Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mixed Nuts

I am hearing from several people that the source for Luke's bank statements that Louie B has been posting is none other than Sabrina Rivera, Luke's ex-girlfriend. You can argue whether that makes the charges more or less credible; more because she is in a position to know, less because she may be bitter about their breakup.

Jon Gold's bust the other day came following a march led by International ANSWER. Who is ANSWER? A bunch of Stalinists:

This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro‘s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s ”socialist system,“ which, according to the party‘s newspaper, has kept North Korea ”from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.“ The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, ”Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.“


Meanwhile, a District Court judge has demonstrated the short-sightedness of Obama's proposal to use the criminal justice system to fight terrorism.

A terror war prisoner, once considered of such high value by the Bush administration that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered he be tortured, has taken his first step toward freedom thanks to a federal district court judge, who ordered the government to free him after nearly 10 years of imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.

Though 39-year-old Mohamedou Slahi, an alleged 9/11 conspirator, won his habeas corpus appeal before U.S. District Judge James Robertson on Monday, he likely does not know it yet. That's because the judge's decision was classified, according to published reports.

"After the [9/11] attacks, he was fingered by a senior al Qaeda operative for helping assemble the so-called Hamburg cell, which included the hijacker who piloted United 175 into the South Tower," The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007.


The senior al Qaeda operative in question? Ramzi bin al-Shibh. And the torture? Nope, not waterboarding:

The memoranda indicate that, on several occasions from July 8 through July 17, Slahi was interrogated by a masked interrogator called “Mr. X.” On July 8, 2003 Slahi was interrogated by Mr. X and was “exposed to various lighting patterns and rock music, to the tune of Drowning Pool’s ‘Let The Bodies Hit [the] Floor.’” On July 10, 2003 Slahi was placed in an interrogation room handcuffed and standing while the air conditioning was turned off until the room became “quite warm.” The next day, Slahi was brought into the interrogation booth and again remained standing and handcuffed while the air conditioning was again turned off. After allowing Slahi to sit, the interrogator later “took [Slahi's] chair and left him standing for several hours.” According to the memo, Slahi was “visibly uncomfortable and showed signs of fatigue. This was 4th day of long duration interrogations.”

On July 17, 2003, the masked interrogator told Slahi about a dream he had where he saw “four detainees that were chained together at the feet. They dug a hole that was six feet long, six feet deep, and four feet wide. Then he observed the detainees throw a plain, unpainted, pine casket with the number 760 [Slahi's internment serial number (ISN)] painted on it in orange on the ground.”

On August 2, 2003 an interrogator told Slahi “to use his imagination and think up the worst possible thing that could happen to him” and asked him “what scares him more than anything else.”


If that's considered torture, then clearly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will have to be freed too. And that, folks, is unacceptable.

48 Comments:

At 23 March, 2010 11:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free KSM, throw Pat in Jail.

Don't forget to torture him.

 
At 23 March, 2010 11:28, Blogger Billman said...

They're cutting off our soldiers heads with a hack saw and sending it their families, and THEY call it torture when they sit in a room that gets "quite warm" (when they already live in a desert and wear robes and turbans and shaggy beards) while being forced to listen to Drowning Pool?

Half the jobs here in Vegas are working in "quite warm" wharehouses while listening to Pandora internet radio playing that kind of shit...

More like, terrorists are abusing the system and idiocy of it to get themselves off..

 
At 23 March, 2010 11:30, Blogger Pat said...

The totalitarian impulse of the Truthers is strong. They like to pretend they're all about liberty, but they fantasize about non-Truthers up on the scaffold and/or being tortured. What a bunch of pathetic lice.

 
At 23 March, 2010 12:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've shown us that torture is acceptable, so it's only natural we wish it upon you.

 
At 23 March, 2010 13:19, Blogger Billman said...

Anonymous is everything wrong with the world. "You hurt my feewings when you showeded that da wurld trade centur couldn't go boom with thermite. You need torture!"

 
At 23 March, 2010 13:37, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"...it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s ”socialist system,“ which, according to the party‘s newspaper, has kept North Korea ”from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.“"

North Korea, home of the world famous "Tree Bark Diet"!

