Tuesday, March 27, 2007

U.S. Courts Must Not Condone Torture.

September 14, 2011 at 1:25 P.M. "Errors" were reinserted overnight. Spacing will continue to be affected by structural damage to this site caused by New Jersey's hackers. I will do my best to repair the harm done to this work.
September 13, 2011 at 1:19 P.M. Several of the "errors" that had been previously corrected in this text were restored to the work. I have made the necessary corrections once again. An "advertisement" obstructs my ability to access my profile page. I will continue to struggle.
November 30, 2010 at 9:58 A.M. Previously corrected "errors" were reinserted in this text in order to maximize the harm caused by deliberate frustrations so as to induce despair or depression. I will continue to make necessary corrections. ("What is it like to be tortured?" and "What is it like to be censored in America?" then "What is it like to be plagiarized?")

April 7, 2010 at 12:30 P.M. "Errors" inserted and corrected, again.
January 22, 2010 at 12:02 P.M. "Errors" inserted in this essay, again, were corrected.
December 17, 2009 at 10:29 A.M. "Errors" inserted in this essay and, probably, several others. I will do my best to make all necessary corrections as quickly as possible.
November 5, 2009 at 10:24 A.M. Many harassments this morning. Telephone call from Pennsylvania, at 10:11 A.M. 610-915-5214. I do not believe that I know anyone in Pennsylvania. ("Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal.")
Sabrina Tavernise & Pir Zubair Shah, "Bomber Strikes Pakistan Rally: Police Officer Seen as Target," in The New York Times, April 20, 2010, at p. A8. (Officials affiliated with the American war effort and government targeted by bombers, possibly with foreign intelligence assistance.)
Mathew Alexander, "Torture's Loopholes," (Op-Ed) in The New York Times, January 21, 2010, at p. A39.
"Guantanamo Must Be Closed," (Editorial) in The New York Times, December 18, 2009, at p. A42.
Helene Cooper & David Johnson, "Plan to Send Detainees To U.S. Faces Political Fight," in The New York Times, December 16, 2009, at p. A27. (Obama closing Guantanamo, as promised. This is a "profile in courage" for Obama.)
David Rose, Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights (New York & London: The New Press, 2004). http://www.thenewpress.com/
Rachel Donadio, "Italy Convicts 23 Americans, Most Working for C.I.A., of Abducting Muslim Cleric," in The New York Times, November 5, 2009, at p. A15. ("Terry Tuchin, Diana Lisa Riccioli, and New Jersey's Agency of Torture.")
Raymond Bonner, "Detainee Says He Was Abused While in U.S. Custody," in The New York Times, March 20, 2007, at p. A10. ("What is it like to be tortured?")
"Khalid El-Masri," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri 3/23/2007.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Live From Death Row (New York: Harper-Collins, 1995).
Armando Valladares, Against All Hope (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986).
Seymour Hersh, "The Secrets of Abu Ghraib," in The New Yorker, June 25, 2007, at p. 58.
Stephen F. Eisenman, The Abu Ghraib Effect (London: Great Reaktion, 2007).
Mark Danner, ed., The Abu Ghraib Effect: The Politics of Torture (Berkeley: Nation Books, 2004), entirety.
Seth Mydans, "Legal Strategy Fails to Hide Pride a Khmer Torturer Took in His Job," in The New York Times, June 21, 2009, at p. 12.
John Schwartz, "Judge Allows a Civil Law Suit Over Claims of Torture," in The New York Times, June 17, 2009, at p. A24.
(AP) "Six Guantanamo Detainees Are Freed," in The New York Times, June 2, 2009, at p. A18.
S.G. Stalberg, "Cheney Backs Detentions Without Trial if Needed," in The New York Times, May 22, 2009, at p. 1. (What happened to due process of law?)
Ellen Barry, "For Obama Visit, Russia Mutes A TV Pastime: Ranting at U.S.," [sic.] in The New York Times, July 6, 2009, at p. 1. (U.S. is described in European press as "parasite that owes the world $53 TRILLION." This is why you should wish President Barack Obama to succeed, regardless of your politics, because you want a decent future for your children. Yes, the spelling error is in the Times.)
Clayton Whitt, "Nothing Sacred: What We Talk About When We Talk About Torture," in The Humanist, July-August, 2009, at p. 10. http://www.americanhumanist.org/
This essay continues to be the subject of attacks by hackers, sharing in the spirit of the torturers in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, proving much of what I am saying. I will continue to struggle to correct the same "errors" inserted into my texts on many occasions. Horrifyingly, it appears that American intelligence agencies may be acting secretly, according to many social critics, upon the lives of dissidents and radicals within the nation's borders, possibly including increased "extra legal" monitoring of Internet communications.
April 12, 2007 at 2:12 P.M. I am experiencing great difficulties in using my computer, struggling against new attacks. I cannot regain access (at this time) to my msn account. This is a threat to all American journalists or writers as well as menacing Internet freedom, which is something for which America claims to stand. American media silence in response to the tortures and suppressions to which an American dissident is subjected is a sickening and frightening display of corporate control of the means of communication in the U.S. All attempts to print items from my msn account leave me with a blank page bearing this address:
April 20, 2010 at 3:04 P.M. Harassments, censorship, alterations of writings, blocking of images, together with various other methods continue to be used against me and these writings. I can never be sure that I will be able to write from one day to the next. I will struggle to do so. If more than 24 hours pass without some alteration of my blogs and acknowledgement that I am still writing, then you may assume that I am prevented from writing against my will.
Part of the psychological torture techniques you are witnessing is my constant anxiety and uncertainty about my written work or threats to my continuing ability to communicate. I cannot see my books on-line. I cannot know whether they still exist. I do not know the true number of readers of my writings. I am told that there is increased international media attention to this situation. U.S. media remains silent and docile about these matters. ("What is it like to be plagiarized?" and "'Brideshead Revisited': A Movie Review.")

"LONDON, March 19 -- David Hicks, the first detainee to be formally charged under the new military tribunal rules at Guantanamo Bay, has alleged in a court document that during more than five years in American custody he was beaten several times during interrogations and witnessed the abuse of other prisoners." ("Is Senator Bob 'For' Human Rights?")
"In an affidavit supporting his request for British citizenship, Mr. Hicks contends that before he arrived at Guantanamo, his American captors threw him and other detainees on the ground, walked on them, stripped him naked, shaved all his body hair and inserted a plastic object in his rectum." ("Morality Tale" and "What is Law?")
"The abuse, Mr. Hicks asserts, began during interrogations in Afghanistan, where he was captured in late 2001. It then continued while he was shuttled between American naval ships, aircraft, unknown buildings and Kandahar before he was taken to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in early 2002, according to the affidavit."
"Mr. Hicks did not claim that he was tortured at Guantanamo, he said he was given regular, mysterious injections that 'would make my head feel strange.' He also said he witnessed or heard about mistreatment of others there."
