Monday, July 10, 2006

Discovering Your Inner Constitutionalist

LA Times:
A Los Angeles filmmaker who was imprisoned in Iraq for 55 days sued Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking military officials Friday, alleging that his detention violated his civil rights, the law of nations and the Geneva Convention.

Cyrus Kar, 45, of Los Feliz was freed a year ago, just days after the American Civil Liberties Union sued seeking his release. The new lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, seeks damages for Kar and broad changes in the government's detention policies.

On May 17, 2005, the taxi he was riding in was stopped at a Baghdad checkpoint and authorities found components in the trunk that are commonly used in improvised explosive devices. The taxi driver told military authorities that Kar and his cameraman knew nothing about the items, which the driver said he was bringing to his brother-in-law.

Kar also submitted to a polygraph examination and allowed the FBI to search his apartment. They found nothing incriminating, but he was held for many more weeks in various prisons around Iraq, including the notorious facility at Abu Ghraib.

Even after he was cleared by a military court at Camp Cropper, Kar was held another week. Eventually, the camp commandant gave him a letter stating that military judges found him to be an "innocent civilian" under the Geneva Convention.

While in confinement, the suit states, Kar was at various times hooded, restrained "in painful flexi-cuffs" and "repeatedly threatened, taunted and insulted" by U.S. soldiers.

At one point, according to the suit, a U.S. soldier slammed Kar's head into a concrete wall at Abu Ghraib.

"Mr. Kar was and remains traumatized by his indefinite and virtually incommunicado detention, in solitary confinement, by the U.S. military without charge," the suit says.

What happened to him in Iraq was "a life-altering experience," Kar said. "I am not a left-wing liberal. I agree with many of George Bush's policies."

But, he added, "I don't think the Constitution has to be gutted to achieve our objectives" in the war on terrorism. "I felt it was my duty as an American to take a stand for the constitutional rights guaranteed to all Americans."
Remember the old law-and-order saw about how "a conservative is a liberal who got mugged"? How about this: A liberal is a conservative who got thrown in jail without charge. An update to reflect the times....


Blogger Ahistoricality said...

There's a term, and I don't know who invented it, which applies to the "conservative who got jailed for no reason": procedural liberal. It's a position -- focusing on justice as a function of legal protections and fair systems -- which should apply very broadly across the political spectrum.

7/10/2006 4:28 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

You don't have to go to Iraq to have your civil rights abused.

Someone close to me right here in Suffolk County should have been charged with disturbing the peace but, instead, was told by Suffolk County cops that she had no rights, cuffed, thrown into the back of a police car and, without a word of explanation, was hauled off to Stonybrook mental hospital at 11 o'clock at night.

At the mental hospital, no one asked my friend who to notify or her medical condition. She was injected with drugs under protest and forced to undergo a brain scan.

All of this time, no one in her family knew where my friend was. Finally, after being held for ten hours, she was interviewed and when asked about her health insurance, she lied and said she did not have any.

That did it! The hospital called her sister and she was released at 3 p.m. without being charged, without a diagnosis or any other requirements.

The frigging hospital had the nerve to send a $1900 bill.

That's the kind of crap that goes on every day here in Suffolk County.

7/10/2006 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a saying that I've used for the last ten years when the "liberal is a conservative who hasn't been mugged" nonsense comes up in discussion/argument.

A conservative is a liberal who hasn't come home from work to see the police opening and pilfering through their mail.

True story, one that throws a large monkey wrench in the authoritarian apologist's "but if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear" caveats when chipping away at our rights.

And yes, I am a liberal- who has been mugged.

Losing $25 and change to a thug feels a lot better than losing your rights and dignity to a bunch of thugs with badges.

7/10/2006 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post, TCR.

7/10/2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

"Dallas has a soft machine, Houston's too close to New Orleans..."

Keep on Truckin' and Steal This Book!

7/10/2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Hmm..I see my Rush Limbaugh comment was deleted. Big fan of Rush are you, C.R.?

Do you wear your "Club Gitmo" baseball cap out proudly out at the Hamptons?

For the uninitiated:

"Club G'itmo, the Muslim resort," is a "tropical paradise down there where Muslim extremists and terrorist wannabes can get together for rest and relaxation."

For some reason, the link to "Club Gitmo For Kids" is not in service. I'm sure you've seen it, C.R. - "Send your little jihadist to Camp Gitmo!"

