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30 June 2008

PizzaQ! What's creeping across Australia and can't be stopped???



Hope this wiggles for you, it wiggled for me.

PizzaQ, 3 slices with anchovies!

What's creeping across Australia and can't be stopped?

1 extra slice, cheese only: Where did it come from?

* * *

The Blob

by Burt Bacharach
theme from movie "The Blob"
(1958, starring Steve McQueen)
Sung by "The Five Blobs"
Orchestration by Mac David


Beware of The Blob!

It creeps
And leaps
And glides
And slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch
A blotch
Be careful of The Blob!

(repeat lyrics 4 times)

25 June 2008

Quick! Before the CN Tower isn't the world's tallest freestanding structure anymore! PizzaQ! How long does the Leafs puck take to hit the ground?

Click, eh.

2 more slices of Pizza. Anybody can answer.

It's not hard. Everything you need is in the image.

~ ~ ~

Once I was
the King of Spain

by Moxy Fruvous

(Calypso beat)

Once I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)
Oh ... my unspeakable wife, Queen Lisa
(now I eat humble pie)
I'm telling you I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)
And now I work at the Pizza Pizza

Royalty, lord it looked good on me
Buried in silk in the royal boudoir
or going nuclear free
Or playing Crokinole
with the Princess of Monaco
Telling my jokes to the OPEC leaders,
getting it all on video

Once I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)
A palatial palace, that was my home
(now I eat humble pie)
I'm telling you I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)
And now I vacuum the turf at SkyDome
(once he was the King of Spain)

I can't wait,
I'm lowering interest rates,
my people say:
"King, how are you such a genius?
There's a roof overhead
and food on our plates!"

It's laisez-faire,
I don't even give a care
Let's make Friday part of the weekend
And give every new baby a chocolate eclair

Once I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)

Hey Clinton! Hey Yeltsin!
Got problems? You phone me
(now I eat humble pie)

I'm telling you I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)
Now the Leafs call me up to drive the Zamboni
(once he was the King of Spain)

Now some of you are probably wondering
how I came to be living in Canada
after being royalty in Spain.
Should I tell them, guys?

Tell us, King!

You see late one night
when the palace was asleep

Out of my royal chambers
and into the garden I creep

And I wait till the appointed time,
when the moon is lighting the pitch
At which point my peasant friend,
who looks just like me
Arrives and we make a switch

Prince and pauper, junior and whopper
World made up of silver and copper
Out of my own volition,
I took a change of position

So next time you drool in the pizza line
Remember, slower pizza's more luscious
The King of Spain never rushes!!!

Once I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)

I was looking for off-handed ways to improve us
(now I eat humble pie)
I'm telling you I was the King of Spain
(now I eat humble pie)
And now I'm jamming with Moxy Fruvous!
(once he was the King of Spain)

God & Osama bin Laden offer American voters advice for Election Thing 2008

Click image, all will be made clear,
including the correct interpretations
of Holy Scripture, and whom God
wants Americans to vote for.

The campaign for U.S. president is, quite frankly, making me sick, and for self-protection, I have been spending an unusual amount of time gamboling in the Realm of the Platonic Objects, and, when the Zeta Beam is working, hanging in my holiday condo near the Shoe Mirrors station on the Ciudad Vleeptron Underway, on Planet Vleeptron, in the Dwingeloo-2 Galaxy (not very far from here).

In other words, I have tried to do the absolute minimum of noticing and reading about Election Thing 2008, and have been positively repulsed by the idea of thinking about it and writing about it.

But it is, unfortunately, important. Whichever swinging dick gets the keys to the White House on 20 January 2009 will have enormous influence and impact on all the biota of the planet. If he really screws the pooch like the last guy did for four or eight years, or -- unimaginable but possible -- if he does worse, this could substantially push the human race and most vertebrates toward

GAME OVER

Earth could be Reptile & Below Land again, because a few more American adults voted [ ] than checked [ ].


Species very high on the tree are enthusiastically careening toward extinction already because of the relentlessly Nature-Hostile and Science-Ignorant Bush administration. Because so little has been done over the last eight years to reverse or slow these trends, the ratio of the character and intent of the American presidency to the volume of potential, irreversible Earth Damage has never been higher.

He is our moment's Emperor of Rome. The concerns and displeasures of Rome influenced, impacted and often crucified and otherwise brutally annihilated hundreds of thousands of human beings from England to India. Expand the scope to the entire surface of the planet (and a little action in low-orbit space), and multiply the potential victims by perhaps a factor of 2000, and this is the modern shadow of the President of the United States.

The fundamental idea has not changed much. When a faraway region's developments are perceived to threaten the interests of Rome or Washington, Rome or Washington projects overwhelming military might to that region, and squashes everybody like bugs. Regime Change, Shock and Awe. Caesar decreed it, Bush grunts and signs off on it, and with this seal and signature, legions start to march, battalions board Hercules transports.

The United States seems to be this moment's military superpower capable of projecting decisive conventional force anywhere on Earth. (Skip, for the moment, that it doesn't seem to work very well anymore.)

China is mighty, but has chosen for this decade to cast its shadow over the world economically, with few and very limited military forays beyond contingent regions. China holds the paper on an enormous amount of U.S. public debt, and it is through these kinds of financial wars that it pursues and achieves its influence and interests. The President can no longer tell China to fuck off and die with the same unqualified patriotic gusto that he could in 1958. Without firing a shot, China can send a few e-mails, and 150,000 Americans are out of work,
et sequelae; skyscrapers in financial centers go dark and are boarded up.

The ferocity, viciousness and sordidness of Election Thing 2008 is, astonishingly, nothing particularly unusual for American national politics. The vile toxic slime of national politics dates to George Washington's administration, and there are few, if any, subseqent election cycles remembered for daintiness, dignity and sportsmanship. Whispered accusations of bastard children, of candidates being part Negro, of having a Negro slave lover, are regular, even perpetual, nearly inevitable companions of presidential campaigns. They speak to our worst instincts, and apparently, we enjoy our worst instincts being whispered to.

The lack of restraint of 19th and 20th century campaigns are a good match for the commonly spammed accusation that
Barack Hussein Obama is a secret Muslim waiting to pounce on Christian America with a radical Muslim agenda when he wins the White House.

If you have heard or received some really disgusting and entirely unproven or unverifiable smut about either presidential candidate -- sexual perversions, past criminal acts or acts of treason -- please Leave A Comment, and Agence-Vleeptron Presse will happily post it here. Good hot filthy smut about the wives and children of the candidates equally welcome.

Accusations of treason, or high treason, are usually rare in the political dialogue, but presidential campaign time is their season for flowering and blossoming anew and afresh; the American political tongue never gets so loosened as when the White House is being hotly contested. The buzz about Obama is that he was brainwashed, "Manchurian Candidate" style, as a little boy in an Indonesian madrasa. The rumor carries a prediction: Watch for his first secret sign, when he swears his presidential oath on the Koran. (Boo!)

Not to be outdone, POW McCain was psychologically broken and spilled all his miliitary secrets to his Communist torturers.

