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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gone Fishing


Hawaii


I’m on vacation for the next couple of weeks.

I’d like to thank you all for following along, 2014 was a hell of a year. I’d especially like to thank those of you who donated to Stonekettle Station, you allowed me to call myself a full time professional writer at last – something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. Thank you all, sincerely, for making Stonekettle Station a going concern.

That said, I really needed a break. A Pacific island and a Mai Tai (or three) makes the Alaskan winter a bit more tolerable – and more, we promised my son a reward for high school graduation and for successfully completing his first semester of college. So, here we are. I’m not just goofing off however, I’m doing some research for upcoming pieces. And even here on the slow moving North Shore of Oahu, I’m still plugged into the internet and keeping my social media feeds updated. There may be a blog post or two from this tropical paradise, but unless I happen to run into the president, you probably shouldn’t count on it.

Stonekettle Station will resume mid January. 

And again, thank you all for your continued interest and support, I appreciate it more than I can say.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Negative Reinforcement

In training a dog it is never necessary to hit the animal… but sometimes you’ve got to smack that hardheaded fucker right across the nose to get its attention.
  - USN Chief Petty Officer, to me, right before he smacked me across the nose.
     He was right, it got my attention.

I may have been wrong about torture.

Upon further examination, it appears torture might be effective after all.

Oh, not effective at gathering reliable and actionable intelligence.  No, that’s a wash. Sure, you might be able to pull a few nuggets out of some terrorist, under the right conditions, but it’s nothing you can depend on.

Nor is torture an effective deterrent to our enemies. In point of fact it appears to spontaneously generate more enemies.  And it appears to make the ones we have already even more determined in their hatred of America.

But in at least one case, in one single aspect, torture appears to have been supremely effective:

“Frankly, this idea that somehow this is gonna make our enemies more likely to attack us, I don't think so. They're beheading Americans right now. So that part of it, I dismiss. But what we need to do is come clean. We move forward. And we vow never to do it again.”

That was Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona and just about the only conservative politician in America against torture.

McCain spent six years in a Vietnamese prison and he was brutally tortured almost daily. It left him … damaged, in a number of ways.

And that experience, it would appear, seems to have effectively overridden his deeply embedded political programming and permanently rewired John McCain into a decent and compassionate human being. Again, in this one aspect only. 

On the face of things, it seems that six years of torture at the hands of his Vietnamese captors turned John McCain into a liberal America-hatin’ pussy. 

What?

Oh, that. Right. Liberal America-hating pussy, that’s what conservatives called me when I spoke out in opposition to torture as national policy. Logically I assume the same applies to John McCain.  The difference is I that came by my sense of morality naturally, John McCain, like most republicans and their sexual orientation, apparently had to choose his.

Funny, isn’t it? How being tortured made a die-hard right-wing conservative Republican like John McCain go against his own party and his own ideology and see torture for what it actually is? Brutal. Terrible. Immoral. Unethical. Illegal. Evil.  Dishonorable. Disgraceful. And a violation of everything the United States supposedly stands for. Ironic almost, isn’t it?

Goddamned funny that it took actually being tortured for a Republican to be against torture

Some of us, well, you know, we were actually able to get there without being locked in a sweatbox, without being water boarded, without being hung by our broken arms and beaten with bamboo canes, without having our nuts hooked up to a car battery.

But John McCain? The North Vietnamese Army, it took them six years to literally beat compassion and morality into that hard headed fucker.

And if they had not, if LT John McCain, USN, had not ended up in the brutal hands of the NVA, well, then he would be exactly – exactly – like the rest of his party.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

 

Which, you know, makes you wonder if maybe we should toss him back.

 

No, really, what kind of a man would John McCain be today if we’d maybe left in him that Vietnamese hellhole a bit longer?

Maybe a couple more years in a bamboo cage and John McCain would develop a complete conscience and sincere regard for other human beings. 

