Watching the Shadows
A coalition of 14 media organizations and public interest groups organized by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have filed an amicus brief in federal court in New York urging the release of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photos. The coalition, which includes CBS, NBC and the New York Times, supports a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Pentagon, which has been pending since October 2003.
John McCain—who knows a thing or two about what it is like to be a prisoner of war—steps up to the plate. And it is revealed that even Pentagon legal staff had warned that the current policy would invite abuse and violate law. But Bush insists on complete unaccountability and impunity, and no fixed definition for the continuing legal fiction of "enemy combatant" designation. Marjorie Cohn writes for TruthOut, Aug. 1:
Is there a draft in your future? That is the obvious implication of this July 23 story from Economic & Political Weekly, tho the author does not mention it.
Unravelling of the US Military
Newspapers describe the US army as facing one of the greatest recruiting challenges in its history, despite the enormous incentives now being offered to join the military. A study commissioned by the army found that resistance to recruitment was due to popular objection to the war in Iraq, the casualties and media coverage of the torture at Abu Ghraib. Solutions include a bill that was introduced in the Senate but that has not yet been voted on: offering legal status and eligibility for citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants residing in the US. The nightmare of war is offered as the prelude to the 'American dream'.
In another charming nugget for Jewish World Review July 26, official Islamophobe Daniel Pipes writes "The attempt to establish a world dominated by Muslims, Islam, and the Shari'a has begun — but the world is in denial":
What do Islamist terrorists want? The answer should be obvious, but it is not.
A generation ago, terrorists did make their wishes very clear. On hijacking three airliners in September 1970, for example, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine demanded, with success, the release of Arab terrorists imprisoned in Great Britain, Switzerland, and West Germany. On attacking the B'nai B'rith headquarters and two other Washington, D.C. buildings in 1977, a Hanafi Muslim group demanded the canceling of a feature movie, Mohammad, Messenger of G-d, US$750 (as reimbursement for a fine), the turning over of the five men who had massacred the Hanafi leader's family, plus the killer of Malcolm X.
This is pretty Orwellian. The government says it has the right to hold accused "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla without charge as an "enemy combatant" for the "duration of the conflict." The "conflict" in question is a completely open-ended undeclared war which the administration says could last generations. And the "battlefield" in question is defined as the entire United States. Padilla's lawyer is actually in the ironic position of demanding that his client be indicted! Now, nobody is supposed to care about this because Padilla is just a jihad freak. But your habeas corpus rights are evidently not worth the paper they're written on anymore. From Bloomberg, July 19:
The general who "Gitmoized" Abu Ghraib briefed Rumsefled's top aides, it is now revealed—contradicting his own earlier testimony. From the Chicago Tribune July 15 via TruthOut:
General Contradicted Abu Ghraib Testimony
Transcripts reveal he briefed top officials.
Washington - An Army general who has been criticized for his role in the treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has contradicted his sworn congressional testimony about contacts with senior Pentagon officials.
The conspiranoid site Prison Planet has picked up on a BBC Radio 5 report from the evening of July 7, the same day as the London attacks, in which Pete Power, a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism official and now managing director of the private security firm Visor Consultants, states that his company was carrying out an exercise on how to manage multiple bomb attacks on the London Underground at the precise time that the real attacks happened. He declines to say who contracted his firm for this work, saying only that it was "a company," and that he can't mention its name for "obvious reasons."
Well, the terror blasts in London seem to have done what months of OPEC hyper-production have failed to: bringing down the price of oil. The attacks precipitated the biggest one-day swing since Operation Desert Storm 14 years ago, prices briefly dipping nearly five dollars to $57.20 a barrel, although they recovered somewhat to still hang at over $60 a barrel, which would have been unthinkable just a year ago. What's interesting is that markets reacted to the London attacks in exactly the opposite way than they did to other major terror attacks of recent years such as 9-11 and Madrid's 3-11, which drove prices up. There may be factors other than the London attacks involved in the price plunge, but this still appears a sign of panic in high places. Radical swings almost always are: spikes driven by fear over the security of global reserves, plunges by fear over the stability of the global economy. This from Bloomberg today: