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Posts Tagged ‘torture

Pentagon clears itself of propaganda violations

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conveniently positioned to be slurped down the weekend memory hole

WASHINGTON (AFP) — An internal investigation has cleared the Pentagon of violating a ban on domestic propaganda by using retired military officers to comment positively about the war in Iraq in the US media.

In a report posted on its website Friday, the Pentagon’s inspector general said “we found the evidence insufficient to conclude that RMA (retired military analysts) outreach activities were improper.”

The report said the controversy, which erupted in April following an expose in the New York Times, warranted no further investigation.

The Times found that the Pentagon laid on special briefings and conference calls for the retired officers, many of whom then repeated the talking points as military experts on television news shows.

It also found that many of the media analysts also worked as consultants or served on the boards of defense contracting companies, but that those ties often went undisclosed to the public.

US law bars government agencies from using funds for domestic propaganda, but the inspector general’s report said the definition of propaganda is unclear.

The report said historically it has been interpreted to mean publicity for the sake of self aggrandizement, partisanship, or covert communications, and that by those standards the evidence did not show a violation of the ban.

FDR's propaganda machine

FDR's propaganda machine


“Further, we found insufficient basis to conclude that (the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs) conceived of or undertook a disciplined effort to assemble a contingent of influential RMAs who could be depended on to comment favorably on DoD (Department of Defense) programs,” it said.

It said the Pentagon invited retired military analysts to 121 meetings, 16 Pentagon briefings, 105 conference calls and nine trips — four to Iraq and five to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We determined that those activities were conducted in accordance with DoD policies and regulations,” it said.

It said some 70 retired military officers were involved with the program at one time of another.

One, retired general Barry McCaffrey, was not invited back after he criticized the war effort, the report said. Another was blocked from attending, possibly because of a dispute with an unnamed senior military officer, it said.

It said it found no instances where retired officers with ties to military contractors “used information obtained as a result of the … outreach program to achieve a competitive advantage for their company.”

“Of the 70 RMAs that we examined, we found that 20 (29 percent) had some type of corporate association,” it said.

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His Highness calls for more bloodletting

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…and torture.

Written by mudshark

September 20, 2008 at 12:36 am

Ray McGovern on Petraeus, Cheney and Yoo

with 6 comments

Also, On AntiWar Radio: Charles Goyette talks with Ray McGovern about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet and much more.

mp3 here [58:23]

Yoo’s on First?
by Ray McGovern

Weren’t Yoo’s co-conspirators careful to keep their fingerprints off the more blatantly offensive memoranda? Sure they were.

But there was one problem. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-CIA Director George Tenet could not get their people to torture folks without written, signed authorization by the president.

And we have a copy of that authorization? Yes, it’s been available for years. You have to download it to believe it.

In his Feb. 7, 2002, memorandum, Bush wrote: “I determine that common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees.” (Common Article 3 bans “torture [and] outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”)

Then, drawing on the lawyerly legerdemain, Bush did something really dumb. Using words drafted by Vice President Dick Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, for a memo dated Jan. 25, 2002, signed by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, the president ordered that detainees be treated, “humanely… to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity.”

Tacked onto the end of that sentence is a classic circumlocution: “in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.” But that is not what Geneva says, and there is no way to square that circle.

This is the giant loophole through which Rumsfeld and Tenet drove the Mack truck of torture … yes, signed by the president.
The rotten apples were – demonstrably – at the very top of the barrel.

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Warfare, Welfare, Bullies and BB Guns

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Reading the latest entry from Arthur Silber that deals with a story in yesterdays NYT about one child’s life of persecution, of which they naturally fail to make any real connection to what inherently drives the more commonly known bully to pursue their entertainment;

They learned that cruelty and violence are not to be condemned, but constitute the coin of the nightmare realm of our culture: cruelty and violence are enacted many times every day in films, on television, in our everyday lives, and by our government on a national and international scale. You will be rewarded for cruelty: the crueler you are, the greater the reward.

Our culture teaches children that, if you are perceived as “weak” or “fragile” or “delicate” or “sensitive,” and if you are a boy or a man — well, then, you are probably a queer, a faggot, a freak. Freaks are not fully human, which makes them excellent subjects for laboratory experiments. Endless cruelty can be inflicted on freaks, and your friends — and many adults — will honor you for it. And freaks certainly cannot get married. Even Barack Obama says that he prefers “civil unions,” which are more than good enough for freaks. Separate and not equal is fine for freaks. Obama is also not above more vicious instances of ridiculing freaks.

Our children learn all of this, and many more lessons of the same kind. Of course, they are vicious bullies. Our government is a murderous bully; most politicians are bullies; the majority of adults are bullies to varying degrees. Why wouldn’t these children be bullies? It’s what they’ve been taught. In the most crucial ways, it’s all they’ve been taught.

These children are the perfect embodiments of the central values of our culture. They have learned well.

well, I was reminded of an extremely dark account, from last friday, that did not end in anything resembling a favorable light for the recipient of these entertainment seekers.

“ALTON, Illinois (AP) — Banished to the basement, the 29-year-old mother with a childlike mind and another baby on the way had little more than a thin rug and a mattress to call her own on the chilly concrete floor.”

” Investigators put much of the blame on Michelle Riley, 35, who they said befriended Dixon but pocketed monthly Social Security checks she got because of her developmental delays.

Dixon saw little, if any, of the money, Hayes said. For months she weathered the torment to keep a roof over her head and that of her year-old son, who weighed just 15 pounds when taken into state custody after his mom’s death.

“I’ve never seen an almost conspiratorial effort by a group of people to continuously torture someone until she finally died, then not really show any remorse,” Hayes said. “It was just a slow, torturous, tragic way to die. I highly doubt Dorothy Dixon even knew she was dying.”

Riley, 43-year-old Judy Woods and three teenagers, including Riley’s 15-year-old daughter, LeShelle McBride, are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated and heinous battery, intentional homicide of an unborn child, and unlawful restraint. Riley’s 12-year-old son is charged as a juvenile.”

” Hayes watched the autopsy and found her injuries disturbing. X-rays revealed roughly 30 BBs lodged in her. Deep-tissue burns covered about one-third of her body — her face, her chest, her arms and feet — and left her severely dehydrated. Her face and body showed signs of prolonged abuse. Many of her wounds were infected.

None of the injuries, Hayes said, proved singly fatal to Dixon. Her system already was taxed by her unborn baby.

“The autopsy sort of indicates her immune system just shut down,” he said. “It was not capable of fending off any more.””

Written by mudshark

March 25, 2008 at 3:59 am