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The Associated Press is, as always, hot on the trail of heinous, despicable acts of torture:

An American geologist held and tortured by China’s state security agents was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday for gathering data on the Chinese oil industry in a case that highlights the government’s use of vague secrets laws to restrict business information.

In pronouncing Xue Feng guilty of spying and collecting state secrets, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said his actions “endangered our country’s national security.” . . . Agents from China’s internal security agency detained Xue in November 2007 and tortured him, stubbing lit cigarettes into his arms in the early days of his detention.

Glenn Greenwald read the above and rightly called for the AP to apologize to China:
A few cigarette stubs into a forearm for a handful of days?  That’s it?  That’s “torture”?  Not according to the official definition of that term adopted by the U.S. Government, as explained by John Yoo:
Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture (under U.S. law), it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years.
 Placing a lit cigarette on someone’s arm is unquestionably painful, but clearly does not rise to the level of pain “accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”  Moreover, any psychological harm would likely be fleeting, not of “significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years” — that’s at least as true as the psychological harm from being repeatedly strapped onto a board and drowned close to the point of death.

Given the standards of Good Journalism prevailing in the U.S. media, as taught to us just this weekend by high-level executives at the NYT and The Washington Post (and previously at NPR):  what right does AP have to “take sides” in this dispute by substituting its own judgment about “torture” for the Chinese Government’s?  Beyond that, given that the U.S. Government has officially adopted a definition of “torture” that plainly does not include a few cigarette stubs on an arm, shouldn’t that preclude any Good Journalist from using the term in this subjective and biased way?  I hope AP will be apologizing to the Chinese shortly for its act of journalistic irresponsibility.  It’s not the role of journalists to take sides this way.

Shame on you, AP.  Everyone knows that countries around the world are now able to enhancedly interrogate people with impunity.  Get with the modern paradigm already.

(h/t John Cole, who is shrill)

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It is really hard to fathom how much of a bleedingly stupid fool Michael Steele really is:

Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”…

“It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan. Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”

As John Cole helpfully points out:
Everyone knows that there was no land war in Afghanistan until 2009. Since Saddam paid for Al Qaeda’s attack on 9/11, it’s always puzzled me what Obama was doing attacking that other place.
The mind reels…

Will someone please wake me up when this nightmare is over?

Update: And doubleplusgood on Glenn Greenwald for calling the following statement put out by the DNC in response to Steele’s comments above “truly repellent and classically Rovian“:

RNC CHAIRMAN MICHAEL STEELE BETS AGAINST OUR TROOPS, ROOTS FOR FAILURE

“Here goes Michael Steele setting policy for the GOP again. The likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham will be interested to hear that the Republican Party position is that we should walk away from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban without finishing the job. They’d also be interested to hear that the Chairman of the Republican Party thinks we have no business in Afghanistan notwithstanding the fact that we are there because we were attacked by terrorists on 9-11.

“And, the American people will be interested to hear that the leader of the Republican Party thinks recent events related to the war are ‘comical’ and that he is betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan. It’s simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troopswhen what they need is our support and encouragement. Michael Steele would do well to remember that we are not in Afghanistan by our own choosing, that we were attacked and that his words have consequences.”

The only thing Democrats have to fear is Democrats.

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As I was getting ready for work, I had a phenomenal idea for a reality TV show.  Here’s the pitch:

First we recruit some badass ultimate MMA fighters and dress them up like transvestites.

Then, we stick them on a huge flaming gay bus with the words “Who Wants Some?” stenciled on the side then drive it around the South, to its various backwoods honkytonks, and see what kind of mischief they stir up.

It’s gold, Jerry – GOLD!

Metavirus filed this under:  

As I was getting ready for work, I had a phenomenal idea for a reality TV show.  Here’s the pitch:

First we recruit some badass ultimate MMA fighters and dress them up like transvestites.

Then, we stick them on a huge flaming gay bus with the words “Who Wants Some?” stenciled on the side then drive it around the South, to its various backwoods honkytonks, and see what kind of mischief they stir up.

It’s gold, Jerry – GOLD!

Metavirus filed this under:  

As I was getting ready for work, I had a phenomenal idea for a reality TV show.  Here’s the pitch:

First we recruit some badass ultimate MMA fighters and dress them up like transvestites.

Then, we stick them on a huge flaming gay bus with the words “Who Wants Some?” stenciled on the side then drive it around the South, to its various backwoods honkytonks, and see what kind of mischief they stir up.

It’s gold, Jerry – GOLD!

Metavirus filed this under:  

As I was getting ready for work, I had a phenomenal idea for a reality TV show.  Here’s the pitch:

First we recruit some badass ultimate MMA fighters and dress them up like transvestites.

Then, we stick them on a huge flaming gay bus with the words “Who Wants Some?” stenciled on the side then drive it around the South, to its various backwoods honkytonks, and see what kind of mischief they stir up.

It’s gold, Jerry – GOLD!

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