Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The New Yorker: How an internal effort to ban torture was thwarted

You can read it here.

Excellent article, but very frustrating.
Upon returning to work on January 6, 2003, Mora was alarmed to learn from Brant that the abuse at Guantánamo had not stopped. In fact, as Time reported last year, Qahtani had been stripped and shaved and told to bark like a dog. He’d been forced to listen to pop music at an ear-splitting volume, deprived of sleep, and kept in a painfully cold room. Between confessing to and then recanting various terrorist plots, he had begged to be allowed to commit suicide.

Mora suspected that such abuse was a deliberate policy, and widened his internal campaign in the hope of building a constituency against it. In the next few days, his arguments reached many of the Pentagon’s top figures: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; Captain Jane Dalton, the legal adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Victoria Clarke, who was then the Pentagon spokeswoman; and Rumsfeld.


A top Administration official told me that Yoo, Addington, and a few other lawyers had essentially “hijacked policy” after September 11th. “They thought, Now we can put our views into practice. We have the ability to write them into binding law. It was just shocking. These memos were presented as faits accomplis.”

In Yoo’s opinion, he wrote that at Guantánamo cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of detainees could be authorized, with few restrictions.


Without Mora’s knowledge, the Pentagon had pursued a secret detention policy. There was one version, enunciated in Haynes’s letter to Leahy, aimed at critics. And there was another, giving the operations officers legal indemnity to engage in cruel interrogations, and, when the Commander-in-Chief deemed it necessary, in torture. Legal critics within the Administration had been allowed to think that they were engaged in a meaningful process; but their deliberations appeared to have been largely an academic exercise, or, worse, a charade. “It seems that there was a two-track program here,” said Martin Lederman, a former lawyer with the Office of Legal Counsel, who is now a visiting professor at Georgetown. “Otherwise, why would they share the final working-group report with Hill and Miller but not with the lawyers who were its ostensible authors?”

Saturday, February 11, 2006

sadness song

Brown styrofoam cup holder
floats down the gutter
burger king logo
scuffed by pigeons.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Then time will come to an end, and there will be a new start for the world. Saoshyant will raise the dead, and Ahura Mazda will marry body to soul. First to rise will be Gayomart, the first fire-priest; then Mashya and Mashyoi, our mother and father, then the rest of humanity. They will come back across the Cinvat Bridge from the joys of heaven or the horrors of hell, wherever their acts and their consciences have sent them.

Even those who have killed a dog will come, although—because dogs go out at night to battle the creatures of the evil spirit—anyone who kills a dog kills his own soul for nine generations, and cannot cross the Cinvat Bridge until he atones for his sin.

The bridge is wide for the faithful, but it is as narrow as a needle for the sinner. All the metal in the mountains of the world will melt, making the earth flat again. But also each man and woman will pass though the stream of molten metal and emerge purified. Those who were faithful to Ahura Mazda and lived a holy, creative, generous, productive life will feel that they are walking through warm milk. But those who were seduced by Angra Mainyu will suffer terrible agony as all their sins are burned away.
The universe came into being by accident.
The distribution of forces that enabled our planet to form happened by accident.
Humans evolved by accident.
We were born by accident.
We'll all die by accident.
Our species will go extinct by accident.
Our universe will be extinguished by accident.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Hacking my lungs out and feelings needles in my throat every time I swallow sucks, but at least being sick gives me some time to catch up on my reading and listen to new music.

It's kind of annoying that new wave music is cool again. It creates a glut of horrible and derivative material that doesn't even compare to one of Talk Talk's boring early albums.

On the other hand, there's still some cool music coming out. The new White Rose Movement album is pretty sweet. A catchy synth line makes me weak in the knees.

Monday, February 06, 2006

becoming kalki

"The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless."