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Issue #63

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Features:

Top Ten Hacks of 2004 Election - Matt Taibbi

MEMRI Problems: Was Kerry's Election Bid Lost in Translation?- Chris Riordan

Pick of the Litter: Bottom-Feeding all the Way to the Top

Redwoods Evil, Must Be Destroyed: Bush Wants Some Wood- Kit Smith

Too Cool for School: City Honors Censorship - Al Uthman

Tortures - R - Us - Christopher Lord


Faux-tures:

New Hotel on Baltic Ave: Boon or Burden? - Ian Murphy

10 Tips For Coping with your Dysfunctional Family this Thanksgiving

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Matchbook Romance/Midtown Show - Chris Meister

Goo Goo Dolls DVD - Seamus Gallivan

Elliot Smith CD- Michael Gildea

Odd Couple CD - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills could Make Playoffs--in the NFC - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

Beast Comix - Ian Murphy

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley





Issue #62

Features:

O Buffalo: Why Move When we can Secede? - Al Uthman

Love or Four Hour Erections: The Choice is Clear - Matt Taibbi

The Falsification and Death Administration: FDA Approval may be Hazardous to your Health - Kit Smith

Meaning of Tripe: Countdown to the Beast's Ten Worst Presidential Election Campaign Hacks of 2004- Matt Taibbi

10 Ultra-Cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

The Big Rig: This Election was Worse than 2000 - William Rivers Pitt

The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice - Chris Meister


Faux-tures:

The BEAST Interview With God

Who Voted Bush? - A BEAST Quiz

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movies:

Kino Korner

Sports:

Wide Right: O Captain my Captain - Ronnie Roscoe









Issue #61

Features:

Voting Guide of FEAR

Top 10 Reasons to be TERRIFIED This Halloween - Al Uthman

Onward Christian Assholes: Some Folks Just Can't Wait for the Apocalypse - Matt Taibbi

A Talk With Sam Hoyt - Eric Gauchat

Give 'em Enough Pink Ribbon to Hang Themselves: Breast Cancer? Chemical Firm Supplies Cause & Cure - Kit Smith


Faux-tures:

Our Election Campaign Sponsors

The BEAST Scary Election Fun Page!

Over 60 Million Killed in Huge Fucking Flu Epidemic - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters




Entertainment:

Movies:

Kino Korner

Music:

Album Reviews: Interpol, Mos Def

Sports:

Wide Right: Going Double-Negative - Ronnie Roscoe







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2004 The Beast

Tortures R Us
by Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day. Most of the estimated 200,000 dead in America's covert war in Central America in the 1980s disappeared in the jungle. A few were thrown out of helicopters alive (a specialty of US-trained death squads from Argentina, brought to Honduras to assist in the noble struggle against communism). In Honduras itself, where the military dictatorship of General Gustavo Alvarez Martínez became the region's largest recipient of US aid, 10,000 were murdered by death squads. The decomposed witnesses of El Aguacate were particularly unlucky: they were dumped in their mass grave after having passed through the torture chambers of Ronald Reagan's proxy soldiers: the 'democratic resistance', as the Department of Defense liked to think of them at the time. The 'freedom fighters', as Ronald Reagan preferred to say.

The airfield and its facilities were built with American taxpayers' money as part of a massive channeling of funds to the region, and the whole effort was coordinated from the US Embassy in Honduras by the Ambassador himself, John Negroponte, who is said to have masterminded the complex of covert operations in Central America by the US military and the CIA. The channeling of aid to the Contras in Nicaragua was particularly indefensible--they carried out systematic atrocities, with no other aim than establishing a reign of terror over a population that did not support them or anything they stood for. Now that the main players in the Republican war machine are once again those same Reagan-era policy makers, who do we find appointed to the new US Embassy in Iraq--the largest embassy complex in the world? None other than John Negroponte. And torture is back on the menu.

You don't need to be Einstein to join up the dots. Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick II gets eight years for abusing Iraqi prisoners. His lawyers, and credible witnesses produced at his court martial, say that the abusive treatment of prisoners was a regular policy, carried out by military intelligence and CIA interrogators, who also, through the regular military command channels and informally, encouraged the use of a particular style of torture as a normal part of the running of the prison. Nobody really denies this. It's just treated as an irrelevant detail, even though there is now a well-established paper trail documenting these methods. In May 2004 the National Security Archive obtained, through the Freedom of Information Act, copies of interrogation manuals from the US Army and the CIA, and these show that for forty years the Pentagon and the CIA have practiced more or less the same kind of coercive interrogation. Not throwing people out of helicopters: that was left to foreign nationals financed, trained and advised by Americans. The methods used are those seen around the world thanks to the naïve behavior of a few intellectually challenged reserve soldiers who thought that it would be nice to take a few photos to remind them of their happy times bringing democracy to Iraq.

