Friday, January 13, 2006

Bloggerheads hyperbolises the hyperbole

Furher to my feelingthat the Swiss chap who is doing the Council of Europe's investigation in the CIA prisons comes this piece from Bloggerheads. Quoting a Swiss newsppaer's reciept of leaked fax from the Egyptian Foriegn Minister to his Ambassador in LOndon (in glorious machine translation) "the message experienced from own sources that actually 23 Iraqi and Afghan citizens on the base Mihail Kogalniceanu in the proximity (Romanian; Anm. D Talk. ) City Constanza at the black sea were cross-examined. There are similar centercenter centers in the Ukraine, in the Kosovo, in Macedonia and Bulgaria". Ok.
So in these transit camps itis very possible that omngoing invstigations, or cross examinations took place.
But to provide the headline, "US torture camps in Europe: the proof!", does rather stretch the evidence. That the US has transit camps, there is no denial. But my dears "Torture camps the Proof" is pushing it a bit far don't you think?

There again who I am I to blame them, sfter all they are just following up the headline on the Auistrailian ABC Radio, "Swiss paper claims proof of secret US torture camps".
Still no evidence of torture guys.


Aunty Marianne said...

Why are stopovers needed?

Niks Bijzonders said...

You remind me of those guys who still believe that Saddam Hussein has WMD, and who still DON'T believe that C02 causes global warming or that smoking causes cancer! And hmmm... yes - maybe Creationism IS a valid scientific theory and should be taught in schools, too...

You may want to take a look here and here and here and here.

Give it a few years and you'll catch up with the rest of us eventually, I'm sure...

panther33 said...

Well, presumably we're not flying these guys to secret and exotic locales just question them within the strict confines of U.S. civil law. The very existence of this program indicates that sterner methods of interrogation are being used.
That said, I don't have a problem with applying some level of coercion to terrorists. These folks are simply not going to rat out their buddies and compromise their operations for a reduced sentence or better treatment. If we had Zawahiri in custody, would I give the CIA permission to use the techniques Niks disapproves of to get more information? Yes, I would. It would save lives.
Anyway, I suspect that the EU governments are culpable in this whole business as well since they're probably getting "tainted" intel from the CIA. So don't expect this Swiss guy to actually find proof of much. The whole thing will be swept under the carpet and the nastiness is now taking place in North Africa.

Niks Bijzonders said...

If torturing people would save more lives, then I think most of us would be in favour of it.

But these are not new or original arguments. What amuses me about the pro-torture lobby is that the argument's often presented as if it was dreamed up yesterday.

Governments have been torturing people for thousands of years. The conclusion we came to in Britain after the witchhunts of the seventeenth century is that torture just doesn't work. Most other countries carried on regardless.

Panther may want to check out the case of an alleged Al Qaeda member, Ibn Al Libi who was tortured until he told his torturers that Saddam had links with Al Qaeda. That was the sole basis of the intelligence claiming a link between the two, according to Brigadier Levine:

The great thing about torture is that allows intelligence agents to bone-grind fabricated "evidence" out of bearded guys with Arabic names, which can then be used by politicians to justify pretty much anything. Usually, of course, this "anything" will be something to do with giving the politicians even more power (wiretapping, arbitrary imprisonment etc.), or letting them start lucrative Middle Eastern wars that will further enrich the likes of Aegis, Halliburton and all the other bastard sons of Kenneth Lay who are cashing in right now.

If we stop our intelligence services from using torture, then we're going to make it even harder for our governments to engage in systematic fraud, deception and self-enrichment. It would be a betrayl of everything the Bush-Blair axis have worked so hard for over the last four years.

We don't need to hide behind euphemisms like "sterner methods" - let's call "anally raping Uzbek women with broken bottles" by its proper name, shall we?

Then there's all that business with torturing kids in front of their parents to make Daddy admit that he's an Al Qaeda member...

Of course only a limp-wristed bovine liberal (hiss, boo) fool would suggest that by openly instigating and sponsoring the torture and extrajudicial killing of thousands of Muslims around the world we might actually be stirring up a hornets nest and cause MORE terrorism, rather than less. I'm sure that the people we're torturing, and their families, will understand perfectly why we have to do it, and that none of them will become deranged monsters bent on exacting cruel, bloody and irrational revenge by any means necessary. They'll surely understand that it's all OK, and Godly, because it's being done in the name of Freedom, and Jesus...

Devil's Kitchen said...

You remind me of those guys who still believe that Saddam Hussein has WMD, and who still DON'T believe that C02 causes global warming or that smoking causes cancer!