What a bunch of wannabe fascist thugs.

 
At 23 March, 2010 13:39, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"Anonymous said...
You've shown us that torture is acceptable, so it's only natural we wish it upon you."

No, your just another species of wannabe fascist thug.

 
At 23 March, 2010 13:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lazarus Long: "No, your just another species of wannabe fascist thug."

Me: So, if you're pro torture, you're on the right side of things, I suppose, and those opposed are "wannabe fascist thugs"...

Bizarro World 2010!

 
At 23 March, 2010 13:59, Anonymous Bikerman said...

Anon you're a scum-sucking maggot.

 
At 23 March, 2010 14:26, Blogger Billman said...

Anonymous, the people you're defending (I.e. the ones that have been tortured) have done far worse (cutting soldiers heads off). And what are we doing to them? Making them sit in "warm rooms" listening to music SOME people actually like. And it works. They tell us what we want to know, and lives are saved.

But you get bent out of shape about it.

So I suppose we should have been nice to the people who conspired to kill innocent americans?

Govt: "Mr. Terrorist, please tell us what your cell's next plans are."

Terrorist: "No."

Govt: "Pllllleeeeaaase?"

Terrorist: "No! Die infedel pig!"

}ovt: "Well, I guess that's all we can do. Let 'em go, boys."

Meanwhile, a bus full of kids explodes, or another plane is slammed into a building... but AT LEAST the terrorist wasn't harmed for the info that could have prevented it, and you now get to claim the bus was blown up by the Bush Administration.

 
At 23 March, 2010 14:27, Blogger Billman said...

So yeah, fuck it. I'm pro torture, and pro racial profiling, because SAD FACT OF LIFE: they work!

 
At 23 March, 2010 14:49, Blogger Billman said...

And I do mean torture after every other method has been tried, just so you know. If they can get the info first by offering to... send them home afterwards, or asylum, etc.. I'm for that first.

 
At 23 March, 2010 15:18, Blogger Paul said...

I wonder how the Luke Rudkowski drama will play out. Frankly I hope that punk is guilty as sin. Sue me. I hope the matter is investigate thoroughly whether he is guilty or not.

 
At 23 March, 2010 16:02, Blogger angrysoba said...

Yep! No torture in Kim Jong-il's paradise.

 
At 23 March, 2010 16:12, Anonymous ak said...

What happened with luke's tresspassing trial? Any news on that? I bet he lost since he didn't brag about winning!

 
At 23 March, 2010 16:52, Blogger Dan K. Stanley said...

If You Organize it, They Still Won't Come!

OT: Update on the "massive" media turnout at the WAC/AE911Truth press conference in Austin this weekend!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY-4VNyJCKE&feature=related

(audio is off a little) Also note the "inside hack-job, he mentions at about 2:50 in, LMFAO!!

Thats right, NO media outlets showed up! EPIC FAIL!! At about 1:39 in the video he starts with this number of 250-350 people showing up at the event, but as you can see from this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6-fzK1l3fE&feature=related

it looks like that number is BS as well.

Apparently someone forgot to tell Alex Jones that others were supposed to speak, so he tore off on a rant that had to be broken up into 7 parts just to post it on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0bW6cKc0Rg&feature=related

Notice Alex lie @ 5:30 in the video about "some" main stream media being in attendance. That is debunked by our troof buddy matti medina in the first video.


I urge you all to browse some of the vids from this event. They are hilarious!

 
At 23 March, 2010 17:07, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"Me: So, if you're pro torture, you're on the right side of things, I suppose, and those opposed are "wannabe fascist thugs"..."

Well I'd describe you as an America-hating, preening, self congratulatory fascist thyg.

Just to clarify.

 
At 23 March, 2010 17:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lazarus Long: "Well I'd describe you as an America-hating, preening, self congratulatory fascist thyg."

Me: Well, as a fascist "thyg", I'm certainly against torture of any kind, so I guess that means fascism is good.

And what do you expect anyway? Others are now going to torture Americans, and there is no moral differentiation. How can you be the "land of the free and the home of the brave" and torture people at the same time? And why don't we torture confessions out of every dangerous child molester then?

