Happy Human Rights Day!

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“We will impose sanctions on those who defend human rights!” Once more, a Venezuelan cartoonist — this time, it’s Uncas — hits the nail on the head.

And in honor of Human Rights Day, here’s another fine example of how the US doesn’t lead when it comes to human rights, it just crushes them underfoot, like Orwell’s boot stomping on a human face forever:

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released the executive summary of its long-awaited “Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” describing in more than 500 pages a dysfunctional agency so unprepared to handle suspected terrorist detainees after 9/11, that the CIA bought into private contractors’ proposals for torture, and then lied to Congress, President Bush, the Justice Department, the public, and to itself about the purported effectiveness of the program.

The Senate release includes a 6-page foreword by committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a 19-page list of 20 specific Findings and Conclusions, and a 499-page Executive Summary which details the development of the torture program after 9/11. The longest single section of the Summary, from page 172 to page 400, eviscerates the CIA’s “eight primary CIA effectiveness representations” along with 12 “secondary” ones by showing either there was “no relationship” between the cited success and detainee information “during or after” the CIA’s use of torture, or that such information was otherwise available and even obtained prior to the use of torture.

Translation: TORTURE DOESN’T FUCKING WORK.

Also, THE CIA IS THE SAME EVIL BAND OF JACKALS AS IT WAS WHEN IT PLOTTED TO KILL JFK. IT HASN’T CHANGED ONE FUCKING IOTA.

And in addition to that, CAPITALISM + TORTURE = REALLY FUCKING EXPENSIVE MURDER MACHINE THAT DOESN’T EVEN FUCKING WORK.

Oh yeah, and on top of that, LIES, LIES AND MORE FUCKING LIES:

Including 2,725 footnotes to specific CIA documents, the Senate report shows a pattern of repeated factual inaccuracies by CIA in communications with the Justice Department (to get legal cover for the program), with the White House (including false information inserted in the President’s Daily Brief and one of President Bush’s major speeches), with the Congress (Appendix 3 starting on page 462 provides more than 30 pages of false statements in testimony by former CIA director Michael Hayden), and even inside the Agency itself.

THIRTY FUCKING PAGES OF BULLSHIT FROM MICHAEL FUCKING HAYDEN ALONE, PEOPLE. And it doesn’t end with him, either:

The report cites CIA documents showing CIA officers at the secret detention sites repeatedly protested the torture program — one interrogator called the program a “train wreak” [sic] and wrote “I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.” But higher-ups, including CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Hayden, overruled objections and kept the program going until President Obama ended it in 2009. The head of CIA counterterrorism operations, Jose Rodriguez, even reprimanded CIA officers at one site for their protests, warning them to refrain from using “speculative language as to the legality of given activities” in CIA cables.

It’s not a question of who fucked up, at this point; the list of those who didn’t fuck up is infinitely shorter.

Of course, none of this comes as any great surprise to me; BushCo was a veritable fuck-up factory. It churned ‘em out assembly-line style, from start to finish. There is nothing that Weak ‘n’ Stupid touched that didn’t turn to ca-ca. Appropriately, for someone descended from royalty, ol’ Dubya sure does have the reverse Midas touch.

And there is no doubt in my mind that every torturer-jack of them belongs in The Hague, and locked up shortly after. But don’t take MY word for it…

A U.N. human rights expert said a report that the U.S. Senate released on Tuesday revealed a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration” and called for prosecution of U.S. officials who ordered crimes, including torture, against detainees.

Ben Emmerson, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said senior Bush administration officials who planned and authorized crimes must be prosecuted, along with as CIA and other U.S. government officials who committed torture such as waterboarding.

“As a matter of international law, the U.S. is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” Emmerson said in a statement issued in Geneva. “The U.S. Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible.”

Unfortunately, THAT’s not going to happen. Practically the first thing His Barackness did upon setting foot in the Oval Office was to amnesty all these war criminals, torturers and murderers. Translation: NO HOPE OF A FUCKING PROSECUTION EVER. And, by the way, that’s illegal:

International law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture, he said.

“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” Emmerson said.

Torture is an international crime and perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country to which they might travel, he added.

Incidentally, that’s the very reason Henry Fucking Kissinger no longer sets foot outside of US soil. There’s an international warrant out for his arrest, for war crimes dating all the way back to the Vietnam War.

His Barackness would be well advised to reverse that amnesty now, if he doesn’t want to become complicit — and a war criminal, and suffer the same fate — himself. But — oops! — it’s already way too late for that.

Happy Human Rights Day, indeed, my US friends. How does it feel to live in a country where that phrase has become totally meaningless?

Wankers of the Week: Raise the Franklin!

