The entire Bush Administration should be in jail


They have become so bad, so obnoxious even Lanny Davis who works for Republicans is now saying Dick Cheney should be indicted for his actions on torture.  To hell with the past is the past, an excuse every criminal who ever lived wishes could be used as a defense, Davis asserts it would not be difficult to bring charges against Cheney.  But why stop at Cheney?  There’s an entire Administration that was equally complicit in using torture, something illegal, to get people to lie, something also illegal, in order to justify invading a defenseless country, something I hope is still illegal and in the process killing thousands of its citizens, also an illegal act.  If we look at the Bush Administration’s eight years, it was ALL illegal.  I am most offended by the use of torture to get people to lie and even more amused by people who minimize torture, especially waterboarding, and talk about the number of pours of water over a victim’s face not constituting torture.  Nevertheless the fact of the matter, as stated by those who were present, is that some victims were waterboarded scores of times in order to get them to admit to a fictitious link, that didn’t offer up any actionable intelligence, in other words no terror plots were disrupted as a result of anything told by these victims, and the hands of a corrupt Administration, until now not taken to task,  from top to bottom are responsible for this action.  Go visit the links established by the folks at Think Progress which debunk all the torture myths put up by those on the right who sought to justify it.

I can think of nothing more heinous than torturing people to get them to confess to a lie.  In other words, people who knew nothing of a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were tortured until they were finally able to figure out what it was their torturers wanted from them and finally gave it to them.  No wonder Khalid Shaikh Muhammad is supposed to have confessed to doing things that didn’t happen or could be easily proven he had no part of; a human will do or say anything to escape pain once he realizes what it is to be done or said.  Of course, by the time such confessions were given the world had already figured out, been told, that such links didn’t exist, as did neither the WMDs we were told were within a hairs breath of being deployed against us, it was all a lie, sorry, let’s just forget the whole thing and opt for …….change and again, the rule of law is cast aside for political expediency.  The guards at Gitmo Bay and Abughraib are not the only ones culpable for this breach of law and our Nation’s confidence.  One of the measures of greatness is how well the law is equally applied to all regardless of status.  We are failing that measure miserably and we have no one to blame but ourselves.  I’m glad Lanny Davis has come around and sees that Cheney should be held accountable; I hope his list of those who need to be brought to justice grows.  If he needs help compiling it, I’ll be glad to hand him mine; it’s eight years long.

Somalia-Somalis trying to stay out of the bullseye


There’s been a lot written about Somalia, Muslims, piracy, and terrorism and most likely most of it like all the rest of the news on those subjects  is hyperbole.  In order to combat even that, however, a group of Somalis in Washington state came out in strong denouncement of piracy and terrorism.

“We, the Somali-Americans in Washington State, are denouncing our youth to participate in any kind of violence here and back home. We see this as an opportunity to clarify our perspective, as a community and United States citizens, and we (are denouncing) the piracy act in Somali shores.”

I applaud their unequivocal stand on the issues at hand which affect their community, even though they like most other Americans are not as informed about them as we should be.  In typical western arrogance we have ascribed bad motives to a group of people who take over ships on the high seas, even though  the idea based on what we know about Somalia is rather preposterous, and we never once considered that perhaps these people are acting in the best interests of their country with noble intentions.  So it is that a reporter raises that possibility by suggesting these “pirates” are themselves trying to stop illegal activity on the part of shippers in Somali waters.  It seems the international community has taken advantage of the absence of a controlling legal authority in Somalia and decided to dump its waste, toxic, nuclear and otherwise  in Somali waters, wrecking havoc on fishing for Somalis and endangering the lives of Somalis.

As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to”dispose” of cheaply.

It’s really the typical imperial trick of using or abusing the natural resources of a hapless nation state and then waging war on that country when it decides to mount even a minimal protest  at being raped and plundered.  Which is why we see this sudden interest in east Africa and the presence of a couple dozen Taliban/al-Qaida types infiltrating the area and causing widespread panic and concern in the halls of this once great republic, America; justification for intervention when all that is needed is adherence to the rule of law. Then there’s this:

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

In the past, American heroes would wax poetic about the importance of liberty and how insignificant death is in comparison, but such sentiments are not allowed for an agrarian society whose only importance, it seems, to imperial designs is as either an international garbage dump or a source for fish. Instead of taking advantage of a lawless vacuum, western powers should start negotiating with the government, any government is better than no government, to define territorial integrity and fishing/dumping rights off the Somali coast.  We know however why they don’t do that; caught up in the grips of Islamophobia and unable to seat a government to their liking, western powers are pillaging the coast of Somali for every industrial advantage available to them and labelling any resistance to this policy piracy.  Change anyone?