10/24/2010 archive

Rant of the Week: Cenk Uygur

Cops Negotiating with Bank Robbers

Imagine the cops busting a bank robber who made off with millions and then writing him a parking ticket and telling him to have a nice day. That is essentially how the Feds treated the man behind one of the biggest frauds in American history.

Wikileaks War Logs: The Atrocities Revealed

This week Wikileaks again made public more of the  documents that had been classified as secret to cover up the atrocities that were carried by the Iraqis themselves on their own people with American troops turning a blind eye. Thousands of deaths were revealed in these documents which have been methodically mapped to provide a “unique picture of every death.

The really horrifying revelation from these documents is that there was a specific order to ignore the Iraqi abuse called FRAGO 242.

This is the impact of Frago 242. A frago is a “fragmentary order” which summarises a complex requirement. This one, issued in June 2004, about a year after the invasion of Iraq, orders coalition troops not to investigate any breach of the laws of armed conflict, such as the abuse of detainees, unless it directly involves members of the coalition. Where the alleged abuse is committed by Iraqi on Iraqi, “only an initial report will be made … No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ”.

Frago 242 appears to have been issued as part of the wider political effort to pass the management of security from the coalition to Iraqi hands. In effect, it means that the regime has been forced to change its political constitution but allowed to retain its use of torture.

Frago 242 appears to have been issued as part of the wider political effort to pass the management of security from the coalition to Iraqi hands. In effect, it means that the regime has been forced to change its political constitution but allowed to retain its use of torture.

The systematic viciousness of the old dictatorship when Saddam Hussein’s security agencies enforced order without any regard for law continues, reinforced by the chaotic savagery of the new criminal, political and sectarian groups which have emerged since the invasion in 2003 and which have infiltrated some police and army units, using Iraq’s detention cells for their private vendettas.

So basically, the Iraqis were given a free hand to torture and kill helpless prisoners while coalition troops, who were mostly Americans, walked away.

So far the White House and Pentagon have not said very much and no doubt will again try to spin the leaking of these new documents as treasonous war crime that will endanger the troops and hurt the “war on terror”. It would seem that the British are the only ones coming to their senses when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for investigation of abuse claims but shying away from calling for the US to investigate these terrible revelations.

Clegg told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they are very serious. I am assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It’s not for us to tell them how to do that.”

Asked if there should be an inquiry into the role of British troops, he said: “I think anything that suggests that basic rules of war, conflict and engagement have been broken or that torture has been in any way condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at.”

He added: “People will want to hear what the answer is to what are very, very serious allegations of a nature which I think everybody will find quite shocking.”

The Obama Administration continues to add to its own sanctioning of war crimes as it continues to cover up and refuse to investigate the allegations of torture despite all the evidence.

On This Day in History: October 24

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

October 24 is the 297th day of the year (298th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 68 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel. After her husband died in the Civil War, the New York-born Taylor moved all over the U. S. before settling in Bay City, Michigan, around 1898. In July 1901, while reading an article about the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, she learned of the growing popularity of two enormous waterfalls located on the border of upstate New York and Canada. Strapped for cash and seeking fame, Taylor came up with the perfect attention-getting stunt: She would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Desiring to secure her later years financially, she decided she would be the first person to ride Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor used a custom-made barrel for her trip, constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress. Several delays occurred in the launching of the barrel, particularly because no one wanted to be part of a potential suicide. Two days before Taylor’s own attempt, a domestic cat was sent over the Horseshoe Falls in her barrel to test its strength. Contrary to rumors at the time, the cat survived the plunge unharmed and later was posed with Taylor in photographs.

On October 24, 1901, her 63rd birthday, the barrel was put over the side of a rowboat, and Taylor climbed in, along with her lucky heart-shaped pillow. After screwing down the lid, friends used a bicycle tire pump to compress the air in the barrel. The hole used for this was plugged with a cork, and Taylor was set adrift near the American shore, south of Goat Island.

