Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"The real miracle is . . . to walk on earth"

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Janis Karpinski, the former commanding general of Abu Ghraib and the entire prison system in Iraq. She was demoted, the only general to be demoted in the prison torture scandal so far. Talk about prisoner Triple X.
JANIS KARPINSKI: He was a very unusual circumstance. He was captured as a high value detainee, and we believe that when he was captured, of course, you know, he's captured by another agency, but we believed that he was going to be another one of the so-called "deck of cards" detainees.
AMY GOODMAN: What does that mean?
JANIS KARPINSKI: Well, the deck of cards was Saddam and his high-ranking people, and they assigned each one of them to a card, a different card.
AMY GOODMAN: Playing card.
JANIS KARPINSKI: Playing cards. And they called them the “deck of cards” prisoners. And we believed he was going to be one of them, because we had such little information on him. But when he was turned over to my control, we were told specifically to not -- by memorandum, by order from Secretary Rumsfeld, to not enter his name on any database. He was to be referred to only --
AMY GOODMAN: Rumsfeld told you this?
JANIS KARPINSKI: Yes. He sent a memorandum specifically about this individual. He was to be referred to as "Triple X." He was to be held in a separate location apart from any other detainees or any other contact. So, the instructions were very clear, and I -- when I saw the memorandum, I was not in Baghdad when it came in. They were in compliance with that. They kept him at a facility separate and apart from any other contact with anybody. Specific M.P.s were giving him his meals. He had -- he was for all practical purposes isolated or in solitary confinement without being in a confinement cell.
So, when I returned to Baghdad and saw these instructions, I went right to Colonel Warren, who was the legal adviser, and I said, "This is a violation." And he said, "Well, we'll try to get clarification, but this is from Rumsfeld's office." And I said, "It's a violation. You have to put people on the database. And how much longer are we going to be held responsible for him? You take control of him. If you want to violate a Geneva Convention, that's up to you, but I don't want to keep him in one of our camps this way."

We're all opening with Democracy Now! tonight. C.I. and Rebecca put out phone calls this morning asking that everyone please note this interview. The interview is entitled "Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame 'Goes All the Way to The Top'" (Democracy Now!) This interview today is so important that you really need to make time for it. I don't care if you watch it or listen to it or just read the transcript, but this is important.

We're reading Kaprinski's book for The Third Estate Sunday Review and maybe you're wondering if the book is out? It is out. The New York Times loves their book reports but they're strangely silent on news of ghost detainees. Now they love their official sources, but Kaprinski should qualify for that. So why isn't the Times all over this story?

You think at a time when they're being (rightly) slammed for Judith Miller, they'd be doing everything they could to prove they're a real paper and not just minutes of stenography dictated by the administration.

"Triple X" was a ghost detainee. Who authorized that status? Donald Rumsfeld did. In violation of the Geeneva Conventions, a prisoner was kept "off the books."

Before the election, lap dog Senator Pat Roberts swore there would be an investigation into the claims (false ones) that led us into war. After the election, Roberts has developed amnesia and suddenly has no interest in determing how we were lied into war.

Military: 2,000 Figure "Not a Milestone" (Democracy Now!)
The military has attempted to downplay the significance of the 2000th death. Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Steve Boylan called the 2,000 figure an "artificial mark on the wall… set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives." In an e-mail to reporters, Boylan wrote: "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone."

Where's the accountability? It only comes if we demand it. Pat Roberts made a promise. He's not too concerned about it now. We need to make him concerned. We need to put pressure on all of our representatives to earn the money they make by representing the interests of the people and not being water carriers for the administration.

We can do that. The administration and Congress haven't done anything out of the goodness of their heart. Any response, however tiny, has resulted from our actions. The summer of protests is being dismissed by useless people like Scott Ritter who want to say that it didn't matter. It did matter. People came together and even with the press trying to dismiss it, the nation noticed and so did the elected officials. We can pressure for responses.

The 2006 elections are coming up and reps need to know that you are not happy. They need to hear from you.

The occupation continues but the work of people who care about justice has resulted in chipping away the Bully Boy's poll numbers, has forced the lapdog media to get a little more feisty, has begun the discussion about the war that should have taken place before the war.

Good people have been dissed and dismissed. Idiots have felt the need to distort Cindy Sheehan and offer up that it didn't matter what Cindy Sheehan thought about the occupation, that this was something better left to leaders (which apparently includes the out of the Senate John Edwards -- never has a one term senator had so much power with some).

While good people have struggled and fought, liars have told you that Cindy Sheehan didn't want the troops home. Liars have pushed John Edwards as the brave voice of the nation. John Edwards' position on Iraq is what?

Tell you what, when the one term senator figures out where he stands on Iraq, we'll all consider him as a potential candidate. Until then, he's a one term senator who's offering nothing but book clubs.

We reached the 2,000 mark. And the best useless liars who feel the need to make their lives all about getting John Edwards elected in 2008 (he might have to work on the lisp between now and then). If I seem harsh, read Cedric's post. I'm highly offended that on the day someone didn't even note the death of Rosa Parks, they're lamenting a death from three years ago while calling an African-American man "a credit" without realizing how "some of my best friends are black" racist that sounds.

I've had it with people like that. People who lied about Cindy Sheehan during Camp Casey and when called on it, couldn't correct their lies. It's a lie when you know better. It's not a mistake if it's pointed out to you. It's a lie. And to then try to mitigate your lie by stating that it's not really Cindy Sheehan's place to decide what we need to do about the war? It is her place. In a functioning democracy we don't turn over our right to decide. We don't abdicate our role.

Some can hide behind the body count and make lame statements like "we salute you" while they push for more troops on the ground in the illegal war. True support is getting the troops out of Iraq. Anything else is just phoney and fake.

That may be John Edwards' position. He seemed to confuse his own public life with John Kerry's at the Democratic Convention so who knows what flight of fancy he's off on now?

But there are people dying in an unjust war that the nation was lied into. Liars who compounded that lie by falsely claiming Cindy Sheehan was not for bringing the troops home now have demonstrated that they are in the field of public relations and not interested in honesty.

Apparently Rosa Parks wasn't a "hot" enough topic for the p.r. flacks posing as independent voices?

Before they lecture on morality, they might want to try looking at their own. Their immoral hedging on an immoral war didn't help anyone. Their immoral lying about Cindy Sheehan didn't help anyone. Their immoral covering for Jim Wallis' positions while they try to push the Party's latest talking point (and blur the line that is supposed to exist in this country) doesn't help anyone.

Here's my fear. In 2006, they cover and provide cover so even if the Democrats take back the House or Senate (or both) it doesn't matter. Why? They've covered and spun and no one's had to take a position or stake out where they stand.

To all those making themselves useless, tonight's peace quote is dedicated to you.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
The real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh

That means walking with the people, not sucking up to whatever candidate for 2008 you're already supporting.

Check out Mike and Rebecca tonight. We're all on the phone making sure we covered something different in our quote from the interview. This isn't a time to be frivilous. But you'll note that just as some didn't feel Rosa Parks' passing was important, they also don't feel that the interview today on Democracy Now! is important. Maybe the Democratic Party, or the DLC wing of it?, didn't issue marching orders today?