Anti-Smartphone Phone Launched For Technophobes
Sony did a good job with a "justaphone" they recently released, the Naite.
I bought one a few months ago for around $120. No contracts, basic phone, no sliding, good screen, some free games that are good, bluetooth, a decent camera, small form factor, and really good battery life. It even accepts standard microSD cards, if you need it.
The free Sony management software is really pretty good, too. It offers phone backups, you can send/receive text messages through your machine while it's plugged in, and it didn't come with a lot of BS carrier lock-in stuff.
The funny thing is, for a phone that is "justaphone", why does it need bluetooth, a camera, games, a microSD slot, and management software on the computer?
Sounds a lot like a smartphone to me.
Facebook Billionaire Gives Money To Legalize Marijuana
However they don't explain why we should believe that current dealers would be willing to start collecting and submitting taxes to the government. They already have a product that they are selling tax-free, what is the incentive for the dealers to start charging more for the same product?
You just assume dealers would still be selling it on the street. Do you see any alcohol dealers on the street? Any tobacco dealers trying to get you to buy a smoke? When something is legalized it gets controlled by the FDA for purity and sold in stores. Excessive profits are taken out by competition and dealers either get unemployed or find a job somewhere else. Learn some basic economics, FFS.
Facebook Billionaire Gives Money To Legalize Marijuana
I don't mind people smoking pot but do not want my children to buy a pack on the streets.
You do realize that because it is illegal, your children are much more likely to be able to buy it on the streets right now? Dealers don't have age limits. If it was taxed and controlled your kids wouldn't be able to buy it unless they showed up at a state liquor store with ID showing they are 21. Right now they can probably get it at school if they wanted to.
Wake up - do you really think after legalization dealers are going to be roaming the streets convincing your kids to buy a pack of smokes? The biggest risk you're going to face is them going over to their friends house while their parents aren't home and getting into "daddy's stash." Kids have been doing this for years with alcohol, which is far more toxic and dangerous than cannabis, and actually can cause poisoning. The worst thing that can happen on cannabis is some kid gets the munchies and eats too much food.
Why Are We Losing Vertical Pixels?
BTW one of my chief annoyances with the Mac OS is the inability to quickly and easily switch between windows. You have to juggle windows around on the screen. i.e. It's stuck in the pre-95 era. The Windows & Linux tab bars are a very easy solution to that problem.
Surely you've never used Mac OS X in the last 10 years. OS X has had a Dock for the last 10 years that performs the same function as what you call the tab bar. Also, alt-Tab works just fine on OS X.
Google TV Details Revealed
I have a 1st gen AppleTV. Where did you buy the Broadcome CrystalHD chip? I'd love to be able to play 1080p on it.
Linux May Need a Rewrite Beyond 48 Cores
To make matters even worse, we are definitely hitting 48 cores right now.
Luckily we aren't anywhere near 48 cores and there is some time left to come up with a new Linux (Windows?).
Total BS. I just installed two HP Proliant DL785G6 servers which have a total of 8 AMD 6-core CPUs each, for a total of 48 cores. Coming very soon is the new HP DL970 servers which will have a total of eight Intel 8-core servers, or 64 cores.
Bad summary. Doesn't Slashdot do the most minimal fact checking first?
AppleTV Runs iOS, Already Jailbroken
The iOS device is not tuned like the PS3 or Wii, Apple is directly targeting iOS devices for general purpose mobile computing and home computing.
The AppleTV has never been sold as anything other than a set top box to plug into your TV. Where did you get "general purpose home computer" from? Certainly not Apple.
The Surprising Statistics Behind Flash and Apple
Sure enough, they each separately report back that - wow - there seems to be some subversives on campus, so they each get 100 agents undercover. "The place is CRAWLING with subversives!" Next thing you know, "You can't walk 5 feet without seeing someone or something suspicious - people who don't fit in, blah blah blah".
All these people who got iPads so they can review them, or they can develop the "next big thing" ... and they're going to be obsolete in 3 months because everything we said about them was true.
Uh yeah.... because iPads are exactly like FBI agents... They're kinda subversive... or whatever.