I don't get it. The whole issue about America is not torturing people because America is supposed to be a free and democratic society, setting an example for the rest of the world. Is this the example? Quite a disastrous precedent to set. Torturing a dangerous terrorist is still morally wrong, even worse if the suspect is innocent.

 
At 23 March, 2010 17:33, Anonymous Anonymous said...

angrysoba: "Yep! No torture in Kim Jong-il's paradise."

Me: are you saying that torture is wrong? Or is it only wrong when done by North Korea? That looks like a double standard.

 
At 23 March, 2010 17:55, Blogger Boris Epstein said...

OK, I see Path The Anonymous Nobody has now stooped to openly supporting torture and referring to those fighting for turth and justice as "pathetic lice". Your desperation and powerless anger are duly noted, Pat!

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:28, Blogger Billman said...

Anonymous, if the suspect is innocent, I agree. If they KNOW he has crucial information, I disagree.

The way I'm looking at it is, the guy has information that will lead us to someone planning something that will get my kids killed. If I have to beat his ass to get it, I'm going to. I'll try every other means first, but I'm not gonna just exchange his "hurt feelings" for my kid's lives.

I'm not for torture in really any other circumstance, if I mislead you into thinking that. But if lives are on the line, I am. And only cause its proven to work.

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:30, Blogger GuitarBill said...

Boris wrote, "...OK, I see Path The Anonymous Nobody has now stooped to openly supporting torture and referring to those fighting for turth and justice as 'pathetic lice'. Your desperation and powerless anger are duly noted, Pat!"

Actually, my impression of Pat's comment didn't include "desperation" or "powerless anger". A gratuitous insult perhaps, but his word's are hardly an act of "desperation".

After all, comparing a 9/11 troofer to "pathetic lice" is an insult to pathetic lice.

%^)

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:31, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"And what do you expect anyway? Others are now going to torture Americans, and there is no moral differentiation"

Oh, fuck off, swampy.

The islamonazis torture Americans, real torture, not the college fraternity level hazing you have your lace panties all in a twist over, and then they cut off their victim's heads with a rusty scimitar.

"How can you be the "land of the free and the home of the brave" and torture people at the same time?"

Becasue we are the greatest country on God's green Earth, and we don't torture people.

"And why don't we torture confessions out of every dangerous child molester then?"

Becasue they're American citizens and are protected by the Constitution, you ignoramous.

"I don't get it."

Yeah, we know.

"Anonymous said...
angrysoba: "Yep! No torture in Kim Jong-il's paradise."

Me: are you saying that torture is wrong? Or is it only wrong when done by North Korea? That looks like a double standard."

No, he was making fun of your massive level of ignorance.

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:31, Blogger angrysoba said...

are you saying that torture is wrong?

Actually, yes I am against torture and think that it's wrong. I don't believe it should be part of state policy. So no double standard for me, thank you very much! I don't think that being put in a room which is "quite warm" constitutes torture, however. I think pulling people's fingernails or teeth out with pliers or raping people with broomhandles is torture, however and that kind of thing does go on in the lands that the comrades from ANSWER support.

Now, at this point someone may raise the "ticking timebomb" scenario and fair enough. I don't know what I would do if I were an interrogator but hopefully I would do this. If the guy refuses to talk then I would get a set of secateurs and one by one cut off his toes, then his fingers. Then proceed to the blowtorch to the testicles or the sledgehammer to the kneecaps or whatever it takes to extract the information. Once we have that and defused the bomb then I'll throw myself on the mercy of the courts and expect to be acquitted due to mitigating circumstances.

Now obviously I am talking about an ideal situation here and one that's almost certainly impossible but if you have any better ideas then I can't wait to hear them.

Or is it only wrong when done by North Korea?

No, I think it's wrong but there are a bunch of morons who deplore torture (such as waterboarding or listening to loud music) of known terrorists in the US but feel happy enough supporting regimes that beat people and send them and their families to gulags for trying to escape to China (And think for a fraction of a second what kind of place you have to come from that makes China look like a beacon of liberty!) or summarily executes them for stealing or hoarding corn.

That looks like a double standard.

In-fucking-deed!

