Sunday, December 02, 2007

We Kidnap

In this morning's Huffington Post we discover that we kidnap. Our government, which we presumably own and for which we are responsible, kidnaps. Huff reports a story in the Times of London:
"A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it."
If the kidnapping did not occur in the United States, then it did not violate our laws, so said the Court. So it's ok for our government to do it. Even where it's illegal.

Although we have an extradition treaty with Mexico, in 1990 our DEA kidnapped a suspect, Humberto Alvarez Machain, from at his medical office in Guadalajara, Mexico and flew him to Texas for criminal prosecution. This action instantiated a new principle: we can do what we want, regardless of borders.

Our kidnappers, of course, risk being caught in the act and themselves arrested for kidnapping.

Or worse. Being kidnapped at their homes by foreign bounty hunters and returned to the site of the crime for trial. How well our new principle stands up may depend on how big a price is put on the heads of our kidnappers. Will we fly in with helicopters and rescue them? Time for the Rescue Rangers!

Every American kidnapper acquires a value abroad.

In the same issue of the Huffington Post, we learn that acceptance of torture is common in America today. We torture. It's ok. Circumstances, you know.

The world should know that there still are Americans who find torture appalling.

How soon before a bounty is placed on the heads of the American Blackwater contractors who shot their way through traffic in Iraq? How many Iraqis would contribute to such a bounty fund? Would a million dollar reward on each head bring them in for trial?

How many Australians, for that matter, would contribute to such a fund?

That's assuming that we leave Iraq with a legal system. If we fail to do so, since we now consider waterboarding and tasering "normal" pre-court-hearing punishments, how soon will we hear of them being applied to those shooters who in their "normal" course of business have killed the parents of tomorrow's leaders?

The Blackwater shooters will always live in risk of being kidnapped and possibly waterboarded by the survivors of their acts. We have made these into a normal response.

We kidnap.

(Says a British fellow, in the extended comments to the Times article,
"Leave us alone!

There are plenty here who won't touch America with a 10,000 mile bargepole, yet you still hunt us down. Let us carry out our lives in peace, whilst you self combust in your own country!

Howard, Manchester" )


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