Archive for Torture

Torturing Detainees Americans Can No Longer Be Bothered To Torture

One of the telling details in the so-called torture report that betrayed that the so-called torture was so-called was: the pulse ox sensor on the fingertip during waterboarding to make sure the oxygen saturation in the bloodstream never got too low. Hard to picture something as torture when I see it every week on Grey’s Anatomy.

Even harder to picture the Pakistanis employing the same safeguards:

Take the example of Ammar al-Baluchi. In the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” the torture of al-Baluchi is depicted as revealing the key piece of intelligence identifying Osama bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. In 2011, the CIA was able to find and kill bin Laden because it had tracked the movements of al-Kuwaiti.

The CIA’s rebuttal to the Senate report says al-Baluchi gave up much more specific information on al-Kuwaiti after he went through the agency’s harsh interrogations. The Senate report, however, says al-Baluchi gave up al-Kuwaiti first to the Pakistanis.

A footnote on page 399 of the Senate report says al-Baluchi was arrested along with another al-Qaeda operative, Khallad bin Attash, by Pakistani authorities on April 29, 2003. “Upon his arrest in Pakistan, Ammar al-Baluchi was cooperative and provided information on a number of topics to foreign government interrogators, including information on Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti that the CIA disseminated prior to al-Baluchi being transferred to CIA custody,” the footnote says.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to imagine that al-Baluchi’s interrogation by the Pakistanis met Geneva standards. A former senior Pakistani diplomat who spoke to me on condition of anonymity said it’s likely that al-Baluchi and other detainees mentioned in the report were tortured; threatened with torture; or told that their family members would be in danger if they did not cooperate. “After 9/11, there was enormous pressure on the Pakistani services to produce intelligence for the Americans,” this diplomat said. “I cannot believe al-Baluchi’s interrogation in 2003 would have met international standards.”

Other current and former U.S. intelligence officials told me that it was almost a certainty that al-Baluchi was at the very least threatened with torture when he was in a Pakistani jail.

Take another case:

In the case of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an al-Qaeda operative picked up by Pakistani authorities on Sept. 11, 2002, the report implies that harsh interrogation did produce valuable intelligence. Shortly after his arrest, the report says, the Pakistanis sent bin al-Shibh to a third foreign government. The report doesn’t name that country, but it has been reported bin al-Shibh was sent to a jail in Morocco. In early 2003, the Moroccans sent bin al-Shibh to a CIA black site. While he was in Moroccan custody, CIA headquarters at first was dubious of the intelligence taken from bin al-Shibh, but CIA officers on the ground said the bulk of his information was useful intelligence.

Indeed, the reporting from bin al-Shibh contributed to learning about al-Qaeda plots in the Arabian peninsula and against Heathrow Airport outside London, according to the Senate report. “Personnel at CIA Headquarters concluded in 2005 that the most significant intelligence derived from bin al-Shibh was obtained during his detention in foreign government custody, which was prior to his rendition to CIA custody and the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation technique,” the report says.

Again, we don’t know for certain what happened at that Moroccan site, but we have a pretty good idea.

If there are terrorist suspects to interrogate, I’d rather have our boys with their IV drips, portable MRIs, and doctors on call than the Pakistanis with their electrodes or the Moroccans with their pliers. But then, I’m not a grandstanding Democrat faking outrage and indignation.

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Under the Waterboard Walk

I love this from Andy McCarthy at NRO’s The Corner:

If you were to take the “torture” report seriously (I don’t — it’s a political document), you would have to say Barack Obama inhabits a very strange moral universe.

Here is a thought experiment I have been using for many years as we’ve debated this topic. It goes to what Obama says about the intolerably brutal nature of waterboarding, the most coercive of the enhanced techniques that were used.

If you were to take everyone in America who is serving a minor jail sentence of, say, 6 to 18 months, and you were to ask them whether they’d rather serve the rest of their time or be waterboarded in the manner practiced by the CIA post 9/11 (i.e., not in the manner practiced by the Japanese in World War II), how many would choose waterboarding? I am guessing, conservatively, that over 95 percent would choose waterboarding.

Now, if you take the same group of inmates and ask them whether they’d prefer to serve the remainder of their time or be subjected to Obama’s drone program (where we kill rather than capture terrorists, therefore get no intelligence from the people in the best position to provide actionable intelligence, and kill bystanders — including some children — in addition to the target), how many would choose the drone program? I am guessing that it would be . . . zero.

