Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Dateline: Brussels, Belgium
I read in a column by William Pfaff that conservative right-wing writer, Andrew Sullivan, had done a job on the Bush administration, comparing it the Third Reich. The Sullivan article appeared in The Atlantic
magazine back in July but I wouldn't read that magazine if you gave it to me. Anyway, Sullivan was responding to a speech by President George Bush when Bush 'insisted' that 'enhanced interrogation techniques' were 'crucial for American success.'
Sullivan reportedly said the phrase 'enhanced interrogation techniques' had it's origins in Nazi Germany and Pfaff said, 'It was used to describe SS and Gestapo practices that in 1948 were determined to have been war crimes subject to the death penalty.'
The year mentioned, 1948, places the term in the Nuremberg trials but I checked and couldn't find it. Maybe there is a historical work that mentions it, I have serious doubts about Andrew's command of German. Anyway, the trials were convened 139 times from 1946 to 1949. In the first trial 24 high ranking Nazi officers were charged with crime crimes and 12 received death sentences. In a crimes against humanity trial known as the Doctor's Trial The court was an agent of the United States and the judges were drawn from the U.S. military. I'm sure most of them didn't speak German. The court stated that 'To kill, to maim, and to torture is criminal under all modern systems of law.' Charged were 23 physicians, 16 were found guilty, seven were executed. Among the victims, who must have suffered horribly, were '200 Jews, 50 Gypsies, 500 tubercular Poles, or 1,000 Russians.' I guess the 'or' in that sentence means that weren't sure.
About war crime crimes in general, The Geneva Conventions were first convened in 1864 and the participants were essentially concerned with defining and cataloging war crimes. Representatives from 16 countries attended the first convention. Other conventions were in 1899, 1907, 1929, and four in 1949. The Hague conferences, in 1899 and 1907, adopted rules of war but couldn't reach agreement on disarmament or weapons limitations. The Helsinki Accords in 1975 had 36 countries pledging to respect human rights. It's a just a pity that none of these conventions, conferences, and accords didn't establish rules for governing crimes against nature.
Genocide didn't get on the list of war crimes until 1951 and there was plenty of mass murders around the planet in the 20th Century, many of them never prosecuted, especially in Africa. An international criminal court wasn't established until 1998 called the Rome Statute but the United States rebuffed it. Why? Because the Bush administration thinks its citizens and military personal are above international law. They get their law from god and are forgiven for their crimes. The court functions well enough without the Americans, 104 countries are signed up.
The first arrests were made in 1993 following the Yugoslav war Bosnian, Croatians, and Serbia (Hercegovina) forces. A new phrase,'Ethnic cleansing' entered the vocabulary; up to 300,000 people were killed, three million were left homeless. The international court brought some of the perpetrators to justice
My considered opinion is that the phrase 'enhanced interrogation techniques' was dreamed up in the Pentagon or the White House but it does have a catchy Third Reich feel to it--I can hear Herr Cheney explaining what the words means to Herr Bush. If the phrase came out of the Pentagon, it must have come the lips of a neo-com, a Jew, with a German speaking relative who survived the Holocaust.
On the Internet you can read about torture techniques used by the America Military, the CIA, and the article by Andrew Sullivan that apparently appeared in The Atlantic
magazine. Sullivan does not say what William Pfaff what implied, that the phrase enhanced interrogation techniques had Nazi origins, only that they used those techniques. So, that's cleared up. Sullivan also distances himself from implying that America is now a Fascist regime. They just use Fascist techniques. As for Pfaff, he thinks torture is immoral but offers 'no opinion' about it being a crime. That's a perfect example of a squirmy little liberal worm. 'Oh, I'm sorry, as Samuel L. Jackson might say, "you said federal crimes. Does that mean the FBI is also involved in torture?"
Even Sullivan has more balls than Pfaff. Sullivan names names that broke all international laws on torture, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Bush and Cheney. He missed a few but those mentioned are guilty. About torture techniques, Sullivan runs into conservative psycho-babble when he claims the Germans thought torture techniques like water boarding and hypothermia were 'too cruel.' Come on, all torture techniques are cruel, those methods were too primitive. The Nazis were into how much a human could stand when exposed to chemicals, gases, and viruses.
For the cold treatment in Cuba the Americans use air conditioners and buckets of ice. A bucket of water and a board suffices for the water boarding torture The water trickles down from the bucket to the board and makes the prisoner feel like he's drowning. It was the Japanese who were the fascist water board champs. They would stick a water hose down the throat of a bound prisoner, face up on the ground, and fill him up until his stomach was bloated. Two soldiers, probably sloshed on saki, would then put a board over the prisoner's stomach and seesaw on it. Of course the preferred method of the Japanese was lopping off heads with katana
swords. What to hear something more gruesome? The Bush administration legalised torture.