The Surprising Statistics Behind Flash and Apple
What I'm hearing is "SJ wants to do this, SJ wants to do that, SJ wants to promote a version of HTML5 that is the Apple approved version that nobody else can run, similar to IE in the MS days."
I'm gonna give you a big fat "Citation Needed" for this one - Anonymous Coward.
Game Publishers Using Stealth P2P Clients
I reinstalled Dungeons and Dragons Online recently. The installer uses Pando. However, it wasn't very sneaky about it. It was in the install at some point.
The problem is that Turbine, makers of DDO and Lord of the Rings Online, is installing what is essentially the equivalent of adware or spyware without the user's permission. You have to manually uninstall it afterwards, and you are not given a choice whether or not to install it. Would you accept it if a game publisher installed adware toolbars into your browser without your permission?
This automatically puts Turbine on my shit list. I thought they were pretty cool for releasing DDO as a free to play game, but then when I found they installed Pando Media Booster, I uninstalled both Pando and DDO. You don't get to treat your customers like shit and expect us not to uninstall your software and send it to the /dev/null where it belongs.
Software (and Appropriate Input Device) For a Toddler?
The iPad is pretty much toddler safe. They can bang away on the screen, touch it and get a response, and play around in apps pretty easily. What's more, it wipes clean pretty easily after they get their drool infested hands all over it. The only thing you need to be careful of is the home screen... They will definitely hold their fingers down and put your icons into "jiggle mode," and if you're not careful they can easily delete apps. Just supervise them while they use it and make sure they don't do anything really crazy, like email your boss or delete an expensive app.
I wish Apple had a "safe mode" where you couldn't delete any apps, move any icons, or change any settings. It would be nice to hand it over to the kids and not worry about them doing anything to it.
Apple Announces New iPods, iTunes 10, Social Network, AppleTV
No way I'd pay $1 to watch a TV episode once. Don't know about others, but assuming a $1 price point to own a song is more or less legitimate, can't see paying that much for a single viewing of a TV show. I value the vast majority of TV shows less than a single good song, so even $1 to own a TV show episode is pushing it (this may be why the only TV shows I own copies of are Firefly, Flying Circus, and Fawlty Towers).
Basically, the TV shows are either going to be ad supported or cost money. You pick. You can pay $0.99 to rent an ad-free version, or you can go to Hulu where advertisers are paying approximately 20 cents per ad to show you about 5 ad spots during the show.
TV content is not free to produce, but $0.99 is probably the most reasonable price they've had so far.
Now, if they would only add 5.1 surround for HD shows and closed captioning, they'd have a guaranteed hit on their hands.
Apple Announces New iPods, iTunes 10, Social Network, AppleTV
Now, what I want to know is does the interface give me a custom "shows I like" menu that will show that I have not watched or what is new, or will it be like the crappy current interface where I have to go searching for everything......
The interface Steve showed looked very nice. It has a favorite shows section where you can see icons for each show you like, with a numeric badge similar to the push notification on iOS showing new content for each show. The favorite shows icons can even be rearranged by holding down the select button on one of them for a few seconds, which puts the icons into "jiggle mode" similar to rearranging icons on iOS.
In short, they just made the first set top box interface that doesn't completely suck.
Apple Announces New iPods, iTunes 10, Social Network, AppleTV
Seriously... the number one requested feature is a frick'n DVR!!!
That's because people are idiots and they only want the function of the DVR - being able to time shift their favorite shows. They don't care how it is delivered. The DVR is a hack, meant to record content that is broadcast at a fixed time for later playback.
When people finally have the "universal library in the cloud with all TV shows and Movies ever created" they'll wonder why they even cared about DVRs in the first place.
BlackBerry Battle In India Going Down To the Wire
I am not sure whether /. users appreciate the whole situation in India.
Terrorists using blackberry is an actual problem here.
I'm not sure whether /. users appreciate the whole situation in India. Terrorists using human language is an actual problem here. Therefore, we must now eavesdrop on all conversations. Furthermore, whispering is now forbidden, as you might be quiet enough that our microphones can't hear you. Speak loudly and clearly citizen - move along, nothing to see hear.
