Torture and Truth

Yesterday, I posted on a Harvard study showing that the press, after an established tradition of referring to waterboarding as torture, stopped doing so once it became clear the US engaged in the practice. Our press, in other words, refused to tell what they had previously presented as “the truth” (that is, that waterboarding was unquestionably torture) when it became politically contentious to do so.

Now I want to focus on one detail of the documents Craig Murray released yesterday in anticipation of the British inquiry into whether it was complicit with torture. The Brits are debating among themselves whether the question will be, “Did the UK order up torture?” or “Did the UK knowingly use information gathered using torture?” (Rather, the powers that be are trying hard to limit the inquiry to the former question.) So Murray posted a series of British Foreign Office communication set off when he asked both whether it was legal to receive information known to have been collected using torture, and what civil servants and Ministers thought about receiving information gathered using torture.

I would be grateful for the opinion of Sir Michael Wood on the legality in both international and UK domestic law of receiving material there are reasonable grounds to suspect was obtained under torture, and the position of both Ministers and civil servants in this regard.

That is, is it legal and is it the accepted practice of the government to accept information gathered using torture (ironically, at almost exactly the same moment, Jane Harman, having been assured that torture was legal by CIA General Counsel Scott Muller, was asking him whether it was the formal Bush policy).

The answers to those questions, as you can see by reading the thread of communication, were “yes” and “yes.” It’s the latter “yes” that the Brits don’t want to admit publicly in their inquiry.

That’s all politics. But what I’m most interested in is a paragraph Linda Duffield, the Director, Wider Europe, wrote on March 10, 2003, memorializing a meeting between her, Murray, and two others. In it, she describes explaining to Murray that she appreciated his concern about information collected using torture, but that the “moral issues” raised by it had to be weighed against other moral concerns. And the competing “moral” issue–as she lays out–is the necessity to “piec[e] together intelligence material from different sources in the global fight against terrorism.”

I said that he was right to raise with you and Ministers (Jack Straw) his concerns about important legal and moral issues. We took these very seriously and gave a great deal of thought to such issues ourselves. There were difficult ethical and moral issues involved and at times difficult judgements [sic] had to be made weighing one clutch of “moral issues” against another. It was not always easy for people in post (embassies) to see and appreciate the broader picture, eg piecing together intelligence material from different sources in the global fight against terrorism. But that did not mean we took their concerns any less lightly. [my emphasis]

Duffield is claiming to acknowledge the moral problems of torture, but suggests that the “moral” (and ethical) necessity to piece together intelligence on terrorism–not to keep the country safe, but to piece together intelligence–balances out those moral problems.

At least from her minutes, there’s no indication she considered the reliability of the intelligence collected using torture. And that’s in a string of communications in which Murray described an incident of probably unreliable intelligence collected using torture.

I have seen with my own eyes a respected elder break down in court as he recounted how his sons were tortured in front of him as he was urged to confess to links – I have no doubt entirely spurious – with Bin Laden.

The string of communications that Murray published not only show the British government institutionally deciding that it would accept information collected using torture. But also–at least in that one paragraph–prioritizing the collection of intelligence, per se, over the collection of reliable intelligence and placing that, but not protecting the country, in moral counterweight to torture.

Also, it bears mentioning that these minutes were written within a week of Dick Cheney’s last ditch attempt to claim Iraq had ties to al Qaeda in the lead-up to the Iraq war (the intelligence community managed to vet that specious claim) and about the time KSM’s 183 waterboardings started. Note, too, Murray’s observation that much of the redacted information in these communications describe the CIA soliciting and brokering such information.

The censorship has removed all mentions of the role of the CIA in procuring the torture intelligence from the Uzbek security services, and passing it on to MI6. Protection of the CIA appears to be the primary aim of the censor.

So as bad as this makes the Brits look, it implicates the US far more.