And worse, for both candidates. These are True Rumors. That is, I'm not making them up or inventing them; people have been vigorously spreading them around long before Agence-Vleeptron Presse mentioned them. You can probably get to them, and to worse, to hundreds of virulent paragraphs in huge font, with no more than 3 or 4 mouseclicks.

Much is at stake. Tempers are hot. Kick out the jams and go to the wall -- much of the worst attacks on the candidates emanate from the Faith Sphere, and ally the other candidate intimately with Satan; other candidates are the Chosen or the Beloved of God or of Jesus.

This is also the season when Satan and God, through their Earthly representatives, make rare personal appearances, and endorse specific candidates, condemn the other, and grant interviews to CNN and Fox to
clarify God's wishes and preferences.

While some are drawn into the political maelstrom and lose their cotton-pickin' minds entirely, others maintain a strategic pragmatism, and ask only: How can my candidate be assured of winning? What will bring in the votes in November?

Charles Black, a senior political adviser to McCain and bigtime Washington DC lobbyist, has let slip a comment in a Fortune magazine interview that a new terrorist attack on the USA between now and November would be a huge boost to John McCain, because McCain has been presenting himself to voters as the more experienced and tougher candidate for national security.

(In the image, that's Osama bin Laden toppling the World Trade Center. It's a cheap plastic toy manufactured in the Peoples Republic of China that ended up in bags of cheap toys sold in the USA. Another toy in the bag showed an airplane smashing into the WTC.)

So the election may hinge on what "October Surprise" the Secret Hidden Evil Boogeyman, Osama bin Laden, might cook up. If he likes McCain, he'll attack America, that'll put McC over the top with the voters; or so Mr. Black suggests.

Moving from the political influence of a bearded psycho hiding in a cave on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to an even more distant and hard-to-get-on-the-phone influence, James C. Dobson, founder of the right-wing evangelical Christian organization "Focus on the Family," has consulted God Himself, and God has told him that Obama's interpretations of Holy Scripture are totally wrong, heretical, blasphemous, and just plain bad for America. (Dobson also detests McCain, and may be hinting to his Holy Followers to vote None Of The Above.)

This is pretty much a standard continuation of Bush's "base" -- his wooing not all or most Christian voters, but specifically highly organized machines of ultra-conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, a bloc exemplified by Dobson's "Focus on the Family."

There aren't more of these than of more moderate Christian voters, but the Fundies pioneered political organizing from churches; they flexed their Sunday political muscle far earlier than, for example, Presbyterians did.

Moderate Protestants tend to be reluctant and hesitant about interfering with the American election machinery directly from the pulpit; they believe their strength, and America's strength, lie specifically in strict observance, in letter and spirit, of the separation of church and state expressed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In other words, the Constitution tells the government not to fuck with churches, and some churches feel obligated to return the favor by scrupulously not fucking with secular political elections, by not dragging Holy Scripture and the Voice of God into the voting booth.

"Focus on the Family," and all who sail with her -- Bush's Fundie base -- feel otherwise. It's not that they interpret the First Amendment separation clause differently. It's that they want to get rid of it, to end separation of church and state entirely, and push for a Holy American New Jerusalem, a Christian theocracy, a Republic of Gilead. God tells them to.

In any case, if it's come down to McCain vs. Obama, surprise surprise, I'm voting Obama. Even if God specifically commands me not too. Even if the bearded terrorist cave spook pulls a nasty in October.

I can't take another four years of the crap the USA has had to endure under Bush, and let's face it -- President McCain is Bush's third term.

* * *

The New York Times
Wednesday 25 June 2008


Evangelical Leader Attacks
Obama on Religious Views


by Larry Rohter

Just days after Senator Barack Obama met quietly with religious leaders, including the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, another of the evangelical movement’s most prominent names, James C. Dobson, has sharply attacked Mr. Obama, accusing him of having “a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution” and twisting the meaning of both the Old and New Testaments.

“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology,” Mr. Dobson said Tuesday in one of the regular radio broadcasts for the group he leads, Focus on the Family.

“He’s some kind of biblical authority?” Mr. Dobson also asked.

Mr. Dobson’s remarks focused on a June 28, 2006, speech in which Mr. Obama, in Washington, mentioned passages from the Bible that he suggested were in conflict with present-day practices. Mr. Dobson made his criticisms shortly after Joshua Dubois, the Obama campaign’s religious affairs director, offered to meet with Focus on the Family leaders and suggested to some people that Mr. Dobson was nervous about Mr. Obama’s willingness to compete with Republicans for the evangelical vote.

“Young conservative evangelicals seem more open to Obama’s ‘Christian’ message of caring for the poor, fighting genocide, health care for all and climate change,” David Brody, senior national correspondent of the Christian Broadcasting Network, noted on Tuesday on the Web site after the radio program. “They also like the fact that he is reaching out to try and find common ground with conservative faith voters.”

One focus of Mr. Dobson’s objections was abortion, which provoked his attacks on Mr. Obama’s view of the Constitution. Mr. Obama, who supports abortion rights, wants “to go to the lowest common denominator of morality,” Mr. Dobson said, and impose “his bloody notion of what is right in regard to the rights of tiny babies.”

Mr. Dobson expressed particular irritation at a section of the speech in which Mr. Obama paired him with the Rev. Al Sharpton as an example of religious leaders with conflicting views. Mr. Dobson said he found the comparison with Mr. Sharpton, whom he considers an extremist, “offensive.”

Mr. Obama on Tuesday accused Mr. Dobson of reducing a complex subject to sound bites. “I do make the argument that it’s important for those like me who think that faith is important, that we try to translate that into a universal language,” he said.

Mr. Dobson also had hard words for Senator John McCain, whom he criticized early in the presidential campaign, saying at one point that he would stay at home rather than cast a vote for him. On Tuesday, Mr. Dobson complained that Mr. McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, had not spoken out energetically enough against same-sex marriage, referring specifically to a proposal in the Arizona Legislature that would ban such marriages.

“That is very disappointing,” he said.

Speaking of both candidates, he added, “They don’t give a hoot about the family.”

Michael Powell contributed reporting.

- 30 -

* * *

Reuters (newswire, UK)
Monday 23 June 2008


McCain adviser
apologizes for
September 11 comment


FRESNO, California (Reuters) -- A top adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain apologized on Monday after he was quoted as saying a September 11-type attack before the November election would benefit McCain.

"I deeply regret the comments, they were inappropriate," Charlie Black said in a statement after McCain said that if Black had made such a comment, "I strenuously disagree" with it.

"I recognize that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country and placing its security before every other consideration," said Black, one of McCain's most trusted political advisers.

Fortune magazine said Black, in discussing how national security was McCain's strong suit, had said when asked about another terrorist attack on U.S. soil that "certainly it would be a big advantage to him."

A McCain campaign official said Black did not remember making the particular comment but did not dispute the characterization.

The official said Black was speaking in the context that any day on the campaign trail that the theme was national security, was a good day for McCain.

McCain, asked about the magazine article at the news conference, did not sound familiar with it.

"I cannot imagine why he would say it. It's not true," McCain said, adding he had worked hard since the September 11 attack to prevent another such attack.