Maybe, just maybe, if McCain had been tortured a bit longer, had a couple more gallons of water poured up his nose, had a few more bones broken, had a few of his meals delivered via his puckered asshole, well then maybe he’d be less eager to go around bombing other countries all the time.  Heck, maybe he’d use some of his wealth to help feed the hungry and clothe the poor. Maybe he’d use his power and influence as a Senator to, you know, pass healthcare and education and immigration reforms that actually helped real human beings instead of lining the pockets of his rich friends.  Maybe, just maybe, he’d support life, liberty, and equality for all instead of just the people with his skin color and religion and sexual orientation and income bracket.

You know, it’s goddamned appalling that you actually have to torture a Republican to get them to act like a decent moral human being, to live up the morals and the ideals and the exceptionalism that we, the United States of America, that shining city on the hill, are supposed to represent.

John McCain the POW gets no credit from me for coming out against torture.

None.

You shouldn’t have to torture somebody to get them to see the immorality of torture.

You should already know that torture is wrong, un-American, illegal, immoral, and beneath the dignity of a free and just nation.

Just as you shouldn’t have to see hungry people to understand why allowing your fellows to go to bed with empty bellies each night in a nation literally overflowing with food from sea to shining sea is immoral.

Just as you shouldn’t have to see poor people sleeping on the streets and living in cold inequality surrounded by a nation wealthy beyond dreams is likewise wrong.

Just as you shouldn’t have to see millions without healthcare or access to the basic medical services that a majority of the civilized world takes for granted to know that as a people, as a nation, we have failed.

Just as you shouldn’t have to see people who love each other denied the right to marry, to work, to housing, to services, to the same respect and liberty as every single other American, just because they happen to be gay.

Just as you shouldn’t have to see yet another unarmed black youth shot dead in the street or another black man choked to death without consequence, without justice, before you realize that all lives matter – not just that of a fetus in a white liberal’s belly.

Just as you shouldn’t have to see millions in poverty and starvation and disease and slavery and oppression to understand why they want to come here, to America, despite the hatred and intolerance and bigotry of those conservatives shouting and waving signs outside the bus windows.

Just as you shouldn’t have to wait until the warm seas are lapping over our shores and the crops are withering in the fields and the lakes are rotting with dead fish and the air is choked with pollution and the oil is gone along with our hope for the future in order to stop pandering to selfish greed and fearful religion.

Just as you shouldn’t have to be threatened with eternal damnation and endless torture by your small and terrible deity in order not to go around raping and murdering and stealing and generally acting like an asshole.

Just as you shouldn’t have to look at the horror and misery and devastation inflicted upon billions by war after war after war to know that there must be a better way.

Just as you shouldn’t have to look upon the idiotic gridlock and infantile tantrums and incivility of Washington partisan politics to know that you are the goddamned problem.

You shouldn’t need to be tortured in order to understand that torture is wrong.

You shouldn’t have to be tortured in order to develop compassion for your fellow human beings.

You shouldn’t have to be tortured into doing the right thing for the right reasons.

You shouldn’t have to be tortured in order to understand basic morality.

You shouldn’t have to be tortured to become a decent person.

You shouldn’t have to be tortured in order to stand up and speak out.

And you damned well shouldn’t need to be tortured to understand what the United States is really all about.

And if you do?

Well then there’s nothing I can say to you, because you will never understand.

Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.
- Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Road to Hell

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
- William Shakespeare

 

It’s even worse than we thought.

It is, isn’t it?

If you’ve read the Senate Select Committee On Intelligence’s Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program, the executive summary of which was released yesterday, you know it’s even worse than we thought.

The torture, I mean.

Of course, we knew that our government tortured people. We knew that. That’s no secret. They told us. And we Americans? We let them do it and a lot of us cheered them on – certainly not all of us, maybe not even a majority, but enough.

And why not torture? No really, why the hell not?

After what our enemies did to us, after the crime they committed, after the carnage they wrought, were we not justified in any measure?

We wanted blood.

