A few days ago, my erstwhile drinking buddies sobered up long enough to talk briefly about a movie. I hadn’t seen it then but have now, and in the interest of spur-jingling mayhem, sometimes give even tinfoil-helmet theorists a turn holding the Talking Stick. The filmmakers could be total crackpots for all I know. I will say this: the first five-ten minutes sure are visually exciting. Pretty. The second segment of the movie is hard to watch, as planes crash over and over into the towers, and there’s discussion of international banking conspiracies that devolve into RFID chip nerves, and an ending that arrives from – best I can see – nowhere.
I’m not endorsing this movie. I’m saying it’s out there, you can watch it if you choose, and now I have questions about that plane crashing into the Pentagon. Who do I ask? I don’t know, so I was already a little down when I read Court Rejects Case of Alleged CIA Torture Victim. Shit:
The Supreme Court today declined to hear the case of a German citizen who said he was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA.
A federal district court judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had earlier dismissed the case brought by Khaled El-Masri, agreeing with the government that the case could not go forward without exposing state secrets. The Supreme Court denied review without comment.
Masri, who is of Lebanese descent, has said he was detained by Macedonian police on Dec. 31, 2003, and handed over to the CIA a few weeks later. He said he was taken to a secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan and physically abused before he was flown back to the Balkans without explanation in May 2004 and dumped on a hillside in Albania.
When I read about this case awhile back, I wondered what I’d do if the CIA dropped me on a hillside in Albania. I still don’t have an answer for that.
German officials said they were later informed privately by their U.S. counterparts that Masri was detained in a case of mistaken identity, apparently confused with a terrorism suspect of a similar name. U.S. officials have not publicly admitted any guilt or responsibility in the case.
The American Civil Liberties Union had taken up Masri’s case. Lawyers for the group said the Bush administration was using the state secrets privilege too broadly, invoking it to stop lawsuits relating to wiretapping and whistle-blowers as well as terrorism cases.
In this case, they argued in asking the court to take the case, “the entire world already knows” the information the government said it is seeking to protect.
I wish I’d thought of the I’m Doing Something Against the Rules, Which I Can’t Discuss With You Because It’s A Secret From You Defense when Mom caught me climbing back in the bedroom window when I was grounded. Anyway, in the last paragraph, almost as an afterthought, we find a very distressing detail.
Masri in May was committed to a psychiatric institution after he was arrested in the southern German city of Neu-Ulm on suspicion of arson. His attorney blamed his troubles on the CIA, saying the kidnapping and detention had left Masri a “psychological wreck.”
Rendition didn’t kill him; he lost his mind. Obviously, I needed some good news. Johnny, our Southwest Bureau Chief, came to my rescue. He’s recently started a dog painting business called, neatly, Painted Dogs. Strangely enough, this does not involve applying paint to dogs. Nope!
Johnny says: My brother Brian the art critic said that because the rug doesn’t sort of tilt back like in real life, the painting is “post-perspective.” At least I think that’s what he said.
I love this image. He doesn’t say what size the painting is. You can see the edges of the canvas and some dayight around the edges, but I love Bert On A Persian Rug.
Johnny: Jack has a window company in Albuquerque. He did a magazine ad with a picture of himself with his dog. I did a portrait of the dog and I’m packing up the painting to mail to him. To Jack, I mean. I’d give anything to be there and see his face when he opens it. That is, if I had anything.
Who’s a good boy! I love the essential dogginess of his portraits, their energy and happiness. The portraits, I mean. Our dogfriends are the Kings of Enthusiasm. They don’t love us – they LOVE US! They don’t scamper – they SPRINT! They’re not peckish – they’re STARVING! These are paintings and pencil drawings of charming indoor wild animals who could as soon sit with you at the table as wrestle for roast beast. How can you not love them back?
Howz yer mutt? Need him painted?