Liar, Liar, pants on fire! The NYT and its yellow journalism


We’ve chronicled many places here on the pages of Miscellany101 how the New York Times has been used by it’s racist, Islamophobic elites to falsely and misleadingly  incite public passions against the Muslim minority for the sake of public dissension and war, and they are at it again!  I really don’t understand how newspapers can keep finding harlots to lie and prostitute themselves for the good of the established elites but they somehow manage to keep up a pretty good stable of men and women willing to dispense and even take the kool-aid laced ethnic, religious and racial bigotry that keeps our country fueled for war.   This latest blunder began with  Elisabeth Bumiller’s piece that appeared in the NYT in May of  last year that erroneously stated a high recidivism rate among Guantanamo detainees.  Making stuff wholesale out of sack cloth and ashes Bumiller, like her predecessor, Judith Miller, created a story that was picked up and run with by the likes of Dick Darth Vader Cheney in such a blatant disregard for reality that even the NYT had to backtrack, retract and mea culpa themselves out of another embarrassing situation.

……the article on which he based that statement was seriously flawed and greatly overplayed. It demonstrated again the dangers when editors run with exclusive leaked material in politically charged circumstances and fail to push back skeptically. The lapse is especially unfortunate at The Times, given its history in covering the run-up to the Iraq war.The article seemed to adopt the Pentagon’s contention that freed prisoners had “returned” to terrorism, ignoring independent reporting by the Times and   others that some of them may not have been involved in terrorism before but were radicalized at Guantánamo. It failed to distinguish between former prisoners suspected of new acts of terrorism — more than half the cases — and those supposedly confirmed to have rejoined jihad against the West. Had only confirmed cases been considered, one in seven would have changed to one in 20.

Unfortunately, the NYT lied to us the public again.  Yes, their article was seriously flawed alright…..so much so that they decided to run it again and by the same person!  What’s worse, the Times buried this caveat deep in the article, “the White House had ‘been presented with no information that suggests that any of the detainees transferred by this administration have returned to the fight'” which appeared at the very bottom of the page, in the tenth paragraph of a twelve  paragraph piece.  Why is the NYT so intent in promoting war in as distant and remote a place as Yemen?  Do they think such a misadventure will increase their circulation at a time when advertising dollars and bureau budgets are tight?  Not hardly.  The NYT has an explicit interest like most of the other security consultants, analysts, contractors and assorted acronymed groups in keeping this Nation at war because if it’s not profitable for some of them, it’s profitable for others who in turn trickle down the profits they get from deceiving government and the Nation to fight in far away places.  It’s the old you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours symbiosis of truth, warfare and lies.  The NYT is pretty good at making that a seamless transition.  They’ve been doing it for far too long.

The New Crusades-Christian Mercenaries’ war on Islam


crusaderBlackwater founder and Christian mercenary/missionary Erik Prince is in the news again for allegations he sent people to kill Muslim Iraqis under the sponsorship of the US State Department.  Inflammatory but you can read the story here.

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

Now even if you believe in the phony war on terror, you have been told several times it had nothing to do with Iraqis; rather we were going there for the purposes of removing a ruler we didn’t like but who we knew all along had nothing to do with 911.  Blackwater became Dick Cheney’s praetorian guard, initially to guard his interests, Halliburton, there in Iraq and ostensibly to do Cheney’s demented bidding which included political assassinations the world over.  As if the torture issue isn’t reason enough for federal authorities to look into prosecuting Cheney,  this latest revelation about Blackwater and the nefarious dealings of its president, Prince, should be the nail in the coffin for Cheney and many other former Bush officials’ incarceration.  However, because of Blackwaters’ close ties with federal government officials, many of them career employees who remain when administrations leave and who have a direct impact on policy no matter who’s in charge, don’t look for the investigation into Blackwater malfeasance to go too far, unless the public demands it.  Meanwhile, Blackwater and the US government will continue to get away with murder, and earn the scorn of the rest of the world.

