, workin, doin a bit a dis and a bit a dat”. On a social networking site, he listed his hobbies as martial arts and pistol shooting, and posted photographs of himself clad in camouflage.

Update, 4/27: Simon Romero of the The New York Times has weighed in. Except for throwing some fashionable sneers, I’m not sure what he has added to our understanding of the story. Someone who sounds like a credible source, Jim Schultz, is quoted as saying that there are elements of tragedy and farce… but Romero apparently forgot to ask him what he thinks happened. The NYT is very good at being snotty, but not very good at investigative journalism. Meanwhile, Bolivia did recently have an armed insurrection in Santa Cruz (and other provinces) which left a lot of indigenous people dead and, so far, not much justice.

Posted in Latin America, terrorism, WTF? | 3 Comments »

Torture: What Would Reagan Do?

Posted by MEC on April 27, 2009

Do Republicans still consider Ronald Reagan their role model? Because if so, they should stop denying that waterboarding is torture and stop insisting that people who authorized and committed waterboarding should not be prosecuted.

During the Reagan Administration, the Department of Justice prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for waterboarding suspects to obtain confessions, and won convictions. The sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and the deputies to 4 years.

The jury in the Texas case rejected the arguments that the torturers “didn’t know it was illegal” and were only following orders.

The authors of the Bush Administration’s infamous memos justifying torture ignored this legal precedent. The Obama Administration’s Justice Department should follow it.

Posted in torture | 2 Comments »

To do what is right or what is effective?/updated

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2009

Keith Olbermann raised an interesting question: was the goal of the torture to elicit false confessions of a link between Iraq and 911, i.e., torture to produce propaganda? I think the answer is obvious: whatever happens in organizations is generally what is intended. If an organization uses techniques known to produce false confessions, then that is what they sought to obtain. Muriel Kane of Raw Story has assembled much of the evidence that this may have been the goal. It’s been interesting to watch Keith’s guests shrink from reaching an obvious conclusion. Their only cover is that from a legal standpoint, the proposition is far from proved.
Update: Jonathan Landay of McClatchy has provided further evidence that torture was used to manufacture evidence of an Iraq-al Qaeda link (via DeLong)

And, separately, Marjorie Cohn and Elizabeth de la Vega have framed perfectly the debate on whether to prosecute torture or whether to proceed through congressional hearings. (Cohn asserts that the function of torture was to produce false confessions but does not demonstrate that). Cohn argues for immediate prosecutions, while de la Vega argues for congressional hearings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Justice Department, Obama Administration, torture, transparency | 3 Comments »

Republicans keep America safe from preparedness

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2009

Thanks to KTLK’s Johnny Wendell for this story.

Just a couple of months ago, Susan Collins was boasting to the Wall Street Journal about how she had stripped out funds for flu preparedness from the stimulus bill:

GOP Wields More Influence Over the Stimulus Bill – The Wall Street Journal

Maine Sen. Collins Leads Group of Moderates Seeking to Trim Package to $700 Billion or Less; Obama Calls for Quick Action

February 5, 2009

WASHINGTON-Republicans are exercising increasing influence over President Barack Obama’s economic-stimulus plan in the Senate, with Maine Sen. Susan Collins emerging as a leader of efforts to trim the initiative and sharpen its focus on job creation. Sen. Collins, a centrist with allies in both parties, was called to the White House Wednesday to meet with Mr. Obama. She envisions holding the cost of the stimulus package to $700 billion or less, well below the $819 billion package of tax cuts and spending the House approved last week.

The target grew out of discussions among a group of moderate Republicans, led by Sen. Collins…

After meeting with Mr. Obama, Sen. Collins expressed concern about a number of spending provisions, including $780 million for pandemic-flu preparedness. “I have no doubt that the president is willing to negotiate in good faith, that he wants to have a bipartisan bill,” Sen. Collins said.

(emphasis added)

Thank goodness for Republicans like Susan Collins, willing to go to the wall to make sure the nation is vulnerable to sickness. Now she can move on to stripping out unnecessary food safety in the peanut industry, removing lead content restrictions for children’s toys, and otherwise making us a freer, deader society.

Posted in budget, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on Republicans keep America safe from preparedness

Good News From Ecuador

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2009

Rafael Correa has been re-elected, apparently quite handily:

President Rafael Correa, a leftist champion of the poor, declared re-election victory Sunday just moments after the polls closed — a win that breaks sharply with Ecuador’s history of political instability.

Three separate exit polls said Correa garnered well over half the vote in an eight-candidate field, making him the first president elected in Ecuador in 30 years without a runoff.

This news won’t get much play on our evening news, which is why I’m passing it along to you. Correa is yet another lefty who has shown that “protectionism” — or rather, not letting multinational corporations and banks ravage you under the pretense of helping you — is not a dirty word.

Posted in Latin America | 1 Comment »

Cassie Has An Announcement

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2009

Freckles Cassie over at Political Teen Tidbits has an announcement to make:

school_suppliesPlease help by mailing school supplies. And encourage the military to keep doing HELPFUL things!

1) Buy school supplies.  Pens, pencils, markers, paper, erasers.

2) Go to the post office and get some APO/FPO flat rate boxes that are used especially for sending mail to the military overseas.  If you order 10, they’re free, and they’ll ship them for free.

3) Insert the school supplies into the boxes, seal, fill out a customs form, and mail the school supplies to this USAF Airman, and he will make sure that the supplies go to children in the schools that they’re building in Afghanistan.

Isaac Greenberg
710th BSB, 3BCT, 10th MTN
FOB Shank, AFAPO AE 09364

Thank you!

Thanks, Cassie!

Posted in Afghanistan | 1 Comment »

Keep It Up, FOX!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 27, 2009

Independocrat mentions that polling done post-teaparties shows that, contrary to what FOX News and the other corporate entities funding the teabaggers hoped would happen, President Obama is more popular, and the GOP less popular, with the general public than before the teabagging commenced.

Posted in eedjits, Flying Monkey Right, Fox Noise | Tagged: | Comments Off on Keep It Up, FOX!

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