Lethal Careerism

by matttbastard

hannah-arendt2.jpg

In an era when capitalism is assumed to be not only efficient but also a source of freedom, the careerist seems like the agent of an easy-going tolerance and pluralism. Unlike the ideologue, whose great sin is to think too much and want too much from politics, the careerist is a genial caretaker of himself. He prefers the marketplace to the corridors of state power. He is realistic and pragmatic, not utopian or fanatic. That careerism may be as lethal as idealism, that ambition is an adjunct of barbarism, that some of the worst crimes are the result of ordinary vices rather than extraordinary ideas: these are the implications of Eichmann in Jerusalem that neo-cons and neoliberals alike find too troubling to acknowledge.

– Corey Robin, Dragon Slayers

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Yes, In Our Name

by matttbastard

Via the Dawg, the lying liars lied to each and every one of us:

The Harper government knew prison conditions were appalling long before The Globe and Mail published a series of stories last April detailing the abuse and torture of prisoners turned over by Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan’s notorious secret police, documents released this week show.

The heavily censored documents also show that at the same time as senior ministers were denying evidence of abuse, officials on the ground in Afghanistan were collecting first-hand accounts from prisoners of mistreatment.

[…]

In addition to routine reports by diplomats citing widespread torture and abuse, Canadian officials were also delivering first-hand accounts showing how grim the prisons were.

In one, Linda Garwood-Filbert, the newly arrived leader of a Correctional Service Canada inspections team, asked for better boots in February, 2007, months before the published reports, because she was “walking through blood and fecal matter” on the floor of cells as they toured Afghan prisons.

No explanation of why the floors were covered in blood is given.

[…]

Another report noted that the warden of the main prison in Kandahar, where many prisoners handed over by Canadians soldiers were held, had been fired after charges that he raped juvenile detainees. Cosmetics and hashish were found in his office. He was exonerated because an Afghan military judge said it was “impossible for a drunken man in his 50s to commit an act of rape,” reported a Canadian official in a cable to Ottawa.

Other reports detail conditions far outside internationally acceptable norms. At one Kandahar secret police prison, all inmates are shackled in leg irons around the clock. Some have been kept that way for more than a year.

skdadl nails it in comments over @ POGGE:

I think we call this the banality of evil. I have to walk through blood and fecal material, so I need better boots. This is the road to Nuremberg, folks. And this is being done in our name. Everyone happy to sit here quietly and be a “Good Canadian”?

Also see Designated Protest Zone, Impolitical, The Vanity Press, and pretty much everyone on the ProgBlogs roster.

I need a drink–and to reread Eichmann in Jerusalem.

Related: Amnesty International report on how countries participating in the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan (including, obviously, Canada) have been (knowingly) complicit in the transfer of detainees to Afghan security officials, despite evidence that doing so put prisoners at risk of being tortured.

Update: File Alison @ Creekside and The Beaver under ‘WIN’:

Are we ready to deal with this yet? Could we please get some grown-ups on this?

Look, we have a lot of serious and difficult issues to deal with in Canada : important stuff like fixing our debt to First Nations, stopping the sell-off of Canadian companies and the flow south of our resouces, getting serious on the environment, to name just a few.

Canada is already a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. We simply don’t have time to go back and re-fight and re-argue all the battles for the some semblance of civilization we have already won.

And we certainly don’t have time for any government that hasn’t figured that out yet.

You goddamn right.

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Saudi Woman Whipped for Being Gang Raped.

by Isabel

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman – whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms – was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape”, the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia’s Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media”.

More here.

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