The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Merchant Ship Guards Kill First Pirate. Predictably the Pacifists Have a Hissy

Posted by Bill Nance on March 31, 2010

Private security guards shot and killed a Somali pirate during an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of East Africa in what is believed to be the first such killing by armed contractors, the EU Naval Force spokesman said Wednesday.

The death comes amid fears that increasingly aggressive pirates and the growing use of armed private security contractors onboard vessels could fuel increased violence on the high seas. The handling of the case may have legal implications beyond the individuals involved in Tuesday’s shooting.

The guards were onboard the MV Almezaan when a pirate group approached it twice, said EU Naval Force spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour. During the second approach on the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship which is United Arab Emirates owned, there was an exchange of fire between the guards and the pirates.

An EU Naval Force frigate was dispatched to the scene and launched a helicopter that located the pirates. Seven pirates were found, including one who had died from small caliber gunshot wounds, indicating he had been shot by the contractors, said Harbour. The six remaining pirates were taken into custody.

Crews are becoming increasingly adept at repelling attacks by pirates in the dangerous waters of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. But pirates are becoming more aggressive in response, shooting bullets and rocket-propelled grenades at ships to try to intimidate captains into stopping.

Several organizations, including the International Maritime Bureau, have expressed fears that the use of armed security contractors could encourage pirates to be more violent when taking a ship. Sailors have been hurt or killed before but this generally happens by accident or through poor health. There has only been one known execution of a hostage despite dozens of pirate hijackings.

You have GOT to be joking.

The last sentence of that article is a simple falsehood. In fact, entire ships have disappeared, crews and all, never to be heard from again. In another case I’m aware of, the entire crew was executed. Granted these cases occurred in Indonesia, but the idea that if you offer no resistance to a boarding of your vessel by pirates you are SAFER is simply astonishing in it’s naivete.

This is gun control writ large. And out on the high seas, apparently International Maritime Bureau is just like Martha Coakley: they discourage self help.  According to these geniuses, just give up, pay the ransom and you will be allowed to live with only minimal risk. So if one of these qat-chewing goatherders

blows you in half with an AK because he’s you know, a criminal who’s a cat-chewing goatherder with an AK, I guess you were just the unlucky one.

It might occur to some of you that when ships offer no resistance and warships can’t protect them, and where the ship owners will pay large ransoms every time, you have an environment which only encourages more attacks.  But that doesn’t matter as long as no one picks up a weapon to defend themselves.

This is the ugly face of modern neo-pacifism. It’s the same kind of face that goes white as a sheet at the thought of a person having a gun on them for defensive purposes.  They’re not real pacifists of course. They’re perfectly happy to let the police or military kill people. But god forbid an individual or group of individuals should protect themselves. No, they should just have the decency to die quietly.

Pacifism is unethical.  “Turn the other cheek ” is not saintly, it merely assists in tyranny.  When I refuse to defend myself or anyone else, I merely empower others to exert their will over me and others. If more than a tiny fraction of people acted like this we wouldn’t even have a country, much less a free world.

The far-left and yes, even the less than far-left, loves the idea of pacifism. The more you get toward the center, the more they’re willing to let hired killers do their dirty work (as though soldiers and police doing the killing somehow evades moral culpability on the part of those who support them). But the notion of honest people taking up arms to defend their lives from criminals horrifies them. And it’s that latter sentiment which should disgust everyone.

As pernicious as the idea of pacifism may be, the hypocrisy rampant in these neo-pacifists is particularly disturbing. There are not nor will there ever be enough soldiers/police to keep you safe from bad guys at all times. That is a fact that no rational person can even argue against. And the neo-pacifists aren’t even morally opposed to killing bad guys. So their stated goal of keeping merchant ships disarmed, or on a more personal note, keeping law abiding citizens from owning or carrying guns for self-defense, is outright evil.  They may as well come out and say it.

“Our demonstrably failed ideology is more important than your life.”

