We Three,Torturers Be

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Now we have an uplifting national debate going on about whether or not the USA should allow its officials to torture people. Wonderful. It’s not even as though it works. Any student of the witch trials and the Stalinist purges can tell you that people under torture will confess to anything, and that their information is completely unreliable. Not a problem if you have a quota of bourgois wreckers to shoot, or if you are a fanatical zealot out to cleanse the population of Satan’s minions, but supposedly, we care a bit more about the truth. Bush, Gonzalez, Cheney, they want a free hand to imprison and torture so that they can continue to minister to our newly minted Republic of Fear. Yes, there are bad people out there who want to do us harm, but are we such cowards that we will throw all notions of civilized behavior out the window in order to try and make ourselves feel safe? What sort of life is that? What ever happened to “Live free, or die?”

The Canadian government just released the results of a massive investigation into the case of a naturalized Syrian citizen who was for some unknown reason classified as a terrorist. (His wife and six year old daughter were put on the watch list too.) The info was passed onto the USA, and when we got our hands on him, we put him on a private jet to Jordan, who kindly sent him to Syria where he was put in a tiny underground cell for a year, and tortured now and then. That’s known as extraordinary ‘rendition.’

The Canadians have now cleared his name, admitted their mistake, and recommended that he receive reparations. It’s the least they can do, and quite proper. Meanwhile, the fellow, who was returned to Canada a few years ago when the Syrians realized he was innocent of everything, has been suing the USA to get an apology, to clear his name, and so on. Asked about his case yesterday, Roberto Gonzalez, our attorney general, responded that he “was deported in accordance with our laws,” and he remarked that he “was not aware that he had been tortured…I have not read the [Canadian] report.”

I imagine that Gonzalez, subject to a lawsuit in this high-profile case, is very aware of all the relevant facts. He is simply a liar. He is also a complete toady to the power of GWB, whose prerogatives, like any court-sycophant-lawyer would do, he seeks to enhance at all costs.

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