Wednesday September 10, 2014

Crappy weekend, everyone! Well, how about them apples — Stephen Fucking Harper has Columbussed the Franklin expedition! While our nation’s historical archives are being gutted and trashed and burned, there ain’t nothin’ like a heart-warming photo op to prove that Harpo is the Greatest Guardian of History in the History of Ever. So, to celebrate, let’s raise the Erebus and the Terror, and then keelhaul him…along with all these other history-makers:

1. John Fucking Trumbo. Once more, with feeling: The Founding Fathers weren’t fundamentalists. They were Deists. They were largely irreligious. And they were more than specific about NOT requiring public prayers, much less ones directed at any given god. And if the US constitution isn’t proof enough of that, there is always the Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11.

2. Pat Fucking Robertson. Patwa wants an 80-year-old fan to get a job so those tithes keep rollin’ in. Item: Patwa is over 80 himself. And if he needs the money so badly, shouldn’t HE get a job, too? Not that he’s terribly qualified; Patwa seriously believes that it’s all those “girl on girl” movies that turn people gay!

3 and 4. Jon Fucking Ohlman and Cody Fucking Hudson. Need another reason not to shop at WallyWorld? Okay, how about some deer pee…brought to you by yet two more fine, tacky People of Wal-Mart?

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5. Brian Fucking Kilmeade. Women who get punched out in elevators should “learn to take the stairs”? Well, by that token, dudes whose own faces invite punches should learn to keep their big mouths shut.

6. Karen Marie Fucking Dilworth. And because it wouldn’t be a wankapedia without a real, live wanker, heeeeeere’s Florida Woman!

7. Andrea Fucking Tantaros. Since when is it Barack Obama’s job to police the NFL? Shouldn’t that be, I dunno, the NFL’s job? But, uh, since you asked, yes, he’s come out with a statement condemning violence against womenagain. Now, how about YOU do the same, instead of going on pretending that misogyny isn’t a real and constant problem?

8. Will Fucking Hayden, AGAIN. For raping a 12-year-old…AGAIN.

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9. Chris Fucking Heben. Christ, what is it with right-wing gunhuggers and racism…and lies? This one invented three black dudes and a car out of thin air. Still doesn’t explain how he got shot in the stomach. You don’t suppose it could have anything to do with drumming up publicity…and sales of his overpriced idiot shirts…do you?

10. Mark Fucking Driscoll. Yes, Hipster Pastor is in the news again. This time, over something he wrote long ago, on a forum, under a silly pseudonym. And why not? If you call women “penis homes” and insist that men’s dicks are on loan from God, don’t you deserve all the ridicule you can get?

11. Rob Fucking Ford. The RoFoShitShow continues, with a possibly-drunken presser. And questions about his health. And a former associate’s tell-all book, which may or may not be out in time for the municipal elections. And with the company he keeps. Such as…

12. Mike Fucking Tyson. Stay classy, Rapey DomesticAbuse McEarbiterson. You and Robbo are truly two of a kind!

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13. Phil Fucking Robertson. No, AIDS is NOT a punishment from God for being gay. The first victims were definitely heterosexual, and in Africa, where the disease originated, the majority still are. Haven’t we been over this before? Why yes, we have — 30 fucking years ago. How nice to see that some people are still just as willfully stupid today as they were back then.

14 and 15. Kory Fucking Watkins and Janie Fucking Lucero. Remember the meme-guy who thought it his job to patrol the drugstore with an assault rifle, keeping the foot powder safe from the dental floss, and vice versa? Well, his wife’s just as dumb. Along with several other gunsuckers, they’ve been busted for harassing the cops in Texas. With all this open-carry shit going on, it’s getting harder to tell the vigilantes from the robbers, innit?

16. Greg Fucking Abbott. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was meant to abolish all impediments to equal voting rights. So why is the fucking attorney-general of Texas violating it by calling out an armed raid on a voter registration drive? Oh, probably because he’s also currently running for governor…and very likely to lose.

17. Dustin Fucking Siggins. And speaking of losers, there’s this troll…who is busy slamming and slut-shaming the woman to whom #16 is slated to lose. Desperate times…

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18. Sarah Fucking Palin. Meanwhile, in Alaska, Screech and Tawd and their brood of oddly-named juvenile delinquents got into a dust-up at a local redneck shindig. Just keepin’ it classy!

19. William T. Fucking Price. And speaking of classy, check out his victim-blaming interpretation of the Ray Rice elevator punch-out kerfuffle. Apparently, WTF Price knows all the reasons why women stay with and even marry their abusers, and it all boils down to Alpha Male Shit.