BlackBerry Battle In India Going Down To the Wire
Ok, the Indian government can tell Blackberry to give up its keys for a particular encryption layer, but what is to stop people from using RSA 512-bit encryption with their e-mails? Wouldn't this force terrorists to pay attention to what encryption methods they are using?
The problem is that the entire Blackberry infrastructure is built around them never having your decryption keys. The keys are generated by the customers, and stored on their own Blackberry Enterprise Servers and mobile devices. So, even if they wanted to eavesdrop on their customers communication, the only way that would be possible would be to release new versions of the BES with built-in back doors. If that was the case, I think customers would just switch to Microsoft ActiveSync, which uses SSL and is secure.
I can't help but think that all of these lawmakers don't understand how public/private key encryption works. They must think it works similar to the old wiretaps where you just connect two wires onto their line and listen in. Is there no way to explain encryption to these lawmakers in a way that they can understand? Maybe we need to resurrect zombie Ted Stevens to break out his "series of tubes" conversations...
Searching For Backdoors From Rogue IT Staff
o continue: I had many problems with upper management, one of which was their wanting me to 'tweak' time sheet accounting so that new entry level minimum wage employees were paid for as little as 75% of their legitimate hours worked.
That's actually a criminal offense (payroll fraud, or something similar) and you should have called your state labor commission and reported them right then and there.
Well two weeks after I left I found out the newbie replacement didn't perform the audit when I accidentally clicked on a bookmark at home (Putty) and I was suddenly in a server from my old job. I logged out and didn't feel particularly compelled to tell them that my keys were still trusted. About a month later I made the same mistake. The hole was no longer there. I thought to myself, "Good for him. I guess he's not so incompetent at all."
But curiousity a la Facebook and Twitter revealed that a server had actually gone down that day. Apparently there was a 'rm -rf' oopsy!!!
I hate to say this, but you could have ended up in jail for this little "oopsy". If for any reason they thought the "rm -rf" wasn't an oopsy, and was malicious, and someone did forensics on the server and determined you had logged on after your termination date, you probably would have had the FBI knocking on your door.
Not only is it the employer's responsibility to shut down access for terminated or resigning employees, it is the employee's responsibility to destroy any company data they might still have. This includes ssh private keys that might give them access to company systems. It's always a good idea to cover your ass, especially when dealing with former employers that are unethical enough to short their own employee paychecks.
The 'Net Generation' Isn't
When PCs became affordable for the average joe, the "average gamer" changed and Sierra could no longer afford to write games that catered to an educated audience. They were just too small a part of the market.
Speaking as someone who thoroughly enjoyed the Sierra games as a kid (and Monkey Island, Infocom, and many others) I think this is a bit of a cop-out. Sure, there is a huge market of "twitch" gamers that never existed back in the 80s, but that doesn't mean the educated market disappeared. If anything, the educated gamer market is even larger than it was back then, as hardware has gotten cheaper. What has happened, I suppose, is that only the big mega-hits get funded by the studios.
We need to go back to indie studios that are self-funded and deliver games that even small niche markets like educated gamers want. There is more than enough money to go around. If you make good games, people will play them (and pay you for them).
Intel's Superchilled Test Rig
The posts from users running Linux on the forum are showing times that are 4-5x faster than those posting benchmarks from Windows. What's going on there?
If you RTFA you'll see the Intel engineer was asked by his coworkers that challenged him to do this benchmark using only a single socket system. What you have are Linux geeks with 2 way or 4 way servers that want to start a dick measuring contest.
I would say a 5 ghz. overclock is pretty damn impressive. If someone wants to put up a benchmark from Linux on their single socket system that beats his 50 second benchmark, I would be equally impressed. Putting up a result from your 4 CPU server that is only 10 seconds faster just makes you look pathetic.
Intel's Superchilled Test Rig
Why would you assume that? The engineer from Intel was limited to using a single socket system. I could argue that there is something seriously wrong with your Linux compiled binary since you have 4x as many sockets and ran less than twice as fast.
I'm sick of political trolling/modding/meta-moderating...
Has anyone noticed that the amount of political freaks that troll these forums has gotten out of hand lately? I mean, I just got meta-moderated as unfair for a comment that I modded informative that was highly relevant to the discussion.
Judge for yourself: This is the comment I modded informative.
The discussion was in the story about how "pseudo"-scientists were criticizing Gore's new movie, and this comment rightly showed some quotes by the same guy that was in the article, proving he was an industry shill.
So do you think now the conservative trolls have figured out that they can meta-moderate this board into oblivion? My Slashdot, how you've fallen lately... it's sad really.
Conservative in Name Only. We need this term to describe the Republican leadership that has run amok in this country. I heard a great story this morning covering the SCOTUS which upheld the Oregon law that allows for physician assisted suicide. The Death with Dignity act still stands.
Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft tried to block this law by warping federal drug statutes to try and prohibit doctors from using the drugs in a way they weren't intended, to assist a suffering patient in dying. This was a right specifically given to the states by the controlled substances act, and the power-grab by our former Attorney General (cue "Let the Eagles Soar") was appropriately blocked by 6 reasonable justices.
The real interesting thing is that the 3 dissenting justices, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts, are also supposed to be conservative. Don't conservatives believe in States Rights? It seems completely ironic that the so-called conservatives in this country, that talk about shrinking government and states rights, are the same peckerheads that are trying to consolidate federal control and reduce the states ability to govern themselves.
What it all boils down to is this: The conservative leadership in our country should be called what they are: Conservative in Name Only. CINO.
Funniest thing I've read on Slashdot in a little while...
This is really just a placeholder for a funny comment I read...
You KNOW you're getting neurotic when your household appliances are having conversations and you start feeling left out.
Slashdot banned my IP for no reason
For some reason Slashdot decided to block my IP from posting. I tried to post a comment this morning and got the rather rude message:
Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "b7f55ff546593c6a8a2122edc93f82e1" and "41b55072759372690f7363ed52c288ea" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" and your username "illumin8".
So, I sent them a message with the following text:
I've been a Slashdot member for years and have never abused Slashdot. If there is another user on my IP range that is abusing please let me know and I will hunt them down and have their internet access revoked. I'm sysadmin at a small company and have the authority to do this.
The response I got fairly quickly was this:
You have been downmodded too many times and are in timeout for a bit.
This is getting ridiculous now. I just checked my posting history and of my last 24 comments (you can check it now if you want) I've written, only 1 was modded "Flamebait" (an unfair mod, I might add, if you read the comment you'll see). I also have 3 posts moderated Interesting, 4 posts moderated Insightful, and 1 moderated Informative.
What's more, I've been a Slashdot regular for years and have Excellent karma... What kind of BS are they pulling on my by banning my IP?
I've gotta be honest with you guys... The quality of Slashdot's editorial staff has always been really poor. Dupe articles are constantly posted, the editors feel free to write whatever blatantly biased comments they want to after the submitter's article, and all kinds of other BS go on that sometimes I get sick of putting up with. But, I keep coming back just because occasionally you'll get a good article. Lately, though, there have been days on end where I haven't seen even 1 or 2 good articles. Have you noticed this same thing happening as well, or is it just me?
Slashdot better get their shit together or I will leave here and not come back (except maybe to read my friends journals).
Ok, I've stayed out of those free iPod things so far because I had no need for an iPod. Even though I have several friends online and know I could probably get one, but this one is too good to pass up. It's for a free Mac Mini (the 80GB model!). The offer is made by the same company, Gratis Internet, that did the free iPod scheme, so you know it's legit (I haven't heard of anyone being scammed by them yet, though they do take a little while to ship your product).
So I finally took the plunge and completed an offer. The offer I chose to do was the $9.95 1 month trial of Blockbuster's home DVD delivery service (Netflix competitor). I used to use Netflix and figured I can cancel after the first month, and get a few rentals for $10, plus a free Mac mini.
I could use your help though, so if you'd like a free Mac mini (who wouldn't?), please click on this link when you go to complete your offer.
Oh, and if you know of any better offers that don't cost any money at all, please reply and let me know. $10 isn't too much to spend, but free is better.
Edit: There is one free offer... The eFax offer is for a free 30 day trial, and if you cancel within the 30-day trial period you don't have to pay anything.
My Journal is moving...