Date: Thursday, January 31, 2008
Dateline: Brussels, Belgium
There are an impressive number of D.C. suits who could face criminal charges when the Bush Administration leaves the offices of this despicable government. Of course Bush and Cheney are the most culpable but if the demise of the Nixon Administration is anything to go on most of them will get off with small fines and light sentences. What a great pity, Norman Podhoretz probably won't even face trail. He's a neocon who reportedly came up with the term Islamofacism which makes him a Jewish fascist. A particularly odorous specimen of humanity dedicated to world war, I don't think he had an official position in the administration.
Bush has a bad habit of appointing advisers and department heads who are against what they are suppose to be defending but that is his way of destroying a democratic government. A perfect example is Bush's adviser to the environment, James Connaughton. In December, 2007, he represented the U.S. Government at a world conference on global warming in Bali, Indonesia. His qualifications? 'He had a career defending chemical manufactures and aluminum smelts against environment lawsuits.' That's the way it is most government departments.
For Democrats, the best option now is to push for a constitutional amendment to allow Congress to impeach members of the Supreme Court. Also, the Democrats should be pushing for legislation preventing voter fraud and for citizen rights to vote. Extra security out of party funds for Brack Obama would be helpful too. You also bring back Al Gore. Republicans love to hate him.
For the Republicans, I would advise sticking to the game plan, declare martial law or a national emergency and try to stay in power for as long as possible. The would-be successors to the Bush-Cheney reign are all wild cards. None of them have a chance but one will win the party's presidential nomination. No, not another Bush clone from Arizona, an East Coast Mormon, an ordained Baptist minister appealing to crazy evangelicals, a Catholic war monger like the former New York mayor or maybe a Jew like the governor of New York. How long will Dick manage to hide out in his bunker? Will they take George at his Crawford, Texas, ranch or Kennebunkport? Will they try to string him up in the oval office or does that only in happen France? No, not Sarkozy, McCain? He looks the likely nominee but do Bush and Cheney want him as their replacement? McCain's religious views are suspect among Bush's evangelical flock.
About prosecutions, in the Nixon era the list includes, wire tapping, breaking and entering, burglaries, money laundering, embezzlement, accepting brides, tax evasion, obstruction-of-justice, perjury and probably more. Nixon's staff was mostly made up of advertising thugs. The Bush-Cheney administration faces more serious charges. Genocide and Crimes against humanity are possible, violating international law, the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations' 1948 Declaration of Human Rights. Subverting the U.S. Government and the U.S. Constitution could result in charges of treason. Then there is torture, 'a felony under U.S. law, illegal in international law, forbidden by U.S. military manuals. For that they should all go down, Bush, Cheney and his deputies, plus his chief of staff, David Addington, add John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, the Jewish neocons, and anyone else who raped the principals of democracy like Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove for instance. Hope to see you at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Incidently, in my last blog, on Torture, I mentioned that I'd seen no evidence that the Nazis used water-boarding as a torture technique but American columnist Jay Bookman claims the Nazis were fond of it and it was also used during the Spanish Inquisition. I still haven't seen evidence on the Nazis but during the Inquisition and in England during the Middle Ages simpler forms were used like lowering a victim by rope from a bridge in a river. Unfortunately, surviving the water torture was another heresy against the church and the victim was often burned at the stake. Use of ducking-stools, according to Wikipedia, began in the 13th Century and phased out in the mid-18th Century. For other techniques depicting torture in English history I recommend the film Witchfinder General
starring Vincent Price and released out of Norway in 1968.
Do criminals and religion have something in common? Take American prisons, please, they hold a quarter of the world's inmates and nearly half of them are doing time for nonviolent drug related offenses. The question is, why do so many prisoners take up religion. I don't know. Maybe it's because they think that's they way to an early furlough, a get out of jail pass for good behavior. I doubt if there is a Bible in every cell but it's possible. Maybe they get tired of tired of pumping iron all day. Maybe reading the scriptures is a way to avoid torture. Another reason for walking a righteous path in prison is the King of the Hill, a 6 foot-four, 300 pound tattooed torso who thinks he's Jesus. Amen brother.
More on religion in the next blog.
