Friday, June 8

Surge Suppression: New Intel Report says the Escalation will Fail

It's not like we've ever gotten the truth out of intellegence agencies - except for when they told the President that Iraq probably wouldn't use WMD unless we provoked them, or that invading Iraq would create a nightmare of sectarian violence which would bolster recruitment efforts of al-Qaeada - this time we have a new report that indicates that the escalation is unlikely to either quell the previously predicted sectarian strife, nor is it likely to aid political reconciliation within the civil war-torn nation.

As revealed by Sen. Evan Bayh during the War Czar confirmation hearings:

Their overall consensus was that the trend in Iraq is negative.

...steps toward reconciliation — the political steps — would be marginal at best through the end of this calendar year.

... the insurgency — the level of violence and that sort of thing — was in all likelihood going to be about where it is today a year from now.

So much for waiting until "September ends..."

Bayh's comments were descriptions of a closed-door session between top U.s. intelligence officials and the Senate Armed Services Committee

Bayh quoted “the top CIA expert on radical Islam,” who told him recently that the U.S. presence in Iraq is generating more terrorists:

[I]n his opinion, our presence in Iraq is creating more members of Al Qaida than we are killing in Iraq.

This happens to match what the would-be Czar himself had to say.

President Bush's nominee to be war czar said yesterday that conditions in Iraq have not improved significantly despite the influx of U.S. troops in recent months and predicted that, absent major political reform, violence will continue to rage over the next year.

Lute's dour assessment mirrored the views of U.S. intelligence officials, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a closed session last month that trends in Iraq remain negative and that the prospect for political movement by the nation's feuding Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds appears marginal.

All the above are largely echoes of the Iraq National Intelligence Estimate which was released this past February, prior to The Surge &trade.

-The term "civil war" "accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict," though it "does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict":

-Iran is "not likely to be a major driver of violence or the prospects for stability":

-"Rapid withdrawal" of U.S. forces would likely lead to a "significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict in Iraq":

Yet again we have proof that there is No Military Solution to Iraq. We really don't need to keep letting them kill us over there, so they don't come and kill us over here. This isn't to say the fight is lost, only that we're fighting on the wrong battlefield and need to move from force of arms, to force of ideas.

Unfortunately, our biggest problem remains who the person decidering those ideas happens to be.

Vyan

Thursday, June 7

Joe Wilson on Libby Verdict

Joe Wilson on Libby Verdict.



Of course not everyone agrees with Amb. Wilson's assessment of things. MSNBC's fTucker Carlson, whose father is an advisor to the Scooter Libby legal defense fund, thinks the whole thing is just "bullshit".

“CIA clearly didn’t really give a sh*t about keeping her identity secret if she’s going to work at f*cking Langley.” Carlson then added “I call bullsh*t on that, I don’t care what they say,”


Now first of all, Plame confirmed her status under oath. Second Patrick Fitzgerald confirmed it in his sentencing filings, specifically noting that Plame-Wilson was covered under the IIPA. If either of them were lying, it would have been -- Perjury. In additional you have the testimony of the CIA's point-man on Iraq, Robert Grenier who is one of the people who specifically told Libby about "Wilson's Wife" working at CIA - who specifically realized he may have made a grave error because...

Because I knew that person could be undercover. We were talking about DO (Directorate of Operations) the vast majority of whose employees are undercover.


The Directorate of Operations happens to be - at Langley.

Shutup fTucker.

Vyan

Wednesday, June 6

Quick Truths + Political Purity at Civil Right Division

From Thinkprogress;

A bipartisan group of senators, including “several conservative Republicans,” introduced legislation Tuesday to use the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations “as the foundation for future U.S. policy in Iraq.” The bill aims to “begin the withdrawal of U.S. combat brigades by early 2008 if certain benchmarks are met.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has approved a proposal that would allow an independent outside panel to decide which ethics complaints merit investigation by House ethics committee. “This is gigantic,” said Sarah Dufendach of the watchdog group Common Cause. “If they really do this, it will be a very serious step forward.”

The House oversight committee is expanding its investigation “into ties between jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the White House and have contacted several Abramoff associates recently about testifying to Congress.”

International family planning groups cut off from aid because of their position on abortion could gain access to U.S.-donated contraceptives under legislation approved by a House panel Tuesday.” The bill also “gives Bush and future presidents the right to waive current law that requires that one-third of U.S. aid for HIV/AIDS prevention be spent on abstinence programs.”

