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October 30, 2006

Can Bush Please Be Thrown Into Prison Now?

Thanks to Crooks&Liars.com for linking to this interview at Speigel Online of Ron Suskind, former writer for the Wall Street Journal. The subject of the interview is torture and "black sites", or secret prisons.

Here's a choice little excerpt:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the average interrogator at a Black Site understands more about the mistakes made than the president?

Suskind: The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators.

And this:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: With all your access to high-level sources, have you come across anyone who still thinks it is a good idea for the US to torture people?

Suskind: No.

And then this:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The government's tenor seems to be that...the system of Black Sites is ending.

Suskind: They were the prizes, the most significant of them. Are there others? Of course, they are in various places, in the sort of loose confederation of prisons that are housed simply within countries. The prisoners are farmed out but not beyond the purview of the United States, which is still interested in what they say. The Egyptians, Jordanians and others keep us informed. I assume there are still about 100 prisoners and that the system of Black Sites is continuing. The president has preserved his right to do that.

So...everyone thinks torture doesn't work, but Bush wants to keep doing it anyway. Why? "He was deeply involved in the process from the beginning." This is his baby.

Bush loves to talk to the 'operators', which clearly is a euphemism for torturer.

Bush "loves" to talk to the torturers.

Think about that for a millisecond. He's not talking to them about stopping. He's not talking to them about the morality of it, or he'd be talking about stopping. He's not talking about the ineffectiveness of it, or he'd talk about stopping. He's definitely not talking about puppies. Maybe they're talking about Nazis, we're not sure, but he's certainly talking to them about what they know - torturing people. Maybe getting a good belly laugh or two.

'Operator': Oh man Mr. Prez, you shoulda seen this one dude. Crapped his pants right there. Course, we'd been force feeding him through a tube 'till it started to come back up through his throat, and maybe that kick in the stomach might of had something to do with it. But geez.....

G.W.B.: Ha ha ha ha ha! Stop it! I'm gonna puke! I gotta tell this one to Alberto.......

When he drones on about staying the course, perhaps this is what he's really talking about. After all, he seems to be having fun.

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October 29, 2006

Adam, Eve and You

I'm currently working my way through the fascinating 'Escape From Freedom' by Erich Fromm. One passage struck me, concerning the Adam & Eve myth and how it relates to freedom, and organized religion's insidious use of it (from chapter II:The Emergence of the Individual):
The myth identifies the beginning of human history with an act of choice, but it puts all emphasis on the sinfulness of this first act of freedom and the suffering resulting from it. Man and woman live in the garden of eden in complete harmony with each other and with nature. there is peace and no necessity to work; there is no choice; no freedom; no thinking either. Man is forbidden to each from the tree of knowledge between good and evil. He acts against God's command, he breaks through the state of harmony with nature of which he is a part without transcending it. From the standpoint of the church which represented authority, this is essentially sin. From the standpoint on man, however, this is the beginning of human freedom. Acting against God's orders means freeing himself from coercion, emerging from the unconscious existence of prehuman life to the level of man. Acting against the command of authority, committing a sin, is in it's positive human aspect the first act of freedom, that is, the first human act.In the myth the sin in it's formal spect is the eating from the tree of knowledge. The act of disobedience as an act of freedom is the beginning of reason.

The myth speaks of other consequences of this first act of freedom.The original harmony between man and nature is destroyed. God proclaims war on man and woman, and war between nature and man. Man has become separate from nature, he has taken the first step toward becoming human by becoming an "individual". He has committed the first act of freedom.

The myth emphasizes the suffering resulting from this act. To transcend nature, to be alienated from nature and another human being, finds man naked, ashamed. He is alone and free, yet powerless and afraid. The newly won freedom appears as a curse; he is free from the sweet bondage of paradise, but he is not free to govern himself, to realize his individuality.

What an incredibly powerful tool to indoctrinate children. The message is clear; do as god says, as translated through the church, or suffer terribly. At the time of life when a child typically hears this, young enough that they're still part of the magical existence of the universe and just beginning to form an identity of their own identifying themselves as separate from it, this myth would have incredible potency.

