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What else could Jason Leopold say to David Hicks?  When balanced against at least four years of brutal torture and over five years of confinement, it doesn't seem like much.  If we hope to keep our humanity, it is at least a start.

"I'm sorry my government tortured you, David," I said.

"Thanks, mate," Hicks said, his voice cracking.


Writing on Truthout,  Leopold describes  his personal reactions to David Hicks book,  Guantanamo: My Journey , as well to interviews he conducted with Hicks.  Although Leopold has been "obsessed with the torture and rendition program since details of it first surfaced nearly a decade ago", the interview with Hicks was his first experience speaking with a Guantanamo detainee.  Leopold had intended to report the story straight, but his emotional reactions caused him to re-evaluate, especially as he considered that he had "written so many of those reports and all of them end with a shrug here, some outrage there and no one being held accountable."

So here is another diary.  Is there a way to make a few people care as much as if their own brother had been tortured?  I mean, literally, because many of our human brothers were tortured, some to death.  How many diaries about torture since the United States Government began openly torturing during the administration of George W. Bush?  What can I say?  There is the law, or rather the utter disregard for the law.  Hicks' case is a particularly egregious example, which is saying a mouthful.  There is the politics--yes, to politicians, we are all pawns, as Hicks story demonstrates in vivid detail.  There are the stories of the guards.  Please don't call the ones who salvaged some humanity, committed some acts of kindness, heroes.  But they do provide one of the few promising aspects to this era of barbarity.  There is Hicks' personal story.  There is the torture itself, which pains us so to contemplate that many of us, understandably, avoid thinking about it altogether.

I had a knot in my stomach. I had a hard time sleeping for the next few nights. I could not focus on anything, but the images in my mind of a helpless Hicks being tormented. It made me realize that one can never comprehend the extent of someone's pain and suffering until we hear about it first hand.

So says Leopold after his interview with Hicks.  In the end, Leopold chose to examine why the article was so difficult for him to write, what in his life gave him such resonance with the on-going suffering of Hicks.  I'll let interested readers learn about this in Leopold's own honest words as they read his article.

Most of us will never speak with a Guantanamo detainee, so perhaps we'll never comprehend the extent of the pain and suffering inflicted in our name.  Can enough of us comprehend enough to take up the cause of justice?  Do we need to hear this from his own mouth first:

He was injected in the back of his neck with unknown drugs. He was sodomized with a foreign object. He spent nearly a year in solitary confinement. He was beaten once for ten hours. He was threatened with death. He was placed in painful stress positions. He was exposed to extremely cold temperatures, loud music and strobe lights designed to disorient his senses.

I expect some who do understand the significance of this issue have decided, for reasons which are not political, that it is best to move forward without prosecuting the war criminals who approved torture from the highest levels of our government.  Can we at least care enough to support Hicks in something he cares about?

...what he really wants is the Australian government "to formally recognize that the 2006 Military Commissions Act was unfair" and designed simply to obtain guilty pleas.

"The Australian government has acknowledged that I have never hurt anyone or committed a crime under Australian law, so the least they can do is formally recognize my conviction as null and void," Hicks said.

Was his conviction "unfair"?  No, it wasn't even unfair.  It was 100% extra-legal, utterly lacking in criteria by which to judge the concept of fairness.  Hicks was found guilty of a crime which did not exist by a commission which had not yet been created.  Let me repeat that literally factual statement:  Hicks was found guilty of a crime which did not exist by a commission which had not yet been created.  This would be a travesty if it had cost him one afternoon in court.  He was tortured for over four years.

A crime which did not exist
 According to Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, the only reason Hicks was even charged was that he had become a danger to the 2007 reelection of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who took advantage of Cheney's visit in February 2007 to demand that, after five years in Guantanamo, "there must be a trial 'with no further delay'".  Five days later, Hicks was indicted and the serious charges were all dropped, as were the demands for a twenty year sentence, making it palatable enough for Hicks to plead guilty to "material support" for terrorism, all in the nick of time to give Howard a shot a re-election.

"We looked at Australian law, international law and Afghani law and we were unable to identify any breach of those laws, [Stephen] Kenny [a former Hicks attorney] said. The law that he eventually pleaded guilty to [material support for terrorism] was not actually an international war crime at all. In fact it was a crime that didn't exist."

A commission not yet established
Was Hicks tortured because the "war on terror" demands such ruthless action?  Was Hicks one of the worst of the worst?  If so, uncharged war criminal and former Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes was guilty of serious dereliction of duty when he asked chief prosecutor Col. Morris Davis, "How quickly can you charge David Hicks?" even though at the time Davis had no regulations for trial by military commissions.

Davis, who later resigned in protest of the government's handling of terrorism cases, was left out of the plea bargaining, which was presided over by Cheney toady Susan J. Crawford.

 Scott Horton

The proceedings began in a tumult as the military judge ruled that two of Hicks' three defense counsel could not appear on his behalf.... Motions made by the defense were rejected without any apparent deliberation.

In the kabuki theater that surrounded the plea bargain, a sort of mock trial was convened. The opening argument of the prosecution seemed to be something out of Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations. Hicks was described as an “enemy who wanted to kill Americans” (whereas the convening authority had, prudently, denied the prosecution permission to bring exactly that charge for want of evidence).

The only evidence available against Hicks consisted of his own testimony and that of other Guantánamo inmates, all of which would have been subject to challenge on the grounds that it was coerced.

American soldiers with conscience
If the U.S. enjoyed an objective press, I believe the testimony of soldiers who served at Guantanamo would have created a stir that the Obama DOJ could not ignore.  Just as in Australia, where Hicks has been vilified, in America only those who seek alternative sources of information will be aware of the extent of the criminal activity, including torture and murder, which has been described by more than one serviceman who served in Cuba.  For those of us who do educate ourselves, there are some rewards in the end:

[Emphasis added]

"David Hicks was tortured, no doubt," said Albert Melise, who has never spoken publicly before, in several video chats we had via Skype.
snip

"That's torture," Melise said.

But I wanted Melise to tell me what happened in those rooms after the interrogators started questioning the detainees.

"Please don't ask me about those things," Melise said. "I saw a lot and I still have nightmares over it. I've seen these guys cry."

I wondered if Melise bore witness to any of the horrific pictures my mind created during that split-second gap in our conversation.

"O.K. I understand," I told Albert. "I won't go there. I'm so sorry."

"I'm a good soul and I was put in a horrible place," Albert said.

"I know you are," I told him. "Well, how about this. Can you tell me what you saw in the detainees' eyes?

"Sadness," Melise said. "Like they could not believe the Americans are putting them through that. It was an emotional look. I'll never forget it."
snip

He said detainees were also bribed with prostitutes as incentive to get them to work as agents for the US government. He said there was a camp at Guantanamo that just housed children, some of who were as "young as 12 and over 8" years old, called Camp Iguana.

"One of my buddies worked there," Melise said. "Sick."

Eventually, Melise's pleas for a change of assignment were heeded.  Before leaving Guantanamo, he was assigned to Camp Echo, which is where he met Hicks.  It is also where he says he "redeemed" himself.

"I let [the detainees] out of their cells and just let them talk and hang out," he said. "I knew it would help them mentally. I knew it would help them cope with many things they had gone through. I also gave up what I had. I gave them normal food from my lunch to eat, cigarettes, protein bars, whatever was mine was theirs. I could have gone to prison myself for doing that, believe me. But I know I did the right thing."

"Why did you do that?" I asked.

"For sympathetic reasons," he said. "Because I sat in on interrogations. I wanted to give them a sense of humanity. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. They were not the 'worst of the worst,'" a description placed upon the detainees by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "I'm an ex-cop and I can tell whose a criminal and who isn't and a lot of these detainees I met were not terrorists."
snip

Melise wanted Hicks to feel like he was back home in Australia, so he would sneak his DVD player into Hicks' cell and watch movies with him,...

"I figured if he heard Mel Gibson's accent he would feel like he was back in Australia," Melise said.

I sent an email to Hicks asking if he remembers Melise.

"I remember him well because he did what he could in that controlled high security environment to help slow the deterioration of my sanity for the few months I spent with him," Hicks said. "I hope to gather enough funds so I can fly [Melise and Brandon Neely, both guards who were supportive] to Australia to thank them personally and show my gratitude for their friendship and trust. I would like to show them my hospitality and my country and to show them how much I appreciate their past kindness and current bravery."

Melise, who is married with a wife and son, is now studying to be a nurse "so I can really help people in the future." He recently re-enlisted in the Army reserves for another three years.


Spc. Brandon Neely, now a police officer in Houston, has stepped forward  to testify about abuses he saw at Guantanamo.  He did so because he believes that insufficient attention had been paid to "the hell that went on at Camp X-Ray."

Will we each need to speak directly with a Guantanamo detainee before we pay sufficient attention to the recent war crimes of our government?  It is not for lack of information that we have seen no movement toward justice, that much is clear.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thanks, geomoo (47+ / 0-)

      Jason's story and interview are really quite remarkable documents. This is an important story, and I hope what's left of a progressive, anti-torture crowd at this new-fangled Daily Kos gives it a great reception.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:57:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. (41+ / 0-)

        I'm not sure what I hope for anymore--not being flamed?  That would be a start.  I feel the same sort of sad resignation Jason creates in his article, perhaps because I've been with it for several hours now.

        During a discussion a few moments ago, I was thinking of the mothers in Chile and Argentina who still search for their loved ones.  For the first time I realized, quite clearly, that no matter what happens, this era is going to be haunting all of us for decades.  Our wars may be overseas, but our practices of torture are comparable, imho, to a war which took place on our own soil.

        But, I had not before read of guards who took chances to help.  Thinking of those things brings great comfort.

        Don't believe everything you think.

        by geomoo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:06:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  South America is fertile ground... (12+ / 0-)

          to see how large this problem is.  We have incurred state responsibility, and there may be crimes against humanity or domestic violations.  In other places, many torture victims simply disappear and we never know the story.  This is the cycle that should be broken, when states torture and kill on a large scale, systematic basis with impunity.  

          Some say that torture treaties and legislation not only prohibits, but prescribes conduct that otherwise might be torture, by attempting to draw a line.  

          In any event, it would seem the means by which torture policies were changed was criminally unlawful, as the outcome was known by the participants, and unreasonable from a legal standpoint.

          If justice ever comes in this matter, it will take time for litigants to work the process, and may result in compensation under state rather than individual responsibility.

          •  It seems that, at the very least, the lawyers (8+ / 0-)

            are vulnerable.  There is enough information in the public domain to at least start building a case there.  In fact, any attempt to create legal justification for torture is a war crime.  It is unfortunate that a significant number of people believe that the torture lawyers created loopholes and ways to make prosecution difficult.  This is not so.

            Are you saying that, by defining torture, one has almost condoned behavior that falls just short of the definition?

            Don't believe everything you think.

            by geomoo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:55:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  nevertheless (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            geomoo

            by the rules of modern jurisprudence in much of the western world, if you want to make it something a crime, you must meet minimum due process, which means describing the acts that constitute the crime so that persons are put on notice.

            So that we may prosecute (which isn't being done here) under the treaties, there must be some line drawn, some words used to describe the crimes.  We cannot have a crime without a description of the proscribed behavior.  Which means that persons of ill intent will do their best to game the system, play with words, tailor actions to be at but not over the line.  

        •  Reading your diary, geomoo, (7+ / 0-)

          I couldn't help but think about the disappeared. . . .

      •  Yes, such an important story... (11+ / 0-)

        As American citizens, and ultimately responsible for the actions of our government, I feel we all need to apologize to David Hicks and every other person who was (and is) forced to undergo torture. We failed them.

        Well, at least I did...

        The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception -- Carl Bernstein

        by markthshark on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:49:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  we need to do more than apologize (9+ / 2-)

          we need to put criminals in jail.

          but Obama, Holder and the Democratic Party don't see it that way...

          they're with the criminals.

          De-elect the President.

          Fire Obama in 2012.

          "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

          by bigchin on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:49:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Any chance you can quit being an asshat (2+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Mike S, 2dimeshift
            Hidden by:
            expatjourno

            or at least keeping your hands in your pockets so they quit typing repetitive drivel?

            "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

            by trashablanca on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:54:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The purpose of HR's in light of your response (10+ / 0-)
              To Troll Rate something has exactly one meaning. When you Troll Rate something, as a trusted user, you are stating that the comment should be made invisible to all site users. You're saying that the comment is so bad -- so disruptive or damaging to the community -- that it isn't worth even a debate, but should be deleted from the discussion as being simply inflammatory, simply off-topic, or simply a lie.

              Your own comment is more worthy of an HR than the comment you abused.  Your comment contains two insults, an unsupported claim, and virtually no constructive commentary.  The comment you have HR'd contained a two debatable statements of fact and three debatable opinions.  In fact, the opinions expressed go to the heart of the purpose of this site.  If you believe it is inappropriate on dailykos to discuss selection of the Democratic candidate for president, then you suffer from a severely warped view of the site.

              Even if your accusation of repetitiveness were accurate, there is no rule against repeating an opinion.

              I ask you respectfully to remove the HR.

              Don't believe everything you think.

              by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:48:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You left this part out: (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                trashablanca, 2dimeshift
                Some posters create accounts at dkos strictly for the purpose of causing disruption. It is considered acceptable to hide all of the posts made by such people, even the ones that are not in and of themselves trollish. It should be emphasized, however, that this should not be done lightly. Before rating comments en masse, you should be very very sure that the author is really a troll, and not just a regular poster who is having a bad day. If there is any shadow of a doubt as to whether a person is a dedicated troll, you should refrain from mass-hiding their comments. To reiterate, this "hide on sight" approach should be used cautiously and rarely.

                Go through his comments and see how many times he posts comments designed only to disrupt.  Over and over the jackass has posted 2-4 word comments with the sole intension of trolling and disrupting.

                I was Rambo in the disco/ I was shootin' to the beat/ When they burned me in effigy My vacation was complete. Neil Young

                by Mike S on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:22:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I have uprated the comment to counter HR abuse (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              expatjourno, Lady Libertine

              I had not uprated this comment, because I would rather not open that discussion in this diary.  I will remove my uprate if you remove the HR.

