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April 16, 2009

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clarice

The Quixotic description was particularly cute, Tom.Sometimes I wonder if half of Spain isn't utterly deranged.

I think when Obama first started heading down this pathway he believed he could make a show of closing Gitmo and any secret prisons around the globe and just shove all these guys in Kabul where waterboarding would apparently be a treat , not the usual treatment. Now IIRC he can't per a recent court opinion what's he plan on doing?

Ranger

Nor do the protections of the US Constitution extend to aliens being held prisoner under US control but abroad outside of US jurisdiction.

Actually, the protections of the US constitution don't even apply to citizens of the US outside of the United States. The NSA can tap your phone, and the CIA can toss your room without any need of a warrent.

BTW, the protections of the US Constitution don't even apply to aliens being held prisoner within the US if they are being held for imigration violations.

Whitehall

I have often made the same argument you dismiss in your final paragraph - and I'm not even a lawyer!

While waterboarding is certainly coercive it doesn't rise to my definition of torture. Of course, no one has a precise definition of "torture" which is really the heart of the problem.

Charlie (Colorado)

The real issue here is that "torture" isn't amenable to legal definition. So, we see people arguing that waterboarding is "torture" -- although apparently lawful when performed in SERE training, and a frat boy prank when performed in a fraternity toilet -- as is indefinite detention (even though the Geneva Conventions clearly anticipate POWs being held "for the duraton" as a more merciful action than shooting them), solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and even lack of a private bathroom.

This makes "torture" the perfect psyops weapon. Since the US doesn't torture,and torture can be anything, there's no chance to satisfy the requirement. On the other hand, since our adversaries seem not to much care what Amnesty International and lefty lawyers say, they confine, abuse, and decapitate with impunity, knowing it has no actual consequences.

Mark

"I never understood how Holder could have gotten past the legal cover provided to CIA operatives"

I don't think the crazed lefty lawyers (including those in Spain) want the CI agents. They want the memo authors. The present administration is giving lip service at least to not participating in retribution, but we'll see.

I am interested in your take on the NY Times article suggesting the NSA is wiretapping everyone. Do we trust Obama to turn off the acquisition? Especially with the new definition of terrorism as a "right winger"?

clarice

Well everyone has a definition of “unlawful combatants" and those folks have no coverage under the Geneva Convention. The notion that they do and that it is even more extensive than that offered regular battlefield combatants is one only someone who thinks Che is an attractive accessory decoration can find fitting.

Tom Maguire

While waterboarding is certainly coercive it doesn't rise to my definition of torture.

I basically agree, but the legal contortions to get to that point are interesting.

Charlie (Colorado)

Well everyone has a definition of “unlawful combatants" and those folks have no coverage under the Geneva Convention.

Clarice, I'm not a lawyer and you are, but is that strictly true? Reading Common Article Three, it does sound like even unlawful combatants are covered.

Of course, these requirements seem to be that the UC's aren't subject to summary execution on televsion, raising the question of where the Spanish war crimes trials for Danny Pearl's killers is. I'm guessing I must just have missed them.

Charlie (Colorado)

I basically agree, but the legal contortions to get to that point are interesting.

Tell me a crisp definition of torture and I'll tell you if I agree.

clarice

Yes, they are. Though in circumstances where the torture was clearer--say the dark and fog years in Argentina or the crap going on in Cuba everyday or the public torture and killing in Gaza of suspected "informants"seems to attract far less concern or attention.

Why do you suppose that is?

Ignatz

whether a jihadist waterboarded by the Great Satan would also rebound psychologically is not explored here....

Since a jihadist considers croaking in jihad to be a distinct honor it would seem to follow they would be even less likely to suffer lasting emotional harm than our soldiers who go through it.
Seems like a true jihadi might suffer the greatest harm if he ISN'T croaked in interrogation. But of course our wise lefty leaders in the West don't really think these guys actually believe anything they say do they?

verner

Hey, if waterboarding is torture that causes horrible disability and harm, why do we do routinely do it our own people in SRER training?

"Then it was time for the dreaded waterboard. What I didn’t know then, but I do now, is that as in all interrogations, both for real world hostile terrorists (non-uniformed combatants) and in S.E.R.E. a highly trained group of doctors, psychologists, interrogators, and strap-in and strap-out rescue teams are always present. My first experience on the “waterboard” was to be laying on my back, on a board with my body at a 30 degree slope, feet in the air, head down, face-up. The straps are all-confining, with the only movement of your body that of the ability to move your head. Slowly water is poured in your face, up your nose, and some in your mouth. The questions from interrogators and amounts of water increase with each unsuccessful response. Soon they have your complete attention as you begin to believe you are going to drown."

Gee.

Mark_0454

It would seem to me you use the best data you have to reach the most reasonable conclusions you can get from the data. There is probably more information available on the long term affects of waterboarding of US sailors and soldiers than there is available from jihadists. If they didn't explore how jihadists might recover, perhaps it is because there is not much to go on. The data from the soldiers and sailors might indicate they recovered fine.

