Hartsongs <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Friday, May 28, 2004

It is almost unbelievable that we are on the DOD authorization bill, a very important bill that we need to discuss and move forward, as it supports a lot of important things for our troops, and our military strategy. But somehow the other side of the aisle and the Department of Energy think they can sneak in language to this Defense authorization bill that would allow the reclassification of hazardous, high-level nuclear waste and basically call it incidental waste. Basically it would reclassify nuclear waste that is in existing tanks in my State, in South Carolina, in Idaho, and in New York, and basically say that waste can be covered over with cement, with sand, and could be grouted. Basically, it says we can take high-level nuclear waste and grout it--grout it. Petition here.
E-mail from Maria Cantwell

Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., is waging a battle against "bad science" and "scientific opinions" in public lands decisions, she announced this week, citing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's decision to list the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act as a triggering event.

In the same vein, Cubin wants the Environmental Protection Agency to delete Web links to two specific non-governmental Web sites that provide information about toxic releases by ZIP code. She said they are operated by "extremist" groups.

"There are no more mass graves in Iraq."
Resident Bush

The Olympia City Council held a forum for public comment after being requested to oppose the docking of the U.S.S. Olympia in their port. One of the locals posted the information to a conservative website, (Free Republic) and as a result the city has been inundated with e-mail, phone calls, and even death threats, according to one city council member.

They would have been expected, with a force of 70 officers, to help provide 24 hour security for the nuclear submarine.

Here are a couple of comments from some 'upstanding' citizens, with one stating that a warhead should be fired at "each and every socialist liberal that somehow managed to crawl their way into the Olympia capital city's council."

The comments of one of them is so un-American...thank God I still live in a free country where I can express my opinions!

"You all have my permission to crawl back under the lowest layer of whale feces in the bottom of the ocean from which you originated."

The folks over at FTR insist nuclear subs don't have accidents...

One shipyard worker was injured during an accident on the nuclear attack submarine USS Olympia this morning at Pearl Harbor.

During the offloading of a nuclear missile from the Trident submarine USS Georgia on Nov. 7, a hoist reportedly pulled the missile up into a ladder that punctured its nose cone.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I don't need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

- George W. Bush, Washington Post, 11-19-02

Friday, May 21, 2004

Hell On Earth

There Are No Happy Little Bluebirds Flying Over This Rainbow

Americans have learned their lessons well. Coached by the Israelis in cordoning off villages and assassinations, Iraq is fast becoming a maze of barbed wire and cement barriers.

Collective punishment is meted out with innocent civilians being massacred. Denying any responsibility for the slaughter of women and children, military spokesmen say they are fully justified in killing these citizens, allegedly residents of a "suspected foreign fighter safe house". This mind set was already apparent in December of 2003, as expressed by Colonel Peters. "...if you do make an example of certain villages it gets the attention of the others, and attacks have gone down in the area."

Haleema Shihab describes the horror: "The bombing started at 3am," she said yesterday from her bed in the emergency ward at Ramadi general hospital, 60 miles west of Baghdad. "We went out of the house and the American soldiers started to shoot us. They were shooting low on the ground and targeting us one by one," she said. She ran with her youngest child in her arms and her two young boys, Ali and Hamza, close behind. As she crossed the fields a shell exploded close to her, fracturing her legs and knocking her to the ground.

She lay there and a second round hit her on the right arm. By then her two boys lay dead. "I left them because they were dead," she said. One, she saw, had been decapitated by a shell.

"I fell into the mud and an American soldier came and kicked me. I pretended to be dead so he wouldn't kill me.
My youngest child was alive next to me."

There is absolutely no justification for this atrocity. Just as there is no justification for the genocide being committed in Rafahunder the name 'Operation Rainbow'. "In the coming days," the sources said, "there will be continuous military operations in the area. We still have many missions to carry out there, and that's exactly what we will do."

Army Radio quoted senior military sources as saying that the Palestinians "can't breath easy yet."

The bodies of the children continued to pile up in the mortuary yesterday.
Saber Abu Libda, 13, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after he left his home in Tel al-Sultan in the morning to find water for his family.