- 30 -

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Deborah Charles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

* * *

The Guardian (daily newspaper, UK)
Tuesday 24 June 2008


Charles Black profile:
McCain's controversial strategist


Work with African dictator and Ferdinand Marcos earned McCain strategist a reputation as master of dark arts of political lobbying

[photo:] Charlie Black, campaign adviser to the Republican presidential hopeful John McCain

For someone who prides himself as a political maverick, John McCain has picked as his chief strategist a Washington insider who is a master of the dark arts of political lobbying.

Since he joined the McCain presidential campaign in March after quitting his job as chairman of lobbying firm BKSH & Associates Charles Black has drawn fire from Democrats.

That may well be a backhanded tribute to Black's effectiveness as a political operative, who comes from the hard right of the Republican party.

The 60-year-old from North Carolina said he fell in love with politics at high school during Barry Goldwater's campaign for the presidency in 1964. Although he was too conservative for the American electorate then, Goldwater laid the seeds for Ronald Reagan's successful run for the White House 20 years later.

Black became a political activist early on. He was political director of Young Americans for Freedom, founding chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee. Black went on to work for an ultra-conservative, Jesse Helms, during his first senate campaign in 1972, and then became political director of the Republican national committee, where he worked closely with the legendary Lee Atwater, the Karl Rove of his day, also known as the Darth Vader of the Republican party.

What sticks in the craw of Democrats as much as Black's impeccable hard-right credentials is his lobbying during the 1980s, when his list of clients was a who's who list of unsavoury leaders seeking favours from the White House and Capitol Hill.

Most notably, Black worked on behalf of Jonas Savimbi whose Unita movement waged a brutal guerrilla campaign against the Cuban-backed Angolan government in the 1980s.

According to US justice department records, Black's lobbying firm spent lavishly to ensure congressional and White House support for Savimbi. The contract between Black's firm and Savimbi in 1985 was worth $600,000.

Black and his partners also lobbied on behalf of Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine president, who was overthrown by a popular revolt, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, one of the world's most corrupt dictators, and President Mohamed Siad Barre of Somali, another dictator who was eventually overthrown.

Black is unrepentant about his 30 years in lobbying. He told the Washington Post recently that his firms never represented foreigners "without first talking to the state department and the White House and clearing with them that the work would be in the interest of US foreign policy".

He said he worked for Marcos when the US considered the Philippine leader an ally. But "when the White House pulled the plug on Marcos, we resigned the account the same day."

As for Mobutu, Black said his firm was hired to help show the Zairean leader how to form political parties and conduct elections, and when Mobutu cancelled the results of a parliamentary election, "we quit".

Black's past associations with dictators have provided his critics with plenty of material to criticise not just Black but by association, John McCain.

Black's remarks to Fortune magazine that a terrorist attack on US soil would be a "big advantage" to McCain's election campaign may seem a no-brainer behind closed doors among hard-nosed political strategists. Out in the open, they seem a tad insensitive, even for McCain himself, who had to distance himself from the remarks.

- 30 -

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

21 June 2008

1st Day Issue / Tierra de los Sueños / cannonball dropped from Tower of Pisa / Baseball dropped from Washington Monument

Click image for larger.

See previous PizzaQ post. This image has everything you need to solve the PizzaQ. Answers should have 3 digits of precision to the right of the decimal point.

The constant of acceleration -- g -- due to gravity is defined for Earth Sea Level.

For the purposes of this question, Pisa and Washington DC are Vacuum Zones, they have no air or atmosphere, and thus objects fall without air resistance.

20 June 2008

Bob is lured by Druids to honor the Solstice Sunrise / Here comes the Sun (du dn du du) / Sitting Bull in Canada

Click image for larger.

My pal from the USA state shaped like the palm of a right-hand mitten sent me some stuff about John Sinclair, who is something of a legend thereabouts for his many public achievements in Attempted Freedom in the late 1960s, and his efforts to Create Utopia Locally, also a lot of hot music (the MC5). My pal met Sinclair once.

How famous was John Sinclair? Well, John Lennon and Yoko Ono came to Ann Arbor to sing a song Lennon wrote demanding Sinclair's release from prison.

Here is a redacted transcript of my reply.

Redact. Redact. I love redacting stuff.

+ + +

Getting sentenced to ten years for giving (not even selling) two joints to a narc, well I am guessing this would make a feller a little edgy and paranoid about smiling strangers.

I really have always admired the guy. Well -- it was the times. King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham had us all by the shorthairs, and Sinclair decided he'd be Robin Hood and gathered a merry band of White Panthers around him to thwart the evil schemes of the capitalist warmonger oppressors.

I've never been seduced by a single pitch from a conservative, but there really must be something wrong with my head, all my life -- documented at least to age 14 (when I transferred on the bus three times to go visit the commune of the Young Peoples Socialist League) -- I have been a total sucker for the pamphlets and Siren Songs of the Utopian Left. They promise me Justice, Brotherhood, Peace, and a gazillion times better music between speeches. I mean, it's just not much of a choice between a day with Rage Against the Machine, or a day listening to Kate Smith. Or MC5 vs. Perry Como.

And I like their art, with the sweat and bulging muscles of honest industrial workers of both genders and all races welding a Better Future for All. The last vestiges of New Deal post office art and Soviet propaganda art.

Here Comes The Sun
George Harrison

Complimentary "Here Comes The Sun" ringtone

Here comes the sun (du dn du du)
Here comes the sun
And I say
Its alright

Little darling
Its been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling
It seems like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And I say
Its alright

Little darling
The smiles returning to the faces
Little darling
It seems like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun (du dn du du)
Here comes the sun
And I say
Its alright

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes (four times)

Little darling
I see the ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it's been clear

Here comes the sun (du dn du du)
Here comes the sun
Its alright

Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
Its alright
Its alright

U.S. Naval Observatory
Astronomical Applications Department

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts (longitude W72.5, latitude N42.4):

Friday
20 June 2008 Eastern Daylight Time

SUN
Begin civil twilight 4:38 a.m.
Sunrise 5:13 a.m.
Sun transit 12:52 p.m.
Sunset 8:30 p.m.
End civil twilight 9:05 p.m.

In a couple of hours I'm giving myself a little treat, gonna drive to U-Mass and check out the scene at their retro neolithic astronomical stone circle, the Sunwheel
for Summer Solstice Sunrise. Over the years the Solstice Sunrise has become a draw for the neighborhood's neo-Druids, Wiccans, etc., but the High Priestess of the whole shindig is a woman professor of astronomy who designed the Sunwheel and saw to its construction. My guess is there should be about 100-200 people (some in Druid regalia) welcoming the Sun at the start of the longest day of the year.

Buzz is that the same hawk or eagle or falcon or giant black raven perches on the same big stone at every Solstice Sunrise. I'll let you know, maybe even bring back photos. Jeez I hope they don't do a human sacrifice, but I'm pretty sure I'm too old and scrawny to be selected as the victim.

They'll also have a later shindig for Solstice Sunset, but that's just for wussies who can't hack waking up for the dawn. (Neither can I, this is how I've always seen the dawn, staying up all night.)

... I'm having a big jones to want to travel. I may ride the feeling out until it passes ... Or I may pack the backpack and run off to some screwy place. Tonight my thoughts are full of Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan. (But VIA has discontinued the southern train line that passed near there, I'd have to do the last day on a bus.)