Duffield’s sentence, describing the collection of intelligence (no matter how reliable) as a moral necessity that counterbalances the moral problem of torture itself, is an awful snapshot of the mindset of our governments at a key moment in time, just as the war on terror morphed into a war of choice against Iraq. This is the “truth” that drove our war efforts.

  1. bobschacht says:

    Thanks, EW, for focusing on the nuances here.
    Wasn’t it about this time, back in 2002, that the Bush Admin was being hammered for failing to “connect the dots”? Their response, apparently, was to collect more dots, regardless of their intelligence value, rather than to figure out better ways to connect their dots. Or maybe to collect dots of particular types, regardless of their reliability.

    Bob in AZ

  2. b2020 says:

    “The string of communications that Murray published not only show the British government institutionally deciding that it would accept information collected using torture. But also–at least in that one paragraph–prioritizing the collection of intelligence, per se, over the collection of reliable intelligence and placing that, but not protecting the country, in moral counterweight to torture.”

    This is running close to the “fabricated gotcha” line that plagues so many blogs. By the reasonable doubt standard, I think you are making your analysis to forceful.

    Mind you, I fully agree that it is possible, and even probable, that this was indeed, de facto as well as in her mind, about fabricating intelligence by coercing statements that then serve as facts in a propaganda collage, but the sections you quote leave this one possible interpretation. If you want to go all newspeak, she might even have considered fabricating a casus belli essential to protect the UK from harm, either from Iraq or the US.

    To paraphrase Karl Valentin, the foundational principle of intelligence program related torture activities goes all the way back to the Inquisition: Everything has been admitted already, just not by everybody yet. Torture-driven intelligence shares that with news media: It does not matter whether it is true, just as long as somebody said it. Different consumers, same dynamics.

  3. harpie says:

    Thanks so much for addressing this, EW!

    I think thatvisionthing [in the previous thread] is correct:

    It looks like [Murray’s] trying to do a Daniel Ellsberg end run around the British govt (and media?) so as to get the FOIA’d memos in front of the public at the same time as the hearings that he thinks are going to exclude them and him. Come on, small people, notice!

  4. Ishmael says:

    Happy Canada Day to all. Our Canadian Security and Intelligence Service has acknowledged this May to a Parliamentary committee that it is “possible” that Canada received intelligence obtained by torture. The Committee on Canada’s mission in Afghanistan is examining whether Canadian soldiers transferred prisoners to Afghanistan’s torture-using intelligence service. Compared to the Duffield minutes, CSIS says that policy is that the agency must not rely on information suspected of being obtained by torture, and that in such cases the torture provenance of the information is noted, and they are supposed to try and find corroboration. If, however, corroboration cannot be found, the official said that he believed that the average Canadian would not accept it if Canadians die “because we did nothing.” – the “24”, “ticking time bomb” argument, that we cannot ignore such information in a difficult world where not everyone shares our “scruples”.

    The “operational” use of such intelligence as opposed to the “legal” use of tortured confessions in legal proceedings can be seductive, with its appeals to pragmatism but at the end of the day amounts to a tacit acceptance of torture as a practice. As the International Commission of Jurists Eminent Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights summarized it as follows:

    This differentiation between the use of information obtained by torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, for “legal” and for “operational” purposes is problematic for several reasons. It undermines the absolute prohibition on torture which entails a continuum of obligations – not to torture, not to acquiesce in torture, and not to validate the results of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Secondly, it suggests a water-tight distinction between “legal” and “operational” use which is probably illusory, and certainly the Panel was supplied with examples where information was supposedly sought on operational grounds, but subsequently relied upon in legal proceedings that followed. Thirdly, States have publicly claimed that they are entitled to rely on information that has been derived from the illegal practices of others; in so doing they become “consumers” of torture and implicitly legitimise, and indeed encourage, such practices by creating a “market” for the resultant intelligence. In the language of criminal law, States are “aiding and abetting” serious human rights violations by others.

