Monday Monday

Hello, good afternoon and welcome..

To our beginning of the working week thread. This is the place where we can share our excitement or anticipation of what this week may hold and/or reflect upon the weekend that has passed.

Or indeed, just ramble on about whatever you like…

Someone had the poor taste to bring up Khamal Kamahl on another thread. Kamahl, for the benefit of our younger viewers, is this Malaysian born Sri Lankan bloke who became famous in the 70’s for a song about an elephant naturally enough called “The Elephant Song”.

He’s also famous for constantly whining “why are people so unkind?” without realising that perhaps it had something to do with his crap singing.

Anyway, I’m sure youse of got much more important things to talk about…

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33 Responses

  1. Reb, the spelling is Kamahl. As penance you are required to watch:

  2. It seems like Federal Labor might be moving in an increasingly authoritian direction with regards to Aboriginal affiars:

    http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/787/40520

    On a related matter, I believe that the Intervention is a racist policy. If there is child abuse, it should be dealt with regardless of the race of the people involved.

  3. Following on from “Torture and MI5”, maybe this Tales From Torture’s Dark World will provide some evidence for the skeptics. In this case the Red Cross got stories of very similar treatment tactics from 14 people held in isolation in the CIA’s “black program” for between 16 months and 4.5 years. They say the similarities from isolated prisoners – and the fact that the stories were never intended for public consumptions – “adds particular weight to the information”.

  4. Had a fantastic time at Midnight oil concert on Friday night .

    Spent around $300 on airfares, $200 on accommodation. $200 on assorted mood enhancers (including but not limited 2 alcopops) 😉 and all of this was paid for with “stimulus” handout.

    Just doing my bit for the country 😀

  5. Couple of quick quotes from the end of that article:

    From everything we know, many or all of these men deserve to be tried and punished — to be “brought to justice,” as President Bush vowed they would be. The fact that judges, military or civilian, throw out cases of prisoners who have been tortured — and have already done so at Guantánamo — means it is highly unlikely that they will be brought to justice anytime soon.

    […]

    What we can say with certainty, in the wake of the Red Cross report, is that the United States tortured prisoners and that the Bush administration, including the president himself, explicitly and aggressively denied that fact. We can also say that the decision to torture, in a political war with militant Islam, harmed American interests by destroying the democratic and Constitutional reputation of the United States, undermining its liberal sympathizers in the Muslim world and helping materially in the recruitment of young Muslims to the extremist cause. By deciding to torture, we freely chose to embrace the caricature they had made of us. The consequences of this choice, legal, political and moral, now confront us. Time and elections are not enough to make them go away.

  6. OMG

    Min, how could I have got it so wrong…?

  7. Hello Lotharsson,

    Hope you’re well. If I may channel our departed friend from AZ, and in the spirit of telling it like it is, that’s an op-ed, and ‘opinion is different from fact’.

  8. The Only Ones,

    When Rudd first propsed a “stimulus package”, I don’t think that his intention was for people to spend it purely on stimulants.

    But congratulations and well done nevertheless…

    🙂

  9. By deciding to torture, we freely chose to embrace the caricature they had made of us

    I think that that is a fine piece of logic, opinion or not.
    The moral highground that “we” as the supposedly enlightened ones like to claim, cannot be maintained if we’re willing to so cheaply adopt the “whatever it takes” mentality.

  10. Point taken Toiletboss, but like our Spartan friend keeps reminding us, the devil is in the definition of the word. That is, opinions differ on what constitutes torture.

  11. I agree Tony, but if we are going to imagine ourselves to be “different” to those we condemn at some point we must draw a clearly defined line in the sand; not a wavy, partially obscured & opportunistically broken line.

    I’m not a fan of Sparta’s insight into aboriginal Australia but I do have a certain amount of respect for how he argues the case for his own country at times.
    However, I feel that even if the US pulled out fingernails etc. he would still find a way of absolving them on the one hand while baying for the blood of their demonised enemies.

    So yeah, “opinions differ on what constitutes torture” but it’s that blurring of the definition that the Bush admin relied upon to undertake its questionable practices.