Jesus wept; are you sure that you weren't trolling The Sharpener the other day?

You show me conclusive proof - not trends - that CO2 does cause global warming. Show me a cancer and prove to me that it was caused by smoking. You have a look at what was ending up in Dutch scrap-metal merchants as we were invading Iraq and prove that the Scud missiles which turned up there didn't come from Iraq.

Elaib: yes, as usual Manic is letting his hobbyhorses run away with him. There's a reason that I don't link to him any more.


Devil's Kitchen said...

Aunty Marianne, I'm guessing that stopovers are needed because planes still cannot fly all the way around the world without refuelling...


panther33 said...

Let me address your points one by one.

First, "Torture doesn't work". Well, that may be your opinion, but MI6 begs to differ - hence their interest in the Uzbek "torture" intel. Of course you can't rely on anything somebody says under duress, but you can't rely on anything an AQ member says anyway. Whether the information is given freely of not, it will hav to be back-checked against known facts and analyzed critically. The point is, information given freely is not necessarily more reliable than information given under duress.
Second, I can see that you're skeptical about the intentions of the U.S. government. You may want to extend that skepticism to terrorists like Ibn Al-libi.
Third, liberal feel-good measures like the McCain amemdment will actually increase the number of renditions and the suffering of the terrorists themselves. If the CIA or MI6 can't legally lay a finger on a terrorist, they will find someone who can. A standard of interrogation that allows for a reasonable amount of coercion in certain circumstances will make rendition to your Uzbek bottle-rapists unneccessary.
Finally, if society decides that it would be better to suffer a few extra suicide bombs than touch a hair on Zawahiri's head, then so be it. Let's at least be honest enough to admit that there's a human cost to the moral grandstanding. But Niks, so far you haven't convinced society:

Niks Bijzonders said...

All that the MSN poll shows is that a majority in Britain and America would support torture in some circumstances.

I think most of us would use torture in the "ticking bomb" scenario. But of course that hypothetical scenario has never actually happened, nor is it ever likely to. And it doesn't follow that the majority would therefore agree with the torture of thousands of Muslims on the offchance that some of them might thereby reveal some information.

Of course I'm sure that some people would still be in favour of torturing thousands of bearded foreigners (innocent or otherwise) if they could be sure that this would make them and their friends safer. People are selfish like that. Doesn't make it OK.

"Whether the information is given freely of not, it will have to be back-checked against known facts and analyzed critically."

Try reading what Brig. Levine actually says. Al Libi was the sole source for the claim. There was no back-checking and no critical analysis. The whole purpose of the "intel" was to justify a war by any means, not to provide any sort of accurate or truthful picture. And as such, it did its job perfectly.

Torture does work, of course, if the purpose of torturing is to get people to say things that aren't true but that governments can use for propaganda purposes, as was the case with the "evidence" manufactured to justify the Iraq war and the full-scale assault on democracy here at home. That, of course, is the reason MI6 are so keen on the Uzbek intel.

If you really think that the CIA and MI6 have your safety and security as their number one priority, then you really are in trouble...

Torture also works if your objective is to brutalise an entire generation and thereby sow the seeds for endless war. Zawahiri, along with many other senior Al Qaeda guys, is a member of the Arab generation brutalised through torture by the Egyptian and Saudi governments a few decades back. He's a bad, bad guy and I'd shed no tears if he was killed, BUT as the CIA discovered in Pakistan the other day, the danger is that in trying to cut out the cancer you end up killing the patient by some other means. If we legalise torture then we'll inevitably end up torturing many people who are completely innocent. That's how they do things in Uzbekistan. The more innocents you kill and brutalise, the more enemies you create. It's a simple natural rule. The only way to be completely safe is to kill everyone who might, potentially, become an enemy

"Devil's Kitchen", I'd love to live in your world where smoking doesn't cause cancer, the Greenhouse Effect is just a lefty conspiracy theory and Saddam's WMD were teletransported to Amsterdam just at the moment the Americans were invading, I really would!

I bet Bloggerheads are REALLY upset that you don't link to them any more. I bet "Manic" is crying in the corner asking himself where it all went wrong...

Aunty Marianne said...

1) Devil's Kitchen - that wasn't an innocent question. If it was about refuelling, why would the planes not just refuel and continue. Why have an internment facility.

2) "Ibn Al Libi" - Son of Alibi? Come on.

Niks Bijzonders said...

Hmmm. Good point. Full name appears to be Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi: