Never Mind the Frolykz, Welcome to Weekend Wonderland!

Hello

Good afternoon and welcome to Weekend Wonderland – the place where we get to talk about (almost) anything and (almost) everything (unless it’s sacrosanct).

Evidently, what one person considers “a bit of laugh” can sometimes cause offence to others.

It’s all very funny until someone gets hurt…. And then it’s just f**kin’ hilarious.

So what constitutes going beyond the boundaries of good taste?

Even with the best of intentions, one’s efforts can become rapidly undone, dissected and derided.

Consider this recent project developed by Ramco Primary School in South Australia.

The teachers and students of Ramco Primary thought it would be a good idea to raise awareness of the plight of the disabled in society and raise a bit of cash for charity at the same time.

All well and good you might think. And why not?

The money raised would go to a clinic in Bangladesh that provides surgery for children suffering cleft lips and palates. A very worthy cause indeed.

So putting their thinking caps on, the teachers and students agreed on a day of fundraising and sent a newsletter to parents outlining their excellent idea.

The newsletter explained that on May 29, the children were to attend school dressed as their “favourite” disability.

“There will be prizes for the best students dressed as a person with a disability,” the letter read.

“Get your thinking hats on and see what disability you can represent!”

Now this strikes me as being a lot of fun.

I could see myself going as the kid with Tourette’s syndrome, of which few would disagree that I’m aptly qualified for, however a number of parents took umbrage with the whole idea.

Quicker than you could lose a limb, the complaints came fast and furious calling for the entire day to be scrapped and for the Principal to be sacked.

Sadly, the Principal, Barrey Nivven, has just announced that the “dress as the disabled” day has been dumped.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Nivven said the students had abandoned plans for the day after it was branded “bad taste”.

“It’s not going ahead — the children themselves have taken that decision,” Mr Nivven said.

“The emphasis was on physical disability … what we were looking for was someone who has a broken leg, or an arm that’s not functional, or a crook eye.

“The point was for students to gain an understanding of what these people have to deal with and to help those less fortunate than us.”

Mr Nivven, who said he never planned on dressing as a disabled person, said there would still be a fundraiser but that students were not required to dress up.

The decision has been welcomed by advocates who feared the day would send the wrong message to students.

“People with disabilities have enough trouble being accepting into our community as it is,” said Trish Wetton, CEO of disability-support organisation Forsight Foundation.

“What might have lingered after this day? What messages would the children, who are quite young, have taken away? It’s a very sensitive area and, depending on how the parents dressed their kids, it could have bordering on discrimination” said Ms Wetton.

What do you think? Was the school right to ban disability day? Or is this just another example of political correctness gone mad?

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219 Responses

  1. Nixon must be so proud. US president said to be above law .

    [This comment touches on torture policy. Skip if not interested.]

    Condoleeza Rice apperas to channel Richard Nixon and says

    The United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture. And so, by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture.

    In other words, the president can break the law with impunity. Nixon must be pissed off that he didn’t get away with that assertion.

    But Rice also indicates that someone above her – i.e. either Bush or Cheney – authorized the “enhanced interrogation practices”, and she just passed them on (BTW Condi, way to go discharging your professional duty!)

    The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against torture. So that’s — and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency. That they had policy authorization subject to the Justice Department’s clearance.

    (my emphasis).

  2. Nixon must be so proud.

    Lotharsson, on May 1st, 2009 at 3:36 pm Said:

    Pssssssssssssss………………………..He’s dead !

  3. [This comment is about torture policy. Skip if not interested.]

    It looks like the CIA was told that it could use waterboarding against Abu Zubaydah BEFORE the OLC memos attempting to justify it were issued. Cart before horse?

    Not only that, but if you look at the OLC memos, they don’t attempt to determine whether interrogatory waterboarding of a hostile subject (hat tip to Sparta, who otherwise thinks it’s the same as SERE training waterboarding of a friendly volunteer subject) would be legal or not. They attempt to determine whether it would be legal under ONE particular law and ignore all the others under which it is almost certainly illegal.

    It’s kind of like saying “Sure, it’s OK to cheat on your taxes under the Consumer Protection Law”.

  4. Lotharsson, on May 1st, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    (I still want to know what’s in the still-classified 2007 memo…who would know what the sophists got up to in terms of their unilateral ‘redefinitions’ of the law and building of ex post facto escape clauses in said.)

  5. [Torture policy. Skip if not interested.]

    Looks like Bybee may have been given a carefully crafted package of misinformation on which to base part of his reasoning. Being at least a nominally competent lawyer he wrote an escape clause about the assumptions he was employing, which may prove interesting for some should cases ever reach court. This may explain why the CIA interrogators tried to refuse application of the “enhanced” techniques – because they had information that the basis for the legal argument was false.

    Here is another exposition of faulty assumptions which a good faith effort would have exposed.

    And Bybee knew that waterboarding constituted a “threat of imminent death”, which is a “predicate act” that violates the anti-torture laws. So he argued that it wouldn’t be severe enough to count. How did he support that assertion? He asked the CIA who was asking for permission to waterboard:

    Based on your research into the use of these methods at the SERE school and consultation with others with expertise in the field of psychology and interrogation, you do not anticipate that any prolonged mental harm would result from the use of the waterboard.

    Apparently his fine legal mind doesn’t see any distinction between volunteer training with a “stop now” safety mechanism under low-intensity friendly circumstances, and a high-intensity hostile experience with no end in sight.

    And he didn’t take the trouble to consult with medical professionals who deal with (say) torture victims. That would taking due diligence too far. Why, it would be almost unprofessional!

    Anyone STILL think these memos were produced in good faith with the due diligence expected of a member of the bar?

    Other lawyers argue that detainees come to welcome interrogations. See, we’re just lending them a helping hand by waterboarding them! And he argues waterboarding and other forms of torture can’t be a threat of imminent death – even though survivors report that it is, and people die from waterboarding – because you know (somewhere in the back of your mind while your body and brain are going crazy?) – that they want something out of you? These guys got admitted to the bar somewhere? Did they torture the bar committee?

  6. I still want to know what’s in the still-classified 2007 memo…

    I have no doubt there’s more sh*t out there, and it’s probably worse than the sh*t we already know.

    But you’ve got to give them kudos for having giant balls. They enact policies that actively hurt America’s security by closing down information gathering opportunities and providing effective recruiting propaganda for the terrorists and insurgents, fail to secure huge caches of weapons when they invade Iraq, lose thousands and thousands more automatic weapons they send to Iraq, unnecessarily endanger hundreds of thousands of troops by sending them to Iraq, fail to prevent anthrax attacks inside the US – and they STILL have a hard core of people willing to say that those opposing their policies are endangering American security and not supporting the troops.

  7. [Torture and “morality” in the US. Skip if not interested.]

    Apparently, churchgoers in the US – especially “Evangelicals” – are significantly more likely to say that torture is sometimes or often justifiable against suspected terrorists than non-church-goers. Atheists and the “unaffiliated” are the least likely to support that proposition (with White Mainline Protestants the next least likely).

    But of course, church goers are more moral than those who don’t, right?! I mean, Who Would Jesus Torture?

    But two people with the same type of genitals getting married? That would be a massive collapse of moral values that would endanger the very foundations of our country.

  8. Just catching snippets on Sky but Brendon Nelson (remember him anyone?) is complaining that the government may not provide a $30.00 increase in aged pensions.

    Just another backflip with pike from the Opposition as in February this year Tony Abbott stated:

    Shadow Community Services Minister Tony Abbott says Australia would now struggle to afford the rise.

    “Many pensioners are doing it tough, but a 35 dollar a week increase is an enormous hit on the revenue,” he told LIVENEWS.com.au.

  9. Gee whiz reb, wasn’t that one a great idea from Principal Nivven. I can imagine my crew all deciding that being hearing impaired (like mum) was the go..sorry can’t hear, can you face me when you’re talking to me etc and blah. But imagine an entire class of 9&10 year olds pretending to be hearing impaired, just acting normal ya recon.

  10. Min, Nelson and Abbott originated from different ends of the gene pool.

    The conservatives are split in two and their leader is, well…is not!

    Nelson has done the honourable thing to resign from politics at the end of his term, rather than air the putrid laundry.

  11. Too true scaper. Surely it must stick in Nelson’s craw that he was dumped for Golden Boy Turnbull who is doing worse than Nelson..however if Nelson feels this way then he is too much of a gentleman to show it.

    I suspect that the powers that be in the Opposition (who ever they/he might be) have asked Nelson to come forward given that the Defence White Paper is due for release tomorrow. Nelson has some credibility on the issue of Defence where is Sen David Johnson Shadow Minister for Defence is..ummm who?? And yes I had to Google to check his name which says something in itself.

  12. Lotharsson:

    “I mean, Who Would Jesus Torture?”

    Buggered if I know, but I imagine that you’d find a conga line of suckholes all the way from Hillsong if the invitation was ever extended…!

  13. Min,
    I too am hearing impaired but I reckon that if kids went to school with noise reduction ear muffs and had to wear them for the whole day they may well understand how difficult life is for those afflicted. I suspect that was the whole idea of the day.

  14. Lotharsson, on May 1st, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Min answered that one earlier, perhaps, Lotharsson. Men get sweat of the brow and women get childbirth. The ones which have me pondering though, is how begatting was possible when the sons of Adam and Eve apparently had no female analogues; why the good Abel’s reward for killing a goat was being killed by the naughty Seth, who was made to live for a long time as his punishment; and why the Lord was taken from them by BEING TORTURED. Mind you, My-Names-Are-Legion was cast into a herd of hogs and drowned in the sea, once upon a time, so we know Jesus has it in him to eradicate swine flu.

  15. Oops, make that “the naughty Cain”; Seth was busy in Aegypt overthrowing one of the Amen dynasties with giant crocodiles and hippopotami.

  16. Have to go, but breaking news. Son, partner and baby were supposed to be flying Jetstar 1st flight tomorrow leaving Cairns at 6am. He has just only now been contacted to say that the flight has been cancelled. And not just this flight but several flights due to faulty landing gear on several Jetstar aircraft.

    All’s well that ends well, they have found a flight to Brisbane and so hubby is driving up there tomorrow afternoon to pick them up.

    So much for Jetstar’s Friday Fare Frenzy!!!!!!

  17. Min,

    Jetstar are doomed.

    They’re notorious for cancelling flights. There’s simply no way they can survive with this sort of abysmal track record.

    At least your family don’t have any international connecting flights…

  18. Min, on May 1st, 2009 at 6:21 pm Said:

    A mate of mine had some flights “cancelled” by Jetstar a few weks ago. Then he noticed his “cancelled” flights were still on their website.

    They had lied to him and they were simply overbooked. So he rang them back and told them they were a bunch of liers and threatened Dept of Fair Trading on them.

    So they put him back on the “cancelled” flights and presumably “bumped” someone else.

  19. Jetstar is a marvellous airline. They’re a wholly owned subsidiary of our national icon.

    They will be synonymous with the domestic airline industry, as soon they will be the domestic airline industry.

  20. The ones which have me pondering though, is how begatting was possible when the sons of Adam and Eve apparently had no female analogues;…

    Well, that’s obvious. Back then they must have had homosexual reproduction, which, if you think about it, is kind of a (non-sexual) quality of the clergy in all those churches who still think that what’s (not) between your legs disqualifies you from clergyship.

    1/2 😉

  21. Yeah, Legion, there are plenty of … anomalies and contradictions for those who care to look. (The nature of the Jewish/Christian deity as portrayed throughout the Bible ought to be clue enough – there’s a major personality shift between one half of the Bible and the next, which is a bit … disconcerting for a being who is meant to be eternally unchanging. And then there’s the difficulty of rationalising the perfect character attributes imputed to the Christian deity with his actions and the nature of the world and the deceptive coyness with which he apparently interacts with it…but that sort of discussion could spiral right down a rabbit hole.)

    In a fundamentalist subculture, such as is the case for many Christian variants not to mention other religions, you’re taught to _start_ with the premise that the Bible (or other text or authority) is all completely accurate and correct and God-inspired, and then to work on rationalising how that could be so. (Kind of like the Bushies started with the premise that getting really harsh with their detainees would lead to better information…)

    People who get good at this may have a more comfortable time inside the subculture, but tend to do poorly relating to reality. And they spend an awful lot of time inventing more and more complex rationalisations as new evidence comes in that contradicts their existing axioms – or they learn to studiously ignore evidence they can’t handle. (Er, kind of like the Bushies too, come to think of it…)

    I once attended a meeting where a Christian geologist or some such told a bunch of Uni students that when their lecturers related some fact or theory that was inconveniently inconsistent with (the fundamentalist Christian) interpretation of (say) the Biblical creation story they should stand up and call bulldust, primarily by asking if he had any witnesses and then claiming that the Bible did and hence that proved it. I’m glad I went to that meeting – the sheer stupidity of it helped me keep moving away from my somewhat fundamentalist upbringing 🙂

  22. “Jetstar is a marvellous airline.”

    Thanks Tom, had a good belly laugh over that one.

    Let me guess..

    It’s the ‘high quality” checkin service and cabin crew, not to mention the marvelous reliability of their flight schedules…?

  23. Interesting musings Legion & Lotharsson.

  24. [Torture prosecution related – skip if need be.]

    That Spanish judge is still planning to prosecute the authors of the OLC memos. Apparently when the relevant UN treaty says that it applies anywhere, to anyone, with no excuses – he believes it. (So does the US, as long as by “anywhere” you mean “anywhere except where we control”, and by “anyone” you mean “anyone but us”, and by “no excuses” you mean “except if the president says something vague about national security” – e.g. see the prosecution of “Chuckie Taylor” for torture committed in Liberia.)

    The judge is investigating allegations that five former Guantanamo Bay prisoners were mistreated (torture is alleged – and this article says it was least partly validated by the Spanish Supreme Court – see my emphasis in the quote).

    Garzon’s investigation focuses on charges of conspiracy to introduce and implement a regime of torture at the detention facilities at Guantánamo in Cuba, where five prisoners investigated by Garzón were held. Four of the prisoners have now filed claims with Garzón in which they press charges that they were tortured during their captivity and their claims were validated at least to some extent by a June 2006 ruling of the Spanish Supreme Court, which overturned a conviction on the grounds that it was secured with evidence gathered through torture. The case has been pending since the time of their turnover from U.S. authorities with Judge Garzón, who has attempted to prosecute the five under counterterrorism statutes.

    (I think the journalist in that quote meant “who has attempted to prosecute the case brought by the five…”)

    The judge is said to be facing intense political pressure to call off the lawsuit, but given his record he doesn’t strike me as someone who gives in lightly. The previous attempt to prosecute the OLC laywers was on a slightly different basis and the Spanish attorney general opposed the case (on the basis that the policy authors should not be the targets – strange reasoning to me), and was advised that in any instance this judge should not handle both that case and this one. Accordingly the former case went back into the random reassignment pool. This judge is now seeking to have the former case consolidated with this one, which isn’t a sign of someone who’s letting go.

    On the other hand, it’s widely reported that both he and the Spanish attorney general would expect to drop the case should the US mount a proper case of its own. (Universal jurisdiction is only for cases where there is no effective prosecution of credible allegations.) I can only see that as a big slap in the face for the justice system of a country that once used to see itself as a beacon of human rights and a leader in ruling by law, not men.

  25. [Torture policy implications for Americans detained overseas]

    BTW, North Korea is holding two Americans, claiming “hostile acts” against the country (which I reckon is North Korean code for the magic pixie dust invocation “national security”).

    So do you think they’ll apply the Bush/Cheney detainee treatment regime – and wave the OLC memos in the face of any complaints by US officials? After all, it appears that would only require small modifications to existing North Korean practices that seem strongly related to the stuff that SERE training is designed to prepare US soldiers for.

    Wow, it’s almost recursive…

  26. The Australian and British Labor Party’s need to get back to their early roots and focus on the majority of ordinary people, the voters whom they were formed to represent, according to this timely opinion piece in today’s Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/01/labour-politics-david-blunkett

  27. Lotharson,

    I was out last night and so am now trying to catch up on all the threads. And on the Bybee memo, I did note the other day on his “on what I have been told” get-out clause. That will be where he tries to put the blame on someone else if the “facts” he was told were not the whole truth.

  28. Geez…..Can you imagine if this guy had been captured on tape “water-boarding” instead! Good thing he only ran the guy over a couple times, used a cattle prod etcetera….

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25415442-2703,00.html

  29. Good God

    Are there still people reading this blog ??????

    Has Reb slept in or somethin’…………?

  30. Sparta

    And that somehow supports your argument that waterboarding is not torture?

  31. Can you imagine if this guy had been captured on tape “water-boarding” instead!

    Yes, I can imagine it. The US would have had little moral authority to complain about it. There would be no sanction, and probably barely a complaint. And you think that’s a good outcome?

    So Sparta, seeing you now feel the need to put scare quotes around the term “waterboarding”, can you answer one simple question.

    Is it OK for North Korea to “waterboard” the US citizens it is currently holding on accusation of “hostile acts” against the country?

  32. Walrus..I’m here..for what that’s worth. I took your comment on board re Jetstar..and so hubby phoned this morning just in case of fibs. However, it’s true all flights out of Cairns cancelled not that there is a mention on Jetstar’s website.

    Son was firstly offered as an alternative an 8 hour flight Cairns to Melbourne then back up to Coolangatta. Well, that would have been fun with a 4 1/2 month old baby.

    Am guessing that son went into Leading Seaman mode and demanded action and hence now has a flight to Brisbane this evening (maybe kicking some other poor sods off the flight). Jeff is having to knock off work early, pick up the hire car from Coolangatta and drive up to Brisbane. But as reb noted, at least it wasn’t an international flight.

    Posted re loathed dead Australians..Telstra and Jetstar.

  33. Waterboarding has been a torture method of choice because it provides no physical evidence that the torture even occurred.

    And shall we do this again..

    According to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself a torture victim during the Vietnam War, the water board technique is a “very exquisite torture” that should be outlawed.

    Water boarding was designated as illegal by U.S. generals in Vietnam 40 years ago. A photograph that appeared in The Washington Post of a U.S. soldier involved in water boarding a North Vietnamese prisoner in 1968 led to that soldier’s severe punishment.

    The above from: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1356870

  34. Jon Stewart gets a history lesson.

    Then he says he was w…wr…wr… apologises.

  35. Charles Krauthammer defended torture in his column today, after first branding it an “impermissible evil”.

    As Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think that it means what you think it means”.

    He uses both the “ticking time bomb” and “high value information extraction from an enemy that is likely to save lives” to justify torture (and infuses his argument with subtle … er, redefinitions of reality). This is otherwise known in ethics circles as arguing via “the ends justify the means”, a stance that used to be widely derided as morally degraded by people (typically but not uniformly religious) who fancied that they were guardians of society’s morality, but is now increasingly popular with those same people. Well, as long as (say) North Korea doesn’t try and use the same argument. In which case it’s morally degraded. But it’s not when we do it.

    But I digress. Note that in both scenarios Krauthammer is seeking accurate information. And, just like others we know, his presumption is widely held – and demonstrated – to be wrong by the very highly experienced professionals whose highest job function it is to extract accurate information from people who’d rather not give it up.

    Dan Froomkin took Krauthammer’s argument down, point by point. (Favourite quote – “”Responding to bluster with war crimes” — there’s a great motto for an administration.”)

    And Steve Benen points out (my emphasis)

    …the idea that torture is acceptable when officials believe a detainee has “high-value information likely to save lives” is a recipe for creating building-sized loopholes to laws prohibiting torture. Every government or terrorist network can justify all torture with such a ridiculous standard. The Japanese tortured in World War II because they thought they’d captured “a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives.” Did that make it right? Did it stop us from labeling their conduct “war crimes”?

  36. Lotharsson,

    Dan Froomkin took Krauthammer’s argument down, point by point. (Favourite quote – “”Responding to bluster with war crimes” — there’s a great motto for an administration.”)

    Perhaps you can help me. I can’t find the bit where he took down this Krauthammer paragraph:

    Did it work? The current evidence is fairly compelling. George Tenet said that the “enhanced interrogation” program alone yielded more information than everything gotten from “the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together.”

    Or did he take down only those points which suited his argument?

  37. “But it’s not when we do it.”

    The whole “America the hypocrite argument” is becoming so boring……Please find me a government that is free of such a digression from time to time and perhaps you might have a point otherwise save it for class……

    Tony,

    Didn’t you know, much like AGW the debate is over…..Now fall in line already……

  38. I can’t find the bit where he took down this Krauthammer paragraph:…Or did he take down only those points which suited his argument?

    I find that if you’re going to accuse someone of “only taking down the points that suit their argument” that it helps if you read their entire argument 😉 For example:

    He quotes two former CIA officials, both deeply invested in covering their asses, who unsurprisingly insist that torture worked. But none of the claims they or others in the complicit chain of command have made held up under even modest public scrutiny.

    And he mocks the idea put forth by President Obama on Wednesday — and supported by people who actually have experience in interrogation, rather than in watching TV and fantasizing about being Jack Bauer — that traditional interrogation techniques are extremely effective.

    You may argue that his refutation is incorrect, or based on incomplete knowledge (which is what Cheney claims, even though more than one other person who also has access to the classified intelligence calls bullsh*t on that), or disagree for some other reason, but I find it rather strange to claim that he didn’t address the point that you quoted.

  39. So Sparta, you’re now saying national hypocrisy is just fine by you – noted that for future reference. (This has also well noted and used as recruitment propaganda by the terrorists, but c’est la vie, right?)

    Now, what about those Americans held by the North Koreans?

  40. Thanks Lotharsson, I did miss that bit.

    Until we see the evidence either way (Cheney memos?), however, his dismissal of Krauthammer’s sources with a version of “they would say that, wouldn’t they” leaves me unsatisfied.

  41. “Now, what about those Americans held by the North Koreans?”

    What about them? Seeing as North Korea isn’t even a signee of the UN CAT, starves and tortures their own citizens, not currently had three thousand citizens killed by radical American Christians, or captured these “citizens” on a battlefield in plain clothes etcetera…The analogy is weak by any measure….Apples and oranges lad…..

  42. “So Sparta, you’re now saying national hypocrisy is just fine by you – noted that for future reference.”

    No, I am saying it is a reality that is hardly reserved for the US but regularly presented as such and your no exception…..

  43. Oh, dear Lord, they aren’t even a signatory to the UNCAT, and it’s apples and oranges? Someone yell out when Sparta has finally turned that other place, where the pen is not mightier than the sword, into a Banana Republic.

  44. Seeing as North Korea isn’t even a signee of the UN CAT…

    You continue to argue that the US treatment of detainees doesn’t seem to be illegal under the UN CAT, which makes the CAT irrelevant. Stop dodging.

    Or if it WOULD make a difference if it were a CAT signatory doing it, why?

    No, I am saying it is a reality that is hardly reserved for the US but regularly presented as such and your no exception…..

    I’m not disagreeing THAT it is a reality – for both the US and other countries. You merely used that observation to dodge the question.

    What about them?

    I was referring to my previous very simple question. Would you have any complaints if the North Koreans (or any other hypothetical country you choose) treated US citizens it had detained on (say) “national security” grounds the same way the US treated its detainees?

  45. And just to inform your answer on North Korea, since you seem to imply that battlefield geographies and apparent threats of attack justify abusive treatment of detainees…

    …you do realise that (unless I missed the whole peace treaty thing) North and South Korea are still officially at war? And that the US is allied with – and indeed has a whole load of troops stationed in – South Korea? And that these US citizens were captured not just ON the battlefield, but inside North Korea allegedly committing or planning hostile acts? See any parallels yet?

    So, given that the US policy on detainee treatment was not a short lived “digression”, but (as the administration and lawyers claim) a result of thoroughly considered and accurate analysis, and which applied for several years, and which was re-affirmed and refined several times during that period…wouldn’t North Korea be justified in treating these captives the same way the US treated its detainees by claiming adherence to the same type of policy?

  46. Tony, I think I see where you might have had a problem. I must have forgotten to link Dan Froomkin’s column directly, or mangled the URL or something – sorry about that. You would have had to find and follow the link in Steve Benen’s post to get to Froomkin.

  47. On a lighter note, Martin Hamilton-Smith, the SA Liberal Opposition leader has been flim-flammed by the SA Labour Party.

    They’d got hold of documents purportedly leaked by “a highly-placed, “rolled gold” Labor source” alleging that Mike Rann, ALP state secretary Michael Brown, former ALP senator Nick Bolkus and state ALP treasurer John Boag had promised “special treatment” to Applied Scholastics, which is linked to the Church of Scientology, in an “under the radar” $20,000 donation. Koutsantonis and the other three were allegedly linked to it in a series of emails.

    Hamilton-Smith and his attack dog David Pisoni decided not to consult with their fellow pollies on when to go on the offensive with this political dynamite but obviously hadn’t subjected it to rigorous examination, or smelled a political rat.

    So instead of maintaining the offensive against Tom Koutsantonis and his ever-growing traffic offenses (60 since 1994, to date) to milk public outrage as long as possible and then go for the throat, in they went and ended up with egg on their faces, and a neatly diverted blow-torch from Koutsantonis.

    The ALP denies all knowledge, of course, but imo, it’s the mother and father of political set-ups, surpassing old Pig Iron’s Petrov caper and the Rodent’s “children overboard” affair. And a bloody sight cheaper- no air fares or dodgy cropped photos.

    It’s worked a treat with the hapless Hamilton-Smith having to apologise in Parliament with the opposition looking like complete amateurs and losing their momentum on the Koutsantanis affair and giving the government a cricket bat to beat the opposition with into the bargain! Way to go Marty!

  48. What do you think? Was the school right to ban disability day? Or is this just another example of political correctness gone mad?

    I tend to think that it’s possible to skip the PC bizzo altogether, and just ban it on practical/OH&S grounds. It’s probably not a great idea to be giving kids, who already lack mature coordination abilities and a full appreciation of risks, an opportunity to expose themselves to real risks through one-off simulations of disabilities under conditions at variance with their routine bodily coordinations and risk-assessments, and without any framework of adaptations underpinning those changed risk scenarios over time. One assumes, also, that the better the ‘costume’, the more ‘realistic’ that additional exposure to risk becomes. A kid simulating a ‘crook eye’, for instance, isn’t apt to see all that well…Oops, they didn’t see, and tripped over, the kid simulating a ‘broken leg’, and wind up with a pencil embedded in their optic faculty and we now have one kid with a real ‘crook eye’ and another kid with a real ‘broken leg’ to show for their respective educations…that kinda thing.

    On Tourette’s syndrome, I did notice this piece about Nick Van Bloss, a ‘sufferer’, in the news this past week, and am very pleased for him. He came to my attention last year when I saw him as narrator-particpant of a documentary, Mad But Glad, about how ‘difference’, of all sorts, interfaces with ‘creativity’; he wasn’t sure he’d ever play in public again, then, but wanted to so do.

  49. Legion, as a former primary school teacher the whole idea was bad..meaning very bad. I can visualise a class of 9 year olds staggering around the classroom pretending to be ‘spastics’. And of course as per normal dress up days such as pioneer day the teachers would also need to choose their favorite disability and come dressed accordingly..that should be fun. Mind you some disabilities are a wee bit tricky when you are required to come ‘dressed as one’.

    It’s so silly as to be funny. An idea might have been to invite kids from the Special School to share a class for the day.

  50. And because we haven’t had any music for a while..where are you Nasking?

    I don’t think that we’ve had Joe Cocker, at least not for some time. It’s worth a nice slow kitchen dance with one’s loved one.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-spsVigJCvNU/joe_cocker_you_are_so_beautiful/

  51. lol@ Martin Hamilton-Smith Jane & his political suicide.

    lol also @ your football team gettin’ a pizzling tonight…hopefully.

  52. NYT:

    The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself…

    But in recent days a variety of officials involved in the deliberations say that after administration lawyers examined many of the cases, the mood shifted toward using military commissions to prosecute some detainees, perhaps including those charged with coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks.