Oh, okay, after they wiped out Custer, Sitting Bull and his tribe figured they might be in a little trouble with the federal authorities, and skeedaddled north over the border to Saskatchewan. The Canadians and British really wanted to send them back to the US, but Sitting Bull showed the Mounties the medal his grandfather got from King George for fighting on the Brit side in the War of 1812.

Canada gave them sanctuary and some extra vittles for about five years, and never forced them back, they went back and surrendered on their own.

B

19 June 2008

The Italian construction industry / How far does it lean, but PIZZAQ! How long do cannonballs take to hit the ground?

Yes yes, by all means click on the image.

Okay, received today this photograph of my nephew Alex and his friend Kelly, guess where (no Pizza offered), photographer unknown, possibly a robot, maybe a nice guy from Alberta named Norman.

VAMRI, the Vleeptron Advanced Mathematics Research Institute, has analyzed the digital image and concluded that la Torre pendente di Pisa leans 1.81660792334491º from the vertical.


To be charitable to VAMRI and the photographer, Alex & Kelly just wanted to show the folks back home that they were indeed in Pisa, and did not set up the photo for a trigonometry demonstration to see how much the Tower leans from the vertical. (It was designed to stand straight up, but shit happens.)

==========
Wikipedia:
==========

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply The Tower of Pisa (La Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure by time in Pisa's Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square).

Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The tower presently leans to the southwest.

The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the lowest side and

56.7 m (186.02 ft)

on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 tonnes. The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. The tower leans at an angle of 3.97 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is 3.9 meters from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical.

==============

Galileo Galilei is said to have dropped two cannon balls of different masses from the tower to demonstrate that their descending speed was independent of their mass. This is considered an apocryphal tale, and the only source for it comes from Galileo's secretary.

In 1934 Benito Mussolini ordered that the tower be returned to a vertical position, so concrete was poured into its foundation.

However, the result was that the tower actually sank further into the soil.
===============================
===============================

Well, I've always liked the story that Galileo dropped cannonballs of different masses/weights from the Tower of Pisa.

Until he performed this experiment, Europe's premier authority on Physics,
Aristotle, said the heavier cannonball would hit the ground first, and everybody accepted the old Macedonian gasbag's opinion as Truth for about 2000 years.

The heavier cannonball hits the ground at the exact instant the lighter cannonball hits the ground.

In a vacuum -- like on the Moon -- a feather and an anvil dropped from the same height at the same instant will hit the ground at the same instant.


But Galileo did a lot more experimenting with falling objects, and worked out the math to describe precisely how they fall toward the Earth as time passes. (He rolled balls down ramps to slow down the process so he could observe it more precisely.)


Okay, 2 slices of Pizza, with Pepperoni and garlic.

Assuming G did indeed drop the cannonballs from the very top of the Tower of Pisa, how long did it take the cannonballs to hit the ground? (Gimme 3 decimal places of accuracy please.)

I find it amazing that grown women and men who don't know how to solve this problem are allowed out unsupervised.

It is very possible that the next president of the United States could not solve this problem if his life depended on it. (The U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis is heavy on math, but McCain was graduated 5th from the bottom of his class of 899 midshipmen. I don't know if Obama could win the Pizza either.)

I attended public schools in Washington DC and we had to do this fucking headache over and over again with massive objects dropped from the top of the Washington Monument, which -- entirely from painful memory -- is

555 feet 5 and 1/8 inches

tall.

1 more slice: How long does it take the besbol to hit the ground if you drop it from the top of the Washington Monument? (Also 3 decimal places please.)

Pisa and Washington DC are enclosed in vacuums, so air resistance is not a factor in the calculations.


16 June 2008

machines don't fix themselves / the Near Future morphs gracefully & silently into the Recent Past

You know the drill.

Computer workstation (the brand is "ElectriClerk") for employees of The Ministry of Information in the UK. To read the tiny screen, a huge magnifying glass is swiveled down. From the movie "Brazil." Rent and watch it immediately, but be very careful that it's a cut authorized by the director Terry Gilliam.

All the trouble begins when some employee of The Ministry of Information swats an annoying buzzing fly, and the fly's squashed guts change a B into a T on an official government form.

From the draft screenplay of "Brazil," the 1985 movie by Terry Gilliam. The screenplay is credited to the British playwright Tom Stoppard and to Gilliam and Charles McKeown.

"Brazil" is set

SOMEWHERE
IN THE
20TH CENTURY

in England, so it was intended to depict the Near Future. However, 1985 was 23 years ago, so if you see it today -- the 21st Century -- it takes place in the Recent Past. "Brazil" has nothing to do with Brazil, other than that different versions of the famous 1939 song "Brazil" by Ary Barroso play constantly as the leitmotif. (My favorite is the cover by Geoff Muldaur. Wikipedia says there exists a Kate Bush version which the movie didn't use.)

It's about the never-ending struggle between government and bureaucracy, and terrorism and individuality. In the Near Future (or the Recent Past), government, bureaucracy and their hooded anti-terrorism agents are winning bigtime over individuality.


The terrorist in "Brazil" (Robert De Niro) is a plumber named Harry Tuttle who sneaks around London and fixes people's plumbing problems without government authorization. Government anti-terrorism forces are constantly trying to catch and assassinate him and discover his whereabouts by torturing detained innocent citizens who usually know nothing about the matter.

Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a low-level official at the Ministry of Information. On top of all his other troubles, which are interfering with his daydreaming, the air-conditioner in his stifling hot apartment has crapped out; it's barely survivable and he is dripping with sweat.

He telephones Central Services, the government agency which fixes plumbing, and waits for them to arrive and, hopefully, save him, so he can get back to daydreaming.

~ ~ ~

32 INT. SAM'S FLAT NIGHT 32

SAM is grabbing the walls of the fridge. Water from the defrosted freezer compartment drips on his head. He wakes up. Before he can really take in where he is the phone rings. He staggers over to it.

SAM
Hello ... hello ...

PHONE VOICE
Hello. Mr Lowry?

SAM
Who's that?
(pause)

A sound at the kitchen door turns SAM's head - and ours - just in time to half see a quick blurred movement, but then a rapid voice in his ear-piece brings his head back.

PHONE VOICE
Put the phone down and your hands up.

SAM
(into the phone)
What? Who is this?

SAM realises that the voice is also in the room behind him. He turns round and sees TUTTLE. TUTTLE is middle-aged, a short tough figure dressed in dark clothes suggesting a cross between a cat burglar and a night-raid commando. In one hand he holds a gun pointed at SAM. The other hand is holding a telephone receiver which TUTTLE is in the act of placing in the large capacious bag at his feet. SAM puts down his phone, and his hands up.

TUTTLE
Nice and easy now. Keep your hands where I can see them.

SAM
What is this?
(indignantly)
Who the hell are you?

TUTTLE, keeping the gun on SAM, goes to different doors, leaning backwards into bedroom, bathroom and closet.

TUTTLE suddenly relaxes and pockets his gun.

TUTTLE
Harry Tuttle. Heating engineer. At your service.

SAM
Tuttle! Are you from Central Services?