  12. Hope you’re well. If I may channel our departed friend from AZ, and in the spirit of telling it like it is, that’s an op-ed, and ‘opinion is different from fact’.

    And if I may channel my response to said departed friend…
    …Yes, it’s an op-ed, and it links to a much longer article. Both claim to quote extensively from a Red Cross Report. Either the journalist is lying his arse off – which will get discovered rather rapidly, given the level of official his quotes are implicating here – or the report itself exists. Our departed friend might be disinclined to believe the Red Cross including its reporting scars consistent with the detainees’ stories. He might also be disinclined to believe the detainees were in fact kept in isolation from one other (but at this point his head might start to hurt, since the CIA and US military are the ones who were responsible for that and he’s always supportive of the authorities).

    But you’re right, Tony. I’m sure if he got that far he’d say they all learnt the same stories before they were captured and …, er, and have got the scars to prove it.

  13. Let me say with immense pride that I have all of Kamahl’s records. Until you’ve heard his stirring rendition of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ your life is in limbo.

    I hope that bald idiot Garrett was pelted with burnt toast as he performed his ‘dance’ routine on stage. Burnt toast would have served as a reminder of what his bark hut philosophy has delivered to the people who suffered in the recent bushfires.

  14. Point taken Toiletboss, but like our Spartan friend keeps reminding us, the devil is in the definition of the word. That is, opinions differ on what constitutes torture.

    Opinions didn’t differ before Bush on the definition of the word it’s the re-definition of it, as per the Bush administration that is the problem. Torture remains torture, as anyone who has suffered it’s effects will be able to tell.

    Bush & Co. to get around the legal limitations, sought to re-define the word, in line with their faith based, reality doctrine:

    “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    What they do, is torture. They then look for legal loopholes and make (retrospective) new legislation to avoid being held accountable for it.

  15. oops sorry, forgot to close the italics

  16. fixed (I hope)

  17. Lotharsson,

    He – Sparta – might also say:

    Evidence based only on the verbal testimonies of detainees must be regarded as suspect. Their case might be strengthened by the existence of scars, but these are certainly not incontrovertible proof of torture. (Even if these things are contained in a Red Cross Report).

  18. Reb..just because you corrected the spelling error do you think that this gets you off the hook re watching.

    Tony, on March 16th, 2009 at 5:23 pm. Sparta is really Philip Ruddock?

    Have to now choof..am on dinner duties.

  19. The Only Ones, on March 16th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks, TOO, that information really started my week off well…

    I wonder if we taxpayers paid for Mr Garretts expenses?

    Stephan, on March 16th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    You have all of what! That’s more wasteful than Rudd’s handout to the rich and famous…

  20. Toiletboss said’
    “However, I feel that even if the US pulled out fingernails etc. he would still find a way of absolving them on the one hand.”
    LOL. The other hand would make ‘ya sweat,oh, that’s Cheney’s specialty , water boarding..

  21. Big storm just about to hit, Northside of Brisbane!

    I suspect the Southside has copped a bit…still they do still BBQ their first born males over their…so it won’t bother them too much… 😉

    How’ya doin’, Min, according to the radar its over you and gone out to sea?

  22. Evidence based only on the verbal testimonies of detainees must be regarded as suspect. Their case might be strengthened by the existence of scars, but these are certainly not incontrovertible proof of torture. (Even if these things are contained in a Red Cross Report).

    Yes, I reckon you’re right.

    In the next breath, he might say that “evidence” “extracted” from prisoners via torture…er, scratch that last word, by “alternative interrogation methods up to but not equivalent to the pain of major organ failure” should be considered sufficient to hold people without charges for many years, perhaps indefinitely, and even to convict them and levy the death penalty. Even if the officials involved took legal advice and destroyed 92 tapes of such interrogation practices being applied, and appear to have … er … misplaced many other tapes of group beatings … er, alternative interrogation methods being applied at Guantanamo itself.

