Law School Discussion

Should I travel to India?

Re: Should I travel to India?
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2010, 02:20:42 PM »
Yes you should go.  If you don't then you are letting the terrorists control you which is exactly what they want.  The odds of something happening are so minimal.  That's what people don't seem to get.  We live in fear of terrorists but the amount of people they have actually done damage directly is minimal.  We have to understand the odds. Just my opinion

Re: "Rendition"
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2011, 10:03:55 PM »

There is a movie based on the true story of Khalid El-Masri who was mistaken for Khalid al-Masri.

The British journalist Stephen Grey, in a new book, "Ghost Plane," refers to documents obtained by Spanish law-enforcement officials, along with flight logs, which indicate that international flight planners provided essential logistical support for many of the C.I.A.'s renditions, including that of Khaled el-Masri, a German car salesman who was apparently mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a similar name, in January of 2004. Masri, who is a Muslim, was arrested at the border while crossing from Serbia into Macedonia by bus. He has alleged in court papers that Macedonian authorities turned him over to a C.I.A. rendition team. Then, he said, masked figures stripped him naked, shackled him, and led him onto a Boeing 737 business jet. From Skopje, Macedonia, the 737 flew to Baghdad, where it had military clearance to land, and then on to Kabul. On board, Masri has said, he was chained to the floor and injected with sedatives. After landing, he was put in the trunk of a car and driven to a building where he was placed in a dank cell. He spent the next 4 months there, under interrogation. Masri was released in May, 2004, on the orders of Condoleezza Rice, then the national-security adviser, after she learned that he had mistakenly been identified as a terrorism suspect.

The movie "Rendition" mixes the cases of El-Masri (the name thing) and Maher Arar who was living in the Canada, detained at JFK. In fact, the movie looks like fashioned more along the lines of the story of Arar.

Thanks for the clarification, Laudate - what you say is right on the money! :)

Re: US military covers up suicide protest at Guantánamo Bay
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2011, 03:06:40 PM »

By Richard Phillips
1 February 2005

The US military admitted last week that 23 prisoners at its Guantánamo jail had attempted a collective suicide by trying to hang or strangle themselves between August 18 and 26, 2003. Ten of the attempts occurred on a single day, August 22. [...] Not surprisingly, the Pentagon tried to downplay the incidents, disdainfully describing them as "manipulative, self injurious gestures" and of little significance because they were "not successful." Military spokesmen claimed that the detainees had sustained only "minor injuries" and officially categorized only two of the attempted suicides as "genuine." [...]

[...] a (press) release would not be made for every self-harm incident. While Washington has officially acknowledged only 34 suicide attempts since it began incarcerating detainees in Guantánamo in January 2002, it was forced to admit last week that there had been 460 "self-harm incidents" over two years. They included 120 "hanging gestures" using clothing or bedding. Notwithstanding the Pentagon doublespeak, these figures show that there had been an attempted suicide every second day. [...]

[...] On December 2, 2002, a month after Miller's installation, US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld approved recommendations from the Defense Department’s chief lawyer, William J. Haynes II, that hooding, nakedness, dark rooms and "using detainees' individual phobias, such as fear of dogs, to induce stress," be implemented at Guantánamo. [...]

Guantánamo Bay commanders apparently responded to the attempted suicides with extensive use of tranquilizers and other techniques to suppress the increasingly distressed inmates. Last year the Red Cross drew attention to a "worrisome deterioration" in prisoners' mental health, which was confirmed by British prisoners released from Guantánamo. The British detainees reported numerous cases of serious psychological disorders. They said that at least 50 prisoners, or approximately 10% of inmates, were so disturbed that they were "no longer capable of rational thought or behavior" and acted like small children. [...]

[...] While Saar did not give the book to AP, he said details in the pages leaked to the news agency were correct. He decided to write Inside the Wire, which will be released later this year, because he was deeply disturbed by the sexual and religious persecution of detainees. According to the AP story, some female investigators — military and civilian— wore bra and thong underwear to sexually arouse, humiliate and then break some of the more devout Muslim prisoners. Some of the detainees were smeared with fake menstrual blood during interrogations. [...]


Easy Targets/Create the Perception that 'Something' is Being Done?
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2011, 09:08:09 PM »


finally made it to the European court of Human Rights - Obama administration should own up to the truth as first rendition case related to "war on terror" reaches European Court of Human Rights. By taking Khaled El-Masri's case to the European Court of Human Rights, the Open Society Justice Initiative is seeking to ensure that his rights, and his humanity, are finally vindicated. It is time that the Obama administration act to remedy the terrible injustice done to him. It should start by owning up to the truth.

