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Max Forte's List: National Security State

  • Aug 09, 09

    You know a discourse nears totalization and hegemony when it begins to consume and incorporate all other narratives. When climate "change" was a veiled way of speaking of loss habitats, suffering agriculture, threats to human health, toxicity, pollution and increased cancer...then it was not so much of a problem. But now that it is a "national security" issue, let's all prick up our ears and pay serious attention!

    • Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claims in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush's Cabinet to raise the nation's terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election.
    • the urgings of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft,
    • Ridge said the episode convinced him to follow through with his plans to leave the administration; he resigned on Nov. 30, 2004.
    • threats against family members, including hinting that an al-Qaida suspect's mother would be raped in front of him
    • took a power drill and a handgun into the interrogation room, and also staged a mock execution in a cell next door.
    • The CIA document, which the agency fought for years to prevent publication of

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    • operatives threatened to kill the children of a key September 11 suspect,
    • told another his mother would be sexually assaulted in front of him.
    • the abuse of terror suspects between 2002 and 2004 at secret  CIA “black site” prisons.

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    • The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terror suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but will monitor their treatment to ensure they are not tortured, administration officials said on Monday.
    • adding that no detainees will be sent to countries that are known to conduct abusive interrogations.
    • promises of humane treatment, called “diplomatic assurances,” were no protection against abuse.

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    • The Conservatives will appeal a federal court ruling that orders the government to repatriate Canadian-born terrorism suspect Omar Khadr from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, the CBC is reporting.
    • According to the report, the government has filed a stay pending appeal of a Federal Court of Appeal ruling earlier this month forcing the government to seek Khadr's return, meaning the Supreme Court of Canada will now decide whether to review the case.
    • the watchdog for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service concluded the spy agency failed to consider human-rights concerns when its officials interrogated Khadr in Guantanamo Bay in 2003.
    • In a reversal of Pentagon policy, the military for the first time is notifying the International Committee of the Red Cross of the identities of militants who were being held in secret at a camp in Iraq and another in Afghanistan run by United States Special Operations forces, according to three military officials.
    • Unlike the secret prisons run by the C.I.A. that President Obama ordered closed in January, the military continues to operate the Special Operations camps, which it calls temporary screening sites, in Balad, Iraq, and Bagram, Afghanistan.
    • The Red Cross is allowed access to almost all American military prisons and battlefield detention sites in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Special Operations camps have been excluded.

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    • photo
    • With just two weeks of training, or about half the time it takes   to become a truck driver, the CIA certified its spies as interrogation experts   after 9/11 and handed them the keys to the most coercive tactics in the agency's   arsenal.
    • While former Vice President Dick Cheney said the interrogation program was   run by "highly trained professionals who understand their obligations under   the law," the newly released documents suggest otherwise, at least in the   early months.

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    • afghan two
    • afghan one
    • A British artist made these impressive propaganda posters during the Afghan war against the Soviet occupation.

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    • Conservative MP Jason Kenney is coming under scrutiny for his appearance at a rally organized by supporters of a banned terrorist organization.
    • A photograph of Kenney at an April rally, organized by the Committee in Defense of Human Rights in Iran, appears on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the Toronto Star reported Thursday.
    • The council is the political wing of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), which is one of the names used by the Mujaheedin-e-Khalq.

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    • Sleep deprivation, "insult slaps," water dousing and "walling," or slamming a detainee's head against a wall, were techniques used by CIA interrogators to break high-value detainees, according to an agency memo.
    • The memo, sent to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel on December 30, 2004, was released on Monday under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union.
    • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday named a special prosecutor to probe Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisoner abuse cases.
      • Max Forte
        Max Forte on Aug 26, 09

        Note that the U.S. government, which had this information all along, only now feels pressed into action since human rights groups got their hands on the memo. Why not before? Is the law broken only when the public finds out about it?

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    • The Pentagon is looking into reports that the military’s public affairs apparatus in Afghanistan has been rating reporters according to their degree of sympathy to U.S. war aims
    • The military hired U.S. PR firm The Rendon Group to handle the assessments, Stars & Stripes revealed. Reporters who request embeds have their previous work rated as “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” towards U.S. strategy
    • “Bringing democracy to Afghanistan is a massive challenge,” the International Federation of Journalists said. “But it will not be made easier by trying to manipulate media or encouraging journalists to show bias in favor of the military.”

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  • Aug 30, 09

    contradicting, with facts, Washington Post article that alleges that a tortured detainee in fact became a "valuable asset."

    • A week ago, Stars & Stripes broke the story that U.S. forces in Afghanistan had hired The Rendon Group, a D.C.-based media consulting firm, to write assessments of war reporters. The profiles rated journalists as “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” towards U.S. war aims, and were apparently used to deny reporters access to military units, according to follow-on reports by Stars & Stripes.
    • On Sunday, the military canceled Rendon’s contract. “As the senior U.S. communicator in Afghanistan, it was clear that the issue of Rendon’s support to U.S. forces in Afghanistan had become a distraction from our main mission,” Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, said in an e-mail to Stars & Stripes.
    • The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search -- without suspicion of wrongdoing -- the contents of a traveler's laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections.
    • travelers' laptops, iPods, cameras and other digital devices can be searched and seized when they cross a U.S. border
    • "It's a disappointing ratification of the suspicionless search policy put in place by the Bush administration," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. "It provides a lot of procedural safeguards, but it doesn't deal with the fundamental problem, which is that under the policy, government officials are free to search people's laptops and cellphones for any reason whatsoever."

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    • Under the Bush administration, a seeping, sometimes galloping, authoritarianism began to reach into every vestige of the culture, giving free rein to those anti-democratic forces in which religious, market, military and political fundamentalism thrived, casting an ominous shadow over the fate of United States democracy. During the Bush-Cheney regime, power became an instrument of retribution and punishment was connected to and fueled by a repressive state. A bullying rhetoric of war, a ruthless consolidation of economic forces, and an all-embracing free-market apparatus and media driven pedagogy of fear supported and sustained a distinct culture of cruelty and inequality in the United States.
    • I think the notion of a culture of cruelty is useful in thinking through the convergence of everyday life and politics, of considering material relations of power - the disciplining of the body as an object of control - on the one hand, and the production of cultural meaning, especially the co-optation of popular culture to sanction official violence, on the other.
    • Citizens are increasingly constructed through a language of contempt for all noncommercial public spheres and a chilling indifference to the plight of others that is increasingly expressed in vicious tirades against big government and health care reform. There is a growing element of scorn on the part of the American public for those human beings caught in the web of misfortune, human suffering, dependency and deprivation

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    • Medical ethics group says physicians monitored 'enhanced interrogation techniques' and studied their effectiveness
    • US flag in Guantanamo Bay
    • Doctors and psychologists the CIA employed to monitor its "enhanced interrogation" of terror suspects came close to, and may even have committed, unlawful human experimentation, a medical ethics watchdog has alleged.

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    • This photo downloaded from the Arabic language Internet site www.muslm.net and
    • This photo downloaded from the Arabic language Internet site www.muslm.net and
    • Jarret Brachman, the former research director at the Combating Terrorism Center of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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