We wanted revenge and we had a right to that payback did we not?

We wanted to make them suffer, those filthy pig humping sons of bitches, the ones that dared attack the United States. The ones who killed our people.

We wanted them to grovel before our towering righteous wrath.

We wanted to grind their God into dust, to crush their primitive religion, to erase their murderous philosophy from the face of the earth. Our God, our religion, our philosophy, our way of life, is better is it not? Are we not exceptional, we Americans? Are we not morally superior? Well?

So why shouldn’t we torture the bastards? Why shouldn’t we destroy them? Is that not our duty? Didn’t our parents and grandparents go forth and hunt down the Nazis and the Bushido Warriors of the Rising Sun and wipe them out? Hell, our grandfathers vaporized two entire cities full of murderous terrorists, what’s a little torture compared to that? And do we not hail the people who dropped the bombs as The Greatest Generation? Can we do any less? Can we?

We wanted the people who attacked us to die, just as we had died when the towers fell, just as we had died in the wreckage of the burning Pentagon and in the cornfields outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

More than anything, we wanted them to be afraid.

Just like they had made us afraid.

They aren’t human, these enemies. That’s what we tell ourselves, isn’t it? They’re not human, they’re not men. That’s how we justified it. They’re pigs. Dogs. Towel heads. Camel jockeys. Ragheads. Hajis. Sand niggers. Vermin. They are terrorists and nothing more. So what does it matter if we torture them?

They deserve no mercy.

They are entitled to no rights.

But even then – even then – we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to admit what we were doing, could we?  We couldn’t quite admit what we Americans allowed to be done in our names. So we called it “enhanced interrogation” and “coercive methods” and “rendition” instead of “torture.” And we said those words in the same fashion that we Americans used to say “separate but equal” to describe our apartheid.

When Congress wrote the Patriot Act and the Protect America Act, when the President gave the order, when the Director of the CIA issued his directives, they couldn’t use euphemisms. They couldn’t hide from it, no, they had to spell it out in all its ugly truth.  That’s why they made those sections of the law, those orders and directives, classified. That’s why it’s taken more than a decade for this report.

 

When the Bush administration classified what we were actually doing, when they used the words “enhanced interrogation,” they did it not to hide torture from our enemies, but to hide it from us.

 

You might want to give that some thought.

You see, that’s why those interrogation tapes were destroyed by the CIA.

Because when you see a man being waterboarded, well then you just can’t hide from it anymore. When you see, really see, those images, well, there’s only one word for it.

When you stop hiding behind the euphemisms, you are faced with the brutal ugly dishonorable truth.

Torture.

That’s what we’re talking about here, torture, and make no mistake.

The United States of America is a nation that tortures its enemies, its prisoners, its own citizens, and the innocent – oh, yes, that’s correct, we tortured prisoners that later turned out to be innocent.  But then again, given our track record vis a vis the death penalty, I suppose nobody should be surprised.

We Americans, we knew what was going on, at least in broad strokes, sure we did.  And we were willing to turn a blind eye to it, reluctantly or enthusiastically, but we were. Yes, we were and don’t you think otherwise. Because the men who gave those orders, the men who tortured others, and the men who stood by and watched them do it without protest even though they knew it was wrong, well those men are all still walking around free, aren’t they? They’ve never, ever, been held to account in even the slightest way.

Some Americans even think they are heroes.

But, hang on a minute. Torture works. We got good actionable intelligence from torture.

Didn’t we?

No, no. Stop right there. That’s hokum. Torture doesn’t work. You can’t depend on any information you get using torture.

Right?

That’s what we’re arguing about today: whether or not torture works.

That’s the basis of today’s argument in Washington. That’s what the TV pundits and the politicians are arguing about. For a lot of Americans, that’s what it comes down to: whether or not torture works.

That’s the conservative argument, torture works, therefore it’s moral. It’s justified. So long as you call it “enhanced interrogation.”