20. Ted Fucking Robinson. Aaaaand MOAR classy victim-blaming. Well, at least this one will get a longer suspension for it than Ray Rice did.

21. A. J. Fucking Delgado. Aaaaaaaaand even MOAR classy victim-blaming! Good gawd, how pathetic is it when a FUX Snooze guest makes Baby Jeebus Hannity look like the more reasonable and empathetic one? This one is so appallingly dumb that she actually thinks Janay Palmer “knocked herself out”. Yes, in those words. Stop punching yourselves in the face, battered women! Stop victimizing the poor menz!

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22. Steven Fucking Gillard. I met so many guys like this one at j-school. All of them too happy to swallow right-wing stink-tank emissions holus-bolus, and all of them too happy to ignore all issues surrounding their own privilege. And all of them, naturally, quite insufferable when they got to ranting. And that’s the saddest part, because they were otherwise seemingly nice, friendly guys. Tellingly, none of them are still my friends.

23. Tamara Fucking Holder. And again, an idiotess on FUX Snooze who makes Baby Jeebus look good by comparison, saying what-about-teh-menz. Yeah. Because it takes balls to hit a woman in an elevator, of course.

24. Ray Fucking Fournier. If working in the public school system is so terrible, I’m sure you’ll do just great out of it. Let someone do the job who CAN do it.

25. John Fucking Osborne. And that goes ditto for you.

26. Todd Fucking Kincannon. Why?

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That’s why. If anyone ever smashes HIS face in because of something stupid he said to provoke it, I’ll be sure to rub his nose in it. If it’s not already broken, that is.

27. Ted Fucking Cruz. Used to be you could get cheap and easy applause by making noises in support of Israel at a right-wing speechy thingie. Even if you were a complete idiot. Looks like a shark has been jumped here, because Ted got booed. And no, Canada still doesn’t want him back!

28. David Anthony Fucking Wiggins. Dude, you sure have a strange idea of “equality”. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind, then, if a woman gave YOU some? Also, cops beating up men ≠ domestic violence. Words, they mean things. Learn the meanings of the words before you use them.

29. Ronald Fucking Richie. Oh, NOW he walks it back? Thanks to this man, an innocent man trying to buy a BB gun was killed by police. He straight-up lied that the dead man was loading it and “pointing it at people”. AND he was kicked out of the Marines for “fraudulent enlistment”. Sounds like this guy’s got nothing going for him but his gift for fraud. But hey, he’s white. The dead guy is black. So, I guess that makes it all okay.

30. Ben Fucking Carson. You’re “not sure” that domestic violence is a big deal? Ben, kindly come out of that bubble NOW, please. We need the plastic.

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31. Robert Fucking Pittenger. Maybe firing gay people is a “freedom” YOU enjoy, but where I come from, it’s a violation of their basic human rights. Shame on you, you disgusting excuse for a bastard.

32. Roger Fucking Goodell. The only thing that lies worse than an NFL commissioner is a cheap rug. (Oops. I think I just insulted cheap rugs there.)

33. Doug Fucking Ford. Well, this was a foregone conclusion. Ford’s Law still holds: Whatever this family of fuck-ups can fuck up, they damn well will. So, since Tweedledum is now out of the running for the mayoralty, onaccounta health problems, Tweedledee is stepping in. And Tweedledee’s constituents are, shall we say, UNDERWHELMED. Yup, gotta love that RoFoShitShow…the whole family gets in it up to their drug-dealing eyeballs. PS: Well, well, well. What have we here? A backup plan already in place as early as May? Yup, this is smelling more and more like a set-up all the time.

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34. George Fucking Zimmerman. Why is this psychopath still trusted with a penis compensator — er, gun? Why why why WHY???

35. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Why is this fucking pigman still stinking up the radio airwaves? Why why why WHY???

36. Mark Fucking Sanford. Welp, looks like the Appalachian Trail just ended for him. Belén sez: Take a hike, dude!

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37. Russell Fucking Pearce. What to do about poverty? Hey, this guy knows: Sterilize all the women! Never mind the dudes…just the women. Never even mention the prospect of a vasectomy, because men gotta spread their seed around. Apparently, balls are sacred. But ovaries and uteri? On the chopping block with ‘em! Because it’s always a woman who’s to blame for everything.

38. Chuck Fucking Woolery. Oh noes, the Muslims are coming to your town! Um, Chuckles? The Muslims are here already. In MY town. Have been for decades. And they haven’t done anything wrong. Not so much as a jaywalking ticket! Explain THAT to me. Oh wait, you can’t. You’re just some jackass who hosts a boring old game show. Shut up and sing, Chuckles!

39. George Fucking Visnich. Laying off a cancer-stricken employee is the “humanitarian” thing to do? Um, since when? Oh yeah, that’s right: Since it cuts her off from those expensive but potentially life-saving employee benefits like insurance and sick days. Capitalism: saving lives right and left!

40. Richard Fucking Dawkins. Why?

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That’s why. Apparently, like Cee Lo Fucking Green, Dickie thinks that if she can’t remember, it’s not really rape. And that her incapacitation means the dude should be let off so he can do it God knows how many times again, with impunity.

And finally, to the fucking NFL. Yes, all of it. Because the pro football league is all too happy to exploit women, and won’t lift a finger to help them when they are abused. That much is clear whenever Super Bowl season rolls around, and domestic abuse incidents suddenly spike. And when “valuable” players get less of a suspension for cold-cocking their fiancées than for pot possession. And when other “valuable” players get away with rape. And when team owners can get away with sexual assault, repeatedly, because they own a fucking football team. As long as that system remains unquestioned, it remains unchallenged and unchanged. And as Keith Olbermann so righteously pointed out, that makes everyone involved complicit and guilty. All of them must go. (And Ray Rice’s fucked-up fanbase, too.)

Good night, and get fucked!

Posted in W is for Weak (and Stupid). Comments Off »

Quotable: John Perkins on the cost of war

Glass houses, Your Barackness.

Glass houses.

President Barack Obama’s sharp criticisms of Venezuela’s human rights record and its ties to Iran are heightening tensions with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who on Monday responded by calling Obama a “clown” and telling him to mind his own business.

Obama appeared to stiffen his stance toward Chavez in his remarks, which were published Monday by the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. Some of Obama’s Republican opponents have also been strongly critical of Chavez, and analysts expect the Venezuelan president could become a popular target of criticism as American politicians feud over foreign policy ahead of next year’s U.S. presidential election.

While Washington has long criticized Chavez, Obama’s remarks were some of his hardest to date. He pointedly raised concerns about what he described as threats to democracy in Venezuela.

“We’re concerned about the government’s actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values and failed to contribute to the security in the region,” Obama said in written responses to questions from the newspaper.

Of course, it’s important to consider the source here. El Luniversal is a virulently oppositionist newspaper. It’s backing a “unity table” of failed right-wing candidates. So of course it’s going to go fishing for nasty words from Obama to Chavecito. The embarrassing thing is, His Barackness obliged. And the ‘Cito gave him a prompt pantsing for it:

Chavez wasted little no time in responding. He said on state television, “Mr. Obama came out, attacking us, but that’s not out of the ordinary for us.”

The Venezuelan leader added, “Obama, take care of your own business, focus on governing your country, which you’ve turned into a disaster. Leave us alone.”

Touché! The US still has a major, Repug-corporatist-made recession to dig out of, and His Barackness has been rather slow off the mark to address that. Must be all that hopey-changey bipartisan bending-over and ankle-grabbing.

Meanwhile, in Venezuela, things are going nowhere but up, in spite of the supposed human-rights violations of Chavecito — which, you’ll note, are left deliberately vague by El Luni AND His Barackness. I’m sure there’s a reason for that, too.

And Chavecito has pegged a couple of things very accurately here: All this tough talk comes in a pre-election year. And oh yeah, another thing, too:

Chavez suggested Obama’s stances toward Venezuela are a campaign ploy.

“He’s looking for votes,” Chavez said. Addressing Obama directly, he added: “If I could be a candidate there in the United States, I’d sweep you away.”

Yep: It’s that hopey-changey thing. Chavecito has it for real; he doesn’t need to use it for a campaign slogan.

I bet he’d have no qualms about sending the Bush Crime Mafia to The Hague, either. Unlike His Barackness, the ‘Cito has already lived through one coup attempt, and he’s not afraid of another; he knows from experience that the people have his back. Which is why he can also laugh at the pro-putsch rhetoric coming out of Washington, and why his “I could sweep you” is not exactly an idle boast. Chavecito has already made a thorough fool of Dubya, and he won’t hesitate to do the same to any other US president who pushes his luck.

There are plenty of people in the US who admire that kind of cojones, and who are sick to death of the lack of it in their politicians. They would vote for him tomorrow if he ran there — and if their media could only give an accurate account of his record. Too bad that like the so-called journalists of El Luni, most of the US media are also hopeless hacks.

Who’s the buffoon now, eh?

How Wired missed the real Assange/Manning story

A couple of days ago, Bradley Manning celebrated his birthday behind bars for the second year in a row. He’s still awaiting trial, with no word on when it will begin. But the outcome of the trial looks to be a foregone conclusion already. Wired, which also broke the story about Adrian Lamo turning Bradley Manning in, today claims to have found the definitive link between Manning and the man who published all the shocking classified materials Manning gave him:

A government digital forensic examiner retrieved communications between accused WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning and an online chat user identified on Manning’s computer as “Julian Assange,” the name of the founder of the secret-spilling site that published hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables.

