Sunday, May 29, 2005

In Memoriam

E&P:
"Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau again listed American war dead in his Sunday comic this Memorial Day weekend.

The strip is titled "Operation Iraqi Freedom -- In Memoriam -- Since 4/28/04-- Part 1." Included are the names of hundreds of soldiers. So many, in fact, that the listing will continue next week ...


1,657 and counting.

Guilty Of War Crimes

When it comes to Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush, the case is pretty damning if you look at the words, memos and direct orders of these four men.

Here is Amnesty International's 164-page report, "Guantánamo and Beyond: The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power," released this month.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hurray For Helen Thomas

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
May 25, 2005
McClellan: That's all I have to update at this moment. And with that, I'll be glad to go to your questions.

Thomas: The other day -- in fact, this week, you said that we, the United States, is in Afghanistan and Iraq by invitation. Would you like to correct that incredible distortion of American history --

McClellan: No, we are -- that's where we currently --

Thomas: -- in view of your credibility is already mired? How can you say that?

McClellan: Helen, I think everyone in this room knows that you're taking that comment out of context. There are two democratically-elected governments in Iraq and --

Thomas: Were we invited into Iraq?

McClellan: There are two democratically-elected governments now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments, and we are there today --

Thomas: You mean if they had asked us out, that we would have left?

McClellan: No, Helen, I'm talking about today. We are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments --

Thomas: I'm talking about today, too.

McClellan: -- and we are doing all we can to train and equip their security forces so that they can provide for their own security as they move forward on a free and democratic future.

Thomas: Did we invade those countries?

McClellan: Go ahead, Steve.

We're So Honest Nobody Needs To Investigate Us!

Independent investigation of detainee abuse unnecessary, Rice says
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brushed off growing calls for an independent investigation of conditions at the Guantanamo Bay detention center and in an interview labeled as "absurd" a new Amnesty International report equating the facility with Soviet-era gulags.

Asked in an interview with Knight Ridder about an outside probe, Rice responded that it isn't necessary.

"The United States is as open a society as you will find," she said, and the administration is being held accountable "by a free press, by a Congress that is a separate and co-equal branch of government, and by its own expectations of what is right."

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Big Lie

George W. Bush, speaking at Greece Athena Middle and High School, Greece, New York, May 24, 2005:
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
Or, as someone else put it a few years ago:
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
Joseph Goebbels

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

White House: Unable To Not Lie

Now that the initial story has been spread far and wide and Newsweak has caved, the truth can start coming out (in dribs and drabs and not given any significant media coverage) ...

McClellan Backs Away from Claims that 'Newsweek' Story Cost Afghan Lives
Editor & Publisher

At a White House press briefing Monday, Press Secretary Scott McClellan, pressed by reporters and with Afghan President Karzai in disagreement, retreated on claims that Newsweek's retracted story on Koran abuse cost lives in Afghanistan.

He also claimed that he had never said it did, even though a check of transcripts disputes that. On May 16, for example, he said, "people have lost their lives." On May 17, he said, "People did lose their lives," and, "People lost their lives" due to the Newsweek report.

Here is the transcript from the latest White House press briefing:
Q: One other question. Karzai was quite definite in saying that he didn't believe that the violence in Afghanistan was directly tied to the Newsweek article about Koran desecration. Yet, from this podium, you have made that link. So --

McCLELLAN: Actually, I don't think you're actually characterizing what was said accurately. ...
Here are the White House links to McClellan's comments that he says he never said: May 16 and May 17.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

According to the US Army, by way of the New York Times:
The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days. ...

At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time. ...

Sometimes, the torment seems to have been driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both.

In sworn statements to Army investigators, soldiers describe one female interrogator with a taste for humiliation stepping on the neck of one prostrate detainee and kicking another in the genitals. They tell of a shackled prisoner being forced to roll back and forth on the floor of a cell, kissing the boots of his two interrogators as he went. Yet another prisoner is made to pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum mixed with excrement and water as part of a strategy to soften him up for questioning.
Just one of the many reasons I have decided I can no longer live in the United States.