TUTTLE
Ha!!

SAM
But ... I called Central Services.

TUTTLE
They're a bit overworked these days. Luckily I intercepted your call.

SAM
What?

By now, BOTH are pouring with sweat.
TUTTLE heads across the room and swiftly begins to undo a wall panel.

SAM
Wait a minute, what was that business with the gun?

TUTTLE hands SAM the panel and plunges his arm into the space behind it.

TUTTLE
A little precaution, sir. I've had traps set for me before now. There are people in Central Services who'd love to get their hands on Harry Tuttle.

SAM
Are you saying this is illegal?

By now TUTTLE has managed to pull out some sections of flexible ducting from the welter of mechanical offal behind the removed panel. It is all very complicated and greasy and it looks as though there is a lot more where that came from. TUTTLE is amazingly neat and deft as he works. A real pro. As he works he hums a wee tune ... yes ... BRAZIL!!

TUTTLE
Well, yes ... and no. Officially, only Central Service operatives are supposed to touch this stuff ... Could you hold these.

TUTTLE
(he hands Sam a bunch of wires that he has detached) ... but, with all the new rules and regulations ... unncgh, c'mon, c'mon ... they can't get decent staff any more ... so ... they tend to turn a blind eye ... as long as I'm careful.
(he hands Sam a torch)
... Mind you, if ever they could prove I'd been working on their equipment ... well, that's a different matter ... up a bit with the torch, sir.

SAM
Sorry. wouldn't it be easier just to work for Central Services?

TUTTLE
Couldn't stand the pa - ah - we're getting warm -

SAM
The pace?

TUTTLE
The paperwork, couldn't stand the paperwork.
(indicating the torch)
Over to the left please, if you don't mind sir. Hold it there. Yes, there's more bits of paper in Central Services than bits of pipe - read this, fill in that, hand in the other - listen, this old system of yours could be on fire and I couldn't even turn on the kitchen tap without filling in a 27B/6.... Bloody paperwork.

SAM
(mildly)
Well I suppose one has to expect a certain amount

TUTTLE
Why? I came into this game for adventure - go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there's trouble, a man alone. Now they've got the whole country sectioned off and you can't move without a form. I'm the last of a breed. Ah ha! Found it!
(he holds up a small charred gadget)
There's your problem.

SAM
Can you fix it?

TUTTLE
No. But I can bypass it with one of these

He pulls another gadget from his bag.

SAM
Fine.

The door bell. TUTTLE grabs for his gun.

TUTTLE
Are you expecting anyone?

SAM
No. Wait here.

He goes out closing the immediate door and goes to the front door which he opens. He is confronted by two officious little men in boiler suits who are standing outside his door. Their names are SPOOR and DOWSER. DOWSER is SPOOR's echo.

SAM
Yes?

SPOOR
Central Services.

DOWSER
...ervices.

SAM
Uh - what? - I ...

SPOOR
You telephoned, sir.

DOWSER
...elephoned sir.

SPOOR
Trouble with your air-conditioning.

DOWSER
...ditioning.

SAM
(gulps)
No, not at all. I mean, it's all right. It's fixed.

SPOOR
Fixed?

DOWSER
Fixed?

They don't like that.

SAM
I mean it fixed itself.

SPOOR
Fixed itself.

DOWSER
...ixed itself.

SPOOR
Machines don't fix themselves.

DOWSER
... fix themselves.

SPOOR
He's tampered with it, Dowser.

DOWSER
...ampered. with it, Spoor.

SAM
Look, I'm sorry about your wasted journey

SAM tries to close the door but SPOOR prevents this.

SPOOR
(to Dowser)
I think we'd better have a look.

DOWSER
... have a look.

SAM
No you can't.

He is pushed aside. SPOOR followed by DOWSER, heads for the door behind which is MR TUTTLE. SAM is paralysed. SPOOR approaches the door as if it is dangerous. He turns the handle quietly and gives the door a little nudge. The door begins to swing slowly open. SAM suddenly finds inspiration.

SAM
Just a minute!

SPOOR and DOWSER turn round as the door continues to swing open. When the door is open, behind their backs TUTTLE is seen holding his pistol in a two-handed grip, his knees slightly bent. TUTTLE freezes like that, pointing his pistol through the open door.

SAM
Have you got a 27B/6?

DOWSER looks very angry. Veins stand out on his forehead and he goes into what looks like some sort of fit. SPOOR knocks him to the ground.

SPOOR
(to Sam)
Now look what you've done to him.

SAM
Have you got one or haven't you?

SPOOR
Not ... as such ...

DOWSER moans and begins to get back on his feet.

SPOOR
But we can get one.

SPOOR
(worried about Dowser)
It's all right, Terry, it's all right, everything's all right.

SAM
(ushering them to the door)
I'm sorry, but I'm a bit of a stickler for paper work. Where would we be if we didn't follow the correct procedures?

SPOOR
We'll be back.

DOWSER
...Be back.

SAM
(Closing the door on them)
Thank you.

SAM turns back to TUTTLE who is coming forward pocketing his gun.

TUTTLE
Thanks, Lowry, you're a good man in a tight corner.

TUTTLE returns to work, fitting in the new by-pass gadget and tightening the nuts, and happily humming "BRAZIL".

SAM
Listen .. um ... I don't want to get involved in any of this. But I work at the Ministry of Information, and I happen to know that Information Retrieval have been looking for an Archibald Tuttle, Heating Engineer. You wouldn't by any chance be -

TUTTLE
(pleased)
My friends call me Harry. Information Retrieval, eh? Interesting!

SAM
What do they want you for?

TUTTLE
Time to go.

TUTTLE finishes the job and throws his tools into the bag.

SAM
Thank you very much. How much will it...?

TUTTLE
On the house. You did me a favor. Check the corridor.

SAM goes to the front door, opens it and looks out.

SAM
All clear.

TUTTLE slips out and heads off down the balcony corridor.

SAM
Hey that's a dead end.

But TUTTLE merely undoes a pre-arranged rope and swings Tarzan-like off the end of the balcony and across a multi-story void to a neighboring block. SAM is amazed - not to say - stunned.

Guantanamo afterthought & footnote -- they stuffed it full of innocent civilians, and got crap for intelligence

McClatchy Newspapers
(wire service, US newspaper chain)
Sunday 15 June 2008


America's prison for terrorists
often held the wrong men


by Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers

GARDEZ, Afghanistan -- The militants crept up behind Mohammed Akhtiar
as he squatted at the spigot to wash his hands before evening prayers at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

They shouted "Allahu Akbar" — God is great — as one of them hefted a metal mop squeezer into the air, slammed it into Akhtiar's head and sent thick streams of blood running down his face.

Akhtiar was among the more than 770 terrorism suspects imprisoned at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They are the men the Bush administration described as "the worst of the worst."

But Akhtiar was no terrorist. American troops had dragged him out of his Afghanistan home in 2003 and held him in Guantanamo for three years in the belief that he was an insurgent involved in rocket attacks on U.S. forces. The Islamic radicals in Guantanamo's Camp Four who hissed "infidel" and spat at Akhtiar, however, knew something his captors didn't: The U.S. government had the wrong guy.

