Archive for prisoner

Call Me, Irresponsible, Call Me John McCain


shut up

Once again, it's Sunday's favorite talking heads GOP puppet John McCain who's running off at the mouth without really thinking of what he's saying. Along with his apology for overstating the significance of the Obama-Raul Castro handshake, McCain took to the winds with another tack.

This time it's the Obama White House not doing enough to find an American who disappeared while on a secret intelligence mission to Iran back in March of 2007. If you start first with the date, you'll find it's nearly two years before Obama was first inaugurated. If we're going to place initial blame on anyone, it should be the Bush Administration which had been in total charge of the CIA for over 7 years at that time.

Initially the report of American Robert Levinson going missing in Iran was that he was a U.S. citizen, a tourist. No mention was made publicly that he actually was a CIA spy. And realistically, getting caught is a routine risk these brave men and women serving in that capacity run. Though I'm not a CIA operative or know for sure, I've certainly heard through numbers of articles and documentaries that agents are told that their affiliation with "the organization" or "the Company" would be denied. So why the CIA didn't come forward to report US spy Robert Levinson went missing and is believed to be in Iranian hands makes a lot of sense.

Yet not to Senator McClain. According to Talking Points Memo:

McCain said he is confident the U.S. is doing all it can to learn what has happened to Robert Levinson, but he told CNN's "State of the Union" the CIA has not been forthcoming with the Congress about him.

With all the leaks the Congress is responsible for -- just look to Darrell Issa as a perfect example -- it's understandable sharing this kind of news with every congressperson is irresponsible. Maybe it was shared, but not with McCain or his committees. It might have been shared with others. Yet even if it wasn't disseminated, who do you point the finger at? I'd think the sitting president who in this case was George W. Bush.

The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business. McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN "the CIA did not tell the truth to the Congress" about Levinson.

As of this writing, the Iranian government actually has denied they are holding U.S. Spy, Levinson. and let's hope their right. It was only last week that the issue of Levinson being a CIA operative came to light:

An Associated Press investigation published last week found that Levinson was working for the CIA -- investigating the Iranian government. The U.S. long has publicly described Levinson as a private citizen who traveled to an Iranian island on private business.

How the AP got this info is something the CIA and perhaps congress might want to look into. But to have McCain going out on national television, taking away some deniability by the CIA on this man's true identity and his mission puts Levinson's life in a more precarious position. Frankly, it's irresponsible.

There still is no definitive proof of CIA sanctioned activity by Levinson.

After he vanished, the CIA at first told lawmakers he had previously done contract work for the agency, but he had no current relationship with the agency and there was no connection to Iran. However, in October 2007, Levinson's lawyer discovered emails in which Levinson told a CIA friend that he was working to develop a source with access to the Iranian government. The emails were turned over to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which touched off an internal CIA investigation.

Three veteran analysts were forced out of the CIA and seven others were disciplined as a result of a breach of agency rules.

Well if Levinson went rogue, it was bad enough. Sharing that news with others was his risk. But when this info came to light, the CIA did what it was supposed to do. It notified Congress. More so, it took action by firing and disciplining those guilty of leaking this info or taking part in this activity. Now McCain joins the public fray. Perhaps an investigation sanction against the senator from Arizona is called for.

Darrell Issa, are you listening?


Cartoons of the Day- Nelson Mandela



Bill Day

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett


Scott Stantis


Peter Broelman


"Prolonged solitary confinement is without a doubt psychological torture."



Two years ago, Sarah Shourd was released from an Iranian prison. She and two other Americans went hiking in 2009 in Iraqi Kurdistan, but Iran accused them of spying and put them behind bars. They have a book coming out next year.

One part of Patt Morrison's L.A. Times interview with Shourd stood out to me, because sadly, the U.S. puts prisoners in solitary all the time, including Bradley Manning, including Guantanamo Bay detainees like the man I've written about for years, Fayiz al-Kandari.

To read Shourd's description of her ordeal brought back all my feelings of frustration and anger over the issue of torture and indefinite detention, topics that come up only rarely these days.

Why is solitary confinement your cause?

I was in solitary confinement 410 days. I had hallucinations. I had violent panic attacks. I beat at the walls until my knuckles bled. I know the toll it takes. Prolonged solitary confinement is without a doubt psychological torture. It's used in our own prisons as a routine practice; it's used for something as small as not returning a book on time.

Should it be banned?

I agree with a U.N. expert that it should be proscribed except as a very last resort. It's morally wrong. It's also costing us a lot of tax dollars to keep people in isolation. It doesn't help an individual's reform.

Was it hard for you to be around people again?

Extremely difficult. I'd been dreaming for 13 1/2 months of not being alone, but when I was released, I found it difficult to interact with other human beings. My family, people I had been yearning to see — I found myself overwhelmed, difficult to make physical contact, very jumpy.

Please read the entire interview here.


Jailed ex-Congressman to Newt Gingrich: "I have 80% of inmates that would vote for you."


Former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA), who is in prison for conspiracy and tax evasion,  who plead guilty to all kinds of fraud and took millions of dollars in bribes, is endorsing Newton Leroy Gingrich.

Well, then, that's it. He's a shoo-in!

First I do not want anything from you but have been watching the debates. I have 80% of inmates that would vote for you. They might not be able to but their extended families will. [...]

First when you were Speaker of the House having a Democratic president, you passed every issue working with the house and senate Dems. It was not easy and Mit (sic) just does not have this experience. It also shows that every bone in your body is for helping this nation become great again through conservative government. Mit (sic) may have been in the private sector but congress is far from having absolute control over your employees.

Wowee, he's a convict AND he can't spell!

Who could ask for a better supporter than that? Mit (sic) must be soooo enviouss (sic).

Source: Voice of San Diego.