Friday, February 17, 2006

Annan wants Guantanamo closed and Democracy Now! takes in depth look at torture

Good evening. Long day.

And blame Elaine for us both starting late. We weren't able to get on the phone together until about a half hour ago and then Elaine wanted to read two things from The Third Estate Sunday Review. Her office assistant had printed them up today and handed them to her. (Elaine had a long day too.) Elaine was going through various papers and forms and came across those and just started laughing. They made her day. So she was reading them to me over the phone and they put me in a better mood too.

Let me say thank you to Jim, C.I. and Elaine who all read the research paper I did recently. They gave me input and I know they're all busy. I got the paper back today and got a high A on it. I couldn't have done that without them pointing out the weak spots and offering suggestions so thank you to all three.

Now let's do Democracy Now!

Kofi Annan Calls for U.S. To Close Guantanamo
The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan is urging the United States to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp "as soon as is possible." His comments came in response to a new report by UN investigators calling for U.S. to close the camp. Kofi Annan said the Bush administration could not hold hundreds of prisoners in jail without charges in perpetuity. "Charges have to be brought against them, and (they) be given a chance to explain themselves, and prosecuted, charged, or released, I think is something that is, common under any legal system," Annan said. "And I think sooner or later, there will be a need to close the Guantanamo and I think, it will be up to the government to decide, hopefully to do it as soon as is possible." White House spokesperson Scott McClellan dismissed the new UN report. "The United Nations should be making serious investigations across the world, and there are many instances when they do, when it comes to human rights. This was not one of them," said McClellan. "And I think it's a discredit to the U.N. when a team like this goes about rushing to report something when they haven't even looked into the facts. All they have done is look at the allegations."

He should know the facts? Has Scotty forgotten that he didn't know the facts about the outing of Valerie Plame when he was going to the press and saying that no one in the administration was involved? Annan has the facts. Most people outside the US do. That may not be the case in the US but that's the fault of the corporate media.

I hope everyone caught Democracy Now! today but if you missed it, this is from "Professor McCoy Exposes the History of CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror:"

AMY GOODMAN: And Rumsfeld's comment, when asked if it was torture, when people were forced to stand hours on end, that he stands at his desk?
ALFRED McCOY: Right, he wrote that in one of his memos. When he was asked to review the Guantanamo techniques in late 2003 or early 2004, he scribbled that marginal note and said, you know, "I stand at my desk eight hours a day." He has a designer standing desk. "How come we're limiting these techniques of the stress position to just four hours?" So, in other words, that was a clear signal from the Defense Secretary. Now, one of the problems beyond the details of these orders is torture is an extraordinarily dangerous thing. There's an absolute ban on torture for a very good reason. Torture taps into the deepest recesses, unexplored recesses of human consciousness, where creation and destruction coexist, where the infinite human capacity for kindness and infinite human capacity for cruelty coexist, and it has a powerful perverse appeal, and once it starts, both the perpetrators and the powerful who order them, let it spread, and it spreads out of control.

That's a pretty important interview so check it out.

Senate Republicans Block Investigation Into NSA Spying
This update on the controversy over President Bush's warrant-less domestic spying program - on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans have blocked a proposed investigation into the operation. On Thursday, Republican Senator Pat Roberts, chair of the Intelligence Committee said, his panel decided not to conduct an investigation. Roberts said he reached an agreement with the White House to consider legislation and provide more information to Congress on the eavesdropping program. The ranking Democrat on the committee -- Sen. John Rockefeller -- said "Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee once again abdicated its responsibility to oversee the intelligence activities of the United States."

I would have been screaming but I'd read The Common Ills before I heard Democracy Now! on the radio today so I was prepared for this. C.I. was writing about "Accord in House to Hold Inquiry on Surveillance" in the New York Times and comparing it to "Senate Rejects Wiretapping Probe" in the Washington Post. The difference is that the Washington Post led with this:

The Bush administration helped derail a Senate bid to investigate a warrantless eavesdropping program yesterday after signaling it would reject Congress's request to have former attorney general John D. Ashcroft and other officials testify about the program's legality. The actions underscored a dramatic and possibly permanent drop in momentum for a congressional inquiry, which had seemed likely two months ago.

The Times didn't really want to address that. C.I.'s got the testimony where Specter (Republican) was saying that he wanted Ashcroft to testify and Schumer was trying to pin down Gonzales on how freely Aschroft could speak. Gonzales keeps saying that whether or not to call Ashcroft is the "chair's decision." The chair is Specter. And as soon as Gonzales' testimony was over, you better believe that he ran back to the White House to oppose Ashcroft testifying.

Read C.I.'s "NYT: The paper, like the Congress, can't wait to wear the 'Kick Me!' sign."

And always read The Daily Jot. Wally's got another funny post today but don't miss yesterday's "THIS JUST IN! THE ONE TOKE CHENEY DANCE!." Watergate note: Martha Mitchell joke in yesterday's post.