RSS 2.0
Page contents
  Vatican Sends Threat Over Women PriestsMay 30, 2008 09:39 The Vatican announced Thursday in a general decree that it will excommunicate anyone who would attempt to ordain a woman as a priest and the woman herself.

According to the decree, the excommunications would take place with immediate effect.

The decree was signed by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

It was not persuasive to Regina Nicolosi, a program coordinator for Roman Catholic Womenpriests (sic), who was ordained two years ago.

"We have come not to take that too seriously," said Nicolosi, a 66-year-old married mother and grandmother who lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, and said her group is composed of 40 to 50 women priests, none of whom are recognized by the church hierarchy.

"It's one of the very last patriarchal hierarchies in the western world, and I don't know when they will be ready to let go of that."
  Sexual Terrorism in the 'War' on TerrorMay 13, 2008 22:25 The “New York Times’” recently revealed the existence of a little-known executive order issued by President Bush in the summer of ’07 that permitted U.S. intelligence operatives to circumvent restrictions on the use of humiliating and degrading interrogation techniques.

Bush’s order permitted U.S. intelligence operatives to effectively side-step the legal and moral restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court and Congress (and formally approved by Bush) as well as Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

Brian Benczkowski, a deputy assistant attorney general, laid-out the rationale for the continued subversion of these restrictions:

The fact that an [humiliating interrogation] act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliating or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act.

The Bush administration’s argument is that an interrogator can utilize what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” if he/she believes such techniques will thwart a possible threat or terrorist act. For the administration, illegal (if not immoral) interrogation techniques are a corollary to preemptive military strikes that was its rationale for the invasion of Iraq.

Much attention has been paid to water-boarding as an immoral if not illegal technique utilized in the so-called War of Terror. Little attention has been paid to the equally physically harmful and likely more long-term consequential technique of sexual humiliation and terror.

Buried deep in Mark Mazzetti’s Times article is an intriguing paragraph:

That order specifies some conduct that it says would be prohibited in any interrogation, including forcing an individual to perform sexual acts, or threatening an individual with sexual humiliation. But it does not say which techniques could still be permitted. [New York Times, April 27, 2008]

Yes, what “techniques” of sexual humiliation can still be used?

It seems almost impossible to precisely determine these techniques. Reviews of the CIA, Justice and Defense department’s websites reveal little useful information. Email queries to the Justice Department, including Benczkowski and the media-relations office, have not been answered.

An exhaustive search of the internet has provided no further information about sexual humiliation then the oblique Times reference. (An effort for further clarification from Mazzetti has not succeeded.) This is very much in keeping with Bush administration policies to deny, falsify, obfuscate or simply lie about techniques sanctioned and employed in its fictitious War on Terror.
  Madams Fall While Their Johns ProsperMay 02, 2008 10:29 Yesterday's suicide of so-called D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey has again shown the great discrepancy between men and women when it comes to how the crime of prostitution is punished.

Palfrey, who was to be sentenced in July on federal charges stemming from operating a prostitution service, was found dead yesterday in a shed outside a mobile home owned by her mother. Police say she hanged herself with a nylon rope. Meanwhile, some of her best-known male clients continue to hold powerful and highly paid jobs and have not faced criminal charges.

Ambassador Randall Tobias, who resigned from the State Department after admitting he had been a customer of Palfrey's service, recently accepted a high-profile job as the head of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.

In April 2007, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called Palfrey's "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage." Tobias, who is married, said there had been no sex, and that he had since been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.