Tag Archives: assassination

The two Pricks vie to be the top fascist

Republican presidential candidates, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, greet each other as they campaign at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Prayer Breakfast in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Associated Press photo

“Christian” presidential aspirants Prick Perry and Prick Santorum falsely greet each other at an apparent all-white-male “prayer breakfast” in South Carolina today. With “Christians” like these, who needs demons?

Presidential wannabes Prick Perry and Prick Santorum, with the presidential primary election in South Carolina upon us on Saturday, apparently are vying to be the biggest “Christo”fascist in the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary race.

Thank Goddess that neither one of them has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever sitting in the Oval Office.

Texas Gov. Prick Perry, who wants to represent the third and maybe even the fourth term of George W. Bush, has proclaimed that to denounce the recently revealed incident of U.S. Marines having urinated on the bodies of their kill in Afghanistan is to have “disdain for the [U.S.] military.”

That exactly is what the criminal members of the unelected, treasonous, fascistic Bush regime did: They equated any criticism of their profoundly bungled military policy or of any of their military failures (such as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal) to wholesale attacks on our troops by America-hating traitors. And that is the same tack that Perry is trying to take now: Barack Hussein Obama, you see, according to Prick Perry, actually hates our troops. (Well, Obama does send them off to their pointless deaths as nonchalantly as George W. Bush did, but that’s another blog post.)

“Obviously, 18-, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often. And that’s what’s occurred here,” Perry dismissively said today of Goldenshowergate, adding, “What’s really disturbing to me is the kind of over-the-top rhetoric from this [the Obama] administration and their disdain for the military.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta should not have condemned the desecration of the dead, which the Geneva Conventions forbid, you see. The Associated Press reports that Perry today “said the Marines involved should be reprimanded but not prosecuted on criminal charges” — even though they violated the Geneva Conventions, for fuck’s sake.

Prick Perry’s knee-jerk right-wing, jingoistic “defense” of Goldenshowergate unintentionally raises more questions than it puts anything to rest.

Why do we have “kids” in the U.S. military when, as Perry correctly states, “kids make stupid mistakes all too often”?

Why do we entrust such highly sensitive matters to “kids”?

Is it because older and wiser individuals will know that they are being exploited? Is it that it easier to send kids — with their false sense of immortality and their naive trust of authority – to their pointless maimings and deaths in the bogus wars for the profiteering of the stupid old rich men who so casually send our kids off to be maimed and traumatized and to die for their personal fortunes?

I can assure Prick Perry that President Barack Obama hates our troops just as much as “President” George W. Bush did. If Obama did not, he would never put them in harm’s way only for the benefit of the war profiteers of the military-industrial complex and the corporateers, such as Big Oil.

Obama promised “hope” and “change,” but there still is plenty of death and destruction in the Middle East that benefits only the war profiteers and the corporateers. But apparently for Prick Perry, there isn’t enough death and destruction for the obscene profits of the 1 percent.

Not to be outdone in hateful jingoism by Prick Perry, former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Prick Santorum — the evil stooge for the pedophilic Catholick church led by Pope Palpatine who fancies himself a “Christian” and is who is so hated by his own state that he lost re-election by a record margin there in 2006 — has declared that no one should condemn the assassination of a 32-year-old Iranian nuclear scientist last week.

This is (was…) 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who, according to the Iranian government, was murdered in a car bombing in Tehran on Wednesday:

This undated photo released by Iranian Fars News Agency, claims to show Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who they say was killed in a bomb blast in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, next to his son. Two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to the car of an Iranian university professor working at a key nuclear facility, killing him and his driver Wednesday, reports said. The slayings suggest a widening covert effort to set back Iran's atomic program. The blast killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemistry expert and a director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, state TV reported. (AP Photo/Fars News Agency)

Associated Press image

Whoever killed Roshan is guilty of the murder of a young father. There is no getting around that, whether Roshan’s murderers turn out to be the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (as the Iranian government reportedly alleges); Israel’s equivalent of the CIA, Mossad; or even — who knows? — fellow Iranians who for whatever reason or reasons wanted Roshan dead. While I suspect the CIA or Mossad (or both), it’s not impossible, I suppose, that even the Iranian government killed Roshan.

But to hear “Christo”fascistic assbites like Prick Santorum make such pronouncements as “Our country condemned it [Roshan’s murder]; my feeling is we should have kept our mouth shut,” is nauseating.

Of whose assassination would Jesus approve?

Further, both the United States and Israel apparently have nukes.* What if the Iranians assassinated an American or an Israeli nuclear scientist on American or Israeli soil? That would be an outrage that might even be cause for all-out war, no? Why, then, is it perfectly OK for the United States or Israel to assassinate others on foreign soil?

And why is it that the United States and Israel may have nukes, but that any other nation may not? Why do the United States and its partner in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Middle East, Israel, get to determine who may and may not possess nukes in the Middle East?

This blatant hypocrisy and double standard and self-righteousness is why the United States and Israel are so hated in the Middle East, and why we have seen perpetual warfare there (and blowback here at home, such as on September 11, 20o1).

There is a lot about Iran not to like, such as its oppression of women and non-heterosexuals and those who don’t submit to the nation’s theocratic rule, but this patriarchal (and misogynist and homophobic) theocratic rule is exactly what the war-mongering, patriarchal theofascists here at home — such as Prick Santorum and Prick Perry — would love to establish for themselves right here.