Investigators also found an Icelandic phone number for Assange, and a chat with another hacker located in the U.S., in which Manning says he’s responsible for the leaking of the “Collateral Murder” Apache helicopter video released by WikiLeaks in spring 2010.

Until Monday’s revelation, there’s been no reports that the government had evidence linking the two men, other than chat logs provided to the FBI by hacker Adrian Lamo. Assange is being investigated by a federal grand jury, but has not been charged with any crime, as publishing classified information is not generally considered a crime in the U.S. But if prosecutors could show that Assange directed Manning, that could complicate Assange’s defense that WikiLeaks is simply a journalistic endeavor.

The news of the chat logs came on the fourth day of Manning’s Army hearing being held to determine whether he’ll face court martial on 22 charges of violating military law for allegedly abusing his position as an intelligence analyst in Iraq to feed a treasure trove of classified and sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.

Mark Johnson, a digital forensics contractor for ManTech International who works for the Army’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit, examined an image of Manning’s personal MacBook Pro and said he found 14 to 15 pages of chats in unallocated space on the hard drive that were discussions of unspecified government info, and specifically referred to re-sending info.

Pretty damning stuff, eh?

Yeah, I’ll admit it doesn’t look good for Bradley Manning, or Julian Assange either. If you believe that the two of them should be tried for espionage, this certainly seems to bolster that contention. But the real point of the story, which would blow the whole “espionage” theory out of the water, has been missed: It’s not how Manning got his hands on all that data (which we’ve already known about for quite some time), nor how he fed it to Julian Assange.

The real story, the part Wired isn’t reporting, is not the HOW, but the WHY.

And the WHY is no secret. It has already been reported elsewhere, but bears reiterating here. Bradley Manning saw what the US was really up to in its many overseas missions, diplomatic and military, and that it was all rotten. He hated what he saw, and he wanted to make sure everyone, no matter who or where they were, knew what he knew. He didn’t spy for any foreign government; he blew the whistle on his own. He wanted the whole world to know what was really going on in Iraq, because horrible, graphic footage like this…

…was obviously not going to make it onto any nightly newscast.

Mainstream media would only spin that video, at best; at worst, they would censor it altogether. The Internet is the only place that would disseminate a video as damaging to the US’s international reputation as Collateral Murder has turned out to be. And the Internet is the only place where such a video would be mirrored, as many times as needed, so that censorship could never take hold of it.

That’s why Bradley Manning leaked the classified materials to Julian Assange, and why Julian Assange posted it to Wikileaks.

It’s not that the two of them are spies. Spies, by definition, work for somebody else, an outside entity. An outside enemy. Neither Bradley Manning nor Julian Assange can be demonstrated in a court of law to be in the employ of an enemy, so espionage charges would make no sense (although I’m sure the US government is looking to press them anyhow). They were neither working for the enemy nor seeking to BE the enemy. Their only crime, if a crime indeed it was, was exposing the unattractive truth about US foreign policy. A truth which foreign nationals have long known, and which complicit media in the US and elsewhere have long covered up.

And for that awful truth, Bradley Manning may hang. Literally.

I don’t think he did anything wrong, myself. What is wrong with telling the truth, even when powerful interests don’t want it known?

NOTHING.

But there is plenty wrong with what we see in the Collateral Murder video. And if anyone in uniform should go on trial for anything, let it be the as-yet-unnamed helicopter pilots, “Bushmaster” and “Crazyhorse”, who deliberately and coldly killed the Iraqi journalist for Reuters, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh. And who also fired on innocent Iraqi civilians, including some kids in a van, who stopped to try to help the two wounded men.

And while we’re at it, let’s send the entire Bush Administration to The Hague. After all, they are the ones who sent “Bushmaster” and “Crazyhorse” to Iraq to play real-life shooter games with innocent Iraqis as targets. The war is now officially over. How about prosecuting those who declared it, on a false pretext, and for greed?

Oh yeah, I forgot. High-ranking criminals can’t be prosecuted. And Barack Obama has already (shamefully) taken that option off the table. So unless someone stages a citizen’s arrest of any of those thugs while they’re visiting a foreign country, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any of THEM subjected to the abuses and indignities that have befallen Assange and Manning. Much less any legal prosecution.

The shameful complicity of the US government, corporations, and media in crimes against humanity just never seems to end. And that’s the real story that Wired, like other mainstream sources, will never print.