    With its appeal to the “average Canadian”, CSIS seems to want to try and conflate in the public eye the situation where they come into possession passively of information on a bomb attack, for example, where it is much clearer both as a matter of law and morals that it would be wrong to ignore the information, and the complicity that invariably derives from participating in exchanges with institutions that torture as standard operational practice. The latter is neither legal nor legitimate, and all the corroboration in the world will not wash it away.

  5. eCAHNomics says:

    I’m shocked, I tell you shocked, that U.S. & U.K. rationalize torture & then cover it up. And that the NYT is a USG propaganda mouthpiece. Not.

  6. Mary says:

    To be fair, back in March of 2003 there was the “moral necessity” of how to gin up support for the Iraq war – a war Bush had told Blair Britain was going to have join. So the moral necessity of getting Brits to send off their soldiers to die and kill and their country to be a party to the creation of 2 million refugees – – that was a pretty immense moral imperative. You have to torture a few people to keep that kind of train on the tracks.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      Thanks for putting it all in the context of the larger picture. Under those constraints, torture seems like a small price to pay. /s

  7. Mary says:

    This Linda Duffield, right?

    Who became CEO of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in 2009?

    A foundation that:

    focuses on strengthening parliaments and political parties in priority countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

    A little torture can go a long way to strengthening the political party of your choice.

    But hey, they don’t stop at political parties – they also work with institutions that you find in civil society – chambers of commerce, chambers of torture, that kind of thing.

    However we also work with the various institutions that make up civil society

    Oh well, between Duffield, our Sup Ct, Blair, Obama, Holder, Kagan, etc. you have to wonder whether or not this org wants to rethink it’s promotional materials that tout “the democratic values . . . include . . .[the r]ight to be free from torture and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment: and that suggest working with the… “Westminster Foundation for Democracy.”

    Hey – wait – maybe the Brits can get a really well respected, well-reonowned, internationally revered legal scholar to help them with their investigation. I hear that, what with having to recuse herself from all the US torture cases against Obama, Kagan’s going to have a lot of finger twiddling time.

  8. scribe says:

    The Brits have always been masters at circumlocution when they need to, viz.:

    There were difficult ethical and moral issues involved and at times difficult judgements [sic] had to be made weighing one clutch of “moral issues” against another. It was not always easy for people in post (embassies) to see and appreciate the broader picture, eg piecing together intelligence material from different sources in the global fight against terrorism. But that did not mean we took their concerns any less lightly.

    Or, as the Germans [used to] say*:

    “Ende gut, alles gut.”

    At least the Krauts were direct about it.

    * There’s starting no little kerfluffle in the German media over their intelligence services’ cooperation with and receipt of torture-derived information from other services who do practice torture.

  9. jaango says:


    I have nothing to add, but I do have a Question.

    Has any member of either the House or the Senate, expressed an interest in introducing or tossing into the legislative hopper, legislation that would establish a “Commission of Inquiry on Torture”?

    If so, those of us who reside in the Spanish-speaking community, would become motivated and mobilized.


  10. Jeff Kaye says:

    An excellent accounting of the mindset that drove the campaign for war and use of torture. Duffield’s comments certainly capture that warped moral mindset. As you note, also, the memos make clear that the U.S. was deeply involved in the collection of tortured “information”.

    However, I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of Michael Wood’s legal decision in March 2003, as it carried the same weight (I believe) as the legal decisions made by the OLC, i.e., giving legal imprimatur to the breaking of domestic and international laws. Sir Michael Wood was chief legal adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2003, and he made a stir when he told the Chilcot inquiry that he warned Tony Blair and Jack Straw that going to war with Iraq would be illegal without a second UN resolution. (See video of his testimony)

    Well, whatever Wood ruled in the Iraq case, he was totally wrong on the issue of torture and CAT. He was so fixated on Article 15 of CAT (no tortured evidence) that he forgot to read Article 1, Paragraph 1 (bold emphasis added):

    For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

    Note! It does not say that public official must be from the State in which the individual is being tortured, just that they are “acting in an official capacity”, with their “consent or acquiescence”.

    I covered the Wood memo last May, when Murray released uncensored versions of most of these memos:

    The most amazing new piece of evidence is a March 13, 2003 memo by UK Foreign Office Legal Adviser Michael Wood that it was perfectly okay for the government “to receive or possess information under torture.” Cynically, Wood agrees that the evidence so derived would not be admissible in court, but there is no treaty obligation in the Convention Against Torture against gathering such information. The twisted nature of this ruling, made in secret, is the equal to anything produced by Yoo, Bybee or Bradbury.

    Well, the evidence was only “new” to me, because I first came across it at that time. Since then I’ve found that a call for bloggers to post this evidence goes back to at least December 2005. So it’s taken awhile, and Murray’s persistence to get this info out there. The Duffield memo that caught EW’s attention, though, is I think new, and recently released by Murray.

    A link to the PDF of the Wood memo is here. — Kudos to Murray, who has suffered the fate of the whistleblower (loss of his career), but hangs in there fighting for what is right.

    I’d also like to note that the Murray revelations go farther than the UK or the U.S. Back in 2006, he told an investigating European Parliamentary committee that “the German secret service worked in close proximity with the Uzbeks and continues to do so, stressing that he had no doubt that Germany used information ‘most certainly obtained under torture,’ by the Uzbek secret service…”

  11. Mary says:

    Seriously – if there really was a moral imperative to justify what you did, you don’t hide. If they thought it was so important, then you take to the tubes and say:

    hey guys, we’re scared to death about Osama Bin Laden having a huge big ol second wing planned and Iraq and North Korea and Iran ruling the world, so we need every bit of intelligence we can get and so here’s the deal – go torture anyone who looks funny. Bring us what you get out of them. It’s all ok – it’s for a good cause. Right now, we have the Uzbeks boiling some guys alive for us and the Egyptians sodomizing young boys and the American’s disappearing children and institutionalizing torture as a Presidential perk.

    If all that sounds titillating – come by and see us about a job. Or, if you are patriotic enough to work without pay, like we said – go out there and torture some of your neighbors. We currently have a list up on our website of details we would like confirmed by other torture victims and plots we’ve thought we ought to be able to get someone to confess to – but don’t feel constrained. Be creative, be forward leaning, get us something new and different if you can. Good night, and remember, in the words of Churchill, we have nothing to fear as long as we torture – a lot!


    • thatvisionthing says:

      You left out “commercial interests”

      How a Torture Protest Killed a Career
      By Craig Murray
      October 24, 2009

      We built up an overwhelming dossier of evidence, and I complained to London about the conduct of our ally in rather strong terms including the photos of the boy being boiled alive.

      ‘Over-Focused on Human Rights’

      I received a reply from the British Foreign Office. It said, this is a direct quote, “Dear Ambassador, we are concerned that you are perhaps over-focused on human rights to the detriment of commercial interests.”

      I was taken aback. I found that extraordinary. But things had gotten much worse because while we were gathering the information about torture, we were also learning what people were forced to confess to under torture.

      People aren’t tortured for no reason. They’re tortured in order to extract some information or to get them to admit to things, and normally the reason you torture people is to get them to admit to things that aren’t actually true. They were having to confess to membership in al-Qaeda, to being at training camps in Afghanistan, personally meeting Osama bin Laden.

      At the same time, we were receiving CIA intelligence. MI-6 and the CIA share all their intelligence. So I was getting all the CIA intelligence on Uzbekistan and it was saying that detainees had confessed to membership in al-Qaeda and being in training camps in Afghanistan and to meeting Osama bin Laden.

      One way and another I was piecing together the fact that the CIA material came from the Uzbek torture sessions.

      btw, I tried to do a search on that sentence in the memos Murray posted and I don’t find it. Where is that memo, and what was the date?

      Also, as has been noted here before by other commenters, it doesn’t matter what these people confessed to, the real question is, “Who wrote the interrogators’ script?” Has that been established?

      I had only been there for a week or two when I went to a show trial of an al-Qaeda terrorist they had caught. It was a big event put on partly for the benefit of the American embassy to demonstrate the strength of the U.S.-Uzbek alliance against terrorism.

      When I got there, to call the trial unconvincing would be an underestimate. There was one moment when this old man [who] had given evidence that his nephew was a member of al-Qaeda and had personally met Osama bin Laden. And like everybody else in that court he was absolutely terrified.

      But suddenly as he was giving his evidence, he seemed from somewhere to find an inner strength. He was a very old man but he stood taller and said in a stronger voice, he said, “This is not true. This is not true. They tortured my children in front of me until I signed this. I had never heard of al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.”

      He was then hustled out of the court and we never did find out what had happened to him. He was almost certainly killed. But as it happens I was within touching distance of him when he said that and I can’t explain it. It’s not entirely rational. But you could just feel it was true. You could tell he was speaking the truth when he said that.

      And that made me start to call into doubt the whole question of the narrative about al-Qaeda in Uzbekistan and the alliance in the war on terror.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      For whatever reason, I keep getting a 404 message on this link. Here’s another link if others are having the same problem:

      Thanks, fatster. The article itself is odd, or the way it’s being discussed is odd. The article says:

      A military judge will decide whether a Sudanese detainee who says he has undergone “various methods of interrogation” since 2002 can use an Arabic-speaking psychologist with experience in post-traumatic stress disorder to help him prepare for trial.

      Arguing Wednesday before military judge Navy Capt. Moira Modzelewski, attorneys for Noor Uthman Mohammed said the psychological assistance is critical to evaluate statements Noor has made that the government plans to use against him. Prosecutors accuse Noor of running a terrorist training camp in eastern Afghanistan.

      Read more:

      The psychologist, Jess Ghannam, is, I know, an experienced psychologist. The evaluation to determine PTSD appears to be an evaluation of the type I and many other psychologists have done, i.e., to examine the psychological state of prisoners to see if their cognitive and emotional state is consistent with what is known to affect those who have been tortured, e.g., PTSD, depression, dissociative states, etc. These kinds of evaluations are done all the time for Homeland Security courts evaluating charges of torture and persecution by asylum applicants. They are an accepted forensic procedure, and not some strange ploy by Gitmo attorneys.

      Uthman, btw, was not charged until May 2008, when he was accused of “conspiracy” and “providing material support for terrorism”.

  12. Jeff Kaye says:

    We should note here, too, that Human Right Watch just released their report, “‘No Questions Asked’: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture” 400 KB PDF

    From the HRW press release:

    The 62-page report, “‘No Questions Asked’: Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture,” analyzes the ongoing cooperation by the governments of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom with foreign intelligence services in countries that routinely use torture. The three governments use the resulting foreign torture information for intelligence and policing purposes. Torture is prohibited under international law, with no exceptions allowed.

    “Berlin, Paris, and London should be working to eradicate torture, not relying on foreign torture intelligence,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Taking information from torturers is illegal and just plain wrong.”

    HRW also notes — and this relates to the situation John Sifton et al. find themselves in —

    Human Rights Watch said that in practice, overseas torture material can end up being used in court because the burden falls on defendants to prove it was obtained under torture, a nearly impossible task.

    “The rules meant to exclude torture from the courts don’t work,” Sunderland said. “It should be up to prosecutors to prove that evidence originating in countries that torture wasn’t obtained through abuse.”

    It was through the efforts of the John Adams Project that detainee attorneys were trying to get access to interrogators so they could get testimony in court to prove their clients were tortured. Meanwhile, the CIA is trying to rope in DoJ (apparently with some success) to persecute those trying to prove in court that torture was used against prisoners. As Sunderland says, it really should be the onus of military prosecutors in these cases (or civilian, where such cases have been turned over to civilian courts) “to proved that evidence originating in countries that torture [and I’d include the U.S. here, btw – JK] wasn’t obtained through abuse.”