    “The more they look at it,” said one official, “the more commissions don’t look as bad as they did on Jan. 20.

  53. I agree with Tom and Tony and other posters on the mid-week thread that we must do everything we can to stop Al Qaeda nut jobs getting hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

    Can’t see any alternative, much as the recovering-hippie in me would like to … If these lunatics did take over the asylum, which city would be the first to glow in the dark? Paris, Shanghai, Sydney or Delhi? London or LA? Tokyo or Mumbai?

    That’s the realpolitik. So we’ve got no choice but to seriously up the ante in a military sense. But to win this war means more than more boots on the ground. Australia and our allies are going to have to spend a lot more money to help improve the miserable lives of ordinary people in the AFPAK region. The reason why they were open to the bearded madmen’s siren-call in the first place.

    Case in point, the deranged/cannabilistic Pakistani establishment has allowed their entire State-funded education system to collapse, rather than cut military spending. The only remaining option for most Pakistani people is to send their children to Islamic schools – which specialise in training kids to memorise that book word-for-word.

    And because of Pakistani military intransigence – trying to bleed India via proxy wars in Kashmir and Afghanistan – Pakistan has missed out on any chance it had of hitching an upward ride on India’s surging economy.

    What a disaster. A disaster some of Pakistan’s sponsors – Wahabist and Han – have no interest in sorting.

    I think I need another drink.

    Channel 10 has picked a terrible time to consider dropping The Simpsons. Many people I know, me definetly included, can’t handle the current news and current affairs agenda anymore. Thank goodness for the cartoon channel.

  54. Ray Hunt – “I agree with Tom and Tony and other posters on the mid-week thread that we must do everything we can to stop Al Qaeda nut jobs getting hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”

    I’ve not participated in any discussion on the subject. And I’d prefer my opinions not to be compartmentalised.

  55. Interesting article, Tony.

    …administration lawyers have become concerned that they would face significant obstacles to trying some terrorism suspects in federal courts. Judges might make it difficult to prosecute detainees who were subjected to brutal treatment or for prosecutors to use hearsay evidence gathered by intelligence agencies.

    The Bush administration’s commission system …permitted evidence that would often be barred in federal court, like evidence obtained through coercive interrogations and hearsay.

    The administration is likely to make it more difficult for prosecutors to admit hearsay, while not excluding it entirely, the lawyers said. The hearsay issue is central to many Guantánamo cases because they are based on intelligence reports and detainees may never be permitted to cross-examine the sources of those reports.

    You don’t say!

    Translation – “We just know he’s guilty of this bad stuff, Your Honor, it’s just that we can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless by ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ you mean we provide a confession that was obtained by coercion or brutal treatment, or a transcript that we claim was heard by someone who can’t be named through means that can’t be verified which makes some claims whose veracity cannot be challenged by the defense. So trust us! Really, it’s not like we’ve made stuff up or made mistakes or submitted evidence that can’t be validated before.

    That whole Iraq/Al Qaeda link, you say? Aluminium tubes? Centrifuges? Mobile biological weapons labs? Curveball? Stovepiped intelligence? Merely honest oversights from zealous defenders doing their best to keep the country safe, Your Honor. We’ve…er, promoted the analysts involved so those mistakes, er ..oversights won’t happen again.

    David Hicks, you say? Dropped the charges of participating in military operations against the coalition? No probable cause for the charge of attempted murder? Er, yes, that appears to be correct, Your Honor. Merely an keen young prosecutor learning the ropes on the job. Won’t happen again, Your Honor. They’ve all got so much more experience now.

    Er, the ‘worst of the worst’, Your Honor? That we let most of them go? Oh, you mean a few years ago we said Guantanamo was full of them and then we let most of them go because they didn’t seem to be? Well, trust us, Your Worship. We learned from those oversights and we really do have only the ‘worst of the worst’ now. Honest!”

  56. Greenwald, (in response to Krauthammer) points out the Hard-Left attitudes espoused by that well known leftie Reagan on the UN CAT:

    The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

    The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called “universal jurisdiction.” Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.

    Pretty stunning to see the shift in labels (and public attitudes) in 20 years.

  57. [Torturish subject matter – how cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment was justified in the Bradbury memos.]

    Check this out. There’s a few things to understand here, so stay with me. Or read the whole thing instead.

    Firstly, anyone who still thinks the US laws implementing the CAT only prohibit “severe pain and suffering, whether physical or mental” might want to have a read of Article 16 of the CAT which prohibits “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment…committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity” in any territory under the signatory’s jurisdiction.

    The CIA Inspector General’s report concluded that their interrogation program violated this article. So the CIA went to the OLC and basically asked for their opinion about the CIA’s proposed interrogation practices, noting that when the US Senate passed the domestic law implementing the CAT, they specifically added a “reservation” that specified that in the US “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” meant treatment prohibited by the 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments. If I understand rightly, these Amendments bring in the familiar “shocks the conscience”, “cruel and inhuman” and “due process” clauses.

    The OLC took five months and then basically tried to bluster by saying they only had to worry about “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental” – and were told to try again.

    After another five months they produced the Bradbury memos came out. In that article linked at the top Marcy Wheeler analyzes his reasoning.

    Bradbury notes that all US personnel must be trained not to torture (and presumably not to administer cruel/inhuman/degrading treatment/punishment – hereafter shortened to CIDTP). (I guess if you are uber-cynical you could argue that the letter of the law is fulfilled by giving them that training – and then training and ordering them to do the opposite. I’m not sure you’d find a sympathetic judge though.) Instead Bradbury argues that restrictions on infliction of CIDTP only apply in the US – or maybe if pushed, in foreign territory under US control, but argues that Iraq and Afghanistan don’t fit that requirement. (That would surprise many Iraqis and Afghanis, and I reckon many would argue that Guantanamo Bay is under US control – including the Cubans. But IANAL.)

    He dismisses the 14th Amendment because it applies to the States rather than the Federal government, and the 8th by arguing that it doesn’t apply to detainees who haven’t been convicted of a crime.

    The response of Senator Jay Rockefeller (who specifically ordered – twice – that the three Amendments must be analyzed – )is a bit pointed (my emphasis).

    Under the “shocks the conscience” standard, OLC concluded that Supreme Court precedent requires consideration as to whether the conduct is “arbitrary in the constitutional sense” and whether it is objectively “egregious” or “outrageous” in light of traditional executive behavior and contemporary practices.

    To assess whether the CIA’s interrogation program was “arbitrary in the constitutional sense,” OLC asked whether the CIA’s conduct of its interrogation program was proportionate to the governmental interests involved. Applying that test, OLC concluded that the CIA’s interrogation program was not “arbitrary in the constitutional sense” because of the CIA’s proposed use of measures that it deemed to be “safeguards” and because the techniques were to be used only as necessary to obtain information that the CIA reasonably viewed as vital to protecting the United States and its interests from further terrorist attacks.

    OLC also concluded that the techniques in the CIA program were not objectively “egregious” or “outrageous” in light of traditional executive behavior and contemporary practice. In reaching that conclusion, OLC reviewed U.S. judicial precedent, public military doctrine, the use of stressful techniques in SERE training, public State Department reports on the practices of other countries, and public domestic criminal practices. OLC concluded that these sources demonstrated that, in some circumstances (such as domestic criminal investigations) there was a strong tradition against the use of coercive interrogation practices, while in others (such as with SERE training) stressful interrogation techniques were deemed constitutionally permissible. OLC therefore determined that use of such techniques was not categorically inconsistent with traditional executive behavior, and concluded that under the facts and circumstances concerning the program, the use of the techniques did not constitute government behavior so egregious or outrageous as to shock the conscience in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

    I think there’s going to be trouble over that first bolded argument, given that there’s considerable difficulty establishing the efficacy of torture or CIDTP at extracting accurate information – and that was known, or should have been known if they were doing their jobs, to the lawyers at the time.

    And the second and third bolded points? Geez, not your finest legal work, guys. For example, you really think you can use SERE training as a justification for using those same practices in interrogation scenarios, especially (a) given the history of the techniques and the purpose of the training and (b) the known ineffectiveness of those practices as interrogation techniques? Let alone comparisons with other governments, or public military doctrine which prohibits such behaviour? WFT were you thinking? (“Er, we’ve got to put down _something_ as a reason…”?)

    And Marcy Wheeler points out that Jay Rockefeller and the SSCI report appear to indicate that Congress was only informed that the CIA was torturing after it had been doing it for about six months.

  58. Sorry Kamahl, I realised after I hit submit that last comment was a lot longer than I’d planned 😦

  59. (…er, and that should be “WTF were you thinking…” near the end). I think I’m posting past my bedtime 😉

  60. “…you do realise that (unless I missed the whole peace treaty thing) North and South Korea are still officially at war? And that the US is allied with – and indeed has a whole load of troops stationed in – South Korea?”

    You don’t say? You mean it’s still a combat zone, I had no idea? Yes genius, I am well aware of the situation there having been stationed just south of the DMZ for over year but thanks for that…In regards to your question, what is the point? More hypothetical’s……..What if you knew somebody had the info to save a couple hundred lives but the subject is not breaking, do you use tactics outside the norm in accordance with the law or let hundreds die ensuring the detainee has his required religious cuisine, prayer rug, Quran etcetera instead? I am sure fellow Australians would understand such a choice…..See, I can do it too………

    But hypothetically speaking, if North Korea wasn’t a despotic regime ran by a loon whose country hadn’t previously invaded their neighbor to the south resulting in the Korean War which cost thousands of lives and instead, American’s were routinely blowing themselves up around the world purposely targeting/killing civilians to further some 7th century cause and had just done so to the tune of almost 3,000 North Koreans sitting at their office desks one sunny morning I might see why North Korea may feel the need to act in an unorthodox manner. So If I too was a lunatic entertaining jihad, I would probably label the water-boarding as an attack on my beliefs and demand more brothers join the fight and kill more innocent North Koreans; so in short, no, I probably wouldn’t care much at all if they were “water-boarded”…..They would be good propaganda for my pathetic cause facilitated by the morons of the world more worried about their treatment regardless of the realities I just stated because they are obsessed with the perverse idea of “moral equivalency”; the morons of the world also being essential to propagating the myths, conspiracy theories and furthering my cause. Besides, my captive brothers have protocols on how to behave in such a scenario, our own handbook, so there is no fear of death. In addition they got some 70 virgins waiting for them in a worst case scenario……As an added bonus they have an army of lawyers fighting to take their case free of charge if and when they get out. In the mean time they can start writing a book or a script and be ready to sell it to the first left-wing producer, which shouldn’t be too hard to find these days. So things after “water-boarding” are looking up for them…

    Hardly the answer I am sure you were looking for but considering it is a hypothetical I am not really constrained to your reality……Besides, I could have just called it a “straw-man” and moved on but I wouldn’t want to tread on your favorite tactic……

  61. Just for you “Crusaders”…..Thought you needed some of that “context” I keep talking about…..

  62. You just can’t answer my simple question on the North Koreans. Instead you posit bizarre hypotheticals that have nothing to do with the question, and argue that my question is a hypothetical that’s unrelated to reality.

    And yet we know the North Koreans tend to treat their prisoners abusively, in ways (IIRC linked earlier in the thread) eerily similar to the US abusive practices.

    So, you can’t bring yourself to say that you’d dislike North Korea applying the official US policy to US citizens? Or can’t bring yourself to say that the official US policy was wrong?

    What if you knew somebody had the info to save a couple hundred lives but the subject is not breaking, do you use tactics outside the norm in accordance with the law or let hundreds die…?

    Er, that’s a hypothetical – and one straight out of fiction such as “24”. Since you disparage my questions that are based on existing North Korean practices as “hypotheticals” that you don’t feel you have any relation to reality, perhaps you should try avoiding highly fictional hypotheticals yourself.

    But let’s pretend this is not a hypothetical. You basically never know that your subject HAS that information. You just THINK you do – or that he MIGHT.

    And your subject KNOWS if you resort to torture that you don’t have the information you want. Some will resist, perhaps quite effectively if they are motivated. Others will say ANYTHING they THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR in order to get you to stop. It will generally be complete bullsh*t. Then you’ll run off like a chicken with it’s head cut off following up the wrong lead. Meanwhile any plot that actually does exist … merrily ticks along to its intended conclusion.

    Boom. Wow, well done. You’ve just lost the short game.

    AND you’ve given a great motivation to many people your victim knows to hate and perhaps fight you. Especially if it turns out – as it so often does – that your victim DIDN’T have the info you thought he had. Maybe wasn’t anything to do with those fighting you. And so it snowballs.

    And meantime, your best interrogators are slowly leaving the profession because you think the abusers are more effective, just like the Russian secret agencies found when torture became regular practice.

    Well done again. You’ve made the long game much much harder too. Still think your tactics were worth it?

    KSM, the victim of much waterboarding and abusive treatment, gave you some free advice – that your methods were “stupid and counterproductive” and he admitted making huge amounts of stuff up that chewed up large amounts of resources that could have been used to work against AGAINST ACTUAL TERRORIST PLOTS.

    Even if you’re lucky enough to ACTUALLY have someone with info to save that many lives from imminent danger, the professional interrogators STILL TELL YOU that in this situation traditional methods work better. You ever been a professional interrogator?

    And what part of this analysis of pragmatic outcomes do you think is a ‘moronic insistence on “moral equivalency”‘, whatever you happen to mean by that term?

  63. Thought you needed some of that “context” I keep talking about…..

    Are you truly uncomprehending enough to think we don’t know about 9/11? (And do you realise that per head of population, the Bali Bombing was just as bad for Australia as 9/11 was for the US?)

    And why do you think that 9/11 justifies what was done in your name?

    – Done under secret but regularly reaffirmed official US policy based on extensive legal analysis?

    – Done hen that reaffirmation and legal work took place, not in the immediate panic after 9/11 (which I could understand), but for years and years afterward?

    – Done when there’s a long legal history and military tradition in the US that prohibits such behaviour?

