American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Marc Perkel Rantz:
Berg Video - SMOKING GUN?
Unfortunately, Perkel doesn't source this claim, so it is impossible to check out, but if the claim is true (or if even such "watermarking" technology is used), this certainly would be big news.
There has been a semi-secret government initiative to add digital signatures to various digital consumer products. Photocopiers and digital cameras store an encrypted signature to identify the unit that made the video. This digitial signature is totally inique to each device and is more unique than a fingerprint.

Today new pictures were released of prison torture at Abu Ghraib prison. But not just still pictures. Today video was released showing prisoners being tortured by Americans. Aparently Kodak film experts are Kodak Park in Rochester New York have compared the digital watermarks of the turture video and the beheading video and have determined that one of the cameras used in the Nick Berg beheading is THE SAME CAMERA that took the prison torture video.

If this turns out to be true then there is NO DOUBT that Berg was killed by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison.

Friday, May 21, 2004
Israel has uncovered only one tunnel used for arms smuggling during the ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said in a television interview broadcast Friday.

The U.S. military, embroiled in a scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners, is investigating as homicides the deaths of eight more detainees -- including one of Saddam Hussein's top generals -- held by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Friday
A witness who told ABCNEWS he believed the military was covering up the extent of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was today stripped of his security clearance and told he may face prosecution because his comments were "not in the national interest."
Thank God they cleared that up, I was getting worried.
Oh, my God!
Village Voice:
The Jesus Landing Pad
Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move
Leaked e-mail shows White House takes Israel policy from Rapture Christians.
But now we know.

"Everything that you're discussing is information you're not supposed to have," barked Pentecostal minister Robert G. Upton when asked about the off-the-record briefing his delegation received on March 25. Details of that meeting appear in a confidential memo signed by Upton and obtained by the Voice.

Wonderful. Just fucking wonderful.

By Paul Campos
Suppose that early last year, when President Bush retreated to his prayer closet to commune with the Lord, the Almighty had given the Somewhat Less Mighty the straight dope on Iraq. Such a conversation might have sounded something like this.

"W, I'm not going to beat around the burning bush: You're headed for a Texas-sized disaster. First off, I know you won't believe this even coming from Me, but you'll never guess who's right about Iraq: Hans Blix! That's right -- all that stuff about how the U.N. inspections process is working, and just needs more time to get the job done? It's actually true.

re's another shocker: Saddam has already gotten rid of his weapons of mass destruction. He's being intransigent not because he's hiding weapons, but because he thinks he can't afford to lose face by caving in to foreign threats. This is a huge miscalculation on his part, but hey -- he doesn't have the benefit of My advice. You do, so listen up.

you invade Iraq, you're going to win the easiest of military victories. The Iraqi army is a fraud. At this point, Iraq barely poses a threat to its neighbors, let alone to America. That's the good news. But it's also the bad news.

"I know it's tempting to knock over an evil dictator who has a fake army and imaginary weapons of mass destruction. After all, Karl Rove is whispering that your approval rating will go through the roof, and that, as an extra added bonus, it's also the right thing to do. How often does that happen anyway -- that the politically expedient course also happens to be the morally right one? Not very often, let me tell you what.

"And it's not happening here, either. Invading Iraq is going to be a foreign policy fiasco. Remember, there are no WMDs, so you're going to have to invent another justification for the war after the fact. Your advisers will come up with a doozy: liberating Iraq from the contemporary equivalent of Hitler, so as to turn it into a model democracy, thereby creating an entirely new historical dynamic that will eventually transform the entire Middle East into a stable, peaceful region.

"Sounds downright Messianic, doesn't it? But wait, I haven't even gotten to the best part. They're going to try to convince you that all this can be done on the economy plan. There will be no need to bring back the draft, or even raise taxes: Since Iraq can be conquered with a relatively small military force, all you'll have to do is shock and awe the Iraqis with a few thousand smart bombs, pull down some statues of Saddam on live network television, and presto: You're on the road to world historical transformation at bargain basement prices!

"If all this sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. W, we've known each other for quite awhile now, and if there's one thing I've tried to get into your head it's that doing the right thing is never cheap or easy.

"Doing the right thing in Iraq might mean continuing the often frustrating work of containing and undermining Saddam's regime through the U.N. sanctions and inspections process. Or it might mean undertaking the sort of massive military and economic project that would have a real chance of transforming the region -- a project that would require real sacrifices on the part of the average American voter.

"I'm not going to tell you which path to take. But I will tell you this: What your advisers are planning won't work. And one last thing: Remind your friend Karl for me that the road to Hell is paved with focus group poll data."

Deep down, these guys are nothing but cheap hoods, two-bit chiselers hustling for loot, thug-brained goons  ...Chris Floyd:
Matters of great moment are suddenly in the air all around us: stark evidence of war crimes by the leaders of the West; the growing certainty of a humiliating geopolitical defeat inflicted on the world's greatest power; terrorism and torture as the mirrored emblems of the age, a deadly double helix giving rise to a hideous global reality.

