Treason of the Tormentor: George W. Bush Set to Legalize Torture

We told you: the Bush Gang is going to grow more brazen as their popularity sinks and they face the prospect of losing control of part of the conventional government in November. (The "secret government" – that subterranean realm of grease, baksheesh, black ops and skullduggery where most of the state's power actually lies, remains safely in Bush Faction hands, and will do so regardless of the outcome of this year's elections.) As we noted yesterday, the Bushists are now embarked on an open campaign to subvert – and pervert – the very notion of law (not to mention morality and honor), in order to "normalize" their crimes.

So now comes the latest salvo: a back-door measure to legalize the same torture techniques that the Pentagon rejected this week. Stuck into the back of an 86-page bill, and obscured by a blizzard of technicalities, the measures are explicit about avoiding the Bush goons' worst nightmare: criminal prosecution for their very clear, very deliberate and very self-aware violations of American law.

What's more, the bill would essentially eliminate the U.S. Supreme Court as an independent arbit
er of the Constitution. It specifically bars the Court from drawing on the Geneva Conventions in any ruling on Bush's torture regimen. This despite the fact that the Geneva strictures against torture have been incorporated directly into U.S. law. What Bush's new bill says, then, is that the United State Supreme Court is forbidden from citing United States law to rule against torture. That's a sweet deal for a sadistic tyrant, one who seems to have a pathological need to know that torture is being inflicted on his captives, despite the near-universal opinion of experts that, morality aside, torture is counterproductive, wasteful and pointless in terms of producing genuine, actionable intelligence. Bush insists otherwise, with a slathering glee that he can barely restrain. He wants people to be tortured, at his orders; he seems to need this somehow. He is a sick and twisted little man.

But Bush's aberrant psychology is not the main issue here. It doesn't matter what he feels; the only thing that matters is what he does, whatever the reason. And what he is doing is attempting to enshine in American law barbaric practices that make beasts of captor and captive alike. What he is doing is stripping away every human right, civil liberty, and judicial restraint that might impede his arbitrary exercise of raw power.

Where will Bush and his handlers stop? They won't stop. Where will they draw the line? There is no line. Is there anything they will not do, anyone or anything they won't destroy, in order to cling to power? No. The horrors we've seen in the last five years are just a prologue, distant thunder on a black horizon. The full-blown storm is about to descend; we can feel the first lashings of the rain right now.

Excerpts: Many of the harsh interrogation techniques repudiated by the Pentagon on Wednesday would be made lawful by legislation put forward the same day by the Bush administration. And the courts would be forbidden from intervening. The proposal is in the last 10 pages of an 86-page bill devoted mostly to military commissions, and it is a tangled mix of cross-references and pregnant omissions.

But legal experts say it adds up to an apparently unique interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, one that could allow C.I.A. operatives and others to use many of the very techniques disavowed by the Pentagon, including stress positions, sleep deprivation and extreme temperatures…

Indeed, the proposed legislation takes pains to try to ensure that the Supreme Court will not have a second bite at the apple. “The act makes clear,” it says in its introductory findings, “that the Geneva Conventions are not a source of judicially enforceable individual rights.”

…Though lawsuits will almost certainly be filed challenging the bill should it become law, most legal experts said Congress probably had the power to restrict the courts’ jurisdiction in this way. The proposed legislation would provide retroactive immunity from prosecution to government agents who used harsh methods after the Sept. 11 attacks. And, as President Bush suggested on Wednesday, it would ensure that those techniques remain lawful.