Bush & The Off-Course DC Plane

Daily Kos contributor Magorn on Commander Cuckoo Bananas and the wayward plane scare in DC last week:
WaPo columnist Dan Froomkin framed the basic story up nicely:

"Yesterday, even as a goodly swath of official Washington was running panic-stricken into the streets, President Bush was riding his bike in the country, completely unaware of what was going on. Aides reportedly decided that since he wasn't personally in danger, he didn't need to know. ... The official White House line yesterday was that "protocols" established post-9/11 were being followed. But what are those protocols? ... Do they really call for the president not to be bothered if he's personally not in danger?"

... While the official story is that the crisis was too minor to bother the President, the WH at first certainly didn't react that way. Federal offices, the White House and Congress were evacuated. Laura and a visiting Nancy Reagan were quickly hustled into the WH bunker. VP Cheney on was whisked out of town in a VERY heavily armed Motorcade. ... The one person who didn't swing into action was the guy supposedly in charge. He had better things to do than worry about it. ...

[T]he place where the President was biking is almost in my back yard. The White House seems to want people to have the impression its some sort of remote wilderness area. In reality it's nothing of the sort. ... [T]he northern end of the Refuge (where the President was most likely biking given the abundance of trails in that area) actually borders the southern end of Ft. Meade [an Army base which] also houses the National Security Agency ...

While all this is going on GW is less than five minutes away even by bike from the absolute Nerve center of America's entire secure communications and electronic intelligence network. And nobody even bothers to tell him what's going on.

There's really no reasonable explanation for this except that his handlers made a deliberate decision to keep him away from the reins of power while the grown-ups handled the crisis.
Shockingly, these unusual events prompted even MSNBC's Joe Scarborough to put down the Kool-Aid for a minute:
I hate to break it to White House officials, but their fearless leader knew less about the security crisis gripping the nation's capital than millions of Americans. If the President isn't troubled by these developments, then I am. As Mr. Bush likes to remind us, we are in a war on terror where seconds count. ... If the President of the United States cannot have his bike ride interrupted to learn of a possible terror attack on Washington, then he is not fit to lead this country in its war on terror.
It is very tempting to think that this whole crisis was nothing more than a big show (there are also strange aspects of the pilots of the small plane that wandered into restricted space) to continue scaring the country -- TERROR! TERROR! -- and there was never any real danger at all.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Palast on "Newsweak"

Greg Palast:
Was there a problem with the [Newsweek] story? Certainly. If you want to split hairs, the inside-government source of the Koran desecration story now says he can't confirm which military report it appeared in. But he saw it in one report and a witness has confirmed that the Koran was defiled. Of course, there's an easy way to get at the truth. RELEASE THE REPORTS NOW. Hand them over, Mr. Rumsfeld, and let's see for ourselves what's in them. ...

Despite its supposed new concern for hidden sources, let's note that Newsweek and the [Washington] Post have no trouble providing, even in the midst of this story, cover for secret Administration sources that are FAVORABLE to Bush. Editor Whitaker's retraction relies on "Administration officials" whose names he kindly withholds. ...

As with CBS's retraction of Dan Rather's report on Bush's draft-dodging, Newsweek's diving to the mat on Guantanamo acts as a warning to all journalists who step out of line. Newsweek has now publicly committed to having its reports vetted by Rumsfeld's Defense Department before publication. Why not just print Rumsfeld's press releases and eliminate the middleman, the reporter?

Culture of Life, Part 385

Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck, May 17, 2005:
Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek's Cowardly Capitulation

Some background on the current "controversy" and Newsweek's cowardly capitulation is here and here. ... One interesting sentence from today's Times, written by Elisbaeth Bumiller, one of Bush's biggest sycophants:
Republicans close to the White House said that although President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were genuinely angered by the Newsweek article, West Wing officials were also exploiting it in an effort to put a check on the press.
The Defense Department has admitted that the Newsweek story had nothing to do with demonstrations in Afghanistan that left eight people dead.

