Distraction Attraction

darth cheneyProf. Jay Rosen @ PressThink adds depth to my belief that the White House is having a field day with the OCD-ification of the press regarding such meaningless sideshows as the Harry Whittington Slow Train (or is it a short bus)? Read his insightful post today in which he expands up his theory of the post-Watergate/Vietnam-era “rollback” strategy as set in motion by our powermonger-in-command, Big Time:

[The White House] has a larger aim: to roll back the press as a player within the executive branch, to make it less important in running the White House and governing the country, but also less of a wild card in fighting enemies of the state in the permanent war on terror.?

A host of worthwhile links are embedded in Rosen’s post today. If only the WH Press Corps would bother with reading the latest Foreign Affairs instead of drumming up more fodder for Entertainment Tonight:

How does it hurt Bush if for three days this week reporters are pummeling Scott McClellan over the details of when they were informed about Cheney?s hunting accident? That?s three days this week they won?t be pummeling Scott McClellan over the details of this article from Foreign Affairs by Paul R. Pillar, the ex-CIA man who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year.Here?s what the article says: ?During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq? the Bush administration disregarded the community?s expertise, politicized the intelligence process, and selected unrepresentative raw intelligence to make its public case.? Pillar was there; if anyone would know he would.

Indeed, Cheney is riding high into the weekend on the cthulu of attention he’s received since shooting his way out of his bunker.

Not only can the #2 American public figure drink beer and shoot up his friends, he saw in Wednesday’s chummy interview with Fox News‘ Brit Hume a golden opportunity to claim lawful authority to declassify, for example, the identity of certain covert CIA operatives.

Steve Clemons debunks Cheney’s claims (slipped into his interview with Brit Hume on Fox News yesterday) in orderly fashion at the Washington Note.

Even George Will is fed up with the administrations utter disrespect for the Constitution.

Terrorism is not the only new danger this era…. The administration, in which mere obduracy sometimes serves as political philosophy, pushes the limits of assertion while disdaining collaboration. This faux toughness is folly….

Who is Responsible for Torture?

According to Amnesty International — we all are. They just released a Flash presentation on Extraordinary Rendition and its worth watching. Additionally, Amnesty featured the first of three online discussions today entitled “Lives torn apart,” which examines the experiences of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Following the broadcast of more incriminating photos of U.S. and British forces torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib, the U.S. is finally realizing that they have created “Jihad University,” — a breeding ground for terror.

It should be noted that these videos were among those presented to the Pentagon nearly two years ago but have only now become publicly available.

Eccentric Star compares international press coverage of the release of these videos.

And wouldya believe? the U.S. is declaring that the UN draft report (download the .pdf) released this week is ?flawed, unbalanced.? The report defines the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay as torture.

Coalition Breakdown

British troops lost the hearts and minds of the citizens of Basra in one day last September, after an apparently successful, mostly peaceful two year campaign to bring order and train police in Iraq’s third largest city.

This week, after British military police arrested two of their own, the southern province of Basra has officially cut off all relations with the British. in connection with a 2004 video.

Over 1000 protesters reportedly congregated and burned the British flag in response. More arrests are expected in connection with the video, which, the Guardian reports:

filmed in the restive town of Amara in the Maysan province, just north of Basra, in January 2004 appeared to show defenceless young Iraqis being kicked and attacked with batons, to the apparent amusement of the cameraman.

I posted last fall on the significance of the uprisings in Basra and the evidence that the police forces were being infiltrated and commanded by a myriad of extremists and conflicted militant groups. (also here, and here ).

As Jasem al-Aqrab, head of organization of the Iraqi Islamic party in party, writes in Thursday’s Guardian, the real story is surfacing regarding the supposedly “calm” Basra region as it had been compared to the violence in the North since early 2003.