Issues & Alibis

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Much Ado
By Ernest Stewart

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
The Young British Soldier ~~~ Rudyard Kipling

"What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let's see... ...Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh... ...viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction." ~~~ George Carlin

"With his latest explanation for the continued confinement of almost 500 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba, President Bush sounds like the proverbial teenager who killed his parents and then asked for mercy from the court because he was an orphan." ~~~ LA Times editorial staff

Another one of those out of the frying pan and into the fire scenarios is happening in Pakistan thanks to the last two regimes. You may recall Dick (the psycho) Cheney offered a bribe to the Taliban for safe passage of a gas pipeline through Afghanistan from what used to be the USSR to the gathering hordes in India. You also may recall that the Taliban came into being when we abandoned Afghanistan after the CIA's hit teams, aka "al-Qaida," led by Osama Ben Laden, drove the foolish Soviets out of Afghanistan. This led to the breakup and destruction of the USSR in 1992. Thanks, Papa Bush! Nine years later Cheney's offered a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs (you know, the old stick and carrot approach) to the Taliban.

When the Talibanners didn't sign on quickly enough (They dared to ask what we would do with Osama if they gave him to us, wondering if he would be treated fairly) we began to bomb into dusst the few remaining mud huts left after the Russian pullout. After our illegal, immoral invasion, we drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan and across the border into Pakistan where al-Qaida had been in training for years.

The Taliban, who held, in reality, barely a quarter of Afghanistan, were given a quarter of Pakistan to do with as they pleased. Apparently, this wasn't enough and they are now closing in on Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Unlike the Vietnam era weapons of Afghanistan, the Pakistanis have state of the art NUCLEAR WEAPONS at their disposal and those weapons could be in the hands of the Taliban with just a quick coup d'etat! Talk about upping the ante! Barry looks to keep meddling around until we have the start of WWIII. If we're lucky, we may get out with just America's collapse into a depression, one that will make the Great Depression in the 1930s look like a "Swiss Picnic" by comparison. Have you got your victory garden planted yet, America? If we are unlucky, there will be a whole new crop of mushroom clouds sprouting all over America. Was this the kind of change you were looking for, Mr. & Mrs. America?

So far, all the changes brought to the region were those of the very bad situations made by Bush and Cheney becoming even worse. The only change that will work right now is to pull all of our troops out of those areas and bring them home. That's a change the whole world could live with. It would be a change, in the right direction for "the Changeling" and for America!

In Other News

I see where they're going through a dry run on the flu pandemic to come. That's the real scary part of this test; it's obviously a test, a test, no doubt, staged by the CIA or perhaps some Pentagoon inspired spooks. It has all the earmarks of such an operation. If this is (on the other hand) just merely paranoia, then why all the ado about nothing?

As a killer, so far this strain is of the very mildest varieties. So far, no one has died from it in this country as they were doing in Mexico, which is in itself a bit odd as on average we lose 36,000 Americans to the flu each and every year. Most curious is that normally you never hear much about them. No deaths, yet much ado! The figures are that every year, typically, some 200,000 folks end up in the hospital with serious cases of the flu. I'm sure that you'd triple that number if you included poor people who have no insurance and have to live or die with over the counter remedies. Still, rich or poor, 36,000 die each year from complications, usually from pneumonia variations that are brought on by the flu.

Some thought that Barry was a carrier, as one of the folks he greeted in Mexico City dropped dead the next day from the flu. Now, however, that death is being blamed on an American owned (Smithfield Foods) pig farm an hour's drive west of Mexico City. Reports out of Mexico say Smithfield has been infecting folks in the Mexico City area since early December 2008. (I can't blame Barry for that) A cover up that goes to the heart of the Mexican government, and who knows, the American government, as well!

Homeland Security was quick to make an announcement meant to sooth our fears, but it is, no doubt, one of the scarier things to come out so far. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, announced that the new strain of influenza commonly called "Mexican Swine" Flu constitutes an "incident of national interest" to US security! Need I repeat that again for those of you on drugs?

Ya'll may remember that imperial law passed back just before the election in 2006 that gave der president new powers? Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which Smirky signed on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony allows the President to declare a "public emergency," in fact to define what is a "public emergency," and station troops anywhere in America. He may take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder." This is, of course, in violation of several federal laws!

At the very same time, Bush signed the incredibly evil, "Military Commissions Act of 2006." Section 1076 grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333, "Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law" states that "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of "refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."

So, at Barry's whim, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities, ship them off to another state, conscript them in a law enforcement mode, and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event. Say from a flu panic, where they'd need to quarantine vast numbers of INFECTED Americans, perhaps in Happy Camps(tm) until they all got better or were made to take a "shower!"

So you think things are bad enough, huh? Well here's the Hitchcockian twist, guess who stands to make billions in profits from the world's misery? Former "deputy fuhrer" Donald Von Rumsfeld! Rummy, former CEO and major stock holder of Gilead Sciences pharmaceutical, the manufacturers of Tamiflu. Gilead previously cleaned up with Tamiflu in 2005 - 2006 during the bird flu scare. Funny how patterns emerge!

No, this was just a run through for the time when the 1918 virus will be perfected in some US Army lab for the real pandemic to come. So why the ado? Perhaps to cause just a little more trouble for our economy. With everyone avoiding malls, professional sports, music concerts, movies etc. this should be another nail in our economic coffin!

Still, now might be a very good time to stay home and work on the garden!

And Finally

Last fall I wrote Sin-ator Carl Levin asking him about what Con-gress was going to do over our torturing of thousands of innocents down in Gitmo and elsewhere. Well, Carl finally wrote me back with this song and dance...

Dear Mr. Stewart:

I thought you might be interested in knowing that the Senate Armed Services Committee released its full declassified report on its investigation into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody earlier this week. The report, which was approved by the Committee on November 20, 2008, has been under review for declassification by the Department of Defense.

The Committee's report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration's interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse, which occurred at places such as Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), and in Afghanistan, to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as the one made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a "few bad apples," were simply false.

The truth is that, early on, it was senior civilian leaders who set the tone. On September 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that the United States turn to the "dark side" in our response to 9/11. Not long after that, after White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales called parts of the Geneva Conventions "quaint," President Bush determined that provisions of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to certain detainees. Other senior officials followed the President and Vice President's lead, authorizing policies that included harsh and abusive interrogation techniques.

The record established by the Committee's investigation shows that senior officials sought out information on, were aware of training in, and authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques. Those senior officials bear significant responsibility for creating the legal and operational framework for the abuses. As the Committee report concluded, authorizations of aggressive interrogation techniques by senior officials resulted in abuse and conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody.

In a May 10, 2007, letter to his troops, General David Petraeus said that "what sets us apart from our enemies in this fight... is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings." With last week's release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training, a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations, by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.

SERE training techniques were never intended to be used in the interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. Some have asked why, if it is okay for our own U.S. personnel to be subjected to physical and psychological pressures in SERE school, what is wrong with using those SERE training techniques on detainees? The Committee's investigation answered that question.

On October 2, 2002, Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Banks, the senior Army SERE psychologist warned against using SERE training techniques during interrogations in an email to personnel at GTMO, writing that:

[T]he use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects... When individuals are gradually exposed to increasing levels of discomfort, it is more common for them to resist harder... If individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain. This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain... Bottom line: the likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high...

Likewise, the Deputy Commander of DoD's Criminal Investigative Task Force at GTMO told the Committee in 2006 that CITF "was troubled with the rationale that techniques used to harden resistance to interrogations would be the basis for the utilization of techniques to obtain information."

Other newly declassified emails reveal additional warnings. In June 2004, after many SERE techniques had been authorized in interrogations, another SERE psychologist warned: "[W]e need to really stress the difference between what instructors do at SERE school (done to INCREASE RESISTANCE capability in students) versus what is taught at interrogator school (done to gather information). What is done by SERE instructors is by definition ineffective interrogator conduct... Simply stated, SERE school does not train you on how to interrogate, and things you 'learn' there by osmosis about interrogation are probably wrong if copied by interrogators."

If we are to retain our status as a leader in the world, we must acknowledge and confront the abuse of detainees in our custody. The Committee's report and investigation makes significant progress toward that goal. There is still the question, however, of whether high level officials who approved and authorized those policies should be held accountable. I have recommended to Attorney General Holder that he select a distinguished individual or individuals - either inside or outside the Justice Department, such as retired federal judges, to look at the volumes of evidence relating to treatment of detainees, including evidence in the Senate Armed Services Committee's report, and to recommend what steps, if any, should be taken to establish accountability of high-level officials, including lawyers.

My complete floor statement and a link to the full report can be found on my website at [].

Carl Levin

I wrote Carl back...

Hey Carl,

Congratulations Carl. So you've finally figured out what we've known all along. Just a couple of thoughts for you to consider...

ONE: 98% of these people you call detainees we call shop clerks, taxi drivers and teachers who ran afoul of the local war lord and were sold to us to be kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the thousands and then branded as terrorists before being released. And you're wondering what to do about the people who did these things?

TWO: Let me suggest that they be immediately brought to trial, then in addition of their regular sentences have the same things that they did to others done to them. Any politicians that supported the two war crimes, i.e., "Operation Steal The Oil" in Iraq and "Operation Secure The Pipeline" in Afghanistan which brought about this torture, treason and madness should do hard time down in Gitmo for a couple of decades! Anything less is a travesty of justice! Of course, that would mean most members of Congress past and present would get the same treatment that they OK'd for others but fair is fair, is it not?

However I can see that you, Barry and the rest of Con-gress are on the road to another cover up like the one you pulled over 911, another CIA strike against the world and the American people! Carl, who do you think you're jiving with that cosmic debris?

Your radical Pal,
Ernest Stewart


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Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2009 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 8 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. In his spare time he is an actor, writer and an associate producer for the new motion picture "W The Movie."


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Issues & Alibis Vol 9 # 18 (c) 05/01/2009

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