From Yahoo:
Contrary to White House spin, the allegations of religious desecration at Guantanamo such as those described by Newsweek on 9 May 2005 are common among ex-prisoners and have been widely reported outside the United States. Several former detainees at the Guantanamo and Bagram airbase prisons have reported instances of their handlers sitting or standing on the Koran, throwing or kicking it in toilets, and urinating on it.

One such incident (during which the Koran was thrown into a pile and stepped on) prompted a hunger strike among Guantanamo detainees in March 2002. Regarding this, the New York Times in a 1 May 2005, article interviewed a former detainee, Nasser Nijer Naser al-Mutairi, who said the protest ended with a senior officer delivering an apology to the entire camp. And the Times reports: "A former interrogator at Guantanamo, in an interview with the Times, confirmed the accounts of the hunger strikes, including the public expression of regret over the treatment of the Korans." (Neil A. Lewis and Eric Schmitt, "Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantanamo Bay," New York Times, May 1, 2005, p. 35.)

The hunger strike and apology story is also confirmed by another former detainee, Shafiq Rasul, interviewed by the UK Guardian in 2003 (James Meek, "The People the Law Forgot," The Guardian, December 3, 2003, p. 1.) It was also confirmed by former prisoner Jamal al-Harith in an interview with the Daily Mirror (Rosa Prince and Gary Jones, "My Hell in Camp X-ray World Exclusive," Daily Mirror, March 12, 2004.)

The toilet incident was reported in the Washington Post in a 2003 interview with a former detainee from Afghanistan: "Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him by dumping the Koran in a toilet. It was a very bad situation for us, said Ehsannullah, who comes from the home region of the Taliban leader, Mohammad Omar. We cried so much and shouted, Please do not do that to the Holy Koran. (Marc Kaufman and April Witt, "Out of Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment," Washington Post, March 26, 2003.)

Also citing the toilet incident is testimony by Asif Iqbal, a former Guantanamo detainee who was released to British custody in March 2004 and subsequently freed without charge: "The behaviour of the guards towards our religious practices as well as the Koran was also, in my view, designed to cause us as much distress as possible. They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it." (Center for Constitution Rights, Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, August 4, 2004.)

The claim that US troops at Bagram airbase prison in Afghanistan urinated on the Koran was made by former detainee Mohamed Mazouz, a Moroccan, as reported in the Moroccan newspaper, La Gazette du Maroc. (Abdelhak Najib, "Les Americains pissaient sur le Coran et abusaient de nous sexuellement", April 11, 2005). An English translation is available on the Cage Prisoners web site.

Tarek Derghoul, another of the British detainees, similarly cites instances of Koran desecration in an interview with Cageprisoners.com.

Desecration of the Koran was also mentioned by former Guantanamo detainee Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and reported by the BBC in early May 2005. (Haroon Rashid, "Ex-inmates Share Guantanamo Ordeal," May 2, 2005.)
Thanks to Corrente:
January 9, 2003, New York Times
Investigators know the basic facts: In this poor and isolated nation with no lack of extremists, a young preacher named Ahmed Ali Jarallah assembled a small cell of militants to strike the enemies of Islam in Yemen. Two years ago, he read off a hate list in a speech at a mosque here, singling out specifically a hospital run by American Baptists. ... "In Jibla, there is the Baptist hospital, which is the source of Christian activities in the province," Mr. Jarallah said. Muslims converted to Christianity at this hospital, he charged, and even "stuff the Holy Koran into toilets of mosques."

March 26, 2003, Washington Post
The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts of how American forces treated them during interrogation and detainment. Some displayed medical records showing extensive care by American military doctors, while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them. ... Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him by dumping the Koran in a toilet.

June 28, 2004, Financial Times
Former prisoner Airat Vakhitov told ORT about alleged mistreatment while he was at Guantanamo. "They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet," Vakhitov said. "When people were praying, they forced their way in and put their feet on people's heads and beat them."