Date: Friday, February 29, 2008
Dateline: Brussels, Belgium
Back in Morocco (See Gris-Gris Blog, 2006 ) my two colleagues are still working on
Evgeny Podkletnov's anti-gravity light beam but learning that you can't clone wings
on camels and expect them to fly. In Texas, citizens are seeing UFOs and since many
of them have mobile phones with cameras and video recorders, you too can see on your
computers that there's something unusual up there. But no contact, not ever, except
in movies and on televison. And there they are, a lot of them, mostly ugly, the film
industry's contribution to our understanding of the cosmos. For sky watchers a clear
night can be fascinating, especially if you're viewing from a telescope connected to
the edge of your hot tub.
Curiously I think right-wing Christians, particularly evangelical fundamentalist
types who have always had their heads screwed on wrong, think that UFOs are just
smoke and mirrors, like their religious convictions, incidentally. They might even
have dumber religious views than members of the Church of Scientology, all the
Catholics and Mormons too. Their ignorance of Worldly matters certainly proves
Darwin's observations on evolution. So why do they delude themselves with false
scriptures when they can't pay the mortgage on their homes? Compared to major
dominations, evangelical and fundamentalist sects must be among the most primitive
people on the planet.
Ever wonder about how many religions there are? Scanning a list of major
denominations on the Internet were many I'd either forgotten or never heard of
before and I studied religions for a year at university. Since religion was created
by man to create order and make some money my guess, including tribes, with over
four billion people on the planet is, too many. You do the maths. In the U.S. at
least 95% of the population is religious, God fearing Christians and assorted
minorities In Holland, supposedly one of the freer countries in the world, 60% per
cent are believers but recently one of their TV networks bought a nature series from
the British BBC narrated by David Attenborough. Evolutionary material about the age
of Earth was deleted. The Dutch have had a right-wing government for eight years,
the economy is strong, following the U.S. model, human rights have deteriorated. A
few years ago the prime of minister of Holland, Jon Peter Balkenende and Russian
President Valdimir Putin were lunching at the Yacht Club in Amsterdam and nothing
Which brings me to atheism. There aren't many nonbelievers out there licking their
chops, pondering chaos, wondering about charming nature and I doubt if most of them
believe in UFOs. On that one I remain skeptical because researching the subject
convinced me that something is flying about in our atmosphere. Too many sightings.
Remember, all the building blocks for life are in space. And while our planet is a
long, long, way from home, there are at last 10 billion stars and half a trillion
planets on the way to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Incidently, the first
planet was identified in 1996. So the lights in Texas? Local stuff. No aliens in
their right minds would want to visit the Lone Star State. Go pester the Air Force.
Not believing in a God, a Supreme Being or Biblical bull shit, has its advantages.
You don't, for instance, have to tell anyone to go to hell. Believers who attack you
with conversion on their
minds can be beaten up with words. You don't try to convert them, that's their turf,
you just destroy the charade of religion and racism at the same time with a forceful
tirade. Ever since conservative religious zealots obtained political power, they've
created wars, and destroyed the environment to create empires. Religions don't
create peace, neither does the military, and now in the corporate and political
world, we're still at it. For Centuries we've been trying to conquer nature instead
of harmonizing with it. Forests are treated like our wood pile without being
replaced, mountains are stripped for minerals, oceans are polluted and over fished,
coral is destroyed. Dams are built, marshlands disappear, birds die. We are nearing
the edge of a world wide catastrophe and it is not because of a vengeful God. It's
us and it's past time to show nature some respect.
Heard this one? The U.S. National Park Service 'pressured' by fundamentalist stooges
in the Bush administration has forbidden park rangers from revealing the age of the
Grand Canyon to visitors. That's because there is a creation book in the park's book
stores and the author claims the canyon was created during the time of Noah's
Deluge. However, there is no evidence of a universal flood and the Gand Canyon has
an Earth history of one billion years, long before humans arrived on the scene. And,
according to a recent BBC documentary, 99% of all creatures created on Earth are now
extinct without ever coming into contact with humans.
Three books on atheism, well received by critics, have recently been published,
The End of Faith
by Sam Harris, The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins,
and god Is Not Great
by Christopher Hitchens. One at a time, Harris was born
in 1967 and reportedly claims he was raised by a Jewish mother and Quaker father.