    – Done when the experts in information extraction TOLD those inquiring that abusive tactics are counter-productive and ineffective, but the abuse was ordered anyway?

    – Done when every US soldier and agent is required to be taught NOT to abuse prisoners because it’s illegal under US law, and that an illegal order must not be obeyed? (See Nuremberg.)

    – Done in countries such as Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11?

    – Done when it was obvious that the methods used incited more and more people to join with the “insurgents” and terrorists overseas – and that it had a high cost in terms of US troop deaths and serious injuries, let alone $$$?

    – Done when those policies made your own troops fair game for such treatment in future captive situations?

    – Done when there’s evidence that the terrorists got very very lucky on 9/11 and little credible evidence that they have the capability to actually do anything serious inside the US?

    – Done when you previously faced down far greater and more credible threats from (say) Nazi Germany, Japan and Soviet Russia and held yourself to higher ideals at the same time?

    – Done when the anti-torture laws were negotiated and enacted by Reagan, FFS! Remember Soviet Russia when Reagan was President?

    Your implied argument here is that 9/11 justifies your behaviour. In other words, that you’re all so sh*t-scared of a bunch of “goat herders” (as you called them) that you’re cowering in a fear so strong and long-lasting that you still don’t have time for “luxuries” like laws, human rights, and decency, let alone pragmatic considerations – or honor.

    In other words, that you’ve become a nation of quivering wimps. (And that you have no shame about it, or what you’ve done in response.)

    You can be better than that. You once were, and much of the world once lauded you for it. Be that way again!

  64. “So, you can’t bring yourself to say that you’d dislike North Korea applying the official US policy to US citizens? Or can’t bring yourself to say that the official US policy was wrong?”

    Clearly I don’t feel water-boarding is torture as I have issues with the “legal” definition which has already been established but again, “REASONABLE” PEOPLE can disagree…….you are missing much, as always outside of your “hypothetical” which started this……

    Continuing to ramble on about our positions is hardly going to convince the other…Clearly we disagree now come to grips with it and move on…..

    “Er, that’s a hypothetical – and one straight out of fiction such as “24″.

    Yes, I know and said as much but so is your scenario at present high-speed…Has North Korea “water-boarded” these folks yet? Had they, what would be the “imminent threat” do you think? It is a bad analogy as I said so move on already…….

    “Since you disparage my questions that are based on existing North Korean practices as “hypotheticals” that you don’t feel you have any relation to reality, perhaps you should try avoiding highly fictional hypotheticals yourself.”

    See above genius…..You started this so take your own advice before getting sanctimonious….especially since you don’t like the answer which happens to include a bit of “context” which your ramblings usually lack all together….

  65. Clearly I don’t feel water-boarding is torture…

    Still not answering my simple question, I see.

    Do you feel that detainee treatment described by US policy would be acceptable for other countries to apply to US captives? Could there be circumstances under which those countries did so that were justifiable in their eyes as much as you justify US behaviour?

  66. “Are you truly uncomprehending enough to think we don’t know about 9/11? (And do you realise that per head of population, the Bali Bombing was just as bad for Australia as 9/11 was for the US?)”

    Umm….yea, kind of what I mean by “moral equivalency”. “Per head of population”, are you kidding me….3,000 lives is 3,000 idiot! Stating a bit of “statistical” rearrangement is not only pathetic but predictable…

    “In other words, that you’ve become a nation of quivering wimps. (And that you have no shame about it, or what you’ve done in response.)”

    Yes, that is it, let your true feelings out there Crusader of justice….we need more honesty from your ilk…..Like the precedents set by previous presidents in the defense of our citizens, no, no shame what so ever!

    “You can be better than that. You once were, and much of the world once lauded you for it. Be that way again!”

    So when do you think the “change” occured scholar? We are better than “them” and to say otherwise because of “water-boarding” is not only grossly ignorant but smacks of real imbecility on your part. But I do appreciate the honesty as I am sure it is a sentiment at the hearts of many here………Thankfully, we have real Australian men and women fighting and dying at our “wimpy sides” while you the “blog warrior” regurgitates an asinine world view over and over.

    Thankfully your “quivering wimps” are attempting to build a better world risking life and limb while doing it, not your kind of risk, a.k.a “carpal tunnel syndrome”…In all honesty, most Americans could give a shit about what the “world” thinks of us given the “worlds” record on any number of subjects so spare me the speech. I could fixate on Australia’s White Policy amongst others, at nausea but what’s the point in that? I would much prefer a world that stopped looking to us for all of the answers to the “big” problems……Time to leave home “world” and make your own way…….

  67. “Do you feel that detainee treatment described by US policy would be acceptable for other countries to apply to US captives? Could there be circumstances under which those countries did so that were justifiable in their eyes as much as you justify US behaviour?”

    I did answer it jack-ass……..READ AND COMPREHEND for a change!

  68. …kind of what I mean by “moral equivalency”.

    And NOT what I meant. But you see everything as you want to see it.

    I meant we have about as much reason based on events to be scared by terrorist threats in Australia as you. But you somehow think you’re a special case because of 9/11. Get over yourselves. You had a terrible experience, but plenty of countries have had it worse.

    We are better than “them” and to say otherwise because of “water-boarding” is not only grossly ignorant but smacks of real imbecility on your part

    Well, it would be imbecilic if I said it, but once again you can’t comprehend what I wrote so maybe it’s your response that’s a bit silly instead. Perhaps your own comment is relevant:

    READ AND COMPREHEND for a change!

    I said you were once better than you are now, (implying that waterboarding and abusive detainee treatment and the like should be beneath you, as it once was).

    You didn’t let the entirely credible fear of (say) nuclear oblivion or Nazi Germany turn you into torturers. Reagan helped create the CAT itself before the Berlin Wall came down. Where’s that spirit now?

    I did answer it jack-ass……..

    I can’t seem to find your answer. There are a bunch of questions in response instead. Was it a yes, or a no, or a set of conditions under which you’d accept it?

    Are you implying that your answer is that if there were an “imminent threat” it would be justified? Most people who wanted to be understood as answering a question would write that as a statement rather than a question. I’ll presume that’s your answer.

    Had they, what would be the “imminent threat” do you think?

    Well, the crux of my point is hiding in there, but you don’t care to see it.

    North Korea would be the ones invoking an unspecified “imminent threat” which would probably be kept secret for reasons of “national security”. And they’d be telling you that they were merely following your justification for that treatment. And that since you couldn’t refute it because the evidence was secret for reasons of national security, that you must accept their determination that the treatment was necessary.

    Are you OK with that? Because that’s where your policies end up. Anyone in an official capacity can pretty much justify abuse at any time by invoking “imminent threat”, “national security” or whatever other magic invocation you require in order to justify that behaviour to yourself. And they can generally do it in ways you can’t refute, mostly by invoking “state secrets” and the like, and they can do it against your personnel.

    And should you start throwing a hissy fit that they’re giving out bogus reasons, they use it in recruiting propaganda claiming you want one law for yourself and another for everyone else.

    And hypothetical? (IIRC) Zimbabwe or some other poor country unfortunate enough to have a tinpot dictator has already used your policy in its defense of abusive behaviour on its part and (IIRC) told the international community to drop the topic.

  69. Lotharsson,

    Go to bed already, your posts are becoming more and more nonsensical…You seem to lack the ability to read your own writing or feel I should be able to “read your mind” in addition to your posts…..LOL….CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT one more time…CONTEXT…….

    Still avoiding my “simple” question I see some 7 days later..LOL………….

  70. Yes, that is it, let your true feelings out there Crusader of justice

    Er, those are not my “feelings”. I was pointing out what lies under YOUR position that 9/11 somehow justifies abuse and perhaps even torture, when WWII, Soviet nuclear arsenals and the like did not.

    In all honesty, most Americans could give a shit about what the “world” thinks of us…

    We know. So do the terrorists, BTW. And the Chinese, who are happy that you’re burning up your soft power while they are building up theirs. But that’s another story.

    I could fixate on Australia’s White Policy amongst others, at nausea but what’s the point in that?

    True, it’s a bad analogy because
    (a) It’s been dead for decades
    (b) It’s pretty close to universally agreed that it was wrong
    (c) You’d be really hard pressed to find anyone to seriously defend it
    (d) It’s not being used as a precedent by other nations

    All of which do not apply to the US policy we’ve been discussing.

    But thanks for not running with that red herring.

    I would much prefer a world that stopped looking to us for all of the answers to the “big” problems……

    So would we, but unfortunately
    (a) What you do affects us
    (b) You create or heavily contribute to some of the big problems and we’d like you to stop.

  71. LOL….CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT one more time…CONTEXT…….

    So “9/11 justifies it”? We’ve really reached that point?

    Still avoiding my “simple” question I see some 7 days later..

    Hard to see how you can legitimately hold that impression (as others have also pointed out ad nauseum), unless you’re stupid, avoidant, self-deceptive, have poor comprehension skills, poor expression skills, can’t process new information, have some other cognitive limitation or are a bare-faced liar. Could be any one of those.

    You…feel I should be able to “read your mind”…

    Nope, just my text. (BTW, ever heard of “psychological projection”?)

    For example, when I say that your argument amounts to “we’re so sh*t scared of a bunch of goat herders after 9/11 that we feel we have to stoop to abuse and torture now”…which I suggest is rather wimpy…followed by “You can be better than that” (none of which mentioned terrorists or their behaviour)…

    …then I find it strange that you seem to think I’ve called you as bad as “them” (the terrorists). Maybe you think that because you think you’re reading my mind, but my text says nothing of the sort.

    Then again, you do have terrible problems processing logic that relies on relative values – you tend to turn everything into an absolute, or draw exactly the wrong conclusion from the comparative logic. Perhaps that’s the real cause of much incomprehension.

    Go to bed already…

    Good idea, given the above. See you later.

  72. Almost worth staying up, really, to see Colonel ‘Sparta’ Jessup do his A Few Good Men ‘you can’t handle the truth’ number whilst simultaneously advocating for his semper fidelis brethren to be tortured coerced behind enemy lines without any comebacks.

  73. “Almost worth staying up, really, to see Colonel ‘Sparta’ Jessup do his A Few Good Men ‘you can’t handle the truth’ number whilst simultaneously advocating for his semper fidelis brethren to be tortured coerced behind enemy lines without any comebacks.”

    The peanut gallery “chimes” in with the usual….yawn…..

  74. …do his A Few Good Men ‘you can’t handle the truth’ number…

    Which is doubly ironic because he ignores evidence and logic that is in front of his face, generally won’t give credence to any concerns wider than the local and immediate, claims he has a better handle on ‘reality’ than nearly everyone who disagrees with him, frequently dismisses other arguments based on real world concerns as merely ‘theoretical’ and ‘hypothetical’, takes criticism of behaviour as if it were an attack on the person or country doing it, is one of the most blatantly dishonest debaters around (especially when it comes to characterizing other people’s arguments), rarely deigns to answer a straight question with anything other than primary school level retorts, name calling, unsupported assertions – or at best an evasive question that can be used to maintain plausible deniability about his actual position – and frequently accuses other people of doing most of the above without showing how the accusation is justified in any way, in a near virtuoso performance of projection.

    Shorter version – he’s either 10 years old, or he’s Dick Cheney 😉

  75. Lotharrson,

    You really need to get a life…………

  76. Just to change the tone of this weekend’s blogs, I had this wine with dinner on Friday and I spent the rest of the evening sobbing uncontrollably because I only had ONE bottle in my vast cellar.

    https://www.nicks.com.au/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductId=474451

  77. I was on the boat last night drinking wine with the wife. She cant swim so she had a horrible night when the alcohole hit her.

    we were tied to the wharf.

  78. Min your visitor are impeding with your blogging, let them be warned.
    😉

  79. we were tied to the wharf.

    😆

  80. Like the way in which Jesus was tied to the cross..??

  81. Miglo,

    2002 seems to have been a good year overall for South-east Australian wines – reds, anyway. (I haven’t had many bad ones.)

  82. Lotharsson, on May 3rd, 2009 at 11:28 am Said:

    “Shorter version – he’s either 10 years old, or he’s Dick Cheney ;-)”

    Or Neil of Sydney.

    reb, I don’t think you can blame Jesus for his followers’ actions. He was long dead before they gained momentum and were numerous enough to start seriously corrupting his message.

    Choose a pope, pretty much any pope or senior churchman, make a wax effigy, raid your mum’s sewing basket and whack in as many pins as will fit! Feel free to cross the denominational line at any time.

  83. Oh dear, this religion thing is infecting all the threads!

    Worse than Swine Flu, I tell ya.

  84. Fein to Obama – prosecute or pardon torturers. See particularly the bolded text in the quotes at that link.

    Some broader analysis of Condi Rice’s interview by a student on video where she channeled Nixon. Point (2) seems to echo the strange assumptions and related conclusions of some here – that somehow 9/11 shows that the US is in more danger from Al Qaeda (and therefore justifies turning to torture, er…to waterboarding and other abusive treatment) than from the Nazis and their allies during WWII (when the US didn’t feel the need to waterboard…). I agree with the author that some of her words here (from any or all of the 6 points made in the article) may yet find their way into a court hearing.

    And don’t believe everything you read in the Washington Times (owned by the Reverend Moon of the Moonie sect, if you don’t understand the reference in the second paragraph of the linked article). Here they are caught pretty much saying the exact opposite of what was said in the letter they use as the basis for their reporting.

    Some may find this an (US) amusing political observation accompanied by head-scratching, particularly the last paragraph.

    And then there’s this pile of fantastical up-is-down black-is-white bulldust. Apart from his insistence without evidence that “the Left” redefined the meaning of the word torture (sound familiar), the biggest astonished guffaw comes his assertion that it is “the Left” that believes that the end justifies the means (“…a liberal is simply a torturer without sufficient motivation and opportunity”) and Cheney is in danger of aping them and in fact becoming one of them. Shades of the GOP pundits distancing themselves from Bush afterwards by claiming that he really wasn’t conservative.

    At least he’s got most of the following right, even if he can’t resist drawing the wrong conclusion in the last clause.

    Nonetheless, there remains the reality that certain acts against human beings are by their very nature objectively evil, and if we adopt those acts as means to an end—even a good end—we have already lost our souls, and we have contributed to triumph of the utilitarian Left.

    It’s a pretty astonishing tour de force of disconnection from reality. And this guy’s a Dean of Law (admittedly at Liberty University, which IIRC wasn’t exactly founded by Jerry Falwell to teach people rigorous intellectual skills – more how to rationalize reaching a conclusion handed down by your superiors or other authority figures).

  85. your right Scaper in a humorous way. I want to leave it on that thread so as to involve only those that choose.

    moving on

    Scaper ever seen a garden on a boat. Has two walls filled with soil all around the boat and half way down are seal for air pockets. Wife loves it but wishs the boat was on land. Im not licenced to drive it which helps so much and raises many questions.

    Tony i found a boot on the boat so you can come for a boat ride after all. (i like joking around with you).

  86. A new boat, eh?

    Is there any truth in that every boat is like a woman…they’ve all got foibles that need handling differently?

  87. More insanity. The US has a strange definition of “terrorist” when it comes to asylum seekers. The “…laws label members of armed groups terrorists, even if they supported pro-democracy efforts and opposed despots and dictators. Others who gave money to terrorists under threat of death are considered terrorist sympathizers.” This even includes people who helped the US efforts (presumably at great personal risk) in Iraq and Africa.

    Louis, a welder from the central African country of Burundi, has been detained in a Virginia jail for 17 months although an immigration judge has said he’s eligible for asylum. The same judge, however, said he was prevented from granting asylum because Louis had been forced at gunpoint to give a Burundi rebel group the equivalent of $4. At another point, Louis and other passengers on a bus were forced to hand over their lunches to the rebels.

    This is classed as providing material support to terrorist groups.

    If this is even half true, it’s just insane.

  88. ever seen a garden on a boat.

    That’s pretty cool in a strange sort of way 🙂

  89. This boat is like any current government, about to sink.
    Hopefully i can save it with good care.

    Needs some work but it will be over in 2 months. fix and sell, easy work for good money.

  90. lotharson its a hydroponics set up so there is no wieght on the boat from soil. Has a garden and weeds with green lights pointing at it to show everyone we have plants.
    from a distance it looks like marijuana growth

  91. my joint.

  92. Tony i found a boot on the boat so you can come for a boat ride after all.

    No, that’s OK aquanut – I like my boat-rides to leave the wharf.

    😉

    A boot? Left foot, I presume.

  93. Miglo,

    Tonight it is Stanley premium reserve(lol) Australian Shiraz.
    Am i letting you down?
    Am i close to grasping this wine concept?

  94. Tony i make good sound effects so you think your out there, take some comfort in that.

  95. I had a beer with lunch the other day and couldn’t finish it.

    I might have a shandy next time.

  96. I notice there’s no top five this weekend. Yes, we had one during the week, but it went down like a wrought-iron hang-glider.

    Do you guys think maybe Joni’s staying away this weekend – something to do with the ‘unusual atmosphere’?

  97. lmao Scaper. Just dont mention a fire engine.

  98. Aqua, Mr Stanley makes some good wine . . . for marinating the chops in.

  99. good point Tony and im part to blame.

    I forgot in all of this to say , i appolagise to joni for my part in degrading a nice atmosphere you have created for all of us and continue to do so.

    I consider both J’s a friend

  100. um what about berri Rose?

    lol chops

  101. im paying just over $2.50 a litre. there should be some quality in that.

  102. Maybe joni did not bother as the “Bring Out Your Dead” thread is still moving?

  103. I consider both J’s a friend

    Who? Joni and Jeb?

  104. “Bring Out Your Dead” thread is still moving,.blockquote>

    It is? Well, it’s more successful than I thought. It did contribute to the demise of a couple of Blogocrats, I suppose.

  105. I choked on my cigar Tony, your bad.
    Ive only had one glass of wine and while it hurt i will have another.

  106. They’ll be back in good time.

  107. You’re drinking wine, and,/i> smoking cigars? Bad aquanut. (Miglo’s led you astray, obviously.)

  108. (Not coding well today, at all.)

  109. They’ll be back in good time.

    Well, I suppose so – you couldn’t stay away. (Even Tom, Toiletboss, and Nature 5 missed you – not really.)

  110. I hope Scaper, i can say im glad you did. It changes a trend.

  111. Remeber when Nature said i was out of line that night, although i was offended for myself he had a point and i did mention that a day or so afterwards after thinking about it.(my pride was damaged is all but justified)

  112. Got to give them someone to pick on.

    ‘Lord of the Flies’ comes to mind.

  113. Or is it ‘Lord of the Fries’?

  114. I think it’s wise to leave your pride and sensitivities at the door, when you come in here.

  115. Or is it ‘Lord of the Fries’?

    That’s it! That’s the name for Tom’s fried-fly franchise.

  116. That’s got a certain ring to it!

    Then he will be self employed, he can give up his butlers job.

  117. #Tom’s fried-fly franchise.

    extended members only

  118. I hear he will be doing ‘Silver Service’ is his upmarket areas.

  119. Then he will be self employed, he can give up his butlers job.

    I thought Nature 5 was the butler. Oh, I get it – he’s Tom’s butler.

  120. Tony, you would have to refer to my comment at him on the GFC thread.

  121. The movie 300 has just started on Movie One. I think I just saw Sparta as a child. Oops, wait a minute – that kid just got whipped. Yep, that’s Sparta all right.

  122. (Only joking Sparta.)

  123. i found a boot on the boat…

    If I remember my high school German, “Dat Boot” is “the boat”, which makes that quote more interesting still…

  124. Stuff the boot i think Tony company would be a good change to sea life

  125. i might even give you crabs.

  126. I see that a certain Senator was exposed for milking the system.

    What’s new?

    Wouldn’t be ironic if there was a major scandal by the last government exposed next week.

  127. Speaking of sea-life, have you seen the TV series on fishing trawlers. I could not believe the size of the seas they fished in. All because their available fishing days had been cut down to just two-and-a half days a week, apparently.

    They had to fish – rain, hail, or shine (or 40 foot swells).

  128. i might even give you crabs.

    I really hope you’re talking about bait.

  129. 40 foot is medium for that industry.

    Not me i prefer to be under it to start with, i might just jump over board to feel safe.

  130. I see that a certain Senator was exposed for milking the system.

    Too cryptic for me. Can you be more specific?

  131. Lmao Tony, i do a lot of crab fishing, i should be a lot clearer on some matters.

  132. That was not the cryptic part of my comment.

    This Senator:

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25418759-952,00.html

  133. i do a lot of crab fishing

    Good. Personal hygeine is important.

  134. Oh I see Scaper. Mr Rudd will let her off. I seem to remember him doing something similar when he was in opposition.

  135. *hygiene*

  136. The PM will most probably order her to undertake a Fiscal Integrity course.

    How ironic…but not the message I’m trying to relate.

  137. ABC News Victoria: Male and female winners of Puffing Billy Run (from bottom to top of Dandenong Ranges) win trips to The Antarctic. Win! They call that a prize. How about something more – I don’t know- tropical?

  138. Doesn’t sound like a prize to me, it will be crowded with scientists with blow torches melting the ice!

  139. it will be crowded with scientists with blow torches melting the ice!

    😆

    Only, I don’t think the scientists actually go there either. They let their models melt the ice for them.

  140. They send people who are hott.

    its melting but i dont recall scientists saying it will no long build up, building up stage is far smaller then in previous years

  141. i just wish i had more personal experiences to be more curtain about this debate about the ice. I do know water is getting much more polluted.

  142. Tony just thing when your drunk and i leave you alone with two hoovers(pumpes). only to hear the good stories in the morning.

  143. am i out of line for thinking thats a good night out.

  144. Hoovers? That sounds more like housework where I’m from.

  145. Or lines of coke.

    / Oops. Did I say that?

  146. Nasking your music would be a nice touch right now(like thats going to happen)

    Im going to fill this blog with my camel face to get you all sexually motivated for your partners or a dream for that special moment while your eyes are closed.

  147. Nasking your music would be a nice touch right now

    Did somebody upset him, too, or is he in self-exile?

  148. Been watching the blog the last few days as a distracted observer – gotta head to the Hunter in the morning for a funeral of a close family friend. So unfortunately no provocative posts from me.

    Have a great start to the week all.

    😀

  149. Apparently, the US can’t tolerate torture in the UAE and offers some moral guidance from its expert position.

  150. Looks like the CIA destroyed the 92 tapes of enhanced interrogation well after one or more legally binding requests for access to them were made. And agents are being flown back to talk to a grand jury…

  151. It seems clearer why they tried to destroy all copies of Zelikow’s memo – he was pointing out that the OLC memo had badly bungled the specific request to consider obligations under the 8th Amendment etc. which Bradbury had tried to whitewash away.

    That attempt is likely to end up as evidence in court of criminal intent, and undercut any “good faith” argument the memo supporters might have tried to make.

  152. Washington University Law Review opinion article. Plenty of history, evidence and logic. Invokes several US laws – and the US State Department. 66 References, including relating evidence from Chile that 30 years later waterboarding victims still suffer devastating psychological consequences, and some reasoned statements from McCain about the wider consequences of such a program.

  153. Just the tip of the iceberg for all the “compassion” advocates…..The level of stupidity on this subject is mind numbing…..

    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,25424162-5001021,00.html

  154. Professor Wei-Chyung Wang is a star scientist in the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the University at Albany, New York. He is a key player in the climate change debate (see his self-description here). Wang has been accused of scientific fraud…

    Doug Keenan, the mathematician who raised the case of Wang is on the “sceptic” side of the climate change debate. He maintains that “almost by itself, the withholding of their raw data by [climate] scientists tells us that they are not scientists”.

  155. I see that is the 30 year anniversary of the election of Margaret Thatcher.

    Glowing tributes are everywhere.

    What a legacy.

    She looked like a temporary seat warmer until the Falkland Islands war with Argentina. Then she became Churchill.

    I’m not inclined to criticise the Thatcher Government for taking on Arthur Scargill and his cohorts. UK coal mining needed to be dragged into the late 1800s level of efficiency.

    It is the nature of her social divisiveness that tends to colour my judgment of her.

    In the late 70s the UK was a rusting disgrace, a class conscious joke.

    Today the UK is merely a rusting disgrace, a class conscious joke.

    May I suggest a separate thread on this topic?

  156. The level of stupidity on this subject is mind numbing…..

    Well, as far as I can tell by what you wrote, you seem to be the prime example.

    We have a report of fake passport ring used by people smugglers – and you seem to think some group of what you call (without definition) “compassion advocates” is DEFENDING this behaviour.

    Do you have any actual evidence for your assertion or are you merely imagining the report supports your imaginings again?

  157. The “Word” coming out of Canberra is that the ETS will be delayed for at least 1 year. The PM will announce it today

  158. He maintains that “almost by itself, the withholding of their raw data by [climate] scientists tells us that they are not scientists”.

    That statement can be read as a broad generalisation. Given that he’s a mathematician whose discipline involves little “raw data”, he’s may be unfamiliar with scientific practice. While it’s preferable for the rest of us that raw data always be released as rapidly as possible, it’s often done slowly or reluctantly at best because the research groups in question see it as giving them a competitive advantage 😦

    But the wheels of science grind on relentlessly and eventually if their results are fraudulent they will get discovered and discredited. Which is how it should be (although we’d prefer it happen faster still if possible – and in this case, it looks like he has been a very useful part of that process).

    So I suspect what his quote means is not the generalisation above, but that in cases such as these where fraud is plausibly alleged and the raw data would likely disprove the allegations, the withholding of such data strongly suggests the allegations are well founded…which is certainly how it looks here.

  159. It is a save face exercise as it won’t get through the Senate because it is badly flawed.

    I’m sure it will be spun as otherwise by the usual suspects.

  160. “Do you have any actual evidence for your assertion or are you merely imagining the report supports your imaginings again?”

    Well with your idea of evidence, a.k.a “opinion” pieces, yes plenty…….Start with some of the comment here that have as their defense the “where is your compassion” evidence? Besides, getting here is just one aspect, how do you suppose these people function in the countries they “sneak” into, with pure charm? Visa overstay/ ex-students/tourists/asylum seekers/crooked officials; they all have at their disposal an army of lawyers, special interest groups and individual morons contributing to their cause of circumventing existing laws. Your stupidity never ceases to amaze me but then again, not really…….Do yourself a favor and stick to the “purported torture” where at least many have already pleaded your case for you in a much more coherent fashion. I can hardly wait for your inevitable retort as your ego like another here, is only paralleled by your ignorance…Besides, what would you accept as evidence? You would only spend your time trying to discredit the evidence claiming “false models” or “inflationary discrepancies”… Always nice to hear from you Lar……LOL…….

  161. I think Chuckles is trying to say he wants a complete investigation into the secret rendition and torture by proxy programs, not just the people smuggling to Gitmo, so he can ascertain exactly which corrupt officials were involved and in what ways. Yes, Chuckles, I agree, one of the worst aspects of the practice of people smuggling is often how those smuggled people are treated in transit and at their final destinations; and another is how easy it is for corrupt officials to be tempted into illegal activities which see all concerned avoid the legal queues.

  162. .Start with some of the comment here that have as their defense the “where is your compassion” evidence? …

    For someone so allegedly keen on reality, you spend an astonishing amount of your time tilting angrily at strawmen.

    Your entire rant here – as is your frequent modus operandi – has nothing to with the article you linked to, nor with the veiled accusations you made that I asked you to justify. You seem to pretend I asked a question different to the one I asked, and you used that as a means to veer off into other related topics in an attempt to muddy the waters as you do rather frequently. Do you have no shame about lying about other people’s positions all the time? Or do you just have difficulties maintaining focus?

    Let me try and make it really simple, since you misinterpret anything else. Where is your evidence that anyone defends the use of false passports by people smugglers (let alone defending it on the basis of “advocating compassion”)?

