B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘war_criminal’ tag

The Case Against Kissinger Deepens

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“The Trial of Henry Kissinger” (Christopher Hitchens)

Speaking of war criminals, Rumsfeld’s mentor, Henry Kissinger was probably involved with the terrorist bombing on US soil in 1976.

On September 21, 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet placed a bomb in a car in Washington, D.C., used by Chile’s former ambassador, Orlando Letelier. When detonated later that day, the bomb killed Letelier and an American citizen accompanying him, Ronni Moffitt. Did the U.S. government play some sort of role in this double homicide, carried out in the nation’s capital? On Friday, as Ken Silverstein notes, the Associated Press’s Pete Yost published the essence of a damning new document, showing that Henry Kissinger canceled a State Department warning that was to have gone to Chile just days before the assassination:

In 1976, the South American nations of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay were engaged in a program of repression code-named Operation Condor that targeted those governments’ political opponents throughout Latin America, Europe and even the United States. Based on information from the CIA, the U.S. State Department became concerned that Condor included plans for political assassination around the world. The State Department drafted a plan to deliver a stern message to the three governments not to engage in such murders.

In the Sept. 16, 1976 cable, the topic of one paragraph is listed as “Operation Condor,” preceded by the words “(KISSINGER, HENRY A.) SUBJECT: ACTIONS TAKEN.” The cable states that “secretary declined to approve message to Montevideo” Uruguay “and has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter.” “The Sept. 16 cable is the missing piece of the historical puzzle on Kissinger’s role in the action, and inaction, of the U.S. government after learning of Condor assassination plots,” Peter Kornbluh, the National Security Archive’s senior analyst on Chile, said Saturday. Kornbluh is the author of “The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability.”

[Click to continue reading The Case Against Kissinger Deepens—By Scott Horton (Harper’s Magazine)]

From TPM News:

On Sept. 21, 1976, agents of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet planted a car bomb and exploded it on a Washington, D.C., street, killing both former Ambassador Orlando Letelier, and an American colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Letelier was one of the most outspoken critics of the Pinochet government.

Nearly a month before the blast, the State Department seemed intent on delivering a strong message to the governments engaged in Operation Condor.

An Aug. 23, 1976 State Department cable instructs the U.S. embassies in the capitals of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay to “seek appointment as soon as possible with highest appropriate official, preferably the chief of state.”

The message that was to be conveyed: the U.S. government knows that Operation Condor may “include plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain … countries and abroad.”

“What we are trying to head off is a series of international murders that could do serious damage to the international status and reputation of the countries involved,” Shlaudeman wrote in a memo to Kissinger dated Aug. 30, 1976. That memo is referenced in the newly disclosed Sept. 16, 1976 cable containing Kissinger’s name.

[Click to continue reading Cable ties Kissinger to Chile controversy | TPM News Pages]

Written by Seth Anderson

April 12th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

War Criminals without Conscience

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Damn it, these assholes need to serve time for the war criminals they are. Bush, Cheney Rumsfeld and all their minions of doom, ensuring that several generations of Iraqis and Afghanis and Muslims hate the US, and by proxy, all Americans.

Haymarket Riot Memorial

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell’s chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”.

… Colonel Wilkerson, a long-time critic of the Bush Administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and the war in Iraq, claimed that the majority of detainees — children as young as 12 and men as old as 93, he said — never saw a US soldier when they were captured. He said that many were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000. Little or no evidence was produced as to why they had been taken.

He also claimed that one reason Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld did not want the innocent detainees released was because “the detention efforts would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were”. This was “not acceptable to the Administration and would have been severely detrimental to the leadership at DoD [Mr Rumsfeld at the Defence Department]”.

Referring to Mr Cheney, Colonel Wilkerson, who served 31 years in the US Army, asserted: “He had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent … If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.”

He alleged that for Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld “innocent people languishing in Guantánamo for years was justified by the broader War on Terror and the small number of terrorists who were responsible for the September 11 attacks”.

[Click to continue reading George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent’ – Times Online ]

These Bushites have no conscience, no remorse, they should stand trial at The Hague. All they cared about was winning elections, and raping and pillaging the world was just incidental damage to them.