That doesn't wash well when you see a photo of Harris. He looks exactly like a Jew
and none too handsome either. Sorry about that. Sam studied at Standard University,
says he read over a 100 books on religion and according to Wikipedia on the Internet
(consulted here for biographical material on these writers) is currently pursuing a
doctorate in neuroscience. As a science oriented very intelligent geek he thinks
'religion is an impediment to progress.' Who would disagree? Certainly not Richard
Dawkins. Born to an affluent upper-middle class family in Kenya in 1941, he moved to
England when he was eight and as a popular science writer and evolutionary
biologist, turned out pretty well. He is probably one of the most intelligent men on
the planet but he does have critics concerning his theories on gene evolution. He
also raised Cain when he compared religious education of children to 'mental child
abuse'. For him, I think, being an atheist is just common sense. An interest or
background in science would be helpful for readers of Harris and Dawkins. Anyway,
escaping the clutches of the church always seemed reasonable to me.
Reading Christopher Hitchens doesn't require a background in anything, he's a
journalist. Born in England in 1949 he became a U.S. citizen in 2007. Like Harris
and Dawkins his book received favorable reviews but talk about a flip-flopper. He
started out as a Trotskyist, held some left-wing views and was critical of the
Reagan and Clinton administrations. Also on his hit list was Mother Teresa, and
Henry Kissinger and he apparently believes 'Islam has a Fascist face.' Asked if he
had come up with the phrase Islamofacism he attributed it to Scottish religious
writer and historian Malise Ruthven. That's clever, Norman Podhoretz is dropped out
of the Jewish equation. When Hitchens flips or flops he usually has hypocrites on
his mind. For a fellow who thinks that all religious belief is sinister and
infantile, Hitchens is currently critical of the Bush administration for violations
against human liberties, warrant-less arrest, domestic spying, and religious views.
That's seems reasonable without quotes but then he flips around and says he's Jewish
and attracted to neocon ideas without actually being one. I think it was Hitchens's
brother who said, 'Yeah, we're thirty-second generation Jews.' Have you ever known a
Protestant or Jew named Christopher? I think he has a grudge against the Catholic
Church and so does the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, working the neocon circuit he
befriended Paul Wolfowitz, who should be behind bars. But other neocon Jews don't
trust him because he was too critical of Reagan polices. From the start he supported
the war in Iraq and Israel's right to exist but is critical about how the Israelis
are going about it. Charming.
In May of 2007 Hitchens appeared briefly on BBC TV for his reaction on the death of
the American televangelist the Rev Jerry Falwell. Well, Hitchens has a reputation
for heavy drinking and he certainly didn't disappoint on that score. Completely in
his cups he proceeded to trash the former Baptist as scum of the Earth while
Falwell's bloated body and dead brain was still in the morgue. Readers might recall
that in 1983 Falwell sued Larry Flynt the publisher of Hustler
a cartoon that depicted Falwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. Falwell
lost the lost the case on appeal in the Supreme Court in 1988. I suppose Hitchens
despises televangelist Pat Robertson too. Who knows? Falwell and Flynt eventually
As for Hitchens, he has a razor sharp mind, even when he's drunk, but hasn't come to
terms with Americans wearing the jackboots of the World. Given the opportunity to
spue his venom, that might be interesting. And since the U.S. Government can't
deport an Englishman to England if he has a U.S. passport, his book should be
available in cow pasture country. Best of all, I don't think he'll write 'Oh My God'
on every page. If you see his book in an airport, I'd be surprised.
More news, just in, in the second of week of February, Bush signed a 'a massive
defense authorization bill.' Then, according to a Marie Cocco column he made some of
his 'signing statements' on the bill. I take it that he wasn't pleased with 'four
laws' attached to the bill by members of the Democratic party, so he disavowed them.
One law thrown out would have forbidden him from using federal funds to build
permanent military bases in Iraq He claims he can bypass Congress to use those
funds. Law two is that he can ignore protection for those who want to expose
corruption among government contractors and members of the administration's 16
intelligence agencies. Law number three would forbid intelligence agencies from
turning over reports to Congress and law number four is an objection to setting up
an independent commission to investigate contracting abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most of this words is this paragraph are attributable to Marie Cocco. She gives us
all the Big Picture. All the administration needs is one incident, like a natural
disaster, or some rotten legislation to create a riot. Marital law could be declared
and Bush could assume dictatorial powers under directives NSPD-51 and HSPD-20. So,
if the banks foreclose on all those mortgages this summer and the disposed take to
the streets, look for martial law to be declared.
Also remember, according the to Bush Administration, unless they've backdown a bit,
if one of those 300 prisoners at Guantanamo had all his healthy teeth pulled with
rusty pliers--without an anesthetic--it wouldn't be torture unless he died. As they
say in some countries, 'Don't be a terrorist target, hit and run.'
NOTE: To preserve the intergrity of the story, blog entries are in chronological order. First post first, last post last.