Posts Tagged ‘Guantanamo Bay’

Newt Gingrich in ’97: “There is no place for torture and arbitrary detention”

April 27, 2009

Good old Newt Gingrich has been in politics too long.  Quotes from his past are beginning to catch up with him and the Democratic Party just may have found a flip-flop moment that could put Gingrich in hot water with his Republican base.

Funny how being opposed to torture may actually hurt the future Republican Presidential Candidate

Being opposed to torture may actually hurt the future Republican Presidential Candidate.

In 1997, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, released a statement that said the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 30, 1997
SPEAKER’S STATEMENT ON VISIT OF PRESIDENT JIANG
Washington, D.C. — House Speaker Newt Gingrich released the following statement today following his meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

“As I said in China this spring, there is no place for abuse in what must be considered the family of man. There is no place for torture and arbitrary detention. There is no place for forced confessions. There is no place for intolerance of dissent.” “While we walked through the Rotunda. I explained to President Jiang how the roots of American rule of law go back more than 700 years, to the signing of the Magna Carta. The foundation of American values, therefore, is not a passing priority or a temporary trend.

That last sentence is the kicker.  Gingrich cannot hide behind the “everything changed after 9/11” bullshit that has been used to justify both torture and arbitrary detention.

In a recent interview with Greta Van Susteren, Gingrich was grilled by the side-of-the-mouth talker.  It’s not really too big of a surprise because Van Susteren’s husband is one of Sarah Palin’s advisers, so she has a vested interest in Gingrich losing the 2012 nomination.  In any case, here is the interview:

VAN SUSTEREN: But you said a minute ago that it was torture, waterboarding…
GINGRICH: No, I said it’s not something we should do.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Is it torture or not?

GINGRICH: I — I — I think it’s — I can’t tell you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it violate the Geneva Convention?

GINGRICH: I honestly don’t know.

I can’t tell you?  What the fuck?  Do you know whether waterboarding is torture or not and you’re just following some stupid Republican talking point?

I do agree with Gingrich on his original statement, but I’m sure you’ll see him backpedal like no other during the primaries.  We should be opposed to torture every day.  A post 9/11 world is only an excuse for those who seek to undermine the very foundations of this country.

RWP Rating: Strange

Montana town wants Guantanamo Bay detainees, federal lawmakers reject the idea

April 24, 2009

Two Democratic Senators from Montana have spoken out about allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees into a state jail.  A new jail constructed in Hardin, Montana was to be the new home for the prisoners.  Local Hardin officials have insisted that they do want to house the detainees in order to help pay the cost of the jail as well as create jobs in a troubled economy.

I hope better transportation will be provided when they move.

I hope better transportation will be provided when they move.

Greg Smith, the Two Rivers Authority director, said “Somebody has to stand up and put (the Guantanamo prisoners) in their backyards. It’s our patriotic duty.”  Despite this local opinion, Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus apparently believe that housing the criminals in their state will hurt them politically in Montana’s other districts.

Baucus said “we’re not going to bring Al-Qaeda to Big Sky Country – no way, not on my watch.”  Tester reiterated Baucus’ sentiment without the hometown charm saying he is “against any proposal to bring Guantanamo detainees to Montana.”

Montana’s sole Representative Republican Denny Rehberg also chimed in on the issue, taking it one step farther: “we should be doing everything possible to keep them out of our country, let alone our state.”

Rehberg is a pretty typical lobbyist dicksucker, so I’m not too surprised about him.  But Tester and Baucus need to realize that their state is perfect for housing these detainees.  Hardin is a town of less than 4,000 people and there are no large cities that detainees could escape to if they were somehow freed. Not to mention the fact that every single damn person in Montana owns a gun and will not hesitate to fire at trespassers.  One of my friends learned that the hard way.

We need to follow the rule of law.  Hell, Baucus voted for giving Gitmo detainees Habeas Corpus, so he shares my sentiment.  I just feel like this is all being done for political expediency.  It may not be popular in Missoula and Billings, but if Hardin residents want to work and are willing to provide top-notch security, then some federal bureaucrats, who probably shouldn’t even have a say in this (what does Governor Brian Schweitzer think?)  should just let it happen.