Written by Seth Anderson

April 10th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Afghans Detainees Anger Persists

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I’m with Commander Dawood Zazai, actually, I wouldn’t sign a false confession either.

Everyone was mumbling

As an Afghan general read the document aloud, Cmdr. Dawood Zazai, a towering Pashtun tribal leader from Paktia Province who fought the Soviets, thumped his crutch for attention. Along with other elders, he did not like a clause in the document that said the detainees had been reasonably held based on intelligence.

“I cannot sign this,” Commander Zazai said, thumping his crutch again. “I don’t know what that intelligence said; we did not see that intelligence. It is right that we are illiterate, but we are not blind.

“Who proved that these men were guilty?”

No one answered because Commander Zazai had just touched on the crux of the legal debate that has raged for nearly a decade in the United States: Does the United States have the legal right to hold, indefinitely without charge or trial, people captured on the battlefield? His question also exposed a fundamental disagreement between the Afghans and the American military about whether people had been fairly detained.

This is the latest chapter in America’s tortuous effort to repair the damage done over the last nine years by a troubled, overcrowded detention system that often produced more insurgents rather than reforming them.

[Click to continue reading U.S. Frees Detainees, but Afghans’ Anger Persists – NYTimes.com]

The Bush people just thought to lock everyone up first and sort it out later, while play-acting on the stage of Terrorism Theatre, but that isn’t the way the US is supposed to act. Rule of law, remember that? Not rule of gun and coercion. Donald Rumsfeld should be exported to the Pashtun region, and forced to stand trial for his war crimes.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 20th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Iraq War Triumphalism Ignores Dead Civilians

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David Corn counters the Iraq-War-was-a-Success-Chest-Thumpers who recently have crawled out of the wreckage of the Bush (mal)Administration to blather on the Sunday talk show circuit. By what metric was this voluntary and unnecessary war a successes?

Memorials

But, of course, the ultimate outcome of the Iraq war — whatever the results of the latest election — remains unknown. And we can continue to debate whether Bush was justified in launching the war, whether he bamboozled the public about the threat Saddam Hussein supposedly posed, and whether Bush’s late surge did help nudge Iraq in a better (or less worse) direction. (It does take chutzpah to hail the Bush administration for the surge, after this crew spent years screwing up in Iraq.) Yet what is galling is the frequent absence from these discussions of a central fact: tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis are dead because of the war, and millions have been displaced, driven out of their homes and out of their country. …

In the United States, debates about the war often cover the obvious costs: U.S. military casualties (4,380), taxpayer money ($711 billion), and opportunities missed (Afghanistan). What often goes unmentioned is the high cost that was imposed upon the Iraqi people. Have you seen George W. Bush or Dick Cheney ever directly talk about the thousands who died and the millions who had to flee?

There’s no precise number of the Iraqi civilians who lost their lives due to the war. In August 2008, a Congressional Research Service report surveyed the various estimates. It noted that a World Health Organization study covering the first three years of the war had placed the civilian death toll at 151,999. A Brookings Institution study put the number at 113,616 for the first five years. Whatever the figure, it’s a lot — and this doesn’t include Iraqis who were physically or mentally injured and did not die. In per capita terms, the equivalent death figure for the United States would be over a million people. And war-related deaths are far from over in Iraq. Last month, the civilian death toll jumped to 211 people from 135 in January.

[Click to continue reading Iraq War Triumphalism Ignores a Key Matter: Dead Civilians — Politics Daily]

It isn’t too late to hold war crime trials in the Hague, is it?

Written by Seth Anderson

March 15th, 2010 at 11:43 am

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , , , ,

Marc Thiessen Torture Apologist

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Marc Thiessen, the former Bush speechwriter, is a torture apologist, attempting to whitewash his advocacy of crimes against humanity. I’m obviously not a religious person, but even I can see through his self-serving misreading of Catholic doctrine to justify waterboarding.