I think I can help Mr. Hicks to figure out those mysterious injections. They were probably a muscle relaxer or sedative that made hypnosis easier. The sessions to which he was probably then subjected, together with any other torture sessions conducted under hypnosis, may not be part of his conscious memories now or ever. Such things are routine in the darkest corners of the nation, like New Jersey. Public officials will then lie about these occurrences or ignore them completely. Hypnosis, against the wishes or without the knowing and unimpaired consent of a victim, is a criminal assault upon that victim. There is no such thing as "secret" consent to such atrocities that is or can be legally valid. ("Terry Tuchin, Diana Lisa Riccioli, and New Jersey's Agency of Torture" and "What is it like to be tortured?")
These tactics are used not only beyond U.S. borders, as I say, but also within American jurisdictions by "legal" authorities -- "disavowing" any knowledge of such tortures if they become public. Guilt or innocence of victims is irrelevant since many will not be charged with any offenses (because they haven't committed any). It is usually too time-consuming to bother framing them for something. The use of such tortures is the best way of generating criminality or, at the very least, pathological behavior by victims. The intent on the part of psychologists is to bring about such pathology so they can "study" the results. Destruction of a victim's life is incidental to such efforts, mere "collateral damage." American physicians assist in destroying the lives and health of victims selected politically and secretly. ("New Jersey Finally Bans Hypnosis in Interrogations" and "Is This America?" then "America's Unethical Medical Torturers" and "Is America's Legal Ethics a Lie?")
Framing a victim is a tactic reserved for someone who is annoying enough to the power-structure to make elaborate false accusations against that person worthwhile -- creating distractions and providing "ass-covering" opportunities for the authorities -- in order to avoid or ignore effective criticisms of the system. None of these realities were covered in law school or tested on the bar examination. ("Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal" and "Psychological Torture in the American Legal System.")
American judges are aware of these crimes and understand that such methods of interrogation are unconstitutional and criminal under existing U.S. law. They will pretend not to know what has been done or is still being done, every day, to human beings in prisons, jails, even in their own homes. Judges continue to fail to enforce and protect human and Constitutional rights of persons victimized in this manner -- including U.S. citizens, who are (not surprisingly) usually minority group members and poor, or otherwise politically powerless. Such people have increasingly become unwilling guiny pigs in America's experiments with psychological torture techniques and "mind control." See Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation From the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2006), pp. 20-60. (This essay continues to be defaced by hackers and subjected to cyberattacks.) Please see also: "Jaynee LaVecchia and Conduct Unbecoming to the Judiciary in New Jersey."
The cowardice and incompetence of American judges at this crucial hour, when civil liberties are endangered -- along with the growing threat to the Constitution -- is shameful. Some of these judges are members of racial and ethnic groups with reason to be mindful of the horrors to which abuse of power has led this nation in the past. (See "Is New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz unethical or only incompetent?" and "Even in New Jersey There Comes a Time When Silence is Betrayal.")
Complicity by American lawyers in rationalizing torture and other atrocities in exchange for career advancement is true unethical conduct by attorneys, often by attorneys entrusted with judging the conduct of others. ("Stuart Rabner and Conduct Unbecoming to the Judiciary in New Jersey" and "Jaynee LaVecchia and Conduct Unbecoming to the Judiciary in New Jersey.")
Nydia Hernandez? Lourdes Santiago? What were you promised and by whom were promises made in exchange for your secret "cooperation" against me? Were you aware that such cooperation violated rules of ethics and, possibly, criminal statutes? Would the OAE participate in criminal conspiracies against a secretly targeted attorney violating their own rules or in a secret cover-up of such OAE criminality? ("New Jersey's 'Ethical' Legal System.")
The response from American courts to government agents or politically powerful criminals urinating on the Constitution is silence and apathy. The response from most of the educated public and political establishment in the U.S. is indifference. The response from the rest of the world is horror, loss of respect for American institutions and the persons filling positions of power in this country, together with disdain for America's alleged commitment to its own Constitution and rule of law. This undermines U.S. credibility on all human rights issues.
How can China, Cuba, or any other nation take seriously U.S. comments on human rights issues or freedom of speech, after Guantanamo, together with the daily spectacle of cybercrime and censorship seen at these blogs? America must take a stand now against psychological and other forms of torture, wherever they occur. The U.S. legal system should be a symbol of human dignity in the quest for justice, never the opposite. ("A Commencement Address for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton.")
In a society that guarantees my freedom of expression, for example, I have to worry about whether New Jersey goons with government connections will attack my computer with impunity in order to prevent me from posting inconvenient writings on-line or just for the sake of harassment, defacing and destroying my writings with the blessings of judges sworn to uphold the Constitution that protects those writings and me.
My daily adventures to set down words and sentences are worthy of separate analysis. It is impossible to believe that any person will legitimate or refrain from struggling against rape and torture committed by persons commenting upon and judging the victim's ethics. Manipulations of family members to deliver insults or increase financial stress are not unknown tactics. (Again: "New Jersey's 'Ethical' Legal System.")
On March 28, 2007 between 10:45 and 11:33 A.M., efforts to post an essay dealing with New Jersey corruption at my msn group were frustrated by hackers and other obstacles. (See "Another New Jersey Corruption Sweep!")
As of March 1, 2009 I am unable to regain access to MSN groups. I am told that MSN is "closing." I suggest that global revulsion for America's legal system and politics (or even for Americans, sadly) is far more dangerous to U.S. interests in the long term than the threat of further isolated terrorist attacks, against which we must always be on guard. However, the political and moral threat to the nation's institutions -- from those who claim to protect those institutions -- receives scarcely any mention in the media or Congress, even as billions more are spent on what has become a disastrously failed war effort in Iraq as well as Afghanistan as well as new technologies of surveillance that are destroying what remains of Americans' privacy rights. This does not seem like a wise policy. "The Eavesdropping Continues," (Editorial) in The New York Times, June 18, 2009, at p. 12. ("'Eagle Eye': A Movie Review.") "We Can't Tell You," (Editorial) in The New York Times, April 4, 2010, at p. 8. ("'Rendition': A Movie Review.")
Do you care that your country is drifting into a "kinder and gentler" form of totalitarianism? Will any candidate for the U.S. Presidency change this drift into dictatorship? I am writing these words as I struggle against an onslaught of computer viruses and other obstacles, frustrating communication efforts, leaving me with a blank screen often enough. This onslaught is designed, I believe, to serve as a form of censorship. The purpose of these tactics is for me simply to give up on expressing my anger. The goal is for me to refrain from speaking out against what I have experienced. Intimidation tactics will be next, perhaps, alternating with new frustration efforts or maybe threats to family members -- preferably children and old people. Financial pressures may also help. These are the methods used by the Jersey boys with the cooperation of state judges, who are usually selected from among their ranks. ("Corrupt Law Firms, Senator Bob, and New Jersey Ethics" and "Mafia Influence in New Jersey Courts and Politics.")