But lessons on capitulating to authority aren't limited to religion. Our public education system is built on it. From the beginning of a child's tortuous trip through K-12, he is hammered with lessons in arbitrarily submitting to an omnipotent authority, wherein any deviation is punished and we're told will haunt us the rest of our lives. How can children develop a true identity in this environment? Where do they learn to think for themselves, to think freely and critically?

There was a recent study linking children 4 and under who are obese and diminished intelligence. According to research, approximately 15% of all children in the US are obese. When you start to think about these kids' identities getting ground up into hamburger while they go to church and/or school, and how many there are, and how many more there were and are likely to be, you start to understand why it was so easy for the global war of terrorism lie to work, and why Americans believe they live in a democratic garden of eden.

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Divinely Decreed Ethics In Action

Michael Chossudovsky, writing for GlobalResearch.ca, puts the Iraq war, US belligerence toward Iran and Israel's invasion of Lebannon into global perspective.

The war mongering, power hungry USA is on the path toward WW3, with Stephen Harper dragging Canadians along for the ride. And of course ultimately it's all about energy.

The logic behind it all is just so iron-clad. I mean, who could argue with choosing to spend trillions buying war, destruction and death, rather than trillions, or hell even billions on renewable energy, mutual respect and co-operation, and life.

We're just all so darn ethical.

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And Now, Your Moment of Reason

A fairly bright guy once said:
"I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it." - Albert Einstein

Well, sure. Since ethics apply strictly to humans, or human activity, it stands to reason that the impetus for the existence of ethics arises from humanity, or from the human need to impose restrictions on behavior for the ultimate purpose of ensuring our continued existence. The only means to immortality humans possess (currently) is collectively through procreation. Believing that a superhuman deity imposes it's own set of ethics on us also requires us to believe that they were forced on humanity against our will. Which ultimately leads to the conclusion, either consciously or unconsciously, that we're not responsible for them.

It's sort of like being tortured. One of the conclusions of the Geneva Conventions, and one of the reasons for the outlawing of torture, is that anything confessed to or said while under torture is unreliable because the tortured may not be in control of his faculties. You can force someone to say anything through torture. Therefore, the tortured can't be held responsible for what he says, and the whole testimony is void.

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October 27, 2006

Today Is Video Day

Is Waterboarding Torture?

Sure looks like torture to me. Also, remember that this guy isn't a detainee, nor does he really fear for his life, nor has been been held in solitary confinement for months, nor has he been subject to sleep deprivation or other "aggressive" interrogation techniques.

Enter Alan Dershowitz again, advocating torture. His argument falls flat. Instead of regulating torture, which basically codifies it into law and makes it's use legitimate, why not a law that states "The President, being the commander in chief during times of war, is hereby to be held responsible for instances of systematic torture, as defined by the Geneva Conventions, carried out by subordinates under his command."

There's responsibility for and a condemnation of the use of torture in one tidy little package.

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Maher Arar In His Own Words

Here is his acceptance speech after recieving the Institute for Policy Studies' 30th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award.


Hello my name is Maher Arar. Sorry I could not join you for today’s ceremony.

All Center for Constitutional Rights Staff and I are humbled to have been chosen this year’s recipient for the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award. This award means a tremendous amount to us. It means that there are still Americans out there who value our struggle for justice.

It means that there are Americans out there who are truly concerned about the future of America.

We now know that my story is not a unique one. Over the past two years we have heard from many other people who were, who have been kidnapped, unlawfully detained, tortured and eventually released without being charged with any crime in any country.

JFK Stopover

My nightmare began on September 26, 2002. I was transiting through New York airport, JFK Airport, when they asked me to wait in a waiting area. I found that to be strange. Shortly after, some FBI officials came to see me and they asked me whether, I was willing to be interviewed.

My first immediate reaction was to ask for a lawyer and I was surprised when they told me that I had no right to a lawyer because I was not an American citizen.

Then I asked for a phone call, I wanted to call my family to let them know what was going on. And they just ignored my request.

Then they told me, we only have couple of questions for you and we’ll let you go. So I agreed. I had nothing to hide. And the interrogation started. Soon after, you know, they asked me about people I knew. It was deeper, until the interrogation was going deeper and deeper and deeper.

