Denny Hastert's Torture Bill

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It's well-established that U.S. authorities have been evading restrictions on torture by shipping terror suspects to countries with—how shall I put this?—a less robust tradition of protecting individual rights. This form of outsourcing, dubbed "extraordinary rendition," falls into a legal grey area. So Dennis Hastert has introduced legislation to protect the practice—and slipped it into the bill to enact the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

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  1. We have no way of knowing whether Hastert did this becaue the Abu Ghraib photos gave him a chubby. I’m not saying that’s why he slipped in the amendment; I’m just saying we don’t know.

  2. Well, if you aren’t guilty you have nothing to fear.

    Right?

  3. What!? Now we’re outsourcing our torturers! I thought we had perfectly good ones here.

  4. Torture? You mean like putting panties on their heads? Going buck naked? That’s the ‘torture’ conflated with Abu Ghraib. Sorry, folks. Slamming into the Trade Towers wasn’t exactly by rule. Neither should our response be.

  5. With a massive amount of luck, maybe it will kill the parent bill.

  6. gary,

    Prepare for a whoopin’.

  7. Torture? You mean like putting panties on their heads? Going buck naked? That’s the ‘torture’ conflated with Abu Ghraib. Sorry, folks. Slamming into the Trade Towers wasn’t exactly by rule. Neither should our response be.

    *watches the troll-meter peak*

  8. gary,

    Joe brought up Abu Ghraib as part of a joke. Maybe Gadfly’s joke was an allusion to Abu Ghraib. But the issue at hand is sending prisoners to other countries so that they can be treated differently than our own laws and customs would allow us to. This has nothing to do with Abu Ghraib.

  9. Thanks, Fyodor.

    Of course, even if this did have something to do with Abu Ghraib, what went on there certainly does fit the definition of “torture.” Unless Gary wants to argue that ramming a glowstick up a prisoner’s ass is just good clean fun.

  10. Well, there are people out there who would pay handsomely to have something rammed up their asses.

    Or at least that’s what I heard about Dennis Hastert. I don’t actually know if it’s true, but I’m just saying.

  11. Not to mention death. I’d imagine the guys who died during interrogations would, if they could speak from the grave, suggest that Gary educate himself with sources other than Rush Limbaugh.

  12. “Sorry, folks. Slamming into the Trade Towers wasn’t exactly by rule. Neither should our response be…”

    The vast majority of people detained at Abu Gharib were released because they were innocent of any crimes. Or did you buy into an Orwellian “Room 101” -type strategy where EVERYONE is guilty and it’s only a matter of “forcing” them to admit their crimes.

    “You mean like putting panties on their heads? Going buck naked? That’s the ‘torture’ conflated with Abu Ghraib…”

    I noticed you cleverly omitted the instances of rape, penetration with foreign objects, beatings, and other forms of non-torture.

    I’m confused. First I hear that we invaded to bring the fruits of democracy to the Iraqi people yet your argument seems to imply that we’re applying some sort of Israeli-style collective punishment to the entire nation for 9/11—which they had nothing to do with…

    Why do I get the feeling your one of those people who felt the children who perished at Waco deserved their fate because their parents were “religious nuts and screw-ups”…

  13. I think Hastert is the current reigning Most Embarrasing Republican.

  14. You guys don’t know what torture is til you’ve been in solitary confinement for three years. You would gladly take a beating or worse to get out of there. Many, many people here in the US are pemanently damaged by our prison system. All very tidy and legal, though.

  15. I’m a chubby white guy. If I’m ever sent to prison, I’ll definitely take solitary over sharing a cell with ThunderDick.

  16. What’s with the freakin’ constitution? I mean without that damn thing we wouldn’t have to outsource torture. What about American jobs?

  17. I think Hastert is the current reigning Most Embarrasing Republican.

    Most embarrasing elected Republican.

    Alan Keyes is still the reiging champ among the whole party.

  18. I think Hastert is the current reigning Most Embarrasing Republican.

    How can you choose just one? ;->

  19. Re: most embarassing – Has everyone forgotten about Bob Dornan? I mean, I’ve been trying…

  20. Dornan and Keyes at least have a kooky charm.

  21. Just for clarity’s sake – can a person be “naked” if they have panties on their head?

    Just askin’

  22. OK, let’s have a contest. I nominate Keyes. We have votes for Denny and Dornan.

    Oh, and can we forget Santorum?

