Sunday, January 02, 2005

Oh, It Was a Blissful Vacation...

No, I don't mean the Xmas holiday (Satisfied, O'Lielly?? Pfft. Asshole.), and I don't mean the Solstice or Kwanzaa or Ramadan (nyah nyah, O'Lielly) either; I mean the blissful news hiatus I was happily enjoying which kept me away from the likes of this: U.S. Replaces Memo on Torture with New Guidelines. Aw, come on, I'm still depressed over what happened now 2 months ago! (Can it be that long since I've watched more than 2 seconds of a so-called news program on television or seriously engaged with the print media or had a frank exchange of views with anybody? Time flies when...) I can't be expected to seriously engage this level of depravity. I'm out of practice. I'll get winded. It'll hurt.

[Stretching out, limbering up, drinking bourbon.]

So, there's a new torture memo, hunh? Well, let's have a look-see. Ah. Pull up a chair, friends. We're going to be here for awhile.
The U.S. Justice Department (news - web sites) released a new memo on Friday to replace a controversial document outlining how to avoid violating U.S. and international terror statutes while interrogating prisoners.

The "controversial" document -- controversial only when Americans found out about it, that is. When it was originally written, re-written, edited, red-penciled, debated and discussed (presumably), &c., by countless beancounters in multiple offices, departments, and administrative levels, one of whom must have had a copy of the Geneva Conventions lying around somewhere, not to mention a dictionary, it passed muster. Hmmm. See? I can't even get off the first clause of the first sentence. I hate these people! (This time, dear readers, I mean the B*shies, not their supplicants in the Steno Pool.)

Anyhoo, that original memo was not, as I recall, a document "outlining how to avoid violating U.S. and int'l terror statutes," though one could cynically argue this, I suppose. That original document was clearly two things: 1) a huge billboard (okay, a sneaky memo) for plausible deniability, in that they have re-defined torture and as such everything they do to another human being in their care short of organ failure is okay, because ... and this brings me to point #2) the preznit says so. What did they call it? His "inherent authority"? Oh, good Lord. They really do think that asshat is Jesus. THUD. Hey, Reuters, you bozos, that was a significant part of B*shCo's corrupt and false construction of an utterly craven policy. You might want to note that. But I could be here all day. Let's move on.
The new memorandum was released on a federal holiday, just one week before White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales -- to whom the August 2002 memo was addressed -- was to appear before the Senate for confirmation hearings. Gonzales has been nominated by President Bush (news - web sites) to be the new Attorney General.

Okay, I take back the bozos comment, because it's about high-time the Lying Right-Wing Media noted this sort of thing. They've had enough opportunities--four years' worth, actually--to note that all announcements with the potential to cause embarrassment or, hell, even comment, come on Fridays, often after business hours. Thanks, Reuters, for noticing. As for Gonzales, that lackey, that tool, that Uncle Thomas more Tom than Clarence, if that is possible, how is it that this sort of cynical shit is pulled mere moments before Senate confirmation hearings which should be relegated to a feverish wet dream fantasy of his rather than what will actually occur in the reality-based community? And I may have mentioned, I haven't been peeking at the news too much. Has there been an outcry? Has this sycophantic weasel been laughed off his hour on the stage to be heard no more? Please tell me it is so. Also, what is this business of the memo's being "addressed" to Gonzales?? I thought that simpering arse-licker was the author of said memo. When I have a free moment from all my non-news digesting, I'll check on that. Now back to the grind...
Behind many of the techniques approved and used on prisoners was the August 2002 memo to Gonzales from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel discussing how far the interrogation could go before it could be considered torture.

The new memo, written by the Office of Legal Counsel but addressed to Deputy Attorney General James Comey, acknowledged problems with the August document which dissected the definition of torture.

Acknowledged problems, hunh? Yeah, I guess a policy allowing severe psychological damage and abuse short of organ failure might be a "problem." But then the understatement of the year:
In particular, the Dec. 30 memo disagrees with the statement that "severe" pain under the terror statute was limited to pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

The new document also disagreed that "severe" pain is limited to "excruciating and agonizing" pain.

It also disagreed with the detailed discussion in the August memo defining the precise meaning of "specific intent."

Oh, the new cynical memo "disagrees," does it, with the Gonzales Directive? Well, how f*cking quaint. Almost as "quaint" as the Geneva Conventions. But here's what really stews my beans:
"In light of the president's directive that the United States not engage in torture, it would not be appropriate to rely on parsing the specific intent element of the statute to approve as lawful conduct that might otherwise amount to torture," it said.

I could write a thesis on that sentence, but I am (sick and) tired. Let me just note that the whole problem with these assholes is that they operate under some bizarre form of oligarchical divine right of kings bullshit wherein the preznit is sovereign and even the Sun bends to his whims. I wouldn't let that moron wash my car, but lo, they insist (protest too much, methinks) that He Is In Charge, By God. And there it is again reiterated for the world to see: "In light of the president's directive that the United States not engage in torture...." Serenity now!! Dumbyass didn't put forth any sort of directive, dammit. In fact, he allowed the exact opposite. His hand-picked lackey said torture was okay, that the Geneva Conventions--adherence to which allows nations to claim civilized status--were "quaint." When did not torturing people to death become an antique concept in American foreign policy? Dumbyass is accountable. The preznit does not get to do what he wants just cos he's the preznit, no matter how much kool aid you've drunk, you messianic, cult of personality-loving morons.

So, again, the formula for B*shCo. chicanery goes thusly: arrogance + divine right of idiots + cuckolded Congress + compliant media = parsing of the definition of torture. How sick is this world the B*shies have created in which we have to define (and defend) the parameters of TORTURE as an instrument of governmental policy?