Monday, November 14, 2005

Why the fuck do we torture??

How can this administration justify torture? They can't. So they have to continue to torture, and change the definition of the word. So now we are to believe that they are not torturing because there is no organ failure (kills a person pretty much), or killing anyone (well, they have, but it was a mistake of course). No, the definition of torture is below. By definition, they are torturing. How fucking sad. As exlained below, torture if for getting people to tell the lies you want them to tell, not for obtaining truth.

Doing Unto Others as They Did Unto Us

Published: November 14, 2005

Washington — How did American interrogation tactics after 9/11 come to include abuse rising to the level of torture? Much has been said about the illegality of these tactics, but the strategic error that led to their adoption has been overlooked.
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Josh Cochran

The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.

Fearful of future terrorist attacks and frustrated by the slow progress of intelligence-gathering from prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture. That was a classified program at Fort Bragg, N.C., known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Based on studies of North Korean and Vietnamese efforts to break American prisoners, SERE was intended to train American soldiers to resist the abuse they might face in enemy custody.

The Pentagon appears to have flipped SERE's teachings on their head, mining the program not for resistance techniques but for interrogation methods. At a June 2004 briefing, the chief of the United States Southern Command, Gen. James T. Hill, said a team from Guantánamo went "up to our SERE school and developed a list of techniques" for "high-profile, high-value" detainees. General Hill had sent this list - which included prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation, stress positions, physical assault and the exploitation of detainees' phobias - to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who approved most of the tactics in December 2002.

Some within the Pentagon warned that these tactics constituted torture, but a top adviser to Secretary Rumsfeld justified them by pointing to their use in SERE training, a senior Pentagon official told us last month.

When internal F.B.I. e-mail messages critical of these methods were made public earlier this year, references to SERE were redacted. But we've obtained a less-redacted version of an e-mail exchange among F.B.I. officials, who refer to the methods as "SERE techniques." We also learned from a Pentagon official that the SERE program's chief psychologist, Col. Morgan Banks, issued guidance in early 2003 for the "behavioral science consultants" who helped to devise Guantánamo's interrogation strategy (we've been unable to learn the content of that guidance).

SERE methods are classified, but the program's principles are known. It sought to recreate the brutal conditions American prisoners of war experienced in Korea and Vietnam, where Communist interrogators forced false confessions from some detainees, and broke the spirits of many more, through Pavlovian and other conditioning. Prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, painful body positions and punitive control over life's most intimate functions produced overwhelming stress in these prisoners. Stress led in turn to despair, uncontrollable anxiety and a collapse of self-esteem. Sometimes hallucinations and delusions ensued. Prisoners who had been through this treatment became pliable and craved companionship, easing the way for captors to obtain the "confessions" they sought.

SERE, as originally envisioned, inoculates American soldiers against these techniques. Its psychologists create mock prison regimens to study the effects of various tactics and identify the coping styles most likely to withstand them. At Guantánamo, SERE-trained mental health professionals applied this knowledge to detainees, working with guards and medical personnel to uncover resistant prisoners' vulnerabilities. "We know if you've been despondent; we know if you've been homesick," General Hill said. "That is given to interrogators and that helps the interrogators" make their plans.

Within the SERE program, abuse is carefully controlled, with the goal of teaching trainees to cope. But under combat conditions, brutal tactics can't be dispassionately "dosed." Fear, fury and loyalty to fellow soldiers facing mortal danger make limits almost impossible to sustain.

By bringing SERE tactics and the Guantánamo model onto the battlefield, the Pentagon opened a Pandora's box of potential abuse. On Nov. 26, 2003, for example, an Iraqi major general, Abed Hamed Mowhoush, was forced into a sleeping bag, then asphyxiated by his American interrogators. We've obtained a memorandum from one of these interrogators - a former SERE trainer - who cites command authorization of "stress positions" as justification for using what he called "the sleeping bag technique."

"A cord," he explained, "was used to limit movement within the bag and help bring on claustrophobic conditions." In SERE, he said, this was called close confinement and could be "very effective." Those who squirmed or screamed in the sleeping bag, he said, were "allowed out as soon as they start to provide information."

Three soldiers have been ordered to stand trial on murder charges in General Mowhoush's death. Yet the Pentagon cannot point to any intelligence gains resulting from the techniques that have so tarnished America's image. That's because the techniques designed by communist interrogators were created to control a prisoner's will rather than to extract useful intelligence.

A full account of how our leaders reacted to terrorism by re-engineering Red Army methods must await an independent inquiry. But the SERE model's embrace by the Pentagon's civilian leaders is further evidence that abuse tantamount to torture was national policy, not merely the product of rogue freelancers. After the shock of 9/11 - when Americans desperately wanted mastery over a world that suddenly seemed terrifying - this policy had visceral appeal. But it's the task of command authority to connect means and ends rationally. The Bush administration has too frequently failed to do this. And so it is urgent that Congress step in to tie our detainee policy to our national interest.

M. Gregg Bloche is a law professor at Georgetown University and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. Jonathan H. Marks, a barrister in London, is a bioethics fellow at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins.


