Crusaders

Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, The nation that keeps faith.” [The quote appears over an image of tanks entering an Iraqi city]

In a lengthy article on Donald Rumsfeld’s rocky tenure as Defense Secretary, GQ published never-before-seen cover sheets from top-secret intelligence briefings produced by Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. Starting in the days surrounding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the cover sheets featured inspirational Bible verses printed over military images, “and were delivered by Rumsfeld himself to the White House” to the president, “who referred to America’s war on terror as a ‘crusade,’” GQ writes.

Torture News Round Up

Torture News Round Up At Invictus, indispensable! Where amongst the detailed news you will find out this-

This just in from Andy Worthington (H/T Barb):
“The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp — whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq — has died in a Libyan jail. So far, however, the only English language report is on the Algerian website Ennahar Online, which reported that the Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) “was found dead of suicide in his cell,” and noted that the newspaper had reported the story “without specifying the date or method of suicide.”

It was al-Libi who was tortured by the CIA, subjected to mock burial in a box 20 inches high, in order to “confess” to a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, just days after the start of the Iraq War. Al-Libi later recanted. Afterwards, he was disappeared.

“This news resolves, in the grimmest way possible, questions that have long been asked about the whereabouts of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, perhaps the most famous of “America’s Disappeared” — prisoners seized in the “War on Terror,” who were rendered not to Guantánamo but to secret prisons run by the CIA or to the custody of governments in third countries — often their own — where, it was presumed, they would never be seen or heard from again.”

The crooks are killing witnesses, victims, accomplices.

Criminal Regrets Getting Caught

Trust the Washington Post to allow a war criminal to begin his defence in the public sphere with ‘friends’ speaking for him (some anonymous! Ooh those hard hitting hacks, they don’t even get the man to speak and let the quotes come from anonymous ‘friends’). What is clear from the end though is- Bybee took the OLC gig, wrote what was needed of him, signed off on what was wanted of him to get the job he wanted as a judge. So he committed war crimes in the name of his career, what a guy. An absolute copy of Hannah Arendt’s observations of Eichmann except this time a US paper is propagating the coward’s pathetic rationalisations. Or.. read his anonymous friends telling how he loves kittens, sunrises, God and is full of regret (or something my eyes glazed over after a while)…now he might lose his job (or heaven forfend get prosecuted). He’s a smart and corrupt lawyer, this is the opening of his defence and the WaPo is shill enough to cooperate, as ever. I would expect a lot more of these humanising the torturer elite pieces over the next few years, after all they’ve already parlayed the ‘Support the troops’ patrio-imperio-porn (with a healthy unexamined side of racism) into feeling sorry for the agents who actually did the torture.

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Stupid War Profiteers- Custer Battles

First, the name, Custer lost his most famous battle, ok it’s named after its founders but ego has overcome good sense in the branding process I would aver. Anyways, Cyrus @ Iran Affairs discovered this trail of intrigue in court filings, do read the whole thing, excerpts-

Battles accidentally left behind an astonishing spreadsheet, which contained rows listing items invoiced under the Dinar Exchange Contract and separate columns listing the ‘Actual Cost’ for the items and the amount ‘Invoiced’ for the items.

This document showed, for example, that for the Baghdad hub of the dinar exchange program, Custer Battles provided two flatbed trucks, for which it paid $18,000 but invoiced the Coalition Authority $80,000. To provide “Life Support, basic level” at the Bagdad hub, it provided generators that cost $74,000 but for which it invoiced the Coalition Authority $400,000.

As it turns out, the money that Custer Battles was paid with was not US money — no, it consisted of “seized” money that the US had gotten from Iraq.

So one theft… after another, like the man said War Is A Racket.

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Tony Blair Has Faith

The BBC provide this helpful emetic

“I think actually these acts of terrorism are utterly evil, yes. And when you think of the numbers of wholly innocent people that have died… I say the responsibility lies with the people doing the terrorism, ‘cos there’s no reason for them to do the terrorism.”

-Tony Blair, with zero self awareness

UK Admits To Using ‘Intelligence’ From Torture

Via D-Notice, Craig Murray has found the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) buried under much Orwellian civil servantese, have admitted to it-

Tucked away at Page 15 of its annual Human Rights report, the FCO has finally made a public admission of its use of intelligence from torture.

