March 29th, 2005


Thoughtcrime in Iraq.

A recent post by Khalid Jarrar from Iraq is a real eye opener. In it, he talks about a new, propaganda-oriented show on one of the Iraqi government TV channels. The show features Iraqi police interrogating the supposed insurgents, admitting an unbelievable laundry list of their crimes -- raping, killing, targeting civilians, etc.

He goes on to describe an unbelievable, constantly repeated scenario:

"The police ask them: why do you do that?
For money, sir!
How much are you getting paid?
100$ for an operation, sir!
And what do you do with that money?
We buy alcohols and drugs, sir!
What is your advice for all the terrorists that are still fighting?
I advice them to surrender, sir, and to cooperate with the authorities, sir!

This is exactly what each and every one of them said, since the show started, and till today, showing many of them a day, and then you learn details about some of those criminals: they confess that they kidnapped girls and raped them, then slaughtered them. One of them, has a big beard, and then they tell us he is gay and was caught having sex with another man inside the mosque. Another one, confessed that his mother is a pimp, and that his friends used to come to his house to "have fun" with his sisters. And the story goes on..

And while these "confessions" are about to be over, this question should always come:
where does that money come from?
from the Syrian intelligence, sir!
and then the policeman voice, preaches them, telling them how low they are, and what kind of disgusting creatures they are, and how they stained the word "jihad" and how hypocrite they are, pretending to be mojahideen while they are hardly humans, and the policeman would also say: if you were real mojahideen we -police- would have been the first to follow you, you are thieves, rapists and thugs. Can you see dear audience? Those are the mojahideen that you hear about in your country, those are the ones that are fighting, those are the so-called resistance, low scum that worth nothing, real Iraqis should help capture them whenever you see them, they deserve more than just killing, they deserve to be killed a hundred times, if they attack only Americans, if they were honest, we would have been the first to follow them!"

When I heard of this transparent propaganda, my initial thought was that these prisoners were either tortured or coerced to give such confessions. My second thought was that Syria must be Bush's next target. My third thought was "I've seen this before..."

"Nobody ever escaped detection, and nobody ever failed to confess. When once you had succumbed to thoughtcrime it was certain that by a given date you would be dead. Why then did that horror, which altered nothing, have to lie embedded in future time?" - George Orwell, "1984"

Brian Eno dabbles in politics.

Brian Eno has turned his creative energy into a new direction, it seems... Getting Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats elected in Britain.

He recently set up, where he shares a mini-manifesto supporting the Liberal Democrats, while encouraging others to do the same and other big names to come forward and support the LibDems.

He points out, quite rightly, that the biggest thing holding the Liberal Democrats back is whether or not British voters believe they can make a difference -- if all potential LibDem voters actually did vote, they would win the election with relative ease.

"This election could be a tipping point: with the Tories weak, and Blair widely distrusted, the chance is within reach, but if people who can't face voting for either the Tories or the Labour party just stay home, nothing will change: we'll be back to 5 more years of sterile, self serving 'parliamentary debate', of playing cowboys with George Bush, of deceit and evasion and the erosion of democracy in this country."

Let's hope that Eno isn't still ahead of his time.

The filthy Sanchez.

The ACLU today released a memo signed by Lieutenant General Ricardo A. Sanchez authorizing 29 interrogation techniques, including 12 which far exceeded limits established by the Army’s own Field Manual. More specifically, it points out that Gen. Sanchez committed perjury when testifying before Congress.

From Sanchez' testimony of May 19, 2004:

U.S. SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison. Is that correct?

SANCHEZ: Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.

That is absolutely refuted by the newly released memo, which says:

Presence of Military Working Dog: Exploits Arab fear of dogs ...
Sleep Management: Detainee provided minimum of 4 hours sleep per 24 hour period, not to exceed 72 continuous hours.
Yelling, Loud Music, and Light Control: Used to create fear... (Sanchez's wording, not mine.)

Sanchez is clearly guilty of perjury, and should face the wrath of Congress... and the Senate should determine the guilt of his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, while they're at it.

*UPDATE* This post is starting to get some attention on other sites, such as MetaFilter, Tom Tomorrow, Atrios, and DailyKos. This morning, I called the office of Senator Reed, at (202) 224-4642, to make them aware of this act of perjury, as well as calling my local senator. I encourage everyone who reads this to take a minute and do the same. We must get our politicians talking about the seriousness of Gen. Sanchez' actions. No senator likes being lied to. It makes them pissed off... and rightly so. Let's hope they'll do something about it.

Also, as a matter of clarification, the evidence hasn't been fully uncovered yet regarding Rumsfeld's possible involvement in this matter. That said, it is known that Rumsfeld had previously approved the interrogation methods for Guantanamo, which the methods in Sanchez' memo were based upon. Also, in August 2003, it was Rumsfeld who arranged for Major-General Geoffrey Miller to be sent to Iraq from Gunatanamo to, “review current Iraqi Theatre ability to rapidly exploit internees for actionable intelligence”. Miller then proceeded to take control over the interrogations at Abu Ghraib away from Army General Janis Karpinski.

In other words, we know that at about the same time that Sanchez' new Gitmo'ized policies went into place, that Rumsfeld had sent in a 'Gitmo "fixer" to get info out of those prisoners.