“The United States will refuse to agree to targets and timetables for cutting greenhouse gases” at G8 summit, President Bush’s science adviser reiterated yesterday. “At this point in time we are not prepared to adopt that proposal,” James Connaughton told reporters.

Scholzman Confesses that groups who help "minorities" must be "Liberal"

Bradley Schlozman has emerged as a central figure in the politicization of the Justice Department, particularly for his focus on squashing the voice of minorites prior to major elections.

As an interim U.S. attorney in Missouri, Schlozman brought felony indictments of four workers in the minority advocacy group ACORN just a week before the 2006 election. That move ran counter to a longstanding policy in the Justice Department, and voter fraud charges against ACORN were dismissed. Schlozman also killed an investigation of Native American voter suppression in Minnesota, a practice that was resulting in “electoral discrimination against Indian voters.”

As TPMMuckraker noted, Schlozman played dumb today when asked about the political leanings of ACORN. But later in the hearing, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) caught Schlozman baselessly labeling groups that reach out to minority voters as the “liberal” counterparts to the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society
I guess this means that agencies who are attempting to fuck minorities in ze goat ass - must be "conservative"? Scholzman after denying that he used a partisian litmus test for highing at the Civil Rights division also bragged about how many Republicans he'd hired.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked Justice Department official Bradley Schlozman about evidence that he hired officials for their conservative or Republican affiliations. Schlozman insisted that such qualities were “irrelevant to the hiring decision for a career position.”

But minutes later, Schumer asked Schlozman, “Did you ever boast to anyone that you hired a certain number of Republicans or conservatives for any division or section at the Justice Department?” Schlozman said he had. “I probably have made statements like that,” he said
Can you say d.o.u.c.h.e.b.a.g?

I knew that you could.

Vyan

Why I haven't Posted

For the few readers I actually have who come here (as opposed to those who read me on Dkos, DU or OpedNews) you might wonder why I've only published one post in the last week?

It's because I've been sufferring from a toothache that entire time and have been in too much pain to concentrate on writing. I've still miraculously went to work each day - except one where we considered going to the emergency room as the facial swelling was begining to grow. So here I am you're elephant-man blogger.

I am NOT an Animal.

Fortunately, the pain and swelling began to calm down by the next morning so putting up with UC-HELL-A Medical Center for 20+ hours was avoided. I have to say it was a very intereseting process. Friends - wait let me put that in quotes - "Friends" offered me all sorts of interesting drugs (Codine, Vicodin, Ambien) in mid-request for asking me to do some annoying website crap for them - for free of course - which couldn't possibly be post-poned until I didn't feel like my head was going to explode, NO.... it had to be now - right now. Fuckerheads.

Although the pain was bad, real bad - some have said it's as bad as childbirth - I've felt worse. A couple years ago I got undercut during a pick-up B-Ball game and dumped on the back of my neck. For a few seconds my limbs went numb and I serious thought I might have a spinal injury, but eventually the feeling returned and I descovered that what I did have was a bruised rib. Now That was fucking painful. I couldn't even crawl.

This time when my mom saw me sprawled on the bed she thought I was passed out from drinking (which hasn't happened, well shit - EVER!) until she saw my face, then she offered up some southern witches brew to fix my ills.
Just touch this on the bad tooth with a Q-Tip, it'll stop the pain for a week - but DON'T SWALLOW IT - it's poison.
Uh.. how about I don't. She just couldn't understand why I just didn't want to take the quickest possible shortcut (with the biggest possible risk attached) to minimizing the pain. Hmmm... gee, I wonder why...

Well, because our country is practically destroying itself with that kind of crap and I'd rather not be apart of it. Although I may drink one, sometimes two beers a night to relax (and have a strict NO PUKING and HANG-OVERS Rule) - I've never, never taken an illegal or even prescription drug without a doctor specific consent in my life. Weed? Never, not one toke. Didn't inhale, didn't swallow, didn't spit. Nada. I don't smoke anything. I'll gladly stick with 800 miligrams of Tylenol, an Ice Pack and gargling a little Brandy over the bad tooth. It's worked for me before, it'll work for me again.

And it did this time too.