I believe President Obama is too smart not to grasp this obvious point.

Only because you are more charitable than I. Or maybe I more than you. You choose to believe Obama is intelligent but duplicitous. I choose to believe he is ignorant and stupid. And duplicitous. And I’m right.

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Democrats Behaving Badly

Talk about a standing headline, you can think the Democrats were motivated to release their so-called terror report out of moral indignation.

Or you can face the truth:

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, FORMER CIA OFFICIAL: Yes. I mean, I think it’s a very dark day for the CIA. I think the CIA’s been thrown under the bus.

SEAN HANNITY: Let’s go to Dianne Feinstein back in 2002 when she said the following, this was quoted in New York Times, where she said, you know, it took that real attack, I think, to kind of shiver our timbers enough to let is know that the threat is profound and that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.

You were there. You knew these senators, these lawmakers. Do you remember any specific meetings? Was Dianne Feinstein told specifically what the CIA was doing in terms of enhanced interrogation?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: There are about 40 instances where we briefed the Senate and the House intelligence committees over the life of the program from 2002 to 2009. And we briefed Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Rockefeller and many others all the time. And we at the outset, at the beginning, back in 2001, I remember very clearly them telling me, you know, the problem that you guys have is that you are risk adverse. You need to use the authorities that we have given you to go out there and destroy this organization and to kill bin Laden. So we feel that we briefed them and briefed them thoroughly, and they are, you know, hypocritical.

We waterboarded three people during the life of the program. That’s it. Three persons. I don’t know where they get the other numbers.

SEAN HANNITY: Would we have gotten bin Laden without the intelligence that KSM during the waterboarding released to you guys? Didn’t he open the door to the courier which led us to bin Laden, is that true, sir?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: Actually, the initial information came from a facilitator called Hassan Ghoul going back to 2002 and 2003, he actually told us about the courier. That’s when we first heard about the courier.

Abu Faraj Al-Libi told us that he knew about the appointment to become the chief of operations through the courier, and then KSM, of course, we intercepted a message that he sent to his fellow prisoners in which he says do not say a word about the courier. So we gained a lot of insight from our prisoners at the black sides about the importance of the courier, which eventually led to the takedown of bin Laden.

SEAN HANNITY: So in other words, you’re saying that the accusation that these enhanced interrogation techniques were used beyond what we had already been disclosed you’re saying is false, number one, and that, in spite of their suggestion that they were not successful, you’re saying that, in fact, that’s not true. You were there, it was successful?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: It was a very successful, and for those of us who were there, it’s just amazing that they could have come to this conclusion. Those of us who read the intelligence coming out to the black sites every morning and acted on that intelligence know the value and basically it led to the destruction of the organization. In terms of whether we exceeded the authorities that we had, this program actually has been subjected to very intense investigations by Justice Department and, in fact, from 2009 to 2012, John Durham, the special investigator, conducted a thorough investigation and he basically found no prosecutable charges to be made for anyone.

Obama says “when we make mistakes, we admit them”. Like this:

SEAN HANNITY: You know, I talk a lot on this program about selective moral outrage, Jose. Let me give you an example. We have, under President Obama and his drone program, we have the estimated death toll at 2400. In Pakistan alone, the death toll is estimated between 450 — I’m sorry 400 and 950 civilians including 168 to 200 children. Can you explain to me how the drone program under Obama is not far more morally problematic that enhanced interrogation. What do you make of Dianne Feinstein’s silence on that issue in comparison?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, it’s very interesting because, you know, this administration actually does not take any prisoners. They prefer to kill them from afar using drones. And somehow they feel that because they kill from a distance somehow it’s more ethical. More ethical than the difficult and messy and unpleasant task and mission of actually interrogating a prisoners. I think it’s a distortion of what our values are. You know what our values are —

SEAN HANNITY: I’ll give you a choice, get waterboarded or get drilled with a drone strike. I think I’ll take the waterboarding.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ: I think I’ll take the waterboarding, too.

Make sure you read this report too:

The report, issued by the committee’s outgoing senior Republican, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, stands in stark contrast to Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) highly critical findings asserting that the CIA misled the public, Congress and the White House about its enhanced interrogation program.

“We have no doubt that the CIA’s detention program saved lives and played a vital role in weakening Al Qaeda while the program was in operation,” the Republican senators concluded.

