Ding Dong the Witch….is…

I’m trying to work up an appropriate expression of…um. Gloating. Schadenfreude. Sympathy? For this news:

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper [has] suspended the weekly column of Barbara Amiel-Black after its parent, Hollinger International, filed a lawsuit accusing her and her husband Conrad Black of looting the company.

OK, I’m not coming up with anything. Just read this and you won’t miss her anyway.

Thanks for the tip, Kevin Michael Grace at The Ambler!

US military nudist prisons

Guantanamo prisoner: “After a while, we stopped asking for human rights – we wanted animal rights.”

Senator: “Almost everybody was naked all the time.”

I remember when these accounts first came out I thought they might be exaggerated.

Tarek Dergoul, 26, from London, also condemned the British government for allowing his continued detention in Bagram and Kandahar in Afghanistan and then the US base in Cuba and called for the release of remaining detainees.

The former care worker is in poor physical and mental health after his two-year ordeal. He is believed to have had an arm amputated and have difficulty walking.

“Tarek Dergoul has started to try to give his family and solicitor, Louise Christian, an account of the horrific things which happened to him during detention at Bagram, Kandahar and Guantánamo Bay,” said a statement released last night.

“This has included an account of botched medical treatment, interrogation at gunpoint, beatings and inhumane conditions.

“[He] condemns the US and UK governments for allowing these gross breaches of human rights and demands the release of all the other detainees.”

It added: “Tarek finds it very difficult to talk about these things and his family believe his mental health has been severely affected by the trauma he has suffered. We therefore appeal to the media to respect his privacy and not to try and find him.”

Mr Dergoul is not expected to speak to journalists in the foreseeable future.

The accusations will fuel international concern about the detention camp, coming after claims of punishment beatings and psychological torture by another Briton.

Jamal Udeen, also known as Jamal al-Harith, told the Mirror: “The whole point … was to get to you psychologically. The beatings were not nearly as bad as the psychological torture – bruises heal after a week but the other stuff stays with you.”

He also said the men were asked to sign a confession that they were linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida before their release. He refused: “I would rather have stayed in Guantánamo than sign that paper.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman described the allegations as “simply lies”, while the secretary of state, Colin Powell, said yesterday he believed the US treated detainees “in a very, very humanitarian way”. He told ITV1’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald: “Because we are Americans, we don’t abuse people in our care.”

I really used to have trouble with the claim that nude prostitutes were brought in to parade around in front of the Muslim prisoners.

A Briton released from Guantánamo alleged that, as in Abu Ghraib, sexual humiliation was identified by US officials as a way of breaking Muslim detainees. In Iraq it was the simulation of oral sex, forced masturbation and human pyramids, withpeople kept naked for long spells. In Guantánamo, according to one British detainee, naked prostitutes paraded before inmates to taunt them.

I just couldn’t imagine it. Well, now I can imagine it.

lynndie_englandA female soldier at the centre of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal was photographed having sex with other military guards, sometimes in front of detainees, senators said today.

Private First Class Lynndie England has already become the face of the scandal, shown in pictures pointing at a naked Iraqi and holding another by a leash.

She has claimed she was following orders from senior personnel and the photos were used to terrify other inmates into talking.

But unpublished photographs show Pte England engaged in sex acts with other soldiers, some senators told NBC.

The 100 senators were able to view hundreds of sickening pictures of prisoner abuse last night – images which the Pentagon now say will not be made publicly available.

“She was having sex with numerous partners. It appeared to be consensual,” said one senator.

“Almost everybody was naked all the time,” another said.

There Is a Difference

We’re all appalled by what happened to Nick Berg. But while some of us look at this crime and think my God, what have we gotten ourselves into?, others use it to stir up more hatred and violence. The belligerati have issued a giant sigh–or shriek–of relief as this horror competes for airtime with the prison torture scandal. See, they’re worse than us! They decapitate people for the crime of being foreign!

We only rape, shoot, and beat them to death for the crime of insubordination.

But there is also another difference between Us and Them. They are at home in Iraq; We (the imperial We) are not. The moral

So it is woman’s personal responsibility to be aware of the dangers of the world. But these young feminists today are deluded. They come from a protected, white, middle-class world, and they expect everything to be safe. […]

These girls say, “Well, I should be able to get drunk at a fraternity party and go upstairs to a guy’s room without anything happening.” And I say, “Oh, really? And when you drive your car to New York City, do you leave your keys on the hood?” My point is that if your car is stolen after you do something like that, yes, the police should pursue the thief and he should be punished. But at the same time, the police–and I–have the right to say to you, “You stupid idiot, what the hell were you thinking?”


Releasing Abu Ghraib photos “illegal”

Rumsfeld says White House lawyers are claiming that it is “illegal” to release additional photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison.

U.S. administration lawyers are advising the Pentagon not to publicly release any more photographs of Iraqi prisoners being abused by U.S. soldiers, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the outset of a hastily arranged visit to Iraq aimed at containing the abuse scandal.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’d be happy to release them all to the public and to get it behind us,” Rumsfeld told reporters travelling with him from Washington. “But at the present time I don’t know anyone in the legal shop in any element of the government that is recommending that.”

The government lawyers argue that releasing such materials would violate a Geneva Convention stricture against presenting images of prisoners that could be construed as degrading, Rumsfeld said en route to the Iraqi capital on a trip that was not announced in advance due to security concerns.

I’m sure there’s nothing self-serving in such legal opinions. saddamPOW1

The end of the myth of Saddam
Charles Krauthammer

December 19, 2003

WASHINGTON — The race is over. The Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subject, goes to … “Saddam’s Dental Exam.”

Screenplay: First Brigade, U.S. 4th I.D.

Producer: P. Bremer Enterprises, Baghdad.
Director: the anonymous genius at U.S. headquarters who chose this clip as the world’s first view of Saddam in captivity.
We Americans don’t do it that way. Instead, we show Saddam — King of Kings, Lion of the Tigris, Saladin of the Arabs — compliantly opening his mouth like a child to the universal indignity of an oral (and head lice!) exam. Docility wrapped in banality. Brilliant. Nothing could have been better calculated to demystify the all-powerful tyrant.

A Beheading Deja vu

Photos of Nick Berg’s beheading weren’t shown to the general public, but a colleague of mine nonetheless remembered something similar she saw during the Bosnian War. Apparently, decapitation of captured Serb soldiers and civilians was rather common for the mujahedin fighting for the Bosnian Muslims. These photos were never published, either, not because they were too graphic, but because they were politically incorrect. The executioners were designated victims by most international media, while the victims were considered genocidal aggressors. Ten years later, the pictures survive – an eerie parallel to what is happening in Iraq.

US damages mosque in Karbala

Juan Cole is sounding the alarm here. He points to an AP report about heavy fighting in Karbala.

The US used heavy firepower in the sacred Shiite city, destroying half of the historic al-Mukhayyam Mosque not so far from the shrine of the Prophet’s martyred grandson, Imam Husain. For Shiites, this is as though a Muslim army was fighting in Vatican City and damaged a Renaissance-era church near the basilica of St. Peter. You wonder if the US can survive its victory in Karbala.

Read the rest….