I will admit that I did give in to one suggestion from my mom, which was to rub this mysterious green minty stuff on my face over the swollen area. I've used it before so I wasn't too worried, and the effects were minimal except for the fact that it apparently opened up my pores and when I re-applied the ice pack it spread a chill thru-out my bloodstream that had me shivering uncontrollably for about 45 mins. I practically looked like I was having a seizure, and having your teeth chatter when you have a tooth ache is definately a bad thing. And they all wonder why I say "NO" to their lame use-a-pill-to-solve-everything B.S.? Cuz it's BS - the number one thing that will help you heal is the belief that you can heal! Any doctor will tell you that a positive attitude is paramount.

So I survived. Yay for our team.

Last year my wife had a toothache and her choice was to go to UC-HELL-A Med Center. We spent nearly 22 hours in their freezing cold emergency room, during which - I caught the flu - and afterwhich they prescribed anti-biotics which we couldn't get until the next day because the pharmacy was closed at 3am. The entire experience was worse than the tooth-ache itself, for both of us and I really didn't want to put anyone else through that torment, particularly when they probably wouldn't actually get anything helpful to me before the infection began to subside on it's own. But that's just me.

I've discussed some of our other uninsured adventures in my comment on the Dkos post by Micheal Moore for his new film SiCKO.

[Since the dot-com crash and 9-11] We've been living in my mom's house for the last three years, still without healthcare. I'm working part-time doing graphics design. While we've been here we grown to long for the tender mercies of UCD. Last year my wife developed a bladder infection that went into her kidneys and nearly killed her. We spent somewhere around 20 hours waiting for her to seen in the UCLA Med Center Emergency Room. While there we met others in similar circumstances, one in particular was a vender at Dodger Stadium who'd fallen down that stairs at work and injured his knee. Although he like us, we working - he didn't have healthcare either. His job was to walk up and down those stairs, but his knee was now injured. We all waited together, the hours passing - him rocking back and forth worried about if he'd miss any work and wind up being fired.

My step-son Nate, who is an adult, stayed in Sacramento and got a job working retail while continuing college. He met a nice girl at work, Lesli and moved in. She had planned to become a nurse, then she too became ill. In her case it was M.S., and now she like us has entered the world of on-again off-again care. Although she's had better luck accessing her disability benefits than my wife has, she's still recently had her wheel-chair repossesed when the county simply decided they didn't want to cover it anymore.

Although I do find sparring with my little hecklers to be a bit entertaining, it's not the most important thing in my life. However, I will point out that since keeping this blog up to date does require time, effort and energy from the rest of my life I'm going to tell you guys, as well as my afformentioned "friends" that this shit isn't a charity.

For those who actually appreacite what I've got to say, or simply appreciate being able to bitch at me - I'm setting up a paypal donate button.

I don't expect much, being able to keep my live365 station free to all listeners and occasional busfare down to UC-HELL-A Med wouldn't hurt every once in awhile when we get real - real - desperate. Also with the passage of Molly Ivins and Steve Gilliard (who was one year my junior) there is the stark reality that I won't always be here and an emergency method to get funds to my family under the worst case scenario is simply a neccessity.

There's will also be a donate button for Nate and Lesli, for those who really don't like the idea of people with MS having their wheelchair repossesed. Myself, I don't dig it.

Vyan

Tuesday, June 5

The Nexus of Failure Bewteen Gen Sanchez, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib

Many people have reported the news that yesterday Retired Lt. Gen Ricardo Sanchez joined the chorus of other former generals including Gen Wesley Clark, Gen Batiste, Gen Odom and Gen Eaton as well as a host of others like Sen Harry Reid who've stated that the Iraq War Is Lost (Militarily).

On the same day it was announced that the Military Tribunals which were intended to prosecuted "Alien Unlawful Enemy Combatants" had been evicerated by not one - but TWO seperate judges independant of each other.

Gen Sanchez knows where more than a few bodies are buried for the Bush Administration.

He was not only overall commander for the Iraq Theater when it began, and the insurgency exploded, he was also the commander who implemented Donald Rumsfeld's 29 expanded interrogation techniques in order to "Gitmo-ize" Iraq and Abu Ghraib as documented in HBO's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.

From the ACLU FOIA Files.

September 2003
[Sanchez] authorizes the use of 29 interrogation techniques for use in Iraq, including the use of dogs, stress positions, sensory deprivation, loud music and light control, based on Rumsfeld’s April 16 techniques and suggestions from captain of military unit formerly in Afghanistan.

Sanchez also, as commanding officer for the theater is the one who shifted jurisdiction over Tier 1a/1b at Abu Ghraib from it's overall commander Gen. Karpinski (who was essentially head MP) to Gen Geoffrey Miller who worked with Military Intelligence and had just been transfered in - from Gitmo.

As a result of his involvement Sanchez was been included on a list of U.S. War Criminals by Amnesty International over two years ago.

I bring all this up because Sanchez has a bit more to lose in coming out so strongly against the Bush Administration than Gen Batiste did in losing his gig with CBS.

Gen Karpinski, who was demoted to Colonel even though she had absolutely nothing to do with the events on Tier 1a/1b had to go to Spanish Television to make the point that she had obtained signed documents by Rumsfeld authorizing civilian contractors to do the same types of things that happenedd on Tier 1a.

Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.

Can you imagine what Sanchez might have copies of?

And conversely can you image what the Pentagon might have tucked away which could potentially hang Sanchez for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justices prohibition against the Maltreatment of Prisoners?

Not to mention the Geneva Conventions, and the U.S. prohibition against torture.

This bring us to the Military Commission Act which was nothing more than an attempt to cover-up the numerous War Crimes commited at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram AFB in Afghanistan.

It allowed for the use of coerced evidence.

It allowed for various forms of torture by changing the War Crimes Act to comport with the Bybee Memo allowing for any type of treatment short of death or organ failure to be excluded as "torture".

It suspended habeas corpus for "unlawful alien enemy combatants".

It established a "Combat Status Review Tribunal" system to evaluate whether someone should be or should be considered and "alien unlawful enemy combatant" that simply doesn't work.

But the fatal flaw in the MCA as it was exposed this week is something I pointed out last year when it was passed.

Clearly if one is found by the CSRT to not be an Unlawful Combatant, one would not automatically go free. What should occur - in a far more prefect world than this one - is that they would then be relegated to the regular Civilian or Courts Martial as a "Lawful Enemy Combatant". The CSRT itself is far from a "Get out of GITMO Free" Card. If the CSRT finding is "Unlawful", the detainee then skips "Go" and heads forward to his Military Tribunal Only if the President subsequently seeks to press charges -- if he does not, that person disappears into a [legal] black hole. Forever.

This is the legal blackhole that Omar Khadr and get this - Salim Hamdan - yes, that Salim Hamdan - have now fallen into.

In separate decisions, Army Col. Peter Brownback and Navy Capt. Keith Allred said that designation was insufficient under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Brownback said the act specifically limited trials to detainees tagged as "unlawful enemy combatants" and barred trials of "lawful enemy combatants." Without a more specific designation, a military commission has no authority to act, he found.

"A person has a right to be tried only by a court that has jurisdiction over him," said Brownback, who ruled in the Khadr case.

Allred used slightly different logic to reach the same conclusion. He said Hamdan "is either entitled to the designation as a prisoner-of-war or he is an alien unlawful enemy combatant. Or he is entitled to another status."

In trying so hard to cover their tracks for thier War Crimes, Bush and Co have created a system that is completely unworkable.

The chief Guantanamo defense counsel, Marine Corps Col. Dwight Sullivan, noted that each captive now held there was classified as an "enemy combatant," not an "unlawful enemy combatant."

Sullivan, who oversees the defense of all military commission cases, declared the war court "a complete failure." He urged the Pentagon to end its efforts to prosecute Guantanamo detainees under the Military Commissions Act.

"The system right now should just stop," Sullivan said. "The commission is an experiment that failed, and we don't need any more evidence that it is a failure."

Of course rather than shift all of the Gitmo detainees into a normal POW situation or try them under standard Courts Martial the government instead intends to appeal - except the appeals court for the Military Commissions doesn't exist yet.

Isn't that just dandy?

I don't know, maybe it's guilt, maybe it's the fact that the firewall that the MCA establish around his War Crimes is begining to crack and crumble like a wet cookie that Ricardo Sanchez is finally now telling the truth. Maybe it's something else - like honor.

If indeed the Iraq War is lost - it's because Sanchez Lost It for us by refusing chosing to implement a Clearly Illegal Order when there really might have been an chance of affecting "Hearts and Minds" before Abu Ghraib turned those hearts against us permanently.

Whatever it is, I think things are going to be very, very intesresting between now and September.

In fact, it might just get very intesting later today during the Republican Debate if they get asked about Sanchez' statement, the Judges decision in these Gitmo cases (Damn those Activist Military Judges), or better yet - the Libby Verdict.

Yes, indeed - we live in interesting times.

Vyan