Monday, May 30, 2005

A mistake

I guess as part of “Operation Lightning,” the US first arrests — sorry, I meant to say seizes; arrest, the verb widely used in news stories, suggests a process of law — the head of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, throwing a bag over his head (why do American police never do that when they arrest people, or will the practice be imported from Iraq within a year or two, I wonder), then releases him, saying the arrest was a mistake. No fucking kidding. Some news media are taking that to mean a case of mistaken identity, but that’s not what was said. Here’s a detail I like: Prime Minister Jaafari ordered an investigation. Hey, the American military didn’t even inform you before grabbing up Hamid, how are you going to get them to cooperate with an investigation? Isn’t it cute when they pretend to be in control?

The chief of police in Basra says he’s lost control of the police force, which is heavily infiltrated by sectarian groups who are using police cars in assassinations. And Basra’s the one peaceful area outside Kurdistan.

: “For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights [in Guantanamo], I frankly just don’t take them seriously.” The head of Amnesty’s US branch responds nicely, “He doesn’t take torture seriously; he doesn’t take the Geneva Convention seriously; he doesn’t take due process rights seriously; and he doesn’t take international law seriously.”

Cheney went on, “Occasionally there are allegations of mistreatment. But if you trace those back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who has been inside and been released ... to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated.” I’ve said before, the Bushies have lost the ability to distinguish between proving a case and just making an assertion. Notice how he starts as if he had actual evidence he was going to present — “if you trace,” “in nearly every case,” “it turns out” — and then peters out into, well they were lying. An argument, it has been said before, isn’t just contradiction, the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes. And in denying that any human rights were violated in Gitmo, he’s also gainsaying the photos we’ve all seen. And the 1,000 pages of Gitmo tribunal documents released to AP under the Freedom of Information Act on this fine holiday weekend, which show the tribunals ignoring every complaint. You can read the documents here.

By the way, in the same interview, Cheney accused Kim Jong Il of running a police state.

Speaking of big round cheeses, today was the traditional Gloucestershire cheese roll, in which a 7-pound circular cheese is rolled down a hill, reaching speeds of up to 70 mph, and a bunch of crazy Brits roll after it. The survivor gets the cheese. Yes that’s him, clutching his prize as they take him to the hospital. The head of PETA complained that the event was not vegan.

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