Monday, January 24, 2011

Excusing Torture at 'Justice'

By Ray McGovern
January 24, 2011

On Sunday, I attended an informal talk given in a parish hall by the Justice Department’s Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. His topic: “The way his work for justice is defined by his faith.”

Read on.


Dean Taylor said...

24 January 2011

Eighteenth-century Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke challenges, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing " [attributed].

Having noted this apodictic moral premise it comes as no surprise that careerist Perez tacitly endorses torture--he goes along to get along--since his boss, AG Holder did not demure when, e.g., enjoined to quash the Kenneth Trentadue torture/murder...ahem..."investigation"--at the behest of Frau Reno--at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, to wit, here:

and here:

What these disgustingly self-righteous DC piglets did not count upon at the time was that the mistakenly-identified Trentadue's brother is--voila!--an attorney himself, and that the idea of having his brother sadistically impaled by the FBI (one imagines that they were beside themselves with pathological glee at the prospect of having their way with him) did not--and, does not--rest easy on Jesse Trentadue's heart.

And, Ray, your apprehension of being "harsh" is misplaced here: these Ivy-League inebriates--i.e., drunk on the exclusive Power exchange that is Empire--are the actors keeping the entire menacing construct in motion. You mentioned Albright and others "of Christian faith"--have we not all heard of the fascists (not us; the European collective of the forties) gazing up teary-eyed at plaster relics in Chapel, i.e., when not attending to the rites of German Realpolitik and the "final solution"? The final solution for us here, today, is the maintaining--AT ALL COSTS--of the investor-class-configured status quo: the working class, both globally as well as here at home, are the fungible element in the equation valorizing capital, its pursuit and gain. And, if that final solution--which obtains to hinder capital flight--effects the deaths of millions of that class referred to as "the lesser people", then, Amen!

The OED defines "fanatic" as "a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits," and, "a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics." It derives from the Latin fānāticus, "inspired by a deity, frenzied"; from fanum, "temple". The frenzy here obtains, too, at the "high temple", 85 Broad St, where Blankfein and other rentiers--as minor deities, but deities nonetheless--attend to the bleeding of the globe, both its human and natural resources.

Perez is just one more gatekeeper (glorified at Harvard) of that stench-ridden temple, in this case, called Goldman-Sachs. Apparently, he dreamt of "being a success in life!" He did not trouble to consider that selling his soul might not redound to his credit one fine day--that is the "uncritical" part of the term. If he did pause from his single-minded drive to reflect upon the matter he would notice that 85 Broad St is more akin to an Augean stable than a house of worship: it lacks for--and desperately demands--flushing, NOT endless, macabre consecrating with Holy Water mist.

Despite his Jesuit-overseen study does he not compare more nearly with another devotee of the institutional programme--a Dominican, not Jesuit--i.e., Torquemada? No? Then, explain his obviously-to-hand, pompous "prosecutorial discretion" tapdance--i.e., when he might have had the spine to challenge top-down evil? And, he had the temerity to accuse you, Ray, of being calculating! Drawing upon another Biblical allusion, one wonders if he'll ever receive the grace of being knocked off his horse:

"On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him" [Acts 9:3].

rosemerry said...

Thanks Ray. I find that the "kindness, compassion and caring" of US citizens is extremely limited to their immediate family and neighbours, perhaps just to co-religionists eg evangelical christians. They are often indifferent or hostile to those even marginally different, let alone those in other lands. We see the present vilification of Muslims, and the assumption that 9/11 was out of the blue to a wonderful peaceful country. This is despite the manifest belligerent attitide and actions of the USA for centuries.

Dean Taylor said...

24 January 2011

postscript: Despite the fact that the Trentadue affaire has been an abiding source of endless heartache for the entire Trentadue family--a veritable nightmare--ought not lead one to believe that a certain professionalism inheres by those whose mandate is, supposedly, the carrying-out of justice--quite the opposite!

In the course of actually suppressing justice [!] there occurred amongst DoJ dross intra-office memos planning the most effective means of defeating the hope of full criminal disclosure of the event.

