Archive for April, 2009

oh good

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Looks like Binyam Mohamed et al. may get their day in court:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit brought by five men who say they were tortured as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s “extraordinary rendition” program can proceed, dealing a blow to efforts by both the Bush and Obama administrations to claim sweeping executive secrecy powers.

In a 26-page ruling, the court declared that Binyam Mohamed, a British resident of Ethiopian nationality, and four other former detainees can go forward with a civil lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan, a Boeing subsidiary.

I’m going to pretend that the Viking performance art piece we did on this subject in March had an impact.

from the torture memos

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

We recognize that as a matter of diplomacy, the United States may for various reasons in various circumstances call another nation to account for practices that may in some respects resemble conduct in which the United States might in some circumstances engage, covertly or otherwise. Diplomatic relations with regard to foreign countries are not reliable evidence of United States executive practice and thus may be of only limited relevance here.

What would George W. Bush’s favorite political philosopher make of that?

Also:

Given the paucity of relevant precedent and the subjective nature of the inquiry, however, we cannot predict with confidence that a court would agree with this conclusion, though, for the reasons explained, the question is unlikely to be subject to judicial inquiry.

As Chris Floyd put it, “To be sure, Bradbury was politically astute enough to recognize that the essential unity of America’s power-structure elite means that it is almost impossible for anyone who would genuinely and actively pursue imperial crimes to ever reach the top … And just as Bradbury foresaw, Obama has slammed the door shut on such judicial inquiries.”

Even if torture weren’t happening under his own administration (and it is), Barack Obama is giving the most abhorrently brutal and sadistic torturers in future administrations exactly what they want. If war crimes like Bush’s are matched or exceeded by succeeding administrations, Obama will bear a large part of the responsibility. Saying “we don’t torture anymore” (again, especially if we still do) is not enough. (more…)

jedermann sein eigner Stylo

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Hi! I was going to write another post complaining about stuff I dislike about the Obama administration, but news stories kept piling up before I could find time to write editorial comments about all of them. So just do what I do and read Glenn Greenwald. How can he type that fast?

Some highlights (not all bad) from the news from the past several weeks:
Obama worse than Bush on wiretapping
CIA closing secret prisons (but as for Bagram, see below)
Obama on habeas corpus
Gravel says that Obama’s rhetoric on nuclear weapons is just “Cold War déjà-vu.” I’m not sure — I think even disingenuous vows to rid the world of nukes can serve the function of pushing the issue back into the political discourse.
more on Binyam Mohamed and US pressure on the UK to suppress evidence of torture
Spanish attorney general rejects investigation of Bush officials
continuing torture at Guantanamo (Can you imagine being there from age 14 to 21? That’s like high school and college.)
NSA abuses (surprise, surprise)
which member of Congress was (almost) wiretapped?
torture memos released, and CIA torturers won’t be prosecuted (unlike the agents of a certain twentieth-century regime who used the same tactics in Norway)
gays more discomforting than killing other humans
RIAA takeover of the Justice Department
high-speed rail
see also

But fuck it. I’m going to post about the latest advances in semen art. (more…)

every crystal that crawled up your nose has helped to create the economic power base for a worldwide secret government

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

(note: this post’s title is a Zappa quote)

Hey, remember how the other day Obama (exhibiting his usual supercilious mien) laughed off the question of marijuana legalization, saying “I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy”?

And remember those recent DEA raids in San Francisco?

Maybe the story behind Barry’s newfound faith in the drug war can be found in this article from a few months back.