This morning's NYT has an insightful op-ed on how the interrogation techniques now used by the U.S. were actually first developed by the Communist interrogators of the Soviet-controlled world. They were designed not to get actionable intelligence but to destroy a person's soul and enforce ideological conformity. In this "Animal Farm" moment, where the United States has literally adopted the immorality of its erstwhile enemy, it's hard to improve on this email:

The audacity of what the WSJ and the White House are trying to do is staggering. What they are attempting to do is one of the most profound moral outrages that Orwell (and myself) ascribed to the left, which is simply redefining a word and insisting on that redefinition in the political discourse, until that word has lost its original primary function. The academic establishment has gone a long way in changing the word "tolerance" to have overtones of being sympathetic to a thing, whereas it used to have a meaning similar to this: "In the use of torture, many people have a threshold of pain beyond which they cannot tolerate it and will give in to the demands of their captors." I will not be a part of this debate anymore, because anybody with an 8th grade education knows exactly what both "torture" and "tolerate" mean here. The president and his allies are (characteristically) pulling one out of the Orwellian left playbook to redefine the word into irrelevance. In other words, if "torture" means "organ failure" or "death" as the White House has argued (and let's open our eyes and notice that organ failure is a corrolary to death without immediate, radical medical treatment, e.g. a liver transplant or permanent dialysis), then the above statement becomes nearly nonsense, because dead people are by definition unable to give in to the demands of their captors. A good way to settle a dispute among rational parties is to find an impartial, mutually respected source to arbitrate. I often find that people go around spilling a lot of words in a discussion without resolution in cases where consulting the definitions of words provides so much clarity that people are rendered without argument. From the "Shorter Oxford English Dictionary," torture:

A noun 1. Originally, (a disorder characterized by) contortion, distortion, or twisting. Later, (the infliction of) severe physical or mental suffering; anguish, agony, torment. b transf. A cause of severe pain or anguish. 2. The infliction of severe bodily pain as a punishment or as a means of interrogation or persuasion; a form or instance of this. b transf. An instrument or means of torture. B verb trans. 1. Subject to torture as a punishment or as a means of interrogation or persuasion. 2. Inflict severe mental or physical suffering on; cause anguish in; torment. Also, puzzle or perplex greatly. 3. figuratively, to force violently out of the original state or form; twist, distort; pervert. Also followed by /into/. 4. extract by torture.

Torture is defined purely in terms of inflicted suffering. These people who want to argue the point in the face of the definition are not engaging in a rational discussion, and should be treated as such. I will point out that the one sense of torture here that is not referring to concrete torture describes their tactics. They are, in fact, attempting verb form number 3 of torture on the word torture. They are trying to twist, distort and pervert the word out of its agreed definition.

Yes, they are. And they are doing so because what they have done and permitted to be done is so outrageous to civilized norms that they have no option but to destroy the very language that we use. We do not have to be a party to this. We have to expose it for what it is.

More Links:

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Things That You Must Believe In Order To Remain A Republican...

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddymade war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, thendemand their cooperation and money.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense.A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution,which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but GeorgeBush's driving record is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're aconservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayersfor your recovery.

You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but whatBush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


The reconstruction of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama provides a fascinating picture of how the Bush administration actually works. His government represents an odd melding of corporatism and cronyism, more in tune with the workings of 1930s Italy or Spain. In fact, if one looks at fascist regimes of the 20th century, it is appears that the Bush administration draws more from these sources than traditional conservatism. Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

(Source: The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism, Dr. Lawrence Britt, Spring 2003, Free Inquiry)

Perhaps it is unfair to characterise the Bush Presidency in these terms, because it would imply the existence of a coherent governing philosophy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Now this will change the world for the better.

Will it take a Tory to legalise drugs?
Unlike some politicians, David Cameron knows something about the global drugs industry
Published: 13 September 2005

Last week, I sat staring at the newspapers with a vacant spaced-out expression and a strange surging high. I found I couldn't form words properly. I couldn't even speak - and it's all the fault of drugs. No, I haven't dug out my dusty teenage bong. It's something far more mind-bending: a senior British politician has spoken sense about ending the "war on drugs". And - gulp! - he's a candidate for leadership of the Tory party.

Unlike most politicians, David Cameron knows something about the global drugs industry. When he served on the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2002, he conducted a year-long investigation into it, taking more than 50 hours of evidence and long testimonies from the world's experts. He went in very sceptical of the idea of legalisation: aren't only crazy pro-heroin hippies in favour of ending prohibition? But as the evidence piled up, the committee was honest enough to admit that - in Cameron's words - "about the only thing all our witnesses agreed on was that the Government's strategy was a failure and prohibition of drugs over many decades had not worked". They explained the truth: criminalisation does not kill the drugs industry. It simply hands it over to armed criminal gangs who flood the country with guns, terrorise their neighbourhoods, and drain resources that would be better spent helping and treating addicts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Kurt Vonnegut is funny guy. Smart too.

From Kurt on the Daily Show:


Give us this day our daily bread - Oh sure.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us - Nobody better trespass against me. I'll tell you that.

