tortured logic

WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re OK with it?

CHENEY: I am.


John McCain dissents, which is sure to inflame Republicans who’d rather follow the lead of draft dodgers and the morbidly obese. Besides, what would McCain know about torture?

Before responding with Fat Bastard’s talking points, ask yourself how facilitating a new generation of terrorists makes us safer?

cheerleaders for torture

Granted, Jesse Ventura is a nut, but as a former Navy Seal who’s actually been waterboarded, he knows of what he speaks. Private Elizabeth Hasselbeck, not so much.


We’ve seen this movie before, with all-knowing civilians like Limbaugh and Hannity taking on former POW John McCain for his opposition to waterboarding. It seems the more one defends torture, the less likely it is they ever served a day in the military.

who do you trust, conservatives?

Most on the right seem to accept as gospel Dick “We will be greeted as liberators” Cheney’s assertion that America is less safe because we no longer torture. Gen. David Petraeus, who saved the administration’s ass in Iraq, disagrees.


I know the Washington Post won’t dissuade many conservatives, but their reporting here is thorough.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

According to a top intelligence official, millions of dollars were wasted “chasing false alarms.”

“I’ve seen a report that was written, based upon the intelligence that we collected then, that itemizes the specific attacks that were stopped by virtue of what we learned through those programs,” Cheney asserted, adding that the report is “still classified,” and, “I can’t give you the details of it without violating classification.”

Since 2006, Senate intelligence committee members have pressed the CIA, in classified briefings, to provide examples of specific leads that were obtained from Abu Zubaida through the use of waterboarding and other methods, according to officials familiar with the requests.

The agency provided none, the officials said.

Administration mouthpieces like O’Reilly and Hannity continue to claim that, ahem, enhanced interrogation techniques saved American lives. Their proof? Dick Cheney says so.

Ask the Soldiers

They’re not so keen on torture (from Armed Forces Journal):

Let AFJ be crystal clear on a subject where these men are opaque: Waterboarding is a torture technique that has its history rooted in the Spanish Inquisition. In 1947, the U.S. prosecuted a Japanese military officer for carrying out a form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II.

Waterboarding inflicts on its victims the terror of imminent death. And as with all torture techniques, it is, therefore, an inherently flawed method for gaining reliable information. In short, it doesn’t work. That blunt truth means all U.S. leaders, present and future, should be clear on the issue.

Google Censoring Anti-Torture Activist?

It wouldn’t be the first time Google caved to a government that suppresses human rights.

No proof of that in this case, but YouTube’s suspension of an account registered to a prominent anti-torture activist in Egypt is sure to please Hosni Mubarak (YouTube is owned by Google).

“They closed it (the account) and they sent me an e-mail saying that it will be suspended because there were lots of complaints about the content, especially the content of torture,” Abbas told Reuters in a telephone interview. Abbas, who won an international journalism award for his work this year, said that of the images he had posted to YouTube, 12 or 13 depicted violence in Egyptian police stations.

I wonder who was complaining?

Rights activists said by shutting down Abbas’s account, YouTube was closing a significant portal for information on human rights abuses in Egypt just as Cairo was escalating a crackdown on opposition and independent journalists.

The Internet has emerged in Egypt as a major forum for critics of the Egyptian government.

“The goal is not showing the violence, it is showing police brutality. If his goal was just to focus on violence without any goal, that is a problem. But Wael is showing police brutality in Egypt,” said Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

McCain On Torture

Defiant, the way I like him:

Johnmccainpow2_2

“One of the things that kept us going when I was in prison in North Vietnam was that we knew that if the situation were reversed, that we would not be doing to our captor what they were doing to us.”

McCain is alone among the candidates for the GOP nomination. Macho posturing is in, experience — real, actual experience — not so much.

A few days later, in New Hampshire, Mr. McCain was asked about reports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, was made to give up vital information only after being waterboarded.

Mr. McCain said he did not believe that to be the case. While the C.I.A. might have left that impression, he said, the F.B.I. disagreed.

It has also been reported that Mr. Mohammed “confessed” to plotting to kill former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter as well as Pope John Paul II, leading interrogators to believe he was telling them whatever he thought they wanted to hear.

It’ll be a sad day when Republicans choose Rudy or The Anchorman over McCain. Either we get the nominees we deserve, or the system is broken. I say both.

Mississippi Shows the Way

Damn those activist judges! You might consider them a modern nuisance, but you’re wrong. And don’t think they’re restricted to liberal enclaves like San Francisco and Vermont.

