05. October 2005 · Comments Off on Bush Tells Congress to Shut Up About Detainees · Categories: Politics · Tags: , , , ,

It’s one thing to say we need more money to continue operations in Iraq, quite another to insist that everyone just shut up about the detainees that have been held under the jurisdiction of the president himself.

How can the White House proclaim a mission for freedom and democracy while persisting a policy of human rights violations? Why even persist a policy of human rights violations anyway? Well, for whatever reason the administration seems intent on doing just that. Bush’s chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales, issued a Justice Department memo arguing that  that laws prohibiting torture do “not apply to the President’s detention and interrogation of enemy combatants  and that the pain caused by an interrogation must include “injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions—in order to constitute torture.”  – as if it makes a difference, the administration has been shipping detainees off to outside countries to be tortured anyway. Probably using the same torture devices that were exported from the US under Bush’s authority. And now we have Bush telling Congress to mind it’s own business.

Bush threatens defense bill veto, warning on prisoners WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Friday threatened to veto a $440.2 billion defense spending bill in the Senate because it wasn’t enough money for the Pentagon and also warned lawmakers not to add any amendments to regulate the treatment of detainees or set up a commission to probe abuse.




19. February 2004 · Comments Off on The Pain Merchants · Categories: Politics, Social/Culture · Tags: ,

Amnesty International reports: US exports $20 million of shackles. The Bush administration approved the sale of torture devices to Yemen, Jordan, Morocco and Thailand. The total value of US exports of electro-shock weapons was $14.7 million in 2002 and exports of restraints totaled $4.4 million in the same period.

I understand the advantages to allowing the sale, companies like Smith and Wesson stand to make a lot of money in this business, but shouldn’t we excercise some kind of moral responsibility?

The Pain Merchants

28. January 2004 · Comments Off on Guantanamo Bay · Categories: Politics, Social/Culture · Tags: , ,

I’m trying to understand this one. The detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Rumsfeld called them “the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth.”


Dick Cheney said these detainees are “devoted to killing millions of Americans.” I agree that people like that should be contained… (or executed actually, which is where I differ from AI). But I don’t understand the advantage of moving the entire process from the judicial branch to the executive branch.
Anyway, despite all this, several detainees have been released without charge. Apparently, Rumsfeld and Cheney were wrong about some of them. (whoops.)

Well this is where I start asking questions. Think about the man who has the misfortune to be mistaken. Seems more likely to happen inside the tension of war and excluded from the cost of judicial process. How long was he detained? – Two years? – What were the conditions? – Brutal?
That just doesn’t seem right to me.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, some of them have been brutalized in these cages for two years without charge, trial or legal council.
Now the president, since he owns Camp Delta, is telling the Red Cross to fuck themselves. (I bet those exact words were heared in the halls of the west wing, commming from someone.) So anyway, I assume the value of whatever is being achieved is greater than the value of the lives of perhaps several innocent people. Maybe it’s a message to all the “terrorists” of the world and of course if the real message is addressed to the “enemies of the executive office”, then the executive owned military commission makes all the sense in the world.

I just can’t get myself to believe that any such message could ever affect the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth. I don’t know why Camp Delta exists. Maybe it’s a stress crack from the strains of a distorted government.

Regardless of politics and motives, the obvious thing is that the US government is a human rights violator. Bush himself said these guys are killers “that don’t share the same value system we share”. I guess that means that they aren’t human enough to be eligible for things like human rights. I gotta believe he is serious about this because many of the human rights laws are based on legal status, such as POW, and the whitehouse is refusing to establish legal status.

I really think that these detainees should get legal status, even if it means inventing a new status for terrorists. At least shake out the POWs and let the world know they can treat American POWs humanely. I mean isn’t that an important message to send out too?

If the detainee is really a terrorist, then I personally do not sympathize with him, but I am still concerned about the violations based on principal. I think humans are capable of containing and/or executing terrorists, we don’t need to become monsters to do the job.

As I got more cynical about the world, I always found it a comfort to note in the human rights reports, that the list of human rights violations in the US, was always limited to capital punishment for criminals, which under some circumstances, I support. It’s a drag to see my country in there now for the violation of so many conventions, including Geneva and the even our own U.S. Constitution.