    A change in the rules of evidence is called for, and any decent country, given the recent history, would make this change. After all, haven’t they been videotaping these interrogations… oops, that’s right, they were. But where are the videotapes? Oh, destroyed? What about those DVR drives at Guantanamo? Haven’t they been examining them for long enough?

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I am impressed at the intrepidness of some English judges in adhering to the rule of law in the face of considerable political pressure to do the opposite.

    I’m also impressed that the Chilcot inquiry publicly released documents – memos of legal advice between the Attorney General and the Prime Minister – in response to widespread demands that the public has a right to know about them. Imagine the different mindset among the public and an administration that would lead to that outcome. Here, it would take multiple rounds of litigation (and a likely reversal at the Supreme Court) and a wholesale replacement of White House staff to achieve that result, the public’s right to know be damned. The necessity of such efforts, however, is appalling.

    The mere collection of data, however reliable, is a sufficient counterweight – moral, legal, political – to centuries of disdain for torture? Governments typically lie to themselves when they commit torture and other heinous acts, as the French did in Algeria. They don’t often brag about it, as Cheney and Bush do, or treat it with the sang froid a predator might display to a colleague destroyed in a bureaucratic wrangle.

    Has the Dick Cheney meme that energy conservation is “a personal virtue but not a fit basis for government policy” morphed into a misdescription of the arguments against torture or the arguments against any limits on executive power? Such contortions come from the same minds that knowingly launched an illegal war that has dispossessed millions and killed or maimed hundreds of thousands.

    “Shit happens” is a fine T-shirt slogan; it fails as an attempt to articulate necessary limits on personal, social and governmental action. The question is whether we accept this policy and framework or reject it and impose penalties on those who are attempting to foist it upon us?

  14. JThomason says:

    I watched James Carroll and Oren Jacoby’s documentary Constantine’s Sword last night. It details the confluence of religiosity and the justification of corporal power over people. This is what torture trully represents. When Buddhism and Christianity first made in roads into Central Asia as Rene Grousset details in Empire of the Steppes, tribal violence was ameliorated in the exposure to teachings of compassion but by the same token religious fervor gave rise to the self-righteous violence of the Crusades.

    The American Civil adventure far from being merely a commercial revolution represented in the Bill of Rights a check on the tyrannical impulses reflected politically in doctrines of divine right. Churches were stripped of the levy Parrish taxes and enlightened limitations on power were institutionalized.

    The “Holy War” rhetoric and the lending sartorial political cover to the politicizing of the judicial process advanced by Lindsay Graham this week is merely an extension of this delusion of divine entitlement to unfettered power. The genius of history is that this hubris, like the statue of Ozymandias, eventually erodes. The enlightened moral response would certainly continue pragmatic gestures to assure that any nation which looked to be a shining city on a hill recognize the futility of the dehumanizing impulse.

    I find no overreach in critically checking the rhetoric that gives the appearance of an acceptance of a rationalizing sanction of behavior and speculation that undermines the custom of moral decency. Oh, that we would have more of this kind of critical understanding. Anyway, that’s what I think.

    • JThomason says:

      If only I knew how to spell “Lindsey”, I might too could say that I am tuned into the pulse of emptywheel’s blog. Alas.

    • Ishmael says:

      “When Buddhism and Christianity first made in roads into Central Asia as Rene Grousset details in Empire of the Steppes, tribal violence was ameliorated in the exposure to teachings of compassion but by the same token religious fervor gave rise to the self-righteous violence of the Crusades.”