Psychological tortures have caused serious harm to victims, even deaths. Perhaps the firmness of my commitment to ideals deemed "laughable" by my adversaries -- including principles found in the U.S. Constitution that are now often ignored by many American courts -- accounts for my persistence in this struggle. (See "Why I am not an ethical relativist" and the much disfigured essay, "Manifesto for the Unfinished American Revolution.")
According to the American Constitution, my rights are not dependent on whether I am powerful. We have human rights by virtue of being humans. Courts exist to protect those rights, not to assist in violating them. How do you live with yourself, Stuart Rabner? You know what's going on, why not do something? I have just revised this last sentence because an "error" has been inserted since my last reading of this essay. ("Law and Ethics in the Soprano State" and "New Jersey's 'Ethical' Legal System," then "Anne Milgram Does It Again.")
The response to what I say will probably be some form of ad hominem attack, more insults and threats. First, I will deal with the likely insults: I am not a Communist. I am not a Fascist. I have no mistresses. Despite my best efforts, I have slept, voluntarily, with only one woman for twenty-plus years or so. This makes me very happy. There is only one other woman with whom I can envision that level of intimacy in my life -- if I ever see her again and if such a thing ever happens, it will only be because she wants such a relationship as much as I do. There will be nothing secret about it, not that it is anyone's business. I prefer to address any "issues" concerning my private life myself, now.
I am not a government witness. I have never been offered any "deal" to do any service for any government agency, anywhere. I am not an undercover agent. I am not undercover. I am not any kind of police officer. Distressingly, I cannot offer an exciting sex life to prospective biographers, report writers, or journalists. I do not have cancer, AIDS, or any other congenital or chronic disease. I am not a Republican or Democrat. I am an Independent. I am not a Mets fan. I am not seeking and I will not accept payment for expressing these opinions. All of the money that I may receive or earn in the future -- except for anything I can contribute to my daughter's (and other children's) education -- will go to charities, including the legal system's efforts to provide representation to the poor. I am not a "cross-dresser." I am a committed feminist concerning all political and social justice issues. I have no desire to be "politically correct" whatever that means.
I am not any kind of religious fundamentalist. In fact, I am not any kind of fundamentalist. I am not "gay." I am for gay rights and equality, including legal protection and equality for same-sex unions. I oppose all forms of racism. I am a democratic socialist and have been since my college days. Miraculously, given my life-experiences, I have never been charged with or convicted of a crime anywhere. This is because I have never been interested in committing crimes. I refuse to allow anyone to make me violent. I do not drink alcohol and -- except very briefly -- I haven't for most of my life. I do not take and I have never, voluntarily, taken illegal drugs. I do not smoke. I have never struck a woman in my life. I have never been accused of striking a woman. My only biological child was born about one year after a "legally contracted marriage" with her mother. I try to avoid J-walking. To the best of my knowledge and belief, I have no ovedue library books. I will be happy to pay the full cost of such a book if this information is incorrect. I trust that I have anticipated all insults and fabrications from New Jersey's political mafia. Oh, yes: I am not a thief. I have not been accused of theft by anyone.
My daily regimen includes about four or five hours of reading, sometimes a lot more; 400 sit ups; 600 push ups, in sets of 200, with a one minute break; 800 curls on each arm with 20-30 lbs. weights. I walk about 6 and 1/2 to 10 miles per day. I take one multivitamin per day. This regimen is a way of focusing my energies on coming face-to-face with some people that I haven't seen in a while. I have a few things to say to them. I wear a 31 inch waist on my trousers in the event that this informationn is deemed relevant by anyone in New Jersey.
On my worst day, I am a better person -- and much less of a hypocrite -- than most of the functionaries I dealt with in New Jersey's Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) or, I believe, most of the members of that state's bemerded judiciary. I also lie much less than the average American -- 93% of "my fellow Americans" admit to lying every day in their personal and professional lives -- and this number is higher among lawyers and judges. (See 1996's The Day America Told the Truth.) One shudders to think of the statistics among members of the U.S. Congress and Senate. Right, Senator Bob? How are the F.B.I. interviews going, Bob? What are we up to -- three or four F.B.I. interviews to cover the SAME questions? ("Bob Roberts" and "Bulworth" then "On Bullshit.")
Regrettably, I haven't indulged in the national passtime -- which is not baseball, but lying -- for years. I leave the lying to New Jersey's Supreme Court justices and politicians. You cannot be a writer without making an effort, sometimes a heroic one, to tell the truth as you see it. What worries my adversaries is that I am not lying. Right, Jaynee? ("Corrupt Law Firms, Senator Bob, and New Jersey Ethics" and "New Jersey's Politically Connected Lawyers On the Tit.")
I have experienced insults for many years. I can only hope to be just as gracious to adversaries as they have been to me. Regardless of any lingering insults or additional threats directed against me, however, the torture debate is vital. It is being ignored at our peril. Hacking into my computer to alter my writings will not change this reality. Such tactics have the effect of making me more determined to persist in my struggle. Unless the reader has been living in a cave, the images of brutality and torments of mostly Muslim prisoners by U.S. soldiers must be familiar by now. They have certainly entered the collective subconscious of humanity, defining the U.S. for billions of people all over the world. ("'The Prisoner': A Review of an AMC Television Series.")
Those who read these essays on a regular basis are witnesses to the human capacity for pointless cruelty and to fascists' need to destroy what they cannot understand or refute. I have reason to fear that Cuban-Americans are among the goons used for such purposes by their mob masters. Sadly, this makes the current Cuban government look good by comparison. It allows me to appreciate the imbecility of the Watergate fiasco and the likelihood that Cubanazos affiliated with intelligence agencies will produce more of such stupid blunders on a cosmic level. ("Cubanazos Pose a Threat to National Security" and "Miami's Cubanoids Protest AGAINST Peace!")
The debate between President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney is "too little, too late" for the Republicans. The real debate was decided by the electorate last November. Mr. Bush's administration and "tough tactics" in the so-called "War on Terror" were judged by the American people to have (mostly) led to failure and increased risk of retribution from terrorists as well as other enemies of the U.S.
Since the presidential election, the U.S. has drifted into an economic crisis expressing the results of Bush/Cheney economic incompetence or non-attention; the war in Iraq has stagnated; Afghanistan and Pakistan have heated-up; more young Americans are dying in a conflict that no one can see ending any time soon, a conflict where "success" and/or "victory" is still undefined. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have become recruitment films for Al Qaeda and an excuse for every government criticized by the U.S. for human rights violations to do nothing. Mr. Obama managed to say in one sentence everything that needs to be said concerning this issue: "We do not alter our fundamental beliefs based on expediency." Did Obama mean this or was it just rhetoric? You decide. I urge you to see Alex Gibney's film, Taxi to the Dark Side (2007, Oscar winner).