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:32, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"....referring to those fighting for turth and justice as "pathetic lice"."

Think of the bright side, bore-ass.

YOU'LL never get head lice.

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:35, Blogger Billman said...

Anonymous, I think I understand your point. America is supposed to set a higher standard. And we should. I agree with that. I just don't think, with the current times, it's practical for us. But, like Superman would say "there's always another way" so, you know what? Maybe you've convinced me...

But if it were my family and people I loved on the line, and the only to stop it was to get the information he knows (and I know he's guilty of having not, not just assuming).. what should I do? Let my family (or in this case, the country) die. So that we don't cross some moral line? Morality is really a concept that changes with perception. I'm sure the 19 hijackers thought what they were doing was "moral" but does that then make killing 3000 people during their actions, "right" because THEY found it moral?

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:42, Blogger James B. said...

Considering Cindy Sheehan is a huge Hugo Chavez supporter, this is no surprise. Chavez does the things in reality that they only dreamed of Bush ever doing.

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:49, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

Morality consists of defending your self, your family, your country and the human race.

 
At 23 March, 2010 18:55, Blogger Billman said...

I asked my wife how she felt about this torture stuff, and she said "I don't think what they've been doing can really be called 'torture'" and she thinks it's actually amazing that they can get information out of people without resorting to cruel and unusual methods.

Though, playing drowning pool in a "quite warm" room is kind of "unusual" but I get what she means.

 
At 23 March, 2010 19:03, Anonymous Marc said...

What passes for "Torture" in the U.S. would be called a "Spa Treatment" in many other countries in the world.

The idea that the United States doesn't torture does not mesh with its history. Prisons in this country, the ones designed by well meaning people (such as Eastern State in Philly) usually had the effect of diving men insane. Plus, the guards often beat convicts. Angola, in Luisiana, has no idea how many bodies are burried in the swamp land that backs up to it.

Even as we became a little more enlightened in the 1960s and 1970s, the principal of my school had a wooden paddle on the wall behind his desk to deal with rowdy kids.

I never got paddled but I'm sure the kids that did would have preferred to sit in a hot room for a few hours.

 
At 23 March, 2010 19:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, there should be plenty of ticking time bomb situations happening, which would make torture an expedient solution to the problem of tight-lipped suspects. At least, plenty of such situations might have that appearance to interrogators. It would be extra disturbing if it turned out their initial assessment was wrong.

Anyways, there could have been plenty of such situations pre-2001, too. Oklahoma didn't cause torture to become part of the official CIA/military curriculum, but 9/11 was apparently catastrophic enough to change all that.

The argument for torture always seems to be that "it works". I don't necessarily agree, since many CIA officers have disputed this claim. I'd describe this as the "pragmatist" argument. Then things get really scary, because on the slippery slope of pragmatism virtually any moral excursion can be excused. How pragmatic wouldn't it be to have a police state, in order to reduce crime rate to zero?

On the other hand, would it be pragmatic for the economy to have a police state? That would then be the sole reason to abandon the idea, following pragmatic reasoning. Typical of pragmatic reasoning seems to be lack of moral considerations.. Yet the use of euphemisms to describe torture seems to be some sort of implicit admission of guilt. On the other hand, torture is usually justified by pragmatists with future terrorist acts supposedly committed if not for torture to extract info to prevent them.

How does one know, in that case, the real toll if torture had not been applied? Wouldn't America already have been destroyed by terrorists or other enemies before 2001 if torture was the only means to avoid cataclysm?

I wonder how many CIA officers involved in torture are actually Christian, and how they would reconcile their actions with the Bible. Well, the Old Testament perhaps ;-)

Still, legalized torture has me deeply, deeply worried. And those quips about "listening to music".... look, it's really not as benign as it's presented.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEbquHRbySU

 
At 23 March, 2010 19:15, Blogger Paul said...

Boris,

I don't condone torture either. However, I must say that from your comments on this blog.. you are a dickwad. I'm not saying you're wrong because you're a dickwad. I'm only saying that you are in fact a dickwad as I think you've some need to be told that.

 
At 23 March, 2010 19:32, Blogger Billman said...