Blessed are the meek.

Blessed are the merciful - You mean we can't use torture?

Blessed are the peacemakers - Jane Fonda?

Love your enemies - Arabs?

Ye cannot serve God and Mammon - The hell I can't! Look at the Reverand Pat Robertson. And He is as happy as a pig in s**t.

Right on Kurt. Those religious hippocrates wouldn't know Jesus if he hit them in the head with a piece of wood.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm Reborn!!

I never thought it would happen. Having been an atheist all my life, I have finally seen the light. When I was a kid, I had Christianity forced so hard down my throat that it hurt. I felt abused, raped and humiliated. I hate being treated like an idiot. The moral standards of christian's seemed non existant. I was a smart kid, because as I grew up, I realised that that they are indeed non-existant. Christianity is about hate, exclusion and bigotry. But I have finally found a religion I can be comfortable with, a religion I can die for. And die happily at that.

Here is what convinced me:


* Flimsy moral standards.
* Every friday is a relgious holiday. If your work/school objects to that, demand your religious beliefs are respected and threaten to call the ACLU.
* Our heaven is WAY better. We've got a Stripper Factory AND a Beer Volcano.

The flimsy moral standard thing is true with all religions so that did not turn the tide. Friday being a religious holiday is cool and all, but hey, I take Fridays off anyway (along with Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and sunday) so that's not a deal maker. But heaven with strippers and beer? Yeah, baby, you got me by the short and curlys on that one. Hookers would be a step better, but this is heaven after all, one must not be too picky and decadent.

I'm reborn, I'm converted, rock the fuck on. You too can have everlasting life with strippers and beer. Go here and get it on. Be happy in this life, and happier in the afterlife.


Bow down, bitch.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Yeah. I am pissed. The world is a mess. This country is run by retards. Ok, so I drank a bottle of wine, did 2 lines someone threw in front of my face, and followed it up with a spliff, so I am in the mood to be honest. So I say fuck you all. We are fucking doomed. There is no logic anymore, no right, all wrong. All bullshit. Surely we want to be happy and live good lives. Why should callous barbarians take this away? There is no morality, no kindness and no selflessness. It is all greed, theft and callousness. This is not a happy way to live, this is not a way to survive. We are fucking doomed. There is no hope in sight, no saviour. No option of a saviour. The saviour does exist. I say again, we are fucked. We are not only stupid, but evil in our stupidity. Only stupidity could be so evil. Because being smart is good. Being snart is right. But we don't have it here. We are doomed, we are fucked.

Rest in fucking peace, because I sure will.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


This man has no soul. Apparently he is looking at the devastation in New Orleans. But the way things are with this White House, it is probably bullshit. "Look out the window, pretend to look at New Orleans"

"I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," Bush said during an Aug. 13 bike ride with journalists at his ranch. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live, and will do so."

Yeah, some crisp decision making.... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I am reading all over the net about how Bush has dropped the ball with the Katrina thing. So what? Did you really expect him to respond as a president should? The guy has fucked up so much of his job so far, why should he all of a sudden be on the ball now?

He fucked the economy up with his massive corporate tax breaks.
He fucked up the war on terror by invading a country that was not involved, then fucked up the prosecution of said war.
He fucked up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Or didn't read them.

So he fucked up the response to a natural disaster. Big fucking deal. If you expected anymore, you are the idiot. And to all those who voted for this guy - FUCK YOU! Stupid fucks, all of you. He fucked up the first 4 years pretty decently, but these last couple he has outdone himself. Hard to believe that this great country is run by people more stupid and more incompetent than a 3rd world country in Africa.

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Nothing but bad ideas.

It’s Official Now. Bush Knows We Are Stupid.

By Vietnam Vet Who Knows Better

"We will stay in Iraq to honor those that died honorably. Huh????

Those that have died honorably in Iraq did so because of the dishonesty of Bush and his cronies. Now Bush says that in spite of his lies we will allow even more American soldiers to die honorably in order to protect his own dishonor and dishonesty.

Any of you that agree with this logic should enlist in our armed forces and relieve anyone currently serving in Iraq that does not believe Bush’s lies are worth dying for.

Come on people. We are not that stupid. It is time to bring them home and stop the lies."

Let me reiterate that I am not a "bring them home now" supporter. I realise that the war was conceived, born and delivered on nothing but lies and fabrications, but now that we are in this deep, all i am asking for is a re-think. The present administration has no answers and no credibility, the time is right for some new blood, some new ideas and a new beginning.

Iraq Rational

I thought a little summary would be nice.

The evolving rationale for the Iraq adventure
By fubar
Aug 28 2005 - 10:26am

* 9/11
* Flypaper
* Liberate oppressed Iraqis
* Democracy in the Middle East
* So the deaths will not have been in vain

Dump it all in a blender. Throw against wall to see what sticks. Or you can get the ready-mix version.

Update: A few more reasons to stay in Iraq:

* We haven't turned a profit on the investment yet.
* Evacuation costs too high. Waiting for gas prices to come down.
* To stop Iran from spreading radical Shia'a Islam.
* Waiting until it's safe.