Excuse the naivete of a prospective law student, but somebody tell me why CIA didn't finish El-Masri under torture? So that he would not file these lawsuits discrediting the agency?

You think the CIA @ # ! * i n g cares? In fact, they would leave loose such an innocent person who's been tortured by mistake so that he would make known to people thru his lawsuits what happened to him for the public to be scared enough. For every person you torture you scare to death 1000 others. All these clown human rights organizations and courts are just part of the big game that's played.

So basically you are saying that it's not so much about torturing just one person (whoever he may be), but it's more about the people witnessing/learning such things? So that the government will instill fear in people, kind of "showing off," a power trip type of thing?!

Re: Zeno's Paradoxes
« Reply #34 on: March 09, 2012, 04:17:54 PM »

Zeno's paradoxes are a set of problems generally thought to have been devised by Zeno of Elea to support Parmenides's doctrine that "all is one" and that, contrary to the evidence of our senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion. Zeno's arguments are perhaps the first examples of a method of proof called reductio ad absurdum also known as proof by contradiction. They are also credited as a source of the dialectic method used by Socrates.

Achilles and the Tortoise

In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead.
— Aristotle, Physics

In the paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 feet. If we suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed (one very fast and one very slow), then after some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 feet, bringing him to the tortoise's starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance, for example 10 feet. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, in which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles reaches somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has farther to go. Therefore, because there are an infinite number of points Achilles must reach where the tortoise has already been -- he can never overtake the tortoise. Of course, simple experience tells us that Achilles will be able to overtake the tortoise, which is why this is a paradox.

The Dichotomy Paradox

"That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal."
Aristotle, "Physics"

Suppose Homer wants to catch a stationary bus. Before he can get there, he must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a fourth, he must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on.

This sequence also presents a second problem in that it contains no first distance to run, for any possible (finite) first distance could be divided in half, and hence would not be first after all. Hence, the trip cannot even begin. The paradoxical conclusion then would be that travel over any finite distance can neither be completed nor begun, and so all motion must be an illusion. This argument is called the Dichotomy because it involves repeatedly splitting a distance into two parts. It contains some of the same elements as the Achilles and the Tortoise paradox, but with a more apparent conclusion of motionlessness. It is also known as the Race Course paradox. Some, like Aristotle, regard the Dichotomy as really just another version of Achilles and the Tortoise.

Slow here, to actually get this "Dichotomy Paradox," any explanations/clarifications/exhortations, puhleeze?!

vag, I guess it's the "All is One" kind of thing, that's symbolized by the Ouroboros archetype:

Ouroboros - "Hen to Pan, all is one"

Jung maintained that the ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow self.

Re: Assimilation of the shadow
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2012, 03:43:35 PM »

vag, I guess it's the "All is One" kind of thing, that's symbolized by the Ouroboros archetype:

Ouroboros - "Hen to Pan, all is one"

Jung maintained that the ouroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e. of the shadow self.

So basically it is a symbol of assimilating a part of your own psyche, the one that you did not even know it was there?

I do not doubt it must be an arduous and kind of painful process ..

Re: "Ironic Distance"
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2012, 01:56:42 PM »


[...] Sartre indeed derides those who act out roles: bourgeoisie with their comfortable sense of 'duty', homosexuals who pretend to be heterosexuals, peeping Toms who get caught in the act of spying and, most famously of all, waiters who rush about. All of these, he says, are slaves to other people's perceptions - 'the Other'. They are exhibiting mauvaise foi -- 'bad faith'. He emphasizes what is not over what is, the latter being a rather humdrum sort of affair consisting of the kind of things that scientists examine, while the 'what is not' is really much more interesting. [...] And hence, we come back to our own natures, our own 'essences'. We exist, yes, but how do we 'define ourselves'? It is here that the waiter comes in:

His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he returns, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tight-rope walker by putting it in a perpetually unstable, perpetually broken equilibrium which he perpetually re-establishes by a light movement of the hand and arm

This spotlight on 'consciousness' is what made Sartre's name. But, curiously enough [...] his lifelong intellectual confidante and companion Simone de Beauvoir, also describes various kinds of consciousness, in passages ranging from wandering through an empty theater (the stage, the walls, the chairs, unable to come alive until there is an audience) [...] As well as this one:

It's impossible to believe that other people are conscious beings, aware of their own inward feelings, as we ourselves are aware of our own," said Françoise. "To me, it's terrifying when we grasp that. We get the impression of no longer being anything but a fragment of someone else's mind."