The Niagara River currents carried the barrel toward the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which has since been the site for all daredevil stunting at Niagara Falls. Rescuers reached her barrel shortly after the plunge. Taylor was discovered to be alive and relatively uninjured, save for a small gash on her head. The trip itself took less than twenty minutes, but it was some time before the barrel was actually opened. After the journey, Annie Taylor told the press:

If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat… I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.

She briefly earned money speaking about her experience, but was never able to build much wealth. Her manager, Frank M. Russell, decamped with her barrel, and most of her savings were used towards private detectives hired to find it. It was eventually located in Chicago, only to permanently disappear some time later.

Annie Taylor died on April 29, 1921, aged 82, at the Niagara County Infirmary in Lockport, New York. She is interred in the “Stunters Section” of Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, New York.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: This Sunday, an exclusive interview with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine. As the President wraps up a four-day, five-state campaign swing this week, that will take him to the blue states on the west coast.

The roundtable with George Will, Republican Strategist Ed Gillespie, former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn and ABC News Political Director Amy Walter looks at all the big races and some of the biggest gaffes of this turbulent political season.

Also, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton (Ret.)discussing his book and his thoughts on Iraq, Afghanistan and DADT

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: On Sunday Mr. Schieffer’s guests will be Karl Rove, Fox News Contributor (at left)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are ,Katty Kay BBC Washington Correspondent, Dan Rather, HDNet Global Correspondent, Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Senior Editor and Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Columnist.

They will consider there questions along with Mr. Matthews:

Did President Obama push his own agenda to his party’s detriment?

Will Tea Party members go rogue on Republicans and form a third party?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Mr. Gregory will have an exclusive interview with RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Our political roundtable covers all the angles: David Brooks of The New York Times; E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post; Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council Fmr. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN); Rachel Maddow, the host of msnbc’s “The Rachel Maddow Show”; and CNBC’s On-Air Editor, Rick Santelli.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: A special State of the Union from Florida just 10 days before Election Day. Candy Crowley moderates the Florida Senate Debate with Gov. Charlie Crist (I), Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), Marco Rubio (R) live at 9am ET from the University of South Florida. Make sure to tune in for the Florida showdown on the issues central to Florida and the nation in this battleground state.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Fareed gives his take on why technology and the global marketplace have taken so many jobs from America – and maybe even taken the American dream, too.

He then sits down with Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan to assess the situation.

Peter Bergen, who interviewed bin Laden in 1997, joins Fareed to share his thoughts on where Osama bin Laden is…and why we haven’t found him yet.

Next up, when Fareed interviewed Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the Chinese leader said, “freedom of speech is indispensable, for any country.” So just why did China censor and then re-censor Fareed’s interview with the Premier?

After that we look at how the rest of the world views the upcoming American elections? GPS brings you three great global thinkers to share their views on the U.S. midterms, how the world views the U.S. and much more. And finally a last look at Iran’s surprising “social” revolutionary.

Morning Shinbun Sunday October 24

Sunday’s Headlines:

Samara: the disappearing wooden city on the Volga


Mama Grizzlies lead Republican hunt for angry women’s votes

Group funding GOP campaigns had its origins backing tobacco


Stem cell law loopholes allow XCell-Center to operate in Germany

Angelina Jolie’s controversial film divides Bosnian rape victims

Middle East

Gaza hardliners launch arson attack on family leisure park

Iraq’s Maliki says Wikileaks documents could be used in court


Despite successful U.S. attacks on Taliban leaders in Afghanistan’s northwest, insurgency remains in control

India’s Smaller Cities Show Off Growing Wealth


MDC furious as police ban Tsvangirai public meetings

‘Joao kept shooting pictures after the blast’

Latin America

Haiti Fears Cholera Will Spread in Capital

Robert Fisk: The shaming of America

Our writer delivers a searing dispatch after the WikiLeaks revelations that expose in detail the brutality of the war in Iraq – and the astonishing, disgraceful deceit of the US

Sunday, 24 October 2010

As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.

Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies.