    Let me help you stay focused on what I’m asking, not what you imagine I might be asking. I’m not talking about asylum seekers, ex-students, lawyers, special interest groups, or people who overstay their visas, and neither was the article you linked to. If you feel the need to veer off into those topics, just stop and say no.

    What evidence would I accept that “compassion advocates” were supporting the use of false passports by people smugglers? Do I really have to spell it out for you? I’d settle for a verifiable quote – feel free to link to one – where someone is advocating the use of false passports by people smugglers on “compassionate” grounds. Google’s pretty good as a search engine – you can ask it to only search this site if you think that sentiment is commonly expressed here.

    BTW, I’m happy to join you in disagreeing with that use of false passports, even if no-one actually appears to support such a use. No false passports for any reason, thank you very much.

  163. …he wants a complete investigation into the secret rendition and torture by proxy programs…

    That makes far more sense. Why can’t he just come out and say it? Perhaps he is some kind of Deep Throat trying to draw attention to misdeeds on the one hand and cover his own tracks by misdirection on the other? Maybe it’s all a far cleverer act than we’ve been able to comprehend with our limited capacity to comprehend subtleties. I wish him the best of luck in his endeavours, and may his identity remain hidden from the anti-whistleblower forces until it’s time to publish a memoir.

  164. Demographic trends bring some surprising predictions. Europe’s population growth rate is increasing again, Iraq’s has dropped dramatically over the last 30 years, Russia is dropping badly, but sub-Saharan Africa isn’t shrinking much. Accordingly predictions are being made (with the usual caveats, no doubt, and all other things being equal) that by 2050 sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be the “demographic center of Islam” and “most of the world’s Christians will live in Africa”.

  165. And then they came for me….

    And if you don’t think the first four verses’ use of ‘torture’ is accurate, feel free to substitute ‘abuse’ or whatever you feel is accurate – and continue on to verse 5.

  166. Remember those comments I posted about empathy, mirror neurons, empathy as foundation of democracy, etc. a week or two back? Apparently one of the leading Republicans, Orrin Hatch, believes that empathy is not an attribute of Republicans.

    …with a leading Senate Republican warning that Obama has spoken of finding a nominee with “empathy.”

    “Usually those are code words for an activist judge… who is going to be partisan on the bench,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)

  167. And speaking of empathy or the lack of it (with quite some astonishment) “the big shock came when I was fired“.

    Er, no. The big shock came when you fired.

  168. Lotharsson, on May 4th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Yes, I was wondering about those devices back when I was pondering what technologies didn’t make the top 10 list, because they’re so normalised as technologies that nobody even thinks to include them on a list of unusual procedures.

  169. Legion, on May 4th, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Speculatively, it could be another reason why those 92 tapes went missing; the top 10 list isn’t a full account of what was done, singly or combination.

  170. …because they’re so normalised as technologies that nobody even thinks to include them on a list of unusual procedures.

    Indeed. Especially in detention scenarios, but also for fairly routine cases where the police interact with someone they deem a bit too noisy, or uppity or non-compliant in an “I know my rights” kind of way, or is ill or handicapped and is physically or mentally incapable of complying. And age is no barrier – either old or young. There are reports of police tasering an early primary school kid who was being non-compliant with teachers.

  171. …the top 10 list isn’t a full account of what was done, singly or combination.

    I’d put money on it if I could expect a valid and accurate assessment to be made.

  172. Don’t forget this guy:

  173. Kind of old news, but popping up again in the UK. Major Alexander says torture probably killed more Americans than 9/11. And yes, he’s a professional military interrogator. And yes, by that he means that US torture – NOT fundamentalist Islam – motivated foreign fighters to come to Iraq and kill US military personnel. And no, he didn’t mean that torture directly killed US personnel, and he doesn’t argue that US torture absolves the foreign fighters for their actions either. And no, he doesn’t say that because he “has a feeling” that it’s right; it’s because he interrogated many actual foreign and Iraqi fighters captured in Iraq and their responses were very different – and telling. And yes, he says he faced the ticking time bomb scenario every day, and torture would only have made efforts to combat it worse and information extraction SLOWER (no torture “even if my mother were on the bus”).

  174. Thanks Tony – that’s one of the cases I had in mind but couldn’t remember how to find.

  175. “Is he a 10 year old boy or Dick Cheney?”

    10 year old boys don’t suffer from narcissistic personality disorder.

  176. Yawn……I can always count on the “two knuckle heads”……”Dumb and Dumber” I mean……LOL…

    Here, I will throw you a bit of a bone. Instead of trying to “create” an argument you would like to have, try instead reading what I have actually posted. If you are unclear (which is usually the case) of exactly what I am insinuating in other words, ask. My original post that started your latest tangent….

    “Just the tip of the iceberg for all the “compassion” advocates…..The level of stupidity on this subject is mind numbing…..”

    No this could mean many things but your response is…….

    “you seem to think some group of what you call (without definition) “compassion advocates” is DEFENDING this behaviour.”

    Hmm……trying to see where you “extrapolated” or where I implied somebody was “DEFENDING” the behavior in the article I posted? Are you sure you’re not “Adrian” in disguise here………Again, try getting clarification instead of “creating” your own debate….It really makes debating you rather tedious as you tend to do this quite often…People with a base level of intelligence would either seek clarification or some might be able to infer as is obvious, that I was providing a link for those who claim I need more “compassion” on the asylum subject. Really, you need to try using the “left” brain for a bit. It could do wonders for your arguments……..

    “Do you have any actual evidence for your assertion or are you merely imagining the report supports your imaginings again?”

    Amazing, not only did I not “assert” anything along the lines that you have but you now want evidence? You really are a bit slow….Unfortunately, I almost walked into another “artificial debate” manufactured in your head……..

    “Well with your idea of evidence, a.k.a “opinion” pieces, yes plenty…….Start with some of the comments here that have as their defense the “where is your compassion” evidence?”

    But since you have created this “argument” and now demand evidence perhaps I would point to the fact that many here cannot even condemn the arrival of those by “boat”? Unless I am mistaken, is it “legal” to wash up and demand citizenship and all that entails beginning with a roof over my head, free health care, and food etcetera via the tax-payer? Now you may have to use your brain here so try not to pop.

    Hmm…..people refusing to condemn such action but call me “uncompassionate” for doing just that. Hmm….is it legal, not “should it be” legal but is it currently legal to just “arrive” and demand asylum or are there other channels these folks are supposed to follow? Now try real hard, I think you can do it. Especially as you routinely extrapolate arguments where there are none this should not be too difficult even for “Dumb or Dumber”………This might help there geniuses…

    “International law recognises that people at risk of persecution have a right to flee their country and seek refuge elsewhere, but does not give them a right to enter a country of which they are not a national. Nor do refugees have a right to choose their preferred country of protection.”

    http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/61asylum.htm

    Do try……..

  177. …try instead reading what I have actually posted. If you are unclear (which is usually the case) of exactly what I am insinuating in other words, ask.

    Oh, that’s rich coming from you, given that you consistently fail to read what I wrote even when I lay it out in detail, and instead attack what you imagine I wrote…

    No this could mean many things but your response is…….

    Yes, it COULD mean many things – which, since it was so easily misinterpreted, is your problem. Since you didn’t bother to be more specific, your readers must assume that the plain ordinary reading is what you meant. That’s how pretty much everyone handles – and must handle – written communication. Except you.

    And when they do assume the plain ordinary reading, you rant and rave and condescendingly call them stupid – when all along it’s YOUR failure to communicate. This happens over and over again with you.

    Man, if you WANT to be understood, then say what you mean instead of being vague and ambiguous and complaining when people don’t get what you meant instead of what you wrote. Of course, if you want to be MISUNDERSTOOD because you get your jollies out of it, keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working so well.

    …trying to see where…I implied somebody was “DEFENDING” the behavior in the article I posted?

    Remember when you posted “As a lawyer I would…”? People quite rightly interpreted that to mean that you claimed to be a lawyer – that’s the plain ordinary interpretation of what you actually wrote. You got all huffy when they said you’d claimed to be a lawyer, flatly stating you’d never made that claim – when, based on the information you’d give out, you clearly had. A more effective statement would have been “If I were a lawyer, I would…”. So maybe you should comprehend that you’re not the world’s clearest writer.

    Here, you post a link to an article about passport fraud being used by people smugglers (NOTE: not about asylum seekers) – and then say, and I quote:

    Just the tip of the iceberg for all the “compassion” advocates…

    Given that’s all you bothered to write down, the most likely reading of your statement is that this is something some group of people you tag as “compassion” advocates would support. Why? Because “just the tip of the iceberg…” means “a lot more like this isn’t visible”, and “…for all the ‘compassion’ advocates..” means that the rest of the iceberg – the “more like this” – relates specifically TO the compassion advocates, but probably not to everyone else. Therefore, it’s something they WANT to see (especially since you used “for”) – because if it were already in existence, it would be part of reality and thus relate to everyone rather than specifically to “compassion advocates”.

    There’s also the presumption that you disagree with those advocates, based on the choice of metaphor, use of scare quotes, and tone.

    Yes, it *could* mean many other things. But you didn’t bother to give out any information that would lead the reader to any of them.

    …some might be able to infer as is obvious, that I was providing a link for those who claim I need more “compassion” on the asylum subject.

    No, it’s obvious TO YOU, but it’s not obvious to many readers. Why? Because:

    1) Many readers, such as myself, haven’t read (say) comments saying you “need more compassion” on the “asylum” subject. “CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT”, remember? What you are claiming you meant requires awareness of historical context in your readers that many readers don’t have. Don’t presume like that on a blog when people dip in and out of different threads as they see fit.

    2) Because the article wasn’t about asylum seekers. Nor could it have been – asylum seekers don’t need false passports, and using one would rather tend to disqualify them from asylum. You appear to be just adding that reference to try and rationalize it after the fact, and I don’t buy your argument. Unless your argument is meant to be based on a confusion between what the article said and what you thought it said – which, come to think of it…

    But since you have created this “argument” and now demand evidence perhaps I would point to the fact that many here cannot even condemn the arrival of those by “boat”?

    LOL! You’re truly completely self-unaware? Or you find that pretending to be gives you something you want?

    As you said to me “Instead of trying to “create” an argument you would like to have, try instead reading what I have actually posted”. Please follow your own advice here.

    The demand for evidence was for your apparent position that “compassion advocates” were defending the use of false passports by people smugglers. It had nothing to do with arrival of people by “boat”. I even spelled it out in ways that you could NOT misinterpret unless you tried. And yet, you blatantly misinterpret it and THEN try to create a different argument. You either CAN’T or WON’T avoid misinterpreting even simple requests, and just about every behaviour you disparage in others you do yourself, often within the very same post.

    So how about we try this. Every time you post a comment, especially one that opens up a new topic or tangent of conversation, just PRESUME I ask for clarification. Write the clarification in your original comment. I reckon people will misunderstand you a lot less.

  178. You are doing a great job of prosecuting yourself.

  179. Apparently Option ARM rates (adjustable rate mortgages) are going to jump soon for quite a few borrowers in the US, which may trigger another significant set of foreclosures. Ouch 😦

  180. Don’t mess with Greenwald unless you have your facts straight 😉

  181. A somewhat more contentious interview with Ashcroft and Gonzales than they are perhaps used to. Those who’ve been following the torture debate will note they say little new, and repeat the same justifications that don’t appear to be supported by facts.

    They also get in to attorney general firings, how they think Obama is doing and more.

  182. Oh, and after that Gonzales/Ashcroft interview, read the couple of long comments near the bottom, including the one from the farmer.

  183. As some wag says in comments about the NYT failing to report Condi apparently channeling Nixon, the problem with the NYT is that it doesn’t have enough 4th-graders on their staff.

    She rather appears to undercut her argument that it was all legal by insisting that people remember this was a “difficult time” in which they were “terrified of another attack”. (What, you mean right after 9/11 – and for the next few years, memo after memo?) If the conduct was legal, none of that matters.

  184. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 4th, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    How’s our favourite confrontationalist this fine Monday morning? Getting his daily primary dose of epinephrine, secondary norepinephrine high, and tertiary endogenous opioids (aka endorphins) rush from an imaginary fight and an imaginary win in something, anything with his cup of joe? Good, good. Pong.I guess the extra couple of weeks to think about it has at least prompted Chuckles to do some of the research to almost catch up with a fortnight ago’s throwaway synopsis of the humanitarian law and practical situations, even as he continues to shoot his mouth off to ensure his ante meridiem fix of ‘fight’ and attempts to set up his next ‘score’ of the day, so well done and thanks for the ‘help’, again.

  185. At least it’s clear that North Korea can lawfully torture American prisoners, because Sparta implicitly says so.

    Iran will probably be next to follow the ‘Sparta precedent.’

    Nice work cowboy!

  186. “Yes, it COULD mean many things – which, since it was so easily misinterpreted, is your problem. Since you didn’t bother to be more specific, your readers must assume that the plain ordinary reading is what you meant.”

    My problem, which you decided not to seek clarification before lashing out? Hilarious……Plain ordinary reading…..You are so amusing…Yes and some can’t even handle the “plain”, you for instance……

    “That’s how pretty much everyone handles – and must handle – written communication. Except you.”

    Yes, that’s it, it must be my fault that you created an argument before actually seeking clarification on what you disagreed with….Your idiocy has no bounds…..LOL….

    “And when they do assume the plain ordinary reading, you rant and rave and condescendingly call them stupid – when all along it’s YOUR failure to communicate. This happens over and over again with you.”

    Even now when you are caught out in the open it is my “failure” or my “red herring”……Oh the mind of the insane….Who is they?

    “ Man, if you WANT to be understood, then say what you mean instead of being vague and ambiguous and complaining when people don’t get what you meant instead of what you wrote.”

    Or you “jack-ass” should seek clarification if you are unsure of what I mean before creating an argument out of a post that had absolutely nothing to do with you or any of your previous posts….Nah….must be me…..Vague and ambiguous, like the definition of “torture”….LOL………

    “Of course, if you want to be MISUNDERSTOOD because you get your jollies out of it, keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working so well.”