Hi everyone. My journal is moving. I just setup WordPress on my server at http://lukeyoungblood.com, and I'm going to start using that rather than Slashdot as a forum for my "rants"... :-)
I'll still participate in the Slashdot community on a regular basis, but I like being able to change every aspect of my site and moderate all of the comments on my blog, the way you should be able to with any real blogging system.
You ought to pop over there and check out a new article I wrote about Insecurity at the Democratic National Convention.
Thanks for reading, and keep up the great work everyone.
Free Gmail Invites (just read this journal)
Hey, here are some free Gmail invites for all of my friends:
(first click, first serve):
Basically, I sent some invites to some friends that didn't want them. Ignore the name of the person on the invite, just change it to whoever you are and sign up. Oh, and if you're not already my friend, then befriend me already... :-)
UPDATE: They're all used up. I've got 6 more, so if you didn't get one, reply to this journal and I'll send you one.
UPDATE #2: I used up all of my other six as well. Post a message in this journal and maybe some other kind soul will be nice enough to give you an invite.
How to get your POP3 or IMAP mail into Gmail easily
For those of you that are wondering how to get mail from your IMAP or POP3 accounts into Gmail, I found a great way to do it with Fetchmail. These are the options I used:
fetchmail --all --keep \
--smtphost gsmtp57.google.com,gsmtp171.google.com \
--smtpname email@example.com \
--protocol IMAP or POP3 \
--user yourmailserverusername \
Give this a try, it will prompt you for your IMAP password, then start copying away. BTW, the --keep flag tells it to keep all of your messages on your IMAP server, so it's not going to erase anything.
You may want to setup some Labels and Filters ahead of time on your GMail account so that you don't end up with 5000 messages in your inbox. For example messages that came from a domain name of my old employer get labelled with company name and archived automatically.
Messages will have all appropriate headers intact, however the timestamp that the messages are received will reflect the current time, rather than the original timestamp. There is no way around this because Google's SMTP servers automatically timestamp every incoming message.
There is no need to worry about MAIL FROM: headers being mangled like they would be if you forwarded them from a regular mail client. All MAIL FROM: headers will remain intact. Fetchmail only overwrites the RCPT TO: portion of the headers.
Let me know if you have any problems... Mine is currently chunking away on 850 out of 2867 messages... Gmail rocks!
Bush still insists on lying to the American public
Yesterday, the 9/11 commission released a report on the ties (or lack thereof) between Iraq and Al Qaeda:
The 9/11 commission's report said bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to (Saddam) Hussein's secular regime."
It says the contact was pushed by the Sudanese, "to protect their own ties with Iraq," but after bin Laden asked for space in Iraq for training camps, "Iraq apparently never responded."
The report also said, "There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship." - Source - CNN.com.
In the face of this damning evidence, the honorable thing to do would be to admit your error and apologize to the American public. Of course, this is expecting entirely too much from an administration that has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to deceive the people in order to accomplish their political objectives.
Instead, the administration has gone into full-on damage control mode by sending Cheney out to try and discredit the media.
Let's compare Bush's statement from October 2002 (at the bottom of this article), with the findings of the 9/11 commission, and Bush's statement yesterday:
"Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." - GWB, October, 2002
"There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship." - 9/11 Commission, June, 2004
"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." - GWB, June, 2004
Let's summarize here. It appears that the administration's strategy to mitigate the political damage caused by telling one lie, is simply to tell more lies. Brilliant, but it won't work. Do they really think the American public is that stupid?
Could the GOP be any more evil?
I was just getting my daily dose of CNN and I found an article that blew my mind. Can you believe the GOP is trying to capitalize on Reagan's death already?? Naww, they wouldn't do something as evil as that, especially so soon after he died. At least let us mourn for a few hours before you start turning him into an animatronic puppet that says "Vote Bush/Cheney".
Not only are they using his likeness in an ad, without permission from his family, they are again using footage from the 9/11 cleanup. This frankly disgusts me. The Bush administration shouldn't be trying to use the deaths of innocent victims during 9/11 to gain political points. I think it just goes to show that they will stoop to any level to win the election.
Read the article here.
