David Kirkpatrick

March 2, 2010

Why does Chuck Grassley hate America?

Does he not understand the rule of law within the United State’s judicial system, or is he just trying to score very cheap and dirty political points? I’m guessing the latter is the case, but arguing lawyers for terrorism defendants are somehow terrorist sympathizers goes against everything our excellent judicial system stands for. If Grassley, and others, want to pervert our system when it comes up against terrorism suspects, the terrorists were clearly successful against Grassley and his other pantywaisted cohorts. I’m pretty sure the rest of us true Americans have faith in a process that has served us well for two hundred-plus years.

Here’s the “quote for the day” from the Daily Dish courtesy of an Air Force Colonel and former military commission prosecutor during the Bush 43 administration. Someone who has a bit more skin in this game and understanding of what is at stake legally than the cowardly Grassley and Liz Cheney:

“It is absolutely outrageous for the Cheney-Grassley crowd to try to tar and feather Neal [Katyal] and Jennifer [Daskal] and insinuate they are al-Qaeda supporters. You don’t hear anyone refer to John Adams as a turncoat for representing the Brits in the Boston Massacre trial,” – retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who served as a chief prosecutor for the military commissions under Cheney.

And here is the odious video from Liz Cheney’s group, Keep America Safe, that spawned all the blogging today on this topic and brought Grassley’s comments from last November back into the light:

October 9, 2009

CERN, LHC hit new PR speedbump

This announcement doesn’t seem to have any relevance of the science going on at CERN or the Large Hadron Collider, and sounds like one scientist’s life took a change in a bad direction. Of course the LHC doesn’t need any additional bad news.

From the link:

The French authorities have arrested a physicist who worked for years at CERN, the huge nuclear research center in Switzerland, on suspicion of links to Al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa, the center said Friday.

James Gillies, a CERN spokesman, said the physicist was still registered as a member of the research team but had not been seen for some time. In a statement, the center said that he was arrested Thursday and had worked as an analyst on projects involving itsLarge Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, since 2003, but that he was not an employee and his project would not have been of any use to terrorists.

“His work did not bring him into contact with anything that could be used for terrorism,” said the statement from the center, whose formal name is the European Organization for Nuclear Research. “None of our research has potential for military application, and all our results are published openly in the public domain.”

A person with knowledge of the investigation said that the physicist was arrested along with a younger brother, but that the physicist was the focus of the investigation. Both are French citizens of Algerian origin.

October 1, 2009

Torturing the innocent

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:44 pm

It happened, all for the purpose of false confessions. Read the linked article and realize for almost nine-tenths of the time the Bush 43 administration held the White House this was the United States. A United States of America completely unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers of this land.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:06 pm

Another day that will live in U.S. history infamy. Here’s the New York Times from today looking back to an awful morning.

And this bit is taken from a post of mine on a different subject remembering where I was and how I felt when I first heard the news of the terror attack:

… that Tuesday morning I was blindingly angry. I was woken in a vacation condo on the beach in Panama City Beach, Florida, to hear the World Trade Center towers were both struck by planes. When the media began reporting celebrations in Afghanistan I immediately thought of bin Laden (didn’t think of al Qaeda per se, but I was aware of bin Laden pre-9/11). My next thought was we should nuke that country back from its then (and now) Middle Age society to the Stone Age, or maybe to time before humans walked in Afghanistan.

That was my heart. I feel no less strongly about Islamic terrorism today than I did at that moment. I do know I think the US did very well for itself before 9/11, and to me nothing occurred that warrants changing our fundamental approach to the world.

March 18, 2009

Wilkerson on Cheney

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:46 pm

I’ve already posted on Andrew Sullivan’s reaction to this great piece by Lawrence Wilkerson on the ridiculousness of Gitmo, and the Bush 43 regime’s “intelligence” tactics.

He also took on Dick Cheney’s recent interview with CNN and pretty much rips it to shreds. Wilkerson is someone in a position to understand the internals of the Bush administration since  he was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

From the second link:

Recently, in an attempt to mask some of these failings and to exacerbate and make even more difficult the challenge to the new Obama administration, former Vice President Cheney gave an interview from his home in McLean, Virginia. The interview was almost mystifying in its twisted logic and terrifying in its fear-mongering.