The GOP report decried the Feinstein study, arguing that it contained “faulty analysis, serious inaccuracies, and misrepresentations of fact” to create a series of false conclusions about the counterterrorism program’s effectiveness and the CIA’s interactions with Congress and the White House.

The authors accused Democrats of failing to be objective when compiling their findings and for harboring “political motivations” in their review, criticisms they said some intelligence officials have also leveled. The Republicans also lamented that the report’s commission cost U.S. taxpayers $40 million.

The minority report largely serves as a point-by-point rebuttal to Feinstein’s, particularly the conclusion that enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in collecting useful intelligence for threats against the U.S.

Most political of all, the Dems timed their report to swamp any mention of Gruber’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee yesterday. Mission Accomplished.

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Out of the Mouths of Defense Secretaries

I know President Obama doesn’t listen to his Defense Secretaries, but if you do, you can learn a thing or two:

Leon Panetta, who as CIA director oversaw the U.S. operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said the job could have been done without resorting to controversial interrogation methods that some have said constitute torture.

The outgoing defense secretary, in remarks aired Sunday on the NBC program “Meet the Press,” said there had been many pieces to the “puzzle” solved to find bin Laden, who was held responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

“Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time – interrogation tactics that were used,” said Panetta, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 2009 until he became U.S. defense secretary on July 1, 2011.

“I think we could have gotten Bin Laden without that,” Panetta added in response to a question about what the interviewer called enhanced interrogation or torture.

Panetta did not elaborate on how this might have been done, but said most of the intelligence used to find bin Laden had been stitched together without resort to enhanced interrogation.

I do not share the Secretary’s confidence in “stitching”, but I respect his opinion. Again, I need no convincing: waterboarding is not torture; neither are the other methods we used to interrogate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his merry men.

So, I leave it to those who disagree. Obama’s end-zone dance after the greasing of Osama bin Laden (now, that shameless display was a betrayal of our values!) might well not have been possible but for the waterboarding of Al Qaeda terrorists. Just so you’re okay with that. Me, I would hate to deny the president his petty enjoyments.

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One Person’s Torture is Another Person’s Training

Torture is not like pornography: you don’t necessarily know it when you see it. Rather, what you think you see is not necessarily torture. I don’t see waterboarding as torture, for example, however panic-inducing it may feel to go through. Our special forces go through it routinely; so have news reporters. Others do consider it torture, hence their high dudgeon over our dark dungeons.

Me, I need to see permanent damage. I need Uday and Qusay Hussein-style depravity before I call foul.

This does not rise (or plunge) to that level:

CBS News reported Sunday that the report contains evidence that the CIA went beyond what was “legally allowable,” and that the agency lied to the White House, the Department of Justice and Congress about the effectiveness of the program.

The CIA told Fox News it would not comment until the report is released, but former agency officials have told Fox News that the agency’s program provided it with foundational intelligence about the Al Qaeda network after the Sept. 11 attacks. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has previously told Fox News that it is not feasible to believe that three different CIA directors and three different deputy directors of the agency conspired over a seven-year period to lie about the program’s effectiveness. Hayden and former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo also have claimed that the program provided evidence that helped direct the 2011 raid that killed Al Qaeda Usama bin Laden.

U.S. officials who have read the report say it includes disturbing new details about the CIA’s use of such techniques as sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning process known as waterboarding.

President Obama has previously acknowledged, “We tortured some folks.”

Oh, shut up.

Humiliation? Humiliation? We suspect these guys of plotting unimaginably horrific acts of terrorism, and we’re worried about humiliation? No power tools, no cattle prods, no brass knuckles, no broken bones, no spilled blood. If this is all the report has to offer, we didn’t torture a single folk. (I reserve the right to change my mind once I read it.)

You know why they’re releasing it now, don’t you?

MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber will testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday about his role in selling the 2010 healthcare law to “stupid American voters” through deception and non-transparency. The hearing will be held by the House Oversight Committee and Gruber will have to field questions from Chairman Darrell Issa and angry lawmakers about the legislation.

They don’t know him, and they don’t want to know him:

Meanwhile, the White House has distanced itself from Gruber in the wake of his controversial comments and Health and Human Services sent a letter to Issa last week asking that officials from the Department, who will also testify tomorrow, be seated separately from Gruber. More from The Hill:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is asking lawmakers not to seat ObamaCare consultant Jonathan Gruber next to Medicare’s top official when the two testify on Capitol Hill next week.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislation Jim Esquea wrote to the House Oversight Committee with the request, stating that government witnesses are “almost always afforded an opportunity” to sit alone or with other federal officials.