That’s the liberal argument, torture doesn’t work, therefore it’s immoral. It’s not justified, no matter what you call it.

On one side you’ve got people like former vice-president Dick Cheney who is unapologetic in his unswerving support of torture.

Yes, conservatives say, torture is bad and ugly, but it’s necessary in defense of freedom. These guys, these terrorists, they’re hardcore. If we don’t use every means necessary, if we take any option off the table, the terrorists win.

They ask in dire tones: What if – what if – torture is the only way to prevent another 9/11, another Pearl Harbor, or worse.

Much, much worse.

What if the terrorists had a nuke? What then?

I’ve seen this argument a thousand times in the last decade, I’m sure you have too. Maybe you’ve even made it.

What if?

That’s the ultimate justification, that’s why we must keep torture on the table, that’s why we must get them to talk, that’s why we must get the information by any means necessary.

It always comes down to this trump card, the one nobody wants to argue with: What if?

“What if the terrorists had your family? What if they had an atom bomb hidden in a city with your family strapped to it and you caught one of those bastards and there was only an hour left and there was no time to evacuate and millions were going die? Including your family! Huh? What about that? Are you saying you wouldn’t do whatever was necessary to get that information? I bet you would!”

You’re right, I would.

I, me personally? I would do whatever it took, including torture, if that was the only way to save the city, if that was the only way to save my family, if that was the only way to save you. As a military officer, yes, I would. Absolutely. I wouldn’t order my men to do it, I’d do it myself. I shove a hose up the bastard’s nose and turn on the water. I’d shoot out his knees. I’d cut off his balls. You bet. If that’s what it took. I’d do it without hesitation.

And I’d do it knowing I was breaking the law, and I would expect to be tried for the crime and sent to prison.

I would.

Because even if I saved the day, I’d be wrong. 

Good intentions do not justify evil.

A just cause does not justify injustice. No more than if I donned a cape and tights and drove around Gotham in the night killing criminals without trial or due process.

Think about something: what if we let police search you and your property without a warrant? What if law enforcement was allowed to randomly come into your house or place of business and go through your closets and your hard drive and your car?  If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve really got nothing to worry about right? You can trust the cops not to abuse this power, can’t you? I mean, sure it would be inconvenient, but isn’t that a fair trade for the decrease in crime? Sure as hell, the cops would find drugs and porn and stolen goods and people who cheat on their taxes and abuse their spouses.

So why don’t we allow that?

No, think about it. Why do we require the police to get warrants before searching private property? Why did they put that into the Constitution?

Same thing.

If I tortured a terrorist, even if I saved the city, even if I was a hero, I’d still be wrong.

I’d still face trial, I’d likely go to jail.

And that is precisely what should happen.

The morality of this supposed situation is a choice for human beings. It is a moral choice for men, for women, for individuals.

The morality of nations is something else entirely.

Morality is a choice for people, not governments.

Torture, no matter how pure the motive is against everything this country stands for. Everything.

The men who founded this country, who designed our government, they knew this. But, they were not fools. They knew the pitfalls of absolutism and inflexible law.  They knew that they couldn’t make the Constitution too rigid, or the new United States would rapidly outgrow it. So they made it fairly general except in the areas that they knew needed rigid and specific limits, such as habeas corpus and individual rights.

The Founders weren’t stupid, they were in fact brilliant, and they could play the “what if? game too.

So, they built in safeguards.

If I torture a terrorist into confessing the location of the bomb and I saved the city, I’d still be wrong. I’d expect to go to jail.

And that, my friends, is exactly what a presidential pardon is for.

It’s not to pardon corrupt politicians. It’s not to pardon the rich and connected. It’s not to clean the slates of hacks and flacks and flunkies and contributors and lobbyists. And it is most certainly not to pardon those who would turn us into our own enemies through abuse of power.

The Presidential Pardon is a safeguard built into the framework of our nation as a relief valve for exactly this type of situation.