    (in the interest of bipartisanship, I nominate Kucinich and Traficant for most embarassing Dems)

  23. If we’re going to nominate most embarassing Dems, I nominate Bill Clinton and Teddy Kennedy.

    Good point on Santorum. Anybody whose name becomes a slang term for something sexual and fecal-related has to be a pretty big embarassment.

    Heh, heh, I just said Santorum. giggle.

  24. We need to move to curb Dan Savage’s power now, before he becomes unstoppable.

  25. I nominate John (just go ahead and join the Democratic party already) McCain.

    And Orrin (I know what’s best for you) Hatch.

    And, this being Reason, Dick (WTF does Reason have against this guy) Cheny.

  26. “Has everyone forgotten about Bob Dornan”

    I suppose that I’m considering visiblity, as in total amount of embarrassment generated. Hastert is the Speaker of the House for God’s sake. Dornan would win for unit embarrassment generated per observer.

  27. I nominate Congressman “Baghdad” Jim McDermott (D) of Washington.

    As for the R’s, I’ll cast my vote for Santorum with a runner-up vote Tom “The Hammer” DeLay.

  28. For the Dems, I nominate Gary Condit and Al Sharpton (though Sharpton also gets mad points for entertainment value).

    Hmm, I think I’ll vote for Denny “Have you ever been in a Turkish prison” Hastert over Santorum though. What made it tough was that Cornyn had the intelligence to skip over the box turtle comment during the speech, while Santorum lacked similar wisdom.

  29. “Dornan and Keyes at least have a kooky charm.”

    Keyes, certainly. Dornan beat his wife, which disqualifies him from kooky charm in my book. Although punching a congressman on the floor of the House gets him some points for likeability, it’s still embarrasing.

  30. For the Dems, I can’t even decide which is the most emabarrassing from my district…

  31. Oh, how could I forget Sharpton for most embarrasing Dem?!!

    Bill Clinton? Ehn, I dunno. Other than Monica and pondering the definition of “is”, he’s not really that embarrasing…

  32. One more for the GOP- Jim “I’m outraged by the outrage!” Inhofe.

  33. JDM: I didn’t know about Dornan’s alleged wifebeating. I did a quick Google search and learned that the woman eventually recanted the charge, but I’m not sure how seriously to take that. I’m willing to stipulate that he’s not a good man.

    But. I still remember watching his ‘special order’ speeches on C-Span when I was a teenager. They are, to this day, among the most deranged things I’ve ever seen on television. He’s the Gene Scott of the GOP. I’m a devoted fan.

  34. Notwithstanding personal life failings, my vote on the Dem side would have to go to ol’ Zell. Appointed to office twice by his Dem buddies, he turned around and fucked them. That’s chutzpah.

  35. Gadfly,
    Wouldn’t that make the Dem buddies that appointed him embarassing? Sounds like Zell made out like a bandit.

  36. Zell has a guaranteed parking space on K street. Yes, he made out.

  37. http://www.drgenescott.com/home.htm

    You can still watch him on the web, 24 hours a day, still threatening his viewers with more horsey footage if they don’t donate enough.

  38. What about old Strom? Leaking fluids on the Senate floor has to be a little embarrassing, even to the other folks on this list

  39. “What about old Strom?”

    I consider Strom legally dead, though he held the position for years. I think it’s a sign of progress that the current title holder isn’t a racist.

  40. Well Gary did accomplish one thing with his inane post: He got everyone to quit talking about the United States farming out torture.
    Seymour Hersh says we ain?t seen nothing yet.
    No wonder they want to past this job to another country so as to put some distance between themselves and the vile things they allow to be done in the name of freedom and Democracy.

  41. My old teenage friend Larry Flynt laid a good trap and came up with Former Speaker of the House (for one week) Bob Livingston (R-Louisiana) as probably the most embarrassing member of the GOP. Now if old Mr. Flynt can catch Santorum in a man on dog expose!

    As for them supposingly more social justice Dems, I present you exhibit A (for asshole) Joe Biden (D – Hell) for attaching the RAVE Act onto the Amber Alert Bill and getting it passed without opposition. A close second would have to be Gov McGreevey for his “I’m Gay” diversion of his real crimes.

    I nominate Congressman “Baghdad” Jim McDermott (D) of Washington.

    Being that I live in Baghdad Jim’s district, I am going to attempt a half-assed defense. Knowing what we know now about Iraq, was he wrong?

  42. Bill Clinton? Ehn, I dunno. Other than Monica and pondering the definition of “is”, he’s not really that embarrasing…

    Don’t forget “I didn’t inhale” and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. But yeah, I don’t think he qualifies.

