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Showing posts from May 10, 2009

The Bloodbath in Sri Lanka

1. Video from the Guardian.

2. From Channel 4 News:

3. A good question: Why don't we care about Sri Lanka?

A key point:
The apparent cynicism of leaders like President Obama is another emotional barrier, leaving many questioning what they are being told: While he attacked both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government this week for causing “widespread suffering and the loss of hundreds if not thousands of lives,” his own national security advisor said aerial bombing would continue in Afghanistan despite the high numbers of civilian casualties. General James Jones said while the United States would do more to reduce the number of civilian casualties, it would not stop air strikes because “we can't fight with one hand tied behind our back.” In this American calculus, Tamil civilians are worth more than Afghans. I should point out that it doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to understand what's happening in Sri Lanka, even absent pictures or video.

Human Rights Investigator, Attorney John Sifton: Torture Investigation Should Focus on Estimated 100 Prisoner Deaths

Key point:
AMY GOODMAN: First, your response to the testimony yesterday.
JOHN SIFTON: Well, I think it raised a lot of interesting questions about the effectiveness of torture. But those are the wrong debates to be having right now. The reason I wrote about Bush administration homicides, which is not something, you know, I’ve—I worked on for a while. A lot of this was uncovered by Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First and the ACLU, all the way back in 2003, 2004, 2005. We knew that up to a hundred detainees had died in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we had published this information previously. But I brought it up again, because I feel like the debate right now about torture is missing the point.
These aggressive techniques were not just limited to the high-value detainee program in the CIA. They spread to the military with disastrous results. They led to the deaths of human beings. And when there’s a corpse involved, when there’s a dead body involved, you can’t just have a…

Obama administration threatens Britain to keep torture evidence concealed, Glenn Greenwald

Key quote:
Ever since he was released from Guantanamo in February after six years of due-process-less detention and brutal torture, Binyam Mohamed has been attempting to obtain justice for what was done to him. But his torturers have been continuously protected, and Mohamed's quest for a day in court repeatedly thwarted, by one individual: Barack Obama. Today, there is new and graphic evidence of just how far the Obama administration is going to prevent evidence of the Bush administration's torture program from becoming public.In February, Obama's DOJ demanded dismissal of Mohamed's lawsuit against the company which helped "render" him to be tortured on the ground that national security would be harmed if the lawsuit continued. Then, after a British High Court ruled that there was credible evidence that Mohamed was subjected to brutal torture and was entitled to obtain evidence in the possession of the British government which detailed the CIA's treatm…

Three Highly Relevant Excerpts from Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger"


"Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race -- the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions."

I did not like to hear our race called sheep, and said I did not think they were.

"Still, it is true, lamb," said Satan. "Look at you in war -- what mutton you are, and how ridiculous!"

"In war? How?"

"There has never been a just one, never an honorable one -- on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud litt…