Monthly Archives: June 2003

News, finally.

You've heard me mention here a few times about Oliverio Martinez, who was passing by the scene of a crime (actually, it turned out not to be a crime; just a mistaken identity) and was shot by the police five times for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police then interrogated him for 45 minutes, in effect holding death over his head to illicit a confession for things he didn't do. Some excerpts from the interrogation between Sgt. Ben Chavez, which continued until Martinez — who is now blind and paralyzed — became unconscious:

Martinez: Ohhhh! I'm choking... I'm dying... help me...
Sgt Chavez: OK, you're dying. Why were you fighting with
   the police?
Martinez: Ohh....ohhh........
Sgt Chavez: Why did you run from the police?
Martinez: I don't know.... I don't know.... Ohhh....
   It hurts.... I don't want to talk any more...
Sgt Chavez: You don't want to say what happened?
Martinez: Ohh... It's hurting a lot... PLEASE! Ohhhhhhh....
Sgt Chavez: Well, if you're going to die, tell me
   what happened.

It literally goes on like that for forty five minutes. If you'd like to listen to the tape and a surrounding interview, Democracy Now! is running a feature on it (more).

In the WMD news, Paul Wolfowitz has just said that the “WMD story” was cooked up for “bureaucratic reasons” since it was an easy one to get people to back (more), and USNews is running a story talking about Colin Powell throwing out falsified evidence that he was asked to present to the UN, shouting, “I'm not reading this, this is bullshit!” (more). Australia's intelligence service has now admitted that it was aware before the war that the WMD claims were fabricated (more), although Tony Blair continues to stick by the story, saying that he has evidence, but that it's “secret” (more).

Glen Rangwala of Newnham College, Cambridge, describes how the US and the UK manipulated (ie. lied about) UN reports in order to fabricate weapons claims (more), while Bush actually has the gall to claim that they “found” WMD proof (more), although he did do a lot of backpeddling (more). The story from the US intelligence agencies is that their assertions as to Saddam's WMDs were at best “guesses” rather than anything based on evidence (more) and that Bush simply spun the story. Even Rumsfeld is now suggesting that Saddam “destroyed his weapons before the war” (more) — and since there's no evidence of this destruction, if it happened at all, it happened long before the war… meaning that Iraq was in compliance with international law and that there was no legal basis for invasion.

Some more quick links on this subject:

  • Was the case for invastion built on deception? (more)
  • US insiders say Iraq intel deliberately skewed (more)
  • CIA asked to explain pre-war reports; Congresswoman warns of spy 'hoax' (more)
  • US intel 'simply wrong' on chemical attack – General (more)

Of course, the real psychos are saying that the WMDs have been stashed in Iran (more) — an enemy of Iraq no less — but I'll get to that in a minute.

So anyway, to put things simply, at this point we pretty much know that Bush and Blair's justification for this war was fraudulent. They made it up for different reasons. Writers in the US are starting to say that the war was meaningless if Bush lied about it (more; and another reason to love Philly: more), lawsuits are being considered against the Justice Department (more), and Brits are calling for Tony Blair to be tried as a war criminal (more). I have another proposal:

Indict George Bush for Murder and Treason

Many thousands of Iraqis died. The country is plunged into chaos and people — especailly women — have less freedom now than before (more), and the US has already scrapped the notion of an Iraqi congress (more). Many American and allied soldiers died. US troops continue to come under fire (more) and more are dying every day (more, more). Al-Qaeda operatives have more support than ever and move freely inside US borders (more) and launch regular — and successful — attacks on US targets. Allied forces are coming under fire for using torture as a British soldier brings a roll of photos to be developed, not realizing that if you develop photos of torture and having sex in front of prisoners and the like you will probably get caught (more, more).

Anyway, before I get off topic, my point is that if Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the rest of them criminally subverted the process in order to achieve personal gain, and killed people in the process, they are legally responsible for both those deaths and the damage done to America in the process.

But on to Iran, right? Rumsfeld has said that Iraq will not be permitted to democratically elect a government “like Iran's”, and Condoleezza Rice has confirmed that the US believes that Iran is a terrorist state bent on developing WMDs, and will be seeking “regime change” and liberation for its people (more). In the new White House press releases, Iraq is referred to as a “battle”, rather than a “war”… Iran of course being the next “battle” (more), so the countdown for a far larger and far more bloody and risky war continues (more) — unless of course you're in Bush's Cabal, in which case you will continue to get very wealthy from all this.

Canada just told the US to forget it on the “missile defense” system, since Canada has a strict policy against putting weaponry into space (more). In response to Canada rejecting the militarization of space and the war on Iraq et al, Condoleezza Rice says that the US will be holding a grudge against Canada and that it will affect relations (more). Helen Thomas writes that Bush's policies appear more and more to be built around “revenge” (more): threatening and turning on any ally that doesn't submit — a policy that quickly leaves one with no allies. The US is quickly running out of friends, and the world has stopped betting on the US. Here's a diagram of the rate of change of international currencies versus the US dollar, plotted over the last two years:

I made that chart using data from Yahoo! Finance (more). You can draw your own conclusions from it, but the ultimately money talks. If investor confidence moves from the US to other currencies, that is something that the US people should take very seriously. It doesn't affect people as rich as Bush so much because they have international assets, but this can have a profound effect on the average person.

In other quick news, North Korea is skyrocketing the size of its military in preparation for war with the US (more), and continues to test South Korea's borders, with the both sides threatening each other's ships and firing warning shots (more). Also, today is D-Day for freedom of speech in America (more), and class war gaps continue to become evident in Bush's budget (more). Oh, and on Tom Tomorrow's suggestion (more), I read the analysis of the budget in the latest HARPER'S, and I have to second his recommendation here.

Update: Since I wrote this the FCC approved the media consolidation, effectively ending the free press in America as far as the mainstream is concerned (more, more) in a bizarre right-wing media power grab (more).

Time stands still I hope     (too much work for one day)

Today is going to be a very long day; I have a giant update to do with about 3,000 submissions currently waiting in the queue (and that's after automated processing for webcams and other resolution-related problems) so I'll do my best to get as much as that done as I can.

I had a good time walking around Toronto yesterday (although I'm glad to be out of the city again as well); it was raining all day so I got totally soaked but it was warm so it really wasn't a big deal until I got on the train home, which was air conditioned and totally freezing — at that point my jacket was totally soaked, so I didn't really have any options.

Pardon the horrible picture, I offer it as proof that I was in the city, not that my appearance is improved by a walk in the rain. Anyway, my stay was brief but I got to see Sarai, Blair, Tom, Shane, and other folks I haven't seen in a long time so that was nice. Now on to Iran with guns ablazing!