Sunday, June 13, 2004

About Wallace Turnage

About Wallace Turnage

Photo credit: NY Times

His story, written on blue-lined paper in a leather-bound notebook, probably sometime in the late 19th century, ended up with a neighbor, Gladys Watt, who discovered only by reading it that Mrs. Connolly was a former slave's daughter. Mrs. Connolly often described herself as "Portugee" to explain her dark complexion...Mrs. Watt kept the notebook in a closet for years, in a clamshell archival box, unsure what to do with it. And then last summer she took it to the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich....After the Turnage narrative was donated to the Greenwich historical society, the group hired two researchers to make sure it was authentic. "This is such a vivid and amazing story, the first thing we wanted to do was make sure it was not a fake," said Debra Mecky, the society's executive director. The researchers found that much of Mr. Turnage's account could be verified in census, Army and bank records...

Mr. Turnage's story tells..of the brutality of slavery, because most of his years of bondage were spent as a field hand in Alabama. He writes of near-crippling lashings of female slaves and describes four unsuccessful attempts to escape, some of them followed by severe beatings, before he finally succeeded in 1864 after hiding in a swamp for a week.

While hiding, he often slept in an unused Confederate lookout perch. One morning, he writes, as if he were witnessing a miracle, he saw the tide bring something in.

"Now when I got down there I seen a little boat very small indeed though the tide was going out," he says. "It stood like it was held by an invisible hand; so I got in the little boat and it held me."

A few hours later, as a storm threatened to drown him, he was pulled over the side of a Union gunboat by eight soldiers — and finally "had obtained that freedom which I desired so long."

He ends his story with a stern command to his readers not to regard his account as a "novel, nor a fable, but a reality of facts."

"My reader," he adds, "I will now leave my book to your judgement. The end."

[LINK: N.Y. Times- Journals of 2 Former Slaves Draw Vivid Portraits by Randy Kennedy]

Frank Rich- Bush is clearly no Reagan

Frank Rich-
Bush is clearly no Reagan

Not even close

Last weekend in Normandy, the president sat for an interview in which Tom Brokaw challenged his efforts to pull off a bigger flimflam than impersonating Ronald Reagan — the conflation of the Iraq war with World War II. "You referred to the `ruthless and treacherous surprise attack on America' that we went through during our time," Mr. Brokaw said. "But that wasn't Iraq who did that, that was al Qaeda." With the gravesites of the World War II dead behind him, the president retreated to his familiar script ("Iraq is a part of the war on terror"). Even if you think the lines make sense, the irritated man delivering them did not sound like someone who had ever experienced pain of the life-and-death intensity that comes with war. The problem is not merely that Mr. Bush lacks Reagan's lilting vocal delivery. As any professional actor can tell you, no performance, however sonorous, can be credible if it doesn't contain at least a kernel of emotional truth.


Sanchez Approved Torture; White House May Be Linked to Decision

Sanchez Approved Torture; White House May Be Linked to Decision

Daily Kos diarist DHinMI provides us with an analysis which leads us to expect we'll soon be easily able to connect the Abu-Ghraib dots from Gen. Ricardo Sanchez directly to the Pentagon and to the White House. An article in the Telegraph (UK) tells us:

New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington this week, adding further to pressure on the White House.

[Telegraph- Interrogation abuses were 'approved at highest levels']

We should face the fact that most Americans have highly suspected the torture at Abu Ghraib was not the work of just a few "bad apples." It would seem terribly naive to think otherwise.

[LINK-DHinMI at Daily Kos]

Also--new in today's N.Y. Times--the Red Cross has said it alerted American military commanders in Iraq to abuses at Abu Ghraib in November. But the disclosures that the military's own interrogators had alerted superiors to abuse back then in internal documents has not been previously reported. LINK/NYT- Unit Says It Gave Earlier Warning of Abuse in Iraq

Michael Moore saw prisoner abuses long before 60 Minutes' revelation

Filmmaker Michael Moore allegedly kept silent about prison-abuses of Iraqi detainees for fear he'd only be blamed for publicity-seeking.


