Friday, May 4, 2007

America's Policy Of Torture

I'm a news junkie. I've got every major domestic and foreign news source bookmarked in a file simply titled "news" in my laptop. I suppose that's why one particular article caught my eye the other day and I thought it worth sharing.

The article titled "Beyond The Multiplex" by Andrew O'Hehir and printed in Salon talks about America's current practice of torture in its war on terror and asked the question exactly how and when did the United States of America become a police state.

The piece is about an elegant and terrifying documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" by film producer Alex Gibney which premiered this past weekend at a movie house in New York City. The movie offers a thoroughly researched history lesson on the recent development of torture as U.S. policy, from the Afghanistan invasion through Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, and is a striking account of how the Bush-Cheney administration has eviscerated the Constitution, and abandoned basic tenets of human rights and human dignity. According to Mr. O'hehir's observation, once he'd finished watching the screening, he felt like he wanted to "scream at strangers, tell them that if this country had any fucking stones we would drag these people out of Washington, strip them of their citizenship and their clothes, and drive them white-baby naked across the Rio Grande to fend for themselves in the Sonora desert."

He goes on to say, " it's not that there's any truly startling new information in Taxi to the Dark Side. Gibney makes clear how much of his film rests on the reporting of Carlotta Gall and Tim Golden of the New York Times, among various others. If you've been reading the best investigative reporting on the subject since the Abu Ghraib scandal first broke, in fact, you've gotten the main points already: The abuse and beatings and torture and murder (yes, murder) of detainees in U.S. custody have not been the result of a few undisciplined "bad apples" in the military. Rather, they have resulted from a deliberately murky policy set at the Defense Department and in the White House, whose true goals are to claim far-reaching, extra-constitutional powers for the president; to establish that Muslim detainees from other countries have no inherent human rights or legal rights at all; and to condition the American people to the belief that torture will stop terrorism, and that to think otherwise is to be a pantywaist Osama lover."

O'Hehir continues by saying, " As he did in his influential "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," Gibney illustrates the news in compelling human detail, and broadens and deepens both the reporting and the argumentation. He coaxes several former Abu Ghraib interrogators and military police to speak on camera, and there are photographs and grainy video images -- some of them pretty hard to take -- that haven't been seen by the public before. Among his interviewees are many of the star figures in this sordid drama: British-born detainee Moazzam Begg, who spent almost three years in U.S. custody; Damien Corsetti, a hulking former Army intelligence specialist who served both at Abu Ghraib and at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan; and Alberto Mora, former general counsel to the Navy and the Bush administration's leading legal whistle-blower on these issues.

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Now, here's the latest new poems to go online:

Postcards Dipped In Corn Syrup

After many revisions Iowa stops growing corn.

Huck Finn drifts up-river and then renames the
body of water "Mutual of Omaha". Mark Twain
is still a funny read but the average yearly farm
revenue slips so low the adventure story gets a
G-P rating...

Mode et Accessoires

Some are preferred over others, for instances:

-Plastic encroachments covered with insect bits.

-Eyeliner smeared around the seafarer's porthole.

-Any constellations able to pass the white-glove test.

-Beauty with teeth strong enough to eat through the skin.

-The porous quality of crazed thrill seekers.

-An asphalt jungle woven by silk worms.

-The sibling behavior noted in snow angels.

-Woozy wanderlust just beyond the masses' reach.

-Peristaltic rhythm caught in oncoming headlights.

-The invisible thread in the eye of love's needle.

-Debts that are so old they have coagulated.

Poems first published at:
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
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