Tagtorture

Glenn Greenwald: American media complicit in war crimes

That was typical of Beltway media behavior even as revelations of war crimes and high-level lawlesness proliferated: oh, calm down with your extremist, unhinged rhetoric. Broder boasts that he called for Clinton’s resignation over a sex scandal and “had no problem with” Nixon’s impeachment over what was, by comparsion to Bush scandals, a relatively minor infraction. As revelations of torture mounted, did he call for Bush’s impeachment or even resignation? No. Like most of his colleagues in the media, he did the opposite: he dismissed objections to what was happening as hysterical and fringe and insisted that Serious and Good People were in charge.

This is a vital reason — I’d say the central reason — why people like David Broder and his media colleagues don’t want investigations and prosecutions: because they were complicit in most of it, and such proceedings would implicate them as much as the criminals themselves. Think about it: what would happen if Dick Cheney were “in the dock,” if high-level American officials were adjudicated in formal proceedings as war criminals and felons? The question would naturally arise: how was that allowed to happen? What did the American media do about it while it happened? What was the Dean of the Washington Press Corps saying and doing to stop it and to alert the citizenry as to what was going on? And the answer, of course, is: nothing. They supported the war criminals and mocked and demonized those who objected.

Salon: Who are Broderian anti-investigation journalists really protecting?

The Washington Post’s Cheney-ite defense of torture

If anyone ever tells you that they don’t understand what is meant by “stenography journalism” — or ever insists that America is plagued by a Liberal Media — you can show them this article from today’s Washington Post and, by itself, it should clear up everything. The article’s headline is “How a Detainee Became An Asset — Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding” — though an equally appropriate headline would be: “The Joys and Virtues of Torture — how Dick Cheney Kept Us Safe.” I defy anyone to identify a single way the article would be different if The Post had let Dick Cheney write it himself. The next time someone laments the economic collapse of the modern American newspaper, one might point out that an industry which pays three separate reporters (Peter Finn, Joby Warrick and Julie Tate) and numerous editors to churn out mindless, inane tripe like this has brought about its own demise. […]

As Sargent reported, even Bush’s loyal Terrorism adviser, Frances Fargos Townsend, admitted that the IG Report provides no basis for what the Post today is ludicrously implying

Glenn Greenwald: The Washington Post’s Cheney-ite defense of torture

See this paper on the effectiveness of torture.

Seven Points on the CIA Report

The worst is yet to come. Yesterday the CIA released a fresh copy of the report with roughly half of the “case study” discussion now unmasked. But context and placement suggest that the material that remains concealed contains some of the worst discussion of abuse in the report. The heavy redactions start around page 25, and the redactions cover discussion of the origins of the program and the approval process, as well as the discussion of specific prisoners, notably Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammad. Although cases in which the guidelines provided by the Justice Department were exceeded have been discussed, it’s likely the case that the still blacked-out passages cover instances where Justice gave a green light but the conduct was so gruesome that CIA wants to keep it under wraps. That means we haven’t heard the last of the Helgerson report, and further disclosures are likely.

Harper’s: Seven Points on the CIA Report

(via Jorn Barger)

What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report

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Specifically the report describes the following treatment of detainees:

(a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle — all things that we have always condemend as “torture” and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies.

Glenn Greenwald: What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report

(via Johnny Brainwash)

Abusing Women and Islam

July, hot and usually slow for many of us, was a month of humiliation and pain for 164 Muslim women sentenced to a public flogging for “crimes” as varied and absurd as wearing trousers in public to having sex outside of marriage in countries as far afield as the Maldives, Sudan and Malaysia,

The most famous of those 164 is Lubna Hussein, a Sudanese journalist who was among 13 women arrested by police at a Khartoum café on July 3 and charged with violating the country’s “decency laws” by wearing trousers.

Ten of those women accepted a fine and flogging but Ms. Hussein and two others contested the charges, which they’re now fighting in court. The Sudanese regime barred her from traveling to Lebanon earlier this week to give a television interview on her trial, which resumes on Sept. 7. […]

One hundred and sixty-four women were sentenced to flogging in July alone. Where is the outrage?