It's tempting in such times to inflate the image of those in the forefront of events, painting them, for good or ill, in the colors of legend: bold, outsize figures, Great Ones playing dice with nations, characters whose roiling depths -- tragic, evil or heroic -- transcend the puny limits of the common herd. Although on rare occasions this viewpoint might hold true, the squalid history of our ill-cobbled species provides endless examples to the contrary.

And they don't come any more squalid than the crew now steering the American boat straight into the shoals of disaster. For despite all the grandiose political rhetoric and world-historical perturbations emanating from the Bush Regime's imperial project, we should never lose sight of one simple fact: Deep down, these guys are nothing but cheap hoods, two-bit chiselers hustling for loot, thug-brained goons with no more grandeur about them than the meanest pack of Mafia knee-breakers. ...

That's how they operate, these cheap hoods. Like Saddam, like Osama, they mouth great pieties, they strut and preen on the world's stage. But underneath they're still nothing but witless, murdering, money-grubbing goons.

[ As always, lots of good links.]

Bob Herbert:
'Gooks' to 'Hajis'
Killing the village to save it.
"Imagine being in the infantry in Ramadi, like we were," he said, "where you get shot at every day and you get mortared where you live, [and attacked] with R.P.G.'s [rocket-propelled grenades], and people are dying and getting wounded and maimed every day. A lot of horrible things become acceptable."

He spoke about a friend of his, a sniper, who he said had shot a child about 10 years old who was carrying an automatic weapon. "He realized it was a kid," said Sergeant Mejia. "The kid tried to get up. He shot him again."

Thursday, May 20, 2004
Very early in the day television news cameras and blow-dried corporate spokesman began to arrive. At one point, two of the ten activists were being interviewed by two different TV stations, while a third was on live talk radio via a cell phone. During one interview with an especially enthusiastic and young activist, the talking head asked, “You’re 17 years old. What are you doing out here? Why aren’t you at home watching MTV?” [more]

Q: You fired into six or ten kids? Were they all taken out?

    A: Oh, yeah. Well, I had a "mercy" on one guy. When we rolled up, he was hiding behind a concrete pillar. I saw him and raised my weapon up, and he put up his hands. He ran off. I told everybody, "Don't shoot." Half of his foot was trailing behind him. So he was running with half of his foot cut off.

    Q: After you lit up the demonstration, how long before the next incident?

    A: Probably about one or two hours. This is another thing, too. I am so glad I am talking with you, because I suppressed all of this.

    Q: Well, I appreciate you giving me the information, as hard as it must be to recall the painful details.

    A: That's all right. It's kind of therapy for me. Because it's something that I had repressed for a long time.

    Q: And the incident?

    A: There was an incident with one of the cars. We shot an individual with his hands up. He got out of the car. He was badly shot. We lit him up. I don't know who started shooting first. One of the Marines came running over to where we were and said: "You all just shot a guy with his hands up." Man, I forgot about this. [more]

The Cheney Gang embraces an unfortunate but fundamental truth: there are billions to be made and power to be grabbed through war, pestilence, and chaos; not so much to be made through peace, equality, and stability. You have admit that enslaving the richest and most powerful country on the planet to forward the business plans of, at most, three or four hundred people is a ballsy move. But make no mistake: true, effective homeland security is antithetical to their aims. This country, and control of its government, is their tool. Period.

Their success - both past and future - depends absolutely on the fear, greed, ignorance, and denial of millions of people. The Gang has been masterful at generating and manipulating these conditions. The greatest power they have is based in chaos. In the next few months, expect to see the degree of chaos increase geometrically - especially since their chances of being elected have diminished somewhat.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Spc. Sabrina Harmon, also of the 372nd Military Police Company, gives a thumbs-up sign by the body of Iraqi detainee Manadel al-Jamadi, who was beaten to death while in US Custody.

An Israeli attack helicopter fired several missiles into a crowd of demonstrators in the besieged town of Rafah yesterday, with the death toll estimated at between 10 and 23.

The attack took place around 2.30pm as several hundred protesters were trying to approach Israeli tanks sealing off the town's Tel Sultan district.
As you by now know, I am off blogging for a bit at least. I did want to post at least something on Abu Ghraib. My letter to John McCain:
Senator John McCain:

You were held as a prisoner of war for five years. I am sure that nothing I can imagine would come close to what that experience was like for you. I am equally sure that that at least some if not most of what you experienced was not in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

I am writing you today regarding the revelations of Abu Ghraib. Have we really sunk this low? Sexual torture? Is this what we have become in our zeal to avenge 9/11?

Senator, did anything like this happen to you? I certainly hope not. But if it did not, it means that the Geneva Conventions, as poorly as they can be implimented, are better than any alternatives.

We have an administration that has tossed the Geneva Conventions aside as an inconvenient restaint; an administration that does not understand that we adhere to the Geneva Conventions not because we so care about our captives, but rather because we wish for our own captured to be treated in an honorable fashion. I know you understand this.

