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Archive for February, 2007

US Torture and Interrogation Tactics Finally Being Put on Trial

Posted in Email, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2007 4:02 pm by HL

A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial

The Nation
Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to “break” prisoners are finally being put on trial.

This was not supposed to happen. The Bush Administration’s plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla’s lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government.

According to his lawyers and two mental health specialists who examined him, Padilla has been so shattered that he lacks the ability to assist in his own defense. He is convinced that his lawyers are “part of a continuing interrogation program” and sees his captors as protectors. In order to prove that “the extended torture visited upon Mr. Padilla has left him damaged,” his lawyers want to tell the court what happened during those years in the Navy brig. The prosecution strenuously objects, maintaining that “Padilla is competent,” that his treatment is irrelevant.

US District Judge Marcia Cooke disagrees. “It’s not like Mr. Padilla was living in a box. He was at a place. Things happened to him at that place.” The judge has ordered several prison employees to testify at the hearings on Padilla’s mental state, which begin February 22. They will be asked how a man alleged to have engaged in elaborate antigovernment plots now acts, in the words of brig staff, “like a piece of furniture.”

It’s difficult to overstate the significance of these hearings. The techniques used to break Padilla have been standard operating procedure at Guantánamo Bay since the first prisoners arrived five years ago. They wore blackout goggles and sound-blocking headphones and were placed in extended isolation, interrupted by strobe lights and heavy metal music. These same practices have been documented in dozens of cases of CIA “extraordinary rendition” as well as in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan

H.L.s Take
Of course we chronicled all of this in The HL long ago. It would be nice if the mainstream media would get involved in this story so more people will be educated as to what our great country is doing to people some of which were rounded up so Bush could claim he was doing something about the “terrorist,” many of them of course have been released without charges after many years, but there are still many in Guantanamo who have not been tried and may be there forever. Torture by the US must stop for many reasons not the least of which is that if the “enemy” knows we are torturing suspects that will make it that much easier for them to do it to our soldiers if they were captured. Our reptuation around the world under Bush is bad enough as it is.

Scramble for Iraq’s oil begins as troops start to pull out

Posted in Email, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2007 3:52 pm by HL

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty

Bush loves the war
We are about to find out if the invasion of Iraq really was a war for oil. The country is on the verge of passing a petroleum law, which will set down rules for investing in its oil industry. That will set off a race among the foreign oil giants, scrambling for their slice of Iraq’s vast oil riches. Britain’s two world-leading oil companies, BP and Shell, both say they want to enter Iraq. Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Total, Russia’s Lukoil and the Chinese will also form part of the rush.

Even while the security situation in Iraq remains dire, it seems the prize will be just too great for the oil majors to resist. The country has proven reserves of 115 billion barrels of oil, around the same as Iran, but it is thought that its actual reserves could be anywhere up to 300 billion barrels – which would make it bigger than Saudi Arabia. Much of the west of Iraq remains unexplored.

John Teeling, chairman of Petrel Resources, the explorer listed on London’s AIM market which has had interests in Iraq since 1997, says: “Iraq has 70 discovered, undeveloped fields. You’d die for any one of them. Even the small ones have a billion barrels. If this isn’t the holy grail, it’s right next door to it.”

H.L.’s Take
This is part of the reason that Bush and Cheney are so hellbent on staying in Iraq, and even escalating the war, when everyone else including thier own advisors want to get out. There are still vast resources of oil that Bush has yet to steal over there, he wants to stay in Iraq forever, they are pumping oil out of unmetered wells, and no one knows where it is going. Bush wants to keep grabbing that oil until he leaves office and retires to his 98,000 acre ranch in Paraguay.

Severe Poverty Rate In US Higest Since ’75

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2007 3:40 pm by HL

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty

Bradenton (Fl.) Herald
WASHINGTON – The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation’s “haves” and “have-nots” continues to widen.

The plight of the severely poor is a distressing sidebar to an unusual economic expansion. Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.

These and other factors have helped push 43 percent of the nation’s 37 million poor people into deep poverty – the highest rate since at least 1975.

HL’s Take
If the poor are spending all their time working just to make ends meet, they will never have a chance to fight to make a better life for themselves. Stagnant wages, more expensive health care, higher gas prices to get to work. I recently read in a column by a writer who has a fellowship at the Brookings Institute that the minimim wage in 1960, was the equivalent of $12 an hour today. They poor will just keep working and having the government use thier tax money to fight thier wars of corruption. It’s class warfare. They don’t want you to think that but that’s what it is.

Clear Channel Losing Its Power

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2007 3:23 pm by HL

NEW: Clear Channel earnings drop 54%

San Antonio Express News
As it lobbies shareholders to vote for an $18.7 billion buyout proposal, Clear Channel Communications Inc. today announced that its fourth-quarter 2006 earnings fell 54 percent.

H.L.s Take
What? the company that owns Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, and helped banned the dixie chicks lost a whopping 54%? Not surprising given the fact that everyone now have come to realize the error of their of ways for supporting this right wing troll organization. I wonder if they will keep paying Rush 30 Million a year to spew his lies if the earnings keep falling at the current pace?

Rush Limbaugh Viagra

Half Billion Dollar Bush Library Planned

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 24th, 2007 3:11 pm by HL

Dubya’s half-billion tower of Babel

Bend (Ore.) Weekly
Bush will have his own library, stop laughing
After six years of incompetence and cronyism, a failed war against terrorism, the quagmire that is Iraq, wars against science, the environment, corporate regulation and the public’s right-to-know, a chummy working relationship with the country’s most reactionary conservative evangelical Christians, a politicized faith-based initiative, giveaways to the energy industry, tax relief for the wealthy, a culture of corruption culminating in the forced resignations and imprisonment of some of the administrations key soldiers, and an attack on fundamental democratic rights and values, the Bush Administration is hatching plans to celebrate itself with a $500 million library (the costliest presidential library ever) to be built after Bush’s second term is over.

