Torture

Eddie of Hidden Unities recently emailed me the text of “The Ploy” by Mark Bowden. My reply back to him mainly concerned, the subtile, which is The inside story of how the interrogators of Task Force 145 cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle—without resorting to torture—and hunted down al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq. The title’s odd in that it is both boring and inflammatory.

The boredom first. I can imagine an article subtitled The inside story of how programmers at Microsoft Corporation released SQL Server 2008 on time — and without using hash tables. Such an article might be worth while to a specialist in the field who is cogniscant of the limitations of hash tables, and believes he may well come across a project in the future were he would do well to avoid tabular hash technology. The article would of course be useless to a general interest reader, and indeed would be properly ignored by anyone who didn’t have a special interest in SQL Server, Microsoft, or has tables.

Now, the inflammation. Imagine an article subtitled The inside story story of how the United States Army Air Force broke the ability of Tokyo to resist — without resorting to nuclear weapons — and hunted the Empire’s man in Japan. Such an article would be madening because it minimizes terrible harm that was done to human beings.

Nuclear war is not bad because it involves the fission of uranium or plutonium. Nuclear war is bad because it kills people.

Similarly, torture (or “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity“) is not bad because it is done “obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person” or “with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.” Torture is bad because it hurts people.

Other things hurt people too. Putting people in prison hurts people, and their families, for extended periods of time, too. But where are those who want to abolish jails? Or those who say that this or that person did not commit a crime, and yet was not imprisoned?

The self-congratulatory subtitle of the article minimizes out the pain and death, as if it is somehow less evil or less awful to kill as long as people weren’t hurt beforehand.

Torture may or may not be wise in this or that situation. I don’t claim the expertise that such a decision would require. But the current stylish condemnation of torture is crazy, as it pretends that torture is somehow worse than all the other acts of violence, state and non-state — that exist in our world

SCO SLAPPs Groklaw

Jones, P. 2007. My very own motion, tra la. Groklaw. April 4, 2007. Available online: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070403233141649(from Slashdot)

SCO. 2007. Case 2:03-cv-00294-DAK-BCW Document 1018. April 2, 2007. Available online: http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/IBM-1018.pdf.

Groklaw’s Pam Jones

Well, obviously, I can’t say much about this new SCO filing [PDF] at this time. It’s all about moi. A bit more here and here.

I can say this: SCO in its wisdom has just guaranteed that the judges in SCO v. IBM and SCO v. Novell will have to read Groklaw. So, welcome Judge Kimball. Welcome, Judge Wells. We’ve enjoyed very much learning about the law by watching you at work. SCO told you something that isn’t true. No one tried to serve me that I knew about. No one informed me of any deposition date. That is true. It doesn’t feel so nice to be smeared like this, I can tell you that, and to have to pay a lawyer to deal with this harassment. I view it as such, as a kind of SLAPP suit, a vendetta to pay me back for blowing the whistle, and to shut Groklaw up. SCO wants to put a pin on a map and point to it and say, “Here’s PJ.” Then someone drops by and shoots me, I suppose. I certainly have nothing to tell them that is relevant to this litigation.

Forsooth, methinks SCOfolk need to get better aligned with truth, justice, and the American way, as the saying goes. But that’s the judges’ job, so I’ll end my comments about this here.

There are 20 some exhibits, some sealed, most not, and as you will see, stories got planted in the media and then presented in court as “proof” once again. I’ll tell you more later, when I can.

And so the stupidest lawsuit in the history of the world just got stupider. And a whole lot meaner.

And what is she talking about?

This filing (pdf):

In the SCO v. Novell litigation, by agreement of the parties, SCO has until May 31, 2007, in which to serve a subpoena on and take the deposition of non-party witness Pamela Jones. The prospective deposition of Ms. Jones bears on this litigation as well. Accordingly, SCO asks the Court to deem Ms. Jones’ deposition to be on taken in this case, providing notice of the deposition to IBM and an opportunity to participate if the company so choses.

Ms. Jones is the self-proclaimed operator of an internet website known as “Groklaw” (www.groklaw.net). Ms Jones claims to have copyrighted and to maintain Groklawpersonally… Through the website, Ms. Jones has reported extensively on and repeatedly disseminated Novell’s claims of ownership of the UNIX copyrights, as well as generally addressed SCO’s disputes with Novell and IBM since the inception of those lawsuits. The content and commentary of the website (and other evidence) shows that Ms. Jones is not an objective commentator, but rather a vehicle through which opponents of SCO have conducted their case against SCO in the court of public opinion, where no gate-keeper monitors the reliability of content.

SCO has sought to depose Ms. Jones to address, among other things, her participation in Novell’s and IBM’s conduct toward SCO and the content of her website relating to SCO. The notice given to IBM of the prospective deposition by virtue of SCO’s instant Motion is more than sufficient, because SCO has not yet served Ms. Jones with a subpoena for her deposition. Obviously aware of SCO’s designs to depose her, Ms. Jones has neither accepted service of the subpoena nor agreed to appear for deposition, but rather appears to have fled and evaded service of the subpoena. Ms Jones’s reluctance to appear for deposition in this matter is better understood in the context of certain relevant evidence. Indeed, SCO has obtained evidence through discovery of Ms. Jones’ allegiance and financial connection to Novell and IBM, which underscores her motivation to avoid having to testify in this matter.

I’ve been bullied by corporate sheisters before, so SCO’s strategic lawsuit against public participation on the part of Groklaw and Pam Jones isn’t surprising. Only saddening.

A wonderful lunch

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a blogger and professional who I respect very much over lunch. The meal was fantastic, and I learned a lot from every topic we discussed. It is wonderful to have your assumptions questioned and mind expanded, especially by a partner as gifted and kind.

Thank you for the wonderful time!