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Archive for the ‘Gitmo’ Category

The Weird Obliqueness Of The GOP

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 24, 2009

I’m sure by now you all have heard about the rather strange Republican National Committee attack ad leveled against Nancy Pelosi as part of their grand and deeply misogynistic GOP/Media pile-on intended to distract our attention from Bush/Cheney crimes.

What’s unusual here is that it’s a stupid ad, and fails at its task. If the RNC wants to strike fear in the hearts and genitals of white male blue-collar voters, they can’t do so by comparing Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore. Ms. Galore is a sexy, smart, sympathetic character, and a good girl at heart who Bond winds up redeeming. If they wanted to use a Bond villainess to hit the various misogyny and homophobia buttons in the Joe Sixpacks of the nation, Rosa Klebb would have been the smarter choice by far — see, Rosa Klebb’s a lesbian, and Pelosi lives in San Francisco, which has lots of lesbians!

But aside from whether the ad itself actually works, it seems to be typical of a new iteration of their long-standing habit of obliqueness from the Republicans — similar to what the late Lee Atwater referred to in 1981 as “getting abstract“:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.”’

Ever wonder why Republicans pushed the Obama’s-A-Muslim and Obama’s-A-Foreigner storylines? It’s because, as Lee Atwater said back in 1981, you can’t say ‘nigger’. Just as “cutting taxes” became oblique, abstracted Republican code for oppressing black people, Republicans use Muslims and foreigners as stand-ins for black and brown people in America.

And Al Giordano notes yet another facet of the GOP’s abstraction diamond, in that the hysteria whipped up over housing Guantanamo detainees in US prisons is made to subtly piggyback onto not just general fears of The Other, but onto the fears previously whipped up against undocumented workers from Latin America.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, Gitmo, Pelosi, President Obama, propaganda, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on The Weird Obliqueness Of The GOP

Christiane Amanpour Smacks Down A Right-Wing Gitmo Meme

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 5, 2009

Hat tip to icebergslim for posting this CNN-via-DKos video of Christiane Amanpour pushing back on fellow CNN talker Carol Costello’s attempt to push a right-wing “we must keep Guantanamo going” theme:

COSTELLO: Well, but some people might say that President Obama is giving the French some of what it wants and other European leaders like the closing of Guantanamo Bay and supposedly we’re moving the troops from Iraq very soon. These are things that Europeans wanted.


COSTELLO: I’m being devil’s advocate because some critics say, you know, President Obama is giving too much away, he’s deferring too much.

AMANPOUR: Can we just be counter-devil’s advocate? Obama is not closing Guantanamo for the Europeans; he’s closing it because it has caused the single biggest anti-American sentiment around the world and because it violates America’s principles, its morals, its rules of law and all of the rest of it. He’s not doing it for the Europeans, he’s not bringing the troops out of Iraq for the Europeans. He’s making his own considered judgment on the war Iraq for American reasons, those happen to be shared by the Europeans and that will help in that way, but he’s not outsourcing American foreign policy for any other country. It’s national interest and it happens to be one that converges with one of the rest of the world.

More like this, please.

Posted in Gitmo, GOP/Media Complex, Guantanamo, President Obama | 4 Comments »

Inside info

Posted by Charles II on February 15, 2009

Via Atrios, this story from Scott Horton:

Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading.

What’s interesting in this story is not only the fact that we’ve been systematically lied to, but the fact that what went on at Guantanamo increasingly resembles our civilian prison system. If what went on in Guantanamo was torture, and it clearly was, then what goes on every day in our stateside prisons is also.

I don’t have a good solution. Incarceration is the only solution for many lawbreakers, and incarceration is difficult to manage under the best circumstances. But under international law, the US prison system may well be illegal.

Posted in Gitmo, torture | 5 Comments »

Boumediene Wins Again!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 20, 2008

As do we all. He and four other Algerian Guantanamo inmates will be free men soon, thanks to US District Judge Richard Leon. Take it away, bmaz!

Now the best part of this story is that one of the five Leon ordered released is Lakhdar Boumediene. Boumediene has kicked George Bush and the criminal cabal that has assisted him in committing war crimes and illegal, immoral detentions so many times that you would think the Bushies are rented mules.

Indeed he has.

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Constitutional crisis, Gitmo, Good Things, habeas corpus, judicial rulings, judiciary | 2 Comments »

Gold star for a journalist

Posted by Charles II on October 25, 2008

One story that we’ve tried to cover is that torture of captives is not an aberration that magically appeared in 2001. It is common in the American justice system. There is a direct line from the American prison system to the torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib:

[Psychiatrist Terry Kupers said that] “The plight of prisoners in the USA is strikingly similar to the plight of the Iraqis who were abused by American GIs. Prisoners are maced, raped, beaten, starved, left naked in freezing cold cells and otherwise abused in too many American prisons, as substantiated by findings in many courts that prisoners’ constitutional rights to remain free of cruel and unusual punishment are being violated.”

Torture techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo are all too familiar in prisons in the U.S. as well. Hooded, robed figures with electrical wiring attached to them have been seen at the city jail in Sacramento, California. Prisoners in Maricopa County jails in Phoenix, Arizona have been forced to wear women’s underwear. And guards in the Utah prison system have piled naked bodies in grotesque and uncomfortable positions.

And there are heroes who have stood up to expose our rotten prisons. Perhaps none is as persistent and as modest as John Conroy of the Chicago Reader, whose 19-year long dedication to exposing police torture in Chicago is described here by Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Romenesko):

As a reporter for the Chicago Reader, John Conroy wrote more than 100,000 words about the police torture scandal between the time he started looking into it in 1989 and when he was laid off last December because of budget cuts.