[...] Now who's showing bad faith? Sartre or the waiter?

[...] Truly it is itself a philosophical tale. On the one hand there is the well-known plot of Sartre the womanizer who denies the dutiful Beauvoir the marriage in order to preserve his 'existential freedom'. On the other, and much less known, is the factual history recorded in their letters to one another. This records that, in 1930, Sartre proposed marriage to Beauvoir. She was aghast at this, both for the conventionality of the proposal, and for the conventionality of Sartre's assumptions, and it was she who insisted instead that if they were to spend their years together she wanted to be able to continue to have other relationships (with both male and female lovers).

[...] back to the waiter. Now I've observed waiters too. They often need to perform tasks quickly, for a practical reason, not an optional one related to their 'false consciousness'. The job is skilled -- demanding more than demeaning [...]

That's what happens when people sit all day long in a coffee shop - they would, of course, have nothing else to do but watch waiters come and go!

Funny that you mention this Mauvaise Foi thing, Tahiri - or whoever started with it at the beginning

I'm sure you all remember the famous Café de Flore in Paris where Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus used to hang out together. And then, all of a sudden, there's this split; over fundamental issues, I tend to believe.

There's actually a post on the "Asylum" thread by CoQ10 dealing a lil' bit with the particular differences between the two (I can't quote it directly, for reasons that we are all aware by now).

You see, Sartre was complaining why people couldn't properly be what they choose to be, deploring any kind of "acting" on their part, and wanted them to be truthful to the core, so  to speak.

Camus, on the other side, came a little by little, to believe that basically people can (but not necessarily so, as Sartre maintained) create meaning in their lives, and thus have something for which to strive in life.

As both believe that there's no such thing as "meaning," or "value" in life, the whole point of debate is as to whether the pursuit of the "constructed" meaning (on the part of man) is a futile gesture or not. Sartre is dead serious about it, as you read above.

But Camus, introduces a quite curious term, he says that whatever people do, they should take care that they don't overdo it, or fully identify with that thing they're doing. According to him, they must always maintain an ironic distance between this invented meaning and the knowledge of the absurd (otherwise one runs the risk of losing from one's perspective what one's really is, beginning to think they really stand for this invented, fictitious meaning they've themselves constructed).

Hahaha - ROFLMAO, Romina - this "ironic distance" is really something, if yanno what I mean ;)

Re: Should I travel to India?
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2012, 01:13:44 PM »

I guess no one. I mean, this "body language" thing is complete bulls h i t - I know that it's being relied on a lot, by a hell of a lot of LE pros, but they KNOW deep down themselves that that's just not true (that they can actually tell if one's lying using the "behavioral cues" they elicit in their suspects). I am sure this may not the right time for class, but I have to tell you this: there are simply no verbal or non-verbal cues unique to lying. In fact, there are very small differences between those who tell the truth and liars. A truth-teller might appear nervous and thus judged to be lying, as it also possible that a liar might just be very good at it (lying). Not to mention that oftentimes lies are embedded in truths.

LE people will tell you that they "know what they are doing" and that their years of experience have taught them things - stuff that they can't even explain logically (rationally) to other people, that 'vibe' kind of thing - that enable 'em to detect lying (deceit). They will mock, for instance, psychologists' work on the subject showing the absence of any credible "cues to deception" and they will boast they have learned such "cues" by spotting liars in real-life situations, not in "experimental studies."

Psychologists, then, had LE personnel as study participants, asking them to detect deception by actually interviewing in the manner of their choice a mock suspect. The police officers were no better than plain folk study participants - they were able to say whether someone was lying or not with an accuracy of just 57% (remember that you have an 50% chance of telling such just by guessing!)