    And (unless my memory is faulty – entirely possible) he might even say that similar quality of verbal evidence is just fine when used to prosecute war criminals in far off European places with funny names, but doesn’t hold the same weight when it is directed at American officials and besides we only recognize the International Criminal Court’s right to prosecute non-Americans because we’re special.

    Well, at least we’ve covered many of the bases for him now 😉

  23. For those who care, the full article is worth reading too. Otherwise skip over this post…

    A few interesting quotes:

    […]And yet what is “secret” exactly? In our recent politics, “secret” has become an oddly complex word. From whom was “the secret bombing of Cambodia” secret? Not from the Cambodians, surely. From whom was the existence of these “secret overseas facilities” secret? Not from the terrorists, surely. From Americans, presumably.

    […]

    [From the NY Times in 2002] …The blithe, aggressive tone of the officials quoted—”We don’t kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them”—bespeaks a very different political temper…

    […]

    […the Red Cross document’s] stark and unmistakable conclusion:

    “The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

    Such unflinching clarity, from the body legally charged with overseeing compliance with the Geneva Conventions—in which the terms “torture” and “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” are accorded a strictly defined legal meaning—couldn’t be more significant…

    […]

    “Each one of these steps…had to have the approval of the Deputy Director for Operations. So before you laid a hand on him, you had to send in the cable saying, “He’s uncooperative. Request permission to do X.” And that permission would come…. The cable traffic back and forth was extremely specific.”

    […]

    Though it seems highly unlikely that Zubaydah’s information stopped “maybe dozens of attacks,” as Kiriakou said, the plain fact is that it is impossible, until a thorough investigation can be undertaken of the interrogations, to evaluate fully and fairly what intelligence the United States actually received in return for all the severe costs, practical, political, legal, and moral, the country incurred by instituting a policy of torture.

    [Khalid Shaik Mohammed said:]

    “I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop…. I’m sure that the false information I was forced to invent…wasted a lot of their time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the US.”

  24. Great posts Lotharsson. Thanx.

  25. Lotharsson

    Did the coalition of the willing ever declare war on Iraq?

    Because if they didn’t then the geneva Convention doesn’t get a look in…

    …and I am not a defender of torture…but the Geneva Convention has international legal support…

    …next question of course, is Iraq (or any other Muslim country) a signatory to the Geneva Convention?…

    …some things ain’t as “cut & dried” as you would like…

    …oh, and Guantanamo Bay should have been destroyed the day after it was built!

  26. “I wonder if we taxpayers paid for Mr Garretts expenses”

    Specifically, he will be in Papua New Guinea on Tuesday and Wednesday to represent Australia at the Coral Triangle environmental talks involving East Timor, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands and PNG.

    Gary Morris, Midnight Oil’s “sixth member” — the organiser who “plays the telephone and email” — was aghast when Garrett told him.

    “But Pete, those are rehearsal days,” Morris responded.

    “Well,” said the lead singer, “I don’t work for the Oils any more — I work for the Australian Government.”

    The upshot is that Garrett will fly back to Canberra on Thursday morning, attend question time in Parliament and use the few remaining hours to prepare himself for the evening concert — the first of two on consecutive nights in Canberra. On the following Saturday, March 14, the band will appear before a crowd of about 75,000 at the MCG among a line-up of Australia’s finest acts donating their talents to the Sound Relief bushfire fund-raiser.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/sorry-boys-no-time-to-rehearse-20090306-8rhc.html

    Yeah, what a drain on the public purse that bastard Garrett is

    Pour yourself into another Wild Turkey and get busy writing the latest installment of “the shower door doesn’t fit”

    It’s gripping stuff after all

  27. Even before the GFC, China was officially reporting more than 7,000 ‘disturbances’ a year. By Beijing’s definition, a disturbance involves a large group of people using weapons of various descriptions to underline the seriousness of their grievances. That’s around 20 riots a day on average, according to questionable central government statistics. Who knows what the real number might actually be?

    Then there’s the sea. China has numerous serious maritine disputes with all of its neighbours. That’s right, the potential for military conflict with every single one of the neighbouring countries. And it’s recently deployed naval ships to new bases in Pakistan and Burma to constrain the Indian navy.

