Thursday, April 19, 2007

A degree of regret that could be equated with an apology

We must award the medal of excellence for non-apology apologies to British Defense Minister Des Browne, who said of his decision to allow the servicemembers captured by the Iranians to sell their stories, “It seems clear to me that I have expressed a degree of regret that could be equated with an apology.”

Maybe Alberto Gonzales can try that one in his testimony today. One reason I’d like to see him forced to resign is that the confirmation hearings of his successor would focus attention on certain policies of the Justice Dept (torture, eavesdropping, habeas corpus, etc etc). This, as much as loyalty to a loyal Bushie and a wish not to be seen as losing a battle with Democrats, is precisely why Bush wants him to stay. Also, who would want the job of cleaning up Gonzo’s mess in a lame-duck administration? This will be a problem for every slot that falls vacant or is created, as we’ve seen with the unwillingness of anyone to be “war czar” (new tactic to win in Iraq: Cossacks!).

The US and Australia have agreed to a refugee swap: Australia will take in Haitians and Cubans who have been captured at sea trying to reach the US and are currently held at Guantanamo, while the US will take refugees from Burma, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and elsewhere trying to reach Australia by boat (Australia has been bribing Nauru to operate as Australia’s Guantanamo). Both countries thus get to prevent refugees reaching their shores and then claiming asylum, while deterring refugees by treating them like shit (think how badly you have to treat people to stop them leaving hell-holes like Haiti, Burma and Afghanistan) in places where there will be little scrutiny of the conditions under which they’re held. It’s extraordinary rendition for refugees.

Philip Morris wants the LAPD to investigate counterfeit cigarettes. So the police chief asked it for a $50,000 “donation” to pay for it. Which Philip Morris has gladly provided. Evidently it is LAPD policy that corporations can pay for police operations that benefit their interests.

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