Kind of ironic for this most anti-military of administrations to employ diversionary tactics of which General Patton would be proud:

On Sunday, a top Republican lawmaker warned the release could cause “violence and deaths.”

And U.S. officials separately confirmed to Fox News that an advisory has been sent urging U.S. personnel overseas to reassess security measures in anticipation of the release. The message directs all overseas posts, including those used by CIA personnel, to “review their security posture” for a “range of reactions that might occur.”

A similar statement was being sent to military combatant commands to assess their readiness. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Monday the combatant commands have been urged to “take appropriate force protection measures within their areas of responsibility.”

Who will cover Gruber if the Mideast is on fire?

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More Mush From the Wimp

Boy, if that isn’t a standing headline:

President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that the United States “crossed a line” and tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The comments at a White House news conference were the President’s strongest on the controversial subject since he came into office denouncing what he described as the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”

“When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” Obama said. “And that needs to be … understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.”

Well, this fair-minded person doesn’t believe water-boarding or sleep deprivation constitute torture. I don’t think any training method we use on our own special ops trainees constitutes torture. We can disdain them, we can elect not to use them, but shame on he who demagogues over them:

“After I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report,” Obama said Friday. “And my hope is that this report reminds us once again that, you know, the character of our country has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when things are hard.”

In April 2009, Obama reiterated his position that waterboarding amounted to torture and “violates our ideals and our values.”

I’ve already stated my position. KSM ought to have been waterboarded. I’m proud that we did so. I’m not privy to the intelligence we gained, but I expect we got plenty. And that lives were saved because of it. That doesn’t violate my ideals or values in the least. And KSM is still alive and kicking.

PS: We all know Obama’s preferred expression of our ideals and values: summary execution by Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone.

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Talk About Torture!

I’m very sorry this man suffered cruelty at the hands of Al Qaeda, but is that supposed to make him some kind of expert?

Last month’s assault and massacre at the In-Amenas gas plant in Algeria by an al Qaeda battalion led by Moktar Belmoktar put into sharp focus the growing threat of Islamist jihadists in north and west Africa. It also brought back vivid memories of my own 130-day kidnap ordeal also at the hands of Belmoktar’s al Qaeda group in Niger and Mali in 2008/09. Here is an extract from my book… A Season in Hell

With some ceremony, a DVD was produced and inserted into the laptop drive and we were maneuvered around to have pride of place in front of the screen. The others pressed around, the younger ones in front. There were three or four pre-pubescent boys among them, their faces rapt with anticipation as their screen-lit faces excitedly tried to watch us and the laptop simultaneously.

Soon we heard a loud pulsing, urgent, musical beat and the screen was filled with a black flag, the lower half of which was covered with white Arabic script and in the upper portion, there was a globe surmounted by an AK-47 assault rifle; the Al Qaeda banner. Using the traditional and mandatory Islamic opening, a voice intoned in Arabic, “In the name of Allah the most merciful…” and the centre of the screen began to fill with images and vignettes of all kinds of horrors: those aircraft slamming into the twin towers. US and allied vehicles being destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices); video cameras slaved to the sights of Dragunov sniper rifles blasting the heads off GIs and then murdering those who came to their assistance; suicide bombers driving explosive-laden trucks through fences and into buildings or crowds immediately followed by massive explosions. Sometimes such scenes would carry sub-titles giving the date and location of the horror. In other instances, there would be clips of the happy, excited suicide bomber explaining his joy at the prospect of martyring himself for such a noble purpose.

There would also be clips of their “Great Emir”, Bin Laden, uttering in his quiet and reasonable sounding voice his latest threats to tear the heart out of the degenerate West. Then some stocky, heavily bearded, white robed and turbaned American, who we were told was Adam Gadahn, a Jewish Californian convert to Islam and Al Qaeda, made his first of many appearances. Gadahn was ridiculing — in English, with Arabic sub-titles — the American President and issuing dire warnings aimed at US audiences of the disasters that would befall America if the USA and her allies did not quit “Muslim lands”.

Okay, that’s pretty bad, I have to admit. Jihadist snuff films, Bin Laden, and that fat f**k Gadahn (“stocky” my a**) is more than any man should have to take.

