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in Filmmaking
on Dec 7, 2004


Producer, screenwriter and co-president of Focus Features James Schamus penned this sharp essay in In These Times on one short-term goal progressive citizens can rally around during their post-election blues: oppose the nomination of White House Legal Counsel Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General.

Schamus explains:

The mainstream media uses the word “torture” to describe those (hundreds of) documented cases of “isolated” incidents, performed by those “few bad apples” at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. When it comes to the pervasive use of torture at Guantánamo’s Camp X-Ray and scores of other secret military prisons around the globe, the media has preferred the term “abuse.” It’s a word that takes the edge off.

That may be changing with the leak late in November to the New York Times of a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that said the Bush administration had institutionalized a system that uses “refined and repressive” methods “tantamount to torture” to extract information from prisoners at Guantánamo. “The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture,” said the report…

Against this background noise, George Bush is grooming Alberto Gonzales, White House legal counsel and a long-time political ally from Texas, for the Supreme Court. The first step in this process is to install him as attorney general. As White House sources told the New York Times, his Senate confirmation process for attorney general will be a dry run for a future Supreme Court nomination.

In addition to serving as the president’s lawyer, Gonzales is, in fact, Mr. Torture himself: the man who laid out for the Bush administration the arguments for voiding the Geneva Conventions and end-running the War Crimes Act, thereby providing legal cover for the horrors inflicted on those unfortunate enough to disappear into the new American global gulag.

Via Ray Pride and his new Movie City Indie blog.

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