New York Times: Abusing Women and Islam

(Via Paul via Bill)

Taser porn on The Learning Channel

tlc police women taser time ad

I haven’t watched this trailer yet, but Balko notes that it includes the line “There’s always a good time to use a Taser.”

Image and Trailer via The Agitator

If you find torture porn on family programming disgusting, please contact Discovery Viewer Relations or write via snail mail to:

Discovery Communications
1 Discovery Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Or tweet @tlc_pr

Target Of Obama-Era Rendition Alleges Torture

Just because the crazies are sinking their fangs into Obama lately doesn’t let him off the hook:

According to court papers, on April 7, 2009, Azar and a Lebanese-American colleague, Dinorah Cobos, were seized by “at least eight” heavily armed FBI agents in Kabul, Afghanistan, where they had traveled for a meeting to discuss the status of one of his company’s U.S. government contracts. The trip ended with Azar alighting in manacles from a Gulfstream V executive jet in Manassas, Virginia, where he was formally arrested and charged in a federal antitrust probe.

This rendition involved no black sites and was clearly driven by a desire to get the target quickly before a court. Also unlike renditions of the Bush-era, the target wasn’t even a terror suspect; rather, he was suspected of fraud. But in a troubling intimation of the last administration, accusations of torture hover menacingly over the case. According to papers filed by his lawyers, Azar was threatened, subjected to coercive interrogation techniques and induced to sign a confession. Azar claims he was hooded, stripped naked (while being photographed) and subjected to a “body cavity search.”

Huffington Post: Target Of Obama-Era Rendition Alleges Torture

America’s Most Common Torture: Solitary Confinement

The expanding torture scandal has left the American public horror-struck at how casually the Bush administration and its employees countenanced torture techniques like sleep deprivation, waterboarding and stress positions. However, another form of torture was not just used on detainees, but is being used on at least 25,000 Americans right now.

That’s the number of people currently held in long-term solitary confinement in the United States, living for years in 80-square-foot concrete cubes lit by round-the-clock fluorescent light, with little or no human contact. The U.S. is alone among developed countries in using long-term solitary confinement on a regular basis.

Academic scientific analysis of solitary confinement is still in its early stages, but the results are obvious, and echo the experiences of Americans who’ve been held in solitary confinement by terrorists or as prisoners of war. Human beings evolved to be social creatures. Solitary confinement drives us mad.

Wired.com spoke with psychologist Craig Haney of the University of California, Santa Cruz, an expert on long-term solitary confinement. Asked if it’s torture, Haney replied, “For some people, it is.”

Wired: Solitary Confinement: The Invisible Torture

(via Disinfo)

Churchgoers more likely to support torture

The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week — 54 percent — said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.

CNN: Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful

(via Sloppy Unruh)

“You don’t get it yet. Torture gives you false information. Now that wasn’t a bug but a feature. Only fake facts could validate a phony case.” – Jay Rosen

Aside: Does religious make one more virtuous? Say, more patient, more responsible, and more compassionate? I think not.

New York Times won’t call torture torture because the Bush admin said it wasn’t

Doug Jehl, who’s the Washington editor for the New York Times, explains today why his paper cannot use the word “torture” to describe “waterboarding” when no legal or political or cultural authority from the Spanish Inquisition until the Bush administration ever doubted for a moment that it was torture. […]

In the face of this, are there any legal decisions, judgments or trials in the last five centuries in which waterboarding has not been deemed torture? None that I am aware of. And this is not surprising. If waterboarding someone 183 times is not torture, then nothing is torture.

The fact that the editors of the New York Times cannot reflect this core truth in its use of plain English is a scandal of journalistic cowardice, evasion and willful ignorance. It is entirely a function not of seeking the truth but of placating those in power and maintaining a fictitious illusion of “balance”. The idea that the Bush administration’s insistence for the first time in human history that waterboarding is legal and not torture – when it has itself used the torture technique – is to be weighed equally against the entire body of legal, historical and cultural evidence in deciding what to call torture is preposterous.

Andrew Sullivan: Can Doug Jehl Read?

(via Jay Rosen)

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