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  • Everything you see looks like a pawn. ;)

  • Mary commented on the diary post Contrast How Occupy Wall Street and Right Wing Protestors Are Treated by NYC by Cynthia Kouril.

    2011-09-26 08:04:07View | Delete

    And this is the reason so many police departments are lobbying to make it illegal to videotape police “doing their job” in a public place. Good piece, recommended, but I have to say, the comparison that comes fastest to my mind isn’t the teabagladies, it’s the Arab Spring v. the US Fall. Rounding up women [...]

  • Mary commented on the diary post Abandoning your base is never a good re-election strategy by Cynthia Kouril.

    2011-09-14 10:33:01View | Delete

    I don’t know about his own private agenda, but I don’t think you can say that he really worked on treating all views as worthy of consideration and on accomodating others generically. I think his history was more one of working to make nice with conservatives and conservative interests and he’s never had much of [...]

  • ” It wasn’t that long ago, right here in the US, which was your basis for comparison of criminal charges, that it was illegal to be a victim in an anal rape case in some states — until Lawrence v. Texas changed that. ” Aside from not knowing what you are talking about when you say, “which was your basis for comparison of criminal charges” (my basis? Kevin’s, basis vis a vis what statement? this is really unclear to the point where I can’t respond) –
    your statement is flat and completely wrong. It was not “illigal” to be a victim of anal rape in any State. It was illegal to give consent to anal sex several states. Even in those states, if you were raped, it was never “illegal” to be the rape victim.

    WHen the cable was sent, the US had an obligation to do more than make a complaint – it had the obligation to intervene. That’s what you are missing. You’re in good company – it’s what Donald Rumsfeld was missing as well in his press conf with Peter Pace when he stated that the only US obligation, if we came across inhumane treatment by Iraqi officials, was to report such treatment and Pace interjected what was the ACTUAL duty, under accepted norms for the US in its position as basically an occupation army – – that there was an absolute duty to intervene, not just to investgate and report.

    See, e.g.,

    Also, once the US knew of such situations (knowledge being the issue – not whether the originally discovered victims were US renderees or turnovers or not), it had a duty to its detainees to make sure that such situations were under control before the US turned those detainees over.

    When you say, “There was no rendering or refoulement involved or alleged in any of the available information, so far. So far, there is no grounds for any such accusation, so none should be made.” it’s not clear what you mean, but I am assuming you mean that there was no rendition (which isn’t the proper term for the US military turnover as occupiers to domestic institutions, but I think that’s what you mean?)regarding the specific jailed juveniles at Site 4.

    But that’s not the only issue by any means, because the “record” is replete with the turnover by the US of many many many detainees to the Iraqi institutions. Thousands were detained by the US and turned over to Iraqi institutions. They were turned over while the US knew – as disclosed by the cable – that the institution were replete with torture and abuse. This would also have been a violation of our obligations if we had not so well covered up the institutional torture. It would have jammed things up a bit, though, over the Iraqi draw down. Because we had also signed off on agreements to pull out and close down our many concentrated population detention facilities in Iraq, and if you can’t hand off to the domestic institution because of torture, you have to release unless you have military charges you can press. Easier for the US to turn over the thousands of detainees to Iraqi institutions and let them sort it out than to take responsiblity for the incorrect detentions, which would have happened if the US had admitted that it could not under international law and standards hand off its detainees to Iraqi institutions because of torture and rape issues at those facilities.

    So it’s not that, “the US should have made a more public accusation and pursued a more aggressive accusation of impunity” but rather that a) the US had a duty to intervene to prevent the detainees from being subject to torture and b) the US had a duty to not hand over other detainees to domestic institutions that were rife with torture – which WAS done with resepct to thousands of detainees the US handed over, and c) the US had a duty in the domestic lawsuits brought, where detainees who were going to be handed over to the Iraqi institutions were arguing that they would be subject to torture, to be forthcoming with the US courts examining those allegations.

    In addition, to the extent that, with the knowledge the cables indicate the US had, the US allowed its military to engage in “threats” to hand over detainees to domestic institutions where the implication or direct threat was that they would be tortured and raped, that is in violation of torture statues and treaties as a threat of rape.

    Again, all fwiw.