Dr Nkaria's finger probes a tiny hole in the small child's back which masks the devastation done to his heart as the bullet shot through it.

"No one can say this child was a fighter. Look at the size of him and look where they shoot him - in the back, not coming to attack someone," the doctor says.

Esconsed in the 'right of return' and shrouded in solicitations of never-ending pity for Auswich, the Israeli right-wing takes the path of the abused becoming the abuser. Rabbi Dov Lior says that "the IDF is allowed to harm ostensibly `innocent' civilians."

Conspicuously gleeful at the gruesome images from Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his military commanders vowed to destroy hundreds of additional homes for the purpose of creating "a new reality in Gaza"

Conspicuously absent in responding to the attack on Makr al-Deeb, George Bush attended a 'pep rally', where he refused to answer any questions, remaining silent as his 'Coalition' has taken an identical tack. Blowing children to bits is 'justified'. As 14 new military bases are being built in Iraq with an expected capacity for housing 110,000 soldiers (or more) at least until 2007, there is every indication that we will be seeing more and more of 'Operation Bloodshed'.

Friday, May 14, 2004

The Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Hearings

The Freeway Blogger Strikes Again via Max

Don't Think Of An Elephant.

"He couldn't believe that they had to throw away perfectly good food, even if it was over it's expiration date...Pace decided there was a better way to get rid of the food than throwing it away...with the support of Deb Jantek, AAFES' general manager of the Babylon area, found a way...he'd give the food items to the coalition civil affairs units in Babylon to hand out to the people of Iraq...First, the food had to be certified for human consumption. Pace and Jantek coordinated with the installation veterinary office to inspect the food and give it at thumbs up... Coalition Scimitar pg. 11

It is well with the realm of belief that the Bush White House and its corporate and religious supporters would find the public release of a critical documentary on the President anathema and would, by means of private conversations at the least, do what they could to prevent its release. After all, Rumsfeld and Bush knew well in advance about the forthcoming devastating report on the torture and murder of Iraqi prisoners. For weeks prior to the release by a major American media of terrible pictures proving these events had occurred, the Administration made every effort to prevent the media from doing so.

Bush, whose actions as a member of the Texas Air National Guard are disgraceful, has seen nothing amiss about putting his professional character assassins up to attacking Senator Kerry who did serve with distinction in the military and was well-decorated for his combat performance.

If Kerry threw his medals onto the White House lawn in protest against a war in which he served capably and well, at least he had medals to throw. What, pray tell, could George Bush have thrown? An empty beer can? A used syringe?

Saw a long, official report from the Pentagon today. [Redacted] gave me a quick peek at it before it went back into the safe. If the Bush gets another four years, we are going to have a universal draft come January 2005. Bush’s State of the Union speech is being drafted now (he couldn’t write out a shopping list) in which he intones that a new, democratic, draft is necessary to combat the war on terrorism (which he and his friends have been actively encouraging by their brainless actions). The gist of this is that every young American, male and female, will be drafted at 18 and will serve two years. No deferments for school (like Cheney who lived on these evasions) and no allowance for children either. Flat out universal service. Medical exemptions may have to be granted but if the sick one is well enough to sit at a desk, he gets to work in an office typing out forms all day. And I mean everyone goes! I assume Adolf Bush wants to stand in front of the White House surrounded by bayonets, and salute the goose stepping new Hitler Youth on their way to enforce Greater America!”

Salam Pax goes Hollywood.

Fools Rush In
But in Congressional testimony last fall, Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel, said he believed that the companies, including Titan, "run a background check and then, of course, the military does a more detailed check."

But Mr. Abell added: "In our rush to meet the requirements, the mere numerical requirements, I think folks were brought in based on those initial checks, and the more detailed checks followed as time permitted."

Mr. Abell declined a request for an interview this week, and military spokesmen said they could not produce records of contractors' security clearances on Thursday.