Still, legalized torture has me deeply, deeply worried. And those quips about "listening to music".... look, it's really not as benign as it's presented.

Good point... well, this is a complicated issue. I don't think anyone here is really going to have the right answer. Everyone has their opinions on what they think it should be, and from the consesus here, it seems to be very mixed.

 
At 23 March, 2010 20:12, Anonymous New Yorker said...

This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.

Good job, Jon. You're being used by an organization dedicated to the destruction of grassroots peoples' movement everywhere. Lemme guess, the Workers World Party supported the Chinese crackdown at Tienanmen Square and supported the Red Army attacks on unarmed protesters in Lithuania in 1991.

 
At 23 March, 2010 20:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Yorker: "Good job, Jon. You're being used by an organization dedicated to the destruction of grassroots peoples' movement everywhere. Lemme guess, the Workers World Party supported the Chinese crackdown at Tienanmen Square and supported the Red Army attacks on unarmed protesters in Lithuania in 1991."

Me: In the 2003 book "China's New Order", Wang Hui, one of the organizers of the 1989 protests, explains that the protests were spawned by the dictatorial capitalist reforms by Deng Xiaoping, which were in turn inspired by the American right-wing radical economist Milton Friedman.

I suppose the Workers World Party could theoretically support or have supported various repressive actions on the part of various dubious regimes, but in this case, the position most in line with their ideology would be to support the protestors, not the Chinese regime.

 
At 23 March, 2010 21:29, Blogger James B. said...

The radical economist Milton Friedman? LOL Yes, the man is so radical, he believes in capitalism, the system which has delivered billions of people, including many in China from poverty, and he thinks it is better that people be free.

The radical.

 
At 23 March, 2010 23:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James B.: "The radical economist Milton Friedman? LOL Yes, the man is so radical, he believes in capitalism, the system which has delivered billions of people, including many in China from poverty, and he thinks it is better that people be free."

Me: usually, the results of Friedman's "advice" were disastrous for the lower and middle class, and he did not bat an eyelid at the brutalities of the regimes he "advised", such as the horrible regime of Augusto Pinochet. The later reversals of misfortune in some of the countries terrorized by Friedman's friends certainly weren't caused by his extremist super-free-market-ideology, although he would later make all sorts of self-exculpatory excuses in this vein.

So, was Friedman a radical? Yes, a free market radical. The word "radical" isn't pejorative in itself, but when you think about the sheer havoc inflicted on people worldwide, I think he was a little too radical and too extremist, and his associations with repressive regimes were very irresponsible and reprehensible indeed. Friedman wanted his ideology implemented in practice, and what better way to do it then through dictatorships where the people don't get a vote on those ghastly economic lab tests. He simply frequently felt that the end justified the means.

All this, admittedly, seems remarkably contradictory to his many anti-government and pro-freedom statements. Perhaps we all have a propensity to tolerate dictatorships close to our own end of the political spectrum. Friedman simply preferred fascist dictatorships over communist dictatorships, especially if they offered him a chance to turn a country into a Friedmanite lab rat.

 
At 24 March, 2010 01:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the issues raised in this thread about torture, including the ticking time bomb scenario, are discussed instructively in this interview by Chris Matthews of former CIA agent Bob Baer.

Have a look; it's compelling and fact-filled.

This is what I meant earlier when I said "The argument for torture always seems to be that "it works". I don't necessarily agree, since many CIA officers have disputed this claim."

 
At 24 March, 2010 05:27, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"Anonymous said...
Well, there should be plenty of ticking time bomb situations happening, which would make torture an expedient solution to the problem of tight-lipped suspects. At least, plenty of such situations might have that appearance to interrogators. It would be extra disturbing if it turned out their initial assessment was wrong."

Don't join a terrorist organization and you won't have to get all hot and sweaty, then.


"The argument for torture always seems to be that "it works". I don't necessarily agree, since many CIA officers have disputed this claim."

Total and complete bullshit.

"How pragmatic wouldn't it be to have a police state, in order to reduce crime rate to zero?"

Ummmm, I don't know, ask the people who were sent to the Soviet Gulag. Which didn't prevent crime in Russia.


"On the other hand, would it be pragmatic for the economy to have a police state?"