August 4, 2004, CNN
U.S. soldiers "would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet, and generally disrespect it," Iqbal said.

August 5, 2004, The Independent (London)
In the report, released in New York, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - the so-called Tipton Three - said one inmate was threatened after being shown a video in which hooded inmates were forced to sodomise each other. Guards allegedly threw prisoners' Korans into toilets, while others were injected with drugs, it was claimed.

August 5, 2004, New York Daily News
They say that rats and scorpions had free run of their sweltering cages, loud rock music was used to drown out the sound of prayers, and sleep deprivation was common. "They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it," Asif Iqbal wrote.

January 9, 2005, Denver Post
"They pepper sprayed me in the face, and I started vomiting; in all I must have brought up five cupfuls. They pinned me down and attacked me, poking their fingers in my eyes, and forced my head into the toilet pan and flushed. They tied me up like a beast and then they were kneeling on me, kicking and punching. Finally they dragged me out of my cell in chains ... and shaved my beard, my hair, my eyebrows." ... In August Mr Ahmed, Mr Rasul and Mr Iqbal issued a 115-page dossier accusing the US of abuse, including allegations that they were beaten and had their Korans thrown into toilets. [also published in The Hartford Courant, January 16, 2005]
From Baghdad Burning:
We've been watching the protests about the Newsweek article with interest. I'm not surprised at the turnout at these protests - the thousands of Muslims angry at the desecration of the Quran. What did surprise me was the collective shock that seems to have struck the Islamic world like a slap in the face. How is this shocking? It's terrible and disturbing in the extreme - but how is it shocking? After what happened in Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi prisons how is this astonishing? American jailers in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown little respect for human life and dignity - why should they be expected to respect a holy book?

Juan Cole has some good links about the topic.

Now Newsweek have retracted the story - obviously under pressure from the White House. Is it true? Probably. We've seen enough blatant disregard and disrespect for Islam in Iraq the last two years to make this story sound very plausible. On a daily basis, mosques are raided, clerics are dragged away with bags over their heads. Several months ago the world witnessed the execution of an unarmed Iraqi prisoner inside a mosque. Is this latest so very surprising?

Detainees coming back after weeks or months in prison talk of being forced to eat pork, not being allowed to pray, being exposed to dogs, having Islam insulted and generally being treated like animals trapped in a small cage. At the end of the day, it's not about words or holy books or pork or dogs or any of that. It's about what these things symbolize on a personal level. It is infuriating to see objects that we hold sacred degraded and debased by foreigners who felt the need to travel thousands of kilometers to do this. That's not to say that all troops disrespect Islam - some of them seem to genuinely want to understand our beliefs. It does seem like the people in charge have decided to make degradation and humiliation a policy.

By doing such things, this war is taken to another level - it is no longer a war against terror or terrorists - it is, quite simply, a war against Islam and even secular Muslims are being forced to take sides.
And finally, Will Bunch, Attytood:
It's amazing how many journalists are OK with being deceived, as long as they don't have to offend anyone. ... Take the editors of the Washington Post. When confronted with a British government memo that showed that President Bush "fixed" the intelligence on Iraq to make the already-decided case for war, the newspaper did nothing for two weeks, then buried the story -- a story that in a different era, one with more courageous leadership, might be seen as an impeachable offense -- on Page A-18. Odd behavior for a business obsessed with "scoops." ...

Newsweek did make some mistakes. But its biggest one was retracting the story, instead of going back and building on the existing reporting from a half-dozen papers -- that there really was Koran desecration at Guantanamo, that the real damage to America's image came not from an aggressive and free press but from official misconduct.

Friday, May 13, 2005

US Knowingly Sends Troops Faulty Body Armor

Body Armor Issued Despite Warnings
The Marine Corps issued to nearly 10,000 troops body armor that military ballistic experts had urged the Marines to reject after tests revealed life-threatening flaws in the vests, an eight-month investigation by Marine Corps Times has found. ...