"He was not an enemy of the government, he was a friend of the government," a senior Afghan intelligence officer told McClatchy. Akhtiar was imprisoned at Guantanamo on the basis of false information that local anti-government insurgents fed to U.S. troops, he said.

An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that Akhtiar was one of dozens of men — and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds — whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.

McClatchy interviewed 66 released detainees, more than a dozen local officials — primarily in Afghanistan — and U.S. officials with intimate knowledge of the detention program. The investigation also reviewed thousands of pages of U.S. military tribunal documents and other records.

This unprecedented compilation shows that most of the 66 were low-level Taliban grunts, innocent Afghan villagers or ordinary criminals. At least seven had been working for the U.S.-backed Afghan government and had no ties to militants, according to Afghan local officials. In effect, many of the detainees posed no danger to the United States or its allies.

The investigation also found that despite the uncertainty about whom they were holding, U.S. soldiers beat and abused many prisoners.

Prisoner mistreatment became a regular feature in cellblocks and interrogation rooms at Bagram and Kandahar air bases, the two main way stations in Afghanistan en route to Guantanamo.

While he was held at Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base, Akhtiar said, "When I had a dispute with the interrogator, when I asked, 'What is my crime?' the soldiers who took me back to my cell would throw me down the stairs."

The McClatchy reporting also documented how U.S. detention policies fueled support for extremist Islamist groups. For some detainees who went home far more militant than when they arrived, Guantanamo became a school for jihad, or Islamic holy war.

Of course, Guantanamo also houses Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, who along with four other high-profile detainees faces military commission charges. Cases also have been opened against 15 other detainees for assorted offenses, such as attending al Qaida training camps.

But because the Bush administration set up Guantanamo under special rules that allowed indefinite detention without charges or federal court challenge, it's impossible to know how many of the 770 men who've been held there were terrorists.

A series of White House directives placed "suspected enemy combatants" beyond the reach of U.S. law or the 1949 Geneva Conventions' protections for prisoners of war. President Bush and Congress then passed legislation that protected those detention rules.

However, the administration's attempts to keep the detainees beyond the law came crashing down last week.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that detainees have the right to contest their cases in federal courts, and that a 2006 act of Congress forbidding them from doing so was unconstitutional. "Some of these petitioners have been in custody for six years with no definitive judicial determination as to the legality of their detention," the court said in its 5-4 decision, overturning Bush administration policy and two acts of Congress that codified it.

One former administration official said the White House's initial policy and legal decisions "probably made instances of abuse more likely. ... My sense is that decisions taken at the top probably sent a signal that the old rules don't apply ... certainly some people read what was coming out of Washington: The gloves are off, this isn't a Geneva world anymore."

Like many others who previously worked in the White House or Defense Department, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the legal and political sensitivities of the issue.

McClatchy's interviews are the most ever conducted with former Guantanamo detainees by a U.S. news organization. The issue of detainee backgrounds has previously been reported on by other media outlets, but not as comprehensively.

McClatchy also in many cases did more research than either the U.S. military at Guantanamo, which often relied on secondhand accounts, or the detainees' lawyers, who relied mainly on the detainees' accounts.

The Pentagon declined to discuss the findings. It issued a statement Friday saying that military policy always has been to treat detainees humanely, to investigate credible complaints of abuse and to hold people accountable. The statement says that an al Qaida manual urges detainees to lie about prison conditions once they're released. "We typically do not respond to each and every allegation of abuse made by past and present detainees," the statement said.

Little Intelligence Value

The McClatchy investigation found that top Bush administration officials knew within months of opening the Guantanamo detention center that many of the prisoners there weren't "the worst of the worst." From the moment that Guantanamo opened in early 2002, former Secretary of the Army Thomas White said, it was obvious that at least a third of the population didn't belong there.

Of the 66 detainees whom McClatchy interviewed, the evidence indicates that 34 of them, about 52 percent, had connections with militant groups or activities. At least 23 of those 34, however, were Taliban foot soldiers, conscripts, low-level volunteers or adventure-seekers who knew nothing about global terrorism.

Only seven of the 66 were in positions to have had any ties to al Qaida's leadership, and it isn't clear that any of them knew any terrorists of consequence.

If the former detainees whom McClatchy interviewed are any indication — and several former high-ranking U.S. administration and defense officials said in interviews that they are — most of the prisoners at Guantanamo weren't terrorist masterminds but men who were of no intelligence value in the war on terrorism.

Far from being an ally of the Taliban, Mohammed Akhtiar had fled to Pakistan shortly after the puritanical Islamist group took power in 1996, the senior Afghan intelligence officer told McClatchy. The Taliban burned down Akhtiar's house after he refused to ally his tribe with their government.

The Americans detained Akhtiar, the intelligence officer said, because they were given bad information by another Afghan who'd harbored a personal vendetta against Akhtiar going back to his time as a commander against the Soviet military during the 1980s.

"In some of these cases, tribal feuds and political feuds have played a big role" in people getting sent to Guantanamo, the intelligence officer said.

He didn't want his name used, partly because he didn't want to offend the Western officials he works with and partly because Afghan intelligence officers are assassinated regularly.

"There were Afghans being sent to Guantanamo because of bad intelligence," said Helaluddin Helal, Afghanistan's deputy interior minister for security from 2002 to early 2004. "In the beginning, everyone was trying to give intelligence to the Americans ... the Americans were taking action without checking this information."

Nusrat Khan was in his 70s when American troops shoved him into an isolation cell at Bagram in the spring of 2003. They blindfolded him, put earphones on his head and tied his hands behind his back for almost four weeks straight, Khan said.

By the time he was taken out of the cell, Khan — who'd had at least two strokes years before he was arrested and was barely able to walk — was half-mad and couldn't stand without help. Khan said that he was taken to Guantanamo on a stretcher.

Several Afghan officials, including the country's attorney general, later said that Khan, who spent more than three years at Guantanamo, wasn't a threat to anyone; he'd been turned in as an insurgent leader because of decades-old rivalries with competing Afghan militias.

Ghalib Hassan was an Interior Ministry-appointed district commander in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, a man who'd risked his life to help the U.S.-backed government. Din Mohammed, the former governor of that province and now the governor of Kabul, said there was no question that local tribal leaders, offended by Hassan's brusque style, fed false information about him to local informants used by American troops.

The Pentagon declined requests to make top officials, including the secretary of defense, available to respond to McClatchy's findings. The defense official in charge of detainee affairs, Sandra Hodgkinson, refused to speak with McClatchy.

The Pentagon's only response to a series of written questions from McClatchy, and to a list of 63 of the 66 former detainees interviewed for this story, was a three-paragraph statement.

"These unlawful combatants have provided valuable information in the struggle to protect the U.S. public from an enemy bent on murder of innocent civilians," Col. Gary Keck said in the statement. He provided no examples.

Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, until recently the commanding officer at Guantanamo, said that detainees had supplied crucial information about al Qaida, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

"Included with the folks that were brought here in 2002 were, by and large, the main leadership of al Qaida and the Taliban," he said in a phone interview.

Buzby agreed, however, that some detainees were from the bottom rung.

"It's all about developing the mosaic ... there's value to both ends of the spectrum," he said.