FCO say-

“The use of intelligence possibly derived through torture
presents a very real dilemma, given our unreserved
condemnation of torture and our efforts to eradicate it.
Where there is intelligence that bears on threats to life, we
cannot reject it out of hand.”

Craig-

It is a piece of mind-blowing hypocrisy. You cannot, in the same paragraph, argue our unreserved condemnation of torture, and that it save lives so we use intelligence from it. I would add that it is also an outright lie. Not a single one of the many pieces of torture intelligence I saw in Uzbekistan had the slightest bearing on saving lives in the UK. In fact the “intelligence” was, on the whole and in detail, highly misleading. Yet the FCO made a very definite policy decision to continue to receive it- because it came from the CIA.

The FCO has in fact under New Labour never rejected any intelligence on the grounds that it came from torture.

The whole post is absolutely essential reading particularly at a time when the govt. is launching a face saving ‘investigation’ which could be cleared up a lot sooner if they just admitted their guilt. It’s like Jack the Ripper asking the Met to look into all these mysterious murders of women…if Jack the Ripper ran the country.

War Criminal’s Stalking Horse

After Israel’s assault on Gaza (well its big one, it’s still attacking) the notion of war crimes and accountability led to the government and the IDF going schtum on the names of personnel so as to make charges harder. But this expanded beyond their borders (there’s a joke in there somewhere) with Tzipi Livni [my favourite demo pic from Obsolete @ septicisle.info] claiming  that efforts in Spain to launch war crimes enquiries would eventually be stopped as the Spanish government would remove the law that allowed Spanish jurists to consider war crimes wherever they take place. There is some question as to where she got this claim from, that Spain was bowing to Israeli pressure, but remember it’s election season. It has now spread to Britain where according to Israeli media the Israeli and British governments are conspiring together to change the law to remove the legal jeopardy for war criminals. However Israel is not simply an appalling leader in pro -war crime law debasement but governments with war crimes liabilities will be quite happy to have this added impetus to weaken and destroy laws that if enforced mean their former members could do jail time. In short the ruling elites and their penchant for slaughter as a viable tool of policy has few limits and through the massacres in Gaza new opportunities are arising for them to remove those few limits. Just as the occupied territories provide a living laboratory for the Israeli arms industry and its Western allies to test and demonstrate its wares the situation is also a prototype for how governments can murder us and get away with it. With climate change, peak oil, peak water looming this century the groundwork is being laid for population control at its most basic to ensure continuity of luxury for our ‘Great & Good.’

nb. The Belgian law that used to allow for universal jurisdiction was defeated some years ago by the usual suspects-

On July 12, 2003, the incoming government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt [Baby Thatcher] announced that scrapping this law would be among the first acts carried out. In September of that year, the Belgian Supreme Court threw out the cases against the former President Bush and other US officials, as well as Israelis.

Blair Gets Golden Brown Nose At Last

8565tFormer UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the highest civilian award in the US – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – next week.In his last week in office, President Bush will award the medal to Mr Blair, former Australian PM John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Such distinguished company, reads more like a perp walk, or should. This is his second erm, honour

Mr Blair was awarded the congressional gold medal in July 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, but he has yet to collect it. There was some speculation that unease over the Iraq war and Mr Blair’s close friendship with Mr Bush made him reluctant to accept it while in office. But each medal is individually designed and minted and it was reported it was taking some time to decide on the words and images. The office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives told the Sunday Telegraph this week that Mr Blair was taking a keen interest in the medal’s design, before it was specially made by the US Federal Mint.

Now some may ask what Blair The Peace Envoy is doing with Gaza being flattened under his nose, you might also ask why Bush is sending massive resources to Darfur in his twilight days. Some victims are deemed worthy or convenient, or…AFRICOM needing a hand (shame on me for doubting George Bush’s humanitarian impulses!)-

WASHINGTON —President Bush has authorized an immediate airlift of vehicles and equipment to bolster the international peace-keeping mission in the conflict-torn Darfur region of western Sudan, the White House announced on Monday.