To justify killing in self-defense, Catholics point to Thomas Aquinas’s principle of double-effect: the intended effect is to save your own life; killing is the unintended effect. By the same logic, Mr. Thiessen argues, “the intent of the interrogator is not to cause harm to the detainee; rather, it is to render the aggressor unable to cause harm to society.”

While Mr. Thiessen points out that the church does not forbid specific acts, his antagonists say the church’s guidelines are hardly nebulous. The blogger Andrew Sullivan has noted that the catechism condemns “torture which uses physical or moral violence.”

The philosopher Christopher O. Tollefsen, whose essay attacking Mr. Thiessen’s views appeared Friday in the online magazine Public Discourse, pointed in a phone interview to the 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. There, Pope John Paul II wrote that there are acts that “are always seriously wrong by reason of their object,” including “whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity.”

The belief that waterboarding is morally or physically violent seems to unite all the writers who have criticized Mr. Thiessen, a group that includes the conservative blogger Conor Friedersdorf; Mark Shea, who edits the Web portal Catholic Exchange; and Joe Carter, who blogs for First Things, a magazine popular with conservative Catholics.

“Thiessen has been vigorously criticized by both so-called liberal and so-called conservative Catholics,” said Paul Baumann, who edits the liberal lay-Catholic magazine Commonweal. “That is one good indication of how erroneous his view is. “

[Click to continue reading Beliefs – Marc Thiessen Gets an Earful for Waterboarding Views – NYTimes.com]

I’ve yet to see Marc Thiessen get waterboarded, I’d pay for a viewing of that. And not waterboarding as a lark, but real waterboarding where the victim doesn’t know when the torture is going to stop. Even Christopher Hitchens waterboarding experience was partially for show; he was able to stop the torture by a signal.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 27th, 2010 at 10:38 am

Robert McNamara Was a Cold Blooded Killer

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Bob Herbert1 avoids hagiography when writing an obituary for Vietnam War architect and unindicted war criminal, Robert McNamara.

War Memories
[A Navy Vet pondering the names of the dead, Vietnam War Memorial, Chicago]

The hardest lesson for people in power to accept is that wars are unrelentingly hideous enterprises, that they butcher people without mercy and therefore should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary.

Kids who are sent off to war are forced to grow up too fast. They soon learn what real toughness is, and it has nothing to do with lousy bureaucrats and armchair warriors sacrificing the lives of the young for political considerations and hollow, flag-waving, risk-free expressions of patriotic fervor.

McNamara, it turns out, had realized early on that Vietnam was a lost cause, but he kept that crucial information close to his chest, like a gambler trying to bluff his way through a bad hand, as America continued to send tens of thousands to their doom. How in God’s name did he ever look at himself in a mirror?

[Click to continue reading Bob Herbert – After the War Was Over – NYTimes.com]

I assume the first draft of Bob Herbert’s article contained curse words, and stronger language than the New York Times editors would allow published. His rage at McNamara is still palpable however, and appropriate. Read between the lines for yourself.

Graphotype
[Graphotype at the Vietnam Vet Museum, South Loop. Some sort of teletype machine, apparently used to print dog-tags]

More than 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam and some 2 million to 3 million Vietnamese. More than 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq, and no one knows how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Even as I was writing this, reports were coming in of seven more American G.I.’s killed in Afghanistan — a war that made sense in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, but makes very little sense now.

None of these wars had clearly articulated goals or endgames. None were pursued with the kind of intensity and sense of common purpose and shared sacrifice that marked World War II. Wars are now mostly background noise, distant events overshadowed by celebrity deaths and the antics of Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford and the like.

The obscenity of war is lost on most Americans, and that drains the death of Robert McNamara of any real significance.

Footnotes:
  1. a Vietnam-era veteran, apparently, drafted, though sent to Korea instead []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 8th, 2009 at 8:40 am

Waterboarding is Torture part the 99th

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In Dan Froomkin’s roundup of torture news, he points to this op-ed by Joseph Margulies:

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Joseph Margulies, a lawyer representing detainee Abu Zubaydah, reminds us “that there was a human being strapped to that board. His name is Zayn al Abidin Mohamed Hussein, known to the world as Abu Zubaydah….

“They tormented a clerk….[and] Abu Zubaydah paid with his mind….