    @53 – yes and no. There’s an argument that a “territory under its jurisdiction” from a civil law standpoint might not include Iraq – and the military rules of occupation (which is not exactly the same as civilian jurisdiction) would apply. But basically you should have one or the other – so if you argue that we weren’t occupation, then we had to have had some other kind of “jurisdiction” to allow for the massive detention facilities we established for the victims of in-home raids that were not battlefield detentions.

    Just mentioning that because some people believe that its impossible to do damage with the unredacted Wikileaks cables unless you expose a spy or something.

  • “What, Kevin, would you suggest the State Dept. and U.S. military should do?” Should have done – would have been to not turn over detainees. Should have done – would have been to be honest with the US courts examining the habeas and injunction efforts on behalf of someone being turned over by the US to those institutions about the likelihood for rape and abuse and eliciting of false confessions. Should have done – would have been to not use threats of turning over to rapists as an interrogation tactic. Should have done – followed through on the international norm that Pace “slip of the tongue” stated, i.e., to intervene to stop torture.

    Should do now? Fess up. Confess that they sat on information about the abuses so that it would be easier to hand off detainees wrongfully detained. Confess that they used threats to hand off for rape, in violation of anti-torture laws and treaties everywhere, and that they did this to elicit confessions (often false). Etc. It’s been a long “war” with a lot of opportunities for the military and the state dept to do things – it’s not fair to just say, without any context, “what would you suggest they do?”

    imo, fwiw

  • Thank you for this piece. I think some are missing the fairly obvious point that during this time period and thereafter the US military was handing off detainees (including a US citizen IIRC whose case went to the Fed Courts here with the DOJ maintaining that the Iraqi detention and justice system were in good operational status and there were no risks of abuse in handing over the US citizen) to Iraqi forces. As a matter of fact, the US rounded up, without rhyme or reason, numbers reaching into 5 figures and over the 2006-2011 time frame has had to do something with their detainees.

    This is one reason, supposedly, that Obama has opted for assassination raids and drone killings – to avoid the detention issues with respect to the innocent or the guilty. In any event, the US had an obligation with respect to its detainees to not hand them over to an appartus that would engage in abuse. Instead, it helped cover up the abuse to make the transfers go more smoothly. The US military, under international norms, as an de facto occpational force had the duty to not just investigate, but intervene to stop the abuse. This is an obligation that the US Executive branch has overruled – so that the miitary has no been required to act under international norms on the duty to intervene to stop abuse front. I still remember Rumsfeld’s response to the input from that the the miliary had an obligation to intervene – - and it never came up again as an obligation.

    The other aspect is that this knowledge is and has been relevant to several lawsuits that I can think of that were filed here in the US, including a juvenile in US custody who alledged that the US brought an “interrogator” who was allowed to rape the juvenile, and to the many claims that the US was affirmatively utilizing the known situation of rape and abuse to threaten detainees into making false confessions by threatening to turn them over the rape/torure facilities. That is, btw, (again, under norms and accepted treaty and various code language definitions) an act of torture in and of itself – the threat of rape.

    I understand that in the context of a short piece for a blog that is based on many years of accumulated facts, all the threads may not tie up in one ribbon in this piece, but I found it very interesting, useful and a good effort in a short space. Thank you.

  • The article linked with the “… hair found on a tree stump” link says that Hobbs was Branch’s stepfather, not Moore’s. Is that article wrong?

  • Mary commented on the diary post FDL-Bashing Backfiring on Obamacrats in the Blogosphere by OhioGringo.

    2011-08-12 08:18:08View | Delete

    *g* I love it when you find encouraging glimpses out there in the world and share them. Re: the 3rd party thing – what do you think of this Americans Elect 2012 initiative? The first I heard of it was watching Colbert the other night.

  • Mary commented on the diary post Bin Laden Turned in by Informant — Courier Was Cover Story by RJ Hillhouse.

    2011-08-09 10:11:52View | Delete

    eblair – your questions aren’t sounded all that well thought out or well rounded to me. I do agree with don’t believe everything you hear, but the “discussion” about taking OBL alive or not has in essence been around for a long long time. Since Tora Bora. And over the years the feedback – and [...]

  • Mary commented on the blog post US Lacks Credibility to Help Syrian Protesters

    2011-08-08 16:34:12View | Delete

    “Ambassador Robert Ford vowed to continue to observe the violence ‘firsthand’”

    Didn’t the Bush administration say something very similar? Oh, wait, that’s right – they were talking about observing the interrogations of the men and boys they sent to the Palestinian Branch for interrogations – THAT was the violence they wanted to observe firsthand.