How reliable is his word? "Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Abell has a master's from Columbus University, a diploma mill Louisiana shut down. Deputy Assistant Secretary Patricia Walker lists among her degrees, a bachelor's from Pacific Western, a diploma mill banned in Oregon and under investigation in Hawaii.

CBS News requested interviews with both officials. The Pentagon turned us down, saying, "We don't consider it an issue."

"This isn't America" "This is un-American" "It was pretty disgusting... not what you’d expect from Americans." They've "betrayed our values and sullied the reputation of the country." "the actions of these few people do not reflect the hearts of the American people."

So go the plaudits of the 'outraged' administration in an attempt to portray America as a loving, peaceful country. In fact, we are host to a history rife with violence, genocide, murder, abuse, and violations of human rights.

America is, by far, the most violent country in the world when measured against comparable, industrialized nations. Violence is deeply rooted in our society and has become woven into the fabric of the American lifestyle. A culture of violence has emerged that invades our lives at every level, from our most intimate relationships at home to our schools and work environments. For many of us, violence has become an acceptable strategy for solving conflict, exerting power and control, obtaining possessions, and satisfying emotional desires. Moreover, violence has itself become entertainment, glamorized in the behavior of both real and fantasy heroes."

Critical views of American History maintain that a propensity to violence and war has been deeply embedded in American culture from its very beginnings as a colonial and frontier society, and as a society whose self-declared mission it has been to spread egalitarianism and democracy. Indeed, the themes of violence and democracy are deeply interwoven in the history of the United States from the first settlers to present times."

"From the start we tried to "civilize" the continent, sharing our moral "superiority" with its Native inhabitants. When they stubbornly refused to see things our way, we taught them a lesson by killing them."

"The United States is the leading producer of equipment that can be used for torture, such as electric shock batons and handcuffs with serrated edges," Schulz said. "We have seen growing examples of sexual mistreatment of women prisoners by guards and prison officials. And the treatment of political asylum seekers is deplorable. When they come here, instead of having their cases adjudicated quickly, they are often thrown into county jails."

"Ill-treatment in prisons and jails, including physical and sexual abuse and abusive use of electro-shock weapons, continued to be reported. Several prisoners died, some reportedly as a result of beatings by guards. Many reported abuses took place in isolation units in high-security prisons..."
(Amnesty International, US violations, 2000)

Abu Ghraib being renamed Camp Redemption

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


As long as I can remember, I was taught we Americans were different in no small part because we at least tried to be compassionate and humane and to spread freedom. How ironic, then, that we now stand on the world stage exposed and reviled... not because anyone is so blind as to think America has never wronged in the past, but because we now seem so willing to ignore mans' inhumanity to man, to destroy decades of nurturing goodwill and diplomacy around the world. Mark my words, our children, grandchildren (and likely beyond) will reap the fruits seeded by this war. Because of that horrendous day in September, and the subsequent realization of the depth of hatred of those who would resort to terrorism, quite a few Americans have been willing to accept almost any cost to try to recapture life as it was before 9-11. Heaven knows, we would all love to be back in that more innocent time when we hardly glanced up, except to perhaps decide what animal or object we imagined a cloud resembled. But in the process we can not, must not, let ourselves become what we abhor. If so, the terrorists truly win because we then become exactly what we most fear will destroy us.

Bruce K. McQueary

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Rumsfeld couldn't say who the private contractors were, but the Sunday Herald can.
Two civilian contract organisations involved in the interrogations at Abu Ghraib are linked to the Bush administration.

Titan Corporation, which employed Nakhla and supplied translators to the military, says it is “a leading provider of solutions and services for national security”. Between 2003 and 2004, it gave nearly $40,000 to George W Bush’s Republican Party.

CACI International describes its aim as helping “America’s intelligence community in the war on terrorism”. Richard Armitage, the current deputy US secretary of state, sat on CACI’s board.

Fears have been growing for some time about the quality of some of the employees of some private contractors in Iraq. Take for example South Africans Francois Strydom and Deon Gouws, both of whom worked for Security Applications Systems International (SASI) from Indiana, which had sub-contracted them to Erinys International, one of the biggest British private firms working in Iraq.

