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Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2013 - 66 comments

Federal prosecutors to investigate abusive interrogation cases

Big Newsfilter: US Attorney General Holder appoints a prosecutor to investigate abusive CIA interrogations in the War on Terror. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Aug 24, 2009 - 134 comments

Threat Level Elevated

US News reports that in a new tell-all book, Tom Ridge admits manipulating terror threat levels for political motives. In the forthcoming book, Ridge reportedly acknowledges for the first time that he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he "saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over." But as The Atlantic points out, Ridge apparently gave in to the White House demands anyway, resigning only after the election. Huffington Post also provides additional discussion on this developing story.
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 20, 2009 - 139 comments

The Chain of Command in Coercive Interrogations

“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas." A Vanity Fair reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes -- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense." Others say that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here and here.]
posted by digaman on Apr 3, 2008 - 76 comments

Who's Soft on Terrorism?

Who's soft on terrorism? Surely not the Democrats, who are about to enable the National Security Agency to extend its secret domestic wiretapping program after saying otherwise for months. Surely not the Republican White House, determined to rush out a new Osama bin Laden video even if it burns an intelligence connection spying on Al Qaeda that has been carefully cultivated for years.
posted by digaman on Oct 9, 2007 - 81 comments

Is it like having a "drug czar" for the war on drugs -- y'know, only it's for the war on war?

"War Czar" -- another term for "highly paid radio operator"? So the Decider in Chief wants to have a War Czar* in the White House. He appointed Douglas Lute after three other general officers turned him down. Note that Lute, a three-star general, is actually inferior in rank to David Petraeus, the four-star who's commanding the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Black Five had some thoughts on this, as did Jules Crittenden.
posted by pax digita on May 16, 2007 - 77 comments

The Life and Death of a Warrior in Iraq

I am sullied -- no more. Colonel Ted Westhusing was a soldier's soldier -- a multilingual West Point graduate, tough as nails, who was committed to the ancient Greek warrior's ideal of ἀρετή ("arete," excellence). He volunteered to go to Iraq, where he was commanded by another outstanding rising-star officer, counterinsurgency expert David Petraeus. (Westhusing's widow, Michelle, recalls that her husband thought his country was doing "a great thing" there.) After working with one of the shadowy contractors the US has relied on to train Iraqi security forces, USIS, Westhusing became increasingly despondent. In May 2005, investigators say, he put a 9mm bullet in his brain after writing a note that said, "Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I know it." Westhusing died, as was previously discussed here, and his former "cdr" is now running the war. Lots of new information in this article from the Texas Observer.
posted by digaman on Mar 10, 2007 - 114 comments

In Their Own Image

"I'm not here for the Iraqis. I'm here for George Bush." How the reconstruction of Iraq was bungled by inexperienced staffers and officials who passed the GOP's loyalty test -- including their views on Roe v. Wade. A WashPost excerpt from Rajiv Chandrasekaran's new exposé Imperial Life in the Emerald City. (Corruption in Iraq previously discussed here.)
posted by digaman on Sep 16, 2006 - 57 comments

CIA Secret Prisons Exposed

CIA Secret Prisons Exposed The disappeared: Are they dead? Are they alive? Ask Congress. Ask the president.
posted by Postroad on May 11, 2006 - 40 comments

Black-Bag Jobs

"Don't worry Mr. President, we have Kansas surrounded." Warrantless searches: they're not just for wiretaps anymore. U.S. News and World Report probes the Bush administration's covert drive to conduct physical searches of American homes without court approval.
posted by digaman on Mar 19, 2006 - 52 comments

Secret Justice

Newsfilter: Secret arrests, secret renditions, secret interrogations in secret jails, and now, secret rulings from US federal judges. More fallout from the Bush administration's NSA domestic-spying program [recently discussed here].
posted by digaman on Mar 11, 2006 - 70 comments

Cherry-Picking on the Road to War

"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
posted by digaman on Feb 10, 2006 - 49 comments

Evidence of a Slippery Slope

Evidence of a slippery slope continued: Newsweek reports that White House counsel Steve Bradbury believes President Bush can order killings on US soil as part of the Terrorist-Surveillance ProgramTM. Meanwhile, while Attorney General Gonzales "lashes out" at the media and insists that the TSPTM is "not a dragnet that sucks in all conversation and uses computer searches to pick out calls of interest," the Washington Post reports it's precisely that -- "computer-controlled systems collect and sift basic information about hundreds of thousands of faxes, e-mails and telephone calls into and out of the United States before selecting the ones for scrutiny by human eyes and ears" -- and has led to very few leads. (See also discussion of Arlen Specter and the legality of the TSPTM here.)
posted by digaman on Feb 6, 2006 - 137 comments

Sticker Shock and Awe

Then: Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq? Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question. And now: The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money? Also see here.
posted by digaman on Feb 3, 2006 - 112 comments

The Increasingly Unfriendly Skies

Is your name James Moore? If so, you may be a terrorist. Or at least the NSA thinks so, having added that name -- which also happens to be the name of the author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential -- to its mysteriously targeted and infamously mismanaged "No-Fly" list [previously discussed here.]
posted by digaman on Jan 5, 2006 - 51 comments

Gulags, American-Style

The administration's latest innovation in its effort to export democracy: Soviet-style gulags, a network of secret C.I.A. prisons known as "black sites." [From the Washington Post]. Meanwhile, SecDef Rumsfeld says no thanks to the idea of U.N. inspectors talking to detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
posted by digaman on Nov 2, 2005 - 369 comments

Jihad U

President Bush pledged in 2003 that "A free Iraq will not be a training ground for terrorists... A free Iraq will not destabilize the Middle East." This past January, the CIA's National Intelligence Council observed that Iraq had become "a training ground, a recruitment ground" for jihadists. Now the senior Marine commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway -- in a statement that has not yet been picked up by the media -- acknowledges that the war is furnishing a new "a training ground" for foreign fighters trained in urban warfare who will export terror all over the world, saying, "But there's not much we can do about it at this point in time."
posted by digaman on Jul 2, 2005 - 19 comments

the broken glass beneath your feet

15 of 19 were Saudis. And now, continuing a trend from the Kingdom, most of the suicide bombers in Iraq are known to be Saudi Arabian.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket on May 17, 2005 - 42 comments

Join the Army for just fifteen months!