I am not a proud American today. I am ashamed of my country, and I don't like that one bit. I am better than that, Senator, and WE are better than that.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
A 32-page pamphlet from Gush Shalom which aims to "demolish the myths, conventional lies, and historical falsehoods" related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
During April, Iraqis worked on only four projects — all of them rehabilitating military bases for the new Iraqi security forces, Cole said in a telephone interview from Baghdad. The four base rehabilitation projects, now nearing completion, once employed as many as 8,800 Iraqis.

More than 6,000 Iraqis — in a total work force of more than 24,000 — are working for Halliburton Corp., which has contracts to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure and supply U.S. troops, company spokeswoman Wendy Hall said.
You have not been maltreated...
US prison officials giving prisoners 20 dollars and a slip of paper stating "You have not been maltreated. Return to your home in peace and know that the Americans are working for a better life for the Iraqi people".
Could a spate of refinery mergers under the Bush Administration (reducing the number of refineries in America and allowing the top four a 67 percent share of the market on the west coast and control of 77 percent of the gasoline market on the east coast) worth 19.5 billion dollars be what is allowing our consumer gas prices to top two dollars a gallon?

As the article points out it may be easy enough for these energy concerns to lower gas prices by election time; they just need to refine more product- and being both major contributors to the Bush campaign as well as major beneficiaries I'm sure the can find it in their collective corporate hearts to do so. Record earnings for the first quarter ought to lessen the pain of lowering prices to ensure their benefactor's election. It seems counter-intuitive that if rising oil prices were the only reason for higher gas prices that oil company profits would skyrocket so.

Mr Bush, as Bob Woodwards book "Plan of Attack" points out, is shameless about conspiring with a foreign power to effect our Presidential election this fall- Prince Bandhar of Saudi Arabia has pledged to get gas prices lower by an increase of oil production.

When is Michael Moores film "Fahrenheit 9/11" coming out? .

Monday, May 17, 2004
Via Whisky Bar

It is unlikely that President George W. Bush or senior officials ever knew of these specific techniques, and late last week Defense spokesman Larry DiRita said that "no responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have been intended to result in such abuses." But a NEWSWEEK investigation shows that, as a means of pre-empting a repeat of 9/11, Bush, along with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, signed off on a secret system of detention and interrogation that opened the door to such methods. It was an approach that they adopted to sidestep the historical safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, which protect the rights of detainees and prisoners of war. In doing so, they overrode the objections of Secretary of State Colin Powell and America's top military lawyers—and they left underlings to sweat the details of what actually happened to prisoners in these lawless places. While no one deliberately authorized outright torture, these techniques entailed a systematic softening up of prisoners through isolation, privations, insults, threats and humiliation—methods that the Red Cross concluded were "tantamount to torture."

The Bush administration created a bold legal framework to justify this system of interrogation, according to internal government memos obtained by NEWSWEEK.

Josh Marshall notes that the DOD changed their statement about Herst's New Yorker article. The initial statement was a "non-denial denial" and the follow up was a more firm denial.
Sunday, May 16, 2004

They will destroy this shop (and all the other shops and homes in this area) tomorrow or the next day.

Here is some of the 100 they did yesterday.

This is a kid who got hit by pieces of a neighboring office building which fell on him, killing members of his extended family.

Where the Refugees live now.

The actions were taken by the Israeli army to avenge the deaths of 13 of their occupation soldiers. They defend 7,000 Israeli settlers who control close to 40 percent of the land, the coast and waterways, the groundwater, the airspace, and all borders. In the remaning bisected land where 1.5 million Palestinians live, making it one of the most densely populated places on earth. The houses destroyed are in areas where Palestinian fighters defend their homes from Israeli raids, or are used as smuggling points to bring weapons for the resistance in from Egypt. Israel is proposing to destroy hundreds of Palestinian homes near the Egyptian border. The move has been condemned by the United States, Europe, the UN, and many other international organizations and groups. It was, however, approved by the Israeli supreme court as a legitimate tool in the war to subdue the Palestinian resistance and terrorism.

Behind the Scenes,U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future
Hand-Picked Proxies, Advisers Will Be Given Key Roles In Interim Government

The Headline (above) of the Wall Street Journal gives you a condensed version of the article posted there explaining the Bush Administration's concept of Iraqi sovereignty. Read the whole thing and learn.

Now there's a conversation starter.
The Times has identified at least 18 cases of deaths of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan beginning in 2002 from apparent mistreatment or shootings during prison unrest and other incidents. At least 14 occurred in Iraq and four in Afghanistan. The CIA has been connected by investigators, witnesses or other sources to as many as five of the deaths.

Independent human rights groups insist that more have died than the military has disclosed. They say that the military has refused to release sufficient information and that the investigations so far have provided too little accountability. Apparently, only one low-ranking soldier has been tried and convicted for shooting an unarmed prisoner. He was demoted to private and discharged from the Army.

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