YouTube Has the Evidence…

PanfiloImagine you have a couple of drinks — a couple too many — and you see a guy with a video camera filming your friend. You have a beef with the government, say, you think we should be out of Iraq. Or you vehemently oppose health care reform (I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are a few who vehemently oppose reform).

You push your way into the frame and you spill your guts. You briefly walk away and then you come back with even more outrage and you yell your complaint again into the camera. You use a couple of swear words for emphasis and then you go home to sleep it off.

The guy with the camera goes home and uploads the video to YouTube. It goes viral in a matter of days and your troubles begin.

If your drunken tirade had happened here, the internet notoriety would possibly get you a mention on the Daily Show or on Countdown’s Best Person in the World segment. But if you just happen to live in Cuba, your 1:20 minutes of fame gets you 2 years in jail. You would then be granted early release and a speedy transfer to a psychiatric hospital.

Ahh, the wonders of socialist justice…

The case of Juan Carlos “Panfilo” González has been picked up by a number of pro-democratic groups and bloggers, including Yoani Sanchez. Panfilo has become a symbol of the abuses and oppression of the Cuban dictatorship. There’s a website and a Facebook group. Signatures are being collected on a petition calling on the Cuban regime to free Mr. González.

From the website Jama y Libertad (Food and Freedom):

“We need food—we’re starving! This is Panfilo from Cuba telling you: food!” For saying these words on a Havana street, the Cuban citizen Juan Carlos González, “Pánfilo”, is serving two years in prison.

“Jama!,” food in Cuban slang, his insistent cry in an amateur video that is already a YouTube sensation, wasn’t a call to political action, and Juan Carlos González isn’t a dissident, opponent of the regime or human rights activist. He’s a regular guy without much education and no particular social position or agenda, who, after having a few too many drinks, stood in front of a camera to tell it like he saw it. He didn’t advocate social change, civil liberties or human rights. He just dared to exercise one of them.

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Sullivan on Torture

He takes on Richard Cohen

He writes a column on torture that makes wringing one’s hands look decisive. He tells us he has an abhorrence of torture and yet describes the torture of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed as merely a “quite brutal interrogation.” See the sleight of hand?

and the money quote:

I think the intelligence we now get will be much more reliable; I believe that torture recruited thousands of Jihadists; I believe holding torturers accountable will help restore our alliances and give moral integrity back to the war on terror; I believe that without torture, we may actually be able to bring terrorists to justice; and that restoring America’s moral standing will make the war of ideas against Jihadism more winnable and therefore the West less vulnerable than it is now.

Continue reading What Richard Cohen Omits

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Worth Repeating

I guess what especially turns my stomach here is that the idea wasn’t just to inflict mental anguish on a presumably odious man in order to extract information. It was to inflict that pain by exploiting, as a weakness, whatever flicker of nobility or love remained in an otherwise wretched soul. It was a method of torture that would have been effective only because and to the extent there was something human left in him. Maybe I’m being overly sentimental, but every cell in my body is telling me this is sick and wrong.

Julian Sanchez, Shame

(h/t Sully)

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Here’s Tom Ridge With A Reminder

in case you forgot

The Bush Disaster

A word about right wing and left wing paranoia:

The more we learn about the Bush Crime Family, the more we realize that the left’s paranoia about it was justified. The right’s paranoia — death panels, socialism, etc… — is pure fantasy, conjured up to scare and manipulate.

More will be revealed about the criminals that ran the country for eight years. More evidence, I mean.

Media Matters has the unabridged version

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Good News, from the Death Penalty Abolition Campaign

Here’s the kind of email that reaffirms my belief in miracles (and in perseverance!):

Dear Jesus Maria,

Just hours ago, we heard big news that proves that miracles do happen!

The U.S. Supreme Court granted Troy Davis the chance to finally present crucial evidence in court that may prove his innocence.

Until now, Troy has been denied the opportunity to present all the facts supporting his case. But after a 6-2 ruling from the nation’s highest court, Troy will get that chance at justice we’ve been fighting for since day one.

The power that we’ve seen building behind Troy’s case is awe-inspiring. Your heart-felt emails, letters, phone calls and actions are opening doors that many said were shut for good.

It’s working. But we won’t stop pushing until Troy Davis is granted clemency!

Right now, Troy Davis sits on death row. So keep telling his story to those who haven’t heard it. Keep hoping for more miracles, because given today’s news, it’s clear – anything is possible!

We can’t say it enough – thank you,

Laura Moye
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign

Here’s some context about the case:

Troy Davis

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