Advertisements

Posted in Crime, firearms, gun control, International, Law & Order, Rants | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

California Police Chiefs Back Off On Gun Control Measure

Posted by Bill Nance on January 13, 2010

Well, they did it. The California hoplophobes, a decades-long majority in the state legislature  has finally managed to come up with a gun control idea so stupid even the notoriously anti-gun California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) can’t support it: Microstamping.

In case you don’t know what microstamping is, here’s a good description along with California’s iteration of the process:

Firearms microstamping is the process by which firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin, so that in theory the information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired. Legislation mandating microstamping in California was signed into law in 2007 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and was slated to take effect this New Year’s Day (2010); however, since the technology remains encumbered by patents it cannot be certified by the California Department of Justice and therefore has not been implemented.

Other people have written about this incredibly bizarre idea California is trying to mandate, but I thought I’d add my 2¢, with the excuse of the letter the California Police Chiefs Association (Which has rarely met a people gun control idea it didn’t like) sent to the California AG saying essentially, “woops.

{From the letter: } Publicly available, peer-reviewed studies conducted by independent research organizations conclude that the technology does not function reliably and that criminals can remove the markings easily in mere seconds. We believe that these findings require examination prior to implementation.”

In other words, the technical flaws of the idea without any other argument needing to be made makes this a stupid idea. But the letter itself is a perfect example of the ignorance and hypocrisy inherent in the idea of requiring the microstamp in the first place, much less registering individual gun owners.    In it’s own words the CPCA references the fact that criminals can easily find a way to evade detection via a firearm registration scheme as one of it’s reasons for opposition to the bill.

“Criminals can remove the markings easily in mere seconds.”

The antis can’t manage to come up with even a remotely plausible scenario in which this stuff would solve many crimes, even if they got everything they wanted. But they want it anyway.

To many who don’t know or care much about guns, gun registration doesn’t sound like a big deal. And if you don’t know anything about microstamping, and much more importantly the assumptions that its supposed efectiveness rests upon, it might not sound like a bad thing. I mean, it’s supposed to help the cops solve crimes right?

The only problem is that this simply isn’t the case.

Microstamping guns and registering individual gun owners depends on a large number of things for them to make more than the very slightest difference in catching bad guys. And trust me, I was a crime reporter for years in an area with high gang violence and lots of shootings. I know whereof I speak.

First, and most easily shown to be false, is the required assumption that guns used by criminals are legally owned and obtained by said criminals. Otherwise having the murder weapon (or shell casing in the case of microstamping is useless.- There’s no connection to the shooter. Microstamping, or even posession of the weapon used will only provide a connection to the gun shop that originally sold the gun or if there is registration of guns as well, a connection in some cases to a previous owner of the firearm.

That won’t help.

We have actual numbers on this stuff. They are released by the FBI and most states every single year, and wide-ranging reports, even those submitted by Clinton Administration appointees and staff in the justice department have concluded that the vast majority of crimes are committed by people with previously existing criminal records, which bars any legal purchase of a firearm, people under age to posesss a firearm legally, and in a staggeringly large percentage of cases, where the gun is stolen or obtained from an illegal black market, so far removed from the original source that tracing is virtually impossible.

Essentially, their excuse for logic is that the thing they want to use for crime solving is the one thing they are absolutely certain to not have, even with the most stringent of registration/microstamping provisions.

First, there are a grand total of about 500-600 unsolved homicides in California each year. About 2/3 of those (following national statistics) are committed with a firearm. Many of these are caught the following year, so the real number of cases where absent more information on the gun could possibly help solve otherwise unsolved cases is already very small. Knowing who used to have the gun legally is of very little help in most cases.

Microstamping, even if it were trivial to do and worked every time rests upon the idea that there are lots of cases where:

  1. A registered gun is used in a crime by a legal gun owner or someone to whom he knowingly gave the gun
  2. Which isn’t a revolver
  3. The perpetrator doesn’t pick up his brass
  4. The perpetrator keeps the gun after committing a crime with it instead of reporting it lost/stolen
  5. The perpetrator is not otherwise tied to the crime
  6. The perpetrator hasn’t altered the gun to defeat registration/microstamping requirements

Is this true for more than a handful of cases? For this they want to spend millions, make ammunition AND firearms prohibitively expensive for all but the well-to-do and cost the state yet more jobs as anyone who is in the firearms business or cares about their human right of self defense, rapidly flees the Golden State.  Like the famous “assault weapon” ban, where the Justice department noted that fewer than .75% of gun crimes were committed by “assault weapons” and that hi-capacity magazines seemed to make no difference in terms of numbers of people injured or in rounds fired, this is another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist outside Sarah Brady’s fantasies.