              Don't believe everything you think.

              by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 02:50:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  HR'd for namecalling. n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MixedContent

              Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

              by expatjourno on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:03:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm crushed. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fcvaguy, Hillbilly Dem

                bigchin is such a stalwart member in outstanding standing amongst the purities. Next time you bagel me, can you aim a little lower and toward the center, please? Thanks, peaches.

                "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

                by trashablanca on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:47:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am asking a favor of you. (11+ / 0-)

                  Here are guidelines  I am hoping most people who participate in this group will voluntarily accept.  I happen to think that these will be useful in promoting worthwhile discussion anywhere on dailykos, but I am asking people to consider respecting them here.  I am assuming that you are interested in debate which accomplishes something rather than in the cyber-equivalent of fisticuffs in order to determine who dominates.  Here are three of our rules which your remark violates.  Put simply, we are asking that you abide by what the FAQ's refers to as the golden rule--rec or HR the comment rather than the person commenting.

                  We will respond to the words people write here, not to who we imagine them to be. We will read comments with as fresh an eye as we can muster, even if we have never before agreed with a word the commenter has written.

                  We will disagree with content, not criticize character. We refrain from deducing what certain opinions “prove” about someone’s personality. People are free to have whatever personality they want. We are interested in what they have to say and what they can contribute to developing a culture of mutual respect.

                  We will not bring in comments made at other times or in other places in an attempt to discredit someone. If a person says something which is in direct opposition to something she said elsewhere five minutes ago, we will only respond to what she says now. We are not interested in whether any certain individual is internally consistent; we are interested in internal consistency within our diaries and comment sections, within our group as a whole. If a person contradicts himself within a diary, then we will ask for clarity.

                  Don't believe everything you think.

                  by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:01:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And I'm asking you to do me (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    trashablanca, geomoo, 2dimeshift

                    a favor.

                    Sincerely.

                    Please review bigchin's recent hiddens, several of them, and then come back here and reconsider your ratings in this thread.

                    •  Thank you for requesting with civility. (10+ / 0-)

                      I wish I felt comfortable doing you that favor.  I am not being stubborn or dismissing your concerns.  It is that I personally try to follow a principle.  I try to take each comment as a separate entity rather than as an example of what someone says everywhere.  As a matter of principle, a principle stated plainly in the group guidelines I posted, my rec's in this diary are indicative of one thing and one thing only, what has been said in this diary.  As I stated, I did not rec bigchin's comment here for it's content, but in order to offset an abusive HR.

                      It is also not my style to take on the burden of reviewing comments from any one particular kossack.  The truth is, I have not once done that.  If bigchin is a troll, then I trust that folks like you will expose that fact sooner or later.  I personally find troll hunting distasteful.  That's just me.

                      I'm sorry.

                      Is this all happening because bigchin was followed into this diary?  Organizing one's participation through the lens of different users rather than through the lens of different diaries certainly makes for vastly different perspective.

                      Don't believe everything you think.

                      by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:17:52 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Some concerns about your view (0+ / 0-)

                        I take it you're a TU. As such, you can't abdicate your responsibility to other TUs. Worse, if that is what you choose to do, undermining other TUs by uprating someone who is hell bent on trolling (as can be seen by his record) undermines the entire system.

                        •  To prevent me from uprating in my own diary (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SJerseyIndy, rb137

                          All that is required is a civil clear explanation.  What I met with instead--not from you, but from others--was nastiness and sneering.  In fact, even HOS is not grounds for insults.  There are never grounds for insults, an understanding which is actually fundamental to the notion of this very group.  Even the most virulent racist can be dismissed from this site without our ever having to demean ourselves by engaging in insults.  When an HR is combined with nastiness, my justified assumption is that the HR is not being done responsibly.

                          I asked that the "golden rule", as expressed in the FAQ I quote below, be honored.  A valid response would have been to explain to me why some people have decided that the one exception to this golden rule is applicable here.  Instead, I met with insults, accusations of being "pompous".

                          Over seven hours after this started, someone claimed that the person being HR'd was a legitimate target for HOS.  Okay, now I have something to go on.  I have seen this poster before, and I have a feel for his politics.  I would not be surprised that the HOS designation has more to do with dislike of the content of his expression than with legitimate evidence of trollery.  That is just my guess.  And perhaps he has been disruptive multiple times, still not sufficient grounds for HOS, although I am deeply sympathetic with frustration over that.

                          We disagree on what responsibility is conferred on me by TU status.  It should be clear to anyone who has been paying attention that I contribute in my own way to enhancing constructive discourse.  I call on my own strengths and contribute in my own way.  I do think it would be wrong of me to protect a troll by uprating, but if someone has determined a troll, it is up to them to convince me, with civility and respect, that the target is a troll.  I have seen enough false, thinly supported accusations of trollery, and even of HOS, to be legitimately suspicious of such claims.

                          The entire tone of this thread was more one of typical scorn rather than one of responsible policing--your comment being a refreshing exception.  I myself was insulted, as were my site rules.  Forgive me for not taking at face value the word of people who behave in that way.

                          The exception to the normal troll rating golden rule of "rate the comment, not who makes it" is for people so disruptive to the community that they need to be quickly autobanned. This is a very difficult threshold to reach, and is reserved almost entirely for freepers or other trolls here only to disrupt. "Troll rate on sight" is not intended to be used against anyone but the most obvious and egregious of trolls -- if your definition of obvious and egregious is not the definition used by the rest of the community or by the site administrators, expect your rating ability to be suspended.

                          Don't believe everything you think.

                          by geomoo on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:46:34 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

                            I strongly disagree with you.

                            I see your actions as supporting a known troll and seriously undermining this community's moderating system because you are sympathetic to this troll's politics. If you want validation beyond my view, you may want to check out this thread where AdamB makes his view on the troll clear:

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                          •  "known troll" (3+ / 0-)

                            You set a standard that is impossible to meet.  The way a person becomes a "known troll" is by responsible members determining he is a troll, then informing others of this determination.  No one even attempted to inform me of this until, as I keep saying, seven hours after I and the other person was insulted.  I am not responsible for what I do not know.  Would you make the claim that you know every troll on dailykos?  If you did, I would have to call you a liar.

                            Even if the claim had been made that he is a troll, I have explained the reasons why I would have questioned this statement.  It is NOT my duty to investigate the background of any kossack just because you ask me to.  It is NOT my duty to be aware of every troll.  If you want cooperation from me in getting rid of a troll, then it is YOUR duty to approach me respectfully with evidence, asking me.  Even so, I still enjoy the right to disagree with you.  From what I have seen in the past, I do disagree with your accusations of trollery and other such disruptive behaviors a high percentage of the time.  Likewise with trashablanca.  But I still keep an open mind.  Perhaps bigchin deserves to be kicked off dkos.  I don't know.

                            This extended discussion, btw, has an annoying trait that is common.  While on the surface it takes the form of concern over protecting discourse on dailykos, what it feels like underneath is an insistence on finding me wrong.  In fact, many people, when faced with initial disturbing energy of insults, followed by direct insults to themselves and to things they care about (e.g., group guidelines), would have become angry and reacted with insults themselves.  This would have been quite useful in painting such a person as wrong. ( I have heard it called a banning trap.  Dead threads are especially useful for these, because the greater community is not around to see the baiting behavior, and because it is easier to take statements out of context.)  I happen to be good at exercising restraint, and I am strongly committed to being reasonable.  But that hasn't protected me from spending hours now in a seemingly endless quest to be granted minimally reasonable requests and to avoid being painted as wrong in some way.

                            This is all too typical.  And now, with this latest extension of the conversation, I'll just tell you straight out that I am very angry to be having to defend myself against your criticisms when it is I who have been insulted.

                            If you think my irresponsible behavior (as you see it) as a TU warrants reporting to admin, then please do so.  I'm through defending myself on this.

                            Don't believe everything you think.

                            by geomoo on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:26:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "known troll" [previously posted in wrong place] (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SJerseyIndy, priceman

                            You set a standard that is impossible to meet.  The way a person becomes a "known troll" is by responsible members determining he is a troll, then informing others of this determination. As the FAQ make clear, it is no small thing to HOS.  No one even attempted to inform me of this until, as I keep saying, seven hours after I and the other person was insulted.  I am not responsible for what I do not know.  Would you make the claim that you know every troll on dailykos?  If you did, I would have to call you a liar.

                            Even if the claim had been made that he is a troll, I have explained the reasons why I would have questioned this statement.  It is NOT my duty to investigate the background of any kossack just because you ask me to.  It is NOT my duty to be aware of every troll.  If you want cooperation from me in getting rid of a troll, then it is YOUR duty to approach me respectfully with evidence, asking me.  Even so, I still enjoy the right to disagree with you.  From what I have seen in the past, I do disagree with your accusations of trollery and other such disruptive behaviors a high percentage of the time.  Likewise with trashablanca.  But I still keep an open mind.  Perhaps bigchin deserves to be kicked off dkos.  I don't know.

                            This extended discussion, btw, has an annoying trait that is common.  While on the surface it takes the form of concern over protecting discourse on dailykos, what it feels like underneath is an insistence on finding me wrong.  In fact, many people, when faced with initial disturbing energy of insults, followed by direct insults to themselves and to things they care about (e.g., group guidelines), would have become angry and reacted with insults themselves.  This would have been quite useful in painting such a person as wrong. ( I have heard it called a banning trap.  Dead threads are especially useful for these, because the greater community is not around to see the baiting behavior, and because it is easier to take statements out of context.)  I happen to be good at exercising restraint, and I am strongly committed to being reasonable.  But that hasn't protected me from spending hours now in a seemingly endless quest to be granted minimally reasonable requests and to avoid being painted as wrong in some way.

                            This is all too typical.  And now, with this latest extension of the conversation, I'll just tell you straight out that I am very angry to be having to defend myself against your criticisms when it is I who have been insulted.

                            If you think my irresponsible behavior (as you see it) as a TU warrants reporting to admin, then please do so.  I'm through defending myself on this.

                            Don't believe everything you think.

                            by geomoo on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:29:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No need to defend yourself, geomoo. (5+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Agathena, geomoo, rb137, Lady Libertine, PhilJD

                            I can speak from direct experience, though, of the frustration you are experiencing as a result of feeling as that you've been made to defend yourself from accusations hurled without base... beside twisting of context and mischaracterization.

                            It's happened to me as well, with this exact user.

                            Time and again.

                            You've shown nothing but grace and restraint.

                            Something I myself cannot say the same, as I've given in to the anger and frustration at times.

                            More and Better Democrats

                            by SJerseyIndy on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 09:33:13 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you for this, SJerseyIndy. nt (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            conchita, SJerseyIndy, rb137

                            Don't believe everything you think.

                            by geomoo on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 11:07:06 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're most welcome. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            geomoo

                            I've always known you to be a critical but fair and thoughtful arbiter 'round here, which makes fcvaguy's comments somewhat more bothersome.
                            But the thing I've find when engaging fcva is that as you push-back on the charges hurled against you... they'll tend to be ignored in favor of further and expanding charges, feeding a seemingly never-ending cycle.
                            I've ridden that merry-go-round with fcva a number of times, and I don't see it changing any time soon given he's still at it even with other users.
                            Here's to your patience and ever-intending devotion to remaining civil.
                            You're far better at it than I.

                            More and Better Democrats

                            by SJerseyIndy on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 11:29:30 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You are wrong, and I resent the accusation. (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Burned, SJerseyIndy, rb137, Lady Libertine
                            I see your actions as supporting a known troll and seriously undermining this community's moderating system because you are sympathetic to this troll's politics.

                            I have stated more than once that I did not uprate the comment upon first reading it.  I uprated for precisely the reason I stated, which was to counter what I perceived as an abusive HR.  I announced my intention to the person who gave the HR, and I waited for an explanation for the HR before deciding to uprate.  When the explanation was neither creditable, because it was more insult than substance, and was not supported by site rules, then and only then did I uprate the comment.  This obviously is not simply partisan.

                            In effect, you are accusing me of lying.  If you have any evidence that I am lying, the please present it.  If you are just making shit up, then stop.

                            Don't believe everything you think.

                            by geomoo on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 11:02:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Known to whom?? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rb137, Lady Libertine

                            I know geomoo as a good writer who makes contributions to this site.

                            That's why I "follow" him.

                            This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

                            by Agathena on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:05:15 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Wait a sec. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          rb137

                          You're saying we have some kind of duty to hide rate someone, on your say-so, just because you have TU status?

                          And if we, in our own judgment, feel that the comment in question is not hide-rate-worthy -- if we instead respect the group's standard that we rate the comment, and not the commenter, and if we feel that a particular HR is undeserved and we choose to uprate accordingly -- then you're entitled to hijack this diary?

                          Am I understanding you correctly?

                          ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

                          by Mehitabel9 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 07:50:36 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  Those are idiotic rules. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    trashablanca

                    bigchin is a dipshit troll who has dozens of hidden spammed comments and only survives because of the idiot enablers who uprate him.  The asshole should have been banned a long time ago.;

                    I am sure I will be hr'd for "calling him names" by the very same people who uprate the piece of shit but I honestly don't care. It will just further prove how assinine your rules are.

                    I was Rambo in the disco/ I was shootin' to the beat/ When they burned me in effigy My vacation was complete. Neil Young

                    by Mike S on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:18:08 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In my universe . . . (11+ / 0-)

                      ... your comment, which has nothing to do with this diary, underlines the wisdom of these rules.  I am interested in discussing a certain topic.  I take no interest in hunting trolls.  There are plenty of others obsessed with troll hunting--I'll leave the task to them.

                      If the goal is to protect discourse, then please consider this:  bigchin's comment occupies 4 inches on my monitor.  The brouhaha in response to it has reached 45 inches, not counting this comment.  Which is more disruptive to discourse, the brief comment of the putative troll, or the seemingly endless railing in response to the comment?  Bigchin's comment had exactly one uprate when this started, it now has six.

                      Perhaps you should consider whether your strategy is accomplishing what you hope it will.  You are, of course, free to blame others for the fact that bigchin is still around to stick in your craw.  But, no matter how much you rail against "enablers", you cannot control what others do.

