Defense Officials Worried Over Cuts to US Military Aid

Via: Times of Israel

Ahead of talks with Washington, Israel’s military is concerned that David’s Sling, Arrow-3 may lose funding because of the sequestration

By Times of Israel staff March 27, 2013

Defense officials expressed concern Wednesday that American financial cutbacks may result in drastic cuts to military aid to Israel and could put anti-missile defense projects such as David’s Sling and the Arrow 3 on the chopping block.

Israeli and American officials are expected to begin negotiations over a new, multi-year military aid package in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s visit in the region last week.

“Our current agreement lasts through 2017, and we’ve directed our teams to start working on extending it for the years beyond,” Obama said at a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

Israeli officials hope that the basic outline of the current US military aid agreement will be preserved in a future multi-year defense deal with the US. There is grave concern over possible cuts in aid, however, because of the American economic crisis and the effects of sequestration – the across-the-board cuts mandated by 2011 legislation – on the US defense budget, Maariv reported on Wednesday.

The current US military aid package provides Israel with $30 billion over the course of 10 years, but is set to expire in 2017. Of the approximately $3 billion dollars Washington provides Israel per annum, all but $450 million must be used to buy American-made military hardware. According to Defense News, the pending 10-year military aid package would commit Washington to providing Israel with up to $40 billion.

Read more: here

Israel has a population of about 7 and a half million people…75 billion dollars in aid since 1949…
Being a center of evil and oppression is expensive….for us!
-Moose

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Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons

Via: ICH

Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?

First posted March 28, 2005
By Deborah Davies

They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation for BBC Channel 4 . It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that you’re not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying.

The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods, stun guns, and dogs. Many of the prisoners have been ordered to strip naked. The guards are yelling abuse at them, ordering them to lie on the ground and crawl. ‘Crawl, motherf*****s, crawl.’

If a prisoner doesn’t drop to the ground fast enough, a guard kicks him or stamps on his back. There’s a high-pitched scream from one man as a dog clamps its teeth onto his lower leg.

Another prisoner has a broken ankle. He can’t crawl fast enough so a guard jabs a stun gun onto his buttocks. The jolt of electricity zaps through his naked flesh and genitals. For hours afterwards his whole body shakes.

Lines of men are now slithering across the floor of the cellblock while the guards stand over them shouting, prodding and kicking.

Second by second, their humiliation is captured on a video camera by one of the guards.

The images of abuse and brutality he records are horrifyingly familiar. These were exactly the kind of pictures from inside Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad that shocked the world this time last year.

Read more: here

Thank goodness this can’t happen in America…Oops..
-Moose

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Hidden History of Water Torture

Via: TomDispatch

Sometimes, the world can be such a simple, black-and-white sort of place.  Let me give you an example.  Imagine for a moment that the Iranians kidnap an American citizen from a third country.  (If you prefer, feel free to substitute al-Qaeda or the North Koreans or the Chinese for the Iranians.)  They accuse him of being a terrorist.  They throw him in jail without charges or a trial or a sentence and claim they suspect he might have crucial information (perhaps even of the “ticking bomb” sort — and the Iranians have had some genuine experience with ticking bombs). Over the weeks that follow, they waterboard him time and again. They strip him, put a dog collar and leash on him.  They hood him, loose dogs on him. They subject him to freezing cold water and leave him naked on cold nights. They hang him by his arms from the ceiling of his cell in the “strappado” position. I’m sure I really don’t have to go on.  Is there any question what we (or our leaders) would think or say?

We would call them barbarians. Beyond the bounds of civilization. Torturers. Monsters. Evil. No one in the U.S. government, on reading CIA intelligence reports about how that American had been treated, would wonder: Is it torture? No one in Washington would have the urge to call what the Iranians (al-Qaeda, the North Koreans, the Chinese) did “enhanced interrogation techniques.” If, on being asked at a Senate hearing whether he thought the Iranian acts were, in fact, “torture,” the prospective director of the CIA demurred, claimed he was no expert on the subject, no lawyer or legal scholar, and simply couldn’t label it as such, he would not be confirmed.  He would probably never have a job in Washington again. If asked whether the Iranians who committed such acts against that American and their superiors who ordered them to do so, should be brought before an American or international court and tried, the president would surely not suggest that this was the moment to “look forward, not backward,” nor would his justice department give them a free pass.

Read more: here

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Hidden History of Water Torture

Via: TomDispatch

Sometimes, the world can be such a simple, black-and-white sort of place.  Let me give you an example.  Imagine for a moment that the Iranians kidnap an American citizen from a third country.  (If you prefer, feel free to substitute al-Qaeda or the North Koreans or the Chinese for the Iranians.)  They accuse him of being a terrorist.  They throw him in jail without charges or a trial or a sentence and claim they suspect he might have crucial information (perhaps even of the “ticking bomb” sort — and the Iranians have had some genuine experience with ticking bombs). Over the weeks that follow, they waterboard him time and again. They strip him, put a dog collar and leash on him.  They hood him, loose dogs on him. They subject him to freezing cold water and leave him naked on cold nights. They hang him by his arms from the ceiling of his cell in the “strappado” position. I’m sure I really don’t have to go on.  Is there any question what we (or our leaders) would think or say?

We would call them barbarians. Beyond the bounds of civilization. Torturers. Monsters. Evil. No one in the U.S. government, on reading CIA intelligence reports about how that American had been treated, would wonder: Is it torture? No one in Washington would have the urge to call what the Iranians (al-Qaeda, the North Koreans, the Chinese) did “enhanced interrogation techniques.” If, on being asked at a Senate hearing whether he thought the Iranian acts were, in fact, “torture,” the prospective director of the CIA demurred, claimed he was no expert on the subject, no lawyer or legal scholar, and simply couldn’t label it as such, he would not be confirmed.  He would probably never have a job in Washington again. If asked whether the Iranians who committed such acts against that American and their superiors who ordered them to do so, should be brought before an American or international court and tried, the president would surely not suggest that this was the moment to “look forward, not backward,” nor would his justice department give them a free pass.

Read more: here

Torture as XXX Entertainment: Zero Dark Thirty

Via: Cryptome

‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ Through a Theological Lens
 
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
Published: February 22, 2013

Almost nine years ago, journalists on “60 Minutes II” and at The New Yorker revealed a trove of photographs showing the abuse and humiliation of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. The images of inmates variously stripped, hooded, leashed like a dog, piled into naked heaps and forced to simulate oral sex then spread widely, causing international outcry.

Even on the patriotic home front, the revulsion was widespread. President George W. Bush called the Abu Ghraib episode “abhorrent.” Senators across party lines, having been shown more than a thousand photos, described them as “appalling” and “horrific.”

At the 2013 Oscars on Sunday night, one of the nominees for best picture, indeed one of the most lauded films of the year, contains scenes of prisoner treatment that closely recreate the Abu Ghraib tactics. Yet in “Zero Dark Thirty” the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, forms part of a heroic narrative, as a valiant C.I.A. officer tracks down Osama bin Laden.

There has been much debate about the film, primarily about its historical accuracy, but one might say not the right debate, not the deepest debate. Aside from a few Hollywood dissidents like Edward Asner, it has been left largely to theologians to call the film into question not on the pragmatic ground of its fealty to facts but on the moral ground of its message: that torture succeeds, and because it succeeds we should accept it.

“Our culture has almost lost the ability to have a genuinely moral conversation,” said Prof. David P. Gushee, 50, a Southern Baptist who directs the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Atlanta. “The utilitarian-type reasoning is the only vocabulary we have. The only way we can decide what to do is whether it works. That’s a terribly impoverished moral conversation. It leaves out the question of whether torture is intrinsically right or wrong.”

Read more: here

It’s cuz we’re better than everyone else….They deserve our “Justice”….
-Moose

Torture as XXX Entertainment: Zero Dark Thirty

Via: Cryptome

‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ Through a Theological Lens
 
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
Published: February 22, 2013

Almost nine years ago, journalists on “60 Minutes II” and at The New Yorker revealed a trove of photographs showing the abuse and humiliation of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. The images of inmates variously stripped, hooded, leashed like a dog, piled into naked heaps and forced to simulate oral sex then spread widely, causing international outcry.

Even on the patriotic home front, the revulsion was widespread. President George W. Bush called the Abu Ghraib episode “abhorrent.” Senators across party lines, having been shown more than a thousand photos, described them as “appalling” and “horrific.”

At the 2013 Oscars on Sunday night, one of the nominees for best picture, indeed one of the most lauded films of the year, contains scenes of prisoner treatment that closely recreate the Abu Ghraib tactics. Yet in “Zero Dark Thirty” the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, forms part of a heroic narrative, as a valiant C.I.A. officer tracks down Osama bin Laden.

There has been much debate about the film, primarily about its historical accuracy, but one might say not the right debate, not the deepest debate. Aside from a few Hollywood dissidents like Edward Asner, it has been left largely to theologians to call the film into question not on the pragmatic ground of its fealty to facts but on the moral ground of its message: that torture succeeds, and because it succeeds we should accept it.

“Our culture has almost lost the ability to have a genuinely moral conversation,” said Prof. David P. Gushee, 50, a Southern Baptist who directs the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Atlanta. “The utilitarian-type reasoning is the only vocabulary we have. The only way we can decide what to do is whether it works. That’s a terribly impoverished moral conversation. It leaves out the question of whether torture is intrinsically right or wrong.”

Read more: here

It’s cuz we’re better than everyone else….They deserve our “Justice”….
-Moose

Tomgram: Greg Grandin, On the Torturable and the Untorturable

Via: Tom Dispatch

Posted by Greg Grandin at 6:10am, December 11, 2007.

In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, reporter Siobhan Gorman offered a striking little portrait of Jose A. Rodriguez, who, in 2005, as chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, ordered the destruction of those “hundreds of hours” of CIA videotapes of the…

Now, what do we want to call it? Gorman refers to “extreme techniques” of interrogation (putting the two words in quotes), then repeats the phrase a second time later in the piece without the quotes: ” [Rodriguez] took a careful approach to controversial practices such as renditions — sending detainees to countries that use more extreme interrogation methods”). In this mini-portrait of Rodriguez, as painted by his colleagues, and of the disappeared videos, the word “torture” is never used, but don’t blame Gorman. As Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher pointed out recently, she’s hardly alone.

“One Associated Press article referred simply to ‘interrogation’ on the tapes, at one point putting ‘enhanced interrogation’ in quotes. Another AP article called it ‘harsh interrogation.’ Mark Mazzeti in The New York Times used ‘severe interrogation methods.’ Eric Lichtblau in the same paper chose the same phrase. David Johnston, in a Saturday article for [the] paper’s Web site, referred to ‘aggressive interrogations’ and ‘coercive techniques.’ Reuters, in its lead, relied on ‘severe interrogation techniques.’ Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick in The Washington Post on Saturday opted for ‘harsh interrogation tactics.'”

Whatever is on those tapes, we’ve come a long way, baby, since, in Medieval Times in Europe, waterboarding was crudely known as “the water torture.”

Read more: here