Filmmaker Michael Moore said Friday he wasn't sure he did the right thing by saving footage of U.S. American soldiers' cruelty toward Iraqis for his controversial documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11,'' instead of releasing the evidence earlier when it might have helped halt such abuse.

"I had it months before the story broke on '60 Minutes,' and I really struggled with what to do with it,'' Moore said in a telephone interview with The Chronicle. "I wanted to come out with it sooner, but I thought I'd be accused of just putting this out for publicity for my movie. That prevented me from making maybe the right decision.''

The footage, eerily similar to film of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, shows GIs laughing as they snap photos of each other putting hoods over Iraqi detainees.

In the same scene from "Fahrenheit 9/11,'' which opens Friday at Bay Area theaters, an American soldier fondles a prisoner's genitals through a blanket.

"The stuff with the detainees in my movie is even more shocking than what we saw in that prison because it happens outdoors and is more commonplace,'' Moore said.

[LINK-Documentarian kept quiet after filming U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqis]

Other articles:

WP- General Granted Latitude At Prison; Abu Ghraib Used Aggressive Tactics

Detroit Free Press- U.S. forces lose track of Iraqi prisoners; Men and boys vanish; families search in vain Hiding a bad guy named triple X; How the military treated some inmates at Abu Ghraib like 'ghosts'

Editor and Publisher- Exclusive: Shocking Details on Abuse of Reuters Staffers in Iraq

Need for Change in U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy

Need for Change in U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy

Heavy-hitters in Diplomacy and Military (many from Reagan era) aim to see Bush defeated in 2004

Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, a group of retired ambassadors and senior military officers, will hold a Morning Newsmaker news conference Wednesday, June 16, at 8 a.m. EDT at the National Press Club (Zenger Room), 13th floor, 529 14th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

The topic will be "The Need for Change in U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy."

The group includes former ambassadors Jeffrey Davidow, William DePree, Charles Freeman Jr., William Harrop, Arthur Hartman, H. Allen Holmes, Samuel Lewis, Princeton Lyman, Jack Matlock Jr., Donald McHenry, Richard Murphy, David Newsom, Phyllis Oakley, John Reinhardt, Ronald Spiers, Nicholas Veliotes and Alexander Watson; and Adm. William Crowe (former chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Reagan), Gen. Joseph Hoar and Adm. Stansfield Turner.


See: NYT- Former Officials to Criticize Bush Foreign Policy

Bush succumbs to Kerry pressure; Contradicts his own Iraq policy

Bush succumbs to Kerry pressure; Contradicts his own Iraq policy

In a political atmosphere which has produced some of the lowest poll approval numbers Bush has seen, we've seen him cave in to pressure to internationalize his dreadful Iraq problem. Jim Hoagland demonstrates how Bush's current efforts to internationalize have only exposed a naked contradiction to his reasons for being in Iraq to begin with. Concessions on Iraq's sovereignty have no rational relation to the moral and national security reasons Bush put first forward for invading Iraq.

I'm afraid this, like so many other purely political moves Bush has made, will only serve to backfire in its effects upon the facts-on-the-ground.

We need much less pitiful political damage-control and far more decisions made by wise and morally consistent leadership.

[LINK-Washington Post]

Frum/Perle Beliefs Threaten the World

Frum/Perle Beliefs Threaten the World

~~~~~~~ - ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The Communists, by their own declaration, did not invade Hungary in 1956, or Czechoslovakia in 1968; they "liberated" these countries from evil. Frum and Perle have learned their lessons well."
~~~~~~ - ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

David Gordon systematically deconstructs the logic of Perle and Frum.

Frum and Perle have identified with great clarity a system of belief that threatens the world. This system requires all governments to conform to the policies of a single power. Those that refuse face violent overthrow. The ensuing military occupation by the dominant power is styled democracy; and, once people grasp its benefits, it is claimed that democracy of this sort will conquer the world.

[LINK-Ludwig von Mises Institute]