Hearts and Minds: The real war is being lost
Today our military has suffered yet another defeat in Iraq. Not on the battlefield; it is clear that our troops have military superiority, yet they are losing the war that really matters: The war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.
On Sunday the Associated Press received a videotape that clearly shows the wedding celebration which was destroyed by the US military 5 miles from the Syrian border. I can't believe that after the overwhelming evidence that we killed innocent women and children during a wedding celebration, a coalition officer says "We still don't believe there was a wedding going on."
The war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people cannot be won by lies and deceit. It must be won through honesty and transparency. When innocent targets are struck, there must be accountability in our military. Again and again we are seeing that this war is different. In past wars, the propaganda machine could always gloss over the innocent casualties by feeding whatever lies were necessary to the news media. It is clear that in this war, the internet and international media has brought us a much less biased and propagandized story than we see on the "party news source", aka "Faux News". The lies told to the American people and the rest of the world cause even more damage when the truth is uncovered.
I can almost certainly guarantee you that other incidents like this will happen. War is a terrible business, and other innocent civilians will be killed. The only thing we can do is be honest with the American public and the rest of the world. Only by doing this can we save face and prove to the Iraqi people that we are more honorable than the insurgency which is gaining in popularity.
Bush/Rumsfeld's flat-out assault on the Geneva Convention
Wow. That's all I can say after reading this very informative article in Newsweek today.
It looks like Bush and Rumsfeld were both complicit in authorizing the use of torture and interrogation techniques that are in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. Their logic? That terrorists are illegal, unlawful combatants and therefore the Geneve Convention does not apply. It appears that these methods were originally authorized only for Guantanamo Bay and Al Qaeda suspects, but in November of 2003 Rumsfeld authorized their use on Iraqi detainees as well, after getting frustrated with the lack of intelligence about WMDs and the insurgency.
It also appears that Colin Powell, the State Department, and military lawyers or JAG officers were the lone voices of protest against this policy. Of course Bush and Rumsfeld acted unilaterally on this and completely ignored their protests.
My question for you is this: Wouldn't authorizing the torture of prisoners and ignoring the Geneva Convention subject Bush and Rumsfeld to impeachment and possibly even trial for war crimes? As commander-in-chief, isn't Bush personally responsible for the war crimes committed by soldiers underneath him, especially if he personally authorized these techniques? I don't understand why there aren't a million US citizens camped out on the white house lawn right now demanding Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld be hauled away in shackles by UN peacekeepers to stand trial at the Hague.
Of course our "commander-in-chief" would probably never allow UN peacekeepers to step foot on US soil without launching WWIII.
Our country is so fucked...
From Texas to Abu Ghraib: The Bush Legacy of Prisoner Abuse
Heather Wokusch just wrote a great article revealing the Bush administration's pattern of mistreating prisoners in Texas, and makes the argument that the abuses committed in Abu Ghraib are just our latest "export" from America to the middle east: An overpopulated prison system that systematically mistreats prisoners, especially minorities.
Rumsfeld in a world of hurt
Wow, when Fox News is running stories like this, you know things are getting really bad.
I don't actually expect Bush to do anything about Rumsfeld, but when pundits as blatantly biased as O'Reilly are calling for his head, maybe, just maybe, it might be time for the Bush adminstration to pull their head out of the sand and listen.
I've been following the Iraqi prisoner abuse cases very closely, and I have a hypothesis as to why these abuses are taking place.
Remember after 9/11, when the CIA said "we need to hire more 'bad apples' in order to make our nation secure"? I'm paraphrasing, but basically, the argument was, that during the cold war, the CIA hired all kinds of unsavory characters to do their bidding. International terrorists, arms dealers, drug dealers. They were all made CIA agents, even though they were despicable people, simply because they had the know-how and underground contacts to get the job done. After the cold war ended, congress decided they should put some pressure on the CIA to fire a lot of the "bad apples" because they were no longer needed. That was one of the main arguments from the CIA about why they didn't know about 9/11: "We didn't have enough good agents."
So, fast forward to a few years later. We've been hiring all sorts of unsavory characters to work in intelligence services for the last couple of years. These guys are the scum of the earth, but they seem to get results. Some of them are put in charge of interrogation/intelligence extraction efforts at Abu Ghraib. They are told by senior military officers: "Get the information; I don't want to know how you get it; just get it." So now you've created an environment where the MP officers are ordered to do these things by the intelligence officers who are in charge of interrogation. When deplorable and dehumanizing acts like these are sanctioned by those in charge (rogue CIA agents), it doesn't take long before all kinds of depraved acts are being perpetrated on the prisoners. It's just human nature that these things start to happen. I find it similar to the "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" argument. If you put MP officers in a position of power over the prisoners, and encourage the use of torture and other methods used to break the willpower of a subject, you are asking for trouble. Human rights abuses will happen, and it's no great mystery that they are happening right now.
Right now the military has to make a tough decision: Which is more important, the basic human rights of the Iraqi prisoners, or our current administration's need to find WMDs before the election? It's obvious which one they've chosen up until now, and this is going to backfire bigtime for us. It's pretty hard to demand that the Iraqi militias treat foreigners they capture as hostages properly, when we're sodomizing their fellow Iraqis in prison. Likewise, it is hypocritical for us to demand the Iraqi militias follow the Geneva Convention when we have such blatant disregard for it.
What should the US do to solve this problem? Here are the steps I believe they should take:
Publicly apologize to the Iraqi people. Make the most sincere effort you can.
Replace all current intelligence officials at Abu Ghraib. These problems were started by senior intelligence officials who either ordered these abuses to take place, or turned a blind eye while their associates ordered them to take place. For that, they should be delivered to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes.
Replace all MP officers who were directly involved in the abuses. Even if they were ordered to do these things, the fact that they have performed these acts without reporting them to someone higher in the chain of command indicates that they have become corrupt with power and have the potential to abuse again.
What will happen? This is a totally different story. I think what we will see happen is this:
The US military will seek to blame all of the abuses on the MP officers at the lowest possible level, making them scapegoats for the abuses, even though they were ordered to do so by intelligence officials.
Several MP officers will be court-martialed.
The commanding officer of the prison will be sacked (already happened, I believe).
Basically, the CIA and DOD are looking for a scapegoat, and the MPs who performed the abuses will do just fine. That way nobody has to know about those shady folks that the CIA is hiring, and all of their wily ways. We can keep them on the payroll and keep extracting information from Iraqi prisoners. The human rights abuses will most assuredly continue, because this administration desperately needs to find WMDs before the election. They will just enact new rules such as banning digital cameras in order to make sure there are no leaks this time.
I find the methods our government uses deplorable. During the Iraqi invasion, the administration openly criticized the Iraqi government for airing pictures of American POWs. They said this was against the Geneva Convention (something about parading POWs in front of cameras to embarass them). How can a country that performs these vile acts on their own POWs have any recourse with the Geneva Convention? The answer is, we can't. We've become a nation of hypocrites, forcing other countries to adhere to the same code of conduct that we have no regard for.
Long live Pax Americana. I have a feeling we'll probably see the entire country crumble to bits in my lifetime and it's not going to be a pretty thing.
George Tenet caught in a(nother) lie
My first Journal entry! Anyway, I've been listening to Air America today and they've been talking about how George Tenet said he never talked to George Bush the entire month of August (in front of the 9/11 commission). He said Bush was in Crawford, TX, and they never met the entire month. This allows Bush "plausible deniability" about whether he knew the attacks were going to happen or not.
Anyway, someone called in and they found a document on the Whitehouse website (dated Aug. 25th, 2001) that proves he was lying:
Whitehouse Press Release
Load the page and do a Find on the word "tenet", and you'll see this:
The CIA briefings, I have on our porch, the end of our porch looking out over the lake. When Tenet came up, that's where we visited, out there.
You know, everybody wants to see the ranch, which I'm proud to show it off. So George Tenet and I -- yesterday, we piled in the new nominees for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Vice Chairman and their wives and went right up the canyon.
So not only did Bush meet with Tenet on August 24th, they also went over the CIA briefings with him. The CIA briefing talking about Zacharias Moussaui (sp?) which Bush said he never saw was dated August 23rd, but this seems to totally contradict that.