During this time, they played mind games with me. They would sometimes insult me; say to me something like you’re smart. Other times they would accuse me of being dumb.

And, I repeatedly ask for a lawyer, to make a phone call. They always ignored my question. The interrogation that day lasted about four hours with the FBI officials and another four hours with immigration. At the end of that day, instead of sending me back to Canada, they shackled and chained me and sent me to another, another terminal in the airport where I stayed overnight and in that place, in that room they kept me in, the lights were, were always on. There was no bed in that room and I could not sleep that night.

The next day another set of interrogations started. This time it was about, they asked me about political opinions—I answered openly, I didn’t try to hide my political opinions. The asked me about Iraq. They asked me about Palestine and so many other issues. And they also, if I remember correctly, asked me about my emails and some other questions.

Going to Syria

And they told me that day we are about to decide about your fate. At the end of that day, surprisingly, one of the immigration officers came and asked me to volunteer to go to Syria. I said to them: why do you want me to go to Syria, I’ve never been there for 17 years. And they say, “You are special interest.” Of course, back then I did not know what this expression meant.

But it was clear that the Americans, the officer did not want me to go to Canada.

When he insisted, I said, let me go back to Switzerland. That was my point of departure before I arrived at JFK and he refused. Eventually they took me into the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal prison, where they kept me for about 12 days. During this time I was interviewed for six hours by INS. It was a very exhaustive interview from 9PM to like around 3AM in the morning. When I asked them to, during this interview to go, to allow me to go back to my cell to
perform my prayer, they refused, completely refused.

Also during my stay at the Metropolitan Detention Center I could clearly see that I was being treated differently from other prisoners. For example, they didn’t give me toothpaste they would allow me to go for recreation for about a week. They always ignored my demand for making a phone call.

Eventually they allowed me to make a phone call. Up until that time, which was a week after I was arrested, no one in my family knew where I was. My wife thought I was
disappeared, I was killed. No one knew exactly what happened, until I informed my mother-inlaw that I was arrested.

Eventually on October 8th, against my will, they took me out of my cell. They basically read the pieces of document to me saying, that we will be sending you Syria. And when I complained, I said to them, I did explain to you if I’m sent back I will be tortured and they, I remember, the INS person flipped a couple of pages in this document, to the end of this document and read to me a paragraph that I still remember until today, an extremely shocking statement she made to me.

She said something like: The INS is not the body or the agency that signed the Geneva
Convention, convention against torture. For me what that really meant is we will send you to torture and we don’t care.

So they put me on a private jet, which I found extremely strange. I was the only passenger on that, on that plane. It’s a luxurious plane, with leather seats in it. My only preoccupation during this trip is how I could avoid torture. By then, I realized that they were exactly sending me to Syria for torture. And that became very clear to me. Then the plane flew to Washington from Washington it flew to Maine then to Rome, then from Rome to Jordan.

Shackled and Chained

And I remember on the plane I was most of the time I was shackled and chained except the last two hours when they offered me a shish-kabob dinner. Up until this day I do not, I cannot explain why they did that. If I was a dangerous person like they claimed in the beginning, why they would remove my chains and shackles the last two hours of the trip?

During also the trip, whenever I wanted to use the bathroom, one of the team members would go inside with me. Even though I complained that this was against my religious belief.

The plane landed in Jordan on three in the morning October 8th. And a couple of Jordanians were waiting, men, were waiting for me. They took me, they blindfolded me, they put me in a car and shortly after they started beating me on the back of my head. Whenever I complained about the beating they would actually start beating me more. So I just kept silent.

I stayed in Jordan for about 12 hours in a detention center. I still don’t know what that place is. I was always blindfolded whenever they took me from one cell to another or when they took me to see the doctor. But I felt something strange in that prison. I felt, what, that I used an elevator, which is quite strange for a Middle Eastern prison.

After 12 hours of detention, unlawful detention in Jordan I was eventually driven to Syria. And I just didn’t want to believe that I was going to Syria. I always was hoping that someone, a miracle would happen—the Canadian government would intervene. A miracle would happen that would take me back to my country Canada.