H.L.s Take
Is that where he is going to hide the papers about all the illegal stuff that he, his father, and Reagan did? Currently they are being kept under wraps at the University of Texas, where no one can see them. Bush Library, what a laugh. Has there ever been a library named after someone who can barely read? They will probably have a pretty big game boy section though

Whats Up?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 23rd, 2007 1:52 pm by HL

Hey, you may have noticed we have been down and not happeneing for the past couple of days, that’s because I once again (third time) had to move the site to another web host. I hope we are now in a place where we will be able to stay for a long time and won’t have to go move the whole operation again, which is loaded with hassles. I’ll have some new postings up either tonight or tomorrow for sure. On Monday I will have the latest installment of HLs NBC News Raw Video Blog. The comments are working again so go ahead and let it fly. Talk to you soon

Tony Blair Annouces Anti-Troop Surge

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2007 7:11 am by HL

Blair announces Iraq withdrawal plan

LONDON – Britain will withdraw around 1,600 troops from Iraq in the “coming months,” aiming to cut its force to below 5,000 by late summer if Iraqi forces can secure the southern part of the country, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday.

British troops will stay in Iraq until at least 2008 and work to secure the Iran-Iraq border and maintain supply routes to U.S. and coalition troops in central Iraq, Blair told the House of Commons.

“The actual reduction in forces will be from the present 7,100 — itself down from over 9,000 two years ago and 40,000 at the time of the conflict — to roughly 5,500,” Blair said.

H.L.s Take:
Even the poodle knows when its well past time to get out. Denmark is also pulling it’s troops out of Iraq. Of course Blair, and the leader of Denmark aren’t making millions a day in stolen oil being pumped out of ummetered wells, the way Bush and Cheney are so the financial incentive is not as great.

Terroist Activity Greatly Exaggerated By Justice Department.

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2007 7:05 am by HL

Audit: Anti-terror case data flawed

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 even though no evidence linked them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit said Tuesday.

Overall, nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics on investigations, referrals and cases examined by department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine were either diminished or inflated…..

The errors led Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., to question whether the department had exaggerated the number of terror cases.

“If the Department of Justice can’t even get their own books in order, how are we supposed to have any confidence they are doing the job they should be?” said Schumer, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the department. “Whether this is just an accounting error or an attempt to pad terror prosecution statistics for some other reason, the Department of Justice of all places should be classifying cases for what they are, not what they want us to think them to be.
H.L.s Take
No suprise here, of course the terror stats have to be amped up to keep the people in fear of another attack so they can continue to have the government shove its nose deeper and deeper up every citizens ass, with more surveillance, more cops, more security, more snooping into our private affairs. They can also justify keeping the unending war going on so we can beat a boogeyman that does not exist.

On a side note: I live right next to the Kodak theatre in Hollywood where the Oscars will be held in 5 days. The theatre is located inside a mall, and even though its still almost a week away there is so much security around you would think we were in the middle of the green zone. They are stopping every car that comes in and searching their trunks, they have those long sticks with mirrors attached to the end of that they use to check under every car, like you see when you are crossing the border back into the US. They have half the street blocked off so you can’t get around the line of cars waithing to be inspected, even if you are not going into the mall. They have Hollywood Bd. closed down so traffic is snarled in every driection, and this has been going on for many days already. Not to mention LAPD everywhere with sirens blasting and helicopters hovering overhead at the drop of a hat. All because they are “afraid” that some “terrorist” is going to bomb the Oscars. What a joke. Of course they have to keep up the charade so that all these people can justify thier jobs, while the people in the neighborhood have to put up with all this BS.

Obama Comes To The Golden State

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2007 6:58 am by HL

Obama, ’08 candidates head to California

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy were just some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities who forked over campaign dollars at a fundraiser for Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record).

Presidential candidates have long been attracted to California by the prospect of high dollars and the opportunity to bask in Hollywood glamor. Now there is also another lure for 2008 candidates like Obama — the prospect the state may move up its primary, creating a treasure trove of delegates to be won in the early run-up to the nominations.

Lawmakers and Schwarzenegger are poised to move the state’s primary to Feb. 5 from June.

The level of presidential activity in the state is unusually intense, with roughly a year to go before votes are cast.

H.L.s Take:
And they could be getting even stronger. I am hearing rumours that Al Gore may declare his candidacy from the podium this Sunday night while he is recieving his Oscar for his film An Inconveinient Truth. That would really shake up Hollywood, Gore will berubbing elbows with every bigwig in town at the after parties. If Gore runs he can win, (I mean he already has won, hasn’t he?)
so long as he learns his lessons from his last campaign and fights this time against the lying republicans. The nation is just now starting to come to grips with our biggest problem. Global Warming, which Al has been studying, and advocating against for years.

Vermont Legislature Passes Joint Resolution Against Bush and His War

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2007 6:46 am by HL

Wings of Justice

Progressive Daily Beacon

Because of the complicated political strategy unfolding
on Capitol Hill, many states have decided to come to the aid of
our troops
being used as bait by the Bush Administration. Some State Houses
are starting to consider their own resolutions to end U.S. involvement
in the Iraq civil war.

This past week, Vermont became the first state in the Union where
both legislative houses passed resolutions calling for the forthcoming
and orderly withdrawal of
U.S. troops from Iraq. It
shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Vermont "has lost
more soldiers per capita than any other state in the nation."

H.L.s Take
The states are against it, the towns are against it, the congress is against it, the rest of the world is against it, but the only two people who matter are for it, Bush and Cheney, no wonder they stole the election and then were involved in 9/11. How else could they keep the gravy train flowing.