Rush Limbaugh's three-hour, non-stop vicious diatribes against Muslims are broadcast five days a week to the Armed Services. When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has something important to say to the nation, he appears on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Me, I just want to know how much the Department of Defense pays for an annual subscription to Rush's show. $10 or $20 million, maybe?

7/10/2006 12:01 PM  
Blogger kindness said...

I don't know if TCR is a fan of Limbaugh. I suspect not, but he is obviously a fan of the GD & Abbie Hoffman as he didn't delete those referances.

What a long strange trip it's been.....

7/10/2006 12:15 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Holy mackeral! "Club G'itmo" gear is no longer available for sale at the online Rush Limbaugh Gift Shop!

We're talking collectors items now.

And I was thinking of buying a Club G'itmo baseball cap to where around town and see what kind of reaction I would get. Darn!

I just got a little money as a birthday gift. I'm going to invest $55 of it in a premium membership to the Rush Limbaugh Show. His archives are a treasure trove of classic right wing rants.

Quotes from the Limbaugh archives should be good for throwing back in the faces of conservatives for years to come if the recent Rumsfeld interview is any indication of what kind of material is in Rush's vault.

Megaditto, C.R.?

P.S. Kindness, I am the token representative of the Shrill Left here. As such, C.R. leaves stuff like references to GD and AH around to remind his right wing fans just how looney leftists are.

7/10/2006 12:56 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Hey, wait a sec! C.R., you deleted my post about Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and his wife, Julia, too.

Nothing like editing comments to give a slanted and biased view of the left.

I am a CPA, you know.

7/10/2006 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this:

7/10/2006 5:00 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

False alarm - The Rush Limbaugh Gift Shop is back in business selling "Club G'itmo" gear. But the link to Camp G'itmo 4 Kids remains out of service.

7/10/2006 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, you need to take a break from the NRO kool-aid. In this case, avoid Kudlow; I understand he's a nice fellow but his economic analysis can not be trusted. For a reality-based view of the economy see

7/11/2006 10:25 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Ann H. Coulter, conservative icon, is a highly regarded lecturer and best-selling author. Ms. Coulter is well-known for the strength of her convictions and is the first to insist that she be taken at her word. (Which, BTW, I do!)

Ms. Coulter was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. Among other famous conservative leaders at this prestigious and well-attended event was Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Ms. Coulter appeared on Lawrence & Kudlow last year.

Ms. Coulter is a frequent guest of Sean Hannity's radio show. Mr. Hannity is one of the most highly regarded conservative voices in mainstream media today along with Rush Limbaugh. Some of Mr. Hannity's guests have been Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Last year, Ann Coulter appeared with Matt Lauer on Discovery's "Greatest American", a four-part interactive series. 100 of the greatest Americans were selected by elimination. Ann Coulter was a judge.

Ann Coulter has been inteviewed on network television by Matt Lauer, Katy Couric, Diane Sawyer, Chris Matthews and Brian Lamb.

Some of the more famous quotes by Ann Coulter include:

"Which brings me to this week's scandal about No Such Agency spying on "Americans." I have difficulty ginning up much interest in this story inasmuch as I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East, and sending liberals to Guantanamo." December 2005

"Would that it were so! ... That the American military were targeting journalists." February 2005

"Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of 'kill everyone who doesn't smell bad and doesn't answer to the name Mohammed')". March 2004

"When we were fighting communism, OK, they had mass murderers and gulags, but they were white men and they were sane. Now we're up against absolutely insane savages." August 2004

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors." February 2002

"We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." September 2001

"We were terrified that Jones would settle. It was contrary to our purpose of bringing down the president." Undated

7/12/2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger 277fia said...

I forgot - Ann H. Coulter receives financial support from prominent conservative billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife is "godfather" to the modern American conservative movement.

Let me also add that I think Ann Coulter's real value to the conservative movement is her introduction of some of the more radical views held by conservatives into mainstream society.

Promoting the commitment of "liberals" to a concentraton camp in Cuba is a bold move on the part of conservatives to acclimate the American public to the idea that Americans should and will be held in detention for their opposition to the government in power.

I am one of the Americans that conservatives want to "eliminate". It is an odd feeling to be regarded as a Jew was regarded in Nazi Germany.

The way I see it, I'm already on the "to go" list so I might as well spend whatever free time I have left shooting off my big mouth and criticizing the government in power.

7/12/2006 10:50 AM  
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