Economics for Dummies: What’s wrong with the US economy (and how to fix it)

A perfectly simple, couldn’t-be-clearer approach to what’s been billed as an insolubly knotty mess. Too obvious for ya? Then you’re probably a teabag.

And this is why I call him The Big Dick…

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Five years after the infamous incident of the shotgun, Harry Whittington is still not the man he used to be. And guess who is to blame:


The lawyer shot five years ago by then vice-president Dick Cheney told the The Washington Post Thursday that his injuries from the hunting accident were more extensive than revealed at the time.

Harry Whittington, 82 and still working as a lawyer in Austin, has kept the blood-stained orange safety vest he was wearing when Cheney opened fire, peppering him with lead shot, the Post reported.

He suffered a collapsed lung during the incident and had what doctors believe was a mild heart attack.

Whittington still has about 30 pieces of shot inside his body and speaks with what he describes as “a warble” caused by one that pierced his larynx. Another is near his heart, too deep to remove safely.

Cheney has not apologized in public for the shooting, and when asked by the Post if Cheney had done so in private, Whittington paused, then said sharply: “I’m not going to go into that.”

I’ll take that as a “no”. Because if The Big Dick HAD apologized, wouldn’t Harry Whittington come right out and say as much?


The Post said Whittington was “too gracious” to say Cheney had not said sorry, but also did not dispute he had not received an apology.

Despite this, he told the paper that he regarded Cheney as “a very capable and honorable man.”

“He’s said some very kind things to me,” Whittington said.

Capable and honorable? At what, pray tell? Certainly not when it comes to handling a shotgun. Or apologizing to a friend he damn near killed!

But wait, here comes the pièce de résistance:


After the shooting, Whittington issued a statement saying he and his family were “deeply sorry” for “all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through.”

That’s very noble, Harry, but isn’t it he who owes YOU an apology? Instead, a bunch of White House lawyers tried to make it look like it was your fault, using those words against you.

And Darth Cheney still hasn’t apologized for what was clearly HIS doing. Because if he did, he’d be held liable, no doubt…or thinks he would. This is what passes for friendship in BushWorld.

Accountability: BushCo never had it. They start wars with flimsy excuses and total impunity, so heck, what’s shooting a hunting buddy in the face and damn near killing him? Other than a perfect, emblematic example of the unapologetic assholery of the whole damn bunch?

The Bush Crime Family’s tentacles in Cuba

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Thought you’d seen the last of Dubya when His Barackness kicked him oh-so-politely out of the White House, and hustled him and his minions onto that chopper to take him back to Crawford where he belonged? Think again. As long as there’s a Bush family, there will be an evil empire of crime and greed. That empire is unbelievably vast, and its tentacles reach all over the place, sucking wealth out of remote locations and leaving the locals impoverished unless they fight back. And one of those places, as strange coincidence would have it, is CUBA–where the locals fought back successfully, and against which, it seems, the BFEE still bears a grudge:


The obsession of the Bush family with Cuba, and its determination to make life difficult for Cubans, begs the question: Is there some secret or “black hole” in the relations of the Bushes with this Caribbean isle?

In reality, there’s no cat to let out of the bag, because the hidden skeleton left the closet some time ago, when there was an investigation and a recounting of the links between the Bush family name and Cuba, conducted by Marcelo Pérez Suárez, doctor of political science, of the Foreign Ministry of Cuba.

From one of his works, we draw the following revealing data:


George Herbert Walker, maternal great-grandfather of George W. Bush, member of the wealthy family headed by Prescott Bush, was a director of seven companies operating in Cuba since 1920. These were dedicated to the production of sugar, distillation of rum, and railroad infrastructure. They were called The Cuba Company, The Cuban Railroad, Cuban Dominican Sugar, Barahona Sugar, Cuba Distilling, Sugar Estates of Oriente, and Atlantic Fruit and Sugar.

These were merged in 1942 into the West Indies Sugar Company, which was nationalized in 1960 by the Cuban revolutionary government [of Fidel Castro].

In 1953, George H. Walker died, but his namesake son, George H. Walker Jr., the uncle of George Bush, took up the reins of those seven companies. That same year, George Bush, father of George W. Bush, entered the oil business and founded the Zapata Oil company in Houston, Texas, creating Zapata Offshore as a subsidiary.

In 1958, Zapata Offshore signed a contract to exploit petroleum deposits 40 miles off the Cuban shore, north of Isabela de Sagua in the province of Las Villas. This venture was cut short by the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.

However, even with the possibility of business and investments with Cuba ruled out, George Bush Sr. remained president of Zapata Offshore until 1966.

