Extraordinary Rendition

No matter your politics you should be outraged by this:

That’s all they had: guilt by the most remote of computer- generated associations. But, according to Attorney General John Ashcroft, that was more than enough to justify Arar’s delivery to Syria’s torturers.
Besides, Ashcroft added, the torturers had expressly promised that they would not torture him.
Our intelligence agencies have a name for this torture-by-proxy. They call it “extraordinary rendition.” As one intelligence official explained: “We don’t kick the s — out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s — out of them.”
This secret program for torturing suspects has been authorized, if that is the right word for it, by a secret presidential finding. Where the president gets the authority to have anyone tortured has never been explained.

Read Maher Arar’s story here.
Brad Delong thinks this is worth an impeachment and Brian Weatherson wonders how many conservative bloggers will condone this behavior and thinks that the perps should at minimum spend time in jail.
I’ll go along with Brad on the impeachment idea.

ashcroft does a good thing

While it took longer than it should have ashcroft has recused himself from the Valerie Plame leak investigation:

“The attorney general in an abundance of caution believed that his recusal was appropriate based on the totality of the circumstances and the facts and evidence developed at this stage of the investigation,” Comey said. “I agree with that judgment.”
Comey did not say exactly what evidence necessitated the recusal.

Hmmmm, the evidence might be just a wee bit interesting…..

Reason’s List

Yea, I know this is the 3rd list in a row. It’s just the way the day has been going.
Reason Magazine pays tribute:

…to some of the people who have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action. The one criterion: Honorees needed to have been alive at some point during reason�s run, which began in May 1968. The list is by design eclectic, irreverent, and woefully incomplete, but it limns the many ways in which the world has only gotten groovier and groovier during the last 35 years.

I found this one most entertaining:

John Ashcroft. If Donny and Marie Osmond were a little bit country and a little bit rock �n� roll, the current attorney general is little bit J. Edgar Hoover and a little bit Janet Reno. Whether it�s prosecuting medical marijuana users, devoting scarce resources to arresting adult porn distributors, or using tax dollars to create USA PATRIOT Act propaganda Web sites, Ashcroft has managed to create an unprecedented coalition of conservatives, liberals, and libertarians around a single noble cause: the protection of civil liberties.

Via AnarCapLib.

ashcroft: once a civil libertarian?

The American Bar Association Journal has an interesting article on Cyber-Libertarians which focuses primarily on EPIC, the Elecronic Privacy Information Center.
I was somewhat surprised by this comment by David Sobel, EPIC’s co-founder and general counsel:

�We were actually guardedly optimistic when [Ashcroft] became attorney general,� says Sobel. �As a senator he used some of the most stridently anti-federal-law-enforcement rhetoric I�d seen come out of the Senate�just a step short of calling them �jackbooted thugs.� �

Talk about power corrupting someone. Or maybe he hasn’t changed at all and it is ok if they are his ‘jackbooted thugs.’
I suspect the latter is the case. In answer to the opening question: probably not.
Via beSpacific.

Who are the Terrorists?

Leah Roffman, a freshman at Tufts University closes an essay on the Patriot Act with this:

Americans fear a terrorist takeover because terrorists would repeal our rights, threaten our safety, and disregard accountability to citizens. But our current government is doing all of those things right now. I might even become a victim of the USA governmental spying team just for saying so.

’nuff said.