And not to let Mitt Romney off the hook; a Mormon president would be a huge mistake. Although Romney’s Mormonism instructs him to pretend to be more civil than are his political opponents and to be falsely nice while in actuality he supports a great deal of evil, if we are going to elect Mitt Romney as president we might as well just move the nation’s capital from D.C. to Salt Lake City and put the control of the nation entirely in the claws of the cabal of stupid old evil white men who rule the Mormon cult, who are no different in (malevolent) spirit from the patriarchal, totalitarian clerics who control Iran and other “Islamofascist” states.

It speaks volumes of the evil of the Repugnican Tea Party that its presidential aspirants claim to be such great “Christians” but are supportive or dismissive of such evils as assassination — murder — and desecration of the dead (although, as I have noted, it’s a much, much larger crime to murder someone in the first place than it is to then disrespectfully treat his or her corpse).

How about we assassinate Prick Perry and Prick Santorum and then piss on their corpses, since such acts, according to them, are perfectly acceptable?

You know, I don’t call myself a Christian — in large part because evil people like Prick Perry and Prick Santorum and Mitt Romney call themselves “Christians” — but it seems to me that Jesus Christ’s core teaching that anything that you would not want done to yourself you should not do to anyone else is pretty fucking sound.

If “Christians” actually followed Jesus’ teachings, then we wouldn’t witness things like bogus warfare and mass murder and war crimes and crimes against humanity and assassinations and torture and desecration of the dead.

I can guarantee you that if an actual Christian — someone who actually followed Jesus Christ’s teachings as contained in black and white in the New Testament — ever ran for president, I would vote for him or her enthusiastically, but no actual Christian will win the presidency in November 2012 because no actual Christian is running.

And nor could I see a majority of the people of the United States of America ever actually electing an actual Christian president, since the majority of Americans are not only comfortable with, but very apparently want, a certain amount of evil in their leaders. After all, the vast majority of people want their leaders to be just like themselves.

*Wikipedia notes that Israel refuses to confirm or deny whether or not it possesses a nuclear weapon. I assume that Israel does. Indeed, with the billions of our U.S. tax dollars that go to the parasitic, war-mongering Israel, I’d be surprised if Israel doesn’t have nukes.

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My last word on the assassination of Osama bin Laden (I hope)

I had thought that the Osama bin Laden assassination would have run its course by now here in the United States of Amnesia, but, with nothing else to replace it – except, perhaps, for the “news” that Bristol Palin’s facial appearance indeed has been altered, she says, because she had jaw surgery (this is the most-viewed “news” story on Yahoo! News as I type this sentence) — it lingers still.

It’s a sign of the collapsing of the American empire that so many Americans have found comfort, I suppose the word is, in the assassination of a rather pathetic man in hiding whose last big show was almost a full decade ago.

I mean, how convenient it is to blame more than a decade of American stupidity and laxity* on one man, and how tempting it is to believe that with his death goes American stupidity and laxity. If bin Laden was the cause of all of our problems, then surely his death is the magical solution to all of our problems! Right? Right?

As I wrote right after I found out about it, bin Laden’s assassination has changed nothing except for the national “news” obsession du jour (or, in this case, de la semaine). Bin Laden had been fairly powerless for years before his assassination, and his largest achievement was in destroying the American economy.

And hell, he didn’t even have to do the work. It was the treasonous wingnuts of the unelected Bush regime, using their wet dream of 9/11 like the Reichstag Fire to fulfill their wingnutty wish list, who did the work for bin Laden, using 9/11 for years as their cover to push through a radical right-wing, treasonous agenda they otherwise never would have been able to push through.

And it was an hysterical, cowed populace that allowed them to, just as it had allowed them to steal the White House in the first place.

While President Barack Obama seems to have driven the final stake into the heart of “birtherism,” whose death was long overdue, and for at least the short term can stave off any charges that militarily he’s a pussy, sooner or later the economy is going to reassert its political gravitational pull on Planet Obama.

An NBC News poll taken late last week shows that while almost 60 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy (the bin Laden bounce, no doubt), almost 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.

The bin Laden bounce has put Obama slightly above a 50-percent overall approval rating in the Gallup Poll after he had languished in the 40s for more than the past year, only occassionally hitting 50 percent or 51 percent in that time period.**

Given the weak field of Repugnican Tea Party candidates, however, Obama’s re-election is likely even in an economic environment that might otherwise seriously jeopardize a second presidential term.

But what Obama’s probable re-election means is the continued rightward drift of the nation, in which the new “center” is still right of center and continues going rightward. What’s good for Barack Obama’s personal political fortune, unfortunately, is bad for the nation and for the rest of the planet.

And how you do something matters. I don’t mourn the death of mass murderer Osama bin Laden any more than I would mourn the death of mass murderer George W. Bush or mass murderer Dick Cheney (or mass murderer Condoleezza Rice*** or mass murderer Donald Rumsfeld or…), but how it was achieved was shitty, regardless of how history, which up until now, at least, always has been written by the victors, might tell the story.

