Guantanamo er en torturlejr

Ja, det skal uforbederligt venstreorienterede eller i hvert fald krigskritiske stemmer jo sige. Er det Michael Moore, der nu igen har været ved at blamere sig?

Nej, denne gang kommer kritikken fra den amerikanske regerings ledende statsadvokat på Guantanamo-lejren med ansvar for at retsforfølge de mistænkte i Bushs “krig mod terror”. Den nu pensionerede oberst Morris Davis lægger ikke fingrene imellem, når han beskriver sin egen tidligere arbejdsplads:

Retired air force colonel Morris Davis resigned in October 2007 in protest against interrogation methods at Guantánamo, and has made his remarks in the lead-up to 13 November, the anniversary of President George W Bush’s executive order setting up military commissions to try terrorist suspects.

Davis said that the methods of interrogation used on Guantánamo detainees – which he described as “torture” – were in breach of the US’s own statutes on torture, and added: “If torture is a crime, it should be prosecuted.”

The US military, he said, had been ordered to use unlawful methods of interrogation by “civilian politicians, and to do so against our will and judgment”.

Davis was speaking at a conference on human rights law at Bard College in New York state. After resigning from the armed forces, in a dramatic defection to the other side of the raging debate over conditions at the camp, he became executive director of, and counsel to, the Crimes of War project based in Washington DC. The speech was to launch the project’s 10th anniversary campaign and to protest against the existence of the camp and the torture there and at so-called “black sites” run by US intelligence around the world.

“No court has jurisdiction over Guantánamo,” said Davis. “Some senior civilian Bush adminstration officials chose Guantánamo to interrogate detainees because they thought it’s a law-free zone where we can unlawfully… handle a very small number of cases. We have turned our backs on the law and created what we believed was a place outside the law’s reach.” He added that America was “great at preaching to others, but not so good at practising what we preach. There is a point when enough is enough, and you have to look at yourself in the mirror. Torture has no place in American courts.”

Link: Former US chief prosecutor condemns torture in Guantanamo

George W. Bush og Mubarak

George W. Bush og Mubarak

“Our friendship is strong. It’s a cornerstone of — one of the main cornerstones of our policy in this region, and it’s based on our shared commitment to peace, security and prosperity.  I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. President, to give you an update on my trip. And I appreciate the advice you’ve given me. You’ve seen a lot in your years as President; you’ve got a great deal of experience, and I appreciate you feeling comfortable in sharing that experience once again with me.  I really appreciate Egypt’s support in the war on terror.

Blot en kommentar til dette.

Obama – den alt for lille forskel

Glenn Greenwald har fundet disse eksempler frem:

Robert Gibbs:

I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested. I mean, it’s crazy.


Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Charlie Savage, The New York Times:

Bob Herbert, The New York Times:

Anthony Romero:

The Hill:

NYT Editorial Page:

I hope there are enough drug testing facilities to accommodate Talking Points Memo reporters, Charlie Savage, the lawyers from EFF, Bob Herbert, Anthony Romero, Russ Feingold, and The New York Times Editorial Board.  I don’t know anyone who asserts that Obama is the same as Bush — I don’t believe that and never asserted that — but if anyone needs to be “drug tested,” it would be those denying that many of Bush’s most controversial policies and actions have been embraced in full by Barack Obama.

Læs det hele. Læs endelig det hele (via Lenin’s Tomb).

Hvorfor George W. Bush fortjente at få en sko i hovedet

Muntazer al-Zaidi, den irakiske journalist, der smed en sko i hovedet på USAs præsident George W. Bush, forsvarer sin handling i et indlæg i The Guardian:

I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot. […]

I say to those who reproach me: do you know how many broken homes that shoe which I threw had entered? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people. My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora.

If I have wronged journalism without intention, because of the professional embarrassment I caused the establishment, I apologise. All that I meant to do was express with a living conscience the feelings of a citizen who sees his homeland desecrated every day. The professionalism mourned by some under the auspices of the occupation should not have a voice louder than the voice of patriotism. And if patriotism needs to speak out, then professionalism should be allied with it.

Link: Why I threw the shoe

Arven efter Bush

En gammel nyhed, men altså:

On the heels (gettit?) of the now-notorious incident in which an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at some guy named George Bush, the world press has rushed to tell us that throwing shoes is a really bad thing in the Arab world. Not like here in the west, where it’s a gesture of affection.