While there may be times when brutal action might be justified by personal choice (that is the basis of most of our heroic action movies, isn’t it? And the source of that strawman nuclear bomb scenario above), the same should never be an option for government.

As I have written elsewhere, once the enemy becomes a prisoner and no longer has a means to resist, we become solely responsible for his or her life, well being, and treatment, both by our own code of conduct and by international agreement.

Now certainly it may be extremely difficult to treat a terrorist who tried to destroy your nation and your loved ones humanely.

Certainly. No sane person disputes that. I’ve taken prisoners in defense of my country, trust me on this, it’s goddamned hard.

However that, that right there, is the very definition of moral courage.

You cannot lay claim to the moral high ground if you engage in the same brutality as your enemies.

If the United States of America insists on calling itself exceptional, then it must be the exception.  And there is nothing exceptional about torture, it is all too horribly common in the world. The United States holds up as its greatest triumphs the defeat of tyranny great and small, from the Nazis and the Empire of Japan to Baby Doc Duvalier to Manuel Noriega to Saddam Hussein.  And those who rage and bellow, who invoke the name of their God and their sandaled prophet to decry the supposed moral decline of modern America, are the very ones who today cheer the immorality of torture most vigorously.

That’s something they might need to talk to their God about.

On the other side of the argument are those who decry torture as ineffective.

They’re wrong. Or rather they’re not right, not quite.

Torture isn’t one size fits all.  Some folks start talking the minute they’re captured. Some will resist to the bitter end. But all human beings have breaking points. Pour enough water up their noses, rip out enough fingernails, pump enough electricity through their testicles or vagina, rape them over and over, break their bones, shove a red hot poker up their ass, stack them in naked meat pyramids, lock them in a sensory deprivation tank until they go insane, shoot their kids in front of them, sooner or later they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear. 

The thing is, they have to believe you mean it.

You can’t just put an empty gun against their head and pull the trigger, they have to believe you’re fully willing to kill them. 

It’s not enough to pour water up their nose, they have to believe, believe, that you’re willing to let them drown to get what you want. Your enemies, the ones in your custody and the ones still out there, they have to believe that you’re willing to go all the way.

For torture to work, you can’t just pretend to be a torturer, you actually have to be a torturer.

For Americans, because we are who we are, torture is mostly an ineffective means of gathering information. Mostly. But not completely. And so there’s always the counter: we can’t take it off the table, because if it works, even once, when everything is on the line, well, then it’s justified.

And that’s the pitfall.

See, let’s just say that torture is a reliable and effective means of interrogation. It’s not, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is.

So?

Theft is an effective means of making a living.

Murder is an effective means of winning an argument.

Abortion is an effective means of ending a pregnancy. 

Terrorism is an effective means of conveying a political point.

Follow me? 

Again, if you’re going to lay claim to the moral high ground, then you’d better walk the walk or you’re nothing but a miserable hypocrite and no better than your enemies.  

In the days before we became torturers,  before September 11th, 2001, the CIA, the FBI, they had all the information necessary to stop that attack – and they got that information without torture, without compromising our values, without becoming our enemies. 

But they failed to act on it.

The problem wasn’t a lack of information, the problem was a failure of intelligence. We had the information, but our intelligence organizations refused to work together and to share that information – and they still do.

Torture won’t change that, in fact, the techniques and classification of information gained via torture ensures that the information will be tightly controlled and not shared among those who could make best use of it. Again, I was a professional intelligence officer, trust me on this, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Over and over and over.

The problem wasn’t that we couldn’t get our enemies to talk, the problem was that those in authority, congress, the Bush Administration, the intelligence community, refused to listen – and they still do.

The effectiveness or ineffectiveness of torture matters not at all. It’s a red herring.

It doesn’t matter if you're right or wrong about the effectiveness of torture.

It doesn’t matter if your motives are patriotic and your heart is pure.

It doesn’t matter if your cause is just.

It doesn’t matter how terrible your enemy.

Listen to me, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man of God, if you molest a child, you’re a goddamned child molester.

