Because I’ve been busy with Esozone stuff, I haven’t posted about something with potentially far reaching consequences: Max Hardcore has been sentenced to prison for distributing “obscene” material.
Because the films which Little produced included scenes involving sadomasochism, the Bush DOJ alleged, and the federal court found, that the films were not merely pornographic, but also “obscene,” and thus illegal (Little’s lawyers argued, unsuccessfully, they were intended primarily for distribution in Europe, where such films are legal). Ironically, Little’s defense to the obscenity charges was quite similar to the defense which the Bush DOJ itself, years earlier, had embraced in order to claim that Bush officials were not engaged in “torture” when subjecting helpless detainees to gruesome treatment: namely, because the acts in question didn’t involve the infliction of severe pain, they weren’t illegal.
There was no suggestion that any serious violence was ever inflicted or that the adult actors in the film were anything other than completely consensual. But the court found that the depiction of severe pain was not required for conviction; instead, mere humiliation and degrading treatment was sufficient to render the films criminal and to warrant a long prison sentence. As the judge put it: “This is clearly degrading, clearly humiliating and intended to be so.” So, having already bankrupted Little with the DOJ’s prosecution, it’s now off to federal prison — for the next 4 years of his life.
But for our highest government officials, including the ones responsible for this prosecution, we have a different story altogether. In 2002, the Bush DOJ radically re-defined “torture” and illegal treatment of detainees to exclude anything that falls short of “the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” The DOJ’s John Yoo even decreed that the President could legally order “‘scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance’ thrown on a prisoner” and possibly even “slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb.”
(hat tip: majikthise)