Although he would tell you he’s only a “bit player,” Conroy was probably as responsible as anyone for keeping the police torture issue in Chicago’s consciousness during that time. He wrote about it and wrote about it, to the point that it probably wasn’t good for his career, because nobody likes a Johnny-one-note.

His editor suggested he move on to the next subject, and he tried. After all, he told himself, he wasn’t having much impact. But he kept coming back.

“It seemed be a matter of life and death,” he explained. “There were guys on Death Row that were going to die.”

I don’t mean to hold Conroy out as a hero. He wouldn’t like that, and I promised him I wouldn’t. He was just a journalist doing a job.

May the road rise up to meet you, Mr. Conroy. As we try to scrub the stain of Guantanamo off of our nation, your nearly two decades of patient work may help us to find and erase the source, which lies within our own hearts.

Posted in Gitmo, Good Things, heroes, media, torture, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Please, sir, may I have a bowl of rights?

Posted by Charles II on October 15, 2007

Via Naomi Wolf, firedogging it, The American Freedom Campaign:

The American Freedom Campaign Agenda
At critical moments in our history, Americans have been called upon to protect our Constitutional guarantees of liberty and justice. We face such a moment today. The American Freedom Campaign is a non-partisan citizens’ alliance formed to reverse the abuse of executive power and restore our system of checks and balances with these ten goals:

Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one’s detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.

Prohibit torture
and all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Prohibit the use of secret evidence.

Prohibit the detention of anyone, including U.S. citizens, as an “enemy combatant”
outside the battlefield, and on the President’s say-so alone.

Prohibit the government from secretly breaking and entering our homes, tapping our phones or email, or seizing our computers without a court order, on the President’s say-so alone.

Prohibit the President from “disappearing” anyone
and holding them in secret detention.

Prohibit the executive from claiming “state secrets”
to deny justice to victims of government misdeeds, and from claiming “executive privilege” to obstruct Congressional oversight and an open government.

Prohibit the abuse of signing statements, where the President seeks to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills.

Use the federal courts, or courts-martial, to charge and prosecute terrorism suspects, and close Guantanamo down.

Reaffirm that the Espionage Act does not prohibit journalists
from reporting on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution.

Posted in Constitution, Fire Dog Lake, Gitmo, habeas corpus, rights, speaking truth to power | 1 Comment »

They Hate Our Freedoms

Posted by MEC on September 19, 2007

Senate Republicans quashed a bill to restore habeas corpus.

The Reuters headline says the “Senate” barred the bill, but a quick check of the roll call in the Senate’s web site confirmed that every vote against the bill was cast by a Republican. (I include Joe Lieberman in that count.)

Senator Leahy explained briefly and clearly why habeas corpus is necessary:

“Any of these people could be detained forever without the ability to challenge their detention in federal court” under the changes in law Congress made last year, Leahy said on the Senate floor. This was true “even if they (authorities) made a mistake and picked up the wrong person.”

But the Republicans — with the exception of Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and John Sununu — obviously want innocent people punished for others’ mistakes and suspects condemned without a trial.

Bush is fond of saying that our enemies hate our freedoms.

In the words of the immortal Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Posted in abuse of power, Congress, Constitution, Gitmo, Guantanamo, habeas corpus | 4 Comments »

Bush’s Worst Nightmare: Guantanamo Whistleblower

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 23, 2007

Just Us

From the NYT via Hudson at DailyKos (emphases mine):

Stephen E. Abraham’s assignment to the Pentagon unit that runs the hearings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, seemed a perfect fit.A lawyer in civilian life, he had been decorated for counterespionage and counterterrorism work during 22 years as a reserve Army intelligence officer in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His posting, just as the Guantánamo hearings were accelerating in 2004, gave him a close-up view of the government’s detention policies.

It also turned him into one of the Bush administration’s most unlikely adversaries.

In June, Colonel Abraham became the first military insider to criticize publicly the Guantánamo hearings, which determine whether detainees should be held indefinitely as enemy combatants. Just days after detainees’ lawyers submitted an affidavit containing his criticisms, the United States Supreme Court reversed itself and agreed to hear an appeal arguing that the hearings are unjust and that detainees have a right to contest their detentions in federal court.

Some lawyers say Colonel Abraham’s account — of a hearing procedure that he described as deeply flawed and largely a tool for commanders to rubber-stamp decisions they had already made — may have played an important role in the justices’ highly unusual reversal. That decision once again brought the administration face to face with the vexing legal, political and diplomatic questions about the fate of Guantánamo and the roughly 360 men still held there.

Of course, the dead-enders in the Cheney-Bush Junta will still blow this off. If they can blow off Jack Murtha and Walter Jones, they can blow off Colonel Abraham. But the sane among us will not.

Posted in abuse of power, Afghanistan, Gitmo, Guantanamo, Iraq war, madness of King George | 2 Comments »

Can It Be True?

Posted by MEC on June 21, 2007

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White House near decision to close Guantanamo

The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.


Cheney’s office and the Justice Department have been dead set against the step, arguing that moving “unlawful” enemy combatant suspects to the U.S. would give them undeserved legal rights.

If it is true, this could be the reason:

In Congress, recently introduced legislation would require Guantanamo’s closure.

The Busheviks will want to make it appear that it was their decision, and have control over where the detainees end up.

Posted in Gitmo, Guantanamo | 6 Comments »