Monday, November 5, 2007

Mukasey - One Torturer Replacing the Other Torturer

From World Can't Wait:

The Senate vote to approve Michael Mukasey as torturer in chief – Attorney General – of the Bush regime is set to happen November 6. This is a landmark moment; stark choices confront everyone in this country.

Torture has been brazenly legitimized and institutionalized by the political leadership of this country. A man who has all but announced his intention to continue to find legal justification for torture – though perhaps he will rename and redefine it – is poised to maintain and develop the policies of torture, “out sourced torture” (a.k.a. “rendition”), preventative detention, secret trials, and the other police state measures put in place by Bush and his previous Attorneys General. Leading and influential Senate Democrats have announced their intention to approve Mukasey, thus declaring their support for continuing the policies of torture.
Mukasey is intended to be the latest butcher in expensive suits and with well polished legal jargon to join the Bush administration. But no amount of evasive talk can conceal the reality of what these people are – they are torturers, they have organized mass destruction and murder on a staggering scale, they are soaking a huge swath of the world in blood and are threatening to do more. All this is being done in the name of the “safety and security of the American people”.

Resistance and repudiation to everything Bush and his regime represent is urgently needed throughout all society. DECLARE IT NOW, WEAR ORANGE, DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME.

This is waterboarding

Attorney General Candidate to Study Waterboarding

On October 30, 2007, Attorney General nominee, Michael Mukasey, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter that he still does not know whether waterboarding constitutes torture and therefore is illegal. In previous testimony, Mukasey claimed ignorance of a torture technique favored by sadistic tormentors since the Spanish inquisition, and prominently in the news since stories of Abu Ghraib broke. He said “I don’t know what is involved in the technique”. But rest assured he will study the matter. He stated, "If, after such a review, I determine that any technique is unlawful, I will not hesitate to so advise the president and will rescind or correct any legal opinion of the Department of Justice that supports the use of the technique."

Mukasey’s letter was sent to the Judiciary Committee because his nomination is in trouble. Unless he can get a majority of the votes on the committee, the nomination will not be allowed to go to a full vote of the Senate. The Bush regime obviously hopes this non-answer to the question of whether waterboarding is torture will provide enough political cover to Democrats to allow them to advance the nomination.

Personally I believe that Mukasey is a perfect replacement for Alberto Gonzales. They both appear to be men without conscience or any morals. Isn’t this exactly the type of man the Bush regime needs for the top law enforcer?

These are War Criminals

Bush Regime gave Immunity to Mercenaries after Massacre

After Blackwater, USA mercenaries massacred at least 17 Iraqi civilians on September 16, 2007 the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security granted limited immunity to the killers. Under the immunity deal, any information discovered from the mercenaries' statements to State department investigators, or related to those statements, can not be used in any prosecution. While cutting the immunity deal, publicly the State Department had been stating that any lawbreakers "must be held to account."

On October 30, 2007 President Bush ducked a question from a reporter about the immunity deal and Bush regime spokesperson Dana Perino stated, "It is under review. Anyone who has engaged in criminal behavior will be prosecuted." [Of course this has as much credibility as Bush’s promise to hold accountable any White House employees involved in the CIA leak case of Valerie Wilson. I seem to remember Bush letting off old “Scooter” after he was successfully prosecuted. And Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, who were deeply involved in the leak, were never prosecuted.]

While Bush was ducking questions here in the U.S., the Iraqi government at the same time approved draft legislation terminating immunity for foreign mercenaries. An Iraqi investigation of the massacre found that Blackwater guards were unprovoked by anyone before they began to fire into the Iraqi civilian population. If approved, the new legislation will lift CPA Decree 17. That “law” was proclaimed by CPA Vice-Roy L. Paul Bremer, who ruled Iraq until June 2004 on behalf of the Bush regime. He granted U.S. mercenaries immunity from Iraqi laws.

Democrats Agonize over how to Fund the War they claim to oppose

Pity the poor Democratic leadership in Congress. The Bush regime has requested another $196 billion dollars to finance its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The public is clearly against the war in Iraq, so the Democrats claim they are too. But they repeatedly continue to fund the war, claiming they have no power to halt it. But as an imperialist party they have their duty to perform which is to continue the U.S. control of the Middle East and the domination of the world. What can these poor Democrats do?

Apparently they have decided on political posturing. Say nasty things about the Bush administration, oppose the war in public, and then vote for the billions needed to prosecute the war anyway. So far this has worked for them.

The Pentagon's annual $460 billion requested budget has not yet been approved. [This does not include the additional money requested by Bush.] Some Democrats want to “bundle” this money with an increase in funding for education, but Bush has said he will veto any such attempt. Another idea is to give Bush only a portion of what he wants and to fund the wars for shorter periods of time, such as six months. Those in support of this option claim they do not want to be perceived as abandoning troops in the field.

Currently Congress hopes to reach an agreement on the 2008 Department of War appropriations bill by November 1st. Neither the Senate nor House versions of the appropriations bill include the increased money requested by Bush. But do not get your hopes up. The Democrats have only agreed to put off consideration of that increased spending until early next year. And the Pentagon has plenty of money to continue the war in the meantime.