Finally, LE people will tell you that they need a "method" when going for this kind of thing, and that "something" is better than "nothing." They start with a certain "version" of the story (the so-called "evidence") and slowly get the suspect to "validate" such story, with a written statement at the end of the process, signed by him and witnessed by 2 other people. The most critical part of this process is at the beginning, when the LE people will try to rationalize to themselves that the person they have in front of them may have actually committed the crime, and that they have, more likely than not, accurately classified him as either a truth-teller or a liar. So, in a certain sense, it does involve a certain degree of self-brainwashing on the part of the investigators themselves. I mean, think about it - if you consider the actual method/technique you are using completely 'crap', you just won't be able to carry it on for hours and hours on end, every day of your life!

Now, do they come to truly believe at the end of the day that the confession they got by means of their manipulative/coercive tactics and strategies was true (the one they'll use in the courtroom to have the defendant found guilty). Probably Yes. Probably No. In fact, the majority of them tend to think of all this as part of their of work, one which due to its nature, makes necessary not to place much importance on dichotomies such as true/false.

I'm not sure this poster is a law student or not - should we say you are kind of approaching the issue from an angle of an "objective/impartial observer," so to speak?!

« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2012, 01:55:02 PM »


Things function in these societies bureaucratically, based on the laws, drawn and enforced by the governments, the ones that same people elected to govern them.

So they do not, for instance, go and kill their fellow citizen to get even for him having say, raped, their child - they address the issue with the government - take the guy to the courts of law.

The government, on the other hand, has to abide by a set of norms (laws) and not overstep them, abusing the power conferred on it by the people. It can not curtail their citizens' liberties, for instance, overtly or covertly, unless good cause is shown first.

It can not resort to illegal tactics and strategies that by actually being used and reluctantly endorsed by its citizens have the effect of legitimizing them, with the end result being over-accumulation of power, beyond that that was originally intended to be invested, and conferred, by the people onto their government.

And so, the more innocent their victim of persecution, the more afraid people will be - as they too might as well be in the victim's place - with more and more power that governments will be able to steal from the people.

Will you walk me 2 my car [...] would not allow a certain branch of the government go off the limits and employ "illegal" tactics, as you say, on its citizens - the executive body, would need, for instance, a warrant from a judge (the legislative), which would make the tactic that you talk about, "legal."

Assuming, of course, that they use the "warrant" (if they ever get one) to do exactly what the warrant was asked for and provided for - but, honey, with all the * & ^ % we've heard the American government has done, even on its own people - sincerely I can't give you much credit here!

Actually, pick, you can not give any credit at all to the poster (I believe it was guydegia?), here - because, as my professor once told me, there are some things you just can't get a warrant for/from!

For the simple reason, they've been declared ILLEGAL a long time ago by the Courts.

Re: Caligula Wants the Moon
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2012, 03:59:17 PM »

Does the latter mean that, Hitler called, for instance, Jews homosexuals (allegedly undermining the manliness and and fighting spirit of the German people) in part to fight his unacceptable homosexual feelings? Or, that he judged so many other people as being inferior, lacking that perceived German "manliness" and "fighting spirit," as it was the case with Communists, liberals, gypsies, homosexuals, victims of warfare, etc?!

Distancing now a bit from the homosexual part of the equation, to fully address the paranoia one, we would have to add that when concocting the Jews conspiracy he mixed antisemitism and stereotypes of the Jews as Communists, as subversives and all kinds of other things - as a means to an end. Jews became a scapegoat for Germany's economic problems - enough to remind people of that conspiracy of "Jewish bankers" (Remember Fräulein Kost's line from "Cabaret," when asking, "If all the Jews are bankers, then how can they be Communists, too?")

A distinctive feature of Hitler's antisemitism was that it was formulated as conspiracy theory. For many, especially in Bavaria, this went hand in hand with the 'stab-in-the-back' theory, that is, with the view that Germany had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been brought down by liberal, socialist and Communist subversives on the home front. In other words, it was claimed that "the Jews had caused Germany's defeat in World War 1." Potentially, this made antisemitism explosive in Germany.

As we try to understand Holocaust, we'd have to also explain a bit the Darwinian biology of the time. There was a growing sense that there were those in society who were 'biologically' inferior and that for a 'fit' world to survive and thrive, those who were 'unfit' should be done away with. Instead of letting nature take its course, there was a unspoken sense that humans could take matters into their own hands. So when Hitler took power he started rounding all these people up. He used the Jews, Poles, gays, gypsies, Russians and mentally challenged people as slave labor and then started to annihilate them in gas chambers. He classed the above mentioned people as sub-human and basically in his Nazi world there was no place for the "sub-human", only the 'Aryans'.