According to a government memo, the vests failed tests because of "multiple complete penetrations" of 9mm pistol rounds and other ballistics or quality-assurance tests. ... Many of the vests were issued to Marines in Iraq.

Government ballistics expert James MacKiewicz, in a memorandum rejecting two lots of vests on July 19, 2004, said his office "has little confidence in the performance" of the body armor. ... Instead of heeding MacKiewicz' warning, the Marine program manager for the vests, Lt. Col. Gabriel Patricio, and Point Blank's chief operating officer, Sandra Hatfield, signed waivers that allowed the Marines to buy and distribute the vests.
As Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque puts it: "Well, there's your goldang liberal press for you, these commie terror-symps at the Marine Corps Times. Don't these anti-Americans know that body armor doesn't have to stop bullets -- it just has to make money! Get with the program, jarheads!"

The Navy Times has a lengthy article about this travesty, but -- what a shocker -- the mainstream news has ignored this story almost completely.

USAToday has the main story linked above. It's dated May 8. Looking at Google's News Search, not one major US paper (except for, strangely, the conservative Washington Times) thinks this story is worth even a paragraph or two.

Monday, May 09, 2005

When The Questions Get Tough ...

LA Times:
At home, President Bush regularly travels the nation for "conversations" with hand-picked audiences who routinely shower him and his policies with praise. But abroad on Sunday, some Dutch citizens had a rare, unscripted opportunity to ask questions that some Americans might want to pose if given the chance.

Based on the questions asked in the first half-hour, before reporters were ushered from the room, this group of students might not have passed muster at a typical White House event. ...
The questions got too tough, so Bush had the reporters tossed out of the room!

Lies

Lies.

March 16, 2003 -- Dick Cheney, on NBC's Meet the Press: "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ... I think it will go relatively quickly, ... [in] weeks rather than months." He predicted that regular Iraqi soldiers would not "put up such a struggle" and that even "significant elements of the Republican Guard ... are likely to step aside."

February 7, 2003 -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Blare the Lie, Whisper the Retraction

Captured Al-Qaeda kingpin is case of 'mistaken identity'
The capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W. Bush as "a critical victory in the war on terror". According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists' third in command, as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as "among the flotsam and jetsam" of the organisation.

Al-Libbi's arrest in Pakistan, announced last Wednesday, was described in the United States as "a major breakthrough" in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Bush called him a "top general" and "a major facilitator and chief planner for the Al-Qaeda network". Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said he was "a very important figure". Yet the backslapping in Washington and Islamabad has astonished European terrorism experts, who point out that the Libyan was neither on the FBI's most wanted list, nor on that of the State Department "rewards for justice" programme. ...

No European or American intelligence expert contacted last week had heard of al-Libbi until a Pakistani intelligence report last year claimed he had taken over as head of operations after Khalid Shaikh Mohammad's arrest. A former close associate of Bin Laden now living in London laughed: "What I remember of him is he used to make the coffee and do the photocopying."
But all the Moron-Americans will remember (or even hear) is that Bush bagged another bad guy. Which I guess is the whole point of these silly exercises. They just hope that when the truth comes out, no one is paying attention anymore.

If too many people start asking questions, well, there's always another nervous bride or Jacko update or cat up a fucking tree to broadcast about 24/7.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Yay!

I am:
0%
Republican.
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Blogs > Mainstream Media

Matt at Today In Iraq has outdone himself with his latest post -- a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of Bush's Mission Accomplished speech two years ago. Absolutely brilliant.

This is one of the greatest examples I've seen of how blogs -- and the internet in general -- can educate the general public. It is also an unassilable indictment of the mainstream media, who have deliberately run the other way from this kind of research, hard work and honesty.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

This Should Be On The Front Page Of Every Newspaper In The Country

But, of course, it won't be. In fact, you'll probably have to go across the ocean to read about it:
Tony Blair had resolved to send British troops into action alongside US forces eight months before the Iraq War began, despite a clear warning from the Foreign Office that the conflict could be illegal.

