What are we, chopped liver?

Boy oh boy, you can bet that John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Dick Cheney, et al are as jealous as can be right now, because a client of their favorite law firm, Baker Botts, just accidentally showed them how torture is really done, and these guys don’t need any stinking memos, either.  It seems that over at the United Arab Emirates, one of the more, well, edgy sheikhs, Sheikh Issa, (no relation to the eponymous California wingnut could be confirmed, but there’s a family resemblance) really, really, gets into the torture, and likes to tape it to watch later, since the fun never lasts long enough before the “star” is just a pizza on the sand.  It’s like porno, that way, I guess.

You see, the ACLU is even slightly less influential in the UAE than it is here, and so over there they can just let their freak flags fly.  Imagine the small but insistent tent in Yoo’s pants as he sweatily marveled at sand-boarding, (water is just so 2003) beating with nail-studded boards, and full-on cattle prods not just here and there, but eventually right where the sun doesn’t shine.  That DVD would never leave the player, which would be especially handy if any Supreme Court justices he knows ever drop by, and they’re tired of “24″ reruns and Saving Private Ryan.  This is real blood, dudes.   And, if Bybee thought bugs were inventive, lighter fluid on the ol’ teabag is about a hundred times more awesome, especially at night, and the salt in the wounds, though kind of shopworn, still produces great screams and stuff.

But the finale, a ritual squishing of what’s left of the victim by being driven over repeatedly with a tasteful Mercedes SUV, complete with boffo bone-break sound effects, is the kind of torture-palooza that might even warm the cockles of Dick Cheney’s partially electronic heart.  And you can bet that the flattened, pulpy mess that remains is pretty unlikely to “hit” us, or much else, after that.  Just think how safe we could be.  Those guys really know how to say Dubai-bye, and aren’t so chickenhearted as we stubbornly can be about showing it.  It’s easy to see why Cheney just picked Halliburton up, paying homage in equal parts to Torquemada and Jed Clampett, and left.  What does that say about America?

Sadly, not unlike when the wife finds the secret porno, this once-treasured videotape has irritatingly fallen into the wrong hands.  Despite the vigorous efforts of Sheikh Issa’s lawyers, who were pretty successful with other righteous causes like Bush’s 2000 recount efforts, somehow the wily commies at ABC news got a hold of it, and now you just know a bunch of spoilsport hippies are going to get all in a snit.  Like Peggy Noonan says, this stuff is supposed to be (hic) m-mysterious, and now the magic’s all spoiled.  Worse, the obvious inferiority and clinically boring lameness of our own relatively half-ass torture program will be vividly on display; outdone as we were by a bunch of treacherous Ay-rabs, yet again.

Even when it comes to torture, America can’t compete.  Too bad we try.


  1. Karen M says:

    Thanks for the heads-up, CinH. I guess I’m not going to check out those ABC tapes. Frankly, from your description above (and I know how little prone you are to undue exaggeration) I am exceedingly surprised that they might have been broadcast on a major network.

    What! Is the FCC asleep on the job?!

    • cocktailhag says:

      My eyes were covered the whole time, but the audio was gross enough. A lot of what was described wasn’t on the tape, thank god. I’m an admittedly poor judge of these things, since certain parts of The Wizard of Oz scare me, but I had to write about it, anyway. It was a regrettable but necessary lapse in the high journalistic standards of CHNN.

  2. rmp says:

    I just read the description of the tapes and I’m already sick. I definitely wouldn’t watch. I absolutely can’t understand how someone could be so mad at himself that he would treat another human like that to ease inner pain. I can’t comprehend how that would work. I guess the concept is the same as isms like racism or Fascism. I may not be very worthy but at least I am better than that lowly, despicable person. The fact that someone is the son of a king or powerful sheik probably makes it easier to develop that kind of thinking. So too does the concept of an eye for an eye, a hand for a thief. Still, it’s totally foreign to me.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s why I think it needs attention, so people will see where the road we’re on leads. All torture is about domination, sadism, and other pathologies; the question is whether as a society we condone or condemn that. I hope this gets wide attention, since the timing is perfect.