There are, however, other ways that similar types of defenses against the homosexual self-label can be articulated. These males to be "homophobic, gay-bashing hoodlums who pick up or are picked up by a gay male, have sex with him, and they exorcise their own homosexual guilt by assaulting and maybe killing him. The "exorcist syndrome" which is a version of the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" nature manifested by people like Cardinal Spellman and Roy Cohn. The phenomena is also similar to a "split personality" situation. One of the personalities is "the grand inquisitor," as McCarthy and Cohn had become in a spectacular way, and it needs to punish the homosexual part of their 'personality'. This internal war is also projected outward causing these socially created monsters to harm other gay males by ruining their careers or, as other males will do, punishing them may include physical assaults and even murder.


Here's another parallel from poster maj:


[...] The "grandiosity gap" - the painful and narcissistically injurious gap between their grandiose fantasies and their dreary and humiliating reality - becomes emotionally insupportable. They decompensate and act out. [...] Unbeknownst to them, they seek self punishment. They are at heart suicidal. [...] This is called "projective identification." They attribute evil and corruption to their enemies and foes. These forms of paranoia are called projection and splitting. These are all primitive, infantile, and often persecutory, defence mechanisms.

When coupled with narcissism - the inability to empathize, the exploitativeness, the sense of entitlement, the rages, the dehumanization and devaluation of others - this mindset yields abysmal contempt for the narcissist's victims. The overriding emotion of terrorists and serial killers, the amalgam and culmination of their tortured psyche - is deep seated disdain for everything human, the flip side of envy. It is cognitive dissonance gone amok. [...] To justify this apparent contradiction, the mass murderer casts himself as an altruistic savior of a group of people "endangered" by his foes. [...]

 [...] Their cosmic significance is daily sustained by newspaper headlines, ever increasing bounties, admiring copycats, successful acts of blackmail, the strength and size of their opponents, and the devastation of human life and property. Appeasement works only to aggravate their drives and strengthen their appetites by emboldening them and by raising the threshold of excitation and "narcissistic supply". Terrorists and killers are addicted to this drug of being acknowledged and reflected. They derive their sense of existence, parasitically, from the reactions of their (often captive) audience.

Erich Fromm suggested that both Hitler and Stalin were narcissistic mass murderers. Hitler and Nazism are often portrayed as an apocalyptic and seismic break with European history. Yet the truth is that they were the culmination and reification of European history in the 19th century. Europe's annals of colonialism have prepared it for the range of phenomena associated with the Nazi regime - from industrial murder to racial theories, from slave labor to the forcible annexation of territory. [...] Moreover, Nazi Germany innovated by applying prevailing racial theories (usually reserved to non-whites) to the white race itself. It started with the Jews - a non-controversial proposition - but then expanded them to include "east European" whites, such as the Poles and the Russians. Germany was not alone in its malignant nationalism. [...] Nazism - and Fascism - were world ideologies, adopted enthusiastically in places as diverse as Iraq, Egypt, Norway, Latin America, and Britain. At the end of the 1930's, liberal capitalism, communism, and fascism (and its mutations) were locked in mortal battle of ideologies. [...]


What was the role of the Jews in all this? [...] The Jews constituted a perfect, easily identifiable, reification of all that was "wrong" with Europe. They were an old nation, they were eerily disembodied (without a territory), they were cosmopolitan, they were part of the establishment, they were "decadent", they were hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, they were different, they were narcissistic (felt and acted as morally superior), they were everywhere, they were defenseless, they were credulous, they were adaptable (and thus could be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They were the perfect hated father figure and parricide was in fashion.


Below it's a quote from Camus' 'Caligula' - no comment is necessary, I think.


CALIGULA: I'm not mad; in fact, I've never felt so lucid. I suddenly felt a desire for the impossible. That's all. (Pauses). Things as they are in my opinion are far from satisfactory... That's why I want the moon, or happiness, or eternal life-something, in fact that may sound crazy, but which isn't of this world .... I'm exploiting the impossible.
- Or, more accurately, its a question of making the impossible possible... And what's the use to me of a firm hand, what use is the amazing power that is mine, if I can't have the sun set in the east, if I can't reduce the sum of suffering and make an end to death?
CAESONIA: But that's madness, sheer madness. It's wanting to be god on earth.
CALIGULA: I want to drown the sky in the sea, to infuse ugliness with beauty, to wring a laugh from pain.

- Albert Camus (1965) Caligula.