If Videos of Feeding Can Be Used as Propaganda, You’re Doing It Wrong

Unsurprisingly, the government has just appealed Gladys Kessler’s order that it release the videos of Abu Wa’el Dhiab. h/t Josh Gerstein

DOJ cited a number of reasons why releasing videos of US service members feeding a indefinitely detained prisoner who had been cleared for released years earlier. But one of them is the propaganda to which our adversaries might use such videos.

 (4) use of the videos in propaganda by entities hostile to the United States;

Apparently, if the rest of the world saw how we fed our indefinitely detained prisoners, they would start bombing us.

But honest, DOJ says, it’s not torture and it’s not punitive.

Update, from an affidavit submitted by Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris. (h/t Ryan Reilly)

There is little doubt that ISIL would use imagery from Guantanamo Bay to further encourage its supporters and followers to attack military and government personnel.

He likens releasing these videos to the release of Marines pissing on corpses and news of the US burning Qurans.

He explains if AQAP got it, they might use it to support a recent claim made in Inspire claiming, “America has lost the most important element of global leadership: morals and principles.”

16 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    Their argument here contradicts their arguments in the NSA situation, to wit, if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide. Imagine that, the government talking out of both sides of its mouth.

  2. TomVet says:

    Hey Marcy, take a coffee break. You’re typing too fast.
    That should be Rear Admiral, and I think America has lost its morals and principles.
    The real reason for withholding these films is always that it will embarrass some thin-skinned DC insiders and make the US Gov look bad. It will most likely not tell the terrorists anything new.

  3. Arbusto says:

    One reason the USofA used to condemn torture and mistreatment of prisoners was the idea of reciprocity, taking the high road and being on the side of the angels. Those ideals sure went the way of the Dodo along with strong leadership honor and strength of character.

  4. bsbafflesbrains says:

    Morals and Principles? America is not an independent entity but rather a wholly owned subsidiary of the uber wealthy and they have no capacity for morals or principles.

  5. bigbrother says:

    Perfect summary of USA woes ewe are morally bankrupt and are leading the world off the cliff. A great of the problems. We hide so much of what what we do as it is shameful. Thanks for the sunshine Marcy.

  6. Don Bacon says:

    Chelsea Manning went to prison for releasing a video of a US helicopter crew gunning down photogs in Iraq because it could be used as propaganda by entities hostile to the United States, and his minders didn’t want any more truth released.
    So truth can be propaganda in the wrong hands, which is why we rarely get the truth from the government. Or the mainstream media, any more, which is why blogs are important.

  7. P J Evans says:

    If the US government wasn’t torturing people, and killing civilians overseas, and collecting all the communications they could, they wouldn’t have so many people mad at them.
    Maybe they should think about how the rule of law applies to them, too.

    And maybe we’ll all get sparkly rainbow flying unicorns fore Christmas.

  8. bloopie2 says:

    Now, Ferguson is thinking of indicting Michael Brown’s stepfather for inciting a riot after the no-bill decision was announced. My God – in how many ways is this wrong? The raw desire of the state to suppress those it dislikes. I don’t know more what to say.

  9. Don Bacon says:

    Loss of freedom to travel w/o worry.
    from State–
    Worldwide Caution
    Last Updated: October 10, 2014
    The Department of State is updating the Worldwide Caution to provide information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated April 10, 2014.
    So we’re all Canadians, right? Except they aren’t so pure any more either.

    • bsbafflesbrains says:

      So should we cancel our flight on Malaysian Air? Make sure we get the armored limo when we land at Heathrow in our GS-5?
      P.S. Canadians are now just CorpUSA north.