On January 28, Strydom died in a bomb blast outside the Shaheen Hotel in Baghdad. He was a one-time member of Koevoet, the apartheid-era paramilitary police unit, notorious for violence, torture and murder.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Friday, May 07, 2004

Faiza's Stirring Words

I want to stop for a moment at the incident of killing 4 Americans at

Now we know that they weren't civilian contractors. They were working for a private security firm; a firm that trains men to perform assassinations and engage in fighting and similar actions.

I remember now a comment made by my neighbor that I didn't believe at the
time. Now it surfaces into my brain again. After the Falluja incident I called her and we talked about different things. She works for the ministry of health and I know that those working at government offices know some
secrets the regular citizen finds about much later
. I told her how amazed I was and that I refuse such acts of killing and burning people in the
streets. She said: Don't be amazed Um-Raed, they were involved in torturing and mistreating Iraqis in prisons.

I said: what prisons? She said: You didn't hear about it? I told her I didn't and then changed the subject because I didn't believe her....

Iraqis say that the women arrested and tortured at Abu Gharib weren't
accused with committing any crime. They are sisters and wives of Iraqi men
suspected to have connections with the resistance.
We want peace. We want stability. We want security.

We want that for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

We want to build a beautiful free country, a bright progressive model, a country that doesn't attack its neighbors, a country that doesn't lose its
characteristics, an Arab Muslim homeland believing in justice, mercy and peace…

No one would draw its future but us…

No group of mysterious men approved by the USA and mistrusted by the Iraqis will take over its leadership but an Iraqi leadership out of the people; it
would love them, defend them and guard their dignity….

The old flag represents all that.

Who wants to tarnish our beloved symbols?

The old flag was there before Saddam and there is no association between the two of them.

The old flag tells the story of our ancestors and their beautiful values we are proud of.

"White are our good deeds…..Black are our battles….Green are the oases where we spend the spring…..Red are our sharp swords"

That was all in the flag.

White, green, black and red…. (T. note: It's to be noted that the Jordanian,
Palestinian, Kuwaiti flags are made of the same 4 colors, while the Egyptian, Yemeni, Syrian flags are made of 3 of them. Almost in any Arab flag one or more of those colors are present)

Who has the courage to erase those words so special to us and replace them with what suits them..."

Bush Minders

Latrine rumor has it that a new memo is coming out, strictly prohibiting any “non-assigned personnel” from entering into any White House office except by specific invitation and then with a “guide.

Pomp and Circumstance

The dirty little secret of President Bush's bus tour is that he didn't spend much time on the bus.

An hour or so on Tuesday was all he logged.

Why bother with the charade? More ways to spend your tax dollars.

The Faces of War

Gunning the Swiftboat

Welcome to George W. Bush's version of America — Bush Democracy. Apparently, he's had his fanatical neo-con programmers working overtime to iron out all those bothersome bugs and kinks that have been holding the United States back for the last 228 years — exasperating glitches like openness, integrity, accountability, responsibility and the value of an informed public. Arianna Huffington

I think that -- I'm not a lawyer. My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture. I don't know if it is correct to say what you just said, that torture has taken place, or that there's been a conviction for torture. And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word."
Rummy C-Span

a. Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

b. Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;

c. Pouring cold water on naked detainees;

d. Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

e. Threatening male detainees with rape;

f. Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;

g. (U) Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.

Meanwhile, our new 'friends' in
Libya Six foreign medical professionals were sentenced to death by firing squad by the Benghazi Criminal Court in Libya today. Methods of torture they reported included: extensive use of electric shocks; being suspended from a height by the arms; being blindfolded and threatened with being attacked by barking dogs; and beatings, including falaqa (beatings on the soles of the feet), and being beaten with electric cables. It is not yet clear whether they were convicted on the basis of these "confessions" or other evidence.

The US failed to block yet another international initiative Wednesday, when its bid to rewrite an anti-torture treaty was defeated at the UN. Experts are still pondering Washington's motives in seeking to sink an agreement 10 years in the making.