Because of the urgency of the situation, the president is waiving the normal 15-day period to notify Congress of his intentions “because failing to do so would pose a substantial risk to human health and welfare,” Stephen Hadley, the president’s national security adviser, said in a statement.

The airlift to aid the peace mission, formally known as the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, is a significant step up in American involvement in the region, even though it will not involve military action. The region has long been riven by ethnic and sectarian strife, which has claimed thousands of lives.

Contrast

“There is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce,” the Foreign Ministry quoted Livni as saying in a statement. “Israel has been supplying comprehensive humanitarian aid to the Strip … and has even been stepping this up by the day.”

Tzipi Livni

“The situation is absolutely disastrous…The children are terrified,” he said. “Adults are unable to provide them with security or warmth. Hospitals are stretched out of the limits. We need blood and medicine and surgical equipment.”

Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), said the agency has been unable to get needed medical supplies into Gaza for more than a year, because of Israel’s blockade of border crossings.

“Long, long lists of drugs and other medical supplies which in the U.S. would be considered standard in any hospital — they’re just not available in Gaza,” he said. “When people have been turning up for treatment following this massive attack, they are simply being turned away. If you’ve got things like shattered limbs, broken arms, broken legs, feet blown off, that kind of thing, you’re simply not being seen. If you’ve got very light injuries and you need bandages or aspirins, you’ll get seen.”

U.N. official Cristopher Gunness

“…out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs–evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers–flew all over the cabin and all over us. We’d been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity.

Cynthia McKinney with the SS Dignity trying to deliver medical aid to Gaza

Livni is campaigning to become Prime Minister and there is enough racism among voters to ensure Palestinian’s blood can be a useful election aid. And also-

In closing, there is another reason – beyond the internal politics of Israel – why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community. Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Palestine’s Guernica and the myths of Israeli victimhood [very much worth reading see below for entire article]

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Cheney Not Fearing War Crimes Charges…

He admits his role in the torture program, it would be nice if his confidence in escaping charges was wrong. I’m not looking forward to the spectacle of Dem partisans defending their presidency as it does what they condemned Bush for. Time will tell.

KARL: Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

CHENEY: I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency, in effect, came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.

KARL: In hindsight, do you think any of those tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others went too far?

CHENEY: I don’t.

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this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog

More @ BBC, short youtube below-

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Secret Summary Executions Under Maliki’s Reign

Meet the new boss…One of the men responsible for this state of affairs, Alistair Campbell, is now back in the NuLabour fold.

The Independent has learnt that secret executions are being carried out in the prisons run by Nouri al-Maliki’s “democratic” government.

The hangings are carried out regularly – from a wooden gallows in a small, cramped cell – in Saddam Hussein’s old intelligence headquarters at Kazimiyah. There is no public record of these killings in what is now called Baghdad’s “high-security detention facility” but most of the victims – there have been hundreds since America introduced “democracy” to Iraq – are said to be insurgents, given the same summary justice they mete out to their own captives.

“There’s a cell with a bar below the ceiling with a rope over it and a bench on which the victim stands with his hands tied,” a former British official, told me last week. “I’ve been in the cell, though it was always empty. But not long before I visited, they’d taken this guy there to hang him. They made him stand on the bench, put the rope round his neck and pushed him off. But he jumped on to the floor. He could stand up. So they shortened the length of the rope and got him back on the bench and pushed him off again. It didn’t work. They started digging into the floor beneath the bench so that the guy would drop far enough to snap his neck,” the official said. “They dug up the tiles and the cement underneath. But that didn’t work. He could still stand up when they pushed him off the bench. So they just took him to a corner of the cell and shot him in the head.”

Still, it will be making Death Squad Negroponte feel at home as he firms up the colonial charter. As will the ‘fusion cells’ 3,500+ kills (which Bob Woodward so admires)-

Paul Woodward:- “The programme – which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb – must remain secret for now or it would ‘get people killed,’ Woodward said Monday on CNN’s Larry King Live.

” ‘It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have,’ Woodward said.

“In The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008, Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities [‘fusion cells’] developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qa’eda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders.”

