User:Hugh Manatee

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A Tribute to Hugh Manatee

A Tribute to SourceWatch Contributor, Hugh Manatee One of SourceWatch's long-time contributors, Kenneth Turner II, who wrote entries under the user name "Hugh Manatee" passed away after a brave battle against cancer, on August 2, 2010. Although I only knew Ken for a short time, he seemed to be such a good, kind and determined soul with tremendous intelligence and passion. He was a powerful and eloquent voice for peace and against injustice and for human rights and our Constitution, and I hope that visitors to our site will visit his user page, User:Hugh Manatee, to be inspired by his words and ideas, as we make this tribute to him. He helped create articles documenting the Bush Administration's torture policies and apologists, and he helped tell the real story about a range of policies he researched in detail. He also showed many new users how to use the tool of SourceWatch to help tell the people's history of these policies. And, so it is with deepest appreciation that we pause to honor Ken's life and his passing. His sister's tribute is reprinted in full below. SourceWatch will miss Hugh Manatee's appeals to our humanity on our site and in the wider world. --Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy

From his sister, Dru: As most of you are aware, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma about a year ago and he has been fighting that disease with humor and humility for months. Ken was a multitalented, eccentrically funny, and passionately opinionated, maniac and has been a political blogger for many years; but the chats and close connections he established over the last few months were what really sustained him through his ordeal and the family thanks each and every one of you who helped him.

Ken was a lifetime resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. He graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1973 and became a near legend there; the legend known as Toad. He attended UNLV but I don't know if he actually graduated. He didn't need a degree; frankly he was usually more intelligent and informed than many of his professors and would only stay focused if something really interested him. In his life time he played drums in a band, at a nightclub off the Las Vegas Strip; worked as a landscaper on golf courses, until his knees gave out from football injuries; drove a cab in Vegas for many, many, many years and finally he became a Techno Wiz.

He was a philosopher by day and in his heart at night, a poet and to me he will always be that "funny round headed kid." He was actually noted for being an "honest cab driver." I often thought he utilized his cab as his first Blog Site. Just before his death, he'd started creating wonderful artwork on his computer which he called fractals, as I said a multifaceted individual; his passing deprives the world of a very unique person with a rare & uncommon perspective.

In his last few years, he devoted himself to fighting injustice, hypocrisy, and well let's face it...stupidity; through his various web sites and Blogs, many of you may also have known him by some of his other pseudonyms on Talking Points Memo or other sites: PsuedoCyAnts, casualcabbie, impietease, AustinTayshus, and TOAD. "Nobody wants a Toad on the dole!"

Ken died in his sleep, finally peaceful because of the medication. His partner Melody and I were with him through his last night and another sister, Candy, was with him when he actually passed.

Attached is a link to his obituary published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Again thank you for your thoughts and for your support and friendship to my brother; his friends and followers were his blessing, his ability to share his thoughts and ideas with like minded others was his salvation, and being funny, passionate, and opinionated was his vocation.

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo love, sister dru

Below is Ken's last message to us, and some of his other writings about peace and justice:

Where I've Been

In case anyone is wondering where I have been; I have contracted multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. I recently was discharged from the hospital after a three month stay there, where I received back surgery, because I had sustained three lumbar vertebra fractures. I am presently receiving chemotherapy, which is thalidomide. I have no health insurance, and the chemotherapy lists at over $6k/month, but Celgene, the pharmaceutical corporation that manufactures it, is supplying it to me free of charge through at least May.

The disease's progression seems to have at least slowed down (i won't say remission yet), but there is no known cure for multiple myeloma. I have been working on getting myself physically rehabilitated. Presently, I am able to walk very short distances unaided, and medium distances with a walker. I must use a wheelchair for anything else. This is a vast improvement from my first physical therapy session after back surgery. For that, three physical therapists had to lift me out of bed and place me in a wheelchair, and I was only able to sit in it for about 15 minutes, before the pain became unbearable.