A damning minute leaked to a Sunday newspaper reveals that in July 2002, a few weeks after meeting George Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Mr Blair summoned his closest aides for what amounted to a council of war. The minute reveals the head of British intelligence reported that President Bush had firmly made up his mind to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, adding that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". ...
Also:
Lord Goldsmith's legal opinion reveals the full extent of the attorney's concern about the risk of Britain being hauled before international courts which would even scrutinise allegations of war crimes by British troops.

It warns that British troops must use no more force than necessary to get Iraq to disarm. The attorney also makes it plain to Mr Blair that, in law, regime change could not be an objective of military action - a problem which did not concern the Bush administration.
Why won't you see this in your local newspaper? Because the US media is too liberal and hates Bush way too much to report this damning news about Bush. ... In other news, hot is cold, up is down and freedom is slavery.

Making Progress Toward The Light Around The Corner

We begin our third year since Bush declared Mission Accomplished. Since that speech, 1,106 Americans have been killed in Iraq. The total US dead is at least 1,586. ... Visit Today In Iraq.



A Gallup Poll released last week states that 50% of Americans believe the Bush administration deliberately misled the country about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

High School Student Doing Job Of Mainstream Media

From Colorado:
Two Army recruiters in Golden have been suspended from their jobs while military officials look into allegations the two men used improper tactics to get an Arvada high school student to sign up for duty. ... David McSwane, an Arvada West High School honors student and editor of his school newspaper, [was] "curious" to see what recruiters at a Golden recruitment facility would do if he told them he wanted to join the Army as a high school dropout with a serious marijuana problem. ...

Starting in January, McSwane met with two recruiters in Golden several times and secretly taped a series of phone calls with them. On the tapes, one recruiter is apparently heard encouraging McSwane to create a fake high school diploma to cover for the fact that he had dropped out. ... McSwane got a friend to film another recruiter driving him to a store to purchase a detoxification kit to rid his system of supposed marijuana traces.
Why are Army recruiters having such a hard time finding young men willing to go to Iraq? Where are the thousands of young Republicans with magnetic yellow ribbons on their cars? Why aren't they enlisting in droves to fight for freedom and defend our country from its enemies?

How bad can it be in Iraq? If things were really messed up, Bush would simply hop in his Vietnam Fighter Jet and zip over there and straighten things out in no time.

And If My Thought-Dreams Could Be Seen

Ted Rall reports:
They've vanished into the netherworld of a Homeland Security gulag and their story has already disappeared from the headlines, but the shocking case of two 16-year-old girls from New York City arrested a month ago ought to inspire outrage among every American worthy of the name. Since the government's reasons for the girls' imprisonment could apply to virtually any teenager, it should also spark fear. ...

Without a warrant, NYPD detectives and federal agents burst into the girl's home -- no wonder they don't have time to look for Osama! -- where they "searched her belongings and confiscated her computer and the essays that she had written as part of a home schooling program," say her family. "One essay concerned suicide...[that] asserted that suicide is against Islamic law." The family is Bangladeshi. They are Muslim. That, coupled with the mere mention of suicide bombing in her essay, was enough to put the fuzz on high alert. ...

[Based solely on that essay] the FBI says both girls are "an imminent threat to the security of the United States based upon evidence that they plan to become suicide bombers." But the feds admit that they have no evidence to back their suspicions. Nothing. ...

FBI agents threatened to deport her parents and place her American-born siblings, a four-month-old baby and an 11-year-old, in foster care unless she confessed. ...
Has there been anything on the news -- anywhere -- about this story?

Oh, if only one of these girls had been engaged and then decided she wasn't quite ready for marriage and ran off. Then, we wouldn't be able to get her off our TV screens.

Homes searched without a warrant, kids thrown in prison for thoughts real and imagined, people's lives destroyed by an out-of-control federal government -- will Americans speak up for what's right? Please call and write your congressman and senator to demand the release of the two girls from Queens.
Thanks to Welcome to Gilead.