Last evening (Wednesday May 3rd) in the Valley Life Sciences Building at UC Berkeley there was a series of speakers talking about the way things are being done by the US Government right now. The first speaker was Larry Everest, who played a news clip that was broadcast on Channel 4 in England showing a crowd of people running down a street being bombed by a US fighter under ordersfrom his superiors in April of '04. The story made it very clear that the soldiers doing the killing were obeying orders from above.

The next speaker was former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, who was in charge of their Embassy in Uzbekistan from '02 to '04. He told of being shown pictures of a guy that had been tortured and then boiled to death by the Uzbek authorities. Then he explained how he found out that it wasn't an isolated case, and that these interrogations were paid for by CIA sources. Murray said these people were being asked to sign confessions written by the authorities, which were then forwarded to Uncle Sam as good intelligence. He explained that the names of the torture victims were removed from the reports so that people like Condoleeza Rice could read them without knowing how the information was being gathered. The Ambassador was convinced that the US is spending so much money in Uzbekistan because oil and gas have recently been discovered there.

Former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski said that she had gone to Iraq at about the time Bush had declared "Mission Accomplished." She had been put in charge of 18 prison facilities in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib. Because they wanted to look different from Saddam's regime they had begun by changing the name to "Baghdad Central Correctional Facility", which the soldiers then called BCCF. This had changed when a General Miller came along, who was put in charge of the place to "Gitmoize it" by higher ups. She said General Miller had $125 Million to spend, and very good connections to Donald Rumsfeld. The guy had brought in interrogation specialists from Guantanimo and other places to get information out of people as quickly as possible. She was convinced that contractors were brought in to do the dirty work because it placed them outside the uniform code of military justice, and apparently every other kind of legal controlling authority. She explained that those famous Abu Ghraib photos were taken to show prisoners, so interrogators could say "If you don't give us information, this will be happening to you."

Karpinski found out about the contractors work two weeks into the investigation of it. She told of being called into General Sanchez's office to talk about it. She was expecting to be bawled out and told to clean up the mess, but instead she was ordered to remain silent about it. Karpinski is convinced that she was made a scapegoat along with the "seven bad apples on the night shift" to make it look like the problem had been solved. Her attitude is "those prisoners need a lot more company behind bars."

The final speaker was Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame. He said just about every US Administration had threatened to use nuclear weapons, but the current administration is MUCH more public about it. He said that yes, nuclear weapons are bad, but much something much worse was done with conventional fire bombing by the US during WW II. He told of the firebombing of Tokyo during March 8th and 9th of 1945, when many more people died than during Hiroshima or Nagasaki. He advised Government employees who have knowledge of war crimes and the like not to resign, but rather to leak documents and other information "to get the story out". He also said "It's disgraceful that current administration Architects like John Yu at Bolt Hall School of Law aren't challenged on what they say by other faculty members and protested by students."

The Ambassador and General Karpinski are doing a road show. You can see them this evening at Stanford (7:30 PM at the William Hewlett Teaching Center, Rm. 200), and later at other venues. For more information please visit:

Tian Harter
I gave Ambassador Craig Murray a Nevada quarter after the event.