Posted by: quiscus | April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011

1.  “What WikiLeaks Hath Wrought

What did they tell us about Guantánamo? Exactly what we wanted to hear.

It is sometimes said that the 1960s have become a cultural litmus test. A person’s mental image of that turbulent decade predicts a great deal about his or her position on many of the hot-button issues we face today. Those for whom the 1960s meant the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the end of Jim Crow, the narrowing of the chasm between rich and poor, and the wistful end of New Deal liberalism have a very different vision of the country than those for whom it meant urban riots, campus chaos, the assassination of two Kennedys and a King, dramatically rising crime rates, and the first welcome stirrings of modern conservatism. In this way, the decade was not simply ten years in the long march of a nation’s history, but a rare moment when competing visions of national identity collided in the public square.

We are quickly reaching a similar point regarding the meaning of, and proper response to, the attacks of September 11. Increasingly stable narratives are taking shape. These narratives vie to claim both the “true” understanding of the past and the proper direction of the future. And, as these narratives compete, the iconic images of the post-September 11 world—Guantánamo, waterboarding, military commissions, rendition, and countless others—are converted from policies that are either good or bad (and choices that were either wise or foolish) to symbols that represent particular visions of national identity. It is this symbolic potency that Karl Rove had in mind when he told a BBC journalist in March 2010 that he was “proud” of waterboarding and the other “enhanced” interrogation techniques. He meant that he was proud the United States had set itself on this course, and that staying the course by adhering to these methods symbolized America’s commitment to a particular vision of both the past and future.

This shift from counter-terror policies to symbols of national identity is momentous and under-appreciated. As with our understanding of the 1960s, the competing visions of September 11 have produced hardening social narratives. These narratives explain the meaning and complexity of contemporary events, at least to the satisfaction of those who share the vision. But, to do so, the narratives must jealously insist upon an idiosyncratic approach to facts. Those that support the narrative are welcomed and assimilated, making the narrative stronger, and those that do not are ignored or dismissed. In time, as this creative use of evidence repeats itself, the narrative matures into myth, which misleads not so much by the falsehood it contains as by the truth it leaves out. In the end, for example, we are left with the myth of the 1960s as the golden years of the Great Society versus the myth of the decade as the moment when conservatism rescued the country from ruin. Or, in the post-September 11 context, the myth of a strong America attacked because of her values versus the myth of an American empire out of control.”

2.  “Bush court dismisses 9/11 suit against Bush officials, orders sanctions

Rather than judicially review significant evidence in the events of September 11, 2001, on April 27, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of an Army Specialist’s complaint against former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers.

One of Plaintiff April Gallop’s attorneys, William Veale, didn’t know whether to relate the decision to “Kafka, Orwell, Carroll, or Huxley,” referring to the absurdity and dearth of reason emanating from the court regarding the deadliest attack on U.S. soil the nation has ever faced.

“The Court’s decision, analogous to reviewing an Indictment in a liquor store hold-up without mentioning the guy walking in with a gun, refuses to acknowledge even the existence of the three defendants much less what they were doing that morning or saying about it afterwards,” Veale added.

Of the three judges on the panel, John Mercer Walker, Jr. is first cousin of former President George H.W. Bush and first cousin once removed of George W. Bush,

A motion to force Judge Walker’s removal from the case was denied, despite a clear conflict of interest.

Additionally, the court filed an Order to Show Cause for Sanctions amounting to $15,000 for filing a “frivolous” suit, which the Center for 9/11 Justice plans to appeal.”


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