So that's where I have been over the last year. I'll try to not be such a stranger around these here parts in the future.

--hugh_manateee 17:03, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi Hugh, welcome back and so sorry to hear about your health problems. I'll send you an email (hopefully later tonight or tomorrow). We've missed you. best wishes --Bob Burton 06:16, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Welcome Back!

Dear Hugh: Thank you so much for your note! I'm the new Executive Director of CMD and SourceWatch, and I want to welcome you back. What a journey you have been on, but your note demonstrates your strong determination. I am very pleased to meet such a courageous and devoted person like you. Welcome back to SourceWatch! Lisa Graves lisa AT

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author, title, pub, pubdate. ISBN ############(no spaces or dashes)

My antiwar (work in progress)

a place where i put my antiwar, as i work on its expression


It has caused me great sadness to learn how much America is willing to discard in the quest for vengence/justice for the World Trade Center Attacks of September 11, 2001. So many are willing to ignore what America, the Ideal, is.

Maybe I am just an anachronism, a walkabout in the American Dreamtime, a fantasy of my own creation. If this is the case, please do not awaken me from the sweet visions.

I am antiwar; if this makes me a lefty, so be it.

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
--Frederick Douglass
"We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship."
--E.M. Forster

Constitutional Grounds

Perhaps it is a universal truth
that the loss of liberty at home
is to be charged to provisions against danger,
real or pretended, from abroad.

--James Madison

All legitimacy to govern in America is predicated upon the United States Constitution. This, and this alone is the fount from which a just Government flows. Mr. Bush has now twice sworn a solemn oath to uphold and protect the US Constitution. He cannot defend it by subverting it. Its dictates must be obeyed, or the government is a tyranny.

The Natural Rights of All Humans

There are many who believe that there is no such thing as "Natural Rights". I am not trying to imply that there is or isn't. There is a very good reason for accepting the concept without proof though. By placing certain rights within the realm of "Natural Rights", the founders of the Constitution effectively removed these rights from any legitimate control by the government. They are a class of rights possessed in perpetuity by humans; not rights given by a grant of the government, but pre-existent to any government. This distinction is important. A government that has in any manner pushed its sphere of control into "Natural Rights" engages in tyranny. Another essential consideration when contemplating Natural Right is that no branch or combination of branches have ultimate authority when deciding their limitations. Since Natural Rights are secured in their possession by the people, they are the ultimate judges of restrictions' legitimacy.

Just considering the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the Bush Administration is violating minimally; The Fifth, The Sixth, The Eighth and The Thirteenth Amendment. These persons are called illegal combatants by the Bush Administration. By their own definition these Persons are criminals, who have lost liberty without the constitutionally mandated due process of law.

This illegitimate usurptation of humanity's natural liberty is rationalised as an essential tool in defense of the homeland against terrorists. Madison was prescient in the above quotation.

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty.
It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws.
He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression;
for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

Thomas Paine, "Dissertations on First Principles of Government", 1795
Fifth Amendment
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Fifth Amendment begins with the phrase "No Person". The meaning is transparent, there can be no equivocations. It means, NO PERSON, including non citizens. This was an intentional restraint placed upon the Government by thoughtful framers of our Constitution, who were rightfully distrustful of the wielders of political power. The Guantanamo Bay Detainees were not indicted prior to their detention, nor are they being held as POWs under the Geneva Protocols.

Just what part of "NO PERSON" does the Bush administration NOT understand?

Sixth Amendment
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

The Sixth Amendment sets the minimal requirements for the due process of law that Must precede the taking of life, liberty or property from any Person. It begins with the phrase, "In All Criminal Proceedings". This is even more transparent than No Person. Americans Do not need Nine Old Jargon Gibbering Jokers with fetishes for Black Satin Moo Moos augering its entrails to divine its original intent for them.

