Archive for the ‘torture’ Category


That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

March 12, 2007

“Who would Jesus torture?”

The answer has always been obvious. But over the last five years, it has grown more and more difficult to hold one’s head erect while admitting to being both an American and a Christian. Through those years, virtually all the self-proclaimed patriots and “Christian leaders” in the national public arena have insinuated that there is no more perfect exemplar of the imitatio Christi than the delightfully manly, almost George-Bushlike, Jack Bauer. A robust approval of torture, and a loyal defense of the torturers, have sometimes seemed at least as central to the catechism of The Faith, American style, as the Incarnation or the Resurrection.

Now, finally, the Christians without the megaphones in hand have spoken. The National Association of Evangelicals has forthrightly condemned the use of torture in the war against terror. Bolder than the United States congress, it has made it clear that it is unacceptable to weasel our way into the practice of torture by passing the buck with renditions; or by excusing some of its forms as merely “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment”, and therefore morally permissible. Unlike every sitting Republican senator, and a third of the Democrats, they have also reached deep into their souls, and found the gumption to take exception to indefinite detentions without charges or trials.

See the LA Times summary here, or the endorsed document itselfhere.

For too many years, the evangelical churches in America have been largely in a state of rank apostasy. Bush regularly placed his whole trust in Mammon and Moloch, and when he did, theologically conservative churches either fell to their knees at his side, or held their silence. It is an inexpressible relief to watch this frail green shoot of spiritual health poking up through the long-scorched earth.


Tortured until proven innocent

December 16, 2006

It’s nice to see the press doing its job. Josh Marshall reports that the AP has done the legwork to track down as many former detainees at Guantanamo as it could. We always release these guys with the declaration that they were vicious terrorists when we caught them, but they don’t pose a danger any longer; and we’re turning them over to other countries, usually their country of origin. In most cases we’ve requested that they be held there in ordinary jails for their (always nameless) crimes.

Of 245 released detainees that AP was able to find, 205 were released by their host countries without ever being charged, or were cleared of charges. A grand total of 14 have actually gone to trial. Eight of those were found not guilty; none have been found guilty.

Meanwhile, back at Gitmo, the brass has announced that they’re through with coddling their prisoners. According to today’s New York Times, they have dropped the long established programs of extending privileges for good behavior. It is, of course, a pure coincidence that the “no more Mr. Nice Guy” policy is being put into place just after the last, shameful Congress passed the Torture Act, providing that no court will ever be allowed to consider whether prisoners at Gitmo are being or have been mistreated – unless the President chooses to place the prisoner on trial.

You just don’t allow the prisoners who you torture to go before a tribunal. The same Torture Act (no, of course they didn’t call it that, you goose) provides that the President can just keep them forever without bothering with any tribunals. When he finds it politically useful to have a show trial, he can have a show trial. Otherwise, he can just throw ’em down the hole and forget ’em.

Every one of them, after all, is a guaranteed vicious killer. Just like the broken hundreds that our allies have decided were innocent all along.


Ketchup post

November 20, 2006

Items that lately caught my nictitating eye:

  • Torture from the top: The ACLU’s FOIA endeavors have turned up a Bush executive order and a DOD memorandum authorizing torture. Or whatever they’re calling it nowadays. In a Spiegel interview, Ron Suskind confirms that Bush knew who was waterboarding whom.
  • Go, Go, Go: WaPo today passed on the deliberations of a Pentagon review of three Iraq options: Go Big, Go Long, Go Home. Consensus is forming on bumping up in country numbers by 20 or 30K “for a while”, then scaling back quickly to 60K for forever or until The End Of Evil.
  • A Connecticut Patriot: Senator Dodd introduces legislation to repeal the noxious portions of the Torture Act. He does a commendably thorough job.
  • Sneak Thieves? For reasons I may expound later, I’m dubious about this. But O’Dell and cohorts at Election Defence Alliance believe they have a smoking gun that November 2006 was rigged, but the ploy fell short because the riggers didn’t realize how big the Democratic wave would be.
  • Euphemism of the Week: A Vietnam Vet commenting at TPM Cafe recalls how he and his fellow draftees, thrust to the front lines, summed up their job positions: “Ordnance Absorption Technicians”.
  • Goo Is Good: Nanotechnologists at Rice University have come up with a high tech manufacture/ low tech distribution way to clean up the arsenic poisoning most of the drinking wells in Bangla Desh and southeast India. Rust particles, each smaller than a virus, can adsorb the toxin on their surfaces. Once they’ve done their work, an ordinary hand magnet can scoop them up, with their cargo, leaving potable water behind.