    Well I would point to Min, once again who is far more intelligent/diplomatic than yourself and tends to seek clarification before trying to “pick an argument” if she does at all. Especially since you are not even sure what you are arguing about at this point!!!!

    “Remember when you posted “As a lawyer I would…”? People quite rightly interpreted that to mean that you claimed to be a lawyer – that’s the plain ordinary interpretation of what you actually wrote.”

    Yes, but some who tend to be a bit more observant might actually “ask” if I was instead of “assuming”. Like asking, “are you a lawyer” as if it would have mattered to you anyhow…..

    “You got all huffy when they said you’d claimed to be a lawyer, flatly stating you’d never made that claim – when, based on the information you’d give out, you clearly had.”

    They, it was “you” who assumed once again and ran with it….Others came to your defense to state where you might have “assumed” I was…..I clarified accordingly, see not to difficult for some…….is this really that difficult for you to understand? Stop assuming….This is a blog, we post, if I had to interpret everything posted by everybody here as literal reb would be a Christian hater, Legion would be schizophrenic, James would be a Christian lover, Miglo would be a white hating professor etcetera….Give me a break already……..

    “A more effective statement would have been “If I were a lawyer, I would…”. So maybe you should comprehend that you’re not the world’s clearest writer.”

    I think I can support that with that “specific statement” but then I think everybody here is guilty of such I digression to include yourself! Alternatively perhaps you should “comprehend” that you “assume” quite a bit and don’t bother to seek clarification often and instead prefer to just dive in blindly…Ever heard of sarcasm?

    “Given that’s all you bothered to write down, the most likely reading of your statement is that this is something some group of people you tag as “compassion” advocates would support.”

    THEN SEEK CLARIFICATION FIRST IF YOUR GOING TO TAKE ISSUE! Most sane individuals do! Again, this is your interpretation not mine! But of course it must be me not you……

    “There’s also the presumption that you disagree with those advocates, based on the choice of metaphor, use of scare quotes, and tone.”

    But I thought you didn’t presume? Everything is literal, remember above? Besides, had you actually been following my position on this subject and the conversation you might know what I was referring to……Perhaps, once again you shouldn’t be in such a hurry to “pick a fight” until you know what you’re fighting about? Just a concept you might consider……

    “Yes, it *could* mean many other things. But you didn’t bother to give out any information that would lead the reader to any of them.”

    Well then if you can admit that much, why is it so unreasonable to assume you “chose” one and ran with it? Because doing so would mean you might have to admit you were just picking a fight and really hadn’t a clue as to what I was referring to….Nah, can’t be that…..

    “1) Many readers, such as myself, haven’t read (say) comments saying you “need more compassion” on the “asylum” subject. “CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT”, remember? What you are claiming you meant requires awareness of historical context in your readers that many readers don’t have. Don’t presume like that on a blog when people dip in and out of different threads as they see fit.”

    Yes, again a conversation you had not participated in so why are assuming you know what I am talking about moron…..Try visiting past posts on the Asylum seeker subject for starters…..Poster’s that actually discussed this subject with me most likely no where I am coming from, I don’t expect you would and hence why you would feel the need to post a comment along the lines that you do? You are such a contradiction or moron or both.

    Who are many readers anyway? You tell me first I am to blame because you take things literally/I am vague and it is my fault as such that you took something else from it then in this statement say:

    “Don’t presume like that on a blog when people dip in and out of different threads as they see fit.”

    Now you imply that you may not have known exactly what I was talking about because of the nature of blogs, people are dipping in and out? Which one is it, my post or you’re diving in again to a comment you were UNCLEAR about?

    “2) Because the article wasn’t about asylum seekers. Nor could it have been – asylum seekers don’t need false passports, and using one would rather tend to disqualify them from asylum. You appear to be just adding that reference to try and rationalize it after the fact, and I don’t buy your argument. Unless your argument is meant to be based on a confusion between what the article said and what you thought it said – which, come to think of it…”

    Nor did I ever mention “asylum seekers” in my original post idiot….Which is again, what all this has been predicated on…..But let’s explore your logic for a minute. Do or don’t most asylum seekers coming into your country arrive via air and not boat? If so wouldn’t it be necessary to have a “passport” to get through customs before being able to settle into the community and “claim asylum”? Can individuals that are caught not claim asylum even if it is discovered they have used fake documents? After all, some just show up by boat in violation of existing law that would normally exclude them from claiming asylum status….Clearly you have not really thought much through on this subject…In the case of “fly and stay”, having gotten through customs is it not so hard to imagine that nobody else would catch the fraud as well? Nah, I am sure that never happens and my claim is completely irrational. Claim, now what does that mean? However, again, I never made such a claim with my “ORIGINAL POST” but might have been “insinuating” to those that have a clue……

    “As you said to me “Instead of trying to “create” an argument you would like to have, try instead reading what I have actually posted”. Please follow your own advice here.”

    Now you have taken my subsequent post that was made following your “supposition” not the original post while posting as if one happened before the other..You are an idiot dude or just have too much ego to admit you jumped the gun even when obvious. As is custom with you, you seem unable to distinguish between debating the “original contention” and the subsequent discussions that usually ensue. I was simply entertaining your “assertion or claim” and stated as much….YOU NEED HELP……

    “The demand for evidence was for your apparent position that “compassion advocates” were defending the use of false passports by people smugglers. It had nothing to do with arrival of people by “boat”. I even spelled it out in ways that you could NOT misinterpret unless you tried. And yet, you blatantly misinterpret it and THEN try to create a different argument. You either CAN’T or WON’T avoid misinterpreting even simple requests, and just about every behaviour you disparage in others you do yourself, often within the very same post.”

    Yes well this entire statement by you is rather irrelevant as we have already established you had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS REFERRING TO!!!! LOL…….Your again assuming you knew what I was talking about to begin with? My original post, which this entire follow-up is predicated upon (apparently I need to keep reminding you) says as much….I entertained your “made up argument”, that is all……Do you know the difference?

    “You either CAN’T or WON’T avoid misinterpreting even simple requests, and just about every behaviour you disparage in others you do yourself, often within the very same post.”

    Misinterpreting my “original” post is what you have done, not me you idiot! Well given this entire exchange it is not hard to imagine how you would come to such a conclusion….LOL…..

    “So how about we try this. Every time you post a comment, especially one that opens up a new topic or tangent of conversation, just PRESUME I ask for clarification.

    How about this, since you simply can’t resist yourself and are unable to discern or ask for clarification before picking an argument you simply don’t post in regards to my posts? Clear enough for you or do you interpret that as something else? I didn’t realize that I was a “special” case here and as such only I was excluded from using “sarcasm, or insinuation” when making a post? Of course, this is your world so if I was to go through every post here, all would be literal, right?

    “Write the clarification in your original comment. I reckon people will misunderstand you a lot less.”

    People, who are these “people” you speak for? Do you hear voices by chance? Thankfully this is a blog and as such if I happen to be “vague or sarcastic” in your opinion or on occasion it hardly makes me unique. The need to follow “YOUR” instructions as such is null and void in my opinion. Most “normal” people usually don’t “pick and argument” unless they know what they are arguing about to begin with but perhaps that is just me? You seem to be the exception (well there is one more), not the norm……..Again, if I am too vague or to hard for you to follow, resist posting in response to me or “you” seek clarification before you decide to take a position! You responded to me, not the other way around, GET IT? No, probably not………..

  187. Yawn……I can always count on the “knuckle heads” for my daily fight, if only by calling them names. Here, I will try to “create” an argument I would like to have by pretending they started it and nobody can tell otherwise, not even me. Fortunately, I have a cunning plan to ambush the “knuckleheads” by having them walk into the new “artificial debate” manufactured in my head with my original post that started the latest tangent. Since I have created this “argument” I can now demand that they agree with my Cassandra-like genius that would have them also condemn the arrival of those by “boat”, and thereby vindicate everything I’ve ever said about the Mexican Mongol un-American un-Australian, hordes, or reveal themselves as “stoopid knuckleheads” who should be building a bridge to Asia oblivion. You may have to excuse my frequent brain farts to extrapolate my arguments where there are none. Yes, this could mean many things but my response is……. this is not another attempt to confuse vagueness with ambiguity in the saga of torture meaning almost anything and…..I so am not trying to incorporate even that into my cunning plan. Do try to keep up geniuses!

  188. Legion,

    “Almost worth staying up, really, to see Colonel ‘Sparta’ Jessup do his A Few Good Men ‘you can’t handle the truth’ number whilst simultaneously advocating for his semper fidelis brethren to be coerced behind enemy lines without any comebacks.
    “imaginary fight and an imaginary win in something, anything with his cup of joe?”

    Pong….yea, I am only responding to imaginary comments….Ping…….

    “Arguably, as refugees, their arrival is perfectly legal however it is effected, and that lawfulness even measures in legal obligations owed to them as refugees, regardless of their modes of travel.”

    So says Legion. LOL……Of course, you’re in disagreement with your own government and written law (international or domestic) but what do I know, I am only a Yank….LOL….genius…really you are….Ping, pong….ping, pong……

    “International law recognizes that people at risk of persecution have a right to flee their country and seek refuge elsewhere, but does not give them a right to enter a country of which they are not a national. Nor do refugees have a right to choose their preferred country of protection.”

    http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/61asylum.htm

    Well as for “win or lose” imaginary or not, clearly your position is the “losing one” here but you’re not really keeping track anyway….LOL……..As above for example….LOL…….

  189. The timing could not be more applicable given this last exchange…

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25430233-601,00.html

    “If they haven’t experienced extreme trauma in the intervening years since their first rejection, then the Coalition will demand to know how the criteria for refugee selection has changed,” Dr Stone told The Australian. ”

    Now, now Dr. Stone; you’re not allowed to apply any logic to this discussion you xenophobe, racist etcetera. Where is your “compassion” anyway? It is very simple, it is the belief of many (case in point above) that the only requirement is “showing up”. Legalities, it is all relative anyway. Besides, we don’t really need laws let alone people who follow them for a society to function. It is all about how we FEEL that really matters….LOL…….

  190. Well then if you can admit that much, why is it so unreasonable to assume you “chose” one and ran with it?

    Oh, FFS, this would be really astonishing if it weren’t standard behaviour on your part.

    Reasonable explanation clearly isn’t getting through. Since you resort to calling names and personal denigration at the drop of a metaphorical online hat, how about I try responding to the quote above and the next quote below in something inspired by your kind of style.

    “Listen, you great lump of unrequited intransigence built on top of a foundation of absolute belief in your own extraordinary insight and perception and your erroroneous assumptions and a compulsive need to tilt at vaguely humanoid figures of your own creation using dried hay that was lying around…

    I already said that I “chose one” and ran with it and I have no problem saying so. That wasn’t the issue. And my saying so wasn’t an “admission” of something wrong or erroneous – it was a description of normal comprehension processes. Are you that desperate that you feel the need to manufacture falsehoods in order to have an argument?”

    Because doing so would mean you might have to admit you were just picking a fight and really hadn’t a clue as to what I was referring to.

    “Listen, you willfully ignorant human-sized chip looking for a shoulder to bluster impotently from, who is so CERTAIN he sees the world exactly as it is that he can ONLY ever imagine disagreement arises because everyone else is ludicrously stupid and disconnected from reality, you’ve once again drawn a conclusion that isn’t justified (from “fact” that is false,no less) by assuming it’s the most likely possibility that explains said “fact”. Wow, what a surprise!

    I was pretty sure you meant what I thought you meant because it was by far the most obvious meaning out of all the things it could have meant. That meant I didn’t feel the need to ask for clarification.

    Furthermore if you didn’t mean what I thought you meant, then I falsely presumed you would display common courtesy and human decency by using basic comprehension skills which you claim to have in such great abundance compared to your humble readers to perceive that I had misinterpreted you and in response clarify your position without feeling the need to personally denigrate me for misinterpreting your tiny snippet of opinion. And without needing me to explicitly ask for clarification (because after all, as you assert, you have such great comprehension skills, so detecting this sorry state of affairs should be a doddle for such a great intellect with an almost superhuman perception of reality, no?

    Still furthermore, since you DIDN’T clarify your position after my first (or second) requests for you to substantiate what appeared to be your position but instead tried to start an argument about something unrelated to false passport use by people smugglers, that you are (as so often) full of sh*t and are attempting even as we speak to redefine what you said. And this is supported by the fact that your redefinition of what you meant was about asylum seekers, which were NOT part of the article you originally commented on.”

    Sparta, grow up – aim for 11 years old at least. Normal conversation relies on listeners running with the most obvious interpretation of speakers and relying on the speaker to correct misinterpretations, without feeling the need to imply that the listener is stupid, dumb, uncomprehending and so on. You’ve truly never understood this?

    And why does it rely on this? Because:

    (a) The world doesn’t have time for people to second-guess what appears to be obvious interpretations by continually asking for clarification.
    (b) The listeners who have misinterpreted are by definition, unable to determine that their (mis-)interpretation is incorrect. Only the speaker can do that.
    (c) We can speak a lot more succinctly if we rely on the error correcting mechanism of (a) and (b) which makes the whole process more efficient and less onerous.

    You are failing to contribute you share by not playing part (b) – and then are blaming everyone else for it.

    I don’t know your circumstances or motives. Maybe you have fundamental communication issues for some reason. Or maybe you are playing Legion’s favourite confrontationalist because you get some sort of perverse kick or affirmation out of it. But either way, it rather undercuts your arguments and makes you look like an antisocial prick (two-fer!)

  191. Besides, we don’t really need laws let alone people who follow them for a society to function. It is all about how we FEEL that really matters….

    Well, unless it relates to “waterboarding” and other abusive detainee treatment – in which case we really don’t need to apply the existing laws and it’s about how we “FEEL” about (say) waterboarding that really matters.

    This has GOT to be a twisted kind of performance art.

  192. Lotharsson and Sparta.

    Please watch the length of your posts, thanks…

  193. Hi Joni & Reb

    I see that I am about the only contributor here that does not bold, block quote or use italics.

    Perhaps you could put up a guide on this under FAQ.

    I can then access it as necessary, which is likely to be each time I wish to blod, block quote or use italics.