I gave up on Democrat politicians showing any common sense on gun control a long time ago, but this is enough to make my jaded opinions sit back in awe.  This is beyond stupid. As a matter of fact:

Posted in Crime, firearms, gun control, Guns Dammit!, hoplophobia, Left-Wing Nut-Jobery, Politics, Prison and Justice, Stupid Idea Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Dodging statues?

Posted by Bill Nance on December 13, 2009

ROME – An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally on Sunday and leaving the stunned 73-year-old media mogul with a bloodied mouth, police said.

I saw the story today and had to laugh at the contrast with Iraq, where they throw shoes at national leaders.

So let’s see…In Iraq they throw shoes, in Italy they throw statues… I predict Germany’s Angela Merkel will need to dodge a Tiger tank or Piano in the not too distant future.

-That is all.

Posted in Crime, humor, International, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Good Luck With That

Posted by Bill Nance on November 24, 2009

FORT WORTH, Texas – An Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people during an attack on his Texas post will likely plead not guilty to the charges against him and may use an insanity defense at his military trial, his attorney said Monday.

I realize a good advocate has to be aggressive on behalf of his client so I’m certainly not surprised. And normally I’d have a lot more willingness to buy that defense. I mean who the Heck but a crazy person after having spent all those years in the army suddenly goes postal like this?  Some things you just have to be crazy to do. But given the history of his ravings on Islam and his anger at Muslim soldiers deploying to the sand-box, I’m not buying it and I’m reasonably sure a court-martial won’t either.

Sorry counselor, your client is gonna fry. -This is my sad face :

Posted in Crime, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Permanent Second-Class Citizenship

Posted by Bill Nance on August 30, 2009

SayUncle has a tidbit that I enjoyed reading, especially the comments on the post because they pose some interesting questions that go to the heart of our criminal Justice system.

The Juice:

The North Carolina Supreme Court says a 2004 law that bars convicted felons from having a gun, even within their own home or business, is unconstitutional.

Good. Civil rights should be restored once your debt to society is paid.

I often disagree with posts on this blog but here I think he nails it.

Historically the concept of “criminal records” are a fairly new thing. Once upon a time if you committed a crime, went to prison and got out, you could move to a new town or state and start all over again. Now, once you commit any crime anywhere, that record stays with you forever.

The problem with this is that when we release someone who has served their sentence, they enter into a lifetime of second-class citizenship. They can’t vote, they can’t own a firearm for self defense and they are barred from many many jobs where “being a felon” instantly puts them out of the running, even if their crime had nothing to do with the job. With the advent of $20 internet-based criminal record searches that absolutely anyone can run you can’t even lie about your past and have any hope of it not coming up.

A felony record, or for that matter even a misdemeanor conviction can keep you from obtaining anything more than menial employment at minimum wage forever. Is that the price we want to impose for owning an eagle feather? Yes, that’s a felony. As are countless other victimless crimes.

Think about that for a minute. An 18-year-old fool does something incredibly stupid, like taking a joy-ride in a stolen car, gets caught, does a couple of years in prison (which is hardly a trivial price to pay for an hour’s stupidity that didn’t hurt anyone) and forever more is consigned to wear a scarlet letter of FELON, no matter where he goes or how he lives his life no matter how virtuous.

And people wonder why we have high recidivism rates?

What’s the purpose of a criminal justice system anyway? Would not most people agree that it’s primarily to keep people safe from people who would prey on them, serve as an example to other would-be criminals and give the public some sense that justice is being done? Beyond that I suppose you could add rehabilitation, but experience shows prison is a lousy place for that. To deter people from re-offending you ghave to offer some hope for a future. Our current system does not. Quite the opposite.

