Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bush's utopia:

So I see a British business man, Syed Bukhari, who was accused of trying to sell weapons to the Columian Farc movement in an FBI sting operation was released from custody in the UK today because the FBI wouldn't provide the evidence the judge requested. He had been in custody for a year and a half and the FBI spent two years developing the case and then....nothing. [BBC]

Sounds just like the case in Germany with Abdelghani Mzoudi, the 9/11 conspirator who has been repeatedly tried and then released because the CIA won't provide even written testimony from other 9/11 suspects buried deep in a CIA gulag somewhere (presumably in another country where human rights are respected), that would prove the government's case. For all this spying and rendering, the U.S. government sure doesn't seem to be very serious about bringing real terrorists to justice. Better to just lock them up for eternity and be done with it, I guess. But, hey, that got that Iyman Faris guy who was plotting to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blow torch, that was a very credible threat thwarted, and then there's Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, who were arrested trying to sell missile launchers to an FBI informant.

These cases were cited by the government as success stories in defense of the NSA domestic spying program, but I wonder why you would need to employ that program in the case of an FBI sting? In any case, all of these cases and many more are now being challenged in court due to the disclosure of the spying program and many defense attorneys are now want to know if their clients were convicted on evidence obtained illegally from the warranties wiretap program. So even the few terror convictions the Justice Department has actually been able to get might go out the window.

But hey, stupid Justice Department, didn't you read the memo? We don't do the criminal prosecution thing anymore, that's why we set up Gitmo. It's out of sight, out of mind, and out of the federal court's jurisdiction. The ACLU released documents showing that in 2002 and 2003 FBI agents at Gitmo observed torture and extreme mistreatment of prisoners during interrogations by the military and members of "other governmental organizations," and complained to their superiors that any information gleaned in this fashion would not be admissible in court. But these defenders of the legal niceties of dotting every "I" and crossing every "T" just don't get it, they don't know about the "new paradigm." The president is the Commander-in-Chief and he can hold anyone for as long as he wants and torture them into the Stone Age if he wants to. He's got a bevy of lawyers and yes-men, like John Yoo, who will write legal opinions saying the constitution gives W. the right to sell American children to the royal family of Dubai for camel jockeys if he so chooses or any other damn thing he wants--- and it's all totally legal.

I'm all for catching the bad guys before they can do us harm, I was in D.C. on 9/11, but judging by the track record of this administration so far, I would say they're expending a lot time and resources and not getting very much in return. While the NSA has the FBI chasing down hot leads at Pizza Hut, I'm afraid someone with a much more dangerous weapon than a blow torch is out there running circles around the bunch that brought us Katrina. And we're undermining our standing in the world as the defenders of freedom and all that is right and moral, by continuing to hold on to the 45% of the prisoners at Gitmo that the pentagon admits have never lifted a finger against us. Only 8% they say have ties to al-Qaeda, so what are we doing here? There is absolutely no doubt that this administration's policies from Gitmo to Iraq are just wrongheaded and deluded.

Or what Edward Hallet Carr would call "utopian." W. & Co. want to make "political theory a norm to which political practice ought to conform....The utopian, who proports to recognize the interdependence of purpose and fact, treats the purpose as if it were the only relevant fact, and constantly couches opitave prepositions in the indicative mood...These prepositions are items in a political progamme disguised as statements of fact." Now, he was talking about the pendulum that swings back and forth between utopians and realists in political thought, but it sure seems to apply in this case. They've got a plan and no matter what the reality of the situation is they're charging ahead, no matter if it winds up killing us all in the end.


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