Zapata Offshore and its head, George Bush, are both linked to the CIA, as was shown by declassified documents from the US Secret Service. Also because the records of Zapata were destroyed. A good while after 1960, the Secret Service moved to protect George Bush when he began his political career and destroyed all the records between 1981 and 1983, when he began his term as vice-president. There were motives.

What is true is that regarding West Indies Sugar and Zapata, it is very likely that the Bush family, as well as being hurt in its business relations and investments in Cuba, may have maintained some “right” to reclamation after the nationalizations of the Revolution. Recall that many companies have continued to maintain these “rights” up to now, hoping to recuperate the properties or a higher compensation [than originally received], under the complicity of the government and laws of the United States.

Fletcher Prouty, an ex-CIA officer, confirmed in his 1973 book, The Secret Team, that two of the ships used for the Bay of Pigs invasion–the Barbara and the Houston–were renamed and repainted by Agent Bush in the naval base of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, before being sent to Cuba, and that his company, Zapata Offshore, was used as a front.

In summation, there is no “black hole” in the relationship between the Bush family and Cuba. Everything is clearer than water, and there is nothing hidden to investigate.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

Of course, if you’ve been following the BFEE in more recent years (as this site has), you’ll already know that they’ve fallen on harder times since those glory days when they snapped up trouble-ridden Cuban corporations at fire-sale prices and proceeded to profiteer obscenely from the investment. Dubya’s oil companies, Harken and Arbusto, were most notable for drilling dry holes, for losing money, and in Arbusto’s case, for being sold, at a ridiculous profit, to none other than one of the Bin Ladens (another rich and powerful family, this one distinctly Saudi in character. Perhaps you’ve heard of them?) It’s awfully tempting to put two and two together between that connection and 9-11, and a certain CIA daily briefing that Dubya–oddly, considering that he is the son of a former CIA director–brushed aside, not to mention how badly the US military, under Dubya’s orders, flubbed the battle of Tora Bora (the one where a certain tall turban-man named Osama got away.) Don’t you think so?

If you do, you won’t have any problem seeing why Dubya strove so hard (and in vain) throughout his term to starve Cuba out. Actually, his old man came closer to it, which is why you may have seen that brief rash of Cuban bo
at-people
during the so-called “Special Period” between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the mid-1990s, when the Cuban economy began to recover and the trickle of economic migrants ceased. That period of hardship eased, not due to foreign investment (for there was none), nor by any buyouts or reclamations of nationalized corporations (there were none of those, either), but by the Cuban people’s pre-existing self-sufficiency drive, established in the wake of the Revolution. The Special Period deepened and intensified it, and Cuban ingenuity won that day.

The Cuban recovery happened during Bill Clinton’s tenure–at a time when the BFEE, and indeed the entire US right-wing, was doing its damnedest to force that popular, and largely peace-minded, president out of office. Ken Starr and his panty-sniffing, pornographic impeachment drive failed. Even the Elián González kerfuffle could not spark the undoubtedly desired conflict that might have brought things to a head in Cuba. There was nothing for the BFEE to do there, and not later, either. Dubya missed his own window of opportunity when Venezuela struck up the ALBA treaty, with Cuba as its first co-signer. (He had struck out earlier, too, when his oily widdle coup against Venezuela failed in ’02.)

Two rich Caribbean oil treasure troves, and he fucked up in his efforts to get them, as my mom would say in German, under his fingernails. That’s gotta hurt. But it’s quite par for the course; Dubya has the reverse of the Midas touch. Everything he sticks his hand into turns to shit.

Let’s hope that no subsequent Bush gets into the Oval Office, or, in the event that one does, let’s hope he fails as badly as all his predecessors at undermining the sovereignty of Latin America for nefarious BFEE corporate purposes.

How far would Washington go to defend torture and death squads?

Sometimes, it’s just instructive to take a good hard look at the past in order to really grasp what’s going on in the present. Take, for example, the fact that Washington has officially sanctioned torture and the use of death squads during the nearly ten years that the War on Terra has been raging. Dubya even went so far as to get some legal beagles to write him some excuse notes, sparking worldwide outrage. Think it’s anything new? Think again. Here’s the latest declassified bombshell from the National Security Archive, which landed in my inbox yesterday:


Washington, DC, August 11, 2010 – Documents posted by the National Security Archive on the 40th anniversary of the death of U.S. advisor Dan Mitrione in Uruguay show the Nixon administration recommended a “threat to kill [detained insurgent] Sendic and other key [leftist insurgent] MLN prisoners if Mitrione is killed.” The secret cable from U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers, made public here for the first time, instructed U.S. Ambassador Charles Adair: “If this has not been considered, you should raise it with the Government of Uruguay at once.”

