BALL OF CONFUSION Fri, 11 Aug 2006 04:59:59
“That’s what the world is today. Hey hey let me hear ya…”
I love the Temptations; especially the edgy funkier than average for Motown songs written for them by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. The song “Ball Of Confusion” came out in 1970 with the Vietnam War raging and general social unrest at home and abroad. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? The reaction to that era was a shift to the Right in the U.S. It will be interesting to see what happens this time around.
Today Scotland Yard announced that an alleged terrorist plot that targeted planes flying out of Heathrow Airport has been foiled. The American MSM has swallowed the story whole thus far but what I consider to be the best newspaper in the English speaking world The Guardian is more circumspect in its reporting. It’s impossible not to be leery of things trumpeted by unpopular and discredited leaders like Tony (The Artful Dodger) Blair and President Beavis. Before this latest development British Home Secretary/Blair lackey John Reid was conducting a smear campaign against dissident Labour MPs who oppose the Iraq misadventure. It’s a sad day in world politics when a Labour Government uses Rovian tactics. Shame on you Mr. Reid.
At home Homeland Insecurity honcho Michael Chertoff and Torture Boy Gonzalez are trotting out the al-Qaida straw man but the British government seems reluctant to go along for the ride this time round. Also Chertoff is claiming that the plot was imminent and the people who actually did the investigating in the U.K. are saying that no bombs had been assembled yet. All the Repubs are interested in is a campaign issue to save their sorry asses from investigations and possible jail time.
Speaking of jail here’s another proud chapter in the Beavis-Duce Administration’s pro-torture campaign. Here’s the story as reported by Pete Yost of the AP:
“The Bush administration drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policy makers from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees according to lawyers who have seen the proposal.
At issue are interrogations carried out by the CIA and the degree to which harsh tactics such as water-boarding were authorized by administration officials. A separate law the Uniform Code of Military Justice applies to the military. When interrogators engage in waterboarding prisoners are strapped to a plank and dunked in water until nearly drowning.
One section of the draft would outlaw torture and inhuman or cruel treatment but it does not contain prohibitions from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions against “outrages upon personal dignity in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”
Another section would apply the legislation retroactively according to two lawyers who have seen the contents of the section and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because their sources did not authorize them to release the information.
One of the two lawyers said that the draft is in the revision stage but that the administration seems intent on pushing forward the draft’s major points in Congress after Labor Day.
“I think what this bill can do is in effect immunize past crimes. That’s why it’s so dangerous ” said a third lawyer Eugene Fidell president of the National Institute of Military Justice. Fidell said the initiative is “not just protection of political appointees but also CIA personnel who led interrogations.”
Interrogation practices “follow from policies that were formed at the highest levels of the administration ” said a fourth lawyer Scott Horton who has followed detainee issues closely. “The administration is trying to insulate policy makers under the War Crimes Act.”
A White House spokesman said Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions includes a number of vague terms that are susceptible to different interpretations.
The administration believes it is very important to bring clarity to the War Crimes Act so that those on the front lines in the war on terror “have clear rules that are defined in law ” said the White House spokesman.
Extreme interrogation practices have been a flash point for criticism of the Bush administration .”
It makes you proud to be an American doesn’t it? Retroactive changes to existing laws have always been regarded with suspicion by the courts so hopefully this latest attempt by the Bush administration to place itself above the law will not stand. Can you imagine George Washington Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt attempting to protect war criminals? I suspect that Torture Boy would say that they had “quaint and outmoded” values…
UPDATE: My friend Parenthetical has some amusing pertinent and impudent things to say on the day after the latest waving of the bloody flag.