Two senior British judges accused the U.S. of threatening to stop sharing intelligence with Britain if the British Government released details of the extraordinary rendition of British citizen, Binyam Mohamed.
Perhaps this explains it:
So, while a few die hard “24” fans — and Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Mukasey — might still claim confusion about waterboarding being torture, nearly everyone else would agree that having your penis sliced with razors once a month IS torture.
According to the close-the-barn-door-late theory, should official confirmation of this behavior escape the U.S. establishment cone of silence, it would be a PR disaster. That, not the perennial whine of “National Security,” is the source of the pressure the British Judges felt.
There is a lot of smoke around the L.A. Times article suggesting Barak Obama’s Executive Order ending extraordinary renditions was bogus.
But even if Mr. Obama did end the extraordinary brand of renditions, according to a Democracy Now! interview with Michael Rattner of The Center for Constitutional Rights, there is still a hole big enough to drive tour busses full of victims into the Gulag.
Will this be another big disappointment like Mr. Obama’s plans to double the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan — and his authorization of Predator drone strikes on the tribal people of Pakistan? And will we meet other Binyam Mohameds in the future, this time created by the Obama Administration?
Fellow Brooklynite Javed Iqbal, 45, today plead guilty to broadcasting Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV programming to US customers. The charge is “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.”
Eric brought this news item to my attention and asked if I wanted to blog about it.
“Not really. What should I add?”
“Add your outrage.”
I paused and thought about it. “But I’m not outraged right now.”
And that got me to thinking — why AREN’T I outraged? Is it that I am so used to this Administration jailing people for absurd and frivolous reasons? Am I now merely bored by the thought of the government spying on American citizens on the basis of nebulous and unlikely threats of terror? Has it become so “whatever” to hear of someone denied an explicit constitutional right because it might help the propaganda arm of an organization our government has declared a terrorist organization but which is not by all legitimate and objective standards a terrorist organization?
The last time I checked, the only time Hezbollah lifted a finger to physically harm Americans was when the latter were occupying Lebanon — and even then, it’s not proven. Israel might consider Hezbollah to be terrorists for daring to challenge the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, but as I live in the United States, I don’t care much to live by the warped standards of Israeli justice.
This was not shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Al-Manar may broadcast distasteful programs, but it doesn’t incite its viewers to commit violence. This case IS an outrage and should outrage anyone who prefers liberty over security — not that anyone is more secure by Iqbal’s certain conviction.
Broadcasting Al-Manar should not be considered a crime in the United States, where the law of the land explicitly declares that it is the exact opposite: the protected activity of expression.
Hold on to your MP3 players and Palm Pilots. The tragically hip in US Army intelligence have discovered the popular micro-blogging service Twitter. The crux of the draft by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion is that terrorists could make use of the 140 character one liners normally reserved for teenage girls announcing breakups, exhibitionist bloggers titillating fans (e.g., “I’m blogging naked,) and unironic reviews of the mundane. “Yum….macaroni and cheese is delicious”
The report ominously warns that “Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences…”
There is really no end of possibilities now that the I-Pod nano rocks in nine amazing colors. Prescient trend watchers might also note that bus systems, fast food and strip clubs can also be utilized by terrorists. The only possible use of such obvious and pointless breakthroughs in “intelligence” is to make the case to the dim and frightened that if terrorists might be using some common and day-to-day element of normal human life, then that common and day-to-day element of human life needs close surveillance and containment by the feds.
Meanwhile, Antiwar.com is making use of Twitter here and here.
Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald took Keith Olbermann to task for his kneejerk devotion to Barack Obama, manifested shamefully in his 180 on the capitulation of Congress to Bush on telecom immunity and the FISA law. Today, after Olbermann replied, indirectly, on another blog, Greenwald rebutted every point, and then some. He’s relentless. Enjoy!