George W. Bush is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent human beings, is a much bigger mass murderer than was bin Laden, yet should a military team from a justice-pursuing Iraq (which was home to most of Bush’s victims) take out Bush on American soil like a military team from the U.S. took out bin Laden on Pakistani soil, Americans would be, literally, up in arms.

Even mass murderers like George W. Bush deserve a fair trial. Summary, extrajudicial execution, no matter who its victim is, is always wrong. The perpetrators of such tactics are no better than are their victims. And that’s what the Obama administration’s assassination of Osama bin Laden proved to the world: That the majority of the inhabitants of the United States of America is no better than was bin Laden.

Finally, I hope to make this my last post on Osama bin Laden’s assassination. But before I go I want to leave you with Ted Rall’s current column on the topic. Here it is, in full:

President Obama murdered Osama bin Laden. I am surprised that the left has been so supportive — not of the end result, but of the way it was carried out.

Imagine if the killing had gone down the same exact way, but under Bush. Armed commandos invade a foreign country, storm into a suburban neighborhood, blow a hole in a house and blow away an unarmed man in front of his 12-year-old daughter. The guy is a murder suspect. Mass murder. But there’s no attempt to arrest him or bring him to justice. They spirit his bloody corpse out of the country and dump it into the ocean.

Osama bin Laden was suspected ordering of one of the most horrific crimes of the decade. He might have been taken alive. Yet Obama’s commandos killed him. A big part of the puzzle — the key to the truth, who might have led us to other people responsible for 9/11 — is gone.

Barack Obama is our Jack Ruby.

Liberals would be appalled if this had happened four years ago. They would have protested Bush’s violations of international law and basic human rights. They would have complained about killing the Al Qaeda leader before questioning him about possible terrorist plots. They would have demanded investigations.

But this happened under Obama. Which means that even liberal lawyers who ought to (and probably do) know better are going along. At a panel discussion at the Justice Institute at Pace Law School, University of Houston law professor Jordan Paust asserted: “You can [legally] use military force without consent in foreign countries.”

“At some point a sovereign state [such as Pakistan] that’s harboring an international fugitive loses the right to assert sovereignty,” added Robert Van Lierop.

Paust and Van Lierop are, respectively, a leading opponent of torture at Guantánamo and a former UN ambassador known for his activism on climate change. Both are “liberal.”

In the U.S., conservatives and “liberals” agree: Might makes right. America’s military-intelligence apparatus is so fearsome that it can deploy its soldiers and agents without fear of retribution.

Might makes right. [Emphasis mine.]

In 2007, for example, U.S. Special Forces invaded Iran from U.S.-occupied Iraq in order to kidnap Iranian border guards. It was an outrage. In practical terms, however, there was nothing the Iranians could do about it.

The United States’ 900-pound gorilla act might go over better if we weren’t a nation that constantly prattles on and on about how civilized we are, how important it is that everyone follow the rules. For example:

“We’re a nation of laws!” Obama recently exclaimed. “We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate.”

He wasn’t talking about himself. This was about PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of supplying the big Defense Department data dump to WikiLeaks. Manning has been subjected to torture including sleep deprivation and forced nudity — treatment ordered by Obama.

Truth is, the Constitution, our treaty obligations and our stacks of legal codes are worthless paper. We’re not a nation of laws. We’re a nation of gun-toting, missile-lobbing, drone-flying goons.

U.S. officials do whatever they feel like and then dress up their brazenly illegal acts with perverse Orwellian propaganda. [Emphasis mine.]

“I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice,” Obama claimed, as if blowing away an unarmed man in a foreign country was the moral equivalent of filing an extradition request with the Pakistani government and putting him on trial before 12 unbiased jurors in a court of law.

Justice is a legal process. It is not a military assault. [Emphasis mine.]

When considering the legality or morality of an act it helps to consider different scenarios. What, for example, if Pakistan had military power equal to ours? Last week’s lead news might have begun something like this:

“Pakistan has intercepted four U.S. helicopters over its airspace, forced them to land, and taken 79 heavily-armed commandos as prisoners. According to Pakistani military officials, the incident took place about 100 miles from the border of U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

“‘They didn’t stray across the border accidentally. This was a deliberate act,’ said a Pakistani general. President Asif Ali Zardari has asked Pakistan’s nuclear weapons infrastructure has been placed on high alert as the parliament, the Majlis-e-Shoora, considers whether to issue a declaration of war…”

Or let’s assume a different reimagining. What if the United States really [were] a nation of laws?

Then the news might look like the following:

“Bipartisan demands for congressional investigations into the assassination of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden quickly escalated into demands for presidential impeachment after reports that U.S. forces operating under orders from President Obama invaded a sovereign nation without permission to carry out what House Speaker John Boehner called ‘a mob-style hit.’

“Standing at Boehner’s side, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi decried Obama’s ‘cowboy antics’ and said she had received numerous phone calls from the relatives of 9/11 victims furious that true justice had been denied. Meanwhile, in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon moved for sanctions against the United States…”

In fact, no one knows whether Osama bin Laden was involved in 9/11.

They suspect. They feel. They don’t know.

For what it’s worth, he denied it: “Following the latest explosions in the United States, some Americans are pointing the finger at me, but I deny that because I have not done it,” bin Laden said in a statement released on 9/16/01. “The United States has always accused me of these incidents which have been caused by its enemies. Reiterating once again, I say that I have not done it, and the perpetrators have carried this out because of their own interest.”