  194. Yes, again a conversation you had not participated in so why are assuming you know what I am talking about moron

    Wait, wait, I know the answer to this one! ONLY people who’ve read everything Sparta ever wrote are allowed to interpret his comments! And since the only person that qualifies is Sparta, Sparta must play that godlike role! (Er, wait. Why is he writing comments that others can read then? They can ONLY misinterpret them. I guess he WANTS them to be misinterpreted. Sparta truly does work in mysterious ways.)

    Nor did I ever mention “asylum seekers” in my original post idiot

    Good, that was half of my point – glad we have agreement. Although you clearly misunderstood why I made it. Try reading it again.

    Why did YOU mention asylum seekers in response to my request for evidence that “compassion advocates” were supporting the use of false passports, a question which had nothing to do with asylum seekers? Reasonable people might interpret that to mean that you probably had asylum seekers in mind in your original post, since that’s how you chose to defend it when a followup question was raised.

    If so wouldn’t it be necessary to have a “passport” to get through customs before being able to settle into the community and “claim asylum”?

    For someone who’s so sure you WEREN’T talking insinuating something about asylum seekers and their supporters with your original comment, you sure seem keen to talk about asylum seekers, their supporters, asylum seeker law, their potential use of false passports and more. You even comment that you might have been insinuating something with your original post…can’t resist proving yourself a liar, or at least making yourself very hard to believe, eh?

  195. And Sparta, I know subtlety and nuance slip right by you, so here’s a little tutorial on clarification requests taken from a well-known example.

    Well, as far as I can tell by what you wrote, you seem to be the prime example.

    When someone says to you “as far as I can tell by what you wrote”, they’re explicitly pointing out that they are operating on their interpretation which is derived from what you wrote – and that they note that their interpretation might not match what you intended, and implicitly that you may have even written more on the subject that they are not aware of.

    This is an actual INVITATION to the you TO CLARIFY any misinterpretation that might exist, because only YOU can determine if you have been misinterpreted. Feel free to treat it as such next time you see it.

    We have a report of fake passport ring used by people smugglers – and you seem to think some group of what you call (without definition) “compassion advocates” is DEFENDING this behaviour.

    When someone says “you seem to think” to you, they are indicating that it’s their perception of your thoughts/beliefs, and the use of “seem” furthermore indicates that they note they may not be correct in that perception. This is an implicit INVITATION to you TO CLARIFY your beliefs if you feel they have been misrepresented, because only YOU can determine if your beliefs have been misrepresented. Feel free to take it as such next time you see this pattern.

  196. Tom,

    You may have noticed that one or two others are very adept at using bold text when they want to make a point and in quoting others

    when they think it adds strength to their arguments

    Personally, I just prefer good old plain text. It’s hard enough to try and make sense of what some people are saying around here without the use of all this fancy formatting without the use of bold text and/or Caps to try and ram their message DOWN YOUR THROAT

    What happened to the good old days when we could just have a congenial conversation…?

  197. reb, I think we tried to take the congenial conversation online in the 80’s (at least at Unis before the Internet spread to homes) and found that the lack of speech inflection and body language was problematic, so we resort to limited replacements such as bold, quotes, emphasis (which used to be indicated differently when all we had was fixed-width font text terminals) and smilies.

    Tony, there may be other ways to do it, but I just use a few basic HTML tags. There’s a tutorial here. I use tags named “b” (instead of “strong”) for bold, “em” for emphasis (italics), “blockquote” for quoting, and “a” with a parameter ‘href=”URL”‘ to make a link to “URL” out of the text enclosed by the “a” tag.

    I once tried “ul” but it got filtered out – I’d bet most of the other tags in that tutorial also get filtered out.

    You can also try “View Source” or “View Page Source” in your browser to try and see how certain things are done, but do it on a very small page unless you want thousands of lines of HTML code…

  198. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 5th, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Well as for “win or lose” imaginary or not, clearly your position is the “losing one” here but you’re not really keeping track anyway….LOL……..As above for example….LOL…….

    You would need to demonstrate how my position conflicts with my government’s position; you haven’t done that.

    First, you would need to elaborate on what you think my position is (or I would need to do so, but that’s a moot point in Sparta-land, when he’s busy off having a convivial chat with Dr Stone, apparently, or anyone else Sparta happens to be conjuring from the aether, including me, as usual, in lieu of actually conversing), given it did not consist of one lone sentence (as neither did the immigration fact sheet consist of only two sentences in a section recalling an entire treaty); and did also rehearse the need for due process to determine status as a prior, both to determination of legal status (as opposed to attaching illegality to their persons, either as ‘illegal immigrants’ or ‘illegal arrivals’ before any such undertaking) and to the determination of the effective legal consequence(s) of a given mode of travel; your own link at the very beginning indicates that mode of travel is no disbar to lawful refugees receiving aid per legal obligations owed to them as refugees should they prove such after a course of due process.

    Second, you would need to hold in mind the legal obligations owed to all (non-national) persons encountered, and thence in mind the legal obligations owed to that subset who are or might be refugees (before, during and after, not just after, their being heard) which is what enlivens their appreciated right to flee and seek refuge elsewhere, not just the limitations on the consequents of their exercising that right to flee as if that right had no legal significance, some of which limitations were rehearsed both by me and also by your link; the latter clearly indicating that the entire process is about assessing what protections are owed to whom and under what circumstances, including the instance of unauthorised entry into an Australian migration zone by air or by sea, and including the temporary protections necessarily afforded while working that out, which is a during and an after thing, not a before thing, except insofar as there is a generally recognised right for persecuted peoples to flee and seek refuge elsewhere and for signatories to the relevant Conventions and Protocol to assume obligations in their being signatories should they encounter such persons. Apparently, not even the illustrious Dr Stone as ventiloquist’s dummy can determine such things in advance of an assessment. 😉

  199. Dumb & Dumber,

    YAWN………………….

  200. Magnificent comeback sparta.

  201. Joni,

    No sense in beating a dead horse……..LOL……

  202. Just your opinion Sparta.

    And let’s have a quote:

    “What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight … is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings. ”

    — General David Petraeus May 10,2007

    But of course, in Sparta’s world – waterboarding someone 183 times is treating them with dignity and respect.

  203. CAPT Donovan in 2004 when talking about waterboading:

    I fail to see how anyone can reasonably say that employing such techniques against those in our custody is worthy of the United States, no matter how much we may need the information. In my view, for the U.S. to do this “lowers the bar” and ensures, if there is any doubt, that similar techniques will be employed against any US personnel captured by our enemies.

    And that when the same techniques are used in the future against US personnel he will also say that it was not torture and is therefore OK.

  204. Joni,

    This particular response is in regards to “asylum” seekers, not torture…….

  205. Joni,

    The statues could not be clearer but some would like to continue to play “games” or attempt to make an argument when there simply is none….Anybody who is actually interested in the actual “language” doesn’t have to take my word. They should visit the link below or trust that Legion is an authority…….I simply don’t see the point in endlessly covering the same ground with the deluded…….

    http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/61asylum.htm

    Besides, he/she really isn’t debating anymore, simply too much ego to let it go without the last word. I would like to see some “evidence” to the contrary for a change but instead, more boring hyperbole…. Ping-pong……..

  206. YAWN………………….

    It has to be performance art. Sparta makes a provocative if potentially ambiguous comment, and when my response sticks to the apparent topic of the original comment he performs double back-flips with triple-twists accompanied by hand-flutters to try and start an argument with me about asylum seeker politics/law, even falsely accusing me of bringing up the topic of asylum seekers and starting such an argument just so that he can deign to “join in”, but having no success. Then when there’s a substantive (if convoluted) response to his position he pulls out one of his specialised debate withdrawal techniques – learned well in primary school.

    I’m afraid I wasn’t good enough at art to appreciate the point though.

  207. Sparta of Phoenix, AZ USA, on May 5th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Ho-hum. Really? So, it’s just by pure chance that you managed to self-select a snippet by Dr Stone, out of a document also self-selected, containing “severe trauma” as your centrepiece for externalised monologue-as-pseudo-dialogue, and didn’t even bother to toddle off to check if that was the or even a relevant criterion before having a little chat with yourself about it?

    The timing could not be more applicable given this last exchange…

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25430233-601,00.html

    “If they haven’t experienced extreme trauma in the intervening years since their first rejection, then the Coalition will demand to know how the criteria for refugee selection has changed,” Dr Stone told The Australian. ”

    Now, now Dr. Stone; you’re not allowed to apply any logic to this discussion you xenophobe, racist etcetera. Where is your “compassion” anyway? It is very simple, it is the belief of many (case in point above) that the only requirement is “showing up”. Legalities, it is all relative anyway. Besides, we don’t really need laws let alone people who follow them for a society to function. It is all about how we FEEL that really matters….LOL…….

    I really think you need to meet Joe and Harry to expand your functional repertoire.

  208. Never mind people, Condi reckons its legal if the Presdient OKs it.

    See this clip from a speech she recently made to some Uni students:

    The ecact quote, at about 6.15 on the clip is:

    “By definition, if it was authorised by the President, it did not violate our obligations (under the Convention Against Torture)”

    In other words, the President is the final arbiter of what is and is not lawful in the United States of America.

    Fair dinkum. I haven’t heard anything like this since David Frost interviewed Dick Nixon.

    I doubt the Justices of the US Supreme Court would agree with her.

    And this woman was the holder of one of the highest offices in the land? Evidently she has never heard of the doctrine of the separation of powers. None of them apparently had.

  209. We have some more of the invisible “horde”, legally arriving for their “rightful” share of the good life…..Plenty of “charity” to go around folks. Australia has an endless reserve and they even get to jump the queue…..Legion says so…..Nothing like a slow bleed…….I have an idea, the Aboriginals should burn their ID after arriving in Indonesia and rent a boat and sail back to Australia. Perhaps then they might get the care they need? Come one come all “queue mergers” welcome……

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25432680-601,00.html

  210. Evan, that Condi quote was strangely missing from the New York Times article that mentioned some of the policy deliberations – and that student’s video. Awesome how the “leftie” mainstream press filters out little things like that they decide we don’t need to worry our little heads over, ain’t it? I wonder what else they decided we didn’t need to know?

    She subsequently did an interview reported by Al Jazeera where she tried to put the genie back in the bottle.

    “Let me be very clear: The president [George Bush] said he would not authorise anything that was illegal.

    “It was not legal because he authorised it; it was because he said he would do nothing illegal and the justice department and the attorney general said that it was legal.”

    So she’s apparently going for the “just following orders” and “I trusted the president rather than made my own assessment” defence…not sure that will be a great strategy in court.

  211. Efforts to destroy the Zelikow memo pointing out that the OLC still hadn’t come up with a plausible reason why the 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments were not applicable to the detainees may have violated the Presidential Records Act. Some very interesting legal sniffing around going on here. Elsewhere, commenters speculate that Zelikow has a certain amount of self-interest in spinning the story here, or may be trying to protect Condi.

  212. Psychologist supporting torture interviewed. Psychologist revealed to have little empathy – and smart enough to graduate psychology but not smart enough to think longer term or go ask the experts when he’s out of his depth. (Kind of like much of the Bush administration…)

  213. Lots more of what looks like torture CYA (cover your ass) behaviour going on, including this denial of minutes of a meeting from 2002 by Mr. Fredman, former chief legal counsel for the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center.

    The minutes say he basically supported following the standards of the initial permissive OLC memo. NOW he says that even techniques in the Army Field Manual may still violate the non-binding Istanbul Protocol which provides guidelines on how to investigate and document allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for legal purposes. The author of the post points out that he’s been writing about the Army Field Manual for some time, and that some scrutineers concluded that some techniques violated both domestic and international law.

    There’s also some discussion of the types of experiences that appear to be allowed to be induced by drugs under various standards. The Army Field Manual appears to go further than Yoo and even allow drugs that induce psychosis as long as it’s temporary.

  214. Crisis? What crisis?

    AUSTRALIA is facing the biggest spike in unauthorised boat arrivals since John Howard implemented the Pacific Solution, with the Australian navy intercepting another boatload of asylum seekers northwest of Broome…

    It is the 18th boat to be detained since the Rudd Government announced a softening of detention policies last September.

    All told, the boats have carried a total of 676 people over the same period, according to Immigration Department figures.

    Of those, 497 people have been detained this calendar year.

    And in a trend that will have the Rudd Government worried, the frequency of interceptions appears to have increased, with eight boats detected in the past month…

    If the current pace of interceptions were to continue, the number of arrivals for this year would rival the 1212 intercepted in 2001-02, the year the Howard government introduced the Pacific Solution of offshore processing centres.

    In the years after the Pacific Solution, the flow of boats slowed to a trickle, a fact the Howard government attributed to the tough message the policy sent to people-smugglers.

  215. Nice use of link and blockquote, Tony 🙂

    Also from the same article:

    The source cited favourable conditions at sea, an abundance of boats and the brimming global pool of refugees displaced by violence in the Middle East as reasons for the surge.

    High as the numbers are, refugee groups have been at pains to point out they are not close to rivalling the tens of thousands of unauthorised arrivals who enter into Europe annually. Nor are the numbers approaching the 4175 boat arrivals detected in Australian waters in 1999-2000, the peak of the most recent surge in boat arrivals.

  216. Nice use of link and blockquote, Tony

    Thanks, Lotharsson, however it was Tom, not Tony, who was having trouble. (Confusing, I know, but there you are.)

  217. Oops, my mistake Tony. Apologies!

  218. Former Republican officials campaigning behind the scenes to change the tone (if not the conclusions) of a forthcoming DOJ ethics report into the lawyers who drafted the torture memos.

    Somehow attempting to quietly influence an ethics investigation by the DOJ doesn’t come across as a good look…

  219. Officially unacknowledged US use of drones in Pakistan said to be backfiring. This time by an Aussie counter-insurgency expert. Sometimes it’s smart to look beyond your short term desires & goals and see if what you’re doing advances your long term goals/strategy. (Hmmm, where have I seen that behaviour NOT being applied before?)

    And check out the last quoted statement from Kilcullen. That will make some heads spin.

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