I arrived in Syria that same day, at the end of the day and I was able to confirm that I was in fact in Syria after my blindfold was removed and I was able to see the pictures of the Syrian President. My feeling then is I just wanted to kill myself because I knew what was coming. I knew that the Americans, the American government send me there to be tortured.

Sometime later the interrogators came in. They started asking questions, routine questions at the beginning, but whenever I hesitated to answer their questions or whenever they thought I was lying one of them would threaten me with a chair, a metallic chair with no seats in it, only the frames. And back then I did not understand or I did not know how they would torture people with it. I later learned that from other prison inmates.

But the message was clear: if you don’t speak quickly enough we will torture you. That day, the interrogation lasted about four hours. There was no physical beating; there was only verbal threats. Around midnight, they took me to the basement. In the basement, the guard opened a door for me, a metallic door. I could not believe my eyes. I looked at him and I said, what is that? He didn’t answer. He just said to me: Enter.

The Grave

The cell was about three feet wide, six feet deep and about seven feet high. It was dark. There was no source of light in it. It was filthy. There were only two thin covers on the floor. I was naïve; I thought they would keep me in this place for one, two, maybe three days to put pressure on me. But this same place, the same cell that I later called the grave was my home 10 months and 10 days. The only light that came into the cell was from the ceiling, from the opening in the ceiling. There was a small spotlight and that’s it.

Life in the cell was impossible. At the beginning—even though it was a filthy place, it was like a grave, I preferred to stay in that cell rather than being beaten. Whenever I heard the guards coming to open my door I would just think, you know, this is it for me that would be my last day.

The beating started the following day. Without no warning…(long pause as he fights tears) without no warning the interrogator came in with a cable. He asked me to open my right hand. I did open it. And he hit me strongly on my palm. It was so painful to the point that I forgot every moment I enjoyed in my life.


This moment is still vivid in my mind because it was the first I was ever beaten in my life. Then he asked me to open my left hand. He hit me again. And that one missed and hit my wrist. The pain from that hit lasted approximately six months. And then he would ask me questions. And I would have to answer very quickly. And then he would repeat the beating this time anywhere on my, on my body. Sometimes he would take me to a room where I could, where I was alone, I could hear other prisoners being tortured, severely tortured. I remember that I used to hear their screams. I just couldn’t believe it, that human beings would do this to other human beings.

And then they would take me back to the interrogation room. Again another set of questions, and the beating starts again and again. On the third day the beating was the worst. They beat me a lot with the cable. And they wanted me to confess that I have been to Afghanistan. This was a big surprise to me because even the Americans who interviewed me, the FBI officials who interviewed me, did not ask me that question. I ended up falsely confessing in order to stop the torture. The torture decreased in intensity.

From that moment on they rarely used the cable. Mostly they slapped me on the face, they kicked me, they humiliated me all the time.

The first 10 days of my stay in Syria was extremely harsh and during that period I found my cell to be a refuge. I didn’t want to see their faces. But later on living in that cell was horrible.

And just to give you an idea about how painful it is to stay in that place—I was ready after a couple of months, I was ready to sign any piece of document for me, not to be released, just to go to another place where it is fit for human being.

During this time I wasn’t aware that my wife launched a campaign with other human rights organizations like Amnesty International and others. My wife lobbied the media, she lobbied politicians and eventually I was released. The Syrians released me and they clearly stated through the ambassador in Washington that they did not find any links to terrorism. I was not charged in any country including Canada, United States, Jordan and Syria.

Since my release I have been suffering from anxiety, constant fear, and depression. My life will never be the same again. But I promised myself one thing, that I will continue my quest for justice as long as I have a breath. What keeps me going is my faith, Americans like yourselves and the hope that one day our planet Earth will be free of tyranny, torture and injustice.

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October 26, 2006

How Many Civilians Will Die Tomorrow?

From the CBC today:
NATO operations in Afghanistan's volatile south left dozens of Afghan civilians dead earlier this week, according to Afghan government officials and a village resident.