Scott Shane, "American's Arrest Stirs Fears That Wars Radicalize U.S. Muslims," in The New York Times, March 13, 2010, at p. A4. (Some suggest "interning" U.S. Muslims, like Japanese-Americans sent to "camps" during World War II.)
Muslims from all over the world are now travelling to the war zone. Waqar Gillani, "Suicide Bombings Kill Dozens At Market in Pakistani City," in The New York Times, March 13, 2010, at p. A8. (If the pattern holds, then we may expect suicide bombings to escalate in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Summer months, followed by more suicide bombings in Pakistan in the Winter.) Compare Steven Lee Myers, "Suicide Truck Bombing in Northern Iraq Leaves at Least 68 Dead," in The New York Times, June 21, 2009, at p. 6 with "6 Guantanamo Detainees Freed," The New York Times, June 12, 2009, at p. 6. (U.S. captured, held, and tortured mostly innocent detainees.) I urge you to read "American Doctors and Torture." ("Guantanamo" has been altered at least ten times by now as part of the protected cybercrime campaign.)
Sabrina Tavernise & Pir Zubair Shah, "Bomber Strikes Near Pakistan Rally; Police Officer Seen as Target," in The New York Times, April 20, 2010, at p. A8. (Pattern of escalating bombings in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan seems to be holding.)
I revise this essay on Memorial Day. This statement by Mr. Obama is our national commitment to all who have died to defend this country's freedoms and Constitutional protections: "We will not abandon those principles for which you have fought." We will fight this war against terror without becoming terrorists or torturers. The economy is already responding to Mr. Obama's efforts. Crises have been avoided in Latin America. The U.S. has more eyes and ears than it did a year ago because of Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden, and Ms. Clinton's efforts. Republicans cannot think of what to say against Obama. To try to use "torture as a wedge issue" is obscene and irresponsible. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy: "The Grand Old Party is ... floundering." (Fidel Castro's 'History Will Absolve Me'" and "Havana Nights and CIA Tapes.")
I do not know how to say this so that it will be understood by the powerful, so I will simply say it in the most ordinary American terms. The U.S. cannot meet its vital security or economic needs in a world that perceives Americans as Nazi-like monsters, indifferent to crimes against humanity committed against others and at home.
Human beings must not be tortured for any reason, by anyone, in a FREE SOCIETY. The on-going defacement of my work may be providing the opposite of the needed lesson concerning Internet freedom of speech. These methods are certainly helping to prove my point. Guantanamo has become a symbol of U.S. torture and atrocity. It must be closed and detainees should be tried. If found guilty, they may be imprisoned for life. Otherwise, they should be released. Allies and/or other countries should be persuaded to help deal with this issue, if we do not wish to bring these people into the United States. (Again: "American Doctors and Torture.")
No matter what New Jersey's Supreme Court now says (or does) that jurisdiction and its legal system have been identified with organized crime and corruption in the national psyche and beyond. New Jersey will continue to be a byword for hideous inhumanities and gross miscarriages of justice resulting from legal incompetence or worse. New Jersey will do nothing hoping that the issues will go away. I do not think that this tactic will work. ("New Jersey is the Home of the Living Dead" and Bob Ingle & Sandy McLure, The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008), entirety.)
In addition to Mr. Hicks, Khalid El-Masri has become a symbol of America's current demoralization. If El-Masri's picture is not on a t-shirt yet, you can be sure that it soon will be. El-Masri was born June 29, 1963 in Kuwait to Lebanese parents. He was raised in Lebanon, then moved to Germany in 1985 to escape the Lebanese Civil War. He became a German citizen in 1994, married a Lebanese woman in 1996, and has several children. To the best of my knowledge, like most good Muslims, Mr. El-Masri is not a Communist. Incidentally, Mr. Obama is not (and could not be) both a Marxist and Muslim.
"El-Masri travelled from his home in Ulm to go on vacation in Skopje at the end of 2003. He was detained by Macedonian border officials on December 31, 2003, because his name was identical (except for variations in English spelling) to that of Khalid al-Masri, an alleged mentor to the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell who has not been apprehended, and because of suspicion that his German passport was a forgery. He was held in a motel in Macedonia for over three weeks and questioned about his activities, his associates, and the mosque he attended in Ulm." (See Terry Gilliam's film Brazil.)
"The Macedonian authorities also contacted the local CIA station, who in turn contacted the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. A December 4, 2005, article in the Washington Post said that an argument arose within the CIA over whether they should remove him from Macedonia in an extraordinary rendition. The decision was made by the head of the al Qaeda division of the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center on the basis of a 'hunch' that [El-Masri] was involved in terrorism."
Notice that there is no way for a person to cross examine an unidentified "hunch" on the part of a government official who is also not identified. "The Macedonians released El-Masri on January 23, 2004 and American security officials, described in an MSNBC article as members of a 'black snatch team,' came to Macedonia, and detained him. They beat him, stripped him naked, drugged him, and gave him an enema." (See "Terry Tuchin, Diana Lisa Riccioli, and New Jersey's Agency of Torture.")
I suspect that Mr. El-Masri was questioned by persons who identified themselves to him, while he was under hypnosis, as "psychologists." The full horror of what has been done to a human being who had nothing to do with terrorism -- and to many others who are probably innocent of any crime -- may never be known. Mr. El-Masri was "then dressed in a diaper and jumpsuit, and flown to Baghdad, then immediately taken to the 'salt pit,' a covert CIA interrogation center in Afghanistan which contained prisoners from Pakistan, Tanzania, Yemen and Saudi Arabia."
At no point in this ordeal was there a hearing, an opportunity to confront accusers (or even any accusers to confront), no lawyer, evidence, charges -- nothing. Usually, such formalities are supplied (if at all) years after tortures produce desired failures in functioning that can be used to rationalize the tortures that produced them in the first place. No doubt prisoners in Abu Ghraib will be described as "uncooperative." I know that I would be if I were in their situation, which I may be to some extent. Perhaps they will be classified as "unethical" or "liars" because they refuse to answer truthfully questions no one has the right to ask. ("Is Senator Bob 'For' Human Rights?")
"El-Masri wrote in the Los Angeles Times that while held in Afghanistan, he was beaten and repeatedly interrogated. He also claimed that he was raped." (See "Psychological Torture in the American Legal System.")
After a hunger strike -- which nearly killed him -- and recognition by the CIA that El-Masri had been held by "mistake," in April, 2004, CIA Director George Tenet learned that El-Masri was still being wrongfully detained: "National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice learned of his detention shortly thereafter in early May and ordered his release. El-Masri was released on May 28[,] following a second order from Rice."