The Washington Post reported: “Headquartered in an old concrete hangar on the Balad Air Base, which once housed Saddam Hussein’s fighter aircraft, about 45 miles north of Baghdad, the Joint Task Force in Iraq runs fusion cells in the north, west and south and in Baghdad, US officials said.

“The headquarters bustles like the New York Stock Exchange, with long-haired computer experts working alongside wizened intelligence agents and crisply clad military officers, say officials who have worked there or visited.

“Huge computer screens hang from the ceiling, displaying aerial surveillance images relayed from Predator, Schweizer and tiny Gnat spycraft. The Bush administration’s 2009 supplementary budget request included $1.3 billion to fund 28 unmanned aircraft, officials said, and all will go to the interagency teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the Air Force.

“For the Joint Task Force, the CIA provides intelligence analysts and spycraft with sensors and cameras that can track targets, vehicles or equipment for up to 14 hours. FBI forensic experts dissect data, from cellphone information to the ‘pocket litter’ found on extremists. Treasury officials track funds flowing among extremists and from governments. National Security Agency staffers intercept conversations or computer data, and members of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency use high-tech equipment to pinpoint where suspected extremists are using phones or computers.”

In a separate report on what appears to be the same secret programme, The Sunday Telegraph recently reported that hundreds of terrorist suspects in Iraq have been killed by British special forces.

“More than 3,500 insurgents have been ‘taken off the streets of Baghdad’ by the elite British force in a series of audacious ‘Black Ops’ over the past two years.

“It is understood that while the majority of the terrorists were captured, several hundred, who were mainly members of the organisation known as ‘al-Qa’eda in Iraq’ have been killed by the SAS.

“The SAS is part of a highly secretive unit called ‘Task Force Black’ which also includes Delta Force, the US equivalent of the SAS.”

One of the earliest references to the operation of fusion cells in Iraq says that they came into being during the first year of the war in Iraq.

In their book, Hope is Not a Plan, Thomas S Mowle and Larry Diamond said that the US Army’s chief intelligence officer in Iraq in 2003, Maj Gen Barbara Fast, established “an intelligence fusion cell manned by Americans, British, and Australians… The fusion cell dealt with targeting, counterterrorism, interrogation support, political-military matters, and the insurgency.”

Maj Gen Fast was the most senior military intelligence officer serving in Iraq at the time the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse occurred. Critics said she and other senior officials should have been held accountable for the abuse. In A Question of Torture, by Alfred W McCoy, she is quoted as having told the commanding officer of the Abu Ghraib prison, “We’re going to run interrogations the way we want them run.”

Conspirators

From the US National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 254, Posted – August 22, 2008

PR Push for Iraq War Preceded Intelligence Findings

The U.S. intelligence community buckled sooner in 2002 than previously reported to Bush administration pressure for data justifying an invasion of Iraq, according to a documents posting on the Web today by National Security Archive senior fellow John Prados.

The documents suggest that the public relations push for war came before the intelligence analysis, which then conformed to public positions taken by Pentagon and White House officials. For example, a July 2002 draft of the “White Paper” ultimately issued by the CIA in October 2002 actually pre-dated the National Intelligence Estimate that the paper purportedly summarized, but which Congress did not insist on until September 2002.

  • The timing of the CIA’s draft white paper coincides with a previously available draft of the British Government’s white paper on Iraqi WMD, demonstrating that the Bush administration and the Tony Blair government began acting in concert to build support for an invasion of Iraq two to three months earlier than previously understood.
  • A comparison of the CIA draft white paper with its publicly released edition shows that all the changes made were in the nature of strengthening its charges against Iraq by inserting additional alarming claims, in the manner of an advocacy, or public relations document. The draft and final papers show no evidence of intelligence analysis applied to the information contained. Similar comparison of the British white paper shows the same phenomenon at work. (ht2 Iran Affairs)
  • Where is Donald Rumsfeld and what is he doing?

    Rumsfeld is an unrepentant war criminal, neocon extremist and chump. Search the web and you find odds and sods about him but given who he is, his connections and -to put it bluntly- that he just isn’t the kind of guy who stops doing evil, well…it’s a bit like the cliché from bad jungle adventure movies –it’s quiet, too quiet. I just can’t find to my satisfaction anything that nails down what he is up to these days (unless he’s been nailed down, which would be rather…karmic). It’s idle speculation and I’m not that interested in the appalling man but every so often I wonder.

    There was this speech in Jan ’08, wiki says this

    In the months after his resignation, Rumsfeld toured the New York publishing houses in preparation for a potential memoir. Such a book would reportedly be used by Rumsfeld to justify the military strategy used in Iraq under his watch. An agreement on a book deal has not been announced. According to Time magazine, Rumsfeld is also in the early stages of establishing an educational foundation that would provide fellowships to talented individuals from the private sector who want to serve for some time in government. Rumsfeld would finance the foundation. In September 2007, Rumsfeld received a one-year appointment as a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, joining (among others) retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, former commander of US forces in Iraq, and fellow conservatives George Shultz and Newt Gingrich. He will participate in the institution’s new task force studying post-September 11 ideology and non-state terror.

    There’s

    The suggestion he is working with other loonies at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and is also enthralled with the idea of a “21st century agency for global communications.” i.e. US rightwing propaganda across global media, leads to the obvious question- is this now in action? Also there was the idea that when he ‘resigned’ he still kept a desk at the Pentagon, does he still? He’s ultra-wealthy and has loads of corporate gigs, he’s a friend of Dick ‘secure undisclosed location’ Cheney and bought a mansion called Mount Misery which in the past was where slaves were brought to be beaten into subservience. So perhaps after a hard day’s plutocratic crime he whiles away the evenings conversing with the ghost of torture loving homicidal bigot Edward Covey? They’d certainly have an awful lot in common.

    So if you have information as to his whereabouts and activities please let the world know and remember, don’t have nightmares*.

    *You don’t need to, we’re in a waking one anyway.

    Update: On 1st October Spencer Ackerman spotted him-

    I stopped to get an egg sandwich at the deli next to my office and who should walk by but Donald Rumsfeld. This marks the third time I’ve seen Rumsfeld jaunting down Connecticut Avenue in the mornings, a goon in wraparound shades three steps behind him, death’s-head grimace (his version of a smile?) chiseled onto his face. Is a citizen’s arrest for war crimes a non-concept? I’d cite Jane’s book in my indictment.

    Imperious

    “Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?!”

    Srsly? On the anniversary of the US bombing Hiroshima (Happy Birthday LMT) making it the only nation (yet) to use nuclear weapons Bush leads the way to stop Iran having nuclear power and criticises China’s human rights while his gulag uses a kangaroo military court to convict a chauffeur of his employer’s crimes. An employer (and fellow multi-millionaire feckless playboy) previously trained and funded by…the US, who in the guise of the Bush Whitehouse made sure to ignore numerous warnings of the attack. All the while the stories of how the Bush regime fabricated the WMD lies to invade Iraq and kill 1 million people are being studiously ignored by the Olympics obsessed media, not to mention the anthrax shenanigans. And yeah Tony where’s your answer to this-

    SUSKIND: What we now know from this investigation is that a secret mission was conducted in which a British manager, intelligence agent, met with the head of Iraqi intelligence in a secret location in Amman, Jordan. And what the Iraqi intelligence chief told the British-and essentially the Americans, because we’re all in this together-is that there were no WMD in Iraq.

    Now of course there is a very, very basic reason why we know that they knew there were no WMD in Iraq and thus were lying- You don’t attack countries that have WMD- it’s honestly that simple, because if a nation has WMD any attack fails within the first hour as tens of thousands of your forces are killed with a few deployed weapons. That’s it, it’s like Catch 22, we know they have no WMD’s so we can attack but to get the public support for a war crime of aggression we market the spectre of our enemy/target having WMD’s. It was the lie they could agree upon. And France took an active role in the murder of almost 1 million Rwandans, y’know like we’re taking an active role in the murder of even more Iraqis. Clearly we think of ourselves like Brad and Angelina, gorgeous and philanthropic, swanning around the place bringing joy and happiness, while the majority of the world from whence our riches are taken under arms probably still wake up screaming over the monsters that any minute might concoct a new rationale (Freedom & Democracy ™) for coming over and stealing more shit.

    “My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.”

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