Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Arizona starts its own Abu Ghraib

Sunni Arab extremists have begun a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, other Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq, staging at least 10 attacks in 48 hours.
Eight policemen have been killed, among them the police chief of Baquba, the largest city in Diyala Province. Two other police chiefs survived attacks, though one was left in critical condition, and about 30 police officers were wounded, according to reports from local security officers.

The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "Sunni Insurgents in New Campaign to Kill Officials" in this morning's New York Times. This is not a slap down at Rubin (who reports it today -- or even Kramer who wrote about a 'trend' yesterday but missed this) but why is it that professional news organizations couldn't spot the very obvious trend?

We noted it on Monday. On Tuesday morning ("That is the actual trend. It was obvious Sunday, it was obvious yesterday and it's only more obvious this morning.") and in Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot." Why is that outlets with desks headed by people who have been in Iraq for how long now (yeah, I mean John F. Burns) can't see the very obvious? Or won't.

A few e-mails came in on Rubin's byline yesterday. It was a "news analysis" and billed as such (the topic's been changed, by the way) and I wasn't in the mood to play "on the one hand . . . on the other . . ." She had some strong insight in places and she had some that were just flat out wrong. If it were a piece of hard news reporting, it would have been noted and we would have excerpted from it on what she got right. It was an opinion piece and I wasn't in the mood to go through it line by line. Hard news and opinion have different standards and she should have been able to write -- in an opinion piece because that is what an analysis is when we're dealing with reporters -- straight foward without including 'pleasing bits'.

Cedric's "Busy Condi" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! WAXMAN EXPECT RICE TO READ!" covered House Rep Henry Waxman's letter to Condi Rice yesterday. Warren P. Strobel 's "Waxman: State Department blocking congressional probe" (McClatchy Newspapers) provides details of the State Department's involvement with Blackwater:

But in a letter to Blackwater dated September 20-the same day as the panel's request-a State Department contract officer ordered Blackwater not to disclose information about the contract.
"I hereby direct Blackwater to make no disclosure of documents or information generated under" the State Department contract "unless such disclosure has been authorized in writing," wrote the contract officer, Kiazan Moneypenny.
She also wrote that State Department and Blackwater officials discussed the matter by phone on September 19 and 20, and that, as a result, "the department's position on this matter has been further reinforced."
Moneypenny did not respond to a message left on her office voicemail and officials in the department's Bureau of Administration, which oversees contracts, referred questions to State Department spokesmen.
Casey said "Blackwater has been informed by the State Department that it has no objection to it providing information to the committee."
In a related letter to Waxman, an attorney for Blackwater said it might be "difficult, if not impossible" for the company to comply with State's orders without advance limitations on the kind of questions that will be asked at the hearing.

Blackwater -- a company of mercenaries -- wants to cloak themselves with the rubric of national security and, if successful, let's all try using that from now on. "Were you speeding?" Officer, I can't answer that because it might help America's 'enemies,' we are at war, you know.

If you're not disgusted enough already, do you know about Tent City in Arizona? The US military -- which mainties (lies) that they don't attempt to track down those who self-check out and maintains (lies) that when they do just happen upon one it's discharge city -- has a new program. Nikki Renner (The Arizona Republic) reports:

Tent City will begin holding soldiers convicted of being absent without leave because Fort Huachuca doesn't have a facility to hold them long-term.
Tanja Linton, public-affairs spokeswoman for Fort Huachuca, said military officials also hope that the AWOL soldiers' experiences in Tent City will be close to the living accommodations of soldiers in Iraq.

Phoenix's KPHO reports:

Arpaio has agreed to accept all Fort Huachuca soldiers convicted of being absent without leave.
On Tuesday, he led commanders on a Tent City tour to show them he's got plenty of room.
At Tent City, the temperature on the top bunk in each pod is 150 degrees. Meals given to inmates are worth 30 cents a day.

Arpaio is Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Mariocpa County, whose ass needs to be run out of office. This is not a military facility, it's a federal facility and issuing pink underwear to the males may get Joe Arapaio all hot and bothered and let him feel like a man for about five minutes a day, but this is federal prison and there are guidelines and if this little ____ is allowed to get away with this, expect it to happen in other prisons with other prisoners. If he gets away with housing prisoners -- AWOLs or any other -- on bunks in "pods" that reach "150 degrees," expect to see it elsewhere. There are standards for the humane treatment of soldiers and Arpaio's creating his own little Abu Ghraib -- and bragging about it -- in the open.

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