The treaty, designed to work together with the existing Convention Against Torture, mandates regular inspections of jails and other detention centres to check for evidence of torture.

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau
Wednesday, January 21, 2004 WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sources have revealed new details from the Army's criminal investigation into reports of abuse of Iraqi detainees, including the location of the suspected crimes and evidence that is being sought.

U.S. soldiers reportedly posed for photographs with partially unclothed Iraqi prisoners, a Pentagon official told CNN on Tuesday...The investigation has drawn attention in the military since it came to light January 16.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been briefed on the investigation, officials said.

The investigation has drawn attention in the military since it came to light January 16.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Damage Control (Dis)Information Operations

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Truth from These Podia

Some notes by Sam Gardiner, Colonel USAF (retired)
You really need to read all 56 pages.

...Captain Gerald Mauer, Assistant Deputy Director for Information Operations, Joint Staff; Jul 3rd, London Conference

* "Public Diplomacy and Publlic Affairs are slowly being integrated into information operations

* We are looking to have a USG Strategic Fusion Center that brings everything together

* The Information Operations Roadmap is being coordinated within DOD; I/O will probably go to USD Policy

* We hope to make more use of Hollywood and Madison Avenue in the future

* 'Adversary' has been taken out of the working definition of information operations; we will attempt to 'disrupt, corrupt, or usurp adversarial...decision making.'

Looking ahead to the next war the U.S. government needs a single fusion center that can integrate the story."

Feeling A Draft?

The chief of the U.S. Selective Service System has proposed registering women for the military draft and requiring that young Americans regularly inform the government about whether they have training in niche specialties needed in the armed services.

The proposal, which the agency's acting director Lewis Brodsky presented to senior Pentagon officials just before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, also seeks to extend the age of draft registration to 34, up from 25.
The plan, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, highlights the extent to which agency officials have planned for an expanded military draft in case the administration and Congress authorize one in the future.

"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service System's structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills," the agency said in a Feb. 11, 2003, presented to Pentagon officials.

Mock Surprise

The alleged outrage expressed by the Bush Regime regarding the atrocities upon Iraqi Prisoners of War at the Abu Ghraib prison is a veiled attempt to appear concerned, while in reality, their sense of disappointment and shock is in the fact that the mainstream media has finally decided to publicize these stories.

Those who have chosen to garner information from other news sources have known for quite some time that abuses have been occurring, not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and yes, right here in the United States.

Responding to concerns about questionable practices in Afghanistan, in 2002: "If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job," said one official who has supervised the capture and transfer of accused terrorists. "I don't think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this."

Human rights violations in Iraqi prisons were brought to the attention of Paul Bremer, and he chose to do nothing to alleviate the situation.

"In November I talked to Mr Bremer about human rights violations in general and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed," Turki said.

"I told him the news. He didn't take care about the information I gave him."

Bush and his cohorts have appeared in a host of press conferences, feigning concern, purporting ignorance, (well, they’ve got something there) insisting that they’re going to ‘get to the bottom of this, yet they were aware of the CBS program, had successfully squelched it for two weeks, and only gave their ‘consent’ for it to run when it was discovered that another major news source was intending to report the story.

Is CBS in bed with the White House? Isn’t it time for the media to quit the publican partisan pandering? Isn’t it time to discard the blinders of bias and get on with some real reporting?

This is the ‘tip of the iceberg’. These are not ‘isolated’ incidents, as Hossam Shaltout can attest. A Canadian man who was taken prisoner by American forces in Iraq last year is suing the U.S. army for $350,000 US because he claims he was tortured.

Hossam Shaltout, 57, says he was taken to the Camp Bucca detention centre shortly after the invasion began in March 2003. There, he claims to have been beaten, and saw other prisoners being abused.

It’s time to pull the curtain back, to inform the American people what’s really been going on in their names. It’s time for those in the ‘mainstream’ media to ‘step up to the plate’ and to do their jobs with some integrity; time for the citizens of our fair country to look beyond the facade to what is underneath the fluff; time for those in government to stop grandstanding, and to put honor and dignity into practice.

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