Friday, May 27, 2005

Hot Hot Island of The Honest Media Scapegoat , Beer In Decline, The Webb Master, Good Things, & That's Why I reach For My Revolver

I'm gonna throw y'all just a few bits & tidbits from here there and nowhere that ya may not wanna hear, and according to your personal worldview, may or may not tell a complete story...

but, deal with it... (if ya want something more more serene than cerebral & more coherent than caffeinated, hey peruse my darn archives of past posts..).

Michael Isikoff


Int'l Troublemaker ?


Firstly, it looks like Michael Isikoff of Newsweek is not alone anymore... ( we'll dedicate
Hot Hot Heat -Island of The Honest Man.
to the writer who is being blamed for the outcry about the dismal human rights record of the U.S concerning etc lately)


Last night I was surprised to see major news orgs finally acknowledge what & other human rights activists have been reporting for years.

Isikoff & Newsweek's recently retracted story is now being summarily backed up by a litany of mainstream news orgs including the BBC, NY Times, CNN and others who are now reporting on the existence of reports that mention interrogators using toilets & the Quran as a tool of intimidation of detainees at Guantanamo.

Last Week was a weird episode where the gov't was actually trying so hard to spin this story away from their own actions that they began SCAPEGOATING NEWSWEEK. A classic case of "Kill The Messenger", especially potent when the messenger in question is a product of the Washington Post family. The Post, the Beltway paper not owned by The Moonies, is the scourge of neo con freaks & right wing information twisters since the glory days of deceit when Tricky Dick Nixon ruled the Republican roost. Lyndon Johnson hated that rag too, just to be fair.

However, Bush's buddies blaming Newsweek for reporting what no one wants to hear was to be expected, but blaming the mag for the 17 deaths that occured in Muslim riots overseas and America's strained image was an outlandish example of the Orwellian right wing truth repair squads in serious denial.



http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/22022/

But as noted in the Alternet article above : "Newsweek's retraction is ambiguous, suggesting they believe the incident may have happened but no longer can demonstrate that it was cited in the specific U.S. government documents, as originally reported."

Now, after a week of lambasting Newsweek for failing to tow the line, indeed the mainstream media have actually looked into the claims of detainees that their muslim holy books have been used for toilet training at Guantanamo, and guess what... it sorta appears that there's more than just an erroneous Newsweek report to go on...

The Red Cross even said last week it had told U.S. authorities of detainee allegations that muslim Qurans had been desecrated. It also offered a rare public rebuke in late 2003, calling the prisoners' prolonged detentions "worrying."

Declassified FBI records released Wednesday showed that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay told U.S. interrogators as early as April 2002, only four months after the first detainees arrived from Afghanistan, gosh golly, hmm... that U.S. military guards abused the so-called "enemy combatants" and desecrated the Quran.

here's a few links to sites other than the feeble retractable Newsweek

CNN FBI records: Detainees allege Quran abuse -
MSNBC FBI records cite prisoner claims of Quran abuse -
Washington Post -Guantanamo Guards Accused of Mistreating Koran in FBI memo that backs retracted allegations
Reuters FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran -
ABCNEWS.com FBI Records Cite Quran Abuse Allegations



I was actually kinda shocked when Newsweek so quickly retracted their story last week under obvious White House pressure... What's so surprising here? When we've all seen the photos of Abu Ghraib and heard rumors of prisoner neglect, torture and worthless interrogation sessions from the blackholes of Guantanamo...

One of the last great muckrakers in journalism, Greg Palast, fumed about the Newsweak incident in his column in the British Observer.

"It's appalling that this story got out there," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on her way back from Iraq.

What's not appalling to Condi is that the US is holding prisoners at Guantanamo under conditions termed "torture" by the Red Cross. What's not appalling to Condi is that prisoners of the Afghan war are held in violation of international law after that conflict has supposedly ended.


But sadly, he was mostly alone.

In a classic example of being focused on the wrong issues, America's media ignored the torture isues, & instead watched for the stock price of Newsweek's apologizing parent company to fall .
see quote from this link to MarketWatch, Monday, 05/23/05

The Washington Post Co., the owner of Newsweek, has no comment on the retracted story controversy. The company's share price doesn't appear to be endangered so far.


( uh... glad the stock is doing well and all, i guess thats' pretty great but isn't one of the real issues here the US reputation that is damaged?)

Call me friggin' crazy, but I don't think a one sentence blurb in Newsweek actually ruined our country's reputation as much as 5 unchecked years of internationally deploarable behavior by Bush admin goons.

