Thursday, April 16, 2009

TORTURING EXCUSED

"The methods [in the torture memos included] keeping detainees naked for long periods, keeping them in a painful standing position for long periods, and depriving them of solid food," reported AP today.

"Other tactics included using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into walls, keeping the detainee's cell cold for long periods, and beating and kicking the detainee. Sleep-deprivation, prolonged shackling, and threats to a detainee's family were also used."

None of this was unexpected. What was a bit startling was a potentially blanket get-out-of-jail free card for those involved in implementing it.

Over the past years, articles on torture and the ramifications of it have been singularly unpopular on DD's blog. There are only a few in the pundit class and a handful of national newspapers or publications which are approved for the subject. Everywhere else, it's a recipe for losing eyeballs. Covering war-on-terror trials at The Register, for instance, was unpopular. Relatively speaking, few cared to see unpleasant stories, stuff with no moral or happy ending, about people being sent over on flimsy or virtually non-existent charges.

And so it will be this story again. Compared to a review of the Boxmasters or something about how awful Saturday night movies on the Sci-Fi channel are, it's a cooked snail. DD invites you to spread the URL. (That's already failed.) He dares you to brook annoying pals with another post on the boiled lead of torture and its consequences.

But now to the meat of the action.

DD republishes screen shots from the original manual of jihad in Afghanistan, presented to me as part of the parcel of evidence to be considered while doing research as a consultant to the trial of the alleged London ricin ring.

The manual, put together in the late Eighties, included sections on what jihadis could expect if they were taken prisoner by Middle Eastern governments. The United States, as I shall show, was excluded from this 'assessment.'

A sample:



Other methods included:



And:



It's not necessary to put a red check mark next to those which now align with methods used by the American government in the last few years. And it's equally stupid to grant any semblance of logic to semantic arguments about which methods are torture and which aren't. Those who wrote the manual of Afghan jihad considered them torture. They would, of course, consider American methods cited at the top of the post as torture. And sane people the world over would consider all of them torture, whether applied singly, in combination, or under a doctor's supervision.

The original jihad manual also included the following bit of information:



All of them -- Middle Eastern nations known as human-rights abusers. To which, on the say so of of panicked and fearful American leaders and the tacit acquiescence of a supine press and populace, we added ourselves. And thus forfeited our souls and the worldwide belief that our country was the side of unassailable right.

The original manual of jihad for you to see is here at Cryptome.

"The United States [was not mentioned in the manual's torture section]," wrote this blog two years ago. "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."

At that time, the Bush administration was quoting from the manual of Afghan jihad for political purposes, speaking of a section in which al Qaeda discussed the legitimacy of beating and killing prisoners during interrogation. (See here and here.)

This was, George W. Bush said, proof of the evil of the adversary. What this was, more precisely and put in context, was part of a chain of events which defined the very essence of American national hypocrisy and shame.



More recently:

Tortured by ours or yours?

Which part of torture don't they understand?

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