Why should we believe him? Why not? He admitted his responsibility for the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998.

Interestingly, the FBI never mentioned 9/11 on his “wanted” poster.

There was the famous “confession video” — but it was translated into English by the CIA, hardly an objective source. Arabic language experts say the CIA manipulated bin Laden’s discussion of what he had watched on TV into an admission of guilt. For example, they changed bin Laden’s passive-voice discussion to active: “[the 19 hijackers] were required to go” became, in the CIA version, “we asked each of them to go to America.”

“The American translators who listened to the tapes and transcribed them apparently wrote a lot of things in that they wanted to hear but that cannot be heard on the tape no matter how many times you listen to it,” said Gernot Rotter, professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the Asia-Africa Institute at the University of Hamburg.

Other [bin Laden] communiqués appear to take credit for 9/11 — but there’s a possibility that he was trying to keep himself relevant for his Islamist audience. Anyway, a confession does not prove guilt. Police receive numerous “confessions” for high-profile crimes. They can’t just shoot everyone who confesses.

I’m not angry that Bin Laden is dead. Nor am I happy. I didn’t know the guy or care for his ideology.

I’m angry that, without a trial or a real investigation, we will never know whether he was guilty of 9/11 — or, if he was, who else was involved.

Our Jack Ruby, Barack Obama, made sure of that.

Yup. And I’ve wondered if perhaps bin Laden was assassinated by the Obama administration because he knew too much, and a trial at an international court of law would have brought what he knew to light. 

*Our problems preceded Sept. 11, 2001. Our democracy pretty much was diagnosed with terminal illness when Americans just allowed Team Bush to steal the White House in late 2000. After that, anything else that followed, such as the devasation that was just allowed to occur on 9/11 and with Hurricane Katrina four years later, couldn’t have been a surprise.

**Obama enjoyed approval ratings in the 60s during his first six months in office. He then gradually slid into the 50s and then into the 40s.

***Rice’s recent interview on MSNBC was, um, interesting. She hasn’t changed a bit. You still know when she’s lying — it’s whenever her lips are moving. (Seriously, though, she always has the quavering voice of a liar, and when she’s really lying, she moves her head rapidly from side to side.)

While I doubt Rice’s sanity, as I doubt the sanity of any mass murderer/war criminal, I don’t believe that she actually believes the lies that she spews forth. I believe that she is terrified that one day she might actually be hauled before an international criminal court, and therefore she’s sticking to the same old lies about her part in the execution of the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War that she’s been telling for years now.

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UN looking into legality of slaughter of bin Laden

Was this past weekend’s assassination of Osama bin Laden legal?

Unsurprisingly, in the articles that I’ve read online, Americans tend to say that of course it was — he was an “enemy combatant” with whom we were “at war”; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually called, quite speciously, bin Laden’s assassination “an act of national self-defense” (and not, say, a revenge killing); and besides, Barack Obama had said when he was campaigning for president that if we got bin Laden in our sights then he would order him killed (as though if you simply warn someone that you will do something illegal, such as rape her or murder him, if you get the opportunity to do so and then do so, then your actual act is not illegal because hey, you’d given him or her a warning!) — while those outside of the U.S. are much less likely to make such a certain pronouncement, expressing problems with the facts that bin Laden was unarmed and that the raid on his compound was conducted without the consent or even the prior notification of the government of the sovereign nation of Pakistan. Bin Laden should have been captured, if at all possible, and put on trial, since everyone, even the likes of bin Laden, has the right to due process, these dissenters have expressed.

One of these dissenters, Kent University international lawyer Nick Grief, called bin Laden’s killing what it apparently was: an “extrajudicial killing without due process of the law,” and he noted that even Nazi war criminals were brought to trial at the end of World War II.

Louise Doswald-Beck, former legal chief for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that bin Laden was not an enemy combatant but that “He was basically head of a terrorist criminal network, which means that you’re not really looking at the law of armed conflict but at lethal action against a dangerous criminal.”

Another British lawyer, Michael Mansfield, said, “The serious risk is that in the absence of an authoritative narrative of events played out in Abbottabad, vengeance will become synonymized with justice, and that revenge will supplant due process. … Whatever feelings of elation and relief may dominate the airwaves, they must not be allowed to submerge core questions about the legality of the exercise, nor to permit vengeance or summary execution to become substitutes for justice.” [Emphasis mine.]

And it looks as though the United Nations is investigating the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reports The Associated Press today:

Geneva – The United Nations’ independent investigator on extrajudicial killings* has called on the United States to reveal more details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement [today] that Washington “should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.”

Heyns says “it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden.”

His statement echoed similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law.

Of course “U.S. officials say the raid [was] legal under U.S. and international law.” How often does the perpetrator of a crime admit it?

In any event, it’s not like the U.S. is going to respect any adverse finding by the UN anyway. The UN Security Council would not rubber-stamp George W. Bush’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, but the Bush regime went ahead and launched it anyway in March 2003. The U.S. respects the UN only when it is convenient for the U.S. to do so, which is one of the many reasons that the U.S. is so hated throughout the world: its blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

I still believe that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was meant, at least in part, for Barack Obama’s political gain. I believe that Obama wanted to show that he’s just as bad a bad-ass as George W. Bush tried to pass himself off as, and also, what’s better to counter the charges that Obama is not really an American and actually is Muslim than to snuff out Osama bin Laden, to take him dead or alive dead?