In a nation claiming to be committed to the transparency of legal proceedings and law's constraint on government power, it is reported that:
"American authorities met with him and agreed to release him if [El-Masri] agreed never to tell the story of his ordeal to anyone. They flew him out of Afghanistan and released him at night on a desolate road in Albania, without apology, or funds to return home."
Leading U.S. government officials asked Mr. El-Masri to lie. The same government officials and lawyers then discussed lying themselves, stating that they have "no knowledge" of the sort of occurences alleged by Mr. El-Masri, while planning to accuse El-Masri (falsely) of lying. All of this is depressingly familiar to me. It sounds very much like New Jersey's OAE. Senator Bob? I wonder what that "E" in OAE stands for? "We'll just pretend that nothing happened." "It might have been for your own good." Is that right, John? Among U.S. forensic psychologists specializing in the kind of tortures and/or interrogations to which Mr. El-Masri and many others in this country have been subjected, I have reason to believe that New Jersey's Terry Tuchin and Diana Lisa Riccioli may be identified. ("An Open Letter to My Torturers, Terry Tuchin and Diana Lisa Riccioli" and David Kaiser & Lovisa Stannow, "The Rape of American Prisoners," in The New York Review of Books, March 11, 2010, at p. 16.)
December 17, 2009, 10:20 A.M. A letter was removed from a word in the foregoing paragraph. I have restored that letter. Concerning the evidence of U.S. officials lying about their opinions of their counterparts in other countries, see Scott Shane & Andrew W. Lehren, "Leaked Cables Offer a Raw Look Inside U.S. Diplomacy: Dispatches Chronicle Threats and Tensions," in The New York Times, November 30, 2010, at p. A1. (An embassy official described the "Persian character" as defined by the inability to see things from the point of view of the other person.)
What do you think, Lourdes Santiago, Esq.? How many Palestinians have you questioned under hypnosis, Terry? How many African-American young women have you "interrogated," sexually, Diana? How many of those young women have you made "available" for "interrogation" by others, Diana? How does a Jew become Mengele, Mr. Rabner? How does a Jew become Eichman, Ms. Milgram? How long do you expect the cover-up of these crimes to continue? This is a good moment for another inserted "error." Right, Mr. Ginarte? Is Mr. Ginarte still a lawyer in New Jersey? Will Mr. Ginarte become the scapegoat for these crimes? Nydia Hernandez, Esq.? Lourdes Santiago, Esq.? Edgar Navarrete, Esq.? None of these people are "masterminds" of any kind in any conceivable sense of the word.
Why feel a need to conceal or lie about activities if they are considered legal and ethical? If you are hiding what you have done, as a government agent, then it is probable that you realize how illegal and "unethical" those actions happen to be. Right, John? No secrecy. No actions outside the boundaries of the Constitution can be considered ethical or legal, right John? Except that "the Constitution does not apply to New Jersey's ethics proceedings," right John? What do you say, Nydia Hernandez, Esq.? Still a comp judge, Nydia? Should a judge meet with represented persons ex parte? How's Mr. Barbaro Romero doing, I wonder? ("New Jersey's Office of Attorney Ethics.")
A federal lawsuit by Mr. El-Masri was dismissed pursuant to a motion for summary judgment on the pleadings -- I surmise based on news accounts -- on the grounds that "national security" (more "ass-covering") prohibits a full public trial of these allegations, although the court acknowledged that, if Mr. El-Masri's allegations are true (a point not disputed by the U.S.), he is entitled to "compensation." The problem is that there are cultures where monetary compensation" not only fails to equalize the harm done, but adds insult to injury. The worst thing you can do in some cultures is to offer people money after hurting them. Mark Mazetti, "Blurring the Line Between Spy and Diplomat," in The New York Times, November 30, 2010, at p. A1. (Former Vice President of Afghanistan went for a stroll in Europe with $51 million in cash that could not possibly be drug money or belong to the man who is still President of Afghanistan whom we happen to support.)
This much-feared "public trial" is now taking place anyway. It will continue to take place in the court of public opinion, which will be much more damaging to the U.S., which is bleeding to death in terms of public perception in the world -- by prolonging the inevitable recognition of fault -- as more information emerges in drips and drabs. Each day America's legal system will suffer further scorching from these flames. Each day America's prestige and honor will be further damaged -- possibly, though I hope not -- reaching New Jersey-like levels of digusting criminality among powerful officials in the eyes of billions of people in the world. (See "New Jersey's Feces-Covered Supreme Court" and all the essays in the general section at http://www.Critique@groups.msn.com/ ) The true number of hits at these blogs is about 50,000 or maybe more. ("How Censorship Works in America" and "Censorship and Cruelty in New Jersey.")
I am prevented from accessing my own writings at MSN. My book is suppressed and will not be sent to on-line booksellers based, I believe, on state action directed against political content. Use of images is prevented by hackers, harassment made possible by abuse of government power and resources is my daily experience, and a cover-up is still under way in New Jersey. Each day that this cover-up continues is a renewal of tortures endured over a period of years. Do you speak to me of ethics, Mr. Rabner? You are witnesses to New Jersey's public defecation on the Constitution of the United States of America for which men and women are dying as I type this sentence. ("Stuart Rabner and Conduct Unbecoming to the Judiciary in New Jersey" then "No More Cover-Ups and Lies, Chief Justice Rabner!" and "Manifesto for the Unfinished American Revolution.")
March 14, 2010 at 2:39 P.M. A correction of the title to my essay above has been made for the tenth time. Please see "Roberto Unger's Revolutionary Legal Theory" and "America's Unethical Medical Torturers" as well as "Is American Legal Ethics a Lie?" Thom Shanker, "Afghan Battle Is Subject of Reproof For 3 Officers," in The New York Times, March 13, 2010, at p. A8. (Incompetence of officers results in loss of American lives.) This may be a good time to insert another "error," gentlemen.
If you love and believe in the United States and the American Constitution, do you honestly think that this incident and hundreds or thousands of others like it will be good for the "national interest"? I don't. How about an attempt to deal honestly and respectfully with these horrors and suffering human beings? Utopian? Perhaps. We'll see. The answer is not to try to destroy these essays in order to inflict further harm on me. Have you any sense of your responsibilities, Ms. Milgram? I guess not. (A word was deleted from the foregoing sentence and has now been restored to that sentence.)
Why are courts wrong to dismiss this case? I can't answer that question without returning to foundations. Philosophy, which is irrelevant to the education of most people in the U.S. and certainly to the overwhelming majority of lawyers -- who are, generally, shockingly ignorant of the subject (and also many other subjects, sometimes including law) -- becomes highly important to answering this question: What is law? What is a legal system? What does it mean to "abide by the rule of law"? What is the American Constitution about? What is the ontological and jurisprudential status of subjects against the power of the state, as reflected in legal materials, especially as set forth in the organic documents of American society? Are there ways in which persons must not be "treated" by government officials? Why is government secrecy dangerous?