The message to the Uruguayan government, received by the U.S. Embassy at 11:30 am on August 9, 1970, was an attempt to deter Tupamaro insurgents from killing Mitrione at noon on that day. A few minutes later, Ambassador Adair reported back, in another newly-released cable, that “a threat was made to these prisoners that members of the ‘Escuadrón de la Muerte’ [death squad] would take action against the prisoners’ relatives if Mitrione were killed.”

Dan Mitrione, Director of the U.S. AID Office of Public Safety (OPS) in Uruguay and the main American advisor to the Uruguayan police at the time, had been held for ten days by MLN-Tupamaro insurgents demanding the release of some 150 guerrilla prisoners held by the Uruguayan government. Mitrione was found dead the morning of August 10, 1970, killed by the Tupamaros after their demands were not met.

“The documents reveal the U.S. went to the edge of ethics in an effort to save Mitrione–an aspect of the case that remained hidden in secret documents for years,” said Carlos Osorio, who directs the National Security Archive’s Southern Cone project. “There should be a full declassification to set the record straight on U.S. policy toward Uruguay in the 1960’s and 1970’s.”

“In the aftermath of Dan Mitrione’s death, the Uruguayan government unleashed the illegal death squads to hunt and kill insurgents,” said Clara Aldrighi, professor of history at Uruguay’s Universidad de la República, and author of “El Caso Mitrione” (Montevideo: Ediciones Trilce, 2007). “The U.S. documents are irrefutable proof that the death squads were a policy of the Uruguayan government, and will serve as key evidence in the death squads cases open now in Uruguay’s courts,” Osorio added. “It is a shame that the U.S. documents are writing Uruguayan history. There should be declassification in Uruguay as well,” stated Aldrighi, who collaborated in the production of this briefing book.

Who was Dan Mitrione? Oh, just the US’s leading torturer in South America at the time. His specialty was the “scientific” use of electroshock as torture, ostensibly for purposes of interrogation. He not only tortured countless innocent people himself (some of them to the point of death), he trained the local police in three countries to do the same. Uruguay was the last; before that it was the Dominican Republic and Brazil. He was portrayed, in a thinly fictionalized form, by Yves Montand in Costa-Gavras’s movie, State of Siege. You can read more about him here and here.

What’s notable about all this is how long ago it happened. Mitrione met harsh justice in Uruguay 40 years ago, and yet it seems like it was only yesterday. We can clearly see a pattern, a striking similarity between how Tricky Dick did things, and how his ideological scion, Dubya, did them. The use of death threats, death squads (organized by the US’s puppet regimes abroad) and torture–can you honestly tell the difference between Uruguay in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Central America in the Reaganite ’80s, and Afghanistan and Iraq over the last ten years? I have difficulty with it, myself.

And no wonder. When it comes to imperialism, not much has changed from one decade to the next, other than the location of the worst manifestations of the disease. For the last 200 years, ever since the cry went up in South America for freedom from the Spanish empire, Latin America has felt that big stick of gringo imperialism coming to supplant the royal sceptre of Spain–here, there, everywhere. Not one country south of the Rio Grande has been immune. Nor, since the discovery of petroleum under its sands, has the Middle East, although it is a more recent target. The brutality has gone through minor variations, but the overall theme is readily recognizable: Whatever Washington wants, Washington gets, and damn the expense–even if the toll is a river of human blood.

And if a more “modern” form of the Spanish Inquisition is required to exact it, so be it. A Dan Mitrione is worth a death squad and the murders of hundreds of local freedom fighters–so runs the reasoning. They will go all the way–literally to the death–to defend their imperial methods.

I wonder what Mitrione-like characters have yet to shake out of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I predict we’ll be seeing several, probably in the guise of “civilian contractors” to give plausible deniability to the military and the CIA. Mitrione was, after all, one who operated under the guise of a police chief, not an intelligence officer, although he was attached to the FBI in 1959, and the State Department as of 1960. He was sent on his first foreign assignment that same year. His plausible deniability: he was training local police in Latin America. In what? Well, what else: interrogation. “The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect”–that was his motto. Death of the victim was undesirable only because it meant that the torturer had been inept in getting what he wanted out of the poor soul.

Nowadays, it’s waterboarding, not electroshock, that’s in vogue. But the purpose is the same, both superficially and underneath it all. Nothing has changed much in 40 years, or indeed 200.

It’s yesterday once more. Shooby doo lang lang…

Economics for Dummies: Dubya’s Deficit, the gift that keeps on giving

The question is, to whom? Look at this chart and tell me who you think it could be, benefiting from the atrocity and obscenity of the US federal deficit:

bush-deficit-projections.jpg

Anyone got an idea? Bueller???