I don't know, why don't you ask the Soviet Commisar for State Planning?

Oh.

Nevermind.


"On the other hand, torture is usually justified by pragmatists with future terrorist acts supposedly committed if not for torture to extract info to prevent them."

What if it works, as it does?

Not the "torture" you're ranting about but EITs?

Your moral purity will get people killed.

Real people, not some sort of intellectual abstraction.

I'd rather they lived.

"All the issues raised in this thread about torture, including the ticking time bomb scenario, are discussed instructively in this interview by Chris Matthews..."

Chris "Spittle Flecked" Matthews?

The America hater?

Good call, good call.

 
At 24 March, 2010 07:24, Anonymous sackcloth and ashes said...

Boris, if you really want to fight for 'truth' and 'justice' there's enough work for you in holding the Russian state to account for its various actions. But that might actually mean standing up for principles and risking your freedom and possibly your life, so I can see why you go for the easy option.

 
At 24 March, 2010 14:08, Anonymous New Yorker said...

I suppose the Workers World Party could theoretically support or have supported various repressive actions on the part of various dubious regimes, but in this case, the position most in line with their ideology would be to support the protestors, not the Chinese regime.

Hmm,

http://www.workers.org/ww/tienanmen.html

You're not doing so well here, pal, but let's continue....

usually, the results of Friedman's "advice" were disastrous for the lower and middle class, and he did not bat an eyelid at the brutalities of the regimes he "advised", such as the horrible regime of Augusto Pinochet.

False. Friedman found the government of Pinochet to be odious enough that he refused any money from it for his advice. Friedman also advised the Soviet Union on matters of economics, but you wouldn't want to touch on that since it hurts the argument that Friedman was some sort of fascist-lover.

As for Chile, it has the most open economy in Latin America. It also has the highest level of human development, per capita income, and lowest level of corruption in Latin America. It's the 3rd most livable country in the western hemisphere after Canada and the US.

Now, I'm not about to attribute that the Pinochet, of course, but one would think that if Friedman's ideas "terrorized" a people, Chile wouldn't be one of the more economically advanced countries on earth.

But let's move on....

Friedman wanted his ideology implemented in practice, and what better way to do it then through dictatorships where the people don't get a vote on those ghastly economic lab tests. He simply frequently felt that the end justified the means.

And you have all the writings and quotes from Friedman and his acolytes at the University of Chicago to back this up, right?

As asinine as your rantings on the man are, I'll give you credit: you didn't call him a "neocon", which is the usual term thrown at someone like Friedman by someone of your limited intelligence. I would then have to inform you of Friedman's opposition to the Iraq War back in 2003.

 
At 24 March, 2010 16:35, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"Now, I'm not about to attribute that the Pinochet"

Of course not.

 
At 24 March, 2010 17:33, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Yorker:"Hmm,

http://www.workers.org/ww/tienanmen.html

You're not doing so well here, pal, but let's continue...."

Well, in that case, I disagree with them. But like I already said, I could pretty well picture them supporting dubious regimes, apparently they did so here as well. Weird folks. Thanks for the link.

New York: "False. Friedman found the government of Pinochet to be odious enough that he refused any money from it for his advice. Friedman also advised the Soviet Union on matters of economics, but you wouldn't want to touch on that since it hurts the argument that Friedman was some sort of fascist-lover."

Me: That must be why, in this letter, Pinochet expresses his "highest and most respectful regard" for Friedman.

Secondly, from the Independent:
"Surrounded by conservative economists, many trained at the University of Chicago, Pinochet encouraged the visit to Santiago in March 1975 of their guru, Professor Milton Friedman. He approved of the dictatorship and chose not to criticise the assassinations, illegal imprisonments, torture, exile and other atrocities - all exhaustively chronicled by Amnesty International - now being carried out in the name of the free market. (He thus foreshadowed Washington's indulgent attitude towards Letelier's murder which would take place the following year.)"

New Yorker: "As for Chile, it has the most open economy in Latin America. It also has the highest level of human development, per capita income, and lowest level of corruption in Latin America. It's the 3rd most livable country in the western hemisphere after Canada and the US."