“Today, he suffers blinding headaches and has permanent brain damage. He has an excruciating sensitivity to sounds, hearing what others do not. The slightest noise drives him nearly insane. In the last two years alone, he has experienced about 200 seizures.

“But physical pain is a passing thing. The enduring torment is the taunting reminder that darkness encroaches. Already, he cannot picture his mother’s face or recall his father’s name. Gradually, his past, like his future, eludes him.”

[From White House Watch – Torture Watch ]

Take Your Stand

More disgusting details from Mr. Margulies:

First, they beat [Abu Zubaydah]. As authorized by the Justice Department and confirmed by the Red Cross, they wrapped a collar around his neck and smashed him over and over against a wall. They forced his body into a tiny, pitch-dark box and left him for hours. They stripped him naked and suspended him from hooks in the ceiling. They kept him awake for days.

And they strapped him to an inverted board and poured water over his covered nose and mouth to “produce the sensation of suffocation and incipient panic.” Eighty-three times. I leave it to others to debate whether we should call this torture. I am content with the self-evident truth that it was wrong.

Second, his treatment was motivated by the bane of our post-9/11 world: rotten intel. The beat him because they believed he was evil. Not long after his arrest, President Bush described him as “one of the top three leaders” in Al Qaeda and “Al Qaeda’s chief of operations.” In fact, the CIA brass at Langley, Va., ordered his interrogators to keep at it long after the latter warned that he had been wrung dry.

But Abu Zubaydah, we now understand, was nothing like what the president believed. He was never Al Qaeda. The journalist Ron Suskind was the first to ask the right questions. In his 2006 book, “The One Percent Doctrine,” he described Abu Zubaydah as a minor logistics man, a travel agent.

Later and more detailed reporting in the Washington Post, quoting Justice Department officials, said he provided “above-ground support. … To make him the mastermind of anything is ridiculous.” More recently, the New York Times, relying on current and former intelligence officers, said the initial assessment was “highly inflated” and reflected “a profound misunderstanding” of Abu Zubaydah. Far from a leader, he was “a personnel clerk.”

I don’t care if the agents on the ground were just following orders from the lawless Bush Adminstration, they should be prosecuted for war crimes too. Torture is torture, and I am sickened and dismayed reading how agents of my government abused other humans in my name.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2009 at 8:54 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Condi’s Really Bad Day

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Scott Horton of Harper’s Magazine catches Condoleezza Rice speaking lazily, as if she were still bantering with the complacent White House press corp and not being questioned by young folks not yet part of the corporate system.

For eight years, Condoleezza Rice dealt with the Beltway punditry and the access-craving White House press corps. The reception she got, with a handful of exceptions, was fawning. Which leaves her totally unprepared for a return to an academy populated with the Daily Show generation: bright young minds with a very critical attitude towards the last eight years. In a meeting with Stanford students at a dormitory reception on April 27, the school’s former provost got off to a shaky start and ended in a train wreck. She may in fact have her last words in the exchange quoted back to her some day in a law court.

Rice insists that waterboarding is not torture. Why? Rice pulls a Nixon. It was not torture because the president authorized it. In Condiworld, apparently, “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” What lawyer was advising Rice through this process? That’s a pressing question–the Senate Intelligence Committee suggests that legal counsel at the National Security Council was guiding her at every step–and evidently giving her some very peculiar ideas about the law.

(6) Whereas the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summary shows Rice giving authorization for waterboarding, Rice has a different recollection. “I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency.” This is dicing things very finely. But I think I know how Judge Garzón will understand this: Rice just confessed to a focal role in a joint criminal enterprise. Nixon White House counsel John Dean, who has a lot of first-hand experience with the legal issues in play, had the same take: Rice just admitted to her role in a conspiracy to torture, a felony under 18 U.S.C. sec 2340A.

[Click to continue reading Condi’s Really Bad Day—By Scott Horton (Harper’s Magazine)]

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijEED_iviTA

Ms. Rice should go to prison for her crimes against humanity, but doubt seriously if justice will ever be served on any of the Bush Administration criminals.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2009 at 7:47 am