As to twisted logic: “Cheney said at least 61 of the inmates who were released from Guantanamo (sic) during the Bush administration…have gone back into the business of being terrorists.” So, the fact that the Bush administration was so incompetent that it released 61 terrorists, is a valid criticism of the Obama administration? Or was this supposed to be an indication of what percentage of the still-detained men would likely turn to terrorism if released in future? Or was this a revelation that men kept in detention such as those at GITMO–even innocent men–would become terrorists if released because of the harsh treatment meted out to them at GITMO? Seven years in jail as an innocent man might do that for me. Hard to tell.

As for the fear-mongering: “When we get people who are more interested in reading the rights to an Al Qaeda (sic) terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said. Who in the Obama administration has insisted on reading any al-Qa’ida terrorist his rights? More to the point, who in that administration is not interested in protecting the United States–a clear implication of Cheney’s remarks.

But far worse is the unmistakable stoking of the 20 million listeners of Rush Limbaugh, half of whom we could label, judiciously, as half-baked nuts. Such remarks as those of the former vice president’s are like waving a red flag in front of an incensed bull. And Cheney of course knows that.

Cheney went on to say in his McLean interview that “Protecting the country’s security is a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business. These are evil people and we are not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.” I have to agree but the other way around. Cheney and his like are the evil people and we certainly are not going to prevail in the struggle with radical religion if we listen to people such as he.

March 2, 2009

CIA destroys evidence of war crimes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:52 pm

This is just shameful. Large parts of the Bush 43 years will forever be seen as some of the darkest days in U.S. history. Our president utterly failed the American people and the moral fabric of our nation.

From the link:

 The Central Intelligence Agency destroyed 92 videotapes documenting the harsh interrogations of two Al Qaeda suspects in C.I.A. detention, a greater number of destroyed tapes than the government had previously acknowledged.

The revelation came in a letter filed Monday by federal prosecutors who are investigating the destruction of the tapes by the agency’s officers, which occurred in November 2005.

It had been previously known that officials of the agency had destroyed hundreds of hours of videotaped interrogations, but the documents filed Monday reveal the number of tapes for the first time.

The tapes had been held inside a safe in the C.I.A. station in Thailand, the country where two Al Qaeda suspects — Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were interrogated.

The filing of the documents on Monday, submitted to a court in New York as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, comes as federal prosecutors are wrapping up the investigation into the matter.

January 16, 2009

Bush’s Iraq failure

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:24 pm

Whatever else you think about the war in Iraq, this bit of analysis is beyond reproach. You can try and shout down the facts, but the facts do remain.

From the link:

The Iraq war was a case study of what happens when politicisation is mixed with incompetence. A long-standing convention holds that politics stops at the ocean’s edge. But Mr Bush and his inner circle labelled the Democrats “Defeaticrats” whenever they were reluctant to support extending the war from Afghanistan to Iraq. They manipulated intelligence to demonstrate that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and had close relations with al-Qaeda. This not only divided a country that had been brought together by September 11th; it also undermined popular support for what Mr Bush regarded as the central theme of his presidency, the war on terror.

Sean Wilentz, a historian at Princeton, remarks how unusual it is for a president to have politicised such a national catastrophe: “No other president—Lincoln in the civil war, FDR in world war two, John F. Kennedy at critical moments of the cold war—faced with such a monumental set of military and political circumstances, failed to embrace the opposing political party to help wage a truly national struggle. But Bush shut out and even demonised the Democrats.”

November 28, 2008

A report from Mumbai …

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:18 pm

… via the American Conservative:

Deeprak Chopra is on the TV. Among other things, he says that the Al-Qaeda and like minded terrorists are really worried by Obama, and his capacity to transform the whole moral-intellectual landscape between the West and Islam, and are striking out to try to prevent that. Sounds about right to me.

November 19, 2008

Stay classy, al Qaeda

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:47 pm

Actually there’s nothing classy about those stone-age morons, but this is so stupid it’s painful. Who knew that along with being hate-filled, sharia-lovin’ buffoons, al Qaeda is also quite racist.

In case you’ve missed the news on the latest missive from the cave:

Indeed, the only thing I have a really strong blogometric opinion about today is the letterAyman Al-Zawahiri has issued, in which the terrorist calls the President-elect a “house slave.” If this isn’t disinformation–and it would be nice if our intelligence community were clever enough to have forged the statement–it is fabulous news for reasons most succinctly described by Richard Clarke:

“Obama’s election has taken the wind out of al Qaeda’s sails in much of the Islamic world because it demonstrates America’s renewed commitment to multiculturalism, human rights, and international law. It also proves to many that democracy can work and overcome ethnic, sectarian, or racial barriers.”

March 20, 2008

Why discussing the US and torture …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:24 pm

… is a debate worth both time and intellectual energy. In a previous post on US torture, there was (an all too short) debate on the United States use of torture, and particularly waterboarding, in the comments.

Do read the linked post and all the comments, but I’m going to include my final comment here because I feel it sums up my thoughts on the subject:

I would say elements of both the left and the right use the Global War on Terror (and all its attendant parts, including this issue) as a proxy for ideological arguments.

There are vocal elements of the left who want to do just what you wrote — shut down Gitmo, pull out of the Mideast, etc. And I’m pretty sure there’s parts of the right that would have no problem instituting full-blown, no questions asked systematic torture to attempt to pry information from captured combatants.

What I meant by not a left/right issue is, the topic under discussion — waterboarding and its role in the GWOT — transcends the ideological battles described above.

Certainly pretty much every one in opposition to the Bush administration is against our using the technique, and a number of administration supporters and members have publicly aired concerns as well. Yes, there’s a core of right wing support for waterboarding, but it is a controversial topic. Some people may make it a divisive issue, but the real debate is not inherently divisive.

As I quoted above, as recently as Vietnam our service members were court martialed for using that very technique. The technique may or not be torture, but we defined it as such for a long period of time.

September 11, 2001, created the change in that policy. As shocking as 9/11 was, at the highest levels of government it was not a complete surprise. We’ve known about bin Laden and al Qaeda for a long time, and knew he was plotting against our policies and person.

The question I ask is 9/11 and the subsequent framing of the GWOT worthy of throwing out a policy of non-torture that began during the Revolutionary War and was put into practice by George Washington?

I don’t think the technique is necessary to effectively prosecute the GWOT. I would particularly like to hear a sound justification from the administration why this change in policy was necessary and how it is effective. I’m sympathetic to needs of secrecy regarding the GWOT because there is a unique, and new, nature to the threats facing the US, but I also think this shift is so fundamental to our national heritage and image this debate should be conducted with much more transparency on both sides.

Sure waterboarding is a proxy for many things left and right, but it’s also a tangible and controversial issue.

You mention you feel I’m passing judgement after listening only to the prosecution. I feel I’ve read a wealth of material from sources on the left and right, and from journalism (biased or not) that presents facts. To date the pro-waterboarding side has not persuaded me that bin Laden and his minions require the US to radically change the way we approach the rest of the world militarily and legally. I think the America of September 10, 2001, was perfectly capable of handling the GWOT.

Sure that Tuesday morning I was blindingly angry. I was woken in a vacation condo on the beach in Panama City Beach, Florida, to hear the World Trade Center towers were both struck by planes. When the media began reporting celebrations in Afghanistan I immediately thought of bin Laden (didn’t think of al Qaeda per se, but I was aware of bin Laden pre-9/11). My next thought was we should nuke that country back from its then (and now) Middle Age society to the Stone Age, or maybe to time before humans walked in Afghanistan.

That was my heart. I feel no less strongly about Islamic terrorism today than I did at that moment. I do know I think the US did very well for itself before 9/11, and to me nothing occurred that warrants changing our fundamental approach to the world.

So that’s the question I ask, and the topic I’m discussing — does the GWOT make changing our core values necessary? Or worthwhile? For me, until I learn something completely new about the topic, the answer is no.

March 13, 2008

Iraq — no WMDs, no al Qaeda/Saddam connection

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:05 pm

Okay. We found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the reason given pre-invasion for immediate action. Maybe the intelligence was bad, maybe cooked up. At this point there’s no way of knowing.

After that intelligence failure was disclosed and publicized, the Bush 43 regime continued (and still does to some extent) to push the idea the Iraq invasion was also important because we were able to break up an al Qaeda/Saddam Hussein party plotting against the US.

Whoops. Turns out that was patently false, and a US military study conclusively covers that very fact.

From the TPM Muckraker link:

We were told by the Joint Forces Command that our copy was mailed today. But ABC News has already got its copy and posted it for all to see. So here you go (pdf). Behold! “This study found no ‘smoking gun’ (i.e. direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda.”

It’s a shame every stated justification for the preemptive strike against Iraq has proven false. Right now we are in a true quagmire, with no end in sight. It’s wonderful the “surge” has improved conditions, but by all rights we shouldn’t be caught in a brutal civil war and spending unfathomable amounts of US treasure as our economy sinks into recession and our dollar freefalls in the international market.

(And although I’m not going to dig up any links right now, serious economists on the right and left, aside from pollyanna cheerleaders, agree we are in recession regardless how the Fed wants to play this thing.)

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