I’m not talking about being soft on perpetrators. If you commit a serious crime the penalties should be stiff. If you attempt murder I’m quite content with locking your ass up for a very, very long time, possibly forever. If you break into a house you should do years, not months. I could go on down the list, but hey, committing a serious crime and getting caught should hurt. A lot.

But keeping people who have served every day of their sentences as second class citizens forever is just plain counter-productive. If you’re still dangerous, you shouldn’t be getting out of prison. If you’re not, then it’s time to wipe the slate clean, at least as far as the general public will ever know, and letting you start out fresh with the ability to make a new life. After all, it’s not like starting out fresh at age 30 after a ten-year prison sentence is a walk in the park under any circumstances, record or no record.

I’m fine with the courts keeping records. And I’m fine with the concept of throwing away the key on repeat serious offenders. But what we’re doing with the current system is throwing away the key on people who have made one serious mistake. And think about it for a moment: If you’re to be consigned to a life of minimum wage jobs and sucking up to the boss in fear he’ll fire you and you won’t get another just as crappy job, why the Hell would you not go back into crime? We’re asking people to make entirely irrational choices and then we’re surprised when they give us the finger.

Let them do their time. Eliminate parole. But once they’re out, restore their rights. All of them. Anything else is just tyranny to no purpose an makes even rehabilitated folks want to go back to breaking the law. What the Hell, at least that has some dignity to it, risk or no risk.

Posted in Crime, firearms, Law & Order, Prison and Justice | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reporting While Armed: The Horror!

Posted by Bill Nance on August 14, 2009

Patrick Appel links to a story about Afghan reporters who are routinely armed for self-defense.

Patrick’s selected quote:

[If] a local journo writes a story that burns a big-shot in government or the drug trade, the reporter will be looking over his or her shoulder (to say nothing of their family’s) for years to come. I don’t know any reporters who carry a gun in the US. Here, I know more than a few reporters who won’t leave the newsroom unless fully strapped.

The original story is about Afghanistan’s dangerous environment, which is hardly a surprise. But the notion that reporters might need to be armed is something that only happens in third-world pestholes is stupid beyond words.

Let me share from my personal experience since I  was a crime reporter for several years.

For a couple of decades now, any crime reporter who actually does their job, as opposed to simply taking dictation from the local police department and talking with the occasional victim, is in serious danger more than occasionally. I’m not complaining about the danger, the streets in crime infested neighborhoods are more violent places than they used to be. But that’s far truer for the residents than for reporters who don’t live there.

If you’re following the scanner, going to crime scenes, talking with neighbors and witnesses etc. in Crack Central at 3am, you’re not unlikely to be accosted by people who really really don’t want the press there asking questions and taking pictures. This is one reason why you almost never see pictures and read interviews with witnesses that were taken at the time unless they happen to be at the scene with a dozen cops around. There are plenty of places where reporters are missing good stories because they aren’t safe for an unarmed person to walk around snooping, even in broad daylight.

The reason all this is bad for newspaper readers is you miss the actual facts, which are often quite different from what the police are saying. As a reporter, you fail to get a genuine understanding not only of the event, but of trends, gang affiliations and lots of other things that give you a depth of knowledge which allows you to inform your readers about what’s going on on a larger scale. In other words, you have no perspective.

Crime sells, so reporters are always going to write about it. It’s also interesting because it’s conflict, which fascinates almost everyone on some level. But how often do you read or hear that crime levels nationally are going down, but in one district, or small subsection of a city the crime rate is 30% above the state’s?  That’s a not infrequently the case and the overall number of murders in a city can be a meaningless statistic. Many police departments don’t keep statistics by neighborhoods and the ones that do don’t share “intelligence information” (not subject to freedom of information act requests) with reporters. If you live in Chicago, the murders in one or two sections may make up 50% of the city’s total. That indicates one area has a crime problem, not the city as a whole.  But reporters who just report blood and take dictation from the cops will never grasp that very important fact.