“In Arab cultures, throwing shoes is a grave show of disrespect.” —

“The act is an Arab symbol of contempt.” —Christian Science Monitor

“Throwing shoes at somebody is a supreme insult in the Middle East.” —Reuters

“In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.” —Associated Press

Those Mysterious Easterners, So Different From You and Me

Citeret fra Boing Boing.

Bush & Cheney og truslen mod Vestens værdier

Den konservative blogger og forhenværende Bush-støtte Andrew Sullivan gør en kort status over arven efter Bush og Cheney:

Cheney and Bush, unlike any presidency in American history, have dangerously pushed constitutional government to the brink of collapse. They did not merely assert a unified executive in which actions and regulations reserved to the executive branch were kept free from Congressional and judicial tampering. That is a perfectly defensible position, especially in wartime. They did not merely act in the immediate Agabuse wake of an emergency to protect American citizens swiftly – again a perfectly legitimate use of executive power, unhampered by Congress or courts. They declared such power to be unlimited; they asserted also that it was as permanent as the emergency they declared; they claimed their dictatorial powers were inherent in the presidency itself, and above any legal constraints; they ordered their own lawyers to provide retroactive and laughable legal immunity for their crimes; they by-passed all the usual and necessary checks within the executive branch to ensure prudence and legality and self-doubt in the conduct of a war; they asserted that emergency war powers applied to the territory of the United States itself; they claimed the right to seize anyone – anyone, citizen or not – they deemed an “enemy combatant,” to hold them indefinitely with no due process and to torture them until they became incoherent, broken, brutalized shells of human beings, if they survived at all. They did this to the guilty and they did this to the innocent. But they also had no way of reliably knowing which was which and who was who. Never before in wartime has the precious, sacred inheritance of free people been treated with such contempt by the leaders of the democratic West.

They seized countless individuals with no trials and no hearings. They tortured dozens to death. They subjected many more to some of the worst psychological torture techniques devised by Communist totalitarians and the worst physical suffering devised by the Gestapo. They crossed lines no American president had ever crossed before. They withdrew the US from the Geneva Conventions – and did so Padillagoggles secretly. They tapped American’s phones without warrants, and forced many of their randomly grabbed prisoners into the black hole of insanity. They set up secret sites in former Soviet gulags to torture their victims. They single-handedly devastated America’s reputation for human rights and the rule of law in the minds of the vast majority of people in other Western democracies, let alone the developing world, let alone the millions of Muslims across the Middle East who now suspect that America is not really better than their own thugocracies, that America also tortures when it wants to, that the shining city on a hill is actually a place where men above the law can do anything they want to other human beings in their custody.

Bush kan ende med at blive den præsident, der satte alt det, som de vestlige lande med rette kan rose sig af, over styr: Retssikkerhed, åbenhed, frihed, habeas corpus… og det er stadig et spørgsmål, hvor fuldstændigt disse tiltag kan rulles tilbage af den næste præsident. Uden pres sker det ikke, så meget er sikkert.

Link: Barack Obama For President

Hvorfor lige 700 milliarder?

Mange af os har hørt det – den amerikanske regering skal bruge 700 milliarder dollars til at redde finansverdenen og den vestlige verdens økonomi fra kollaps. Selv Jyllands-Posten er begyndt at lyde skeptisk.

Men … hvor kommer de 700 milliarder fra? Hvorfor lige præcis 700 milliarder, hvorfor ikke kun 500 milliarder, eller hvorfor ikke en hel billion, nu hvor vi er ved det?

I Forbes Magazine forklarer en medarbejder ved finansministeriet, hvilke beregninger hvilken beregning, der ligger til grund:

Some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Det er godt at se, at de tager det lovforberende arbejde alvorligt, derovre. Bwahaha, som Citizen ville have sagt.

USA: Otte års tilbagegang

Timothy Garton Ash skriver i The Guardian om Bush-regeringens nemesis:

The irony of the Bush years is that a man who came into office committedto both celebrating and reinforcing sovereign, unbridled national power has presided over the weakening of that power in all three dimensions: military, economic and soft. “I am not convinced we are winning it in Afghanistan,” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional committee earlier this month. Many on the ground say that’s an understatement. The massive, culpable distraction of Iraq, Bush’s war of choice, leaves the US – and with it the rest of the west – on the verge of losing the war of necessity. Here, resurgent in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are the jihadist enemies who attacked the US on September 11 2001. By misusing military power, Bush has weakened it.