RWP Rating: Unusual

Full Story: Billings Gazette

Miss Universe checks in to Guantanamo Bay says it was a “loooot of fun”

March 30, 2009

Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008 from Caracas, Venezuela, took a trip to United States prison camp Guantanamo Bay over the weekend.  The death camp…er…torture camp was made infamous during the War on Terror for its questionable interrogation tactics.

Que pasa?  Tengo calor.

Que pasa? Tengo calor.

Mendoza wrote a lengthy entry in her blog describing the trip.

This week, Guantanamo!!! It was an incredible experience.
We arrived in Gitmo on Friday and stared going around the town, everybody knew Crystle and I were coming so the first thing we did was attend a big lunch and then we visited one of the bars they have in the base. We talked about Gitmo and what is was like living there. The next days we had a wonderful time, this truly was a memorable trip! We hung out with the guys from the East Coast and they showed us the boat inside and out, how they work and what they do, we took a ride around the land and it was a loooot of fun!

We also met the Military dogs, and they did a very nice demonstration of their skills.

Military dogs

Military dogs showing their skills.

Mendoza has to be living a bizarre life right now.  Somehow she has to swear by the “patriotism” of her corporate American sponsors while remaining loyal to that asshole Hugo Chavez.   She better not wave that American flag too ferociously or she won’t be welcome back to her country.   Guantanamo Bay will be shut down in the coming months by the Obama administration.

RWP Rating: Bizarre

FULL STORY: Miss Universe Blog

Real News of the Day: Spain investigating Bush officials for war crimes

March 28, 2009

Guantanamo Bay was essential to the Bush Administration’s War on Terror.   Its location in Cuba enabled a suspension of Habeas Corpus and due process.  Many suspected terrorists from many different countries were extradited to Guantanamo Bay.  Five of those suspects were from Spain.

The Bush Administrations worst nightmare.

The Bush Administration's worst nightmare.

Each of the Spanish citizens claims that they were tortured during their time in the prison.  All were released and stood trial in Spain and all of their cases were eventually dismissed.   So now  there are five free Spanish citizens that were tortured because of decisions made by a small list of top Bush officials.  Number one on that list?  Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Investigative judge Baltasar Garzon is examining the case in further detail.  Garzon gained fame in the 1970s for ordering the arrest of Chilean dictator (and American puppet) Augusto Pinochet.   Since then, Garzon has been a prominent human rights advocate, holding nations and terrorists, including Al-Qaeda, responsible for thier violations.

Also named in the report is former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo.  Yoo recently came under fire for writing memos in the wake of the September 11 attacks that would suspend the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment in the United States.  These memos were immediately retracted by the new chief of the Justice Department Jack Goldsmith when the Obama Administration took over.

John Yoo despises the Constitution.

John Yoo despises the Constitution.

Garzon is investigating Yoo and Gonzalez for knowingly circumventing the Geneva Conventions as well as the 1984 Convention Against Torture.  Torture tactics used by the United States including waterboarding were considered to be in violation.  Yoo and Gonzalez are also accused of attempting to redefine torture to fit in with the War on Terror ideology.

Other Bush Administration officials in the investigation include William J. Haynes II, the former general counsel for the Department of Defense, Jay Bybee, a manager at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and David S. Addington, who was the chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not named in the investigation…which is bullshit.  The buck stops at the President of the United States.  He is ultimately responsible and so is Cheney.

Cheney despises everything.

Dick Cheney despises everything.

I complain about the Obama Administration a lot.  I think that Geithner was a mistake and that we should not be bailing out AIG just because it cuts into the profits at Goldman Sachs.  That being said, the Justice Department of the Obama Administration is 210 million times better than the Justice Department during the Bush Administration.   After 8 long years, we can say unequivocally that the United States does not torture people.

The Bush Administration worked for 8 years to undermine our Constitution, to chip away at the Fourth Amendment, and to completely decimate the moral standing we once held in the international community.   Now we have a new President who seems to legitimately care about exceeding in the realm of foreign policy.   So today, sit back and drink some lemonade.  The blood on our hands is washing away.

Further Reading: New York Times