Flickr Deletes Account of Man Posting Torture Photos

San Francisco Chronicle: Man critical of Obama wiped off the face of Flickr

Gawker’s Ryan Tate chronicles how Yahoo obliterated the Flickr account of user Shepherd Johnson after he blasted Obama over a policy on torture photos.

Johnson, of Virginia man, is none too pleased with the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009, otherwise known as the bill that would allow the Obama administration to withhold torture photos. Johnson apparently expressed his disdain for Obama’s support of the law on the White House’s official Flickr photostream. The comments were deleted. Johnson posted more comments, including another Flickr user’s photo of a naked bleeding detainee lying on the floor (warning: graphic). Without warning or explanation, the site erased Johnson’s handiwork along with his account and his 1,200 photos, many of which he did not back up.

Read the rest here.

(Jeez, I hope mine don’t bother them.)

Obama’s War Crimes in Pakistan

So far the empire’s new war in Pakistan has accomplished, well… nothing good.

They aren’t even pretending to hunt for bin Laden and Zawahiri as part of the excuse for demanding the Pakistani army invade the North-Western territories of the country, so far they have completely failed to find the “Taliban” leaders they claim to be trying to get, but instead have succeeded only in created a living nightmare for over 3 million refugees and counting.

At least it won’t be hard to find excuses for the next intervention…

Ron Paul on Tiananmen Resolution: Let’s Tend to Our Own House

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) delivered this on the House floor this afternoon:

I rise to oppose this unnecessary and counter-productive resolution regarding the 20th anniversary of the incident in China’s Tiananmen Square. In addition to my concerns over the content of this legislation, I strongly object to the manner in which it was brought to the floor for a vote. While the resolution was being debated on the House floor, I instructed my staff to obtain a copy so that I could read it before the vote. My staff was told by no less than four relevant bodies within the House of Representatives that the text was not available for review and would not be available for another 24 hours. It is unacceptable for Members of the House of Representatives to be asked to vote on legislation that is not available for them to read!

As to the substance of the resolution, I find it disturbing that the House is going out of its way to meddle in China’s domestic politics, which is none of our business, while ignoring the many pressing issues in our own country that definitely are our business.

This resolution “calls on the People’s Republic of China to invite full and independent investigations into the Tiananmen Square crackdown, assisted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross…” Where do we get the authority for such a demand? I wonder how the US government would respond if China demanded that the United Nations conduct a full and independent investigation into the treatment of detainees at the US-operated Guantanamo facility?

The resolution “calls on the legal authorities of People’s Republic of China to review immediately the cases of those still imprisoned for participating in the 1989 protests for compliance with internationally recognized standards of fairness and due process in judicial proceedings.” In light of US government’s extraordinary renditions of possibly hundreds of individuals into numerous secret prisons abroad where they are held indefinitely without charge or trial, one wonders what the rest of the world makes of such US demands. It is hard to exercise credible moral authority in the world when our motto toward foreign governments seems to be “do as we say, not as we do.”

While we certainly do not condone government suppression of individual rights and liberties wherever they may occur, why are we not investigating these abuses closer to home and within our jurisdiction? It seems the House is not interested in investigating allegations that US government officials and employees approved and practiced torture against detainees. Where is the Congressional investigation of the US-operated “secret prisons” overseas? What about the administration’s assertion of the right to detain individuals indefinitely without trial? It may be easier to point out the abuses and shortcomings of governments overseas than to address government abuses here at home, but we have the constitutional obligation to exercise our oversight authority in such matters. I strongly believe that addressing these current issues would be a better use of our time than once again condemning China for an event that took place some 20 years ago.

Grim Milestone: 5,000 GIs Dead in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars

Among the six U.S. servicemember deaths so far reported in June, one soldier has become the 5,000th casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among the six U.S. servicemember deaths so far reported in June, one soldier has become the 5,000th casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Icasualties.org the wars have cost at least 4,308 lives in Iraq and 695 in Afghanistan. The official count from the Department of Defense, however, has the total number of deaths at 4,996 in both military campaigns. The D.O.D. figures often lag slightly behind those reported in the mass media.

These figures include both combat and non-combat deaths, as well as those servicemembers killed outside the main theaters of action. In some cases, however, a servicemember who may have died months or years later of wounds received during service might not be included in official figures.

Military Families Speak Out noted the milestone in a press release published today. The antiwar group, which was formed by military families in 2002, asked President Obama to swiftly end the wars, as promised during last year’s presidential campaign. However, as the U.S. Congress returned from a weeklong Memorial Day break yesterday, the lawmakers’ main war concern was not ending either campaign, but in finalizing a new war funding bill for the president to sign.

President Obama originally asked for $84.3-billion to continue the wars. Both chambers then added their own items, bringing the final tally for the House to $96.7-billion and the Senate’s to $91.3-billion in additional funding.

Supreme Court Justice Aids Torture Coverup

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg approved an Obama administration request to have an additional 30 days to submit their appeal to justify suppressing the photos of US troops torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. The administration can now dally until July 9 before submitting their brief arguing their case.

This is simply one more layer of BS atop of all the government excuses that have piled up since May 2004. Ginsburg’s order is a green light for the government to continue playing games and concocting excuses not to disclose the hard evidence of U.S. war crimes.

The SCOTUS Blog notes: “President Obama and his aides are pursuing two paths for trying to overturn that disclosure order: first, they are seeking action by Congress to amend the FOIA to bar the release; if that does not succeed, they plan to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Circuit Court decision…. The Ginsburg delay order gives Congress more time to act. The Senate has passed a measure to block the photos’ disclosure, and the two houses are expected to work on the issue early this month.”

The torture scandal continues revealing the sham that there are any checks and balances to restrain our rulers from seizing and abusing absolute power.