Join the Army for just fifteen months! Visit exciting foriegn lands! Now with "ultra-lite" benefits!
(Warning: Requires an additional two years of service in the Army Reserve / National Guard, may contain additional deployments overseas, stop-loss, 4 1/2 years in the inactive reserve, and possible devil's bargains.)
posted by insomnia_lj on May 12, 2005 - 113 comments

A vote for Bush is a vote for terrorism

More Foreign (Terrorist) Leaders Want Bush Reelected A statement sent to the Arabic language daily al-Hayat by the terrorist group Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades said it supported President Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."
posted by dogmatic on Mar 21, 2004 - 19 comments

Fighting Terror in Primetime?

D.H.S. - The Series. "... a multimillion-dollar episodic series, will explore the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security, teaming the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and National Security Administration (NSA) together with "first responders" such as local police, fire and safety administrators." The series is being pitched to prospective networks today and has the full support of President Bush and Tom Ridge. "They love it. They think it is fantastic," say the series' producers at Steeple Productions, located in the Seventh-Day Adventist Community of Zillah, Washington. Not familiar with Steeple Productions? Well, perhaps you might find their four-episode "Creation Vs Evolution" series enlightening.
posted by grabbingsand on Feb 27, 2004 - 16 comments

September 11th And The Bush Administration

«Clearly, one of the most critical questions of the twenty-first century concerns why the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were not prevented. As I outline below, there are numerous aspects regarding the official stories about September 11th which do not fit with known facts, which contradict each other, which defy common sense, and which indicate a pattern of misinformation and coverup. The reports coming out of Washington do very little to alleviate these concerns.» 22 questions to chose from and decide which ones are nightmares of a conspiracy theorist and which ones must be answered.
posted by acrobat on Sep 4, 2003 - 70 comments

This just in -- now the mainstream media knows what everyone else does!

Did Bush know? An article in today's New York Times (link to mirrored site with no reg. req.) pieces together data that the author claims proves that Bush and his inner circle were well-aware that they were using false "evidence" of Iraqi WMD. Sy Hersh from the New Yorker is also chiming in, as is Salon's Joe Connason and Katha Pollitt of The Nation. A pretty decent subsection of media is finally descending on this story. If Bush or Powell or Rumsfeld are proven to have been knowingly deceitful, will the American public be even half as angry as the rest of the world?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly on May 6, 2003 - 59 comments

Cuban terrorists

Leniency for Terrorists

CIA memorandums strongly suggest, according to Bardach's book, that Bosch was one of the conspirators, and quotes the then secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, as writing that the "US government had been planning to suggest Bosch's deportation before Cubana airlines crash took place for his suspected involvement in other terrorist acts and violation of his parole".

Bosch's release, often referred to in the US media as a pardon, was the result of pressure brought by hardline Cubans in Miami, with Jeb Bush serving as their point man. Bosch now lives in Miami and remains unrepentant about his militant activities, according to Bardach.

Is there a double standard at work regarding terrorists?
posted by nofundy on Dec 2, 2002 - 26 comments

To establish the Department of Homeland Security, and for other purposes.

The Homeland Security Bill. It has passed the House, on to the Senate where it is believed that it will pass. The President will sign it. Yet the text of H.R.5710 is unavailable to the American public.
posted by four panels on Nov 13, 2002 - 22 comments

It's an angry, violent, warmongering world out there right now. You just live in it.

It's an angry, violent, warmongering world out there right now. You just live in it. The human animal is capable of staggering atrocities and deadly choices and the thick-necked frat boys in charge right now are the most darkly capable we've suffered in decades... There are no peacemakers in the world right now.
posted by quonsar on Apr 26, 2002 - 32 comments

White House media advisor spins the war in London.

White House media advisor spins the war in London. President Bush has sent "military advisors" to Yemen, Georgia and the Philippines to help with the war on terrorism. Did anyone know he sent his #2 media man, Tucker Eskew, to London as a "media advisor" to Tony Blair's #1 media man, Alastair Campbell, to help spin the war to the Brits?

Do you think a U.S. administration would ever agree to a foreign government rep "advising" them on how to talk to their citizens? Or do they already?
posted by busbyism on Mar 20, 2002 - 9 comments

It's That Pesky Skin Color Thing Again.

It's That Pesky Skin Color Thing Again. An Arab-American member of President Bush's security detail was denied passage on an American Airlines flight from Baltimore to Dallas Tuesday evening... "They didn't see an American, they didn't see a law enforcement professional. All they saw was a racial and ethnic profile that they didn't want on their flight." -- NY Times site.
posted by fold_and_mutilate on Dec 27, 2001 - 41 comments

Bush wants military aid for Syria and Iran

Bush wants military aid for Syria and Iran So what if both nations on the American terrorist list (previous to recent attack on us). I just returned my army (old) uniform back to the closet. I won't go.
posted by Postroad on Sep 25, 2001 - 14 comments

Blacklist!

Blacklist! Bush is expected to issue an executive order labeling certain people as "terrorists", which will lock up their assets and generally make life miserable. Who needs checks and balances or due process?
posted by jgilliam on Sep 23, 2001 - 21 comments

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