Me: Yes, and it's also one of the three most unequal countries in Latin America. There is huge gap between rich and poor, and I guess this truly reflects the essence of Friedman. Anyways: what about Pinochet? Is he ever going to be held accountable for his terrible crimes? Do some ostensibly favorable economic statistics wipe the slate clean?

New Yorker: "And you have all the writings and quotes from Friedman and his acolytes at the University of Chicago to back this up, right?"

Me: Sure. Friedman said about Iraq:
"The end justifies the means"

And he also said, in the same interview:
"US President Bush only wanted war because anything else would have threatened the freedom and the prosperity of the USA. Counter-question: Do you recommend that Gerhard Schröder ask the whole world for advice before he engages in foreign policy?"

New Yorker: "As asinine as your rantings on the man are, I'll give you credit: you didn't call him a "neocon", which is the usual term thrown at someone like Friedman by someone of your limited intelligence. I would then have to inform you of Friedman's opposition to the Iraq War back in 2003."

Me: I don't think Friedman would call himself a neo-conservative, no. You just can't pigeon-hole him just like that. Your assertion at the bottom, that Friedman was opposed to the Iraq War in 2003, is contradicted two paragraphs above, in that interview he did in Europe. I supposed that your ad hominems are just your way of venting. That's fine, there is plenty of interesting stuff in your replies to compensate for that.

 
At 24 March, 2010 18:34, Anonymous New Yorker said...

The bullshit is running high here. Let's cover 3 misconceptions:

1, Pinochet brought an economic miracle to Chile

Not true, as the chart posted by well-known economist Paul Krugman shows:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/fantasies-of-the-chicago-boys/

Neither Allende nor Pinochet seemed particularly adapt at creating the conditions necessary for stable growth. That only came with the restoration of democracy to the country.

2, Friedman was a supporter of the Pinochet dictatorship

In his own words:

"The Chilean economy did very well, but more important, in the end the central government, the military junta, was replaced by a democratic society. So the really important thing about the Chilean business is that free markets did work their way in bringing about a free society."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitextlo/ufd_reformliberty_full.html

3, Friedman was a supporter of the Iraq War

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008690

"As it happens, I was opposed to going into Iraq from the beginning. I think it was a mistake, for the simple reason that I do not believe the United States of America ought to be involved in aggression.

Pretty straightforward to me. Your quotes, anonymous, however, are not in context. He said "the end justifies the means" to be about the rift between the US and much of Europe over the Iraq War. Your second quote was Friedman's opinion of Bush's motivations for the war, not his own opinions on the war.

One important point:

Yes, and it's also one of the three most unequal countries in Latin America. There is huge gap between rich and poor, and I guess this truly reflects the essence of Friedman.

This is a problem, and it's a problem the Chileans can deal with through democratic channels. As it turns out, Chileans must've thought it to be a problem, since they consistently elected left-leaning presidents (since the restoration of democracy in 1990) until just this year.

I have a lot of disagreements with Friedman's ideas. I'm more of a Krugman type when it comes to economics, but one thing I won't do is accuse Dr. Friedman of being some champion of aggression and dictatorships when the evidence is simply not there for such accusations.

 
At 24 March, 2010 18:37, Anonymous New Yorker said...

And to answer your question, anonymous, I think Pinochet should have been prosecuted for crimes against humanity, but he's dead now so it's a moot point. The same holds true for Slobodan Milosevic.

 
At 24 March, 2010 19:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, yeah, I forgot that he was dead for a second. Pinochet scares me, and scary people always seem to have this implicit threat of resurrection over them. Maybe Saddam'll be back some day too ;-)

 
At 24 March, 2010 20:00, Blogger Lazarus Long said...

"1, Pinochet brought an economic miracle to Chile

Not true, as the chart posted by well-known economist Paul Krugman shows:"

Dude, you're citing....Paul Fucking Krugman, the Worst Economist In History.

Cut it out.

 
At 26 March, 2010 06:18, Anonymous sackcloth and ashes said...

'2, Friedman was a supporter of the Pinochet dictatorship'

Oh God, someone actually believes 'The Shock Doctrine'. Remedial action is required:

http://www.tnr.com/article/books/dead-left

 

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