Bismallah Afghanmal, a provincial council member, told the Associated Press an estimated 80 to 85 civilians were killed in the operation, while Karim Jan, a villager, said 60 to 70 civilians died. Another government official, who declined to give his name, told the Associated Press that at least 60 civilians were killed.

Maj. Luke Knittig, a ISAF spokesman, said NATO forces used mortar and artillery backed by air support against militants who were trying to undermine efforts to stabilize the area for reconstruction.

Knittig said there were three clashes between insurgents and NATO forces west of Kandahar city, with troops using "precision strikes" against insurgents.

"Very sadly, civilians continue to get caught up in these engagements, with tragic results," he said.

Ah yes, very sad, very tragic, but not quite sad enough to stop doing it over and over and fucking over again.

What doesn't seem to be debatable is that some civilians were killed by NATO. This horrific report can be viewed a couple of ways:

We can view the report by Afghan officials as accurate and true. Between 60 and 90 civilians were slaughtered indiscriminately because they got in the way of the absurdly described "precision strikes" on areas which were obviously full of civilians. The question then is, what the hell are Canadian troops doing firing upon civilians? Has it now become an accepted practice to say 'well, our technology assures us that our strikes are precise, those pesky civilians just insist on getting in the way. What can we do? It's really all their own fault.' Does Stephen Harper really want to join the war crimes club? What's next, white phosphorous? Napalm? Mustard Gas?

We could also view it as a distortion from the warlord and former taliban controlled government in an effort to undermine NATO's efforts in the country, which would beg the question - why are we defending them? If this is a propaganda piece, why are Canadians killing civilians and being killed themselves to support a government that is obviously corrupt and doesn't want us there.

Either way you look at it, one has to conclude that the NATO prescence in Afghanistan is an exericise in imperial domination, with Canada acting as an enforcer.



October 23, 2006

Toronto Terror Re-examined

The recent "terrorist plot" in Toronto last June, which saved us in the nick of time thanks to the heroic prescience of the RCMP and CSIS, has been used by Stephen Harper to promote anti-democratic, imperialist policies which just may have been topics of discussion during one of his and George Bush's meetings, being the good buds that they are. Torontonians seem mainly to have forgotten all about the incident, but they shouldn't. Nor should any Canadian.

As this article by David Adelaide of Global Research.ca demonstrates, the Canadian government is just as Orwellian as the American. We're just as capable of fabricating a threat in order to impose a sadistic and tyrannical agenda.

It looks like the whole thing was a setup. The seller of the ammonium nitrate was an RCMP operative, two of the alleged terrorists were CSIS moles and the circumstances indicate that they were the instigators of the entire alleged "plot".

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October 20, 2006

A Translation of 'Stay The Course'

If you think about the phrase 'stay the course' the way it's invoked by the US government as their strategy in Iraq, you may come to realize that the phrase carries no strategic meaning. Beyond the obvious, that staying the course would involve a course to be on (when no course has been demonstrated), strategies, particularly war strategies involve action, reaction, and an outcome. But this phrase implies only the first; action, or 'carry on'. It's like the official strategy contains an opening paragraph and then skips to the index. If you thought too hard on it, perhaps eventually your brain would burst from the pressure of the absurdity.

Or perhaps not. Maybe a different possibility would confront you. The possibility of a real strategy, well thought through and orchestrated with success., but fundamentally not very complicated: marginalize the citizenry, create a perpetual war, and consolidate executive power. Simple as that. And when you've got the most powerful military in history at your command, armed with September 11 as your justification and a colluding media, it probably was quite simple.

In light of the unfolding of events in Iraq over the last several years, what other conclusion can be reached? There is constant, consistent failure by the worlds most powerful armed forces. Consistent failure by highly intelligent, highly educated, highly trained generals and politicians. Consistent failure in a region the US has had a magnifying glass on for 30 years. Don't know the difference between Sunni and Shia? Please. Maybe the average Congressman doesn't, but you can bet Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld do. The US intelligence machine has been all over Iraq at the very least since Desert Storm on the early 90's. They know precisely the differences between Sunni and Shia and have intricate knowledge of any other factors, and they are probably manipulating these two groups against each other.

