Tuesday, October 17, 2006

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The highest-ranking officer charged with crimes at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq allowed prisoner abuses and then lied about it, a general who investigated the scandal testified Monday.
Maj. Gen. George Fay, who wrote a report on mistreatment of detainees at the prison, testified at a hearing to determine whether the director of the prison’s interrogation center should be court-martialed.
Fay said his investigation found that Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan was in charge of the center, despite Jordan's insistence to Fay that he was just a liaison between the center and superior officers.

Fay said Jordan knew about some of the abuses and did not stop them. He said Jordan "told us a story that was deceptive and it was misleading, and he tried to avoid responsibility for his role at Abu Ghraib."
Jordan, 50, of Fredericksburg, Va., is charged with 12 offenses, including one count of cruelty and maltreatment for allegedly subjecting prisoners to forced nudity and intimidation by dogs. He faces a maximum of 42 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

The above, noted by Kim, is from AP's "General: Officer at Abu Ghraib allowed abuse." And on the subject of Abu Ghraib, remember to check out Tara McKelvey's "A Soldier's Tale" (Marie Claire) about Lynndie England. And Erika reminds that we noted McKelvey's "Brass Tacks: When the military investigates torture allegations, procedures are crude and justice elusive" (The Nation) "back in December and this should be read along with the current article on England." Maria wants to note that Greg Palast has revamped the look of his site and recommends the Google video he's posted at his site. Eli notes Rebecca's "lynne stewart" and remember, yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints featured not only a speech from Stewart but also Jeff Mackler providing commentary on what he observed at the sentencing as well as commentaries from Michael Ratner and Michael Smith who are both with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Billie notes this from the Center:

October 9, 2006, New York, NY -- The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is proud to announce its acceptance of the third LennonOno Grant for Peace. Founded by Yoko Ono in honor of the peace activism of John Lennon, the $50,000 award is given to two recipients every two years. Past winners have included investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, and Israeli artist Zvi Goldstein and Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah. CCR will be honored alongside Doctors Without Borders, the first organizations to receive the award.
Ms. Ono chose CCR for its 'tireless' work to establish a 'more peaceful' world, particularly its 2004 Supreme Court victory in Rasul v. Bush, which established that detainees held at Guantanamo Bay were still entitled to the right of habeas corpus. That right is a vital check on the power of the President to unilaterally declare anyone anywhere in the world an 'enemy combatant' and, in the case of non-U.S. citizens, detain them indefinitely without access to a court of law. In the wake of the recent suspension of habeas corpus by the U.S. Congress, CCR has been the first organization to file new cases challenging the expansion of the unilateral executive. CCR's Mohammed v. Rumsfeld is the first case filed on behalf of detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, while Khan v. Bush is the first case filed on behalf of a former ghost detainee held in secret CIA detention.
CCR President Michael Ratner, who accepted the award at a special ceremony in Reykjavík, said: "CCR is proud to accept the LennonOno grant for peace, and we will continue to defend the defenseless and struggle for a more peaceful world."

A more peaceful world brings us to Brady's highlight, CNN's latest polling:

A poll conducted for CNN over the weekend suggests support among Americans for the war in Iraq is dwindling to an all-time low. Just 34 percent of those polled say they support the war, while 64 percent say they oppose it.
Women led the opposition, with seven in 10 saying they oppose the war. Twenty-eight percent say they support it, which is the lowest support among women in any CNN poll taken since the invasion more than three years ago.

The country has turned against the war and that happened over a year ago. Polling confirms it, in poll after poll, and opposition to the war is too entrenched for a wave of Operation Happy Talk to change the opinion. It can distract for a day or too but it can't sway the people. As the US military fatality count stands at 58 who've died in Iraq thus far this month and 2771 US military fatalities since the start of the illegal war, the con isn't taking. 2771. That's 29 away from the 2800 mark. Little Willie, Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone, likes to point to the 'crackdown' and offer that the rise is due to that. That nicely sweeps aside the reality of the deaths in the Al-Anbar Province. It also overlooks the reality that Baghdad, the capital, was supposedly less dangerous than, for instance, Falluja in April 2004 or November 2004. The 'crackdown' should be called 'the breakdown' because the only result has been for the violence to increase. (No surprise. Residents already felt they were living in a pressure cooker.)

As the public turns against the wars and the US military lowers their requirements for enlistment (and lower them again and . . .), certain groups get targeted repeatedly. On efforts to target Latinos in recruitment, Francisco notes Jorge Mariscal's "PowerPoint Racism" (CounterPunch):

During a 2005 training session for employees of the Department of Defense's Joint Advertising and Marketing Research and Studies program (JAMRS), representatives of the New York-based Michael Saray Hispanic Marketing firm made a power point presentation designed to upgrade the military's campaign to attract Latino youth.
The mission of JAMRS, according to the official website, is the following: "Our marketing communications programs help broaden people's understanding of Military Service as a career option, while our internal government market research and study programs help bolster the effectiveness of all the Services' recruiting and retention efforts." The presentation by the Saray group, whose clients include major corporate players such as Allstate and Geico, was designed to explain "Hispanics" to JAMRS employees in order to facilitate the military's niche marketing efforts.
This kind of activity belies the Pentagon's frequent contention that recruiters do not target by ethnicity. In fact, reports such as the one prepared by the CNA Corporation in 2004 reveals that the Marine Corps recruiting station in San Diego, California, collects detailed information on "economic and race/ethnic distributions in its fifteen substations and eleven contact areas." The report notes that "Hispanics" make up 31% of the population in this station area that stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border to southern Utah.
In the "Language and Cultural DNA" section of the Saray group's presentation, we learn three important assumptions: 1) "Latinos are culturally 'hard wired' differently," 2) "Hispanics" are "right brain" and thus "emotional, intuitive, creative, and visionary" (unlike "left brain" groups who are "intellectual, sequential, analytical, logical"), and 3) "America's system of education was built on a strong cultural bias toward the left hemisphere of the brain."
Citing a study by the influential Yankelovich, Inc., public opinion research firm, presenters showed audience members a typology of consumers composed of four basic types: "Fervents, Indifferents, Practicals, and Emotionals." According to the study's authors, "Hispanics are twice as likely to be Emotionals."
Simply put, JAMRS trainees were taught "the Spanish language has not favored intellect over emotion. It's [sic] bias or thought process has not favored the left brain over the right brain. This is a real cultural difference." Therefore, the Saray group's advice to Pentagon ad men devising Hispanic campaigns for military recruitment is to "avoid blatant overuse of numbers. You want to reach the heart, not the left brain." To sum up, "the traditions of Hispanic culture are not necessarily in-synch with the concept of 'mainstream society' or the 'American Dream.' In general, Hispanics are right brain thinkers. The marketer must 'acculturate' or risk losing relevancy by continued reliance on left brain thinking."
The Fastest Growing Segment of the Population-Hispanic Right Brain Emotionals
What is not at all clear is the extent to which Pentagon officials subscribe to the Saray's group language-based system of racial types. One can only assume that the consequences for diversifying the officer corps, to take one area where Latinos are grossly underrepresented, would be quite negative since undoubtedly no one wants "right brain" non-logical and emotional officers leading troops into battle.
A cursory examination of recent recruiting advertisements, however, suggests that the JAMRS audience, like other government and corporate policymakers, was already in tune with the contents of the Saray presentation. Ads featuring adoring Latina mothers and slogans like "¿Estás listo para lo que te espera?" ("Are you ready for wait awaits you?"-emotional and painfully ironic given the war in Iraq) have proliferated since the "war on terror" began.

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