Despite the fact that an innocent life was taken (and, quite apart from the horrific details of same) the "strategy" was outlined with little DoJ witticisms citing "Trenta-'dos', and Trenta-'donts' " in how best to AVOID yet another governmental scandal! How's that for Ivy-League-bred jurisprudence!

On that note, attending law school amounts to career training--versus a university education in the sense of an immersion in the Humanities. The adage, "a little bit of learning..." applies full well: DC is a matter of veritable idiots courting--and gaining access to-- the corridors of Power.

Therefore, when Holder, Forwardlooking, Perez, Reno, etc., declaim--with no small solemnity and gesture--that "the rule of law is sacrosanct!", or, "people: we must all learn to be more responsible!"--or any number of other affected pretenses--their damning finger quite conveniently points away, in one direction only. From Wiki:

"In 2007, Jesse Trentadue requested to conduct videotaped depositions of Terry Nichols and death-row inmate David Paul Hammer on the subject of Kenneth Trentadue's death and on the FBI's possible withholding of documents relating to Kenneth Trentadue, documents that Jesse had requested in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball granted Trentadue's request. After the FBI urged him to reconsider in September 2008, Judge Kimball reaffirmed the decision. The FBI appealed the decision, claiming the two prisoners 'clearly have no knowledge regarding FBI procedures in filing and searching for records.' In July 2009 the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturned Kimball's decision, barring Trentadue from conducting the interviews."

Anonymous said...

Ray, I think your atheist friend is no atheist. I keep meeting people who deny the existence of God, but believe in things like "truth" and "justice"... things which cannot be observed by the eye or ear, nor touched nor tasted, things which transcend our brief human lives, things which we cannot even properly define but which we know exist. To whom does Romans 2:14 refer to if not to such "atheists"?

Just so, I keep meeting self-proclaimed Christians who support war in the name of the Prince of Peace, capital punishment in the name of the Lamb of God, hypocrisy and outright lies in the name of the Light of the World.

One might wish that people would make it simple for us, such that self-proclaimed atheists could all be nihilistic wrongdoers, while self-proclaimed Christians could all be bold in confronting evil and genuinely humble in doing good. Alas, many atheists are good Christians, while many Christians are perfect atheists.

Thanks for your writing.


jmaria said...

No need to be religious in order for a human being to tell good from evil, justice from injustice.

Robert Cook said...

Ray, I was raised in the Episcopal Church, attending services weekly with my family, and my father was a lay reader until diabetes took his leg and (other) foot and he could no longer ascend to the dais to read.

That said, I was never really religious, beyond having the typically cursory "American" belief in God and Heaven, and as I grew to adulthood I shed my vestigial "belief" and decided I could not accept the supernatural view of the universe demanded of (and underlying) religious faith. I remain firmly an atheist.

However, I do not resent or reject your discussion of your religious education and beliefs vis a vis your politics and vice versa, and in fact I enjoy your perspective.

I did take a class in the New Testament in college, which consisted entirely of our reading the New Testament beginning to end, and being asked by the instructor, "What does this mean?" about particularly provocative or puzzling passages. He did not dictate meaning to us, but asked us to draw meaning for ourselves from what we read and from our ensuing discussions. Not once did he ever say "That's right!" (or, alternatively, "That's wrong."). He always left his questions open, trusting that we would continue to consider them for ourselves.

One cannot deny, having read the New Testament, that a person who takes his Christian faith seriously must see Christ and his teaching as a radical challenge to the social status quo...and that status quo is ever, throughout history, one of institutional power in conflict with the people who are subject to that power. It requires dedication and courage and rare selflessness to really live as Christ commanded, and few, as he knew, could or would do so.

It's annoying that so-called self-professed Christians assume atheists cannot be moral, or that morality requires religious faith, but it's also annoying when self-righteous self-professed atheists react with high dudgeon when believers discuss their moral code or actions in terms of their faith. Rather than being merely a means to pacify our fear of death with promises of life everlasting and rewards in Heaven, all the great religions call for us to live moral lives now, here in this life where evil resides, when we have choice and when it matters.

I wish more who think of themselves as Christians would put their faith into action as you do, Ray, but that would require that they really inquire and strive for understanding of what the Christian teachings demand of them.

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate for the victims of US torture that Perez is such a coward, but that is the new norm for political appointees.