Sunday, September 10, 2006

THE TORTURED DEBATE ON TORTURE: More readings, for purposes of intellectual and moral clarity, needed

How grim is it when five years after 9/11 the United States still can't make up its group mind that carrying a reputation as a torturer is a bad thing?

That's the only conclusion Dick Destiny blog came to last week while reading the fop's proclamation from George W. Bush that Americans don't torture juxtaposed againt the Senate intel report that they do, here. (It must have almost killed Pat Roberts to sign off on it.)

And what was the product of this particular torture session? A confession that was later recanted and exposed as trash, a product of total corruption, but one that was convenient to use as an argument for war.

It sucks the breath out of anyone reading it!

Or, in the New York Times today: "At times, Mr. Zubaydah, still weak from his wounds, was stripped and placed in a cell without a bunk or blankets. He stood or lay on the bare floor, sometimes with air-conditioning adjusted so that . . . [he] seemed to turn blue."

The New York Times article goes on to voice arguments for and against the torture, with the CIA on the pro side and the FBI, the con. Allegedly, useful information was extracted.

This is debatable and the reader is left to ponder, for example, if there was any benefit at all to being told Jose Padilla, the wanna-be dirty bomber, was an incompetent boob.

News stories which ran nationwide after Padilla's arrest made it reasonably clear he was little but a criminal numbnuts, through simple examination of his life, without having to learn it by torturing "Mr. Zubaydah."

The New York Times wrote Padilla was "ignorant of nuclear physics and believed he could separate plutonium from nuclear material by rapidly [swinging it] over his head in a bucket . . . "


Or, one could read in the Columbia Journalism Review, the same week, as DD did:

The files, the [New York] Times reported on May 20, 2005, offered “ample testimony that harsh treatment by some interrogators was routine and that guards could strike shackled detainees with virtual impunity.” The beatings and other interrogation tactics — prisoners deprived of sleep, threatened with dogs, and sexually humiliated — were later used at Abu Ghraib. Dilawar, who officials later acknowledged was innocent, had been repeatedly hit with a “common peroneal strike” — a blow just above the knee. The result, a coroner later testified, was that his legs had “basically been pulpified.”

Faced with such a collection, it becomes impossible for a logical person to do anything but gag when reviewing a Whitehouse press release which quotes from the alleged "al Qaeda manual's" chapter entitled "Guidelines for Beating and Killing Hostages."

Written of by this blog last week, it contains much more of general interest than the obvious that it's the most bankrupt of hypocrisies to quote from as a reason for why we fight the enemy.

Certainly it is an embarrassment worthy, not something to flaunt, when there is plenty of news around indicating that Americans have their own manuals -- perhaps much superior -- for administering beatings to hostages.

The thin Manchester manual, which is not an al Qaeda manual (the group's name is never mentioned in it), is thought to have been put together prior to the birth of our present foe.

It's easy to read on Cryptome because it is brief. Perhaps that it why it was so attractive to George W. Bush or his staffers. If that was the case, they outsmarted themselves.

The Bush administration's version is incomplete. This is explained "because [the US government] does not want to aid in educating terrorists or encourage further acts of terrorism."

But everything is not as it seems.

Left out of the US government's edited version of the Manchester manual -- but viewable in the Cryptome copy -- is a section on torture. It is not a section on how to torture, but one that tells its readers what they might face if they are incarcerated in a Middle Eastern jail.

For example:

Also worth a gander, after reading the New York Times article on the abuse of "Mr. Zubaydah," this bit, from the same section.

And this one:

The Manchester manual, this part out of it edited out by our government, also includes the statement that its readers should take these methods seriously because they were compiled from stories of prisoners in the jails of Middle Eastern countries.

The United States isn't mentioned. One might reasonably think this was because it was a long way off from being regularly thought of as in the business of torturing captives.

See here:

What grand company to be keeping! What grand traditions to be extending!


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