  3. rmp says:

    My stomach has had it with torture tonight and then I ran across what may be the sickest of all.
    Report: Iraq militia kill gays with anal glue torture

  4. sysprog says:

    Much background from Johann Hari, in The Independent, two weeks ago.

    He ends with a quote from a Filipino girl whose words are prophetic.


    The dark side of Dubai

    [...] the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out.

    [...] Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world.

    [...] I ask the Filipino girl behind the counter if she likes it here. “It’s OK,” she says cautiously. Really? I say. I can’t stand it. She sighs with relief and says: “This is the most terrible place! I hate it! I was here for months before I realised – everything in Dubai is fake. Everything you see. The trees are fake, the workers’ contracts are fake, the islands are fake, the smiles are fake – even the water is fake!” But she is trapped, she says. She got into debt to come here, and she is stuck for three years: an old story now. “I think Dubai is like an oasis. It is an illusion, not real. You think you have seen water in the distance, but you get close and you only get a mouthful of sand.”

    As she says this, another customer enters. She forces her face into the broad, empty Dubai smile and says: “And how may I help you tonight, sir?”

    – - Johann Hari, 07 April 2009

    • rmp says:

      Maybe its not as bad as UAE was when I was with CENTCOM during the Iran-Iraq War. Female flight attendants and women from around the world would be lured there and then be wined and dined by a Saudi and taken to Saudi Arabia to be in a concubine for life to be never heard from again. It might have been another location and not UAE but the rest of the story is sadly accurate.

  5. sysprog says:

    And now the trolls will cry, “But what about Dubai?”

    Johann Hari had some similar trollishness (“But what about all the bad things in Britain?”) from some trolls in Dubai.

    Here was his answer:


    Johann Hari: How to spot a lame, lame argument
    Saturday, 11 April 2009

  6. Meremark says:

    When you write good, Hag, I get sick to my stomach. Like now. I need a drink/no-drink.

    Cheney had installed in the Map Room closet off his office, a streaming video feed of tortures occurring. When he had to vacate the premises he lit the closet afire. That much is documented by Wayne Madsen, including the name of the cable guy installer which I forget now. (In fact, there were two ‘partner’ guys, a tandem. The other one crashed coming home into Akron in his own plane, in January, dead by Cheney murder. When are the stupid fools going to see that everyone who takes a job and joins the Bushbutchery Chainysaw massacre team, gets fired in a killin’. I mean, kiln.)

    I suppose Georgie Tyrebinder dropped by Cheney’s Map Room layout regularly. I need a cruise missile/no-cruise missile.

  7. bebop-o says:

    Gags. Hope Ya wells.
    Far more disturbing,
    tribes of savage beast
    endanger ‘our’ resting,
    ‘um precarious creeps,
    driven from homes, huh,
    ‘um skip to grassy grave.
    ‘um foaming bore beast!
    huh? I’d rather go sleep?
    Rest? O, wet green grass?
    No tinkle Ya’s underpants!
    jest. heehaws balmy days!
    I jesting like old Lucretius.
    Groans reach a mountain.
    I no savage. Just repulsed.

    • rmp says:

      I am wells bop, how about yews?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Hey Bop, nice to see you; sorry the post was kind of a downer. Read the one about Jane Harman for giggles. I also put up a cut video, having just learned how, on my new post. I’ll have time to write a bit tomorrow.

  8. Retzilian says:

    The upside of this making me sick and incredibly sad and crazy mad is that I still have the heart to feel this. Shit, I could be numb or callous or sociopathic like the torture apologists. Thank god I and folks in here feel so sick about this. It’s a total deal-breaker with me. Anyone expressing the least tolerance for this or trying to justify it is going to be removed from my list of friends or associates. I can’t even read anonymous blog comments supporting this shit anymore.

    Anyway, the sun is out. And I think spring is finally here.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, yes. And I’ve arrived in Brooklyn to put in a garden. I guess the reason for this post, Retzilian, was to point out that sadism is sadism; it ain’t special when “we” do it.