And it comes down to this: If you engage in torture, you're a torturer.

And you live in a country that tortures people.

It’s really just that simple.



“The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today. The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called ‘universal jurisdiction.’ Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.”
-
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, 1984
Address to the Nation upon signing the UN Convention On Torture

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Second Coming of Walter Winchell

“We know who this Saudi national is. We know who this man is and, listen to me carefully, we know he is a very bad, bad, bad man.”
- Glenn Beck, via The Blaze, May, 2013

 

Well, well, there’s a big surprise.

The self-appointed spokesman for libertarian personal responsibility fails to take responsibility for his own thoroughly debunked bullshit and the massive damage he did to another human being.

Then he tries to hide behind the protection of the government he despises.

Ain’t that just typical?

And, no, I did not in point of fact raise a surprised eyebrow at the news.

That’s exactly what I expect.

Exactly.

These people, they complain piteously about the sad state of journalistic integrity while spinning fantastic conspiracy theories solely in order to justify their own bitter insanity and their blatant bigotry and their yellow-eyed hate. 

They put responsibility for their own misery and bile on everybody but themselves.

They wave Atlas Shrugged as if it were Holy Writ instead of a poorly written long out-of-date science fiction novel penned by a deluded hack.

They claim the moral high ground and decry “takers” and “the lazy” and the “immoral” and the “irresponsible.” 

But – but – when shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are wrong, utterly wrong, wrong in every way it is possible to be wrong, they shrug off any responsibility and never admit error.

Then without fail and with 100% predictability they blame others for their own mistakes and their own false statements.

And then they shamelessly move right on to the next conspiracy.

And nobody is a better example of this staggering hypocrisy than Tea Party poster child Glenn Beck.

In the smoldering aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, investigators briefly looked at Saudi national Abdul Rahman al Harbi, who was near the finish line when the bombs went off.

Al Harbi was injured in the attack. His wounds were relatively minor and he was immediately available for questioning. Police spent nine hours interviewing Al Harbi in his hospital bed.  He cooperated fully and federal agents quickly dismissed him as a suspect in the terrorist attack.

Every single piece of evidence since that moment bears out Al Harbi's innocence.

Every single piece of evidence.

Every single piece.

Every one.

There is no question whatsoever that Abdul Rahman al Harbi is innocent of any involvement in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Like any of a hundred thousand others that day, al Harbi was just another face in the crowd. He was just another bystander come to enjoy the day and who was caught up in the middle of a heinous crime.

But Glenn Beck didn't see it that way.

Glenn Beck, without access to any actual evidence of any kind, looked upon al Harbi’s olive skin and decided that the man must be a terrorist.

Beck declared that al Harbi was not only involved, but that he was the mastermind of the entire thing. A genuine Al Qaida terrorist and the guy who bankrolled the bombing.

Beck spun one conspiracy theory after another, each more sibilant and desperate than the last.

Beck used all the resources of his vast media empire to wage a personal assault against al Harbi.

Beck designated himself a qualified investigator with access to information only he could know. He became judge, jury, and America’s self-appointed executioner. And he sent his legion of mindless haters after al Harbi en masse.

Which is ironic, given Glenn Beck’s relentless and teary-eyed love for the US Constitution – you know, the document which forms the foundation of American law and in which is enshrined the ideal of justice and liberty and innocence until proven guilty.  I’m not sure how a lynching fits into Glenn Beck’s interpretation of America, but then I’m not insane. 

And then, because in Glenn Beck’s world all roads always and inevitably lead to Obama, Beck declared that the President had conspired to bomb Boston. Beck knitted together bits and pieces, layering fevered conspiracy on top of wild-eyed hysteria like a mental patient weaving random delusions into his nightmare world. Beck became so caught up in his own insanity that he issued an ultimatum to Obama: admit your complicity or I’ll expose you on my show.

Beck gave Obama three days.

