Blogs

  • The real heroes of the War on Terror: 6 brave Americans who defied Bush’s torture doctrine

    Blogs February 11, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Why was it again that, as President Obama said, “we tortured some folks” after the 9/11 attacks? Oh, right, because we were terrified. Because everyone knows that being afraid gives you moral license to do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe. That’s why we don’t shame or punish those who were too scared to imagine doing anything else. We honor and revere them. . . . Wouldn’t anyone do what these men did, if they, too, were frightened out of their wits? Actually, no. In fact, the sad, ugly story of the U.S. response to the criminal acts of 9/11 is brightened by a number of people who have displayed genuine courage in saying no to and turning their backs on torture. Their choices prove that Bush, Cheney, & Co. could have said no as well.

     
  • Lone wolf terrorists are exceedingly rare, so why does everyone keep talking about them?

    Source: Tom Dispatch. “The lone wolf is the new nightmare,” wrote Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer recently, and the conservative pundit wasn’t alone in thinking so. You could multiply such statements many times over. There’s only one problem with the rising crescendo of alarm about lone wolves: most of it simply isn’t true. There’s nothing new about the “threat” and the concept is notoriously unreliable, as well as selectively used. (These days, “lone wolf” has largely become a stand-in for “Islamic terrorist,” though the category itself is not bound to any specific ideological type.) Worst of all, its recent highlighting paves the way for the heightening of abusive and counterproductive police and national security practices, including the infiltration of minority and activist communities and elaborate sting operations that ensnare the vulnerable.

     
  • The birth of a new civil rights movement

    Blogs December 31, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: Politico. “The shattering events of 2014, beginning with Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, in August, did more than touch off a national debate about police behavior, criminal justice and widening inequality in America. They also gave a new birth of passion and energy to a civil rights movement that had almost faded into history, and which had been in the throes of a slow comeback since the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. . . . This re-energized millennial movement, which will make itself felt all the more in 2015, differs from its half-century-old civil rights-era forebear in a number of important ways. One, it is driven far more by social media and hashtags than marches and open-air rallies”

     
  • When the snitch turns

    Blogs December 30, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: Simple Justice. “A 50-year-old felon and drug addict, Coogle was the principal Tampa Police Department informer against at least five suspects this year. . . . In their probable-cause affidavits, his handlers called him reliable. Even Tampa’s police chief praised his “track record.” Coogle said they were all wrong. He said he repeatedly lied about suspects . . . .But as long as he was playing on the cops’ team, he was as solid as they come. Solid enough to send out the SWAT team after Jason Westcott. One of those he lied about, he said, was Jason Westcott, a young man with no criminal convictions whom a SWAT team killed during a drug raid that found just $2 worth of marijuana. . . . Chief Castor played both sides of the fence, bizarrely claiming that Coogle was credible whenever he was being paid by her cops for information, but an utterly despicable liar when he snitched on her cops. But then, this is the side of snitches that isn’t supposed to see the light of day.”

     
  • Another torture report and still no prosecutions

    Blogs December 26, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: Counterpunch. Rather than saving lives–as Cheney and Bush hiss through clenched teeth–torture has and will cost countless U.S lives, at home and abroad, as a self-righteously violent blowback, fueled by tortured minds, spreads in all directions from U.S. dungeons, from CIA drone strike zones, from depleted uranium target areas, and from other U.S. military occupations. The time for special criminal prosecution is long overdue and putting the responsible individuals on trial is crucial to prevent a repetition of these crimes. As CCR’s Ratner said Dec. 19, “Cheney’s statement proves why we must prosecute torture. If not held accountable, torture will be practiced again.”

     
  • Stop asking Muslims to condemn terrorism. It’s bigoted and Islamophobic.

    Blogs December 19, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: Vox. “There’s a certain ritual that each and every one of the world’s billion-plus Muslims, especially those living in Western countries, is expected to go through immediately following any incident of violence involving a Muslim perpetrator. It’s a ritual that is continuing now with the Sydney hostage crisis, in which a deranged self-styled sheikh named Man Haron Monis took several people hostage in a downtown café.Here is what Muslims and Muslim organizations are expected to say: “As a Muslim, I condemn this attack and terrorism in any form.” This expectation we place on Muslims, to be absolutely clear, is Islamophobic and bigoted.”

     
  • US television provides ample platform for American torturers, but none to their victims

    Blogs December 16, 2014 at 0 comments

    Source: Common Dreams. “Ever since the torture report was released last week, U.S. television outlets have endlessly featured American torturers and torture proponents. But there was one group that was almost never heard from: the victims of their torture, not even the ones recognized by the U.S. Government itself as innocent, not even the family members of the ones they tortured to death. Whether by design (most likely) or effect, this inexcusable omission radically distorts coverage. Whenever America is forced to confront its heinous acts, the central strategy is to disappear the victims, render them invisible. That’s what robs them of their humanity: it’s the process of dehumanization. That, in turns, is what enables American elites first to support atrocities, and then, when forced to reckon with them, tell themselves that – despite some isolated and well-intentioned bad acts – they are still really good, elevated, noble, admirable people.”

     
  • Obama’s justice department grants final immunity to Bush’s CIA torturers

    Blogs, Op-Eds August 31, 2012 at 1 comment

    Source: The Guardian. The Obama administration’s aggressive, full-scale whitewashing of the “war on terror” crimes committed by Bush officials is now complete. Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the closing without charges of the only two cases under investigation relating to the US torture program: one that resulted in the 2002 death of an Afghan detainee at a secret CIA prison near Kabul, and the other the 2003 death of an Iraqi citizen while in CIA custody at Abu Ghraib. This decision, says the New York Times Friday, “eliminat[es] the last possibility that any criminal charges will be brought as a result of the brutal interrogations carried out by the CIA”.

     
  • Excuses for assassination secrecy

    Blogs, Op-Eds July 12, 2012 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Of course, the right way to provide “accountability” when the President wants to execute a citizen is for him to have to show evidence to a court that the execution is warranted — at the very least, to obtain an indictment — and have a court provide oversight (exactly the way progressives spent the entire Bush years vehemently demanding be done for mere eavesdropping and detention, let alone assassinations). But the Obama administration vehemently resists any such due process, so at the very least, some sort of post-assassination accountability.

     
  • Surveillance State democracy

    Blogs May 6, 2012 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. [W]hen Saudi Arabia and the UAE both announced a ban on BlackBerries on the ground that they were physically unable to monitor the communications conducted on those devices … the Obama administration actually condemned the Saudi and UAE ban, calling it “a dangerous precedent” and a threat to “democracy, human rights and freedom of information.” Yet six weeks later, the very same Obama administration embraced exactly the same rationale — that it is intolerable for any human interaction to take place beyond the prying eyes and ears of the government — when it proposed its mandatory “backdoor access” for all forms of Internet communication.