In ALL Criminal prosecutions, the accused remains in possession of minimally the following natural rights of all humans:

  1. the right to a timely judicial resolution;
  2. the right of adjudication by a jury that understands the burden of proof rests entirely upon the state;
  3. an open and public disclosure by the state delineating the nature and causes of the accusation;
  4. the right to confront witnesses against the accused, while they are under oath;
  5. the right to challenge prosecutorial evidence used against them by the state;
  6. the right to obtain witnesses and evidence in their behalf;
  7. the right to competent counsel dedicated to defense of the accused;

Only after the government successfully secures a conviction under these terms, may it rightfully strip liberty away from a human. To do so without this process is to engage in tyranny.

Eighth Amendment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Under Western Civilisation's concept of justice, British Common Law which predates Blackstone, and Core US Constitutional Principles, it is cruel and unusual to imprison humans indefinitely without first convicting them of an offense in a competent trial process.

Thirteenth Amendment
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

This is the amendment which invalidates the Bush Administration's cowardly assertion that Guantanamo Bay is without the protections of the Constitution. Guantanamo Bay assuredly exists as a place subject to the US Government's jurisdiction, yet the detainees suffer involuntary servitude, without having first been duly convicted of anything, whatsoever, and are held only upon the specious unsubstantiated and classified allegations by the same administration which was unable to provide evidence of Iraqi WMDs or WMD production facilities after it had led America into to War Upon Them, principally for those reasons.

International Treaties

United States Constitution: Article VI

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Guantanamo <-+-> Guano upon America

International Grounds

Dutch court blocks Egyptian's extradition to US

By Niclas Mika

10/12/05 -- AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch court blocked the extradition to the United States on Wednesday of a man with Dutch and Egyptian nationality suspected of links to al Qaeda, citing insufficient guarantees over the suspect's basic rights.

The Hague court confirmed a preliminary finding, voicing concerns the suspect could be subject to sweeping presidential powers enacted after the September 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks allowing suspects to be detained indefinitely without charge.


No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
UN Convention Against Torture article 3.1

The Dreamtime America

  1. We are Americans.
  2. Americans hold themselves, and are often held by others to higher standards than is expected from the rest.
  3. We DO NOT Torture POWs.
  4. We DO NOT utilise the unjust practise of secret tribunals.
  5. In ALL Criminal prosecutions, the accused remains in possession of minimally the following rights:
    1. the right to a timely judicial resolution
    2. the right of adjudication by a jury that understands the burden of proof rests entirely upon the state
    3. an open and public disclosure by the state delineating the nature and causes of the accusation
    4. the right to confront witnesses against the accused
    5. the right to challenge prosecutorial evidence used
    6. the right to competent counsel dedicated to defense of the accused
  6. Americans are honourable, and persons of honour respect the dictates of previous agreements entered into on their behalf by their past representatives.
  7. All persons possess the natural right to freely practise devotion to whatever they perceive as their creator.
  8. The state possesses only the powers explicitly granted to it in a public constitution.
  9. When America engages in conflict, it will publicly state to the world the injurious cause for the conflict's engagement before the the government's beginning of the conflict, and will not revise these claims after the government's intitiation of conflict.
  10. These things, and many more not listed above, we do as Americans, and are not predicated in anyway upon the actions of others.

I am walkabout who warns:
The Dreamtime America is imperiled,
cowards and heretics are at the helm,
and if The Dreamtime disappears, we are lost.