So if you’re going out there and hustling and taking a few risks (it’s still 10 times safer than being a steelworker) it’s prudent to be armed. I was able to avoid a serious confrontation or assault simply by warning several gang members that I was armed. Who knows how many problems this saved me with other people they talked to.  Criminals don’t like to mess with people who are armed and ready to defend themselves.  Absent a very good reason (like being a rival gang member) they leave you alone.

So I know it’s taking a different tangent from the story Appel linked, but I think the point remains a valid one. That the writer in question doesn’t know any reporters in the ‘States who carry speaks to American reporter’s timidity and hoplophobia, not just that Afghanistan is a dangerous place. I mean seriously, we already knew Afghanistan was dangerous didn’t we?

Posted in afghanistan, Crime, firearms, hoplophobia, International, Journalism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Abortion Doctor Is Murdered. Yes Randall Terry, You ARE At Fault.

Posted by Bill Nance on May 31, 2009

I’m not a zealot on abortion in any sense of the word. I view abortion as at best, a conflict of rights, and sometimes, morally reprehensible.

But I also think the idea of giving a 6-week-old fetus co-equal rights with a woman who must spend the next 8 months pregnant and give birth to it is just silly. One person is here and has rights which cannot be argued. The other is at best, a potential human being.

At some point the choice becomes significantly more morally daunting. For me this is the third trimester. This is because a preemie born at seven months has a pretty good chance of survival, even without heroic life-saving measures. And let’s face it, if you haven’t been able to make up your mind after 6 months, asking you to wait another couple isn’t the end of the world.

There are exceptions to this.

1. The life or long-term health of the mother.  This is an inviolable rule. A potential human being does not have the right to kill, permanently sterilize or otherwise wreck the health of a person already here.

2. In the case where only late-term tests can tell about the viability/health of a fetus. For all you zealots out there arguing this point, Either show me your adopted Downs Syndrome, Autistic or Crohn’s disease children or STFU.  No one should be forced to go through with a pregnancy, usually a very much wanted one, when the child will be horribly disabled.

Enter the latest case of abortion doctor murders, Dr. George Tiller.

Tiller was gunned down in his church, in front of his wife today. No doubt in connection with his work as a physician who provides late-term abortions.

Perhaps Dr. Tiller was not a nice man. I don’t know. What I do know is that he operated within the law and was one of the few doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions. Something as I’ve already said I have mixed feelings about, but also something that in some cases is clearly a moral choice. -Unless you’re a religious fanatic like Randall Terry, Godfather of the nut-job organization Operation Rescue.

This organization has been calling doctors who perform abortions of any kind at any stage of development murderers for over 20 years.  Of course they never bother to mention in their disgusting literature that fetuses are spontaneously aborted (miscarried) in about 40% of all early pregnancies. Most women never even know they are pregnant when this happens. So their God is the biggest abortionist of all, but that doesn’t count I guess.

Here is Terry’s Statement on the murder of Doctor Tiller:

George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.

When you repeatedly call someone a mass murderer and inject God into the mix, people will take you at your word. They will say to themselves: “Hey, this is a mass-murderer for Gosh sake!  Killing him will be saving thousands of lives!” And do the deed. Terry knows this very well. And he doesn’t even bother to express sorrow that the doctor was murdered. Merely that “We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.”

If you want to know why I’ve com to truly despise the right wing-crazies in this country, look not further than Terry’s statement. What a dirtbag. He’s an unindicted co-conspirator to multiple murders. We can’t prosecute his speech, but we can sure as Hell call it what it is: Incitement to murder.

Posted in Crime, Law & Order, Politics, Right-Wing Nut-jobery, Theocrat Watch | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Exposing The False Analogies Of The Torture Apologists

Posted by Bill Nance on May 8, 2009

David Harsanyi has written a piece in Reason Magazine defending the Bush Administration’s use of torture with the pathetic canard that Harry Truman’s decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also war crimes.

To quote Harsanyi:

In fact, if Barack Obama believes, as he recently stated, that the nation “lost its moral bearings” under his predecessor, he will have a hard time defending any presidency.
After all, if waterboarding is a war crime, the dropping of an atomic bomb on a few hundred thousand innocent civilians surely deserves some serious consideration for rebuke. At the very least, it’s a fair topic for discussion.

No, actually it’s not a fair topic.  It’s what the torture apologists have been doing for years now, which is to throw up as much distraction and excuse making as possible to somehow get away from the crimes that were actually committed.

As to Truman, the decisions taken 60 years ago about whether it was moral or not to incinerate those two cities, in the enemy territory of a belligerent power bears no relation whatsoever to the deliberate policy of torture of captive human beings by the United States government in the 21st century.

I highly recommend Oliver Kamm’s impassioned and extraordinarily well-researched articles on the subject of the bombings. Kamm has done an excellent job refuting the far-left’s attempts at revisionist history on the matter. The bombs were dropped for exactly the reasons stated by Truman and others at the time. The Japanese were making no attempts whatever to surrender under anything like the terms the allies had insisted upon for years. The alternative to the bombing was a land invasion of Japan, which would have cost many hundreds of thousands of American lives, and certainly a death toll in the millions for the Japanese people. Alternatively, a blockade would have certainly caused the death by starvation of millions of civilians. -Hardly a humane alternative.

But back to the subject at hand, I think the most patently offensive lines in Harsanyi’s article were these:

It’s fun to be idealistic in a world of moral absolutes. I know because I’m a columnist. But when we start discussing history, things always seem to get complicated.
The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart learned this recently when debating the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ president, Cliff May, about the harsh interrogation techniques administered during the George W. Bush administration.
When May asked Stewart whether he also considers Harry Truman to have been a war criminal for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the host answered yes. A few days later, however, Stewart apologized for his blasphemy, saying Truman’s decision was, in fact, “complicated.”
Things were indeed complicated. They are always complicated.
That’s the point.

What’s so offensive about that little quip is that the clear intention is to tell people rightfully horrified at the torture of captives that because ethical decisions in wartime are “complicated” we have no right to judge. It echoes Peggy Noonan’s disgusting comments suggesting we should simply “keep walking”  without holding people accountable for egregious crimes -A position she did not hold as I recall, when Bill Clinton was being impeached for lying about who he was fucking. Of course it also attempts to make the ludicrous excuse for ethical reasoning that because decisions may have been wrongly taken in the past, it excuses acts taken today.

What Harsanyi is really asking, and I find it difficult to grasp how he could with any honesty,  is whether a act of war taken against a hostile foreign power can somehow be equated with the treatment of helpless captives. To compare these two things is, I think deliberately obfuscatory.  The act of bombing those two cities first, lets remind everyone, caused far less death than the firebombing of Tokyo. You are no more or less dead from a nuclear bomb than you are from being asphyxiated from smoke, more more or less injured through horrendous burns from phosphorus of burning wood than from radiation burns. So you’ll forgive me I hope in giving Hiroshima and Nagasaki no more credit for suffering than Tokyo.

From an ethical standpoint, the question is whether an act which was intended not to deliberately kill people, but to stop a war, is morally equivalent to an act which by it’s very nature is intended to cause as much suffering as possible to a helpless captive. Again. The bombing of cities in the Second World War was intended to stop a war. Civilian casualties were a by-product and consequence the the actions taken towards that goal, not the intended goal in and of itself. This follows the proportionality argument of Just War theory. One can argue that it crossed the line (I do not think it did) but one cannot reasonably argue that the intent was clearly to do so.

When you torture someone in your custody, the goal itself is suffering. You cannot possibly make a plausible argument that your goal is to end a war. At best you can make the very lame argument that you are trying to further your war aims through intelligence gathering. The suffering of a non-combataant is not merely a by-product, it is the specific intent.

The goal and intent in the WWII of bombing a city was to destroy economic and military capacity, to weaken the will of the enemy to continue to wage an aggressive war and force a peace as soon as possible. The consequence was suffering. The two things are not remotely the same thing and Harsanyi should know that. This is ethics 101 stuff.

And to reiterate what so many seem to forget, waterboarding is the least of the crimes committed against helpless captives by the Bush Administration.

The report recently released by the International Committee of the Red Cross can be found here.