But there was something even worse than watching thousands of people perish in fireballs or dropping singly to the ground from 100 stories up, bursting like pumpkins on the pavement below, worse even than seeing Daniel Pearl get his throat slit (most likely by Khalid Sheik Mohammed).

Are you sitting down?

[T]he scenes that elicited the strongest emotion were the all-too-familiar images of black-hooded, orange-clad figures, chained hand and foot, shuffling around those tiny cages in Guantanamo. These were indignities perpetrated by my side — the ‘good guys’. Those scenes of German Shepherds, fangs bared, straining to get at broken men cowering in corners and those piles of horrified naked bodies forced into obscene intimacy and, always, the iconic black-hooded figure, mutely perched barefoot on a box in a short black poncho with wires dangling from his outstretched fingers in the disgraceful Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, made me, in the midst of my own mental anguish, feel deep shame.

Again, with all due respect for his ordeal, he should get the [bleep] over himself. The sight of captured enemy combatants growing fat in the Caribbean sun was too much for him? Club Gitmo forfeited our our right to be the “good guys”? I’ll give him Abu Ghraib, but even the worst alleged abuse there was better than the best day in Al Qaeda’s custody. Of course, I wasn’t there—but neither was he!

And he goes on in this vein for some time, believe me. We were worse than Bin Laden, KSM, Zarqawi, Zawahiri, and Alladin combined. What utter nonsense.

His captivity ended four years ago, he has nothing to offer but the grimy details of Al Qaeda-inflicted indignities, he has no insight or perspective on the intelligence assets we held and the information we gained—and he’s Canadian. Who is he to judge America, and why should any American listen to him?

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You Can Take Qaddafi Out of Libya…

But you can’t take Libya out of Libya:

Several people have died after being tortured by militias in Libyan detention centres, human rights group Amnesty International has said.

It claimed to have seen patients in Tripoli, Misrata and Gheryan with open wounds to their head, limbs and back.

Meanwhile, charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has suspended operations in Misrata after treating 115 patients with torture-related wounds.

The UN says it is concerned about the conditions in which patients are held.

“The torture is being carried out by officially recognised military and security entities as well as by a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework,” a spokesman for London-based Amnesty said.

More than 8,500 detainees, most of them accused of being loyal to former Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, are being held by militia groups in about 60 centres, according to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay.

“The lack of oversight by the central authority creates an environment conducive to torture and ill treatment,” she said.

Wow, that’s almost as bad as Jews living in Judea and Samaria!

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Representative Peter King On How Waterboarding KSM Led To Bin Laden

I couldn’t embed the video, but the link is here.

So, I ask again: Do any of the Leftists out there wish to revise their stance on waterboarding?

– Aggie

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Harsh Interrogations Led To Bin Laden

I wonder if those that are pleased that Osama bin Laden is gone, but wanted enhanced interrogation ended, can reconcile the two stances and come to a comfortable closure?

The trail that led to the doorstep of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan began years earlier with aggressive interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and CIA “black site” prisons overseas, according to U.S. officials.

It was those sometimes controversial interrogations that first produced descriptions of members of bin Laden’s courier network, including one critical Middle Eastern courier who along with his brother was protecting bin Laden at his heavily fortified compound in Abbottabad on Sunday. Both the courier and his brother were among those killed, along with bin Laden, in the dramatic raid by U.S. special forces.

The behind-the-scenes story of how bin Laden was finally located is yet to be fully told, but emerging details seem likely to reignite the debate over whether “enhanced interrogation” techniques and other aggressive methods that have been widely criticized by human rights groups provided useful – or timely — intelligence about al-Qaida. While some current and former U.S. officials credited those interrogations Monday with producing the big break in the case, others countered that they failed to produce what turned out to be the most crucial piece of intelligence of all: the identity and whereabouts of the most important figure in bin Laden courier’s network.

“Multiple sources of intelligence led us to where we are,” one senior U.S. intelligence official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters on Monday. “Key information was gleaned from detainees (and) that detainee reporting provided insight into the (bin Laden) courier network.”

’20th hijacker’ may have fingered courier
The identity of at least one of the detainees who provided early information about the courier who led to bin Laden could be politically explosive. According to a U.S. official, that detainee was notorious Saudi al-Qaida operative and accused 9/11 conspirator Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was subjected to some of the most humiliating interrogations at Guantanamo. Among the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him were being forced to wear a woman’s bra, being led around on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks and being subjected to cold temperatures that twice required his hospitalization, according to a later U.S. military report.