Thank the lordy the Bolton vote has been blocked for now, that's all we need is a moustachioed misanthrope deriding the United Nations from within the United Nations for the benefit of the uh, global community.... >Bolton & his 'stache



also, aside from the mainstream media links i put above, here are the documents in PDF form where detainess mention their complaints about tactics used in their interrogations and a couple links to outside human rights groups & non profits that don't have shareholders & advertisers only eager to tow the pentagon line of denial...


Detention in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay: statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed (pdf)
Read the letter from Moazzam Begg (pdf)


Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Centre for Constitutional Rights


A website called Political Gateway had some sentinent comments on the Newsweek / Guantanamo denial / accusation mess that I think are worth repeating, so here's their recount & spin: May 16th - NewsWeek retracts story



"Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay," editor Mark Whitaker said.



Over? Hardly



May 26th - FBI documents show story was most likely based on real reports

http://www.politicalgateway.com/news/read.html?id=3857




Detainees interviewed by FBI agents at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba complained repeatedly that military guards and interrogators mistreated the Koran, with one alleging that the Muslim holy book had been flushed in a toilet, documents made public Wednesday show.



The documents -- FBI summaries of interviews with detainees at the military-run prison in 2002 and 2003 -- show that the treatment of the Koran was a key point of contention between detainees and their guards, one that prompted hunger strikes and threats of mass suicide.



Afterward



Major news outlets have all posted this same information, both anti administration and anti newsweek. It is obvious to this reporter there is much more than a few 'fake dead' Afghans at the heart of this story. Both political machines levied this story to maximum advantage and incited many Americans. It was great in the beginning for the 'right' and now it is looking good politically for the 'left'.



We have great politicians in the US. We have great political strategists in the US.



What we need are great leaders in the US. What we need are less dead American soldiers.




Perhaps the root of the problem is this. "Every major supplier of the world's oil is run by a monarch or dictator." A percentage of almost every penny you spend at the pump lines the pockets of 'evil' leaders who incite hatred against America. Bin Laden's money did not come from anyone but people who bought gas.




I gotta give the folks at Poltical Gateway kudos for at least getting "radical" & addressing what they see as the root of these issues. Radix is a latin word referring to "the root", hence the origin of the term radical. There is nothing inherently radical about arguing on talkshows or blog comment boxes, tipping trashcans or spray painting slogans. Radical is about getting to the bottom of the problem. I see far too little of our country's simmering semantic discourse directed at the systemic and base issues involved in our current territorial travails...


Meanwhile, while mediocre megalomanical media mavens spin the Gunatanamo story, more torture tales drift around in the shadows. U.S. citizens of Pakistani descent charged on Tuesday that they were tortured during eight months of secret detention and that FBI interrogators were aware of the mistreatment by Pakistani security forces but did not intervene.

uh, I mean who is really surprised by that allegation ? ?
I'm sure the loyal Limbaugh alikes & near sighted neo con talk talk talk all the time pundits will disparage the credibility of these accusers ( if they bother to mention this item at all) ...
but, if you ever had your ass kicked by a cop or local bully (i.e security forces) for no reason other than the neighborhood you live in, look on your face, or color of your skin... you wouldn't have such a hard time believing it. Ask any 16 year old inner city or non-white kid hanging on a corner if he's ever been threatened or smacked by a cop ? I have had ribs bruised and scars cut into my face by cops for crimes like skateboarding right here in liberal ol' San Francisco. How much of a stretch is it to imagine what would happen in custody in Guantanamo or one of the 'Stans???

If the mainstream media has a hard time reporting this stuff, it does not bode well for freedom of the press, much less for the freedom of the rapidly expanding seas of humanity.

Oh Well...let's move on...

other stuff ( here, allow me to provide a new more festive MP3 soundtrack for the rest of this entry: How about the joyous pounding mayhem of ol' Chick Webb & Roy Eldridge gettin down on Liza ( All The Clouds Will Roll Away ) in the good ol' 1930's prior to WWII )

Chick Webb


MORE NON-NEWS:


Beer : THE DECLINE DEBATED

http://adage.com/news.cms?newsId=45049 ( requires registration)


The JIST:
Beer has been slipping in preference amongst it's core consumers as wine and hard liquor sales increase in the US.

The major breweries are making a product that's been slowly slipping into irrelevance...


Viewed by many as setting a new low in TV advertising was Anheuser-Busch's farting horse commercial

Future signs for the beer business are not good. A Morgan Stanley study found that spirits -- rather than beer -- have become the most popular drink choice among the 21- to 27-year-old set. Baby Boomers are aging and leaving beer behind. Sixty-one\r\npercent of those responding to an Ad Age magazine poll said it will take more than better marketing to reverse the beer business' decline. Along withseeking their poll vote, Ad Age also invited readers to share comments... Interesting points are made by respondents including consumers as well\r\nas higher ups at Heineken, Diageo, Minnesota Vikings, Microwbrewers etc.

