Saturday, June 17, 2006

An aside that's worth blogging

Chris Floyd - talking about Bush prison camps, starts with this aside, which seemed to me to be so important that I've excerpted it here:
"A few months ago, there was a brief bristling of feathers in the American corporate media about the possibility that the Bush Administration had set up secret prisons in Eastern Europe: new black pearls for the sinister gulag necklace that Bush has strung across the earth, where the captives seized, kidnapped, shanghaied, nabbed, snatched, disappeared – but never legally arrested or formally charged – in his Terror War are renditioned into limbo. Or even killed, as Bush himself has clearly implied in public statements, including the nationally televised State of the Union address in 2003: 'All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.'

(Note that he is referring here to 'suspected terrorists.' What he was saying – to the bipartisan laughter and applause of the assembled legislators – was that people who had merely been accused of terrorism – arbitrarily, outside all judical process, with no set standards for evidence, perhaps on the word of a single, unreliable informant or a bounty hunter – have been killed by American agents or foreign proxies. This was perhaps the most bloodchilling statement ever uttered publicly by an American president: an open boast of 'extrajudicial killing.' [The term of art applied to the unlawful taking of human life by an established and respected national government; in all other cases, this same activity is known as murder.] And note further that Bush has not only claimed the power to imprison or kill anyone in the world whom he arbitrarly designates a 'terrorist' – or even a 'suspected terrorist' – he has also delegated this death-dealing authority to lower-ranking agents in the field. This is a moral derangement so vast as to be almost incomprehensible, a negation and perversion of every value of the 'civilization' Bush purports to be defending. Arbitrary murder on the whim of an autocrat and his designated minions, openly admitted, even celebrated: this is the reality of American power today. Try to square that with the idea of a constitutional republic based on law and justice.)"


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