  10. Peterr says:

    Five and a half years ago, Obama stood in the National Archives and gave a speech against torture and repeating his desire to close Gitmo, and yet simultaneously approving of indefinite detention without charges, trial, or appeal — right in front of the Declaration of Independence which cites this as one of the grievances the colonies held against King George III.
    In the opening section of the speech, he said this about torture:

    I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As Commander-in-Chief, I see the intelligence. I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. (Applause.) What’s more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts — they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all. (Applause.)
    Now, I should add, the arguments against these techniques did not originate from my administration. As Senator McCain once said, torture “serves as a great propaganda tool for those who recruit people to fight against us.” And even under President Bush, there was recognition among members of his own administration — including a Secretary of State, other senior officials, and many in the military and intelligence community — that those who argued for these tactics were on the wrong side of the debate, and the wrong side of history. That’s why we must leave these methods where they belong — in the past. They are not who we are, and they are not America.

    In the immortal words of Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, the DOJ court filing here means that these presidential words from five and a half years ago are now apparently “no longer operative.”
    Heckuva job, folks. Heckuva job.

    • Betty says:

      Peterr, another example that leads me to believe the President has 2 contradictory personalities. Don’t know how else to explain the dissonance.

  11. Don Bacon says:

    The lawyers and other miscreants may be trying to provide reasons on a policy which has been established to avoid Article 16 of the Convention against Torture:

    Article 16
    1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment….

    The Committee against Torture has expressed its dismay that the US has refused to adhere to this article here.

    However, the Committee is dismayed that the State party’s reservation to article 16 of the Convention …

  12. Don Bacon says:

    In Obama’s foreword to the National Security Strategy: “In all that we do, we will advocate for and advance the basic rights upon which our Nation was founded, and which peoples of every race and region have made their own.”
    And the NSS itself states: (excerpts)
    “The rule of law—and our capacity to enforce it—advances our national security and strengthens our leadership. At home, fidelity to our laws and support for our law enforcement community safeguards American citizens and interests, while protecting and advancing our values.
    “Legal Aspects of Countering Terrorism: The increased risk of terrorism necessitates a capacity to detain and interrogate suspected violent extremists, but that framework must align with our laws to be effective and sustainable. When we are able, we will prosecute terrorists in Federal courts or in reformed military commissions that are fair, legitimate, and effective. For detainees who cannot be prosecuted—but pose a danger to the American people—we must have clear, defensible, and lawful standards. We must have fair procedures and a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified. And keeping with our Constitutional system, it will be subject to checks and balances. The goal is an approach that can be sustained by future Administrations, with support from both political parties and all three branches of government.
    “Uphold the Rule of Law: The rule of law—and our capacity to enforce it—advances our national security and strengthens our leadership. At home, fidelity to our laws and support for our law enforcement community safeguards American citizens and interests, while protecting and advancing our values. Around the globe, it allows us to hold actors accountable, while supporting both international security and the stability of the global economy. America’s commitment to the rule of law is fundamental to our efforts to build an international order that is capable of confronting the emerging challenges of the 21st century.”

  13. Don Bacon says:

    The president lacks character, period.
    Black Agenda Report, May 7, 2008

    Running to the Right: Barack Obama and the DLC Strategy
    DLC endorsement is the gold standard of political reliability for Wall Street, Big Energy, Big Pharma, insurance, the airlines and more. Though candidates normally undergo extensive questioning and interviews before DLC endorsement, Obama insisted the blessing of these corporate special interests had been bestowed on him without these formalities and without his advance knowledge, and formally disassociated himself from the DLC. But like Hillary Clinton, and every front running Democrat since Michale Dukakis in 1988, Barack Obama’s campaign has adopted the classic right wing DLC strategy.
    When he does speak, it won’t be good news. Republicans are sure to escalate their demands, insisting that Barack Obama denounce a list of black and progressive organizations, activities, beliefs and individuals to retain his share of their base. And as long as Obama is wedded to the DLC strategy, he will eagerly comply.
    If there was an actual mass-based progressive movement in the US, operating on the ground and independent of political parties and campaigns, it might have a prayer of holding Barack Obama accountable. But there isn’t.

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