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Archive for November 9th, 2007

53 Apologists and 7 Bystanders: It’s a Dog Eat Detainee World Out There

Posted by stoptorture on 9th November 2007

The Senate vote for torture (Mukasey) is in.

TORTURE APOLOGISTS (boycott them here!):

  • All 46 Republicans present voted for torture. Three were absent [see “WEASELS”].
  • Six Democrats [Bayh (D-IN), Carper (D-DE), Feinstein (D-CA), Landrieu (D-LA), Nelson (D-NE), and Schumer (D-NY)], plus Lieberman (I-CT) also voted for torture.


  • Seven senators did not bother to vote, most notable among these, Senator McCain (R-AZ), torture survivor, and all of the Democratic senators who are candidates for president. Sure, candidates Biden, Clinton, Dodd, and Obama all talked the talk of opposing Mukasey, but why should they ruin their “electability” on something like torture when they can say the words of opposition to torture (like Bush does) and take no meaningful action? Way to learn a lesson from your opponents, Dems!

One last thought that occurred to me while watching “Rendition” tonight: maybe the Democrats haven’t gotten serious about torture because the Clinton administration is guilty of it also. Perhaps everybody fears felony prosecutions. After all, the rendition program did start under Clinton. Exposing the “progressive” party’s own dirty hands would be remarkably inconvenient politically, no?

I know what you’re thinking: let’s distinguish the supposed “rendition to justice” program under Clinton from the “rendition from justice (to torture)” program under Bush. But do you believe the lines were ever drawn so neatly? Besides, my friends, no matter what, Clinton did create a “rendition to justice” program, one that sowed the seeds of lawlessness. It created a precedent that lay around like a loaded gun for Bush.

Having witnessed so many squandered opportunities to stop the torture program, there can no longer be any doubt that the Democrats are a pro-torture party. Sound exaggerated? Just try convincing me that they are an anti-torture party. The nail in the coffin: there were fewer than 60 “Yeas” in the Senate today. That means that even the 40 “Nays” were cowards for not filibustering.

Shame on all of Congress and all of us. We are officially an atrocity society. And with Sarkozy getting a cozy reception in D.C., I’ll take the opportunity to finally just come out and say it: J’accuse!

Jennifer Harbury is a Harvard Law School J.D. graduate from 1978. In 1992, her husband Everardo (Efrain Bamaca Velasquez) was disappeared and tortured by the CIA and the Guatemalan military. She still seeks justice. But the story of CIA torture and secret prisons is older still than hers and her husband’s. We have been an atrocity society for a long time. The difference is that now, at last, we embrace it.

On our first day of law school in 2005, Dean Elena Kagan told us that in the olden days, they used to say something horrible during the admissions info sessions for Harvard Law School: “Look to your left, and look to your right. One of you will be gone by next fall.” This was meant put us on notice that it was a dog eat dog world out there.

But today, we look to the left, and sure enough: there is nobody there. The left has disappeared. To our right, though, sits war criminal Alberto Gonzales, Harvard Law School alum. And torture apologist (ok, let’s face it — advocate) Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School professor. The list goes on.

These days, it’s a dog eat detainee world out there.

YEAs: 53

NAYs: 40

Not Voting: 7

Posted in Human Rights, Torture, U.S. Law | 11 Comments »