John Yoo Meets Torture and At Last Recognizes It?
By Dennis Loo (12/17/14)
John Yoo, principal author of the Office of Legal Counsel’s “Torture Memos” that gave the green light to the CIA and other governmental agencies to carry out torture under Bush, has this week surprisingly distanced himself from some of the torture techniques, saying on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show on December 11, 2014 that if the Senate’s Torture Report accounts are true, that the CIA was acting outside of the Justice Department’s authorization and could be prosecutable for that.
Yoo, as those who follow these things know, has been an unabashed proponent of torture and so his sudden discovery of the law and a conscience seems startling. He famously stated in a public debate on December 1, 2005, for example, that if POTUS ordered a boy’s testicles to be crushed in order to extract information from his father, that this would be acceptable if POTUS was doing it to protect the US. Yoo needs to explain how crushing a boy’s testicles is better than sodomy with hummus, keeping detainees awake for up to seven days (a sure technique for driving someone literally mad), putting people into coffin boxes for protracted periods of time, and waterboarding people until they are unconscious and had to be revived.
As ex-Representative Jane Harman, who sat on the House Homeland Security Committee and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, points out in the CNN broadcast with Yoo, the OLC and Yoo at the behest of the Bush White House, redefined torture to mean only if it caused “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or death,” so that the techniques employed that Yoo is now objecting to were still within the OLC/Yoo/Bush Regime’s own self-serving definition.
US Policy: Only Some Lives Matter
By Dennis Loo (12/7/14)
This is Part 2 of a series. The first installment was entitled “The Affinity Between Daniel Pantaleo, Darren Wilson, and US Foreign and Domestic Policy.”
The first article of this series’ main point was that the unjust and murderous actions of officers such as Pantaleo and Wilson are not aberrations but in fact a logical outgrowth of, entirely consistent with, inspired by, and necessary corollaries to, US governmental policies, both here and abroad.
Consider the rationale for the so-called “war on terror” and the invasions and occupations of numerous countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House, through both the US military and various agencies such as the CIA and NSA, during the Bush years and the Obama years, has been and is still: carrying out torture, including of entirely innocent individuals, indefinite and preventive detention (e.g., Guantanamo, Bagram and other secret locations – aka “black sites”) where due process and the right to have your day in court have been explicitly suspended indefinitely, using anti-personnel weapons such as degraded radioactive warheads, cluster bombs, and free fire zones on densely populated civilian neighborhoods resulting not only in mass dislocations, deaths, and dismemberments but extraordinary increases in horrible birth defects, drone assassinations of thousands of overwhelmingly innocent “collateral” victims including hundreds of children, and massive surveillance upon whole countries.
All of these acts have been and are being carried out under the official rationale of “protecting American lives” by torturing and killing very large numbers of people. Well over a million Iraqis alone have died since our unjust and illegal invasion of their country based on a lie.
The immoral calculus for these actions? If it’s to save American lives, then anything is justified, even massive crimes routinely committed against innocents. The ends apparently justify the means.
The Affinity Between Daniel Pantaleo, Darren Wilson, and US Foreign and Domestic Policy
By Dennis Loo (12/5/14)
This is Part One of a multi-part series
This is the dilemma that those who run this political and economic system confront with the incredible popular upheaval in city after city, the likes of which I have never seen, even when comparing it to the 1960s:
If authorities were to do anything that would in any way cause the police to feel that they did not have complete license to constantly harass, brutalize, and kill, then this system could not continue.
Before examining this claim from different angles and justifying it, first an overall orientation:
The nature of economic and political power today under neoliberal regimes is so outrageously unfair, unjust, cold-blooded, deceitful, destructive, murderous, and belligerent, and becoming more so with every passing week, the only way to hold back the flood of outrage that has finally been unleashed against it is to continue to use repression on an even grander scale than that which unleashed this storm of resistance and disgust in the first place.
Ask yourself, why would the government blatantly uphold the obvious crime committed by Daniel Pantaleo who choked Eric Garner to death in front of the camera while Eric pleaded that he could not breathe over and over until he was suffocated? Pantaleo mugged for the camera that he knew was recording his murderous actions after he killed Garner and he and his fellow cops did nothing to try to revive Garner's lifeless body on the sidewalk.
Authorities certainly did not anticipate that they were opening the floodgates by issuing this non-indictment in the immediate aftermath of the fury and protest of so many to Ferguson. That is certain.
But they also could not afford to slap Pantaleo on the wrist because Pantaleo was doing exactly what the police have been training to do. To sanction Pantaleo is to make a mockery of what they have been directing and socializing their police force to do.
This site aims to accomplish two related goals. First, it complements Dennis Loo's book Globalization and the Demolition of Society so that people reading the book can get more deeply into it. (See navigation bar above, labeled "GDS Book Annotations"). We believe that his book is a landmark, providing a solid foundation for politics of a new path. Taking such a path is critical to humanity and the planet's future. As his book's dust jacket states:
[F]ree market fundamentalism - also known as neoliberalism - makes us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels.
Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.
Those in charge of our collective fates in government and business personify a heartless system based on profit and plunder. They have been relentlessly instituting profoundly immoral and unjust policies even while they insist that they are doing the opposite. We, on the other hand, stand for and are fighting for a radically different system and set of values than this.
Second, in order to get at the truth and because the ways in which humanity's historic striving for understanding and its capacity to wonder and imagine are very rich and diverse, we seek to reflect that richness and diversity on our site. See "About Us" on navigation bar. We intend to be engaging and compelling, as the best investigative journalism and art are, and relentlessly scientific, rigorous, and direct, as those who cherish the truth are. We believe that we can be both accessible and sophisticated. As Loo lays out in his book,
Defeating the empire is not something that occurs only on the literal battlefield. It is also something that is determined throughout the continuum of battles over many issues, including: ideas; philosophy; forms of organization and leadership in economy, politics, and other realms; ways of arguing; ways of responding to and respecting empirical data; interest in truth as opposed to expedience; how people and the environment should be treated; the nature of relations among people (e.g., between women and men, different races and ethnicities, rich and poor countries, etc.); ways of responding to criticism and ideas that are not your own; ways of handling one’s own errors and those of others; and more, all the way up through how warfare is carried out. The contrast between the methods and goals of the neoliberals and those of us who seek an entirely different world is stark. (Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Pp. 326-7)