  • Mary commented on the diary post Bin Laden Turned in by Informant — Courier Was Cover Story by RJ Hillhouse.

    2011-08-08 12:00:46View | Delete

    Thank you for sharing this here. Still hard to know for sure, as someone just reading all the stories and with no sources (with or without agendas) what to believe, but from a common sense standpoint it has never made sense that this would have all gone off without some substantial cooperation from Pakistan. The [...]

  • Thanks for this piece. Worth noting if there is anyone unfamiliar with the topic who clicks through the video, that the detainee testifying, Murat Kurnaz, was sold to the US by Pakistan and was never involved with any kind of terrorism or terrorist group. While the US held and tortured him in GITMO it compiled a very thick dossier on Kurnaz – full of completely exculpatory information from multiple intelligence sources, but all “classified” so that no one trying to help him could access the information. Also classified for a long time the thing that the Bush Admin hung it’s hat on – the info that Kurnaz was friends with and had been seen with a man who the government claimed (in a classified claim that couldn’t be released) had left Germany and become a suicide bomber. Except, once the “classified” claim was outed, the guy was a) still in Germany, and b) never a suicide bomber.

    5 years in depravity for that.

  • Mary commented on the diary post NYT Economist: Economy Gasping for Air, So Cut off Air Supply Slowly by Scarecrow.

    2011-07-29 10:23:57View | Delete

    Nice job – thanks for sharing this.

  • Mary commented on the diary post Halliburton Charged with More Crimes by Ruth Calvo.

    2011-07-29 10:22:56View | Delete


  • Good for Kucinich and thank you for this piece.

  • Mary commented on the blog post The Return of Barack Obama and the Art of Negotiation

    2011-07-25 09:18:28View | Delete

    I don’t know enough about all the underlying parts of his background and story to comment on the ultimate conclusions there, but the only things he has managed to effectively pull off in office involve getting the CIA what it wants – free torture rein and patriot badges for torture killers, Presidential seals of approve for assassination programs, drones and wars and Patriot Act extensions and Raymond Davis. He has done a great job for the CIA and hasn’t flinched over what it costs the nation or other institutions like DOJ, so long as there is some benefit to CIA.

  • Mary commented on the blog post The Return of Barack Obama and the Art of Negotiation

    2011-07-25 08:37:25View | Delete

    And I think you have to look at that from the standpoint that even being re-elected isn’t ultimately what is “in it” for hizhonor’s self.

    Being able to go to all the right cocktail parties and make the right money and have the right people pat his back and tell him how smart he is, eleventy-dimensional even, and how *serious* and how right he was, while they let him finger steeple and practice his serious face, and make sure he gets money and position and status for the rest of his life – that’s what is in it for him. He wants a life where he can take potshots at and settle petty scores with people like Krugman and bloggers who called him on his outrageous stupidity and insipid aimliessness and where he will never have to do anything other than lend his name to fundraising enterprises – - maybe get the dean’s slot at Harvard and mentor along a tranch of lusterless nothings to fill the emptyspaces that should have been his foot prints.

  • Mary commented on the blog post The Return of Barack Obama and the Art of Negotiation

    2011-07-25 08:26:48View | Delete

    really good analysis of the neo-goatiator. It’s a circle complete of itself, but I did yearn a little for a mention of his tactics regarding taking things off the table as his negotiating start point, giving away the farm under the guise of somehow being reasonable. Taking the public option off the table, drug reimportation off the table, torture responsiblity off the table, etc. all to make room for huge chunks of executive power that he has pulled onto the table (assassinations and unpunished lies to courts and non-prosecution of executive branch criminals) all to reside in his ineffective hands like parasites in a clueless host.

    Not so much a President as a zombie antserving as a host, not for anything actually or even arguably just conservative, but for the most lethal and immoral and contemptuous of right wing powers and ideologies.

  • Mary commented on the blog post Phone Hacking Scandal Brings Out WSJ’s Fear of WikiLeaks

    2011-07-18 11:45:24View | Delete

    You do have to keep in mind that Pearl walked from any charges in the Black prosecution and that, convcition notwithstanding, Black got a bye from the US Sup Ct.

  • Mary commented on the blog post Happy Trails: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

    2011-07-14 18:37:26View | Delete

    Not goodby – see you later.


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