I mean, who would’ve thought the Mississippi Supreme Court, circa 1926, would be beholden to the MoveOn.org crowd?

In a case called Fisher v. State, 110 So. 361, 362 (Miss. 1926), Mississippi’s highest court ordered the retrial of a convicted murderer because his confession was secured by a local sheriff’s use of the water cure.

Here’s the court:

The state offered . . . testimony of confessions made by the appellant, Fisher. . . [who], after the state had rested, introduced the sheriff, who testified that, he was sent for one night to come and receive a confession of the appellant in the jail; that he went there for that purpose; that when he reached the jail he found a number of parties in the jail; that they had the appellant down upon the floor, tied, and were administering the water cure, a specie of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country.

A state that, at the time of this decision, routinely lynched black people still considered waterboarding torture. Bush calls it an enhanced interrogation technique. Anyone care to rationalize the disconnect?

(via Andrew Sullivan)

The American Way

At least it used to be. Hard for some to believe, I know, but useful information can be gleaned from our enemies without resorting to torture:

After confessing to slaughtering 180,000 Kurds and plotting to build a doomsday nuke, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was so upset when his FBI interrogator left for home that he cried like a baby.

FBI Special Agent George Piro whipped out two Cuban Cohibas – Saddam’s favorite cigar – and they smoked on the patio behind his cell at Baghdad’s airport.

“When we were saying bye, he started to tear up,” Piro recalled in the new book “The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack.”

The self-effacing G-man was hardly surprised – he had spent nearly a year carefully becoming Saddam’s best friend in a successful ploy to extract confessions from the notorious brute. …

Piro, then 36, began grilling Saddam in early 2004.

Instead of bright lights, loud music or waterboarding, the Beirut-born Arabic speaker – who immigrated to the U.S. as a teen – built a rapport with the dictator nabbed in a spider hole. He treated him with respect and took care of his every need.

Support the Troops, Unless They Disagree With Dick Cheney

628pxjohn_mccain_interview_on_april

McCain‘s comments, especially on torture, seemed to resonate with military vets and current National Guard members who attended campaign events during the day.

McCain is, of course, opposed to torture and its Bush-inspired euphemism. That message is warmly received by vets and the enlisted.

Yet its condemned by the neocons and talk radio hosts who share a lack of military service in common.

The majority of Republicans say they support the troops, but do they listen to what they have to say?

“That’s not the kind of country America is,” MCain told a gathering of about 30 residents at the cafe in Allison, a north central farming town of 1,000 people. The U.S., he said, should take the high ground “and not do the kinds of things its enemies do.”

Support the Troops, Unless They Disagree With Dick Cheney

628pxjohn_mccain_interview_on_april

McCain‘s comments, especially on torture, seemed to resonate with military vets and current National Guard members who attended campaign events during the day.

McCain is, of course, opposed to torture and its Bush-inspired euphemism. That message is warmly received by vets and the enlisted.

Yet its condemned by the neocons and talk radio hosts who share a lack of military service in common.

The majority of Republicans say they support the troops, but do they listen to what they have to say?

“That’s not the kind of country America is,” MCain told a gathering of about 30 residents at the cafe in Allison, a north central farming town of 1,000 people. The U.S., he said, should take the high ground “and not do the kinds of things its enemies do.”

Reading Between the Lines

I doubt Bush 41 intended it as such, but he seemed to be making a powerful statement against torture Sunday in a Fox News interview:

Wallace: “The President remembered the courage and humanity of American soldiers and he grew emotional.”

Bush: “My favorite picture is a picture of American soldiers surrounding a guy whose been in a foxhole, Iraqi soldier, and the American guy says, we’re not going to harm you, we’re American soldiers.” (fights back tears)

Bush: “…See, that side of the war never got — the fact that we treated those people with respect in spite of the fact they were the enemy, it’s really good.

Did you ever think you’d be nostalgic for GHWB? As Crooks and Liars points out, such views would have Bush 41 branded a coward if he were running for president today.

 

The party of Reagan?

I wonder how Bush and Cheney square this (emphasis added):

"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiations of the Convention [Against Torture]. 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."

–Ronald Reagan, 1988

Seems to me "other inhuman treatment or punishment" = coercive interrogation techniques. If you favor such aggressive methods, at least be willing to damn the euphemism.

(via The Daily Dish)