An official in the Bush administration told the Washington Post that they could not prosecute him, because his treatment met the legal definition of torture.

Question for Progressives: Was it worth it? Because this sounds a lot like what went on at Abu Ghraib. If it turns out that it eventually led us to bin Laden, was it worth it? Or would it have been better never to have known where he was?

– Aggie

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A Short Roundup Of Useful Idiots

I read some of the comments on the Jerusalem Post article about the Jew hating Italian “peace activist” who was tortured and murdered by his Palestinian friends.

There have been other Italian “peace activists” murdered by their friends.

This guy was stabbed to death by a Palestinian who wanted to murder a Jew.

An Italian named Angelo Frammartino, 25, espoused the typical anti-Israel views of a far-leftist, as he expressed in a letter to a newspaper in 2006:

We must face the fact that a situation of no violence is a luxury in many parts of the world, but we do not seek to avoid legitimate acts of defense. … I never dreamed of condemning resistance, the blood of the Vietnamese, the blood of the people who were under colonialist occupation or the blood of the young Palestinians from the first intifada.

Angelo Frammartino
Actively to forward his beliefs, Frammartino went to Israel in early August 2006 to serve as a volunteer with ARCI, a far-leftist NGO, working with Palestinian children at the Burj al-Luqluq community center in eastern Jerusalem.

But on August 10, he was stabbed in a terrorist assault at Sultan Suleiman Street, near Herod’s Gate in Jerusalem, twice in the back and once in the neck. He died shortly after, only two days before his planned return to Italy. The killer, soon identified as Ashraf Hanaisha, 24, turned out to be a Palestinian affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A resident of the village of Qabatiya in the Jenin area, Hanaisha apparently planned to attack a Jewish Israeli but made a mistake.

Damage control soon followed. The Palestinian Authority’s news agency, WAFA, carried a statement by the Burj al Luqluq community center condemning the murder in no uncertain terms: “Nothing could describe our emotions for what happened. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Angelo, they have our deepest sympathy.” Several Palestinian NGOs then organized a vigil in Frammartino’s memory. For her part, Hanaisha’s mother launched an appeal, via the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, for the forgiveness of her son.

In response to this outpouring, Frammartino’s parents did forgive Hanaisha. From the family home in Monterotondo, the father, Michelangelo, said that “he welcomes and appreciates, despite the undeletable sorrow, the plea for forgiveness made by the murderer’s mother” and he expressed a hope that the parents’ gesture “will bring to an end this extremely sad story.” The father went further, telling the Corriere della Sera newspaper that he felt no hatred toward his son’s murderer:

Angelo was working to promote peace. The message he sought to convey is greater than anything else. … the circumstances confirm that Angelo was a victim of the war, of the injustice in the world. When we are talking about a situation of tension, absence of common sense dominates. I do not feel hatred because Angelo’s thought, the principles that always motivated him, were definitely not of hatred or revenge.

So, in other words: Israel’s fault.

Then there is this extremely strange tale of performance artist, Pippa Bacca:

I can’t wait to read what Buck has to say about this. If you’re reading Buck, please give us your wisdom.

Pippa Bacca, an Italian performance artist who was hitchhiking from Milan to Israel to promote world peace and trust in other people, was found dead in Turkey after only three weeks on the road. Turkish authorities stated that she had been raped and strangled by a driver who had offered her a ride. Bacca and her friend and fellow artist, Silvia Moro, came up with the idea of hitchhiking from Italy to the Balkans to the Middle East while wearing wedding dresses, to send a message of peace and “marriage between different peoples and nations.”

– Aggie

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Are We Allowing Waterboarding To Happen In Pakistan?

Robert Gibbs is certainly being coy

From the Comments section:

Later when pressed privately Bagdad Bob Gibbs was quoted as saying “Look…Uhhh.. We are in the uhhh.. [inaudible]process of uhh walking back our whole thinking about uhhh.. waterboarding and uhhh civilian trials for terrorists and uhhh.. closing Gitmo. So.. uhh I didn’t want to give you an opening to ..uhhh say that Bush had it..uhh ..right all ..uhhlong.”

Where is The Left? Why are they so quiet about this?

– Aggie

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