An interesting aside to the talk about torture


Will Griggs who writes excellent pieces on is blog, Pro Libertate addresses frankly what it is people in the military are to do when confronted with commands from superiors that they commit illegal acts. Stopping along the way in his argument to point out that putting our soldiers in harms way is something they must expect when they enlist in the military, Griggs thinks there is no excuse for not releasing the photos.  He writes:

Yes, it’s entirely likely that releasing the photographs of torture and sexual assault — including homosexual rape and, God forgive us, the defilement of children — would lead to dangerous and potentially lethal complications for armed government employees who are killing people and destroying property in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, countries they invaded and continue to occupy by force.

If our rulers were genuinely concerned about danger to “our troops,” they would release the Abu Ghraib documents and bring the troops home. There — problem solved! Instead, they are illegally suppressing the photos and keeping the troops in the field — and now letting it be known that the U.S. military will remain mired in Mesopotamia (which is the more tractable of the two ongoing conflicts) for another decade or longer.

Well stated and let’s not forget several commanders of troops in war theaters have already averred that decisions regarding the “interrogation”, read torture, of detainees have put American personnel in danger with the indigenous societies they occupy, yet we hardly hear any objection to such tactics raised on those grounds.  What the release of those pictures would entail is the inescapable conclusion that US personnel must be prosecuted for war crimes, or at the very least criminal behavior, as it did in the case of several army personnel currently serving time for their part in actions caught on camera.

Griggs takes things a step further than any other writer I have read to date.  He chides and refutes the official reason for not releasing the photos, ‘the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy’ by saying, ‘the foreign policy referred to entails open-ended entanglements in the affairs of nearly every nation on earth, as well as plundering huge sums from taxpayers to sustain a grotesquely huge military establishment and bribe political elites abroad. That foreign policy cultivates misery and harvests war and terrorism.’  Griggs thinks, as do I, that there should be consequences for illegal activity and if releasing the photos causes some to fear those consequences, so be it.

Although I wish harm or death on no human being, it seems to me a good idea to adjust the current set of incentives in such a way that at least some American military personnel, as they deal with another gust of blowback, will have an overdue confrontation with their conscience and decide unilaterally to end their service of the world’s largest criminal enterprise, the government of the United State (spelling intentional).

Am I trying to incite desertion? Reducing the matter to terms simple enough for Sean Hannity to understand them — yes, I am, where desertion is the only way to avoid upholding an immoral, unsustainable policy and serving a depraved Regime. Desertion is a moral imperative when continued service implicates a soldier in crimes against God and mankind.

Perhaps that is one of the consequences the military establishment is trying to avoid, i.e. the moral awakening of its enlisted corps and their refusal to support goals that are anathema to American values. It’s a particularly sticky situation for politicians to espouse American values which include life, and liberty while asking people to risk their lives to curtail those very things either on a foreign and distant soil or on our own here in America. The turmoil caused by an awakening that such requests are inconsistent with all we’ve been taught is probably more traumatic than fighting the war itself. I have often wondered whether this conflict in the soul of the military is the reason for such a high incidence of suicide in the military; if that were the case, desertion would be a far better alternative.  Griggs makes a very powerful and strong case for members of the US military not remain within the military as long as it asks them to commit illegal and morally reprehensible acts against people under its authority. I fully concur.  Well done, Mr. Griggs!

Cheney’s lies


If you think, as I do, that Dick Cheney is off his rocker, you’ve hit the jackpot.  If you think, as I do, that Cheney’s a liar you’ve won the daily double.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims — that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked — are wrong.

Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association’s annual dinner in New York on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques — now deemed torture by the Obama administration — “gives the lie to Mr. Cheney’s claims.”

The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released “say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques.”

“I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction,” he added.

Cheney is a mentally unstable man with a mean streak a mile long running down his back. He gave in to the animal side of human nature and has led the rally cry for other Americans to join him on this dark, unstable journey of lawlessness and inhumanity. He managed to do so, thus far, through the bully pulpit and an obsequious press that parroted his every proclamation. Now that the curtain has been removed and the wizard exposed, why do we continue to be threatened by such a sick individual?