F1: Yeongam

There’s no sugar coating it.  Mclaren needs some Red Bull DNFs and especially Hamilton needs some Webber DNFs.

There are only 3 races left (including this one).

Scuderia Marlboro UPC I expect will blow up, their ’10 powerplants have proven entirely unreliable at least for the non-factory customers.  Renault on the other hand has proven exceptionally durable and also highly successful with the right chassis (that last R in RBR stands for Renault) and the factory team has been competitive.  Webber is using a brand new engine, his last.

A Fail Team is Mercedes.  They’re blaming it on the Brawn chassis (which *ahem* won last year) and Michael Schumacher who may or may not be back, but they also power Mclaren so the engine is good enough.  Not that I have any complaints about the times they’ve parked, things happen.  Mechanical failures are part of the game.

At least they’re not Marlboro.

If Webber parks, and that’s not the evil eye, and Vettel wins you’ll have some chat about team orders.  I don’t think Alonso can hang but he’s pretty fast in the short run.

Otherwise you might just start developing your 2011 car to the extent you can.  I think a big problem with Formula One today is the lack of development time, which I think penalizes the less experienced teams.  If you had track time and data to measure you’d be able to make your car competitive more quickly.

Petrov has a 5 position Grid penalty for booting Hulkenberg on the first lap at Suzuka.  It’s reflected below in the pretty tables.

Repeat @ 4:30 pm on Speed

Why do Folks Get Sad?

If you know more about how life can be nice,

Please tell me.

Warmest regards,


Prime Time

Well, there’s some kind of College Throwball tonight, TTBA.  Phillies back in Philadelphia which may improve their fortunes, or not.  It’s not a place that you want to be, one game away from elimination.

I’m kind of amazed.  There’s very little coverage of the Senior Circuit, maybe the Yankees loss sucked up all the Oxygen.  What there is focuses on the Phillies lack of offense which has been puzzling though I think it unfair to focus on 1 or 2 individuals.  They haven’t been able to put together innings.  It’s not a team that plays long ball anyway.

I fully expect all my brackets to be blown and be exposed for a sentimental fool in any event.

Yeongam Qualifying.  Yeongam @ 1:30 am on Speed.  Sorry for stepping on you last night Doc, but Dad was headed for bed and I wanted him to have a chance to read it.  Repeat @ 4:30 pm.


SNL- Emma Stone, Kings of Leon.  GitS: SACScandal, Equinox (Episodes 22 and 23).

I want to talk to you for a minute. If you make a noise, I shall blow your head off at once. By the time anyone has heard the shot I shall be running back toward the castle shouting for help. I shall say that you stepped on the trap and your gun went off as you fell. So be quiet.

When I’ve finished I shall kill you. You will the the sixth D’Ascoyne that I’ve killed. You want to know why? In return for what the D’Acoyne’s did to my mother. Because she married for love instead of for rank or money or land. They condemed her to a life of poverty and slavery, in a world for which they had not equipped her to deal. You yourself refused to grant her dying wish, which was to be buried here, at Chalfont. When I saw her poor little coffin underground, saw her exiled in death as she had been in life, I swore to have revenge on your intolerable pride. That revenge I am just about to complete.

I made an oath that I would revenge the wrongs her family had done her. It was no more than a piece of youthful bravado, but it was one of those acorns from which great oaks are destined to grow. Even then I went so far as to examine the family tree and prune it to just the living members. But what could I do to hurt them? What could I take from them, except, perhaps, their lives.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Leaked Iraq war files detail torture, civilian killings


Sat Oct 23, 2:31 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – Graphic accounts of torture, civilian killings and Iran’s hand in the Iraq war are detailed in hundreds of thousands of US military documents made public on the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

Across nearly 400,000 pages of secret military field reports spanning five years, the largest military leak in history, a grisly picture emerges of years of blood and suffering following the 2003 US invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Many of the classified documents, which span from January 1 2004 to December 31 2009, chronicle claims of abuse by Iraqi security forces, while others appear to show that American troops did nothing to stop state-sanctioned torture.