Monthly Archives: April 2008
Hey kids, The New York Times has published an eleven-page article by David Barstow that is absolutely fascinating, and I suggest you read the whole thing. Here are snippets:
In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.
The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
From The Guardian:
America’s most senior general was “hoodwinked” by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques of terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, leading to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the Guardian reveals today.
General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, wrongly believed that inmates at Guantánamo and other prisons were protected by the Geneva conventions and from abuse tantamount to torture.
To all the Raisinettes who celebrate, Gut Pesach….
from the Raisin….
…and from Mighty Matzohmouse
April 18 (Bloomberg) — John McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, reported $405,409 in income last year and paid $118,660 in federal taxes, according to tax returns made public today. He gave $105,467 to charity, the records show.
His campaign didn’t release tax returns for his wife, Cindy, who is chairman of the Phoenix-based Hensley & Co., one of the largest beer distributors in the U.S.
A scathing British court ruling could create more legal problems for Prince Bandar, head of Saudi Arabia’s National Security Council and the former Saudi ambassador in Washington, over his alleged role in a massive multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving a major British aerospace firm.
The Justice Department is investigating allegations that U.K.-based British Aerospace Systems (BAE) paid millions of dollars in bribes to Bandar and other Saudi officials—in possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Bandar, whose close ties to the Bush family earned him the nickname “Bandar Bush,” has retained former FBI Director Louis Freeh to represent him in connection with the Justice Department probe.
Last week the British High Court ruled that then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government may have interfered with the rule of law in December 2006, when it ordered the British government’s Serious Fraud Office to shut down its own bribery investigation, allegedly after Bandar threatened to cut off Saudi cooperation with U.K. terrorism investigations if the inquiry continued.
Original DVD cover.
Oh, kids, there is so much to this story, but I will leave it to you to read the whole thing for yourselves. In the meantime, we’ll sing!
To the tune of Bennie and the Jets
Music by Sir Elton John
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
Performed by Sir Elton John
Hey kids, this might make you skittish,
Seems there’s somethin’ cookin’,
Between Bandar and the British,
We’re gonna check the news tonight,
So stick around,
You’re gonna hear about corruption,
Look what I have found…
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is warning U.S. diplomats they may be forced to serve in Iraq next year and says it will soon start identifying prime candidates for jobs at the Baghdad embassy and outlying provinces, according to a cable obtained by The Associated Press.
A similar call-up notice last year caused an uproar among foreign service officers, some of whom objected to compulsory work in a war zone, although in the end the State Department found enough volunteers to fill the jobs.
Now, the State Department anticipates another staffing crisis.