                      Simply from observing this thread, it is obvious that your behavior is much more disruptive to discourse than bigchin's one comment was.  I refuse to take responsibility for what bigchin has said anywhere else.  Even more vehemently, I refuse to take responsibility for judging bigchin's character.

                      Insulting the guidelines of this group is far, far more offensive than bigchin's expressing an opinion which he has every right to express, and which relates to the topic of this diary.

                      One is left to wonder whether the purpose of all this passionate troll hunting has more to do with disrupting respectful discourse than with protecting it.  Your insults and inflammatory tone do not distinguish you as a champion of constructive debate.

                      Don't believe everything you think.

                      by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:56:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  HOS. This post is a skip on a (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              trashablanca

              very broken record.

              No HR abuse is possible.

              •  If this is true, and I don't know if it is. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                slinkerwink

                The civil thing to do would have been to explain immediately that this is the reason for the HR.  Here you are, over seven hours later, for the first time giving a potentially justifiable reason for HR'ing a comment that is not HR'able on its face.  In the meantime, because I have objected politely to all this distraction in my diary, I have been insulted, my group rules have been called idiotic, and one of the people in my diary has had the gall to proclaim that he "pay[s] me no mind".  If the concern is over protecting discourse, those who are trampling all over this diary need to take a look at their own relation to the problem.

                I had already sent this thread to MB, not to ask him to take action, but because I thought it would be usefully as a particularly clear-cut example of a problem with the issue of group guidelines.  Now I'm glad I did, because this is approaching the level of actionable.

                (I'm not directing this comment at you so much as at the others upthread.  At least you managed not to insult, something neither of the others could refrain from even for a single comment.  Although from you as well, the attitude feels more dismissive than informative.)

                Don't believe everything you think.

                by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 09:53:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Point of order. Your diary isn't trampled. (0+ / 0-)

                  The comments section is not the diary. Had you written the comments too, I suspect they'd be more to your liking.

                  btw, the worst thing to do if you're unhappy with the comments is to keep commenting about them and the commenters. Believe it or not, it tends to fan the very distractions you dislike. I won't comment again unless a reply warrants one, ok?

                  "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

                  by trashablanca on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 10:02:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I thought the point of hiderating (0+ / 0-)

                  was to avoid your diary being "trampled on". When trolls come to play why are you complaining when they get troll rated? That is odd.

                  What "discourse" has bigchin brought to the table? Go look at the other trash he has posted and quit enabling him.

                •  And I never meant to be dismissive of (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  geomoo

                  you. I think trasha was carrying some opinion over from previous contacts with bigchin and that is why you saw the immediate hostility which caused the disturbance. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was piling on. I can't speak for trasha but it was not my intent to have a mega thread concerning the ins and outs of hr'ing bigchin in the middle of ANYBODIES diary.

    •  Just because the US wasn't defeated in a land war (20+ / 0-)

      doesn't mean the US didn't commit war crimes.  We did.

      Maybe some future US government will acknowledge the fact that we trampled all over the treaties that were necessitated by the Nazi atrocities, and that in doing so we appropriated more than a little of what makes them historical pariahs.  

      But don't hold your breath for this "liberal" administration to make that call.  Their stance is well established, and they aren't interested in the least in correcting the atrocities of the recent past.

       To the contrary.

      "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

      by nailbender on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:07:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You might wanna think about... (5+ / 0-)

      ... adding "George W Bush" to your tags.

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:29:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hope you don't mind... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno, elwior, geomoo

      ... but I just now had to make an edit to your tags.

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:47:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Crimes against Humanity are unforgivable..... (19+ / 0-)

    As a voter, I will not turn a blind eye to President Obama's excuses offered in defense of the Bush torture regime.

    -9.50/-7.59 - Bring 'em back, Out of Iraq and Afghanistan

    by Situational Lefty on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:02:33 PM PST

  •  You know we're in serious trouble... (21+ / 0-)

    ... when a good percentage of people on THIS, a supposedly left-leaning site, have supported torture in one way or another. Whether it's claiming Obama is right to protect the war criminals Bush and his buddies; or whether it's pretending anything we're currently doing is just wonderful, since it's now (supposedly) being done under the rules of the Army Field Manual (itself not too far from torture); or whether it's literally laughing at how Bradley Manning is now being (IMO) tortured.

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

    by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:05:56 PM PST

    •  Valtin argues convincingly (18+ / 0-)

      that certain techniques in the Army Field Manual are in fact torture.

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by geomoo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:08:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  bradley's torture is not a matter of... (10+ / 0-)

      opinion, it's plain fact.

    •  Haven't seen that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, geomoo, foufou
      good percentage of people on THIS, a supposedly left-leaning site, have supported torture in one way or another

      I don't think you can support that statement. It would not be unfair or an overstatement to say that you are simply wrong and mistaken, and are making an outrageous claim completely fabricated out of thin air.

      Should Bush and Cheney be led into a courtroom in manacles and leg-irons, dressed in orange jump suits and prosecuted for war crimes against Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes.

      Is there any likelihood of that happening in the real world? No.

      Recognizing that fact is not "supporting torture."

      •  Such a sad comment (8+ / 0-)
        Is there any likelihood of that happening in the real world? No.

        Recognizing that fact is not "supporting torture."

        Politics is not the accounting of existing votes.  Politics is the creation of votes.

        We are not a free people if any of us can be detained without trial and tortured.

        "Sorry, not enough votes for freedom.  We'll have to all remain slaves"   Bzzzzt!  Not in my lifetime!

        We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

        by Mosquito Pilot on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:18:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We can make these arguments without (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          expatjourno, frandor55

          accusing people of "supporting torture".  What most of them are doing falls short of that, imho.  The farthest I would go is to say some are apologists for torture, and that is the minority.  The rest, I think are in denial, are confused about the amount of available evidence, or are convinced that attempting to prosecute the Bush era war criminals will be counter-productive  in preventing torture going forward.  I think they are wrong.  We can argue these points without accusing decent, well-meaning people of "supporting torture".

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:50:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Being in denial about supporting torture... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MixedContent

            ...still means one is supporting it.

            Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

            by expatjourno on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:16:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              expatjourno, MixedContent, I love OCD

              Being in denial means being unable to accept a reality.  Often, the very reason for the denial is a deep abhorrence of the reality being denied.  I think it is inaccurate to categorize this as "supporting" the reality being denied.

              In any case, in practical terms, I don't see anything profitable in arguing in this way.  Either the person being argued with truly does support torture, in which case, you're wasting your time.  Or the person is a potential ally who is open to being persuaded by evidence and logic.  In the latter case, insisting on categorizing their position as extreme slams shut the door of persuasion.

              Don't believe everything you think.

              by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:21:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  This adminstration fought to get (4+ / 0-)

        Spanish courts to stop looking into Bush war crimes.

        Please stop embarrassing yourself, and this site.

        Everyone knows that only witches stand up for accused witches!!

        by JesseCW on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:31:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is an excellent point. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I love OCD

          I am intentionally stopping short of pointing out Obama's legal hazard, for the sake of discussion.  No need bickering when we can't even get to those whose guilt is obvious.

          Still, the poster does have a point.  We can make these arguments without accusing people of "supporting torture".  What most of them are doing falls short of that, imho.  The farthest I would go is to say some are apologists for torture, and that is the minority.  The rest, I think are in denial, are confused about the amount of available evidence, or are convinced that attempting to prosecute the Bush era war criminals will be counter-productive  in preventing torture going forward.  I think they are wrong.  We can argue these points without accusing decent, well-meaning people of "supporting torture".

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:52:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, Geomoo, I've read your comments... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard, geomoo

            ... and I PARTLY agree with you. Among the people I was talking about, there are several different motives/attitudes involved, so I probably shouldn't have lumped them all.

            The ones who TRULY believe that having war crimes trials would bring this country to a standstill and cause even more suffering, I don't think that's "supporting torture". As you said, it's wrong, but not malicious.  Also, the ones who've had their heads buried in the sand (about the only way this could happen) and don't believe there's real evidence of Bush et al torturing, I can forgive.

            But those weren't the ones I was thinking of.

            I was thinking of the ones who oppose torture prosecutions mainly as a way to COVER FOR Obama. Obama doesn't want prosecutions, and even BLOCKS them, and so some of his supporters follow in lock step. I consider what Obama has done to very much be "supporting torture", and so what the people in this category are doing is, in my opion, at a minimum "supporting someone who supports torture", if that makes any sense.

            Another group are the people who think it's all fine and dandy, as long as we follow the Army Field Manual. If they don't really know what those techniques involve, then they've got an excuse (though they should LEARN). But if they know about certain of those techniques, and think they're OK, then yeah, they are supporting torture.

            And of course we've got the people who have been litterally making fun of Bradley Manning's treatment, and belittling us for caring about it. While Manning is not being treated like, say, those who we waterboarded, what's happening to him most definitely is some level of torture. So I'm comforable declaring that those who laugh about his treatment are "supporting torture."

            So you're right I used too broad a brush. But a smaller brush would have been perfectly legit, I think.

            "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

            by ratmach on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:06:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Supporting a president who supports torture... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratmach, MixedContent

        ...by failing to prosecute torturers and by allowing people to continue to be tortured by the U.S. military of which he is commander-in-chief, is, in fact, supporting torture.

        Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

        by expatjourno on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:15:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I heard a very vocal anti-torture (0+ / 0-)

          proponent, the man who actually gets results from treating people kindly, say that from what he's hearing from his compatriots, there is no one torturing people anymore.  The line has been drawn, and is being respected.

          He said the problem is that there are still people in power who don't differentiate between Muslims and terrorists who claim to be Islamic.  As long as we vilify any other human being, we are not respecting his or her humanity, which creates the environment for torturing people - they're not really human, so who cares.  

          His point was that there's a deeper issue we are avoiding, the issue of creating enemies, dehumanizing people we don't agree with or don't like.

          I have not been really exercised about prosecuting Cheney, for reasons most people don't understand or don't want to know about.  If it was easy, he'd be in prison.  If there was enough evidence for a quick trial, he'd be in the process.  

          The point is that Cheney is simply the latest and most arrogant of Americans who support and promote torture.  Starting a RW/LW war around him will serve, IMO, to keep the focus off the underlying problem:  as a nation We've been supporting dictators all over the world who routinely torture and murder their dissidents.  That's a fact.  What we say we stand for is just a sentimental overlay that keeps American citizens from having to face some really ugly truths.  If Cheney becomes a martyr to the RW/neo-con cause, and our media manage to twist prosecutions into partisan persecutions won't that enable the dirty secrets to stay dirty?  Once Wikileaks has all the dirt, won't the Murdoch's have ample evidence that Democrats are as guilty as Republicans, and won't that end the whole discussion?

          This is so much bigger than Dick Cheney.  If we really want to hurt the man let's make sure he and his never regain political power.  Let's bust our asses to make sure Democrats are running things, and that they know that torture, repression, and the status quo are totally unacceptable.  Let's be the people who educate the masses.

          If I thought it would be an easy thing to do I'd be parked outside the White House with a sign demanding that Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld be arrested today.  The long-term consequences of that are what concern me, mostly the kinds of consequences that come from reality being swept under yet another rug.

          I keep reading, wondering when someone will come up with a solution to this underlying problem.  It concerns me that the focus stays on this man/these men, when it's truly an enormous problem that we've left untouched for decades, perhaps centuries.

          I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

          by I love OCD on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 01:40:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Shrugs... its typical US bahavior... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler, geomoo

    Ask the Native Americans...
    Ask the South Americans...
    Ask the Vietnamese...
    so on and so forth.

    Also typical behavior is to "feel bad" about it afterwards and now could you please go away?

  •  I am wondering (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, tim woods, geomoo

    if I am understanding one part of that story correctly.  When they talked about children in the facility adjacent to Guantanamo and using prostitution to bribe detainees, were the children being prostituted?

    I feel like I've got something stuck in my chest right now, it's so upsetting to read these things.  But it's not right, IMHO, for me to ignore it.

    •  The two were not associated in the article (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, zett

      except in being consecutive sentences.  Small victories, eh?

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by geomoo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:13:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, as far as I know... (4+ / 0-)

        ... we haven't starting doing THAT to kids.  Kidnapping them, torturing them, terrorizing them, and killing them... sure thing. But not sex slavery.

        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

        by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:28:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno, geomoo, ratmach

        some measure of relief.  

        I have a hard time reading about these things, and I also have a hard time not wishing the same fate on the people who ordered it and how carried it out.  It's a dilemma.

        •  This is one of the greatest impediments (7+ / 0-)

          It is hard to think about these things.  I believe it provides a form of cover.  Only recently did I come to understand the important role of the women in Chile who still comb the desert for the bones of their loved ones who were disappeared in the 70's.  They constitute a form of memory, or conscience, for a society that still has not managed to come to terms with its behavior.  These violations echo down through history a long, long time.

          I heard one of the women say, "We are an inconvenience."

          Once at a moment of great pain in my life, someone advised me to "Walk through life with an open, broken heart."  This is part of the price of being fully human, and it's worth it.

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:04:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  OMG Egypt has given me hope! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, geomoo

            But it is for we, Americans, to bring to light the atrocities that are committed daily for profit.

            Those poor tea-baggers are us; just in a less informed, less articulated form.

            When we, the American people, can finally learn to unite despite all those dollars spent to keep us divided; we might find a path to redemption.

            Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

            by Gustogirl on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:26:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •   "We are an inconvenience." (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            expatjourno, Xapulin, geomoo, JesseCW

            All of us need to be an inconvenience.

            We need to remain an inconvenience.

            The non-pursuit of the war criminals who served in the previous administration-I choke on it.

             I choke every day.

            Prosecution needs to be forced.

             We need to not stop until we accomplish this.

             We need to do more than insist.

            We need to demand.

             I am horrified that there is not a nationwide cry of outrage and a demand-a demand for justice.

            When those in power-in the highest offices in our land break the law-and walk away without consequence-they are in the poorest position imagineable to enforce the law-or to expect any one of us to recognize and obey the law.

