Archive | May, 2011

Rain dance

I’m almost afraid to pray for rain, considering what terrible storms we’re seeing elsewhere this year. But it’s been 88 or higher for more than a week, and I would love it if we got some relief.

A helping hand

The Picadilly circus was supposed to perform in Joplin, MO but was canceled. The circus people decided to hang around and help, even the elephant:

Say no to one more war

Dennis Kucinich:

The House leadership has agreed to a floor vote on a resolution that exercises the War Powers Act of 1973. This vote could end the illegal War in Libya.

The vote is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday June 1st.

It is urgent that you call your Congressperson and ask him or her

to vote YES on House Concurrent Resolution 51. You can look up your member of congress at the following link:

Fund drive

I hope you all enjoyed this holiday weekend’s musical selections. Just a reminder that the fund drive continues.

Only a small handful of regular readers have donated so far. It’s greatly appreciated, but I wonder why I haven’t heard from the rest of you. I know times are hard, but think about how it looks from my end: I’m virtually unemployable because of my political writing (HR people do love to use Google to find malcontents like me!) and it looks like this might be it for the foreseeable future. So I really need your support.

If you can still afford the occasional McDonald’s meal or a latte at Starbucks, why not skip the extra fat and sugar and make a donation instead? Your arteries will thank you, and so will I!

P.S. You do NOT need a Paypal account to donate.

Bagram: Worse than Gitmo

Aren’t you glad we have a constitutional lawyer as president?

Under a U.S. military system straight out of Kafka’s “The Trial” and Heller’s “Catch-22”, some 1,700 detainees at the Bagram U.S. Air Base in Afghanistan are being held without charges or a trial, primarily on the basis of secret evidence that they never get to see or challenge.

A still-classified 2009 Marine Corps general’s report concluded that many, probably a majority, were wrongly held then. But it was virtually impossible then and now for innocent detainees to prove they are not allied with insurgents.

[…] As Human Rights First states, the ever-growing number of Bagram detainees – most  of whom are Afghans – have far fewer rights than their counterparts at the much more controversial Guantanamo Bay prison. Thanks to a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Guantanamo detainees “have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court and to representation by a lawyer,” something Bagram prisoners are denied, the report notes.

The system has resulted in detainees being incarcerated at Bagram for eight years or more, “based largely on evidence they have never seen and with no meaningful opportunity to defend themselves,” the report says. Additionally “a significant number” of the approximately 41 non-Afghan detainees “have been recommended for release by a Detainee Review Board but remain in detention at…[Bagram]..without explanation.”

In an interview with Nieman Watchdog, the HRF report’s author, Daphne Eviatar, put that figure of 1,700 detainees into context, noting that it is “almost triple the number of detainees who were at Bagram when President Obama came into office two years ago, and is 10 times greater than the number of prisoners currently being held at Guantanamo.” In addition, it is more than twice the total number of detainees – 779 – who were ever held at Guantanamo. More than 1,300 individuals were arrested and incarcerated in Bagram in 2010 alone, compared to some 500 in 2009. Eviatar is senior associate in Human Rights First’s law and security program. (Click here for a video on Bagram by Eviatar.)

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