The so-called “swing voters” are susceptible to such wingnutty charges that Obama isn’t a citizen and that he’s actually a Muslim, and it’s the support of the “swing voters” (he’s screwed his progressive base) that Obama so very badly wants for his re-election.

Weirdly, though, in the White House photo of the gathering in the Situation Room during the operation to assassinate bin Laden that everyone has dissected to death —

In this image released by the White House and ...

— to me, Obama doesn’t look like the leader of all of it. To me, he looks like he’s just kind of shrinking in the corner, a bit bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed by all of it, and hell, just from this photo, Secretary of State Billary Clinton appears to be more in charge than Obama does. Obama appears in the photo to be an onlooker at most.

In any event, Osama bin Laden is dead, which even Al-Qaeda has acknowledged, and it’s not like there will be formal repercussions for the U.S. government for once again very apparently having violated international law.

But it will be interesting to see for how long the U.S. can maintain its position as the global bully. Bin Laden’s actions significantly weakened what he believed to be the “great Satan,” the American empire, costing the United States at least $3 trillion, pundits are saying. (Of course, much if not most of that $3 trillion went to greedy war profiteers, not for the actual benefit of the U.S., and much of it simply disappeared and remains unaccounted for to this day.)

And as China is poised to become the world’s No. 1 economy within the next decade, as the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, how long will the U.S. be able to call the shots globally?

It is in the long-term interests of the United States of America — and any other nation’s — to follow the rule of law. It is easier and more convenient, in the short run, to circumvent the law, but to circumvent the law often bites you in the ass later, often (if not usually) costing you more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Because he was not put on trial, but was assassinated, Osama bin Laden is now, to many in the Muslim world, a martyr whose manner of death only proves his assertions about American abuse of power against Arabs and Muslims to be correct. We Americans can, and should, fully expect bin Laden’s death to be avenged. And then we’ll avenge that. This tit-for-tat bullshit bloodshed can go on for years and years and years, which is exactly what the war profiteers and the weasels of the military-industrial complex want.

And just as the United States was somewhat recovering from its reputation as the global asshole that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime earned it, Barack Obama, by mimicking George “W. for Wanted Dead or Alive” Bush, has taken us backasswards again.

Can we at least take away that Nobel Peace Prize that he so prematurely was awarded while the UN investigates the legality of his unilateral order to assassinate bin Laden?

P.S. Reuters reports a little more thoroughly today of the United Nations’ looking into the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reuters reports today:

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism … and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in certain exceptional cases, deadly force may be used in “operations against terrorists.”

“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially-decided punishment,” the independent experts said in a joint statement.

“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said. “It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden.”

Scheinin, a Finnish law professor who teaches in Florence, and Heyns, a South African human rights law professor, report to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include the United States. …

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, also called this week for light to be shed on the killing, stressing that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

“We’ve raised a question mark about what happened precisely, more details are needed at this point,” her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva [today].

*Those Obama apologists and American jingoists who take exception to the word “assassination” (as though only, say, an American president could be assassinated) at least cannot argue that bin Laden’s killing was indeed, at the least, an extrajudicial execution.

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The bin Laden assassination account du jour

OK, so first, we were told that Osama bin Laden was armed and posed an immediate threat to the U.S. Navy SEALs who shot him dead in Pakistan this past weekend.

Then, we were told that he wasn’t armed, but that nonetheless he still somehow was threatening to the SEALs — maybe he had a bomb* on him, even! (Of course, anyone could have a bomb hidden on [or in…] his or her body, so using that “logic,” it’s OK to shoot dead anyone.)

Now, we are being told that the SEALs had planned to kill bin Laden no matter what.

Reports Yahoo! News today:

The SEALs’ decision to fatally shoot bin Laden — even though he didn’t have a weapon — wasn’t an accident.  The administration had made clear to the military’s clandestine Joint Special Operations Command that it wanted bin Laden dead, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the discussions.  A high-ranking military officer briefed on the assault said the SEALs knew their mission was not to take him alive.

Publicly, the White House insists it was prepared to capture bin Laden if he tried to surrender, a possibility senior officials described as remote.

John Brennan, the administration’s top counterterrorism official, told reporters on Monday if “we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that.”A senior intelligence official echoed that sentiment in an interview [yesterday], telling National Journal that if bin Laden “had indicated surrender, he would have been captured.”

But bin Laden didn’t appear to have been given a chance to surrender himself to the SEALs.

“To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything,” CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an interview airing on “PBS NewsHour.”

There is a word for this kind of thing: Fuck.

One of my U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein, who is chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that she was informed of the planning of the raid on the compound in Pakistan that held bin Laden in December.

In December.

One, if bin Laden (still) were such an imminent threat that he needed to be summarily executed on the spot, then why did it take the Obama administration that long to finally get him?

Two, since the Obama administration had bin Laden’s nabbing in the works at least since December, why the fuck has it been unable to get its fucking story straight?

I have as much confidence in the Obama administration as I did in the bumbling Bush regime.

This bullshit bungling is supposed to help Obama’s re-election campaign how?