Is there any real attempt to investigate the Abu Ghraib abuses and their place in wider US policy? Are any commanders or CIA or military intelligence officers facing trial? Has the Administration acted on suggestions that the trail leads at least as high as Donald Rumsfeld? Of course not. A Washington Post - ABC poll in May 2004 showed that 35% of Americans believed that 'It's acceptable to torture people suspected of terrorism in some cases'. 51% believed that 'the U.S. government as a matter of policy is (...) using torture as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism'. The poll did not break respondents down into Republicans and Democrats, but the message is fairly clear. The American public on the whole prefers to look the other way, while a sizeable minority actually supports the use of torture.

The simple idea behind what seems to be standard US practice is that mental torture is more efficient than physical torture. The older interrogation manuals do mention the use of electric shocks, drugs and other more invasive methods, but only simple beatings seem to have survived into the 21st century as official technique. A few Iraqis seem to have been beaten to death during their questioning, but accidents will happen, I suppose. The main approved method is to use fear, humiliation and self-inflicted pain (through stress positions, mainly) to break down the resistance of suspects. In Iraq, the 'suspects' were in many cases not actually suspected of anything except being Iraqis: picked up off the street in random sweeps and pushed around by people who didn't speak their language, and for whom they were presumably no more human than the gooks of Vietnam to their brothers in arms of an earlier generation.

So far, the Republicans' script for Iraq seems to have much in common with Central America twenty years ago, with adjustments for local conditions. With Baghdad constantly under the eye of the international media, suspects earmarked for the most blatantly illegal styles of questioning have been 'disappeared', either to secret locations in Iraq, or to facilities in nearby countries with friendly and accommodating governments. Once the hurdle of rigging the January elections is over (and let's face it, if they can fix the U.S. Presidential election, that should be a walk in the park), the job of providing local death squads to go after opposition groups can safely be given to the forces of the puppet government, again with American training, weapons and support. Even Chip Frederick and Lynndie England might rebel at having to dump mangled corpses in mass graves, and if they were too confused themselves to notice that anything was amiss, the resulting photo souvenirs would be a bit more difficult to explain away. And why does America need such a big embassy in Iraq? For the same reason the Honduras embassy was so big. The aim is clearly to bring democracy lite to the whole region, and in time Iraqi death squads and secret police can be joined by exile groups from neighboring countries, until, as in Latin America, the whole region is effectively under the control of American proxies.

I'm sure this all sounded like a great idea a year ago. But there have been some unforeseen problems. The famous 'international coalition' that is supposed to be supporting the Republican war is crumbling fast, with foreign governments realizing that they get nothing in return for exposing their troops and civilians to improvised explosive devices and random beheadings--not to mention terrorist attacks at home. The payoff for the Republican Party is not international support but corporate profit, and very little of that is going into non-American hands. Also, military control of Iraq is turning out to be a lot harder to achieve than was foreseen, which makes extending regional hegemony a much more difficult proposition. Those countries which have been stupid enough to send their own troops to help in this criminal and lunatic enterprise have been hoping against hope for regime change in Washington: but as Bush demonstrates both his own child-like naivety, and the total cynicism of the grown-ups who are handling him, by starting off all over again with sincere-sounding talk about reaching out across the party divide, non-Americans involved in Iraq are nervously remembering that actually they do have some other stuff they should maybe be doing instead. Can we have our soldiers back now please, Mr President? Last to go will probably be the British, even though public disgust with the war has reached fantastic levels in Britain.

The Republicans have discovered a great secret. America doesn't need the truth. This is what freedom of speech now means: Say what you like. We don't care. The truth can easily be tolerated, because it can simply be ignored. Indeed, our core voters, as we know through a close study of statistics, already are ignoring it. A lot of Americans do care about the truth, but a voting majority is evidently more interested in the Book of Revelations. They are perfectly happy to be lied to. So the Reagan cycle will repeat itself. The lies will get more and more fanciful. (Reagan once described the Contras as 'the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers'.) The covert program of torture and murder will grow correspondingly more ambitious, as the situation spins further and further out of control. But news fatigue will soon set in among the Republican faithful, as the strain of continuing to believe the White House line becomes too much, and as far as they are concerned, the matter will then be closed. Democracy will have been brought to Iraq. It will be presented as a famous victory, and however unbelievable this claim, the slow thinkers of the heartland won't have the energy or the inclination to question it.

Arabs, though, have got the message. Not just Iraqis, either. Arabs and other Muslims all over the world now have regular access to satellite TV channels that are only too happy to report every case of torture, beating and murder. It is the great American beast of color TV that will turn around and bite its master. For ordinary Arabs everywhere, Bush is already established as the master of torturers and murderers, of imprisoners without trial: as the man who sends airplanes to murder little children and wedding guests and then goes on TV at home to congratulate himself for a job well done and receive the adulation of his people. But when they look at President Bush, few of them care much about this incomprehensible division between Republicans and Democrats. What they see is the leader of the United States of America. And that is enough.



 

.. This Issue ...........Home............. Contact........Archives

The Top 10 Hacks of the 2004 Election

Matt Taibbi

10 - GEORGE WILL, NEWSWEEK: Will uses big words and pompous literary references to dress up what are basically the brutish and vulgar thinking patterns of a non-union meat-packing plant owner. He is a pig in a lace hat.