    However, as a Californian I would like to nominate Gray Davis, the most unpopular governor in the history of the state — who managed to not only get trounced in a recall, but to convince two-thirds of one of the most left-wing states in the nation to vote for Republicans.

    And he handed the Republican Party a new celebrity politician, to boot. Thanks, Gray!

  43. Dan,
    We already pass the job off to other countries. What do you think happens to a guy taken into custody and then is shipped off to Egypt or Pakistan? We don’t send them to see the pyramids or take them on sightseeing tours? The gotta earn their aid money somehow. It’s a vile disgusting practice and these countries really do make Abu Ghraib look like summer camp (even taking into account forcible sodomy and deaths by “heart attack”).

  44. What in the Hell is happening to our government?? It’s like they’re turning into savages. Some of them have no sense of decency. Even after what happened to that Canadian guy that they sent to Syria, how can Hastert propose this? What a change this is from Reagan’s stance when he was asked if civil liberties should be temporarily curtailed in order to fight Soviet communism, and his answer was that if we became like the communists we would be giving up with out a fight and we would be making America less worth fighting for.

    This is the American republic. The central idea is that the sanctity of the individual ought to be revered here. We must reject Hastert?s descent into barbarity with this condoning of torture. His proposal represents such an unpatriotic sentiment, that he might as well be spitting on the flag. Even one who cares nothing for individual liberty and decency should be alarmed. If we permit this depravity on the part of our government, how far are we from the government using the pretext of an emergency to visit this savagery upon domestic dissent? History is replete with examples of nations who subjected enemies to cruel treatment later subjecting their national dissenters to the same.
    We need to control our government.

    I suggest two courses of action: We should go on to Web sites frequented by foreigners, especially folks from the Mid-east, and let them know that we are ashamed of these actions of our government, but also explain to them that these are not the actions of the private citizens of America, that we are distinct from our government, and that most Americans repudiate torture. Also, we should let them know that the rights and liberties which we enjoy here, such as free speech, capitalism, freedom of association and private property, are integral to torture being illegal.

    Also, we should contact congress:

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

    and let them know that this part has got to go if they expect our votes:

    Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the “9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004,” introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, any suspected terrorist – thereby allowing them to be deported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture.

    Lastly, from the same link:

    They might create a loophole that allows us to send a prisoner to Egypt or Syria or Jordan if we get “assurances” that they will not torture a prisoner–even if these assurances are false and we know they are false.

    Our government gives the thug Egyptian government several billion or our tax dollars every year (2nd only to the Israeli government) and the Jordanian government thugs get one half a billion. And these are the places where our government wants to, or perhaps has already, out-source torture. In view of this; why would an Iraqi ever think that our government intends anything good for him/her?

  45. “Being that I live in Baghdad Jim’s district, I am going to attempt a half-assed defense. Knowing what we know now about Iraq, was he wrong?”

    Well, maybe, but that is not the point. It is that he is embarrassing to mainstream D’s whether he is right or wrong, because a)he said we should take Saddam at his word b) believes Bush is holding OBL c) omitted ‘under god’ from his leading of the pledge on the house floor, d) etc… Never mind that he may indeed be right, he gives voice to every left-wing crank in the country at a time when D’s are trying to convince America they are centrist.

    If nothing else, being photographed with a “serious” Bono is always embarrassing:

    http://www.house.gov/mcdermott/

    On another note, while this is a ‘fun’ topic, the original post is some scary shit and maybe we should all go write our representatives…

  46. Inhofe deserves the title for Most Embarassing Elected Republican in National Office for making the following statement to the Senate on 3/4/02 as to why Israel has a right to all of the West Bank:

    “I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk. In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says: The Lord said to Abram, ‘Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. ….. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.’ That is God talking. The Bible says that Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am giving you this land,’ the West Bank. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.”

  47. DAMN! Mexico just became the first country to adopt the Istanbul Protocols, outlawing torture… and here I am training Mexican workers doing outsourced U.S. jobs. So, you guys have any openings for our out-of-work goons?

  48. SR,

    You convinced me. Inhofe is embarrassing and a salty duche bag!

    dlc,
    Never mind that he may indeed be right, he gives voice to every left-wing crank in the country at a time when D’s are trying to convince America they are centrist.

