The spectacle of watching Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh confronting his accusers and also members of the Senate Judiciary Committee brought back some vivid memories of my KGB interrogation, c. 1972.
My interrogator knew I loathed the Soviets and everything they stood for, I knew that he knew, and he knew that I knew he knew. That wasn’t the point.
The point was to catch me out, make me say something incriminating about my friends or myself. To that end he kept trying to wear me down with monotonously repetitive questions, hoping I’d give him a usable reply the tenth time of asking.
Watching the Senate proceedings, I recognised the technique. Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris clearly knew the score, which at the moment is tied.
The Supreme Court is now hung, with four conservative members and four leftists cancelling one another out. If elected, Kavanaugh would swing the balance the Right way, which, as far as the Democratic senators are concerned, is the wrong way.
The issue is particularly critical because the US Supreme Court increasingly acts not just as a referee, but also as a player. Judiciary activism effectively means that judges play a role in establishing policy, not merely holding it to constitutional scrutiny.
Sen. Harris was particularly concerned that the Supreme Court might overturn the 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, which extended a right of privacy to a woman wanting an abortion.
She kept banging on and on, trying to trick Judge Kavanaugh into admitting that he’d overturn Roe v. Wade, and first agreeing that the Supreme Court is within its rights to go back on its prior decisions with no statute of limitations applying.
Sen. Harris succeeded in making her mark sound less than completely coherent, but he still made more sense than she did. For example, he pointed out that earlier this year the Supreme Court repudiated the 1944 decision according to which the wartime internment of Japanese Americans was constitutional.
And so on, ad nauseam. But the real need for sick bags arose when Dr Christine Ford gave her testimony about being raped by Brett Kavanaugh 35 years ago, when he was 17 and she 15.
Well, not exactly raped but sexually assaulted. He was drunk, so was she. He threw her on the bed, tried to remove her clothes, failed – but nonetheless succeeded in traumatising Dr Ford for life.
As she was courageously fighting tears, the 51-year-old psychologist was asked whether she was sure it was actually Brett who traumatised her so egregiously. But of course she was sure, 100 per cent, replied the victim.
How can she be so sure, asked one of the senators. After all, 35 years is a long time.
In response, Dr Ford drew on her professional expertise. The explanation, she explained, lies in “the level of norepinephrine and the level of epinephrine in the brain that sort of, you know, encodes memories in the hippocampus so the trauma experience is locked there, whereas other details kind of drifted.”
That should have made it an open and shut case. What could have possibly been any clearer?
That bestial experience doubtless left an indelible imprint in Dr Ford’s brain. Unfortunately, the identity of her assailant seems to be one of the other details that kind of drifted.
For none of those present at that party, including a friend of Dr Ford, confirmed Brett Kavanaugh’s guilt. Moreover, two men have come forward to claim they were the ones who assaulted Christine Ford in 1982.
Other victims of Judge Kavanaugh’s youthful libido have been equally vague.
One of them claimed that roughly at the same time young Brett stuck his penis into her face at a party. Well, somebody did at any rate and, knowing what kind of person Brett is – the kind of animal who could overturn Roe v. Wade – it could have been him.
Could have been or was? To this lot it makes no difference. The issue is all about higher matters than nit-picking about little facts like that. He could have done it means he did it – the logic that again made me recall my Soviet youth.
As I write this, the Senate panel is voting on Judge Kavanaugh’s candidature. As a strong supporter of even post-natal abortion, say up to the age of six months – or, in the case of Jeremy Corbyn, 69 years – I hope they’ll send him packing.
And if the earth-shattering evidence presented by Dr Ford isn’t enough to deliver that result, I can offer a few more pieces of equally damning, irrefutable proof.
Judge Kavanaugh could have perpetrated serial murders. He could have committed war crimes in Bosnia, Iraq and Germany… oops, sorry, not Germany, the numbers don’t quite add up. Just Bosnia and Iraq then.
He could have poisoned Litvinenko with polonium and the Skripals with novichok. He could have laundered billions of dollars through Panama.
All those awful things he could have done – what other evidence do the senators need to stop this criminal in his tracks? I say hang Judge Kavanaugh and win a valuable prize: Roe v. Wade intact.