Perhaps the failure is the success. Maybe failure is the plan. After all, try try again. If you win, well, the war has to stop doesn't it? If the war stops, the executive power grab stops, never mind that there might be questions and consequences about all those nasty things that were done to the Constitution and to liberty.

In these days of linguistic gymnastics, in which George Orwell would be a busy translator, the term 'stay the course' serves a double duty; an obfuscation of the truth and the laying bare of it.

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October 18, 2006

Tyrant, Dictator, Despot - Take Your Pick

Everyone looks to be taking their eyes off the prize, except for Keith Olbermann. The alarm level in the US over the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (pdf) should be through the roof. The idea of a nation governed by the people, based on the rule of law is gone. Everything it was founded upon and stands for is gone. America is ruled by a tyrant.

From Wikipedia:
  • In the original Greek meaning, the word "tyrant" carried no ethical censure; it simply referred to anyone who overturned the established government of a city-state (usually through the use of popular support) to establish himself as dictator, or to the heir of such a person.
  • Despotism is a form of government by a single authority, either an individual or tightly knit group, which rules with absolute political power.
  • Modern dictators have usually come to power in times of emergency. Frequently they have seized power by coup but some achieved office as head of government by legal means, most notably Benito Mussolini in Italy, Adolf Hitler in Germany (election or appointment) and once in office gained additional extraordinary powers.

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October 17, 2006

This Is What Passes For A Law Professor at Harvard

Alan Dershowitz, in his Op-Ed for the LA Times (Oct. 17) offers us a disingenuous, almost tortuous defense of his previous advocation for the use of torture using Bill Clinton as his vindicator.
Some choice quotations:
Although I personally oppose the use of torture, I recognize the reality that some forms of torture have been, are being and will continue to be used by democracies in extreme situations, regardless of what we say or what the law provides. In an effort to limit the use of torture to genuinely extreme "ticking bomb" situations, rather than allowing it to become as routine as it obviously became at Abu Ghraib, I proposed that the president or a federal judge would have to take personal responsibility for ordering its use in extraordinary situations.

The ultimate pragmatist, he would have us believe. Since torture is going to happen anyway lets try to control it, try to hold someone responsible, thereby limiting it's use. But actually he is capitulating to authority. He is acknowledging the right of his masters to take him away and torture him if his 'situation' was deemed 'extraordinary'. That's OK with him as long as the President takes responsibility for it. Indeed, a flippant word to the press by Bush or his successor, which is the likely form any sort of responsibility would take, would make everything all peachy with me too.
For suggesting this approach to the terrible choice of evils between torture and terrorism, I was condemned as a moral monster, labeled an advocate of torture and called a Torquemada.

Why are the choices exclusively torture or terrorism? It's not clear. Perhaps there are other choices which aren't so monstrously immoral. It is clear however that he is advocating the use of torture. To work towards integrating the use of torture into law is advocacy. Geez, almost by definition. The Torquemada reference seems a little harsh, although that was a society which had codified the use of torture into it's laws, which most likely required advocates to bring about, so perhaps Mr. Dershowitz would've found a role for himself in 15th century Spain.
Now I see that former President Clinton has offered a similar proposal. In a recent interview on National Public Radio, Clinton was asked, as someone "who's been there," whether the president needs "the option of authorizing torture in an extreme case."

See? It's cool cuz Bill thinks so too! My colorblind friend ernestly believes that blue is red, and his colordblind friend agrees with him, but I'm not colorblind. Red is red. Blue is blue. Torture is torture. Violations of fundamental human rights aren't supported or made more legitimate by someone agreeing with them. They are still the same crimes. What's made more legitimate is the thought of them being legitimate, which reduces the citizenry - indeed humanity - to the status of objects who can be abused by the state at will.
Quoting Clinton in the article:
"We have a system of laws here where nobody should be above the law, and you don't need blanket advance approval for blanket torture. They can draw a statute much more narrowly, which would permit the president to make a finding in a case like I just outlined, and then that finding could be submitted even if after the fact to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