    I dunno if McDermott is any worse than GOP campaign ads against Dems. GOP’ers are always railing against dems as being too liberal. The GOP does very well doing this. And given the actions of Dennis Hastert’s add on in conjunction with the Gay Marrigae Admendment movement, the Dems are pretty damn liberal, but not in a relative bad way. The Dems in general haven’t done so well showcasing their centrisity. Except of course Clinton upping the anty on the War on Pot Smokers.

  49. Hey, at least Inhofe was being honest about the real reason the US backs Israel so much.

    Rick, you always mention writing our reps about things we oppose, and sometimes I do it. I even get nice, typed letters back from my reps thanking me for my interest, etc. Hell, maybe they even read them before having their interns write a reply. Anyway, my point is, keep it up, and I think I’ll be sending a nice letter to them now.

  50. Why the negativity guys? Seems like a clear victory for Free Trade.

  51. Don’t look now, but Inhofe may be about to be joined by Tom Coburn, who is even more of a religious fanatic, and advocates the death penalty for abortionists. He also is being sued because, as a doctor, he had a patient with an ectopic pregnancy, but removed both Fallopian tubes instead of just one, without consulting the woman, and making the woman incapable of bearing children. He’s running ads accusing his opponent, Brad Carson, of being a liberal despite Carson explicitly endorsing Republican programs and the Federal Marriage Amendment.

    These two bozos could be my entire Senatorial delegation. By comparison Don Nickles seems like a great national statesman.

  52. Torture–an evil thing the Nazis, Soviets, etc. did.

    “Torture”–9/11 change the world!

  53. “I suggest two courses of action: We should go on to Web sites frequented by foreigners, especially folks from the Mid-east, and let them know that we are ashamed of these actions of our government, but also explain to them that these are not the actions of the private citizens of America, that we are distinct from our government, and that most Americans repudiate torture.”

    But are YOU representative of the American people? Do most Americans repudiate torture? I think a surprising percentage feel that torture is justified if their security is at stake…or could possibly be at stake…or has the chance of potentially being at stake in the future…or, well, just in case.

    Seriously. The country isn’t fucked yet, but if things get worse it very well could be, and the people will be partly to blame.

  54. Mo,
    I think you and I are in agreement, and you are correct, we have already been outsourcing our torture. That?s despicable and it should be officially banned.

  55. If I understand it correctly, they can’t “export” any US citizens, regardless..

    If an unlucky, innocent person got caught up in this, it would be unacceptable.

    On the other hand..

    If they caught a foreign visitor red-handed with a bomb in the truck and the floor plans to a local high school.. fuck their rights. They just lost them, as far as I’m concerned. The gloves are off.

  56. If they caught a foreign visitor red-handed with a bomb in the truck and the floor plans to a local high school.. fuck their rights. They just lost them, as far as I’m concerned. The gloves are off.

    I agree that a person caught with a bomb and the floor plans of the local high school should not enjoy any rights….once those assertions have been established by evidence, and after the person has failed to provide an explanation that would establish reasonable doubt.

    For some reason, people think that a trial before punishment is some sort of privilege that the guilty are getting as an indulgence despite their crimes. If that were how I looked at trials I’d have no problem with denying trials to terrorists.

    However, a trial isn’t some sort of gift given to the guilty. Rather, it’s the way that we figure out who’s guilty in the first place. We can’t just take the executive branch at its word, no matter how convincing it may seem, because there’s no guarantee that the facts of the case will turn out to be what the executive branch said they were. The cops might be lying. Or they might have been sloppy. Or they might have simply made an understandable mistake when confronted with a complex situation.

    Remember, the executive branch is the same group that runs Amtrak, the EPA, the Department of Education, and the IRS. The executive branch sent a posthumous visa to Mohammed Atta.

    Because of this, it’s absolutely imperative that the defendant have an opportunity to contest the claims of the executive branch. If he can’t provide a satisfactory explanation or refutation then he’ll be convicted.

    Finally, remember that if we disregard this vital check on the power of the executive branch and convict an innocent person, the real culprit will still be at large. What if the foreigner in your example was running an errand in his employer’s truck, and had no idea that the bomb and blueprints were in a locked compartment in the back of the truck? What if his employer is the real culprit? If we immediately conclude that the foreigner in this example is the bad guy then the real bad guy will be out there and be able to kill innocent people in the future.

    Finally, remember that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written by a generation that had witnessed war on US soil. They knew the danger that spies and saboteurs might be operating in our midst. They accepted that risk when they established a Republic governed by the rule of law, because the alternative was an unaccountable police state.

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