That report and other documents released by the Obama Administration as well as the testimony of military interrogators, FBI agents, former prisoners and lawyers gives a grim picture of the techniques used on a wholesale basis against detainees in U.S. and U.S.-controlled facilities all over the world. From Bagram AB Afghanistan, to Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and even the US Navy brig in South Carolina, these are some of the things the Bush Administration ordered:

  1. Stripped naked and shackled into a fetal position for days at a time, while the air conditioning was turned down to low as to deliberately induce hypothermia for many hours, perhaps even days at a time.
  2. Chained and shackled in stress positions for many hours at a time, inducing agonizing muscle cramps, often in hot-boxes, which heated up well over 100 degrees with no fresh air.
  3. Shackled naked in a fetal position on the floor and left to shit and pee all over themselves for weeks at a time, smeared with fake blood and subject to “grooming sessions” by guards.
  4. Deprived of all visual and sound inputs for weeks at a time

These are torture methods. They all, without exception, go back centuries and have been used by the Gestapo, the Japanese in WWII, the KGB, the Viet-Cong and the North Koreans among others. They are deliberately meant to break a human being’s spirit, producing short or long-term insanity and utter degradation of the person, not to mention excruciating pain. Compared to a long regimen of these tortures, waterboarding is trivial.

The techniques described above were used on a systematic basis not against “high value” detainees, but on literally hundreds of prisoners, exactly how many we may never know. The U.S. Military admits that over a thirty people have died from Homicide in U.S. custody as a result of their treatment at our hands. Other reports show the numbers ranging between 54 and over 100.  Let’s get that straight shall we? It is likely that at least 100 people in U.S. Custody have been tortured to death.

Enough with the apologists and obscurantists. We must have a full accounting. And at the very least, those persons who made policies need to be exposed as the war criminals they are. The rightful place of Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Bybee and any other persons involved in the setting opf this policy, no matter what political party, is in front of a jury.

Posted in Crime, Law & Order, National Security, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Color Me Disgusted

Posted by Bill Nance on April 22, 2009

Practically every blogger on the internet is writing about the torture memos recently released by the Obama Administration which show a deliberate, concerted and widespread policy of torture of detainees in American custody. I won’t be doing so often as I think others have and continue to do a much better job. But the video below particularly disgusted me.

To defend these practices and to compare the behavior of barbaric thugs with whom we are war to our own behavior, therefore attempting to justify violations of U.S. law, international treaties and all standards of basic human decency is nothing short of barbaric in itself.

This video captures the type of thinking these fools and cowards use to justify such things.  Mind you, this is not some idiot on talk radio or a pundit, this is a United States congressman.

If the words don’t ring any bells for you, I suggest you look at the defense used by Nazis at the Nuremberg trials.

The methods used by the Gestapo and others, many of which are virtually identical to what was revealed in the document released a few days ago were all legal under German law and indeed violated no then-existing international agreements. This is the defense used by the Nazis. The acts were legal under German law and the torturers were “just following orders and policy.”

The standards set at Nuremberg was that “just following orders” was no excuse, nor were laws tailor-made to expressly viiolate all standards of civilized conduct.

The architects of this policy should be prosecuted for war crimes. I’ve no particular interest in going after the torturers themselves until this is done. I want no more Abu Ghraib prosecutions where a few low-level stooges stand in for people far more culpable.

Prosecute, Mr. Holder.  Let the torturers and their cowardly defenders howl all they want. If you do not, the United States will forever be dishonored -and rightly so.

Posted in Creeping Fascism watch, Crime, National Security, Politics, Right-Wing Nut-jobery, Terrorism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Say “Arrrg” NOW -Bitch

Posted by Bill Nance on April 12, 2009

(CNN) — The American captain of a cargo ship held hostage by pirates jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.

Capt. Richard Phillips was helped out of the water off the Somali coast and is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. He was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.

At the time of the shootings, the fourth pirate was aboard the USS Bainbridge negotiating with officials, the source said. That pirate was taken into custody.

Three words folks:  Balls That Clank

-That is all

Posted in Crime, International, Law & Order, National Security | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »