Bob Herbert is a hero for continuing to press this extraordinary rendition (torture) issue. [→ READ ]
Bob Herbert is a hero for continuing to press this extraordinary rendition (torture) issue. For if we do not change this U.S. policy, we are lost. In today’s “Thrown to the Wolves“ —
In the fall of 2002 Mr. [Maher] Arar, a Canadian citizen, suddenly found himself caught up in the cruel mockery of justice that the Bush administration has substituted for the rule of law in the post-Sept. 11 world. While attempting to change planes at Kennedy Airport on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia, he was seized by American authorities, interrogated and thrown into jail. He was not charged with anything, and he never would be charged with anything, but his life would be ruined.
Mr. Arar was surreptitiously flown out of the United States to Jordan and then driven to Syria, where he was kept like a nocturnal animal in an unlit, underground, rat-infested cell that was the size of a grave. From time to time he was tortured. …
Among the worst moments, he said, were the times he could hear babies crying in a nearby cell where women were imprisoned. He recalled hearing one woman pleading with a guard for several days for milk for her child.
He could hear other prisoners screaming as they were tortured. …
The Syrians, who tortured him, have concluded that Mr. Arar is not linked in any way to terrorism. …
Nothing can excuse the behavior of the United States in this episode. Mr. Arar was deliberately dispatched by U.S. officials to Syria, a country that — as they knew — practices torture. And if Canadian officials hadn’t intervened, he most likely would not have been heard from again.
Mr. Arar is the most visible victim of the reprehensible U.S. policy known as extraordinary rendition, in which individuals are abducted by American authorities and transferred, without any legal rights whatever, to a regime skilled in the art of torture.
I think commenter Scarpia predicts accurately:
Humanity simply cannot countenance this kind of malevolent incompetence, and when [U.S.] power to intimidate the remainder of the globe is gone, they won’t hesitate to act on their righteous outrage.
U.S. brothers and sisters, do not hitch your wagon to this hellbound star. If already hitched, cut the chain now:
Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me. …
Depart from me, accursed ones.
—Jesus, speaking in Matthew as “the King”
Torture is one thing (turn, turn, turn)
for which there is never a season (turn, turn, turn),
yet the heavenly counsel remains:
Turn, turn, turn.
[via a new lively discussion initiated by Armando]
additional thought a few minutes later …
Most pragmatic reason to change this U.S. policy:
Torture will always return to hurt your babies
by direct abduction according to the policy (and as Mr. Arar’s example shows, innocence is no protection; there doesn’t have to be a reason) —OR—
by others who are following our example in torturing prisoners (prisoners who are likely to be U.S. soldiers — IOW, our children and grandchildren)
Paul’s words have never been more appropriate —
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Bob has more today:
Mr. Arar’s is the case we know about. How many other individuals have disappeared at the hands of the Bush administration? How many have been sent, like the victims of a lynch mob, to overseas torture centers? How many people are being held in the C.I.A.’s highly secret offshore prisons? Who are they and how are they being treated? Have any been wrongly accused? If so, what recourse do they have?
If the U.S. mainstream media’s continuing silence about the Guckert/Gannon scandal demonstrates anything, it’s that the mainstream media can be silenced. If it can be silenced on a salacious story it’d normally spend weeks of round-the-clock headlines on, can it not be silenced on nearly anything else that paints the Administration in a bad light? I assess the answer as Yes; hence I assume we have no idea how many people have been disappeared because that info is not being reported.
Put another way, if you haven’t heard much about Guckert/Gannon, a journalistically irresistable front-page story if ever there was one, you’re certainly not going to hear much about people being extraordinarily rendered. If being informed is important, these days assuming “no news” means “good news” is bad news.
President Bush spent much of last week lecturing other nations about freedom, democracy and the rule of law. It was a breathtaking display of chutzpah. He seemed to me like a judge who starves his children and then sits on the bench to hear child abuse cases.
I can’t watch. I squint and he goes wavy transparent, then I see through the glass, darkly, something like the Mouth of Sauron speaking behind and through him. Now maybe I’ve watched too much sf/fantasy, but I think this image is not so farfetched if it’s true as Jesus says that “by their fruits ye shall know them“ — torture is, after all, an “evil fruit” that stinks to high heaven any way you slice it. It’s impossible not to ask, Where the hell did this come from? What must the tree look like that bore it?
Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Bob has still more today:
The Bush administration is desperately trying to keep the full story from emerging. But there is no longer any doubt that prisoners seized by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have been killed, tortured, sexually humiliated and otherwise grotesquely abused. …
The primary aim of the lawsuit [against Rumsfeld] is quite simply to re-establish the rule of law. “It’s that fundamental idea that nobody is above the law,” said Michael Posner, executive director of Human Rights First. “The violations here were created by policies that deliberately undermined the rule of law. That needs to be challenged.”
Lawlessness should never be an option for the United States. Once the rule of law has been extinguished, you’re left with an environment in which moral degeneracy can flourish and a great nation can lose its soul.