Tag Archives: torture

Has He Thoughts Within His Head?

I had already decided that I would not go see Iron Man, because it looked like just another multi-million dollar piece of shit. But David Denby has given my smug leftist heart a moral reason to avoid it altogether:

The director, Jon Favreau, and two writing teams, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, and Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, have enlisted Iron Man in the war on terror. Stark is now showing off his advanced missiles to American forces in Afghanistan. He gets ambushed by a mysterious group of burning-eyed men who hang out in caves and scream in foreign tongues. They are never identified, though their leader, Raza (Faran Tahir), says that they want to conquer the world. In any case, the freelance fanatics, or whatever they are, waterboard Tony Stark, which, considering what some American interrogators and their surrogates have done to suspects recently, is enraging to watch. Such are the ways of pop: we cast our sins onto others. The complaint sounds a little wan, but it’s worth noting that, possibly, more Americans will see this dunderheaded fantasia on its opening weekend than have seen all the features and documentaries that have labored to show what’s happening in Iraq and on the home front.

That said, I still haven’t forgiven Denby for recommending A.I. Then again, it was Kubrick. I’da seen it anyway.

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From the NY Times:

Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has not found any takers. What makes Mr. Gonzales’s case extraordinary is that former attorneys general, the government’s chief lawyer, are typically highly sought.

Ain’t karma a drag? 🙂

In Contempt (4/1/08): Selective Hearing

selective hearing snippet
Click the image to see the full cartoon.

Banality of E-ville

Dahlia Lithwick on America’s growing tolerance of torture:

Our views on water-boarding seem to be on the same trajectory as our views on sexual humiliation and stress positions—it looked sort of awful at first, but after a few months it seemed more like a fraternity prank. That’s the road we’re headed down with water-boarding. We’ve gone from banning it to trivializing it to justifying it. We are becoming inured to torture at approximately the same rate that it’s becoming legal. How convenient.

It's Jack Bauer's World, And We're Just Living In It

Senator Joe Lieberman and SCOTUS Judge Antonin Scalia, having watched too many episodes of “24”, want to leave the “torture” option open just in case that “ticking time bomb” scenario ever comes up.

And apparently so does John McCain. Despite his own experiences as a tortured POW, McCain will back a Bush veto of the just-passed legislation banning waterboarding. Well, at least McCain showed up to vote against the bill. His Democratic rivals were too busy campaigning.

Oh, and: While the BushAdmin’s DOJ spokesman declared that waterboarding is indeed currently illegal, the BushAdmin reserves the right to change that in the future. Don’t worry, they’ll notify Congress.

67 Nay, 31 Yea, 2 Not Voting

That’s what it takes for the Democrat-controlled Congress to approve retroactive immunity for the telecommunications corporations who began cooperating with the BushAdmin’s domestic spying program before September 11th. Not that it was justifiable after the date, but at least there was a fig leaf of a rationale.

Just so we’re clear: our government spies on us, rounds up people it defines as “enemy combatants” (a term it made up) in wide dragnets, puts them in secret detention, tortures them, uses torture-based evidence in military tribunals, invades a country without provocation based on fabricated evidence and chimera threats, loses billions of dollars that it can’t keep track of, employs mercenaries with no legal accountability, and rewards corporate cronies with no-bid contracts in “reconstruction” projects that remain unfinished.

Our government. The one we support with our tax dollars and our votes. Both parties.

To his credit, Barack “Changety-Change Change” Obama voted “Yea.”

Hillary “Experience” Clinton did not vote.

And fuck yeah I’ll politicize that.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald has been following the fate of the FISA bill and surveillance matters for months now. His post on this news is worth reading in entirety.

Water-boarding Confirmed

CIA Chief Michael Hayden confessed to three instances in which CIA interrogators used water-boarding against al-Qaeda suspects.

Previously, his boss has gone on record describing water-boarding as torture and that, should there be a legal determination confirming it as such (hello, Mukasey?), there would be a “huge penalty.”

We’ll see. I’m not holding my breath….no pun intended.