Either you believe that there is something special about persons that entitles them to be treated with respect and concern for their dignity captured in the concept of "rights," or you don't. If you do, then the U.S. Constitution makes sense to you; if you don't, then the U.S. Constitution will seem like an annoying and time-consuming set of naive constraints on government power. Security is always the highest good of totalitarian societies, which is the value usually invoked everywhere to rationalize oppression. Advocates of oppression will speak of "the real world" and of not being "idealistic," but "practical." Minimalists, perhaps, think of the torture of non-Americans by Americans as "fine." Consider the events this week in Pakistan with the elusiveness of the Taliban and a shaky U.S.-sponsored government. What are the rights of persons to which this nation and our allies must be committed? ("Is there a gay marriage right?")
Abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo reveals something hideous that has usually been concealed in American and other Western societies -- the ways in which power invades the psyches of persons through acculturation, making them into subjects, together with the occasional need to "display" or perform "power-rituals" so as to discourage dissent. Maybe this has something to do with my experiences in life and in trying to write this morning. I will pick myself up, wipe away all blood or dust, then try again. ("What is it like to be tortured?")
In the age of the Internet and digital cameras everywhere these horrible images of torture are often exposed to the sunlight of public scrutiny. Remember Rodney King? If there were no video of Mr. King's ordeal, we all know that the cops would have lied and judges would have pretended to believe them. Secret and isolated torture (and censorship) has always been part of governmental methods in the U.S., which is one of the world's most violent societies. Now such "methods" are being seen by billions. These crimes say something unpleasant about who we are. At the same time, public discussions of these events say something magnificent about who we are:
"Law and legal discourse play superstructural and mystificatory roles in Foucault's disciplinary society analogous to their roles in Marx's political economy. But undoing the project as well, because the disciplinary society that underlies modern capitalism may have had its most nearly perfect expression under communism. 'Is it surprising that factories, schools, barracks, hospitals ... all resemble prisons?' is [Foucault's] question addressed to the East as well as the West."
Duncan Kennedy, Sexy Dressing, etc. -- Essays on the Power and Politics of Cultural Identity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 122.
Torture is not exactly unknown in Communist societies. Have we now tried to equal such Communist horrors in our increasingly less democratic society? We may have succeeded in doing so, at least in New Jersey. Pleasure in humiliating and torturing others seen in the faces of ordinary American soldiers is also illuminating on the subject of U.S. serial killers. There is a direct line from those soldiers at Abu Ghraib to Charles Manson and his followers that no social scientist has yet traced. There is also something great, I continue to emphasize this, about American democracy's publishing of those images and the legal proceedings brought against the perpetrators as well as the open coverage in the media of this sad episode in U.S. history. Abu Ghraib is an extreme manifestation of some important and frightening features of U.S. societies -- features which have yet to be appreciated as symbols of what we have become:
"The pictures are us," Susan Sontag writes, "our racism, our love of violence and our imperial shamelessness."
The Abu Ghraib Effect, at p. 38.
"... forms of sexual abuse in the prison were clearly intended to gratify the hatreds and homophobia of the guards, and at the same time allow them to believe that the victim might actually enjoy the violation."
The Abu Ghraib Effect, at p. 98. (Discussions of men forced to wear women's underwear.)
"This idea that prisoners actually welcomed sexual humiliation and violation was expressed as well by various American Right-wing commentators about Abu Ghraib ..."
Ibid. (Some of these same commentators often suggest, absurdly, that "women enjoy being raped.")
"Candid U.S. personnel will admit that the scale of this injustice, the sheer numbers of people held in the most rigorous conditions, interrogated time and again and vilified in public, is staggering. On my own visit to Gitmo in October 2003, one guard told me that the impression he had from his time spent 'behind the wire' was that many of the prisoners were not really terrorists at all, although his superiors always insisted they were. In his view, at least 200 of those held in the maximum security cellblocks were harmless. The verdict from a senior Pentagon official with extensive knowledge of Guantanamo was more critical. 'At least two-thirds' of the 600 detainees held as of May 2004 could, he said, be released without hesitation immediately." (Rose, p. 42.)
Many of these detainees would be murdered, eventually -- in custody -- and some are still being held in 2010 even as others have been driven into madness. ("Is Senator Bob 'For' Human Rights?")
Law has always been intimately connected with power. However, especially since the advent of Christianity and development of Renaissance humanism, culminating in the Enlightenment project of vindicating rights for the sake of human freedom, a competing concern with justice and respect for the dignity of persons (found also in Marxist theory) is recognized as essential to Western understandings of legality.
Law is a moral endeavor all the way down to its foundations. To adopt evil methods, committing crimes and relishing the experience, undermines the legitimacy of State actions and actors. New Jersey's OAE lost the right to evaluate my legal ethics long ago. A naked use of power to torture and enslave human beings may have the "form" of law, yet it will always lack law's "substance." You getting this in New Jersey? Any more inserted "errors" today?
The apathy and indifference of New Jersey authorities licensed to deface these writings and to commit other crimes against me, I believe, suggests that America has fallen a long way from its core values of respect for the dignity of all persons in society. Cover-ups are not the answer. Intimidating the media is also not the answer. This may be a good time to delete a letter from one of my words. ("Stand by Me.")
Lon Fuller has spoken of "the morality that makes law possible," attempting to specify the formal conditions that allow for the emergence of free juridical institutions and processes. The Morality of Law (New Haven; Yale University Press, 1964), pp. 33-91; and concerning Hitler's appropriations of the forms of law, see pp. 54-55. Ronald Dworkin's work is also relevant: "Taking Rights Seriously," in Taking Rights Seriously (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977), p. 184 and David A.J. Richards, The Moral Criticism of Law (California: Dickerson Pub., 1977), pp. 7-39. See also, Lon Fuller, "Pashukanis and Vyshinsky: A Study in the Development of Marxist Legal Theory," in 47 Michigan Law Review 1157-1166 (1949).
Saddam Hussein (or the dictator of your choice) may have courtrooms where people wear robes, wield a gavel, mention rules. Yet everybody knows that the reality of the proceedings is determined by actions taken and things said behind the scenes. "Instructions" received from bosses determine the outcomes of cases, as in New Jersey. The true basis for decisions will not be part of the official record, having nothing to do with the issues and arguments being discussed on the record. In such circumstances, trials become farce -- like one of those props used in Hollywood movies that resembles the entrance of a building, except that there is nothing inside. Such a situation -- which, again, is too often an excellent description of New Jersey's legal system -- is only the appearance of law, not its reality. ("Fidel Castro's 'History Will Absolve Me.'")