MEMRI Problems

Chris Riordan

Stranded from intellect and worthwhile rhetoric in Utica, NY for the last few months, I have made a habit of visiting political discussion boards online for a dose of informed bantering and arguing. I tend to gravitate towards conservative cyber communities because I generally prefer arguing to agreeing.


Pick of the Litter

Pat Ragpicker

It's 4am on a winter night, and I'm parked on a dead end street near Kaisertown. It’s a secluded corner of the city I found by driving around aimlessly. I'm new to town, and penniless after buying my van with $700 I squirreled away the last time I got a paycheck. That was 7 months ago. Over those months, I managed to live off a few hundred bucks while sleeping in a warehouse closet and helping some friends make a TV show to try selling to a network.


Redwoods Evil, Must be Destroyed

Kit Smith

Nature is a bad and inconvenient thing. It must be stopped. That's why so many of us environmental scientists voted for Bush. He recognizes that endangered species are tasty, that Yellowstone is the most awesome place for snowmobiling in the whole world, and that those horrible California Redwoods are home to Satan himself.


Too Cool for School

Al Uthman

In the decomposing cesspool of Buffalo's public schools, City Honors has long been regarded as something of a gem. In fact, it is widely regarded as the best school the city has to offer, with the brightest kids around.


Tortures-R-Us

Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day.


Buffalo in Briefs

Code Red - Everybody’s freaking out about Giambra’s proposed “red budget,” which would scale spending down to mandated minimums, and basically reduce Buffalo to some anarchic Escape From New York-style war zone within a year or two. People are understandably up in arms about the possible loss of branch libraries, the philharmonic and all arts funding (although we wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to that monumentally depressing animal Abu Ghraib we call a zoo), as well as a staggering reduction in nearly every other service, except high-level patronage jobs, of course.


Kino Korner

Michael Gildea

It’s amazing how pissed some parents will get if they see you drinking Remy Martin in a theater during a kids’ movie. Throw the three PCP-laced joints you smoked in the parking lot while disdainfully watching sports bar patrons with a hooker who promised you an express elevator to hell-of-a-night ahead into the equation, and you’ve got a recipe for ugliness, my friends.


[sic] - Letters

...The latter part of this summer and early fall espessially, I have noticed that your special brand of witty, in-your-face journalism has rubbed off on some other publications (ARE THEY SCARED? or ENVIOUS?) ARTvoice had a couple of weeks ago a cover wich depicted a puppetmaster type "pulling the strings"...Almost thought it was the new BEAST for a moment. ALTpress put out a cover story in their last issue about the finer points of rioting, WHAT!! are they just that desperate that they will use an old idea you guys used months ago? how boringly un-origional. And then finally this newest issue of ARTvoice with giambra depicted in an alice in wonderland spoof cover.....once again, thought it could be the new issue of the BEAST...




O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."


Love or 4-Hour Erections

Matt Taibbi

...If history is any guide, the DLC will spend the next four years trying to find a pious bomb-thrower to put up as the nominee- unless, of course, the poll numbers in a few years' time show that Barack Obama is good-looking, black and charming enough to get the party over the hump using the same basic playbook that worked so swimmingly this time.


10 Ultra-cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

Why did the Democrats lose? At least in part, it's because they thought that being right would actually work in their favor. Let's face it, logic doesn't mean squat in politics. People say there's too much cynicism in politics today, but we think there really isn't enough. Cynicism works. The Republican Party has embraced it, and it has worked wonders for them. The Democrats have made some progress in this area, but they are still lagging badly. If there's any hope for the blue states, they must learn the lessons of Machiavelli and Rove. To help them along, the BEAST offers these suggestions.


The Falsification & Death Administration

Kit Smith

The staff at the Food and Drug Administration may not actively hate you and want you to die, but a study of the agency's sordid history suggests that they don't really care if you live either. Lucky for us, drug companies are kind, conscientious, and self-regulating. For example, in late September Merck and Co, makers of Vioxx, agreed to voluntarily recall their famous drug, now that a new study suggests it may put people at increased risk for heart attack. Isn't that nice of them? How thoughtful…. Unless four years doesn't qualify as "new" to you.


The Smoldering Fuel Rods of Environmental Justice

Chris Meister

Mercurial weather put an electricity in the late October air in West Valley last weekend. Or perhaps that electricity came from the blazing fires of dissent? A nuclear waste processing plant, AKA the West Valley Demonstration Project, was the arena for a pre-Halloween protest-fest that drew a whopping…20 people.


The BEAST Interview With God

Feeling dejected and withdrawn over the stupidity of our fellow countrymen in reelecting George W. Bush, our thoughts turned first to suicide, then alcohol. Once we calmed down and sobered up a bit, we had no choice but to go to the source to ask the tough questions about the election, the future of our country and the world.


Top 10 Reasons to be TERRIFIED This Halloween

Al Uthman

1. The Supreme Court. Not only could this body again determine the outcome of this election by a widely scorned 5-4 vote based on indefensible logic, but if Bush stays in power he'll get the chance to ensure a religious right majority for decades-say goodbye to Roe v Wade. Chief Justice Rehnquist is about to go down, and if Kerry wins, that means a chance to tip the scales in favor of reason.


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