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November 03, 2006



An Abu Ghraib Offender Heads Back to Iraq

military dog handler convicted for his role in the prisoner abuse scandal has been ordered back to help train the country's police

As if the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal weren't bad enough for America's image in the Middle East, now it may appear to much of the world that one of the men implicated in the scandal is returning to the scene of the crime.

The U.S. military tells TIME that one of the soldiers convicted for his role in Abu Ghraib, having served his sentence, has just been sent back to serve in Iraq.

Sgt. Santos Cardona, 32, a military policeman from Fullerton, Calif., served in 2003 and 2004 at Abu Ghraib as a military dog handler. After pictures of Cardona using the animal to threaten Iraqis were made public, he was convicted in May of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault, the equivalent of a felony in the U.S. civilian justice system. The prosecution demanded prison time, but a military judge instead imposed a fine and reduction in rank. Though Cardona was not put behind bars, he was also required to serve 90 days of hard labor at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Before Cardona boarded a plane at Pope Air Force Base this week for the long flight to his unit's Kuwait staging area, he told close friends and family that he dreaded returning to Iraq. One family member described him as "depressed," though stoic about his fate. According to a close friend with whom Cardona spoke just before his departure, the soldier is fearful that he remains a marked man, forever linked to the horrors of Abu Ghraib — he appears in at least one al-Qaeda propaganda video depicting the abuse — and that he and comrades serving with him in Iraq could become targets for terrorists. To make matters worse, his 23rd MP Company has been selected to train Iraqi police, which have been the target of frequent assassination attempts and, according to US intelligence are heavily infiltrated by insurgents. Attempts to reach Cardona directly were unsuccessful.

But Cardona’s physical well-being is not the only issue of concern connected to his transfer. According to former senior U.S. military officers and others interviewed by TIME, sending a convicted abuser back to Iraq to train local police sends the wrong signal at a time when the U.S. is trying to bolster the beleagured government in Baghdad, where the horrors of Abu Ghraib are far from forgotten. "If news of this deployment is accurate, it represents appallingly bad judgment," says retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded a division in the first Gulf War. "The symbolic message perceived in Iraq will likely be that the U.S. is simply insensitive to the abuse of their prisoners."

Retired Major General John Batiste was likewise surprised at the decision to send a soldier convicted of abuse at Abu Ghraib back to Iraq. His only comment: "You just have to wonder how far up the chain of command this decision was made."

Army public affairs specialist Major James Crabtree, who is assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, which has responsibility for Cardona's unit, said that Cardona, is a military policeman whose " unit happens to be deployed to Iraq, so he went with them." Crabtree said the Army commander overseeing the transfer of Cardona and other members of his unit said "there were no issues associated with [Cardona's new] deployment." He added that although a military judge ordered a reduction in rank for Cardona following his court martial, Cardona has since regained his previous rank of Sergeant.

The military jury acquitted Cardona of seven charges, including alleged attempts to harass a second prisoner with his dog. Cardona's lawyers argued that their client's actions at Abu Ghraib were condoned, if not approved in each case, by officers in charge of the prison, as well as senior officials in the Army command.,8599,1554326-1,00.html

Global Warming?

All that ice falling inot the sea in the Antarctic is just a figment of Al Gore's imagination.

Gotta love Jim Talent. "No one knows for sure if the Earth warming up is really a bad thing." Way to parrot the Big Oil line, Jimmy.

White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters that Bush “has, in fact, contrary to stereotype, been actively engaged in trying to fight climate change and will continue to do so.”

The White House on Tuesday defended U.S. efforts to protect the environment, responding to a British report that said unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy unless urgent action is taken.




What are the indicators that climate change is real and what has to happen for folks to recognize it?

exiled kansan

Climate change is has been real since the earth was formed. There is substantial evidence that the earth is currently warming. Are humans having an impact on the warming rate? We simply don't have enough evidence to indicate that we are the cause of the warming.

As an engineer, I always find it funny that the less qualified a person is to form opinions on scientific matters, the more passionate they are. This is another case of loud voices being heard over rational thinking. Should we continue to investigate the causes? Yes, but they may end up not having anything to do with human activity as was the case in the 1400's.

"I always find it funny that the less qualified a person is to form opinions on scientific matters, the more passionate they are."

Such as the Bush administration's squelching of official scientific opinions that counter its misguided policy positions?

see here:

Scientists Say White House Muzzled Them

The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 1, 2006; 11:43 PM

WASHINGTON -- Two federal agencies are investigating whether the Bush administration tried to block government scientists from speaking freely about global warming and censor their research, a senator said Wednesday.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said he was informed that the inspectors general for the Commerce Department and NASA had begun "coordinated, sweeping investigations of the Bush administration's censorship and suppression" of federal research into global warming.

"These investigations are critical because the Republicans in Congress have ignored this serious problem," Lautenberg said.

He said the investigations "will uncover internal documents and agency correspondence that may expose widespread misconduct." He added, "Taxpayers do not fund scientific research so the Bush White House can alter it."

Messages left Wednesday at the offices of the inspectors general, which serve as the agencies' internal watchdogs, were not immediately returned.

Kristen Hellmer, a spokeswoman for the White House Council for Environmental Quality, said Wednesday night that the administration has supported the scientific process in its approach to studying climate change.

"We have in place the most transparent system of science reporting, and claims that the administration interfered with scientists are false," Hellmer said. "Our focus is on taking action and making real progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The nearly $2 billion worth of climate science we publish annually leads the world and speaks for itself."

Carbon dioxide and other gases primarily from fossil fuel-burning that scientists say trap heat in the atmosphere have warmed the Earth's surface an average 1 degree over the past century. The White House has committed to reducing the "intensity" of U.S. carbon pollution, a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic growth.

But the total U.S. emissions, now more than 7 billion tons a year, are projected to rise 14 percent from 2002 to 2012.

In February, House Science Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., and other congressional leaders asked NASA to guarantee scientific openness. They complained that a public affairs officer changed or filtered information on global warming and the Big Bang.

The officer, George Deutsch, a political appointee, had resigned after being accused of trying to limit reporters' access to James Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, and insisting that a Web designer insert the word "theory" with any mention of the Big Bang.

A report last month in the scientific journal Nature claimed administrators at the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration blocked the release of a report that linked hurricane strength and frequency to global warming. Hansen had said in February that NOAA has tried to prevent researchers working on global climate change from speaking freely about their work.

NOAA has denied the allegations, saying its work is not politically motivated.

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