Post-9-11 events and analyses
Saturday, July 23, 2005
The torture stories aren't over: "The Schmidt report calls the treatment of [Gitmo] detainees "abusive and degrading" but also "humane." That's the Orwellian world George W. Bush has introduced us to. .. [Attorney Marty Lederman has written] 'More disturbing still is the Report's repeated assertions that the techniques in question ... are not only "humane," but also are authorized by Army Field Manual 34-52. Field Manual 34-52 has, since the 1960's, defined the interrogation techniques that are acceptable within the military even for POWs who are entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. .. Accordingly, by virtue of the Schmidt Report itself, this is not simply about al-Qahtani and other high-level detainees, nor about what is permissible at Guantanamo.'
One great merit of the Schmidt report - which is otherwise riddled with worrying euphemisms, dismissal of troubling facts, exoneration of almost all commanders - is that we now know that almost every one of the Abu Ghraib techniques was practised and innovated at Guantanamo. These were not improvised out of nowhere.. The kind of techniques used in Abu Ghraib - sexual humiliation, hooding, use of dogs, tying prisoners up in "stress positions", mandatory nudity, humiliating prisoners for their religious faith, even the famous Lynndie England leash - were all developed at Guantanamo Bay under the strictest of supervision. What we were told were just frat-guy, crazy techniques on the night shift - had been deployed by the best trained, most tightly controlled, most professional interrogation center we have." 11:34:19 PM
Rove's war: Why won't Judith Miller talk? "In the run-up to the war, Miller's articles on WMD were crucial in creating a political atmosphere favorable to the administration's case. But her articles were later revealed to be false, based on disinformation, and the Times published a long apology...
Bill Kovach believes that any pledge she may have made to a source should be invalid. Kovach is the former Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, former curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and founding director of the Committee of Concerned Journalists. He describes the internal policy set within the Times on sources. "By the 1980s, we decided that we had to set some limits because reporters had been misled and the credibility of the news reports had been damaged by misleading sources. When I was chief of the bureau in Washington, we laid down a rule to the reporters that when they wanted to establish anonymity they had to lay out ground rules that if anything the source said was damaging, false or damaged the credibility of the newspaper we would identify them."
In the Plame matter, Kovach sees no obligation of the reporters to false sources. "If a man damages your credibility, why not lay the blame where it belongs? If Plame were an operative, she wouldn't have the authority to send someone. Whoever was leaking that information to Novak, Cooper or Judy Miller was doing it with malice aforethought, trying to set up a deceptive circumstance. That would invalidate any promise of confidentiality. You wouldn't protect a source for telling lies or using you to mislead your audience. That changes everything. Any reporter that puts themselves or a news organization in that position is making a big mistake." " 11:17:29 PM