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« Forever at Square One With Torture Defenders | Main | The Unitary Executive and Operation Rescue »

This Week In Tyranny

No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

Marcy noted a Newsweek piece that indicates we may be getting closer to filling in some torture details and does her usual fine job of reading between the lines:

Seeing these cables will, at a minimum, allow the Senate Intelligence Committee to pinpoint when the torture started, and whether it came before or after approvals. It’ll allow them to determine whether the CIA really tried non-coercive questioning before using torture, and whether that non-coercive interrogation was even minimally competent. It’ll allow the CIA to see all the false information provided under torture.
Her blogging really is a thing of beauty. It’s truly remarkable how quickly she notes news stories as they break, points out the ways in which the reporters are being spun by sources, how they are uncritically passing along spin as fact, what key points they seem to be unaware of, and how it fits into the overall picture. It’s almost useless to read any mainstream reporting on the subject because it’s a good bet she’ll be along shortly to scrub it, whip it into shape and make it presentable. I can’t begin to express how much I admire her work. UPDATE: Like I said.

Omar Khadr has the distinction of inaugurating the Obama Era of quasi-judicial proceedings at Guantánamo, which seems something like throwing out the first pitch at Opening Day in Hell.

The degree to which Dick Cheney pushed Congress to sign on to the torture program became a little clearer this week. And it would be nice if the networks started treating Liz Phoul as his deeply conflicted daughter instead of allowing her to blanket the airwaves as some kind of dispassionate analyst.

Retired General Ricardo Sanchez would like to know more about torture too. It’s interesting how the military has started to make some noise about this - last week David Petraeus spoke out about it. Is there a sense of trying to spit out the bit Donald Rumsfeld tried to force in? It’s a fascinating dynamic because, like Republicans arguing for declassification of torture documentation, they have to know it will involve a decent amount of damage to themselves. I don’t think any of the upper levels of government will walk away unscathed by a broad investigation. Do the various actors believe otherwise, or do they think their political opponents will be more damaged, or is it a genuine desire to make a clean breast of it? It’s impossible to say from the outside but it’s led to some very unexpected stories.

Sublime framing from the Times:

There are two distinct camps in this argument. One camp, which includes legislative leaders, is pushing for trading on an open exchange — much like stocks — where value and structure are visible and easily determined. Another camp, led by the banks, prefers that some of the products be traded in privately managed clearinghouses, with less disclosure.
Yes, and when it comes to murder there are two distinct camps as well: Once camp, which includes those who have never violently ended anyone’s life or is intimately connected with someone who has, is generally in favor of long prison sentences for those convicted of it. Another camp, led by those who have with malice aforethought taken another life, prefers brief periods of house arrest or ideally probation for those found guilty.

By the way, do these “privately managed clearinghouses” include the likes of the DTCC?

What are some of the virtues of “less disclosure”?

First, a group of banks led by JPMorgan made a $12 billion loan. Then they tried to sell it, but couldn’t find many buyers. So they dipped into the unregulated, opaque credit default swaps market to try and buy protection — except that they couldn’t find the CDS they wanted, so they had to buy similar ones.
It would really be nice if we could just get rid of these bad actors right now. Waiting for those toxic assets to re-inflate is like waiting for your pets.com stock to rally.

A reason to think things may be looking up: A brief story about Dan Fried, who is charged with finding homes for Guantánamo detainees. We could use a lot more people like him in our bureaucracy.

Someone in the Obama administration is trying to “permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques” used at Guantánamo Bay. Agence France-Presse reports it “as the work of lower-level players in the debate who want to gain currency for one approach, a strategy that usually has the opposite effect with Obama” according to an administration official. Glenn Greenwald has his own take on framing at the Times on this story.

UNPACKING JANE: On page 252 Mayer describes the (non-)reaction to the death of Manadel al-Jamadi:

By late spring of 2004, the SEALs’ reputations had been tarnished by the exposure of their rough treatment, but they were cleared of the gravest abuse charges. The question of who was responsible for Jamadi’s death remained unanswered. Milt Silverman, one of the defense attorneys, asked, “Who killed Jamadi? I know it wasn’t any of the SEALs….That’s why their cases got dismissed.” Frank Spinner, a civilian lawyer who represented Ledford, said, “There’s a stronger case against the CIA than there is against Ledford. But the military’s being hung out to dry while the CIA skates. I want a public accounting, whether in a trial, a hearing before a congressional committee, or a public report. There’s got to be something more meaningful than sticking the case in a Justice Department drawer.”
That last option is clearly still very popular in Washington (see previous item).

Reader Comments (2)

This is a very impressive-looking blog.

I've done a number of posts on Omar Khadr, whose situation continues to bear our my February assessment that he has no luck at all:

Here is a collection of recent posts I did on Omar Khadr:

I'll be going through your archives, as time permits.


Marnie Tunay
Fakirs Canada

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarnie Tunay

Thanks for the kind words and the links, Marnie. I had a look at the FakirsCA link and hadn't realized the US approach to Canada in this case has been somewhere between callous and bullying.

Additional information never seems to be cause for optimism on this issue.

June 7, 2009 | Registered CommenterDan

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