Unsurprisingly, in the midst of national crisis, the president didn’t so much as acknowledge Glenn Beck even existed.

Beck then spun out his infamous “212 3B” theory, telling anyone who would listen how the President of the United States was engaged in a massive cover-up. Beck claimed Obama had conspired with the Saudis to blow up Boston because something something Muslims ook okk Bigfoot blert blert New World Order buy gold!

Beck even claimed that Al Harbi had met with President Obama in the Oval Office.

And then came the clincher, Beck claimed he had irrefutable “evidence” Al Harbi was about to be deported under US Code section 212 3B for “terrorist activities.” 

Since Obama hadn’t responded, Beck gleefully issued a challenge to the rest of America: Prove me wrong. Go on. You’ll just just embarrass yourselves!

Beck was in his element. His idiot audience was blood maddened and howling for a good witch burning. The guy Beck accused was a nobody, a foreigner with a funny sounding name who couldn’t fight back and his guilt was a foregone conclusion. There were plenty of dead and horribly maimed Americans, all Beck had to do was hate on Obama and Muslims and wave the flag with a tear in his eye and the money poured in. Beck gorged on it, like a feral hog nose deep in rancid slop, oblivious to the lives he was destroying in the process, and utterly oblivious to the terror he himself inflicted on the innocent.

Unfortunately for Glenn Beck, somebody took his challenge.

That somebody was retired Immigration and Naturalization Service Special Agent Bob Trent, who in a few short minutes on Beck’s show completely dismantled Beck’s conspiracy theory. Live on the air, Trent effortlessly demonstrated that Beck’s entire theory was based solely on Beck’s ignorant misunderstanding of the actual law.

Beck was wrong.

Completely wrong.

Wrong in every way it is possible to be wrong.

Al Harbi was, is, no terrorist. He was not “about to be deported.” He was just a student, studying in America.

And, as I mentioned above, every single piece of evidence gathered in the Boston Marathon Bombing has supported Al Harbi’s innocence.

Glenn Beck’s personal crusade fell apart the night he interviewed Special Agent Trent.

And, true to form, he stopped talking about it.

He never apologized.

He never admitted that he was wrong.

He never admitted he’d been made a fool of.

He just moved on to other conspiracies and other victims and the depth of this man’s hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. Beck claims to own Iva Toguri’s microphone, the one she used as Tokyo Rose during WWII. Beck called Toguri a hero and even wrote a book about her, decrying post WWII media personalities who painted Toguri as a terrorist and as an enemy of America and who would have had her executed if they could have pulled it off. I myself wrote about Beck’s obsession with Toguri in detail, and as I said then, while Toguri was certainly a tragic figure, calling her a “hero” might be stretching the definition of that word to the breaking point. That said, and whatever your opinion of Tokyo Rose, Beck is willing to hoist Iva Toguri up onto the plinth of American heroes while himself waged a personal campaign in the media to crucify an innocent man.

Abdul Rahman al Harbi’s life was destroyed by Glenn Beck.

He was wounded when the bombs went off, but the injuries inflicted on his life by the murderous Tsarnaev brothers are nothing compared to the damage done by Glenn Beck’s lunatic greed.

Al Harbi filed suit against Glenn Beck, The Blaze, Mercury Radio Arts and Premiere Radio Networks for defamation and slander.

Instead of owning up to his mistake, Beck attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed.

True to form, the man who touts “personal responsibility,” who pilloried media personalities for waging a campaign of defamation against Iva Toguri, that man argued even though every word he’d ever said about Al Harbi was a proven falsehood before he said it, Al Harbi was a “public figure” and therefore Beck should be able to say whatever he liked without consequence. Never mind the fact that Beck himself was the one personally responsible for making Al Harbi a public figure in the first place.

The judge didn’t buy it.

Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris ruled the suit brought by Abdul Rahman al Harbi could go forward.

Defamation and slander are damned hard cases to win, but if anybody has a chance it’s Al Harbi.

I wish him the best of luck.