Economically, the Bush presidency ends with a financial meltdown on a scale not seen for 70 years. The proud conservative deregulators (John McCain long among them) now oversee a partial nationalisation of the American economy that would make even a French socialist blush. A government bailout that will total close to a trillion dollars, plus the cumulative cost of the Iraq war, will push the national debt to more than $11 trillion. The flagships of Wall Street either go bust or have to be salvaged, with the help of government or foreign money. Most ordinary Americans feel poorer and less secure.

Som Ash også bemærker, er det ikke kun den rå militære og økonomiske magt, men i allerhøjeste grad også landets moralske styrke og anseelse, der har lidt skade. George Bush kritiserer Putin for at invadere en uafhængig stat (Georgien), og hele verden ler. Amerikanerne taler menneskerettigheder i Kina og Rusland, og folk trækker på skuldrene og tænker på Abu Ghraib og Guantanamo.

Selv en medskyldig og republikaner som Colin Powell mener i dag, at en kommende præsidents vigtigste opgave må være at genoprette USAs anseelse ude i verden. Latinamerika er ved at falde fra, og den eneste rigtigt venligtsindede regering på de kanter er Colombia, der ledes af en notorisk krigsforbryder og bandit. Imperiet består måske stadig, men det har fået alvorlige ridser i lakken.

I stedet står USA nu, efter otte års svækkelse, overfor et valg mellem to kandidater, der repræsenterer mere eller mindre den samme politik, men med vidt forskellige kulturelle og symbolske betydninger. Det er til dels ud fra en formodning om, at det nok ikke kan blive meget værre, at vi i den anledning gerne vil gøre Garton Ashs håb til vores:

No one has done more to serve the cause of anti-Americanism than GW Bush. It is we who like and admire the US who should, by rights, be burning effigies. But now, at last, we live in hope of a better America.

The big bailout – moderne tids største tyveri?

Det kan godt være, der er nogen, der er glade for amerikanernes store økonomiske “redningsaktion“, og det kan også godt være, den er nødvendig, men… er det virkelig godt at lade finansverdenen køre friløb i årevis, ophobe hidtil usete profitter, pumpe penge ud til dårlige lån baseret på en “boble” i form af boligprisernes himmelflugt, og så simpelt hen friholde dem, der har forårsaget miseren – på alle andres bekostning?

Glenn Greenwald er ikke tilfreds:

Whatever else is true, the events of the last week are the most momentous events of the Bush era in terms of defining what kind of country we are and how we function — and before this week, the last eight years have been quite momentous, so that is saying a lot. Again, regardless of whether this nationalization/bailout scheme is “necessary” or makes utilitarian sense, it is a crime of the highest order — not a “crime” in the legal sense but in a more meaningful sense.

What is more intrinsically corrupt than allowing people to engage in high-reward/no-risk capitalism — where they reap tens of millions of dollars and more every year while their reckless gambles are paying off only to then have the Government shift their losses to the citizenry at large once their schemes collapse? We’ve retroactively created a win-only system where the wealthiest corporations and their shareholders are free to gamble for as long as they win and then force others who have no upside to pay for their losses. Watching Wall St. erupt with an orgy of celebration on Friday after it became clear the Government (i.e., you) would pay for their disaster was literally nauseating, as the very people who wreaked this havoc are now being rewarded.

Måske det simpelt hen er Bush-regeringens grande finale: Efter en inkompetent ført krig i Irak, baseret på en løgn, efter at have gjort USA til krigsforbrydelsernes og torturens internationale bannerfører, efter skamløst at have gennemførst ulovlige aflytninger af tusinder af amerikanere, efter Guantanamo og Abu Ghraib, skulle der jo ligesom noget til, som de for alvor kan huskes for.

Mange havde frygtet, at det ville blive en krig mod Iran – en ulykke, som Bush-regeringen dog ikke har fundet for godt at påføre verden, og som den amerikanske hær næppe er klædt på til heller. Men … verdenshistoriens største tyveri, 700 milliarder dollars (ca. 4 trillioner kroner) hældt direkte fra skatteydernes lommer over til Bushs venner på Wall Street – det er vel et lige så godt bud?