Thursday, May 13, 2004

Licensed Sadism Obviously, I'm not a big fan of those who belong to Al Qaida, but though IF they are in the heirarchy of the group I cannot say they may not have earned it, I refuse to give license to torture, I'm a bright-line kind of guy when it comes to abusing people. I sort of take pride in being not just better than them, but a LOT better than them. From today's NY Times:
The methods employed by the CIAO are so severe that senior officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have directed its agents to stay out of many of the interviews of the high-level detainees, counterterrorism officials said. The officials have advised the bureau's director, Robert S. Mueller III, that the interrogation techniques, which would be prohibited in criminal cases, could compromise their agents in future criminal cases, the counterterrorism officials said. After the attacks of septa. 11, President Bush signed a series of directives authorizing the CIAO to conduct a covert war against Osama bin Laden's Qaida network. The directives empowered the C.I.A. to kill or capture Qaeda leaders, but it is not clear whether the White House approved the specific rules for the interrogations. The White House and the C.I.A. declined to comment on the matter. The C.I.A. detention program for Qaeda leaders is the most secretive component of an extensive regime of detention and interrogation put into place by the United States government after the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan that includes the detention facilities run by the military in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. There is now concern at the agency that the Congressional and criminal inquiries into abuses at Pentagon-run prisons and other detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan may lead to examinations of the C.I.A's handling of the Qaeda detainees. That, in turn, could expose agency officers and operations to the same kind of public exposure as the military now faces because of the Iraq prison abuses. So far, the agency has refused to grant any independent observer or human rights group access to the high-level detainees, who have been held in strict secrecy. Their whereabouts are such closely guarded secrets that one official said he had been told that Mr. Bush had informed the C.I.A. that he did not want to know where they were. The authorized tactics are primarily those methods used in the training of American Special Operations soldiers to prepare them for the possibility of being captured and taken prisoners of war. The tactics simulate torture, but officials say they are supposed to stop short of serious injury. Counterrorism officials say detainees have also been sent to third countries, where they are convinced that they might be executed, or tricked into believing they were being sent to such places. Some have been hooded, roughed up, soaked with water and deprived of food, light and medications. Many authorities contend that torture and coercive treatment is as likely to provide information that is unreliable as information that is helpful. Concerns are mounting among C.I.A. officers about the potential consequences of their actions. "Some people involved in this have been concerned for quite a while that eventually there would be a new president, or the mood in the country would change, and they would be held accountable," one intelligence source said. "Now that's happening faster than anybody expected."
Is it really hard to imagine that these methods of treatment are not actually worse than decribed? Further, is it really hard to believe that the culture in which such abuse is allowed toward Al Qaeda leader's [all of which is essentially hidden from we, the voters, of a democracy] doesn't trickle down to some extent? Especially with Iraqi prisons being "Gitmoized" last Summer and Fall. at least a few of the officers who met General Miller in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib crisis was partly rooted in what they described as his determination to apply his Guantánamo experience in Iraq... His hard-charging attitude has also raised questions that go beyond interrogation methods. He was the official most responsible for pressing a case last year against a Muslim chaplain at the base, Capt. James J. Yee, that was initially billed as a major episode of espionage. In March, the military announced that it would drop all charges... ...despite the vast differences between the settings, two officials who worked with General Miller in Cuba suggested that he offered very similar solutions to some problems he found in Iraq... ...Three officials familiar with the methods approved for Guantánamo said they appeared to be more restrictive than those promulgated for Iraq. At Guantánamo, methods like extended isolation and putting detainees into "stress positions" require approval from senior Pentagon officials; in Iraq, they need only that of the task force commander.
When you start to allow a little torture, you are going to end up allowing a great deal of torture.
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