      The role of religion as both a catalyst and brake on progressive action in history is very interesting. By the end of his life, Jefferson, in his skeptical Deism and desire to separate church and state in alignment with his Enlightenment ideals, was deeply disappointed at the revival of religious fervor in the United States as being counter-productive to individual liberty. At the same time, there was an undeniable role of religion in the rise of abolitionism and opposition to slavery – Lincoln, who in his skepticism towards organized religion was similar to Jefferson, understood the power of such religiously-based ethical opposition. When slavery began to be considered as a sin, not just as a “peculiar institution”, it was harder for society to maintain it. While of course you don’t have to be religious to oppose torture, it would be helpful if the undoubtedly powerful religious community in the US stated its unequivocal opposition to torture, rather than being like the press and remaining mute.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Excellent comment and Happy Canada Day !

        If we truly loved the Queen, we would not have tortured her with Harpuh’s presence …

        • fatster says:

          Happy Canada Day to you, too, Petro, and to all other Canadians! Just seeing that Maple Leaf always brings a smile.

  15. Jeff Kaye says:

    So Judge Kaplan believes Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is trying to hinder his prosecution by claiming PTSD (a condition gained from treatment — torture — during his years long detention). Judge Kaplan so rules despite the fact the brief AP story reports a psychologist testifies a few weeks back that Ghailani does suffer from PTSD.

    Well, Kaplan would not be the first judge to disregard expert opinion. I’d like to see the ruling to get the full gist of his decision. On the face of it, it seems outrageous.

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        This might be the link (from May) that references a relevant earlier decision from the judge, viz. “Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) [official website] said that even if Ghailani was mistreated [NYT report] while in Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] custody, there was no connection between that and the current prosecution.”

        Hence, by the same logic, no psychologist will be allowed to examine for PTSD, probably (and until we see the ruling) because it’s not relevant (supposedly).

        • fatster says:

          Thanks, Jeff. I hope the ruling is available soon. I was thinking of Graham’s prodding Kagan about incorporating relevant scientific discoveries/”facts” when considering legal issues and how much more complex and difficult it is to bring psychological/psychiatric understanding into the courtroom. The bar is not just set higher; it’s somehow different.

  16. thatvisionthing says:

    What a great statistic! Reading a comment on Craig Murray’s blog:

    This might be relevant, from reddit/politics today:

    Harvard Study: From 1930s-2004, NY Times called waterboarding torture in 81.5% of articles, LA Times in 96.3%. Yet from 2002‐2008, NYT did so in only 1.4% and LA Times in 4.8%. The WSJ? 1.6% (1 of 63 articles) and USA Today never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture.

    Posted by: sandcrab at July 1, 2010 9:43 PM

    Nothing like showing up in a fig leaf when you suddenly realize you’re guilty

      • thatvisionthing says:

        I surfed that post and missed it — thanks. Actually I see that that very stat is in Greenwald’s column that ew linked to. Mostly I hate to click on a salon link because of all the web scripts that futz me up. Pisses me off because I like GG so much.

        • fatster says:

          I did the same thing. Or, more correctly, I didn’t do the same thing you didn’t do (click on the GG link). Sigh.

  17. johnofseattle says:

    It’s not just that the press failed in their job, but it’s clear that’s a big part of it.

    I think the press is doing its job in an exemplary fashion. Unfortunately, part of that job is making us think it’s doing a different job.

  18. opit says:

    Man, this is the topic that will never die. Craig Murray BTW has linked to this post and has excellent links in comments
    We have been around this Merry-Go-Round so many times without letup. Ever since ’24’ promoted the bullshit that torture yields ‘intelligence’ – try fabrication inspired by urgent necessity – it has been the ‘National Security’ cover for Black Ops campaigns of Terror. You might note the Feebs et al are a lot closer than hillbilly drugheads in the ‘Stans ( tribal grounds ) .
    They know. In crime, they say ‘Follow the Money.’ In politics, one can also say ‘Follow the Law.’
    American Service Members Protection Act 2002
    Agreement NOT to hand Americans over to the International Tribunal at the Hague
    Bilateral Immunity Agreements