Former senior U.S. defense and intelligence officials, however, said McClatchy's conclusions squared with their own observations.

"As far as intelligence value from those in Gitmo, I got tired of telling the people writing reports based on their interrogations that their material was essentially worthless," a U.S. intelligence officer said in an e-mail, using the military's slang for Guantanamo.

Guantanamo authorities periodically sent analysts at the U.S. Central Command "rap sheets on various prisoners and asked our assessment whether they merited continued confinement," said the analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. "Over about three years, I assessed around 40 of these individuals, mostly Afghans. ... I only can remember recommending that ONE should be kept at GITMO."

'War Council' Rewrites Detainee Law

At a Pentagon briefing in the spring of 2002, a senior Army intelligence officer expressed doubt about the entire intelligence-gathering process.

"He said that we're not getting anything, and his thought was that we're not getting anything because there might not be anything to get," said Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral who was the head of the Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps at the time.

Many detainees were "swept up in the pot" by large operations conducted by Afghan troops allied with the Americans, said former Army Secretary White, who's now a partner at DKRW Energy, an energy company in Houston.

One of the Afghan detainees at Guantanamo, White recalled, was more than 80 years old.

Army Spc. Eric Barclais, who was a military intelligence interrogator at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan from September 2002 through January 2003, told military investigators in sworn testimony that "We recommended lots of folks be released from (Bagram), but they were not. I believe some people ended up at (Guantanamo) that had no business being sent there."

"You have to understand some folks were detained because they got turned in by neighbors or family members who were feuding with them," Barclais said. "Yes, they had weapons. Everyone had weapons. Some were Soviet-era and could not even be fired."

A former Pentagon official told McClatchy that he was shocked at times by the backgrounds of men held at Guantanamo.

" 'Captured with weapon near the Pakistan border?' " the official said. "Are you kidding me?"

"The screening, the understanding of who we had was horrible," he said. "That's why we had so many useless people at Gitmo."

In 2002, a CIA analyst interviewed several dozen detainees at Guantanamo and reported to senior National Security Council officials that many of them didn't belong there, a former White House official said.

Despite the analyst's findings, the administration made no further review of the Guantanamo detainees. The White House had determined that all of them were enemy combatants, the former official said.

Rather than taking a closer look at whom they were holding, a group of five White House, Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers who called themselves the "War Council" devised a legal framework that enabled the administration to detain suspected "enemy combatants" indefinitely with few legal rights.

The threat of new terrorist attacks, the War Council argued, allowed President Bush to disregard or rewrite American law, international treaties and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to permit unlimited detentions and harsh interrogations.

The group further argued that detainees had no legal right to defend themselves, and that American soldiers — along with the War Council members, their bosses and Bush — should be shielded from prosecution for actions that many experts argue are war crimes.

With the support of Bush, Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the group shunted aside the military justice system, and in February 2002, Bush suspended the legal protection for detainees spelled out in Common Article Three of the 1949 Geneva Convention on prisoners of war, which outlaws degrading treatment and torture.

The Bush administration didn't launch a formal review of the detentions until a 2004 Supreme Court decision forced it to begin holding military tribunals at Guantanamo. The Supreme Court ruling last week said that the tribunals were deeply flawed, but it didn't close them down.

In late 2004, Pentagon officials decided to restrict further interrogations at Guantanamo to detainees who were considered "high value" for their suspected knowledge of terrorist groups or their potential of returning to the battlefield, according to Matthew Waxman, who was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, the Defense Department's head official for detainee matters, from August 2004 to December 2005.

"Maybe three-quarters of the detainees by 2005 were no longer regularly interrogated," said Waxman, who's now a law professor at Columbia University.

At that time, about 500 men were still being held at Guantanamo.

So far, the military commissions have publicly charged only six detainees — less than 1 percent of the more than 770 who've been at Guantanamo — with direct involvement in the 9-11 terrorist attacks; they dropped the charges in one case. Those few cases are now in question after the high court's ruling Thursday.

About 500 detainees — nearly two out of three — have been released.

During a military review board hearing at Guantanamo, Mohammed Akhtiar had some advice for the U.S. officers seated before him.

"I wish," he said, "that the United States would realize who the bad guys are and who the good guys are."

How Foot Soldiers, Farmers Got Swept Up

How did the United States come to hold so many farmers and goat herders among the real terrorists at Guantanamo? Among the reasons:

After conceding control of the country to U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, top Taliban and al Qaida leaders escaped to Pakistan, leaving the battlefield filled with ragtag groups of volunteers and conscripts who knew nothing about global terrorism.

The majority of the detainees taken to Guantanamo came into U.S. custody indirectly, from Afghan troops, warlords, mercenaries and Pakistani police who often were paid cash by the number and alleged importance of the men they handed over. Foot soldiers brought in hundreds of dollars, but commanders were worth thousands. Because of the bounties — advertised in fliers that U.S. planes dropped all over Afghanistan in late 2001 — there was financial incentive for locals to lie about the detainees' backgrounds. Only 33 percent of the former detainees — 22 out of 66 — whom McClatchy interviewed were detained initially by U.S. forces. Of those 22, 17 were Afghans who'd been captured around mid-2002 or later as part of the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, a fight that had more to do with counter-insurgency than terrorism.

American soldiers and interrogators were susceptible to false reports passed along by informants and officials looking to settle old grudges in Afghanistan, a nation that had experienced more than two decades of occupation and civil war before U.S. troops arrived. This meant that Americans were likely to arrest Afghans who had no significant connections to militant groups. For example, of those 17 Afghans whom the U.S. captured in mid-2002 or later, at least 12 of them were innocent of the allegations against them, according to interviews with Afghan intelligence and security officials.

Detainees at Guantanamo had no legal venue in which to challenge their detentions. The only mechanism set up to evaluate their status, an internal tribunal in the late summer of 2004, rested on the decisions of rotating panels of three U.S. military officers. The tribunals made little effort to find witnesses who weren't present at Guantanamo, and detainees were in no position to challenge the allegations against them.

- 30 -

Copyright (c) 2008 McClatchy Newspapers


=================

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12:06:23 06/16/2008
gustafus

Look, we abdicated our foreign policy to another country [guess who?] and their agents - in our government - influence policy to kill Muslims and protect ------'s [fill in the blanks - begins with IS]

If we clean up government and prosecute these monsters for treason - we will have peace with 1.6 billion Muslims. See if this makes it past the censors.

12:06:50 06/16/2008
JimBob

What makes me grind my teeth is the way people (including, apparently and amazingly, Justices Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito) seem to believe that granting habeas corpus is the equivalent of letting everyone go. What don't they understand about "Pony up your evidence, which surely you must have after six long years"? No one's talking about letting bad people go free. Not in any way shape or form. Yet Scalia says, in a shocking breach of Court etiquette, that the ruling amounts to murder.
The mind reels...

06:06:15 06/16/2008
bigfro

Whaaa! I need to wrongfully imprison people I'm scared.

Whaaa! I need to listen into people's phone calls

Whaaa! Protect me I don't need a jury of my peers. One of them might be a terrorist.

Whaaa! I no longer need the right to choose, Hilary lost so all woman will suffer... Oh sorry wrong article.