*The Los Angeles Times reports:

After saying Monday that the American operatives who raided the Pakistani compound had orders to capture Bin Laden if he gave himself up, U.S. officials [yesterday] added an important qualifier: The assault force was told to accept a surrender only if it could be sure he didn’t have a bomb hidden under his clothing and posed no other danger.

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Sarah Palin-Quayle gives the sociopathic response that we expected

The cover of the current issue of The Stranger of Seattle, via Salon.com.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital bed in Tucson with a bullet having sliced through her brain. The extent of her future recovery is unknown.

But who is the victim in this?

Sarah Palin-Quayle!

In a propagandistic defensive statement, Palin-Quayle actually claims that for anyone to point out that she had listed Giffords on her mapped hit list of 20 Democratic members of Congress is to “manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

Really?

Tell you what: When Sarah Palin-Quayle takes a bullet to the brain, then I’ll buy that argument.

Palin-Quayle in her defensive statement also rehashes a supposed quote from Ronald Reagan repeating the myth that everytime someone commits a criminal act, it occurs in a vacuum:

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Yes, Jared Lee Loughner is responsible for his actions. No doubt. But he acted within a social context. In gun-loving Arizona, it was way too easy for him to purchase a gun and ammo. We can thank the Repugnican Tea Party, the party of the gun nuts that controls Arizona, for that.

In a written statement before he tried to assassinate her, Loughner referred to Giffords as a “bitch.” He apparently is misogynist. Listen to right-wing talk radio and you’ll discover that misogynistic comments made by stupid, chauvinistic white male commentators (such as Rush Limbaugh’s “femi-Nazi”) abound.

Minimally, Loughner apparently grew up in an environment in which firearms are worshipped and in which women, especially Democratic or left-leaning women, are “bitches.”

So I have to disagree with Ronald Reagan and with Sarah Palin-Quayle (who is no Ronald Reagan): Yes, society can be guilty, too. And it often, if not usually, is.

Palin-Quayle in her bullshit defense mentions “maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle” (emphasis mine). Oh, really? Someone please inform me of a single Democratic or left-leaning candidate for political office who used the equivalent assassination rhetoric and imagery that Sarah Palin-Quayle did. One. Name one.

Again, when someone one the right or in the center asserts that the left is just as guilty, we need to insist that these lying wingnuts show us actual examples.

Sarah Palin-Quayle should have taken responsibility for her poor judgment for having used the imagery and rhetoric of the assassination of public officials. And she should have apologized.

Instead, not only does she insist that she did nothing wrong — indeed, she falsely claims that everybody does it! — but she claims that she is the victim here.

No, she isn’t. Gabrielle Giffords and several other victims of gun violence in a state dominated by a party that worships firearms are the victims here.

We already knew that Sarah Palin-Quayle is utterly unqualified to hold public office. This should be the final nail in her political coffin.

P.S. These are probably the best editorial cartoons I’ve seen on the topic:

1-12-2011

1-10-2011

Cartoonist Mike Stanfill deserves a much larger audience than he apparently has.

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Giffords victim of permissive environment

When Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona spoke to the “liberal” MSNBC in March 2010 about her concerns over rhetoric about her assassination, the MSNBC co-hosts couldn’t minimize her concerns quickly enough and asserted (without any examples or proof) that the left wing is just as guilty of wrongdoing as is the right wing as they sang their praises to the god of bipartisanship and centrism. I wonder how the smug co-hosts feel now. 

There are a lot of factors that came together and resulted in Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson taking a bullet to the brain on Saturday; not only are there too many factors for me to list here, but there are too many factors for us to even be able to identify. Plenty of people, of course, would love to lay the blame solely and squarely at the feet of Giffords’ would-be assassin, but that not only is factually inaccurate, but to do so only guarantees even more assassination attempts.

Undoubtedly, Jared Lee Loughner, Giffords’ accused attempted assassin, is a troubled young man. Friends have described Loughner as “confrontational, nonlinear and obsessed with how words create reality.” For all of his obsession with words, grammar and (il)literacy, however, his own skills with the English language are lacking, as his online screeds demonstrate. He also has been obsessed with the concept and practice of currency, strongly believing that U.S. currency should exist only in gold and silver — which is, to my recollection, a right-wing and libertarian obsession, but we’ll leave it at that.

This Associated Press article details Loughner’s gradual mental unraveling, but tells of no significant efforts to actually help the obviously mentally ill young man. This is not a surprise, given his environment of the red state of Arizona, where all that matter are profits, not people, and where, therefore, social services are virtually nil.

(I know: I spent the first three decades of my life in that God-forsaken state, which appropriately has been dubbed “Tombstone” or the [new] Wild West, or at least, as the sheriff of the county where Giffords was shot put it, “the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” [And it is that, which is one of the reasons that I haven’t set foot in that state since I left it 12 years ago, even though the majority of my relatives still live there.])

Loughner also grew up in a nation dominated by baby boomers, who as a group (and as parents, teachers, employers, et. al.) never have made responsibly raising our nation’s young people a priority. It always has been, and it always will be, as long as they still live to be able to be thorns in our asses, all about the boomers, and therefore, way too many of our young people, like Loughner, end up on their own, falling through the cracks and finding themselves at the ends of their ropes.

And then there are the media.

If you watch just one video clip regarding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ ordeal, you should watch her interview on MSNBC in March 2010, when several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Giffords, had just had their offices vandalized and had received threats after they voted to pass the health-care reform bill.

In the clip, MSNBC’s God-awful Chuck Todd, whom I despise because he acts as though he knows everything when, in fact, he’s a fucking retard, casually blows off Giffords’ stated concern about the fact that Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle recently had put Giffords on her hit list of 20 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who should be taken out because they live in conservative-leaning congressional districts but voted for the health-care reform bill.

Giffords specifically states in her interview that Palin-Quayle’s use of a graphic on the Internet including “the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district” concerns her, adding, perhaps presciently, “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there [are] consequences to that action.”

Todd immediately shoots Giffords down (pun intended), cannot minimize her just-stated concern quickly enough, fucktardedly countering her, “In fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years.”

Except that this wasn’t “war rhetoric” — this was assassination rhetoric. Big fucking difference, Chucky.

Never before was it ever acceptable for a former vice presidential candidate to advise her followers not to “retreat” but to “RELOAD!” and to indicate, on the Internet, her political targets’ congressional districts on a map of the United States with graphics of gun-sight crosshairs.

Never before was it ever acceptable for a candidate for the U.S. Senate to talk about “Second-Amendment remedies” to deal with her and her supporters’ political foes.

Again, this isn’t the rhetoric of battle or war — this is the rhetoric of assassination.

Chuck Todd’s co-host, a bubble-headed woman whose name I don’t know, in an incredibly stupid attempt to be a centrist on crack, stupidly suggests to Giffords that perhaps Democrats are just using these attacks on Democratic lawmakers for political gain!

Wow. So I suppose that the attacks by wingnuts on the Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives for their votes on a piece of legislation should not have been reported at all — you know, to avoid politicizing the issue! Must! Be! Fair! And! Balanced!

The minimizing-fest continues, however, as even Giffords herself talks about “extremes on both sides, frankly, not just on the Republican side” — apparently so as not to piss off even further those on the right, even though neither Giffords nor her two co-hosts list one act of violence or intimidation against an elected official by a Democrat or by anyone else on the left. 

And then Chuck Fucking Todd, not to be outdone by his centrist-on-crack co-host, ends the interview by practically jizzing in his pants as he reflects that Giffords’ congressional district is “probably one of the most perfectly balanced swing districts in the country.” Utopia!

And less than a year after the smug MSNBC talking heads incredibly stupidly and irresponsibly blew off Giffords’ concerns and bizarrely turned the discussion about the dangerous rhetoric of assassination into a bipartisan kumbaya moment, Giffords took a bullet to the brain.

Chuck Todd and his bubble-headed co-host pretty much threw Gabrielle Giffords, as a human sacrifice, to the god of centrism that they slavishly worship.

And MSNBC is supposedly a member of the “liberal” media.

But don’t blame them!

These things just happen!

In a vacuum!

Within no social context whatsofuckingever!

The irresponsibility in the media, the gross journalistic malpractice, continues even after Giffords took a bullet to the brain on Saturday.

The Daily Beast immediately concluded that we can’t blame Sarah Palin-Quayle for Giffords’ shooting! — even though Palin-Quayle had put out there the idea, the concept, of assassinating Giffords and 19 other Democratic lawmakers. The Daily Beast’s centrist-on-crack columnist Howard Kurtz concluded that “This isn’t about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map [yes, indeed, less than 10 full months is a very long time here in the United States of Amnesia!]; it’s about a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life,” and also noted:

Liberals were quick to denounce Palin at the time of the map posting. And after Giffords’ Tucson office was vandalized that same month, the Democratic congresswoman told MSNBC, “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is, the way she has it depicted it has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action.”

Giffords had every right to ask Palin and others to tone it down. But is it now fair for the rest of us to tie Palin to the accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner?

Let’s be honest: Journalists often use military terminology in describing campaigns. We talk about the air war, the bombshells, targeting politicians, knocking them off, candidates returning fire or being out of ammunition. So we shouldn’t act shocked when politicians do the same thing. Obviously, Palin should have used dots or asterisks on her map. But does anyone seriously believe she was trying to incite violence?

Yes, actually, I do. Or, minimally, I believe, her frame of mind was that it wouldn’t much have troubled her conscience if someone actually did take out someone she’d listed on her hit list. Nor do I believe that she’s really that sorry about what happened to Giffords. Palin-Quayle is a sociopath, and sociopaths by definition have no empathy for others; they care only about their own ego-filled agendas. Palin-Quayle for political purposes would offer her condolences, of course, but does she feel it? I don’t think so. I don’t think that that woman feels much of anything — except for her own lust for power.

To assert that Giffords’ attempted assassination was caused solely by “a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life,” as The Daily Beast’s Kurtz did, is beyond bullshit. It wholly ignores the social context in which Loughner grew up and in which he has lived, an environment itself in which human life is not valued, an environment in which our young people are seen only as opportunities for profit-making (as overcharged consumers and as wage slaves), as cogs in the wheels of capitalitism, and as cannon fodder. It blames Loughner, a victim of this environment, for all of the evils of this environment, while society, the system, as usual, gets off scot-fucking-free, and we can all go back to our mindless consumption now!

We spiritually dead Americans sure love our scapegoats!

The “argument” that we’re seeing now is that Palin-Quayle didn’t specifically publicly proclaim that “Someone should shoot Gabrielle Giffords in the head!” — and therefore, Palin-Quayle is blameless! (Even though she took down her hit list with the map with the gun-sight crosshairs on it after Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday!)

Fact is, when a former vice presidential candidate uses the rhetoric of assassination and links this rhetoric to an actual list of actual elected officials, this is not the “harmless,” commonly used, wholly acceptable “military” or “war” rhetoric used in politics that Howard Kurtz and Chuck Todd claim it is. Are the two of them fucking liars or are they actually that fucking stupid?

And when asswipes assert that Democrats and those of us on the left are just as guilty as are Repugnican Tea Partiers and those on the right of the use of assassination rhetoric and in actual acts of violence and intimidation, they need to fucking cite actual examples of Democratic or left-wing sins. It’s not fucking good enough to vaguely assert that “both sides are equally guilty” when, in fact, this is demonstrably fucking false.

For now, Jared Lee Loughner isn’t talking. We don’t know if he was inspired by Sarah Palin-Quayle’s assassination rhetoric or not, but if he never saw her hit-list map with the gun-sight crosshairs and never received her accompanying Tweet to “RELOAD!”, perhaps he did see the advertisement for Gabrielle Giffords’ Repugnican Tea Party opponent’s fundraiser in June that read: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly.”

See, Kelly talked about “removing Gabrielle Giffords from office” and “shooting a fully automatic M15” in the same advertisement, but what a streeeeeeeeetch! it is to assert that one could interpret the ad as advocating gun violence against Gabrielle Giffords! No! This is perfectly acceptable political rhetoric! You see it all the time!

I have yet to see a single Democratic or other left-leaning political candidate use rhetoric like this, but we’re told by the kumbaya corporate media — “in fairness”! — that “both sides are equally guilty!”

One of the questions that Americans are asking themselves now is whether or not Giffords’ shooting will tone down, forever, the political rhetoric of violence.

It’s a stupid question because the answer to the question is obvious: The rhetoric of violence and even of assassination of one’s political opponents will die down for a little while, but here in the United States of Amnesia it won’t be long before that rhetoric is ratcheted up again, and we can, I believe, expect more assassination attempts.

We can expect this because nothing has changed. The corporately owned and controlled media are still singing the praises of centrism and bipartisanship, are still saying, without offering any actual evidence, that both sides, left and right, are equally guilty of violent rhetoric and acts of violence and intimidation, and, most of all and worst of all, we’re still asserting that when someone finally snaps in our environment of our own making in which human life is so fucking cheap and he kills someone, it was all his fault, he was just a bad apple — and our society is just fine!

The only thing that surprises me, frankly, is that in our toxic national environment — for which no one is reponsible except, of course, its victims — it took this long for an assassination attempt to happen.

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Giffords was on Palin’s hit list

In March 2010, Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle put Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ name on her hit list and indicated Giffords’ legislative district in Arizona with a graphic of gun crosshairs. Today, Giffords was shot in the head in Tucson.

We don’t know yet whether or not Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old shooter of Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson, ever saw Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle’s Facebook-page hit list — which, along with Palin-Quayle’s Tweeted advice to “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD! Pls see my Facebook page” (which contained her mapped hit list as shown above), I wrote about in March.*

Clearly, however, there are plenty of mentally unstable among us who take such advice as to “RELOAD!” and who take such symbols as gun crosshairs over an elected official’s legislative district quite seriously.

Rep. Giffords is No. 4 on Palin-Quayle’s hit list. Giffords made the hit list because she’s a Democrat in a conservative congressional district who voted for the same health-care reform bill that the Repugnican Tea Party now is trying to repeal.

Of course, members of the Repugnican Tea Party, such as Palin-Quayle and Repugnican Tea Party House Speaker John Boehner, are falling over each other now to express their condolences for the violence that the Repugnican Tea Party condones — and their claims that of course the Repugnican Tea Party does not condone violence!

Fact is, once the idea is put out there, repeatedly, that it’s OK to commit violence against elected officials with whom one disagrees, it kind of doesn’t matter who exactly suggests it (such as Nevadan Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s suggestion that “Second-Amendment remedies” might be necessary for those elected officials who just won’t do what we want them to do) or who exactly the suggested targets are; it just contributes toward making the idea of shooting elected officials whom you don’t like the new norm.

They will deny their obvious complicity in actual acts of violence, as the fucking hypocrites never admit their wrongdoings, but those of us few Americans who still value what is left of what we call our “democracy” have to hold the feet of the members of the Repugnican Tea Party to the fire for the violence that they promote. (Figuratively. [For now.])

*In that post, titled “Bricks and Stones Can Start a Civil War,” I concluded:

Today, bricks — tomorrow, bullets?

It would be interesting to see what would happen in the aftermath of a “tea-baggin’” fascist actually assassinating someone, and I have to wonder if the question isn’t whether that will happen but when it will happen.

Hey, sign me up for the next civil war! I’ll be happy to fight for the blue states! This next time, though, we need to finish the job!

You betcha!

I still feel that way, by the way. I prefer bloodlessness, but if it’s a bloody civil war that the wingnuts want, I still say: Let’s give it to them!

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