             I'm wondering..................rather than torture-might we accomplish this by emphasizing that point-instead?

            I will never accept that there is nothing we can do.

            I refuse to go to my grave a bitter woman.

            I refuse to.

            "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." ~Leonard Bernstein

            by lyvwyr101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:28:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I just queud another diary (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xapulin, joanneleon, bobdevo, elwior, geomoo

    on this topic in an effort to make others aware of it.

    Your diary is much better. I would be glad to delete mine if you think I should.

  •  i got summoned for jury duty (16+ / 0-)

    and I'm thinking to myself, there are Americans walking free right now who have committed torture and they live without fear of prosecution.  The men who ordered it live in wealth and comfort without fear of the law.

    And I am now expected to stand in a court of this "law" and take an oath to it?  I am expected to find some poor chump "guilty" for what?  A bag of crack?  A stolen car?  I don't think I could do it without throwing up all over the jury box and I'd like to say so to the judge during voir dire, but I'm afraid of being held in contempt; however accurately.

    •  I remember Sen. Whitehouse (7+ / 0-)

      speaking with contempt on how they had politicized the DOJ.  Now, with this.  It's a joke.  They made things up as they went along.  That's an interesting perspective.  It might be a good movement if a lot of us starting saying that in court.

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by geomoo on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:41:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I've said before... (5+ / 0-)

        ... if you take the crimes of every person now in U.S. prisons and jails -- take every theft, every assault, every kidnapping, even every murder -- you take ALL of them, add them all together....

        .... and you still don't come close to reaching the level of total crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, and their minions. Not. Even. Close.

        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

        by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:53:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The crime of a war of aggression, and "sociocide": (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geomoo, ratmach

          http://antemedius.com/...

          While our efforts in Iraq have taken a bit longer and cost a little more than the efforts of Egypt's young people to begin remaking their country, the results are far more grand. Let's compare. Setting aside years of training and organizing, in three weeks and at the cost of 300 deaths, Egypt has established that all of its people will have some say in its future. In Iraq, the United States has spent or wasted trillions of dollars over two decades, destroyed trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure, killed millions of people, injured and traumatized many millions more, driven several million people from their homes creating the greatest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Nakba, encouraged ethnic and religious strife, segregated towns and neighborhoods, empowered religious fanatics, set back women's rights horribly, effectively eliminated gay and lesbian rights, nearly killed off some minority groups, decimated the nation's cultural heritage, and created a generation of people without the experience of peace, without education, without proper nutrition, without tolerance, without proper healthcare, without a functioning government, and without affection for or even indifference to the United States.

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

          by lotlizard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:54:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  No, just go ahead and get on the jury... (5+ / 0-)

      ... if you can. Ever heard of "jury nullification"?

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:51:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. Keep your trap shut and then (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno, geomoo, jfromga, ratmach

        do your talking in the jury deliberation.  It only takes one Not Guilty . . .

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:43:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  why would you suggest that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno, geomoo

        what if the person is really guilty?

        •  Depends on the law and case in question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geomoo

          Say it's a non-violent drug offense. Say the person would go up for 10 years if found gulity of selling a bunch of pot or something. What do you think about the law that allows him to do major prison time for that? If you think the law is UNJUST, then you vote not-guilty REGARDLESS of the evidence. THAT is what "jury nullification" is all about. If enough people just flat-out refused to convict, then pretty soon the law would cease to have any affect.

          Jury nullification is virtually always about voting not-guilty DESPITE the evidence to the contrary. You use it when the law is unjust, or when following the law would be a great miscarriage of justice in a particular case. And no it's NOT illegal to do so.

          "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

          by ratmach on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:29:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt you can be held in contempt for stating (7+ / 0-)

      a deeply held belief as a response to a question during voir dire.

      OTH, expect to be dismissed as a jurist if you do.

      "in Order to form a more perfect Union"
      Basta de Guerra. No más. Enough War. No more.

      by Angie in WA State on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:14:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fire bad tree pretty

        I wouldn't lie, but unless they asked me a specific question, I wouldn't say anything that WOULD get me kicked off.  That way you'd guarantee at least one decent person on the jury.

        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

        by ratmach on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:18:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Seek justice. (5+ / 0-)

      Do what you must in good conscience.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:02:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you aptly illustrate (4+ / 0-)

      why the rule of law, justice, needs to be blind, applied equally and no one should be immune from the reach of the law.  As with anything else, practice will fall short of perfection.    But eventually, people lose respect for the law, the courts , the entire system when they can see it only applies to the poor and powerless, that we imprison people for minor violations, but mass murderers walk free, thieves of billions walk free, etc.

      I understant the political reasons why prosecuting past presidents, etc. would bog down a government.  I understand why taking on the power brokers that control enough financial power to destroy nations is futile in all but superficial ways.   I understand our time is not an aberration, but a continuation of the way its been for millenia.

      But I don't believe in it.  And the older I get and the more I have to try to 'understand' the rationality of the decisions, the less I care about preserving the order of things, governing to try to protect tens of millions of others who haven't been harmed yet, etc.  I think it is becoming obvious that if we trade decency for expediency then no one can be protected.  Those who would destroy always have it easier than those who would build.   If we don't disavow their actions, we don't punish them, we don't stand a chance.   The disease spreads.  

      •  beautiful comment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        geomoo, jfromga, tardis10

        that goes to the crux of the matter. thank you, jfromga.

        "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does all the work." ~Mark Twain

        by Lady Libertine on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:37:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I second LL's remark. This is beautiful. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jfromga, tardis10

        My attitude is moving in the same direction.  Some of us good citizen types want what is best for everyone while we feel supportive of stability and moderation.  We understand compromise as part of living in harmony.  We understand that society will never be perfect.  We are naturally supporters of institutions which purportedly represent the common will, accepting short-comings as inevitable but not necessarily fatal.

        But there reaches a point when the corruption of the institution is so bad, that instablility, radical change, and the great unknown are preferable to tolerating the level of injustice. I'm not sure how many people fully realize the significance of government agencies running a kangaroo court in the open.  It shakes the social contract to its foundations.  It is outright tyranny.  There is no difference in kind between this and heads on stakes in front of the WH.  It is just more sterile and more removed from public awareness.

        Our contract with the USG has been ruptured.  It is time to stop lending support to murderers and torturers.

        Don't believe everything you think.

        by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:06:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Melise for President (0+ / 0-)

    fuck Obama for allowing this continue

  •  Thanks geomoo (8+ / 0-)

    Tipped and rec'd and following Inherent Human Rights.

    Put me down as someone who thinks that torture is never acceptable.

  •  wtf? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo

    children being used at prostitutes? I would like someone in the media to show equal outrage for these children as they do for lara logan.

  •  Added to Dkosopedia (7+ / 0-)

    This diary has been added as a reference to the Prosecuting Officials for Crimes page on Dkosopedia.

  •  WE must take responsibility (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    expatjourno, zett, geomoo, JesseCW
    When considering cruelties committed in the name of a free society, some may be guilty but all are responsible.
    Abraham Joshua Herschel

    We must take responsibility for the actions taken in our name; first, to wash our hands of it and second, to retake our freedom.

    If a government can hold any person without charges they can hold every person without charges.  The citizens of that country are no longer free people they are slaves.

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:11:52 AM PST

  •  When will our deeds match our words? (5+ / 0-)

    The great disappointment many of us have in President Obama is that he knows the Constitution and the principles behind it. He knows what's right and what's wrong.

    He knows that war crimes have been done in our names, but chooses to look away "forward, not backward". However,  we can not escape the past and what we have become. By looking away from torture and other war crimes we allow torturers and criminals to continue to commit atrocities in our names.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:08:34 AM PST

  •  FUCK! I can't recommend this diary - but I do (3+ / 0-)

    I can't recommend this dairy because I accidentally unrecommended it (I didn't see the little check on the star and hit okay on the box before I really knew what I was doing)

    I  more coffee

    I'm sorry I unrecced this dairy, it was completely by accident.

    Thank you for this dairy!

    Tipped, recced and shared! (and hot listed)

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:40:01 AM PST

  •  This may sound a little harsh, but... (6+ / 0-)
    Is there a way to make a few people care as much as if their own brother had been tortured?

    - If we know our government is committing torture, and
    - If we understand that they are doing it in our name (to 'protect us from terrorists'), and
    - If we sit by and say nothing about it, if we don't speak up and start saying, loud and clear "THIS IS WRONG AND IT MUST STOP!" then
    - We are complicit.

    To me, it really is that simple.  Maybe if people start realizing that silence=consent, and silence=complicity, then they'll start caring.  Maybe.

    ‎"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

    by Mehitabel9 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:17:04 AM PST

  •  Good diary. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm thankful for the guards who have come forward and feel for them because they had to bear witness to this. It would change anyone who has an ounce of humanity within them.

    Fare thee well, global extinction's forever. So what the hell, order your Mercedes in leather. - Boston

    by SpecialKinFlag on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:23:04 AM PST

  •  The present Administration is arguably (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    expatjourno, lotlizard, geomoo

    an accessory after the fact to Bush-era torture:

    Title 18 US Code Part I, Chapter 1 § 3.
    Accessory after the fact
    Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided by any Act of Congress, an accessory after the fact shall be imprisoned not more than one-half the maximum term of imprisonment or (notwithstanding section 3571) fined not more than one-half the maximum fine prescribed for the punishment of the principal, or both; or if the principal is punishable by life imprisonment or death, the accessory shall be imprisoned not more than 15 years.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:38:53 AM PST

    •  Yes. And I think that Obama will be unable... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MixedContent

      ...to travel to Europe after he leaves office because of his crimes.

      Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

      by expatjourno on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:26:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  His book is not available in the US. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geomoo

    Check out amazon. I emailed them regarding this issue.

    We have "Nobel Peace Drones" creating terrorists one hellfire missile at a time

    by pathman on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:44:35 AM PST

  •  His book is not available in the US. (0+ / 0-)

    Check out amazon. I emailed them regarding this issue.

    We have "Nobel Peace Drones" creating terrorists one hellfire missile at a time

    by pathman on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:46:40 AM PST

  •  His book is not available in the US. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, tardis10

    Check out amazon. I emailed them regarding this issue.

    We have "Nobel Peace Drones" creating terrorists one hellfire missile at a time

    by pathman on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:49:57 AM PST

  •  Sorry for the triple comment. Glitch city! nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geomoo, JesseCW

    We have "Nobel Peace Drones" creating terrorists one hellfire missile at a time

    by pathman on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 06:51:56 AM PST

  •  I can't forgive my own government for letting this (6+ / 0-)

    happen.  The Liberal Party here in Australia has so much to answer for, as does the Labor Party.  This happened under their watch, with nary a whisper against what was happening.

    John Howard is a cowardly cowardly louse of a man, as is everyone who abetted him in his accessories to war crimes.

    Australian media jumped on the guilt bandwagon so fast it would make your head spin.  The fix was in, and all the outlets went along with the narrative.  Thank goodness for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission), without whom we would be even more in the dark.  Doesn't help that the Liberals keep trying their best to de-fund and destroy it as fast as possible.

    I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - "When the River Runs Dry" - Hunters and Collectors

    by TDP on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:41:30 AM PST

  •  This is why Obama is so utterly vile. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MixedContent

    Nothing he will ever do will redeem his effectively granting amnesty to the people who did this. It is unforgivable. Beyond redemption.

    The victims of U.S. torture and, in more than 100 cases, their survivors, deserve justice a more than the villagers deserve civil cocktail parties.

    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

    by expatjourno on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:01:13 PM PST

    •  You mention Obama in most of your comments (4+ / 0-)

      While I agree with your position that, by not honoring his legal obligation to pursue evidence of war crimes he opened himself up to the charge of being a war criminal, I believe it cheapens the issue to focus so closely on Obama.  I also believe that, no matter how accurate your view may be, on a practical level it clouds the discussion, inevitably causing a degeneration into a pro-Obama/anti-Obama polarity fests.  This is not productive.

      By focusing on the crimes themselves, by steadfastly shining a light on them, we stand a better chance of influencing the public perception and thus the actions of our government.   This is my opinion.

      Don't believe everything you think.

      by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:28:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm steadfastly shining a light on who is... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frandor55, lotlizard, geomoo, JesseCW

        ...responsible for ensuring that torturers get away with it and turning a war crime into a mere policy dispute. This is Democratic site and there is a serious problem with the leader of this party.

        I'm avoiding commenting on the torture that this administration is continuing to inflict so as not to distract from the issue you raised, which is torture during the previous administration.

        Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

        by expatjourno on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:37:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Degrees of guilt. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          expatjourno, lotlizard, JesseCW

          It is depressing that we have so many levels of guilt to categorize.  I think you're right to leave out the on-going torture in some discussions.  There are some examples, such as the one in this diary, which are widely known and well-substantiated.  It is to our advantage at times to focus exclusively on those.  That doesn't mean, as we know, that we are going to turn a blind eye to the on-going issue.  Really, there is so much work to be done.

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by geomoo on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:54:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  god forgive us. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55

    we are as guilty as the torturers themselves. guilt is our burden to bear for having allowed this to happen.

    and they [dare to] call it democracy...

    by stolen water on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 03:42:09 PM PST

  •  geomoo, i noted some of your comments as well (4+ / 0-)

    as the diary content. I'm truly sorry if you've gotten any heat or negativity concerning this issue. I don't know the history, but I assure you that I appreciate this diary and your efforts.

    I never understand the bitter rancor that sometimes divides folks here. Even if I disagree with someone, no matter how wrong they be :D, I always try to give the benefit of the doubt to them with regard to their love of country. I like to think that the bulk of the people here at dKos truly care about the country and advocate what they think is best at the time.

    Having written that, I find it hard to believe that our issues with the Gitmo detention and our torturing of individuals does not galvanize folks in a mostly united front. Nothing in my lifetime has sickened me and angered me with our government and process as these crimes committed in our name. If not the most, certainly one of the most evil stains on our collective national soul.

    Thanks again for your efforts. Tipped and recc'd.

    "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

    by Uwaine on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 05:51:17 PM PST

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