06:06:59 06/16/2008
bigfro

My inlaws grew up under Soviet occupation in the Czech Republic. Upon hearing about this story they askedt me IF GEORGE BUSH IS A COMMUNIST RED because the SOVIETS BEHAVED THE SAME WAY. It's funny the party of blacklisting is now a bunch of reds begging for the MOMMY government to protect their frightened pathetic selves from the mean terrorists. Go move to China. That's where all your businesses are anyway.

My freedom is worth more than your cowardice and fear.

03:06:39 06/16/2008
chuckbutcher

Thank you McClatchy, I have tried to put your story to some good use
http://chuckfor.blogspot.com/2008/06/gitmo-farce.html
Your are sourced and linked and block quoted to give credit due and to encourage pass through. Hopefully your work will create some knowledge and discourse more elevated than that of the past 6 years.

03:06:46 06/16/2008
hadashito

Thank you for an informative article, but the facts and easlly confirmed suspicions of deception by the Cheney/Bush are no surprise at all. Since the beginning of this faked business of the "war on terrorism" as framed by the Cheney/Bush administration, the need to "demonstrate" to Americans and the world that they have been "making progess" in this desperate "struggle" - - by grabbing any and all of the Muslims, or whoever has happened to be convenient, they could off the streets of Iraq, or wherever, and throwing them into prison - - innocents and guilty alike, but MOSTLY INNOCENTS because the Bushies have never bothered themselves to be very discriminating about whom they have kidnapped. The Cheney/Bush "war on terrorism" needed warm BODIES - - any bodies -- for their PR campaign to justify their neocon fantasy of a "democratic" MidEast brought about by an insane, illegal war and occupation. So hundreds of people languish in prisons all over the world (Where ? No one knows really where the prisons are located but the Cheney/Bush mob), many subjected to torture and some undoubtedly dying while in prison. It is a human catastrophy and world class criminal campaign of Nazi proportions. Cheney and Bush are tin-horn dictators, but the American MSM is in total denial.

02:06:46 06/16/2008
mJJ

I want to thank McClatchy News for their fine investigation. Gitmo is even worst than I had thought and I always knew it was illegal as all get out. This Bush administration has trained this bunch of illegally detained men have valid reasons to be terrorists against the US. Yes, a reasonable response to their treatment of these prisoners by these Bushie despots. The Administration has acted like a bunch of anti-Aamerican despots who deserve to pay millions to the detainees for the illegal persecution heaped upon them. The Bushies should personally have to pay the damages from their systematic abuse they have encvouraged and allowed to be done to these prisoner's lives. Now, with the new Supreme Court finding, if Bush stalls release for even one day, that will add to the evidence the House already has re: the Bush illegal treatment of these detainees. Sure evidence of Bush's High crimes. We should send him to jail for years and years. Impeach him and then send him to jail for years for malfeasance in office. Maybe see hou he would react to the same kind of treatment he ordered for these detainees. See if he still says the treatment meets ethical standards.

01:06:57 06/16/2008
mJJ

The most preposterous thing about any attempt to try to justify this Administration's illegal treatment of Prisoners in our prisons or those instances of renditions to despotic countries so they could abuse prisoners - all that will come back to haunt the very essence of our country. We will have no moral authority to demand Geneva Convention protection for any of our folks who need Geneva Convention protection. Of course, neither Bush nor Cheney ever had any active duty experience where they might have been captured so I guess they feel free to just risk the safety of future prisoners if they give any thought at all to the issue. But somehow things seem to be righted by god Himself. Bush's popularity is in the toilet right now and I am sure he gets the message that his and Cheney's behavior is totally unacceptable to a large majority of Americans. And I say, thank you God for that sort of moral rudder the supreme court insists on and that ideal that is in the hearts of Americans.

12:06:50 06/16/2008
Dayahka

You left out several people who should be in Guantanamo--Bush, Cheney, Rice, and throw in Pelosi for corruption and aiding and abetting the aforementioned threesome.

12:06:17 06/16/2008
FunWithWarCrimes

Bush & Co. are already on trial for war crimes in our political satire -- The reality is disgusting, humiliating, demoralizing and appalling -- so what could we do, but go ahead and put the Bushies on trial for their war crimes -- just in case it never happens in real life, and you want a little poetic justice, stop on by funwithwarcrimes.com

=================

ABOUT THIS SERIES

An eight-month McClatchy investigation of the detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has found that the U.S. imprisoned innocent men, subjected them to abuse, stripped them of their legal rights and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad.

* Sunday: We got the wrong guys
* Today: 'I guess you can call it torture'
* Coming Tuesday: A school for Jihad
* Wednesday: 'Due process is legal mumbo-jumbo'
* Thursday: 'You are the king of this prison'

READ THE EVIDENCE

Browse an archive of documents obtained by McClatchy in the course of this investigation.

* About the project: Beyond the Law
* Interview: Abdul Salam Zaeef
* Interview: Nazar Chaman Gul
* Interview: Haji Galib Hasan
* Interview: Mohammed Nassim
* Interview: Akhtar Mohammad
* Interview: Amir Jan Ghorzang
* Interview: Syed Ajan
* Interview: Abdul Salam Zaeef
* Interview: Mohammed Aman
* Interview: Mohammed Naim Farouq

GRAPHICS (PDF FORMAT)

* Supreme court rulings on Guantanamo
* Detainee abuse and the rule of law
* Facts about the detainees
* Stories of 4 detainees
* Where detainees were held
* Detainees' homelands
* The king of Guantanamo
* Map of Afghanistan, Pakistan

PHOTOS

* Images of detainees held at Guantanamo
* Images of detainees held in Afghanistan
* Faces of detainees
* More faces of detainees

13 June 2008

"Impeachment is not on the table." -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi / "Yes it is, I'm putting it on the table right now." -- Dennis Kucinich


Articles of Impeachment
for President George W. Bush

filed by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich
(Democrat, Cleveland Ohio)

House Resolution 1258
Introduced in Congress 9 June 2008

Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.

1. Article I - Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.

2. Article II - Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.

3. Article III - Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.

4. Article IV - Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.

5. Article V - Illegally Misspending Funds to Secretly Begin a War of Aggression.

6. Article VI - Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114.

7. Article VII - Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.

8. Article VIII - Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.

9. Article IX - Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor

10. Article X - Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes

11. Article XI - Establishment of Permanent U.S. Military Bases in Iraq

12. Article XII - Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources

13. Article XIII - Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries

14. Article XIV - Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency

15. Article XV - Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq

16. Article XVI - Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors

17. Article XVII - Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives

18. Article XVIII - Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy

19. Article XIX - Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to 'Black Sites' Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture

20. Article XX - Imprisoning Children

21. Article XXI - Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government

22. Article XXII - Creating Secret Laws

23. Article XXIII - Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act

24. Article XXIV - Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment

25. Article XXV - Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens

26. Article XXVI - Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements

27. Article XXVII - Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply

28. Article XXVIII - Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice

29. Article XXIX - Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965

30. Article XXX - Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare

31. Article XXXI - Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency

32. Article XXXII - Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change

33. Article XXXIII - Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.

34. Article XXXIV - Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001

35. Article XXXV - Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders