Thursday, January 27, 2005
AP: Gitmo Soldier Details Sexual Tactics
By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's written account.
A draft manuscript obtained by The Associated Press is classified as secret pending a Pentagon (news - web sites) review for a planned book that details ways the U.S. military used women as part of tougher physical and psychological interrogation tactics to get terror suspects to talk.
The female interrogator wanted to "break him," Saar adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection.
The detainee looked up and spat in her face, the manuscript recounts.
The interrogator left the room to ask a Muslim linguist how she could break the prisoner's reliance on God. The linguist told her to tell the detainee that she was menstruating, touch him, then make sure to turn off the water in his cell so he couldn't wash.
Yes to Alberto!
The Art of Sarcasm
Saturday, January 15, 2005
There and back again
Now if only all the money spent celebrating the New Year was saved for the tsunami, would we really have fewer people dead? Sometimes I wonder why we celebrate New Year's anyway. Or worse, birthdays... Does anyone else find birthdays a vain and egotistical celebration? It’s like celebrating Christmas (let’s pretend it really is JC’s birthday for our purposes), but for ourselves. And we invite friends, effectively making it a Mass. I believe Saddam declared his birthday a national holiday (“Saddammass”) and its celebration was enforced.
Speaking of new years, anyone come across the document of predicted global trends by 2015? I’ve lost the link, but these are some of the predicted trends plus my own forecasts:
-Information technology will take over our lives, analogous to the industrial revolution. I look forward to this.
- The rising Middle Eastern corporations will go through changes and would see globalization as an opponent to its rise. Could Dubai be the next NYC? What if they run out of black gold? Apparently, oil is only a minor (less than 40%) contributor to Dubai’s income.
- Iran will have its own space exploration program and Iraq would carry out nuclear experiments. Nah, I don’t think Iran would make it. Unless the connotation here is that Iran would be blown off into space. Iran looks so much like the next target in GWB’s agenda, it’s uncanny. And how can Iraq have nuclear technology? Wasn’t it “librated” from the nuisance of it all? Oh, maybe what is meant is that Iraq would be the site of nuclear experiments. Yes, more plausible.
- Tension builds up between the US and EU, eventually leading to the breaking of their alliance. I don’t see the rationality here.
- Peace would prevail in the Middle East for some period, especially between Israel and the Arabs. There will be a period of “cold peace”, probably. But let’s look at the results of the “cold war”. Well, all the scientific and technological advancements were a side effect of the anxiety of the “cold war”. So one can only deduce that following a “cold peace”, there will be retardation, perhaps?
I think they should've put more thought into predicting future prison abuses. Oh, but somebody already did predict what happened at Abu Ghraib by the dispositional hypothesis.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
There is rising concern amongst senior officials that President Bush does not grasp the increasingly grim reality of the security situation in Iraq because he refuses to listen to that type of information. Our sources say that attempts to brief Bush on various grim realities have been personally rebuffed by the President, who actually says that he does not want to hear bad news.Meanwhile in Iraq, the reality gets dimmer. According to today's WaPo, three-star Lt. Gen. James R. "Ron" Helmly is the most recent senior army official to show outrage over the state of affairs in Iraq:
Rather, Bush makes clear that all he wants are progress reports, where they exist, and those facts which seem to support his declared mission in Iraq...building democracy. That's all he wants to hear about, we have been told. So in are the latest totals on school openings, and out are reports from senior US military commanders (and those intelligence experts still on the job) that they see an insurgency becoming increasingly effective, and their projection that it will just get worse.
Our sources are firm in that they conclude this good news only directive comes from Bush himself; that is, it is not a trap or cocoon thrown around the President by National Security Advisor Rice, Vice President Cheney, and DOD Secretary Rumsfeld. In any event, whether self-imposed, or due to manipulation by irresponsible subordinates, the information/intelligence vacuum at the highest levels of the White House increasingly frightens those officials interested in objective assessment, and not just selling a political message.
We, the people of the reality based community, have been saying this for almost years. It's not a matter of political strategy, rather this man and his followers are blindfolding themselves with this bankrupt ideology because they truly believe in the validity of their position. Conviction is one thing, but complete lack of foresight and reasoning is something to be worried about.
(Via Oliver Willis)
The head of the Army Reserve has sent a sharply worded memo to other military leaders expressing "deepening concern" about the continued readiness of his troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warning that his branch of 200,000 soldiers "is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force."
In the memo, dated Dec. 20, Lt. Gen. James R. "Ron" Helmly lashed out at what he said were outdated and "dysfunctional" policies on mobilizing and managing the force. He complained that his repeated requests to adjust the policies to current realities have been rebuffed by Pentagon authorities.
"By consistently underestimating the number of troops necessary for the successful occupation of Iraq, the administration has placed a tremendous burden on the Army Reserve and created this crisis," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
"The memo presents more questions than answers," said Rep. Victor F. Snyder (D-Ark.), who deals with reservist issues in the House. "I think he's really making a plea to the Pentagon to change some of their practices or let him do some things he wants to do."
You can be sure this memo didn't make it to the oval office.
LEAHY: "Does U.S. law allow for torture, in your opinion?"
GONZALES: "Bush has already said there won't be any torture."
LEAHY: "That's not what I asked. In your opinion, does U.S. law allow for torture?"
GONZALES: "That's a hypothetical question that I won't answer."
LEAHY: "U.S. law. Torture."
GONZALES: "That involves a lot of complex law that I don't know."
Monday, January 03, 2005
Changing the spotlight
"Well," the voice continued, "depends on how you think, what you think about, what makes you think about something, what affects you, how it affects you and so on and so forth. You get the point."
At that point it "seemed" that I got it. So Mr. Or Miss I-earn-big-bucks-and-I-like-my-useless-luxuries would probably be more likely to be concerned about the scratch on his/her Mercedes or how he/she would earn that extra million. Well, really there's more to it.
But, one aspect, (not necessarily the only one, or the most dominant one) that affects an average person's concerns, might be the media he turns to for news. But as it happens, news selected by media often reflect the concerns of the those that own the media. Or alternatively, it makes sense to say that media avoid reflecting those concerns that might be against the interests of the owners.
So we might often be obsessed with concerns, that are not really ours. Doesn't make sense working for other people's concerns, right? But one might argue its a good thing to care about others. Sure, but not at our own expense right? How about focusing our attention on those problems that concern us all in the long run. Yes, I am talking about the environment and the ecosystem. Thanks to our self-created need for luxury, we have threatened our environment and ecosystem enough to totally screw ourselves up in the near, and I mean very near, future. So how about a bit more thought into this masochist nature of us, human beings of the so called civilized world?
Lets change the spotlight, shall we?
Saturday, January 01, 2005
Happy New Year
First and foremost, I'd like send my regards to all those affected by the tsunami.
I'd like to extend a warm welcome to our two new bloggers Ericka Gilbeau and LjohnS. I think 4 bloggers officially makes this a "group blog". I'm sure their contribution will make this a great read.
We're always looking for people who would like to contribute so if you think you've got what it takes then let us know.
This template has gotten rather mundane so don't freak out if you notice something new sometime soon.
On behalf of the Nineteen crew I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year!
P.S. It just wouldn't feel right without me pointing out some worthwhile reading so how about a report on the Top 10 War Profiteers of 2004? It's definetly a worthwhile read.