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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Testicles, and a Dearth of Testicles 

Doug Cassel [director of Notre Dame Law School's Center for Civil and Human Rights]: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?

John Yoo [former deputy assistant Attorney General under John Ashcroft]: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress—that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo?

Yoo: I think it depends on why the president thinks he needs to do that.
--Dec. 1, 2005

Sharp-eyed readers have perhaps already noticed, at the left of the page, a small graphic reading "This Blog is Anti-Torture" (and it is a grim and telling symptom of our current national malaise that such a proclamation is no longer thought to belabor the obvious). The link just below the graphic will take you to Bloggers Against Torture, an admirable site whose propietors will be taking part in a 24-hour blogathon to benefit Amnesty International on Saturday, July 29; the cause is worthy and we urge our better-heeled readers to consider making a sponsorship pledge.

If you are wondering why the subject of torture is much on our mind, you need look no further than Wot Is It Good 4, where our stalwart colleague Lukery Land has been doing consistently excellent and original work for many months now. From an interview with Mr. Land's regular correspondent, fired FBI translator and 9/11 whistleblower Sibel Edmonds:
Remember when we fought for those hearings that Congressman Shays eventually held in the House Government Reform Committee - we convinced Shays to have Sergeant Provance as a witness. He was military, stationed in Iraq - and with some of these torture cases, he immediately reported these really big-time illegal activities.

The military in Iraq were bringing the children of the detainees - 3 years old, 5 years old - and they would beat up and torture the children in front of the detainees - and they'd threaten the detainees that they would keep torturing the children until they talked! So Sergeant Provance reported this stuff and he was disciplined and put on administrative leave.
In a Salon feature last week, former torturer and current jailbird Charles Graner was quoted as saying that, in addition to detainee abuse, kidnapping was "the other big Geneva Convention violation" going on at Abu Ghraib.

See also "The Whistleblowers Dirty Dozen," in which Ms. Edmonds and the NSWBC name twelve members of Congress who "by their action or inaction, have stood against real investigations, hearings, and legislation dealing with government whistleblowers who have exposed waste, fraud, abuse, and or criminal activities within government agencies." The culprits include one Democratic senator who is a frontrunner for the 2008 presidential nomination and another who is about to lose his seat in Connecticut.

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