Torturous Reasoning

torture's equivocators

those who opposed the weasels

The Nine Equivocators of Torture

From: "Nine Explain Interrogation Votes", Washington Post, October 7, 2005

  1. Sen. Wayne Allard (Colo.) - "I believe acts of torture are despicable and deplorable... Requiring the codification of the Army field manual, however, does not right the wrong committed by those individuals who were clearly acting outside of the Army's existing regulations and laws of our country. In fact, all it does is tie the hands of the Department of Defense at a time when maximum flexibility within the boundaries of the U.S. law is needed."
  2. Sen. Christopher S. Bond (Mo.) - "The last thing we want to do is put undue burdens on military and intelligence officials who are on the ground trying to obtain critical information on the war on terror. There are already guidelines in place, including administrative processes, to investigate misconduct and take corrective and punitive action."
  3. Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) - John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, said: "He finds the practices that have been publicized aberrant like everyone else does and is deeply opposed to using torture as an interrogation technique. He was concerned that the amendment, however, would put at risk some of our undercover officers by making them subject to two sets of laws governing their conduct."
  4. Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.) - "I listened to the debate, and I support the efforts of the chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee to resolve this issue in conference with the House. We agree that prisoners should not be mistreated, but we disagree that the military combat manual should be the standard for dealing with all prisoners whether they are terrorists or not."
  5. Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.) - "Supporters claim that this amendment was necessary to send a message that the abuse at Abu Ghraib is inconsistent with our laws and values. But those guilty of abuses already knew their conduct violated our laws and our values. . . . As such, they would not have been deterred even if this amendment were in effect at the time. Finally, the amendment gives the false impression that torture and abuse of detainees was the official policy of the United States government. That is also false. The policy was, and continues to be, one that requires humane treatment of all detainees."
  6. Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.) - "From my first statement in the Senate Armed Services Committee in May of last year, I have made it clear that we are spending far too much of our time and effort on the prisoner abuse issue and not enough time on the quality of our interrogations. . . . The military justice system was well into its investigations before the public was even aware of the issue. It is my feeling that the more we air this issue publicly, the more we are emboldening the terrorists. The more we talk about our methods of interrogation we must remember that the enemy is listening."
  7. Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) - "Am I against torture? Of course I am. I know as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the information we get from interrogating terrorists is some of the most valuable information we get. It saves lives, period. We have learned that one of the most effective tools we have in getting this information is the terrorists' fear of the unknown. Passing a law that effectively telegraphs to the entire terrorist world what they can expect if they are caught is not only counterproductive, but could be downright dangerous."
  8. Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) - Sessions's office provided a copy of his floor speech, from which this excerpt was taken.

    "People who are responsible for misbehavior are being held to account. If I thought our military was not responding well, I would be very concerned. . . . I am dubious, for complex technical reasons, of the amendment that has been offered . . . because I am not sure it makes good legal sense to have a law that is a moving law, it seems to me, that complies with the Army regulations. . . . A statute is supposed to be permanent. As a lawyer, I am troubled by that. I don't think this is a necessary action."
  9. Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) - Stevens's office provided the following excerpt from his floor statement.

    "There is a classified annex to the Army Field Manual that is not addressed in this amendment. There are people who are not in uniform, who may not even be citizens of the United States, who represent us in very strange and dangerous places, whose lives may be put in jeopardy by the process that is spelled out in this amendment. I speak for them. There are changes that have to be made if we are to be faithful to those people who live in the classified world and will be covered by the classified annex. I hope to try and straighten out the amendment in conference."

SW personal todos (sure, right after pigs fly)

  • Google - correct bias - reference Google's separate China corp, and some user personal data stored offshore, away from the reach of Chaina;s gov
  • Hizb-ut-Tahrir - attempt to find the balance between extremes
  • Stub needed for TPM Cafe
  • Salvador option in need up a major update/overhaul
  • Campaign For Liberty Ron Paul group. Has many campaigns under many names and at least 48 Internet Domain Names

new links

In Re: Conspiracy Theories

All theories of mass conspiracies which claim that hidden hands are influencing society should be viewed with a critical eye of scepticism, as they fail to survive an application of Occam's Razor. Conspiracy theories' irrationality almost always can be traced to the same structural flaw: They posit levels of competence and quality from the product of group thought which has a probability of occurring in reality at a frequency that is greater than zero, yet still is a frequency statistically insignificant from nil.

They are, after all, describing actions by individual members of humanity. Please spare me.