from: Prison Planet:
In section 950j. the bill criminalizes any challenge to the legislation’s legality by the Supreme Court or any United States court. Alberto Gonzales has already threatened federal judges to shut up and not question Bush’s authority on the torture of detainees.
“No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter.”
The Bush administration is preemptively overriding any challenge to the legislation by the Supreme Court.
A revolt is brewing among our retired Army and Marine generals. This rebellion–quiet and nonconfrontational, but remarkable nonetheless–comes not because their beloved forces are bearing the brunt of ground combat in Iraq but because the retirees see the US adventure in Mesopotamia as another Vietnam-like, strategically failed war, and they blame the errant, arrogant civilian leadership at the Pentagon.
This kind of protest among senior military retirees during wartime is unprecedented in American history–and it is also deeply worrisome. The retired officers opposing the war and demanding Rumsfeld’s ouster represent a new political force, and therefore a potentially powerful factor in the future of our democracy. The former generals’ growing lobby could acquire a unique veto power in the future by publicly opposing reckless civilian warmaking in advance.
I speak regularly to retired generals, former intelligence officers and former Pentagon officials and aides, all of whom remain close to their active-duty friends and proteges. These well-informed seniors tell me that whatever the original US objective was in Iraq, our understrength forces and flawed strategy have failed, and that we cannot repair this failure by remaining there indefinitely. Fundamental changes are needed, and senior officers are prepared to make them. According to my sources, some active-duty officers are working behind the scenes to end the war and are preparing for the inevitable US withdrawal.
The dissenting retired generals are bent on making Iraq this nation’s last strategically failed war–that is, one doggedly waged by civilian officials largely to avoid personal accountability for their bad decisions. A failed war causes mounting human and other costs, damaging or entirely destroying the national interest it was supposed to serve.
The senior military dissenters will not rest until they indict the mistakes of Rumsfeld and his principal civilian aides at Congressional hearings. The military always plays this game of accountability for keeps. Should the Democrats gain control of a Congressional chamber in the November midterms, televised Capitol Hill hearings in 2007 will feature military protagonists speaking of “betrayal” and “tragically wasted sacrifices.” The retired generals believe nothing would be gained, and much would be lost, by keeping the truth about Iraq from the families of America’s dead and wounded.
Whalen includes analysis of the strategic debacle Bushco has created for the US as the “realists” see it and his view of the best possible way out, assuming the realists prevail, though the best may not actually happen. Anyway, he paints a picture of a military brass that wants civilian scalps for this disaster, which makes me wonder what kind of back room talk is going on between them and Dems. It’s hard for me to imagine Dems leading a charge even if they win one of the houses, esp since Rove will call up the Swift Boat generals in response, but we’re down to Hail Marys here so I hope they and the generals get their shot. Can’t make things any worse.
Interesting (to me) aside, Whalen writes that Nixon’s secret plan to end the Viet Nam war included a summit with the Soviets (leading to detente?) and an opening to China in return for their help getting us out. He also claims the end of the draft proceeded from the decision to exit Viet Nam. I’d never heard any of that. For what it’s worth…
In 1983, Carlos Mauricio, a professor at the University of El Salvador, was abducted from his classroom by individuals dressed in civilian clothes who forced him into an unmarked vehicle. Mauricio was detained at the National Police headquarters in San Salvador for approximately a week and a half. During his first week in detention, he was tortured and interrogated in a clandestine torture center at the National Police headquarters as a suspected FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) commander. Mauricio’s captors at the National Police headquarters strung him up with his hands behind his back over his head and repeatedly hit him with a metal bar covered with rubber, inflicting injuries to his face and torso. During the first 2-3 days of detention, he was given no food to eat. He was denied use of a bathroom throughout his confinement in the torture center.
In 2002, Carlos Mauricio, along with two other torture victims, won a $54 million verdict against two retired Salvadoran generals. He has continued to speak out against torture and other human rights abuses.
What Prof. Mauricio has to say about the US government’s role in perpetrating torture:
I am here because I am a torture survivor, so it is very important for me to come and tell people what happened in that horrible experience. I was captured by the Salvadoran army in 1983 and I was tortured for nine nights in a row. It was truly horrible. But the idea of coming here to protest John Yoo is precisely because the legalization of torture in the United States is coming with the idea of torturing U.S. citizens. Torture is carried out now openly abroad. The USA army has been torturing prisoners for many, many years. It was reported in Vietnam, so it is nothing new. But the idea of making torture legal in the United States-because the U.S. Constitution forbids it-is very important if the government wants to carry out torture of U.S. citizens. I am very concerned about that because I do believe the rights of U.S. citizens have been eroded by the administration. You see right now we have disappearances-they are called “extraordinary renditions.” We have clandestine cells being run by the CIA. We have the government of the USA torturing openly in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. So what is next? Next is here in the United States, openly torturing citizens of the United States. That is my concern. That’s why I want to denounce John Yoo.
I am here because I want to tell the story of what happened to me because I don’t want that story repeated in others. Torture is very, very horrible.
Nerdified link. My emphasis added.
Uited Nations Human rights envoy to the Palestinian territories John Dugard has published a report Tuesday where he does not shy away from sharply criticizing Israel and the West for the situation in Gaza. “Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians and have thrown away the key,” he said, adding that “in other countries this process might be described as ethnic cleansing.”
At least someone’s brave enough to speak the truth. The situation on the ground in Gaza is almost beyond belief.
When history judges early 21st century USA, the verdict will be harsh. The first decade of this century will likely be known as the decade in which the notion of “American exceptionalism” (a delusionary notion to begin with) died. What killed off the exceptionalist myth? Was it the initiation of multiple wars leading to carnage comparable to that of the Dresden air raids or Guernica? Was it the flagrant nose-thumbing of the rest of the international community as such carnage was carried out? Was it the relative apathy of US citizens and those representatives of the so-called opposition party in the face of ever-worsening human rights violations committed by a White House that can only be described as fascist? Those elements will certainly be among those considered in the court of historical analysis. The true death knell to the exceptionalist myth will be said to have occurred in the early fall of 2006 when a Republican-led congress (with the meek enabling of a Democrat minority party) made torture the law of the land and simultaneously trashed the standard of habeas corpus – a move that no doubt puts the might USA in the company of world powers past: Stalin’s USSR, Hitler’s Germany, ad nauseum.
Americans will take their place as largely conformist, authoritarian, and bloodthirsty – with a majority having few if any qualms in displaying a fetish for cruelty. The American character, far from civilized, will instead be remembered as one of savagery masquerading as sophistication. That is our legacy.