Given their past record, you can be assured that the Democrats will give Bush what he wants in a few months. But in the meantime they can claim they are doing their best to halt the war. They will also have fulfilled their role of deterring people’s anger against the war and the Bush regime into traditional politics, instead of building a mass movement to drive the regime from power. Will you be fooled by this?

$43.5 Billion Spent on “Intelligence” by Bush Regime in Last Fiscal Year

No! Bush did not pay to buy a new brain after Karl Rove left. Under a new law the Bush regime was forced to disclose on October 30, 2007 that it spent $43.5 billion on intelligence in fiscal year 2007, according to a disclosure released by the director of national intelligence. The director refused to tell us how that money is spent or how much each of 16 national spy agencies receive from the taxpayers.

To all those who think that $43.5 billion is a bit excessive, keep in mind that these spy agencies have to spy on millions of Americans and others. They need to read your email, listen to your phone conversations, monitor your financial records, and in short, act as Big Brother. All this is costly. If you have a compelling need to know more about what they are doing with these billions you probably deserve to be watched, as it is obvious that you do not trust the Bush regime. Remember the Bush regime slogan, “you are either with us, or against us.” Me? I chose to be against them. You?

Various Presidential Candidates are Cheerleaders for War with Iran

What are various presidential candidates in the two imperialist parties saying about Iran? The top Republican candidates, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain are all appealing to the right-wing. While ostensibly supporting diplomacy to prevent Iran from allegedly pursuing a nuclear weapon, they all speak about military strikes on Iran. On the other side of the aisle, Democratic candidates speak of multinational diplomacy, economic sanctions and incentives, and then military strikes.

Iran says it is seeking the peaceful and legal use of nuclear power to meet it energy needs. Of course American leaders dispute this and question why Iran needs new energy sources. [Egypt has just announced it will build several nuclear facilities and the U.S. has applauded that move.] Almost daily, Bush regime officials, including those at the top, attack Iran in the media. Iran is accused of terrorism, nuclear weapon ambitions, and killing American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Economic sanctions, “diplomacy,” and the threat of attack are the weapons used by the Bush regime.

While the various candidates may have some minor difference with the Bush regime approach toward Iran, the reality is that there is little that separates them from those in the Bush regime.

John McCain the aspiring songwriter, composed a little ditty using the words, BOMB, BOMB, IRAN to the Beach Boy’s song Barbara Ann. He also stated, "there's only one thing worse than military action against Iran and that is a nuclear-armed Iran." Giuliani apparently agrees as he has said that if he becomes president he will strike Iran if it develops a nuclear weapon. He seems to have no problem with the fact that this would be a violation of international law. In September, Mitt Romney called for indicting Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the charge of “inciting genocide.”

Are the Democrats any better than the Republican candidates? Recently, Hillary Clinton voted to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group moving the U.S. closer to war against Iran. On January 18, 2006, in a major policy speech she stated, "I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations. I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines. But let's be clear about the threat we face now: A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, to its neighbors and beyond. The regime's pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric only underscores the urgency of the threat it poses. U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not – must not – permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In order to prevent that from occurring, we must have more support vigorously and publicly expressed by China and Russia, and we must move as quickly as feasible for sanctions in the United Nations. And we cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran – that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons."

And what does Barack Obama have to say? As far back as September 24, 2004 he stated, “[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in. On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse.” And what of John Edwards who has stated, “At the top of these threats is Iran…To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table. Let me reiterate--all options.”

It is not likely that the next president will be the one to initiate a military attack with Iran as all indications are that Bush will do so before he leaves office. But it does seem clear that the major presidential candidates will be cheerleaders in any war against Iran and that they will continue the war if and when they become the new president.

U.N. Human Right’s Investigator Critical of Bush Regime Detainee Practices

In a report released on October 29, 2007 Martin Scheinin, the U.N.'s independent investigator on human rights, urged the Bush regime to either prosecute detainees held as "unlawful enemy combatants" or to release them. He also called for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The report indicated serious problems about U.S. detention practices, and “enhanced interrogation techniques reportedly used by the CIA.” The report was also critical of extraordinary rendition. In the report, Scheinin said "there are no circumstances in which cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment may be justified."

Scheinin’s report demanded the abolition of military commissions which try detainees. He stated that the offenses detainees are charged with did not apply at the time of the alleged acts by the prisoners. He further stated the tribunals are applying criminal law retroactively which is a violation of international law. He went on to say, "Wherever possible, ordinary civilian courts should be used to try terrorist suspects.”

The report was critical of the long detentions of most detainees without trial. It stated, "the chance of ensuring a fair trial diminishes over time…the detention of persons for a period of several years without charge fundamentally undermines the right of fair trial." He further stated that prisoners should be granted judicial review of their cases and that failure to give them this right was a violation of the International Covenant's prohibitions on arbitrary detention.

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