Or to paraphrase: 'Nobody is above the law, except in cases of torture where we'd like to write into law that some people are'. What he's absurdly suggesting is a process like the FISA courts, where the Executive can obtain a warrant to wiretap or spy on someone after the fact, after the spying was done. Clinton is completely ignoring the fact that the Bush administration has disdained the FISA courts openly and without apology or responsibility taken for years , which sets a clear precedent on how they would view a similar court for torture. He also fails to consider the new Military Commissions Act of 2006 about to be signed in by Bush, which gives the President the powers of a tyrant, allowing him to deem you an "unlawful combatant" arbitrarily and then deny you any right of due process and finally give the thumbs up to torture you. Arbitrarily because he answers only to himself. Read it and be afraid. How this defends Dershowitz's views on Presidential responsibility isn't clear.
Clinton quickly added that he doesn't know whether this ticking bomb scenario "is likely or not," but he did know that "we have erred in who was a real suspect or not."

I'm surprised he included this in the article, because he completely ignores it and it's implications for his entire position. The high probability that innocent people will be tortured should be enough to negate his entire argument. I suspect it's in there just for effect, to give us the impression that he's duly considered this possibility and found it wanting, in his eminent professional opinion of course.
Quoting Clinton again:
"But I think if you go around passing laws that legitimize a violation of the Geneva Convention and institutionalize what happened at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, we're gonna be in real trouble."

But that's exactly what you are doing. Are you mentally deficient? Basic concepts like this are easily understood by children.
I offered my controversial proposal as a way to stimulate debate about a difficult choice of evils. I hope that the silence following the Clinton interview does not mean the debate has ended. The problem persists. Torture will continue. Let's not stop thinking and talking about whether the evil of torture is ever a necessary evil.

Again with the two evil choices. Why frame the debate this way Mr. Dershowitz? Do you really believe that the only choice is to let terrorists run amok or to torture people? Do you discount evidence that definitively say torture does not work? Do you discount evidence that definitively says that torture breeds more of the very same people who are likely to be targeted for torture? Can you not see the endless loop that is being created? Can you not understand that torture breeds hatred among the tortured and psychosis among the torturers? Your position (and Clinton's for that matter) is absurd and misinformed with rationalizations that don't withstand scrutiny.

Heres to the day when we do stop thinking about whether torture is a necessary evil. The day we all agree that it's not.

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October 07, 2006

The Mangling of Logic pt. 9

You can't make this stuff up. Quote:
Homosexuals reproduce sexually by molesting children.

This absurd statement was written by Jason Jones, Director for Public Relations for Human Life International, which is, according to their website: "Founded in 1981, Human Life International is the world’s largest pro-life, pro-family organization that is dedicated to defending life, faith and the family, with branches and affiliates around the world."

Apparently it's also the worlds most confused organization regarding human reproduction. Does anyone have to take responsibility for what they say anymore? Hate filled garbage like this needs to be called out and the people who utter it should be called on to explain themselves. I'd love to hear the arguments Jason would use to defend this statement.


Unhappy Columbus Day, USA

Ah, Columbus Day. A celebration of exploitation, murder, rape, terrorism and imperialism. A celebration of the white man's triumph over savages. A celebration of colonialism, and a way of legitimizing it in the minds of the population.

A celebration of Christianity's triumph over the godless heathens.

A celebration of racism.

A celebration of the white man's "right" to invade, occupy and dominate any territory that strikes his fancy. A celebration of sadism and cruelty.

In Columbus' own words:
Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes who love the holy Christian faith, and the propagation of it, and who are enemies of the sect of Mahoma and to all idolatries and heresies, resolved to send me, Cristobol Colon, to the said parts of India to see the said princes, and the cities and lands, and their disposition, with a view that they might be converted to our holy faith; and ordered that I should not go by land to the eastward, as had been customary, but that I should go by way of the west, wither up to this day, we do not know for certain that any one has gone.
-from the Journal of his First Voyage

Now there's a man with a mission that George Bush could understand. Iraq and Afghanistan are continuations of the exact same ideology updated for modern sensibilities. The USA is still mired in 15th century thought and continues to engage in "Indian Wars" around the world; Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, Cuba...etc, etc, etc.

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