Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More on CIA Torture Tapes...

Some articles for this week's 'toon:
  • My reaction to the CIA torture tape-destroying scandal: why exactly would you make a tape in the first place? Of course, every sane person in the world already knows that torture is reprehensible, particularly when the person you're torturing is borderline retarded... it's hardly a surprising revelation about our psychopathic government these days. What's truly shocking to me is that they would be so stupid that they'd make a videotape and leave it sitting around to be leaked. It's clear they knew they were doing something wrong, or at least something that would be perceived badly by the public. Reportedly, the tapes were destroyed because "officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy." Likewise, it should've been clear that the tapes were going to be leaked to the public at some point... simply because everything of that nature is eventually leaked. Supposedly, the tapes were made as an "internal check," but nothing I've read has expounded on this explanation.

    So, in other words, it sort of reminded me of a celebrity making a sex tape...

  • I found this article in the Los Angeles Times particularly funny. The article describes the CIA as being "almost tribal in nature," in the sense that "they believe that no one else will look out for them so they have to look out for themselves." As a result, Jose Rodriguez, the head of the agency's clandestine service, felt he was "doing the right thing" by ordering the destruction of the tapes because he was protecting the identities of undercover agents. The obvious question here is: if these are people who act according to such righteous ideals, then why the hell were they torturing people?

  • Was it illegal? You bet your ass:
    In the course of the last few years, we have seen a number of wannabe macho federal prosecutors utilize obstruction statutes to go after businessmen (a couple of investment bankers and accountants come to mind) who were a bit too quick to turn to the shredder, usually under circumstances which were extremely ambiguous. The prosecutors used all the power and force associated with their office to attempt to criminalize these acts. This case is quite different. It is openly, clearly and undeniably criminal obstruction.

    Reportedly, the judge in the Moussaoui case is seriously pissed, as the administration told her before the tapes were destroyed that they didn't exist at all. Likewise, in 2005, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy ordered the administration to safeguard “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.”

    All of this is to say nothing of the fact that "legality" of the practice of torture by our government is entirely based on John Yoo's torture memo, which Scott Horton argues "as worthless a determination as has ever appeared within a rifleshot of the Potomac."

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