    Then there’s the annexation of Burma, which the Le Monde Diplomatique newspaper recently described as the 23rd province of China. And Tibet …

    And the Chinese environment has been hammered in the rush to develop a market economy. Water is a particularly acute problem, due to limited availability and mismanagement. In 2006, China dumped 30 Billion tonnes of waste – industrial, municipal and human – into the Yangtze River, China’s main source of fresh water. As a result, China’s South East Asian neighbours are privately terrified that Beijing will soon divert the entire flow of the Mekong River for domestic use.

    There’s no history of the rule of law in the Middle Kingdom. Even before Mao, the warlord with the most swords/guns traditionally prevailed …

  28. I knew when I wrote “on March 16th, 2009 at 4:09 pm” (numbered comments – please!) that I would get shtick from you and the like minded TB. I would like to point out the obvious in case you missed it

    $300 for plane tickets. (supporting a big company with all the usual economic dribble down whatever’s)

    $200 on accommodation (Rydges Lakeside) local business support (with all the yada yada …)

    $200 on assorted mood enhancers ($100 on ‘illegal)* the rest on alcohol (Alcopops actually) 😀

    I figured I’ve covered most of the economy with my spend, I went in fast, I went in big and I went in early.

    * a token gesture on my part. The ‘black’ economy did a lot better then that when you include the boys “contributions” 😉 I’m sure the suppliers will spend the profit’s on UZI’s, Subaru WRX’s and fake disabled parking permits

    **Funny how Canberra has better illicit drugs then any other city I visit

    *** 2 hamburgers from a local ‘snack bar” as well

    **** I may have eaten hot chips, although I refuse to believe this until I see some proof!

    (

  29. Bill Heffernon tries to smuggle a knife into Parliament then threatens to biff someone!

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/5398749/premier-stunned-heffernans-knife-threat/

  30. Bill Heffernon tries to smuggle a knife into Parliament then threatens to biff someone!

    Now that idiot is a drain on the public purse.

  31. Reb and Kitty. At first I thought that this was some sort of joke. Well, where does one start perhaps commitment proceedings due to being a danger to oneself and others.

  32. OnlyO..just a small point re fake disabled parking permits. Not unless one has a GP in one’s back pocket as a GP needs to sign the paperwork. Also a disabled parking sticker (false or otherwise) doesn’t do much except earn one a parking space closer to the shopping centre, and so not much profit to be earned from this.

  33. Did the coalition of the willing ever declare war on Iraq?

    Because if they didn’t then the geneva Convention doesn’t get a look in…

    You’re seriously prepared to argue that actions explicitly not permitted in a formally declared war are permitted outside of wartime?

    And I presume you’re calling Bush et al liars for painting the Global War on Terror as an armed conflict when he wanted to assume domestic wartime powers?

    And if no war was formally declared, then the Hague Conventions covering international war crimes presumably apply instead. Are you calling for Bush, Blair and Howard to be arrested and face trial in the Hague?

    Or are you arguing that all of these actions took place under the banner of various UN resolutions? Which part of the UN charter or the resolutions themselves authorises torture practices that are not permitted in a “straightforward” formal war?

    …next question of course, is Iraq (or any other Muslim country) a signatory to the Geneva Convention?…

    Why, because torture is somehow OK if the citizens that you do it to belong to a state that hasn’t agreed not to torture? You’re seriously prepared to argue that case?

    And then what about the citizens of states that HAVE ratified the Convention and that were tortured, either by the US, or with the aid of the US? Some were even citizens of US allies – the UK and Canada? How do you justify that?

    Oh, and check the signatory list. Iraq and Afghanistan (for starters) have both ratified the Geneva Convention. So what about all the Iraqis and Afghanis who were tortured by the US?

    …and I am not a defender of torture…but the Geneva Convention has international legal support…

    Yes, you are. You’re implying that what is defined as torture under the Geneva Convention is acceptable when applied outside of the circumstances under which the Convention applies. That’s defending torture.

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