Saturday, June 12, 2004

'DISAPPEARED': America's Secret International Prison System 

From the Observer:

The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began.

In the past three years, thousands of alleged militants have been transferred around the world by American, Arab and Far Eastern security services, often in secret operations that by-pass extradition laws. The astonishing traffic has seen many, including British citizens, sent from the West to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. Anything learnt is passed on to the US and, in some cases, reaches British intelligence.
The practice of 'renditions' - when suspects are handed directly into the custody of another state without due process - has sparked particular anger. At least 70 such transfers have occurred, according to CIA sources. Many involve men who have been freed by the courts and are thus legally innocent. Renditions are often used when American interrogators believe that harsh treatment - banned in their own country - would produce results.

The story gives details of several such cases, when individuals who had been found innocent by their own countries were smuggled into this ghost network of US prisons. In other words, they were disappeared.

We've long since left conspiracy-theory territory, folks.


... a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch.

From Knight-Ridder:

What began as a military investigation of seven low-ranking Army reservists accused of tormenting Iraqi prisoners now appears likely to become a wide-ranging examination of whether top civilian and military leaders authorized torture or approved efforts to intimidate, humiliate or degrade suspected terrorists in violation of U.S. laws.

The Army is considering placing its investigation under a four-star general, a move that would permit a top to bottom examination of the actions of the military chain of command, including those of the commander of all U.S. forces in Iraq. The current head of the investigation is a two-star general.

In Congress, Democrats and some Republicans are calling for greater scrutiny of what interrogation guidelines the Bush administration approved for dealing with prisoners in Afghanistan and at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Such scrutiny is likely over the actions of top aides to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Following April's release of photographs of abuse by U.S. soldiers in Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, military leaders and Bush administration officials denounced the acts as the isolated work of undisciplined reservists.

Since that time, however, the Army has announced that it is investigating the deaths of 127 prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, and evidence compiled by military and congressional investigators indicates that top civilian and military leaders dispensed contradictory advice on how far to push the bounds of laws against torture and whether certain detainees were covered by international treaties.

One hundred and twenty-seven prisoner deaths are being investigated.

One hundred and twenty-seven.



So, any predictions for when Bush and Rove will decide that it's the right time to trot out bin Laden in handcuffs?

Best bets:

- Late July, around the Democrats' convention.

- Early September (maybe around the 11th), to give a boost to Bush after the Republican convention.

- Early to mid-October--the "October Surprise" we've heard plenty of speculation about.

My guess, though, is that they know those three times are too obvious, too transparent. They'll do it at some odd time--say, to drown out the hubbub around some unflattering report or revelation, perhaps to do with the Plame investigation.

This is all just idle speculation, of course....


My father is hitting the road from Texas to come to Montana for the birth of the new Bushwhacker, so we'll back off from daily updates until July 12 or so. We've got a wireless network and he's got a laptop, though, so I'm sure we'll keep posting on the main site from time to time.

Meanwhile, we're going to put together a few posts for the blog. We hope you'll stay tuned....

Friday, June 11, 2004

Rush Limbaugh is working on his third divorce 

He likes to remind us of all the great values from days gone by. Who does this guy think he is--Mickey Rooney?**

Limbaugh announces end of 10-year marriage

He couldn't have picked a better time to announce it, could he? They're lowering Reagan into the ground as we speak.

**For you younger folks who might not know, Mickey Rooney is an old 30s-40s film star who was married EIGHT TIMES--but that doesn't stop the reactionary conservatives from using his old-fashioned FILMS as examples of "the way things ought to be," ad nauseum.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Are Treaties Legal? 

Why, yes, Virginia, any treaties the U.S. is party to are very certainly laws. Let's make it real simple--like we're telling it to a five-year-old, okay?

Bush to the US Constitution: Drop Dead

Time for a civics lesson and I'll attempt a little Q & A in my half-assed way of having a Socratic dialogue:

Q: Are treaties law?

A: Yes. Article VI Clause 2 of the US Constitution reads as follows:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. [my emphasis]

Q: How do treaties become law?

A: They are signed by the president and must be submitted to the Senate and a 2/3 vote of the Senators present is needed for approval or ratification.

Q: Is the Convention Against Torture (CAT) a treaty?

A: Yes.

Q: Did the president sign it?

A: Yes, President Reagan signed it on April 11, 1988 and the senate ratified it on October 21, 1994.

Q: Why did it take so long to be ratified?

A: Because on signing the treaty the US made a list of several reservations, including this one: "That the United States declares that the provisions of articles 1 through 16 of the Convention are not self-executing."

Q: What did that mean?

A: That meant that specific laws had to be passed and signed into law which essentially made torture a crime under United States Law and provided for jurisdiction by the US regardless of where torture is committed provided either the "the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender." This law is commonly referred to as either the CAT implementing legislation or the Torture Statute.

Q: So the terms of the Convention Against Torture is the law of the land in the United States, right?

A: Yes it is, with the exception of the few reservations the US made.

Q: Aren't there exceptions when torture can be justified?

A: No, Article 2 Paragraph 2 states "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

Q: Did the United States have a reservation regarding this section?

A: No.

Q: What is the role of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government?

A: The role of the Executive Branch is to enforce the laws.

Q: Who is in charge of the Executive Branch?

A: The President of the United States.

Q: So would it be fair to say that the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States?

A: Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution states that among the president's duties "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." So although it is not specifically spelled out in the Constitution that the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, given that he is in charge of the Executive Branch and the Executive Branch enforces the laws and among his duties is to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, your answer is essentially correct.

Q: So given his role as chief law enforcement officer and given the fact that the Convention Against Torture is the law of the land and given the fact that the Convention Against Torture provides for ""No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture," why would the president's legal advisers say "The president, despite domestic and international laws constraining the use of torture, has the authority as commander in chief to approve almost any physical or psychological actions during interrogation, up to and including torture?"

A: I cannot possibly explain why.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004


For reasons I do not comprehend, the main site for BushWhackedUSA is currently down, with an obnoxious message from the server. I'm sure we'll be back online soon. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows? Who knows?



It's true.

They even have a jelly bean picture of him.

Sniff sniff.


I'm already sick of the glowing, boring, demented praise of Ronald Reagan that I've seen coming form the right and, in large part, from the mainstream media. You'd think Reagan was Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and Jesus Christ all rolled into one. He wasn't. Far from it. And the b.s. just keeps getting deeper.

But if anything about Reagan is worth remembering, it's the optimism and good will he supposedly cultivated toward those who disagreed with him--well, those political opponents in congress, that is. That spirit of amiability was chucked out with the "conservative revolution" ten years ago. The Republican party has been overrun by a mob of mean bastards who don't know when to quit. And now the left is finally resorting to a bit of meanness of its own.

So, conservatives, wherever you are, now hear this: I challenge you to prove your adoration of Reagan is sincere by opening your minds enough to admit the Bush administration must go before it does any more damage.

Well. There. That ought to change the world.

Now, back to my hole...

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