Respect for persons demands legal reality: notice, open and transparent proceedings, a meaningful right to confrontation, a clear boundary between therapeutic action (which must always be chosen, freely and voluntarily by an unimpaired subject) and jurisprudential activity. Treatment of persons as equals and an opportunity for fairness in proceedings -- not secret interrogations of impaired persons, conducted under duress and threats of violence, or by means of the infliction of physical and/or psychological pain. Starvation or forced impoverishment are effective tools of "interrogation" in America. ("An Open Letter to My Torturers in New Jersey, Terry Tuchin and Diana Lisa Riccioli.")
Abandonment of these Constitutional guarantees far from making us safer, turns us into the sort of people we are supposedly struggling against in this "War on Terror." We must always be better than our enemies. The United States must not behave in accordance with the standards of terrorists or totalitarian societies. We are not Al Qaeda. For anyone to imagine that I can feel anything but disgust and contempt for those who have cooperated with the violations of my rights is surreal.
Even in a concentration camp these values may be retained. For instance, Armando Valladares writes of his tortures and experiences in a Cuban political prison. In a moment of moral heroism equal to the experiences of exemplary human beings in the concentration camps and Gulags of the twentieth century, Valladares explains the reaction of prisoners to the introduction of Marxist literature and other government books into their cells:
"On one occasion Boitel suggested a drastic solution -- burning all the Marxist books. But we immediately rejected the idea. We were prisoners precisely because we had defended a model of society in which nobody would ever burn his adversaries' books." (p. 117.) ("Abu Ghraib and Free Speech Too.")
The answer to an argument or view of life that you reject is not to burn your adversaries' books -- not even to burn your adversary! -- but to engage in dialogue with that other. When appropriate, a person may certainly be held legally accountable for his faults, but not by the commission of even greater faults against him, producing the very conduct then used to rationalize that person's victimization in the first place. You do not suppress, alter, destroy the writings of those with whom you disagree. You should not obstruct the communication efforts of others. For any journalist to participate in censorship or suppressions of speech is unforgivable and suicidal. This may even be true for those who dismiss others as mere "dabblers." Mr. Adubato? By comparison with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, Cuba's prisons seem like models of humanitarian incarceration even in the description of those confined as prisoners in those establishments. ("Censorship and Cruelty in New Jersey" and "'Revolutionary Road': A Movie Review.")
These ideas only make sense if you recognize that human dignity entitles persons to respect. Rape, sexual humiliation, violation and violent abuse of anyone degrades all human beings -- more so those who inflict such violence on others than their victims. Humanity is the true victim when any person is tortured by government agents. It was not Valladares who was degraded or humiliated by what was done to him, but the government that tortured him certainly was diminished by those crimes. Similarly, it is not the prisoners at Abu Ghraib who have been dehumanized, it is the men and women in U.S. uniforms committing those crimes who have desecrated the American flag, regardless of what may be said against those detainees, dehumanizing themselves, and not their victims. Ms. Milgram, what did you know and when did you know it? Stuart Rabner? Debbie Poritz? Governor Christie? ("Law and Ethics in the Soprano State" and "How Censorship Works in America.")
What follows is not another commentary on Foucault or Marx, not the musings of some weird European philosophers, it is one scholar's reflections on the political thinking of Thomas Jefferson:
"Whenever society loses its limited character as an instrument designed by human beings to advance the human purposes of freedom, fellowship, and justice and arrogates to itself the power to crush the 'inherent and inalienable rights of man,' at that juncture society should be resisted. For although the individual will accept many limitations upon his freedom in the light of social duties and obligations that reflection shows him are necessary or wise, he cannot compromise his claim to be considered an 'end' in and by society, never a 'means.' [This is not Fidel Castro's prose even if it is nearly identical to what Castro has written.] Jefferson makes the human being, in his [or her] pursuit of true and substantial happiness, the governing ideal for moral and social theory."
Adrienne Koch, Power, Morals, and The Founding Fathers (Ithaca & London: Cornell Univesity Press, 1961), p. 37. (Jefferson's Kantianism is a subject of discussion among scholars -- one more new "error" inserted and corrected.)
All of this underscores the pathologies so emblematic of American society on display in the torture of prisoners: racism (most of the victims are dark-skinned), sexism (reduction of victims, even by women guards) to the "sub-human" status of "females" penetrated by broomsticks, naked, sexually humiliated, covered in feces, beaten, in some cases murdered. ("Terry Tuchin, Diana Lisa Riccioli, and New Jersey's Agency of Torture" and "Is Paul Bergrin, Esq. an Ethical New Jersey Lawyer?" then, again, "Is Senator Bob "For" Human Rights?")
I have a pretty good idea of what it is like to be questioned by very stupid people hoping not to elicit information or meaningful responses from victims, but to humiliate and insult, to reduce victims to the "status of women." Ideally, to have women do such things is the ultimate success of sexism. Better yet, members of minority groups -- who have absorbed the lessons of racism -- may be persuaded to torture and inform against their brothers and sisters. "I have reason to believe" that there will always be persons willing to lend themselves to such despicable actions. ("Carlos Fuentes and Multiculturalism" and "Jennifer Velez is a 'Dyke Magnet!'" then "Trenton's Nasty Lesbian Love-Fest!")
"The violent sexualization of prison life within women's institutions raises a number of issues that may help us develop further our critique of the prison system. Ideologies of sexuality -- and particularly the intersection of race and sexuality -- have a profound effect on the representations of and treatment received by women of color both within and outside prison. Of course, black and Latino men experience a perilous continuity in the way they are treated in school, where they are disciplined as potential criminals; in the streets, where they are subjected to racial profiling by the police; and in prison, where they are warehoused and deprived of virtually all of their rights. For women, the continuity of treatment from the free world to the universe of the prison is even more complicated, since they also confront forms of violence in prison that they have confronted in their homes and intimate relationships."
Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (New York: Seven Stories, 2003), p. 79. ("Foucault, Rose, Davis and the Meanings of Prison" and "Psychological Torture in the American Legal System.")
At Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo -- in terms of America's unspoken code of values -- every inmate is a woman and "black," regardless of what they look like. (You may prefer to use the N-word.) Some people in America know what that's like. The essence of the experience is legal "helplessness" or "powerlessness," coping with obscene abuse intended to establish the authority and superiority of the abusers, designed to teach the ultimate lesson of power: "We are better than you, so you deserve to be our slave." Any other rationale that may be offered for such abuse is bullshit. Persons will always resist such oppression, even at the cost of their lives. I always will. Where does President Obama stand on slavery? ("America's Holocaust.")
If Thomas Jefferson and Angela Davis were to meet TODAY, I believe that they would join the same revolution against such treatment of any human beings. Would Fidel Castro join them? You decide. If the American Constitution continues to have meaning -- I am sure that it does -- then it must prohibit such treatment of persons by Americans, even when it is rationalized as being necessary to "national security" or survival because the question becomes: "survival as what?" If we abolish the Constitution's protections, then we are no longer the same nation or people that we have tried to be for two centuries. We have thrown out the proverbial baby (human rights) and kept the bathwater (racist violence and bigotry). Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur, Noam Chomsky and many others in America are fighting your revolution if you are poor or working class in America. This may be a good time to insert another "error." ("Manifesto for the Unfinished American Revolution" and "Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Unconstitutionality of the Death Penalty.")
In Sunday's New York Times two articles are found on the same page without any explicit editorial association made between them. First, Mark Mazzetti's "C.I.A. Still Awaiting Rules On Interrogating Suspects," and second, Kirk Semple's "Wave of Bombings Kills 47 Accross Iraq, 20 in Baghdad," The New York Times, March 25, 2007, at p. A14. The confusion and ineffectiveness of interrogators is worse in 2009-today. The new C.I.A. manual creates alleged "loopholes" that permit violations of human rights covered over by hypocrisy and mendacity to go unpunished. Mathew Alexander, "Torture's Loopholes," in The New York Times, January 21, 2010, at p. A39.
All efforts to negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban after recent so-called "successes" have been rebuffed: Helene Cooper & Mark Landler, "White House Weighs Talks With Taliban After Afghan Successes," in The New York Times, March 13, 2010, at p. A8. (New suicide bombings at C.I.A. front locations and in Pakistan seem to be the Taliban's response to peace overtures.)
For a truly disturbing set of developments, see Sabrina Tavernise, "Pakistanis View Market Blast With Disbelief, and Seek Places to Put Blame," in The New York Times, November 4, 2009, at p. A12. American military intervention in Pakistan would unite all factions against us, allowing for nuclear weapons to fall into the hands of fundamentalist forces in South Asia, where an Indian-based Marxist revolutinary movement has formed an alliance with anti-American forces, like the Taliban. Iran? Hatred for America is still on the rise in most places in the world. Has the torture policy worked, Mr. Cheney? I doubt it. Any more "errors" inserted by the Jersey Boys? No? Alissa J. Rubin, "Taliban Using Lighter Touch To Win Allies," in The New York Times, January 21, 2010, at p. A1. (Multi-national alliances are being forged with the assistance, probably, of unidentified "intelligence agencies.")
Will we go to war in Korea next? Cuba? If former Secretary Rumsfeld is right (and I think that he is about this "internationalization of the conflict"), many of the people engaging in these terrorist attacks in Iraq are coming from other countries, including the U.S., even as home-grown opposition is growing "thanks to widespread reports of abuse to which Muslim men have been subjected." Growing confusion and division within intelligence agencies -- which should not be mistaken for "the Bureau of Prisons" -- are only adding to the bewilderment and chaos.
The more we torture others, the less likely we are to "win the hearts and minds" of the same people once cheering for the removal of Saddam Hussein. The level of hatred directed against the U.S. everywhere in the world should worry us now more than ever before. American forces are sitting on a powder keg in the Middle East, while continuing abuse of prisoners -- together with indifference by U.S. courts -- is lighting the fuse to that powder keg. This suggests (to me) that "get tough" and torture tactics have made Americans AND THE WORLD much less safe than we were before the Iraq invasion. Is it really a good idea to burn the Koran in Florida? Or to prevent Muslims from building a Mosque on private property in Manhattan? Will such actions not appear to verify claims of a U.S.-led "crusade" against Islam? (I urge you to read the works of Tariq Ramadan and Tariq Ali.)
The pictures from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have become a recruitment film for all kinds of antiamericans in many places in the world. People who have been tortured will not pretend that "nothing happened." Victims will not adjust. Echoes of Muslim rage at such tortures can be heard in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. At this time, they are being ignored -- just as I am ignored. ("Errors" were inserted and corrected in this essay, once again.)
Where do you want people to express their sense of outrage and anger? In American courtrooms or similar settings discussions are usually constrained by efforts at logical argumentation and rules of evidence, legal materials and attempts at minimal civility; in streetcorner encounters between armed men and women or children with hand grenades, the discussions are likely to be far less polite. This was America's argument after World War II for a system of international law and tribunals for resolving disputes: Better rational discussions than bombings, terrorism, or warfare. This policy and hope still makes sense to me. America was the force behind the Human Rights Conventions and U.N. Charter that sought to end torture in the world. We must continue to lead the world in this struggle against torture and other barbarisms, like censorship.
I prefer civilized discussions made possible by abandonment on all sides of violence. If people see Mr. El-Masri's lawsuit being thrown out of court -- without his receiving a forum to communicate his feelings of pain and anger -- then I think there are few options left for the world's 1 to 2 billion Muslims (much depends on who is counting), who feel violated by the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. I don't blame them for those feelings. As someone who experiences daily CRIMINAL harassment and censorship, as a man who has been tortured and raped, I know how tempting desperate tactics can seem. Violence is never the solution to any dispute. ("Time to End the Embargo Against Cuba.")
September 10, 2010 at 11:11 A.M. An "error" was inserted in the foregoing pargraph and a single letter was removed from a word since my previous review of this work. I am unable to run full security scans of my computer because the cable signal to my computer is blocked every time that I attempt to do so. Harassing phone calls and other "pressures" are routine after twenty-one years in my struggle to obtain the truth from the state of New Jersey. ("What is it like to be tortured?" and "What is it like to be censored in America?")
If Mr. El-Masri is without legal standing or is precluded from being heard in court because of national security issues -- these are bogus objections (in my opinion) -- there is certainly nothing to prevent the American Bar Association (ABA) or, say, Harvard Law School from inviting him and his counsel to a forum discussing issues of torture in international law and human rights concerns. These are legal issues that trouble people from all over the world, even if they have nothing to do with increasing fees for U.S. lawyers, which seems to be the number one burning issue for ABA members. This sort of rational discussion among persons holding very different perspectives is what universities are for. ("New Jersey's 'Ethical' Legal System.")
The American Philosophical Association (APA) and individual philosophers in a country that still leads the world in generating philosophical ideas MUST enter this discussion and contribute to the clarification of these concepts of rights, torture, security and legality that are made for philosophical scrutiny and amenable to resolutions through dialectical exchange. We need America's philosophical genius at this difficult moment in our history.
Attorneys and legal academia have an important responsibility that is being ignored. Mr. El-Masri and his lawyer were denied entry into the United States -- as though he suffered from a contagious disease or is a criminal -- when the discussion which he hoped to hold in America might have afforded the Administration an opportunity, through counsel, to express its concerns and make itself understood by the global community. A golden opportunity was allowed to slip through our fingers, adding yet another blunder to the record on Iraq. Mutual attempts at understanding are the only way that progress can be made towards peace. Denials, lies, cover-ups and continuing violations of Constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection, freedom of speech or expression are not the answer anywhere. No justice, no peace.
Will you continue to violate copyright laws and the U.S. Constitution by further defacements of my writings, New Jersey? Mr. Menendez? Will American media legitimate such censorship? How far have we fallen from the values of the Bill of Rights?

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home