Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Harold Pinter's Nobel Acceptance Speech in New Jersey.

An attempt to download an article from Duncan Kennedy's web site (I believe) resulted in a virus affecting my computer. May 22, 2007 at 2:30 P.M. -- 639 intrusion attempts so far today, 106 web sites blocked, main attacker 24.192.174.68. My computer is very slow, nearly frozen. I am doing my best to cope with this problem. Attempts to print items from my msn group leaves me with a blank paper with the following address printed at the bottom: http://view.atdmt.com/MSN/iview/msnnkhac001728x90xWBCBRB00110msn/direct/01
June 14, 2007 my computer was devastated again, as my Norton System was damaged. My intrusion detection feature is disabled. This allows torturers to obstruct my access to the blogs, to insert errors in my texts, seriously hurting me and preventing people from deriving the benefit (if any) of reading these essays. This activity cannot take place without state actions in a society that, publicly, guarantees freedom of expression. A conspiracy to violate civil rights is criminal under American federal law, even when state officials engage in it. Cover-ups and lies following upon such a conspiracy makes things worse, especially when the goal is to conceal torture and crimes against humanity committed by politicians and other officials. Ethics? Invite your friends in law enforcement and in other countries to witness these daily violations of civil rights.

Sarah Lyall, "Playwright Takes a Prize and a Jab at U.S.," The New York Times, December 8, 2005, at p. A3.
Nina Bernstein, "9/11 Detainees Describe Abuse Involving Dogs," The New York Times, April 3, 2006, at p. B1.

Harold Pinter's Nobel acceptance speech was a powerful and furious tirade against American foreign policy. The tortures in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the secret torture facilities and detention centers in Europe run by the C.I.A. and the general treatment of detainees has made the United States an object of hatred in the world, to an extent that most U.S. political leaders do not yet fully appreciate.

I hope that they will appreciate the ubiquity of these reactions soon because this powerful resentment and hostility towards the U.S. is a great force for evil in the world, which may be manipulated by the enemies of freedom against democratic interests and free societies, not just against Americans. The full effects of this hostility will not be felt for years, but when they are, the experience for all of us will not be pleasant. What we have done to others will be done to us. Violations of the rights of others will no doubt result in the violations of the rights of American citizens by others in the immediate future.

It was reported on the news today (April 30, 2010) that New York police had foiled 10 attempts at terrorist incidents in Manhattan. This is only within the past few years. Other persons and events are under scrutiny. I believe that New Yorkers will be targeted by factions seeking revenge for U.S. tortures -- tortures which have made us less secure and the world a more dangerous place.

Belated denials by the Secretary of State of a policy of torture will not suffice. Images of hideous crimes against humanity committed by men and women wearing uniforms of the U.S. armed services have rendered comments on human rights by American government officials more than suspect to the rest of the world. The fear that, as many of us have good reason to believe, these visible horrors are only the tip of the proverbial ice berg of criminality in American legal proceedings is widely shared by thoughtful persons, both in the United States and throughout the world. It appears that similar horrors take place within the nation's borders and are covered up by politicians and judges. I should say, "covered up by politicians acting as judges."

This issue must be addressed immediately by reputable and intelligent spokespersons for the United States. Yet it continues to be ignored, with a few notable exceptions. Charles Krauthammer's essay in The Weekly Standard (a publication which is excellent, in its book reviews especially) is a thoughtful, consequentialist defense of the legitimacy of torture in a very few, extreme cases, i.e., the "ticking bomb" and "highly dangerous terrorist" scenarios. I disagree with the author's conclusion. I believe that torture is always evil. Yet I respect the analysis offered by Mr. Krauthammer and his willingness to examine this difficult subject.

In contrast, Anthony Lewis discussed the issue of torture in more deontological terms with Jacobo Timmerman, who turned the tables on Mr. Lewis, raising the issue of whether torture is acceptable in the "ticking bomb" situation.

"I tried to avoid the question, but he pressed me to answer. Finally, I said that I might authorize torture in such a situation."

"No!" he shouted. "You must never start down that road."

On the whole, the controversy has been ignored and the political consequences for the nation of doing so will be costly and long term. Mr. Pinter's bitter denunciations certainly struck a nerve in Europe and much of the rest of the world, which continues to wallow in anti-Americanism:

"I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. ... Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be, but it is also very clever. As a salesman. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love. ..."

Mr. Pinter's expression of digust and outrage at the tortures and at those responsible for them is endorsed and applauded by me, even as I disagree -- just as intensely -- with his judgment of America in its entirety. He was right to conclude:

"... it is the duty of the writer to hold an image up to scrutiny, and the duty of citizens 'to define the real truth of our lives and our societies.' If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision, we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us -- the dignity of man [and woman]."

The dignity of persons and of the American legal process, together with the authenticity of our Constitution, is now endangered by judges' rampant and flagrant disregard for the autonomy of persons. This is true not only in Iraq, but also in the least enlightened jurisdictions in the nation, dismal places shrouded in darkness and corruption -- like New Jersey -- where psychological and other torments are a routine aspect of secret "investigative" techniques, routinely covered-up by the authorities. Such practices must be stopped and their victims provided with the truth concerning what has been done to them and by whom they have been tortured. This horror must not be allowed to continue if you care about the Bill of Rights and the moral identity of your society regardless of the relative lack of power by victims or the political influence of sadistic victimizers. ("Is Senator Menendez a Suspect in Mafia-Political Murder in New Jersey?" and "Senator Bob Struggles to Find His Conscience.")

These horrors still take place today within the United States. Among the participants in these disgraceful acts of torture are American psychoanalysts and other so-called therapists. Lawyers and judges, together with other pillars of the community, are either apathetic to -- or complicit -- in these hideous violations of human rights and criminality, even as they pronounce platitudes and bromides concerning the conduct of others, while posing for expensive portraits paid for by the public, as they allow a malodorous belch to escape from their lips. Ethics? Perhaps these belches are merely their decisions on legal matters. Hypocrisy among America's plutocrats, political bosses and power-brokers is an inducement to vomitting. (See "Is New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz unethical or only incompetent?" and "Terry Tuchin, Diana Lisa Riccioli and New Jersey's Agency of Torture" at my msn group Critique.)

A person is not a "thing" to be used to gather information nor an object to be made into an instrument of secret psychological experimentation, abuse and manipulation, humiliation and torture, or rape. All secrecy and continuing cover-ups of such violations of human rights are grotesque and loathsome examples totalitarian violence against the sanctity of that individual that the U.S. Constitution ennobles and defends. Each letter removed from a word that I have written is a wound inflicted on me. Thus, each of these essays is written with my own blood.

I speak, once again, of the U.S. Constitution and of the rights enshrined in that document. This is an internal critique, asking the institutions of this nation -- and especially the courts -- to abide by the fundamental law of the land. I ask those who have committed such acts and those who continue to conceal them -- perhaps even from themselves by now -- to reflect on what they have become. This means the New Jersey Supreme Court and its minions. ("Law and Ethics in the Soprano State" and "Stuart Rabner and Conduct Unbecoming to the Judiciary in New Jersey.")

This sort of evil is made more offensive (and not less so) when it is done by -- or with the knowledge of -- the very institutions and agencies entrusted with enforcing ethics or legal rights, then greeted with indifference by the professional committees, political leaders and courts of any state. Such things are never "for the good" of victims or the public. They are crimes against humanity. ("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?" and "How Censorship Works in America.")

Those persons and institutions, including tribunals, stained by the evil of such actions will not be washed clean of them nor freed from their foul and guilty stench, until some effort is made to acknowledge these occurrences and to make amends for them. The time is at hand when a reckoning must be made. It is the victims and those wounded or harmed for life by torture who stand before such institutions now, demanding an explanation, exposing unhealed wounds, and insisting that "we shall meet again." ("An Open Letter to My Torturers in New Jersey, Terry Tuchin and Diana Lisa Riccioli.")

In his seventies, from a wheelchair, Harold Pinter expressed solidarity with the victims of torture, calling upon his nation's government and the United States of America to face their responsibilities in this crisis. The lack of physical power of victims and their friends is irrelevant to their moral strength in making this demand, I continue to insist on this, which will only grow in importance with the passage of time. From the streets of America's cities the cry of people demanding civil rights in previous decades -- and still today -- is echoing around the world now, at this moment, in light of the images of torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, but also in light of revelations that many are tortured within the U.S., in the darkest prisons and jails of New Jersey, or even in their homes -- "No justice, no peace."

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