May 16, 2009

Those torture pics

Some of the photographs that Obama just suppressed have, nonetheless, come to light, courtesy of the Australian news channel SBS. Warning: the pic to the left is the least dismaying. Meanwhile, evidence continues to accumulate that Cheney ordered "enhanced interrogation techniques" to be used, not in order to stop further attacks, but in order to prove a non-existent link between Al Qeada and Iraq, as the pressure to justify the war reached its high-point. From McClatchy:
Interrogators at Guantanamo and other prison camps were ordered to find evidence of alleged cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — despite CIA reports that there were only sporadic, insignificant contacts between the militant Islamic group and the secular Iraqi dictatorship.

During the same period, two alleged senior al Qaida operatives in CIA custody were waterboarded repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times and Khalid Sheik Mohammed at least 183 times.

A U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Paul Burney, told the Army Inspector General's office in 2006 that during the same period, interrogators at Guantanamo were under pressure to produce evidence of al Qaida-Iraq ties, but were unable to do so.

"The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results," Burney said, according excerpts of an interview published in a declassified Senate Armed Services Committee report released on April 22.
Cheney is probably right to bet that popular opinion will come to his rescue all the time that torture is justified by the 'ticking-time' bomb scenario; but the possibility that he ordered it to prop up the teetering casus belli for the Iraq invasion will not, I believe, be looked on so kindly. Fighting terrorism is popular; the Iraq war is not.

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