Meanwhile , in what passes for news worthy around the world:

China has been scoffing at & rebuffing US request to revalue currency
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3284844a6026,00.html

The US Treasury has changed Chinese textile quotas, because of China's rigid foreign exchangepolicy, which US manufacturers say undervalues the yuan by as much as 40 per cent giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage in world markets. Chinese officials
bit back, telling the US "put its own house in order before blaming others" for its trade deficit.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3284844a6026,00.html



Relatively Quiet Nuke Plant Leak in UK,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/nuclear/article/0,2763,1479527,00.html
... what\'s scary is what's not being said...


Ted Turner Has a Job Offer for new Grads

CNN founder Ted Turner told graduates of New England College that they should consider getting jobs at his Ted's Montana Grill restaurants because such positions won't be outsourced to India.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050516/REPOSITORY/505160336/1031


MOYERS ADDRESSES PBS COUP
some words from Bill Moyers,

In this highly anticipated speech the veteran public
broadcaster takes on the Bush admin's PBS coup and its right-wing
engineers who are 'squealing like a stuck pig.'
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/22021/
-----------------------------

Rolling Stone Mag Returns To Focus? Rejects Its Inner "Lad" ?

Will Dana, one of three deputy managing editors at Rolling Stone, is being promoted to managing editor. The magazine is supposedly refocusing on politics, culture and music, as it sees the "lad" craze fade (ala titty rags like Maxim, Dennis, Esquire etc).

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/16/business/media/16wenner.html


In honor of Rolling Stone at least announcing an attempt to find it's long lost soul again we'll drop in an indie-esque track for ya

here check out Sebadoh - Good Things live on the vital non profit FM outpost known as KVRX in Austin TX
--

WARNING: WE DISCRIMINATE
---------------------------------------------------------

Boy Scouts now must sign a sexual orientation disclosure statement.
http://www.alternet.org/rights/22030/

WARNING: WE NEED EVEN MORE I.D

I lost my wallet again recently, it's kind of a tradition... The only problem is I have to catch a plane in less than a week and there is literally no way in the modern world to replace my I.D within the 8 days I have.

I've been pretty P.O'd at banks for years, they've stolen my money, withheld my money for unreasonable amounts of time, and recently decided they couldn't cash one of my paychecks, because I didn't have "two" forms of proper ID.

Looks like eventually the feds will soon insure I'll need three...

Over at News.com, Declan McCullagh files this FAQ about the Real ID act, which passed in the House recently.

What's all the fuss with the Real ID Act about?
President Bush's $82 billion military spending bill will, in part, mandate electronically readable federal ID cards for Americans. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the package--which includes the Real ID Act--on Thursday.

What does that mean for me?
If you live or work in the United States, you'll need a federally approved ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments, or take advantage of nearly any government service starting three years from now. Practically speaking, your driver's license likely will have to be reissued to meet federal standards.

What's new: President Bush has passed another $82 billion military spending bill that will, in part, mandate electronically readable federal ID cards for Americans.
Bottom line: The Real ID Act hands the Department of Homeland Security the power to set federal ID standards and determine whether state drivers' licenses and other cards pass muster.

In honor of all the funkless facist interference in our culture creeping into the enjoyment of our daily lives, I now leave you with Mission of Burma's classic track "THAT'S WHEN I REACH FOR MY REVOLVER
(Clint Conley)

©1981, Lambent
Music



Once I had my heroes

Once I had my dreams

But all of that is
changed now

They've turned things
inside out

The truth is not
so comfortable, no

And mother taught
us patience

The virtues of restraint

And father taught
us boundaries

Beyond which we must
go

To find the secrets
promised us, yeah

That's when I reach
for my revolver

That's when it all
gets blown away

That's when I reach
for my revolver

The spirit fights
to find its way

A friend of mine
once told me

His one and only
aim

To build a giant
castle

And live inside his
name

Cry and whispers
sing in muted pain

That's when I reach
for my revolver

That's when it all
gets blown away

That's when I reach
for my revolver

The spirit fights
to find its way

Tonight the sky is
empty

But that is nothing
new

Its dead eyes look
upon us

And they tell us
we're nothing but slaves

That's when I reach
for my revolver


(...but slaves)

That's when I reach
for my revolver

That's when I reach
for my revolver

That's when I reach
for my revolver

That's when I reach
for my revolver


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