If you think waterboarding isn’t torture, think again


waterboardingWaterboarding is torture, pure and simple.  Those brave and stupid enough to try it have come away with that conclusion, even the ones who have been waterboys for neocon arguments and excuses, which we have already discounted, which claimed waterboarding helped saved lives and is nothing more than an enhanced interrogation technique.  The latest waterboy who agreed to be waterboarded, one of the faux pas conservative radio talk show hosts, Eric Mancow Muller tried it and didn’t last 6 seconds on the waterboard, embarrassing himself  live during his radio talk show on WLS radio.  There’s video of his experience at the above link as well.  Muller went on to say afterwards

“It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.

That should have come as no surprise to him.  Christopher Hitchens, another writer, media star of neocon bent was waterboarded and came to the same conclusion.  Why he had to experience it to be convinced is beyond me, especially after he was obliged to sign a statement BEFORE being waterboarded that read in part

“Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.

Hitchens was lucky enough to have been forewarned and any senility evident in post waterboard writings is due to his ignoring the above indemnification and most likely not hereditary as I was earlier led to believe. Yet after all that, Hitchens managed to say succinctly, unambiguously that waterboarding is torture.  I have a few more pundits and media personalities I would like to see undergo the waterboard to determine for themselves whether it is torture or not, but in their absence there’s certainly more than enough anecdotal evidence, backed by the rule of law that substantiates the conclusion of the two mentioned in this article.  That said, why isn’t Dick Cheney facing indictment for torture?

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.

Dick Cheney’s descent into mental illness


dick_cheneyIt’s safe to say Dick Cheney has lost his mind.  There’s so much wrong with this individual and his perception of reality that for the public good he needs to be locked up in a mental facility or jail or one of the two that houses the other.  In fact, Obama should put Cheney out of his misery and prosecute him for torture, but Obama doesn’t seem to have the heart to put the mad dog Cheney away.  Cheney’s attempt on Obama’s life should be all the catalyst the Holder led Justice Department needs to lock him up and throw away the key.  In language that was called treasonous just a few short years ago, Cheney said a sitting President of the United States was endangering the safety of America through his policies which overturned those of the Bush/Cheney era.  Such highly inflammatory comments against such a symbolic president as Obama are enough to get the crazies all hot and bothered.  It’s not enough that one sicko has already been found who felt the same thing as Cheney and sought to act on that belief, now America is faced with the specter that  other wackos duly encouraged by Cheney’s remarks may feel it an obligation to answer the call to protect the Homeland from Obama.

Cheney’s other gaffe was to elevate the status of a draft dodger and entertainer over that of a retired Army  general and civil servant who served his country honorably in both capacities.  Questioning Colin Powell’s commitment to party politics, especially after Powell’s shameful display he made at the UN in defense of the Bush push to war with Iraq is disgusting.  I guess Cheney forgot how Powell made him, Cheney, look good during the first Gulf war when as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Powell decimated Saddam Hussein’s army and country while showcasing a strong and powerful American military to the world under Cheney’s leadership.  Only Cheney, and his selection of neocons are to blame for the lackluster US military that now still sits in Iraq because of bad planning and inept leadership, which Powell on the other hand had nothing to do with.

The only way to legitimately  shut Cheney up is to prosecute him for the crimes of torture, a prosecution that would certainly lead to a conviction with all the evidence so far compiled against him.  Doing so would preoccupy Cheney with his own defense and tone down the  rhetoric and free time he seems to enjoy with nothing else constructive to do than take pot shots at Obama.  I am increasingly amazed at the impotence of the Obama administration at threats from hostile politicians at home and abroad.  As long as he is careless there is a lot more at stake than just his political reputation or reelection.  Cheney is one such threat, and he needs to be put out of his misery for his own sake and for the sake of the country.  Mr. Obama….are you listening?