The analogy to russian roulette with blanks seems flawed. I doubt if anyone knows anything about the psychological recovery from that excercise (even on jihadists). The fact we have data from the SERE experience and not russian roulette with blanks seems pretty significant. But, what do I know I am just a chemist, not a lawyer.

clarice

http://usiraq.procon.org/viewanswers.asp?questionID=934

Chaco --as good and short a primer as I can find in the time before my dinner company arrives.

Charlie (Colorado)

Verner, when I was -- oh, 10 years old, I think -- I went to a summer cam where one of the big issues was an "initiation". They went to great lengths to convince you that the initiation included branding and similar things, and what with being 10 it wasn't very convincing to say "wait, our parents would never put up with that".

As I understand some of these arguments, the fact that I feared permanent physical damage, even though it never happened (and in fact when it came to the initiation the big event was actually, as I recall, throwing something into a fire) would be sufficient to make it "torture" and therefore a war crime.

At some point, if the premises lead to a silly conclusion, you have to conclude it's the premises that are silly.

centralcal

Well, there are all kinds of ways to torture.

If anyone watched the CBS video this morning showing Susan Boyle in her home in Scotland, dressed very nicely in a white knit top and pearls, hair softly tamed, and heard her sing a capella - juxtaposed between the supercilious questioning of Harry and some dipshit sitting beside him . . . well, that is torture. Harry and his condescending questioning, as if speaking (oh so softly and slowly) to a 5 year old. That was pure torture to anyone watching or listening to the CBS snots.

Ah, yes, torture can have many definitions.

Charlie (Colorado)

Clarice, I've read that and don't in any way disagree that these guys were unlawful combatants. But I don't see much of an out on Common Article Three in that.

Now, if you want to argue that the US ought to insist on a modification of Common Article Three, I'm all for it.

So what's for dinner?

Charlie (Colorado)

Centralcal, she's apparently considered "slow".

I do wonder how Harry would have questioned her if no one had mentioned that. God knows some of the other entertainers he's interviewed weren't known as the sharpest lancet in the surgery.

Danube of Thought

My favorite is the one about placing a guy in a tiny box and having a bug or two buzzing around in there with him. The tiny-box routine was the worst part of SERE for me because I'm claustrophobic, but I think if there'd been a bug in there with me it might have made it kind of fun.

I'll have to hunt around, but I thought that the US had a statutory definition of torture that required an actual risk of permanent bodily harm, not a belief in it on the part of the scumbag.

Common Article 3 does apply to UC'a, but the many rights and privileges of POW's do not.

Ranger

The real problem with the torture debate is that the left has tried to equate it with any practice that exceeds GC rules for interigation of POWs. That doesn't work because the GC rules are far more restrictive than any police force in the world (including US police forces) recognize as ligitimate law enforcement interigation techniques. I will believe the left is serious about this definition of tortue when they try to impose the same restrictions on US police.

Danube of Thought

18 U. S. Code Section 2340:

As used in this chapter—
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—

(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

(C) the threat of imminent death; or

(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality;

First thing, let's torture all the lawyers.

Charlie (Colorado)

That doesn't work because the GC rules are far more restrictive than any police force in the world (including US police forces) recognize as ligitimate law enforcement interigation techniques.

Not to mention prison conditions.

verner

Yeah Charlie,

And when I was 4, they threw me into the country club swimming pool trying to teach me how to swim and I got water up my nose. That was a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding. And hey, I'm still here!

This whole issue was designed to be a no win situation for GWB. If Al Qaeda had hit us, they would have blamed him for not getting enough intel.

But since they didn't, thanks to Bush's people and their ability to extract vital info from the murderous scum with methods that are less frightening than the average frat hazing (hey the bro's in Q used to actually BRAND an omega onto their forearms--I've seen them!) the asswipes are calling for people to go to jail!

I hate them more than you know.

And I'm sick of them pulling out the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention was designed to protect GI Joes, not murderous death loving psychopaths who now have the ability to kill millions with weapons of mass destruction.

Existing laws are obsolete and need to be reworked. You can be humane, and still make them uncomfortable enough to make them talk. And it DOES work, or they wouldn't be doing it.

MikeS

I understand that when Navy Seals shot and killed pirates who were holding the captain of the Maersk Alabama hostage, they believed the hostage was in imminent danger. Their actions (homicide) were therefore justified.
I'm more interested in what justification the President had when he gave the OK to use lethal force.

Charlie (Colorado)

Okay, I can see how it might be argued that waterboarding would count under "C". But then wouldn't my summer camp hazing count as well?

anduril

FWIW:

Here's a link to a Michael J. Totten interview of Thomas Ricks re "Gamble." I found it interesting.

Charlie (Colorado)

Verner, don't let me wondering about what the letter of the law is confuse you into thinking I'm against vigorous interrogation. I agree with you that it's being used as agitprop, either by useful idiots or by knowing adversaries of the US.

Sue

the mental effect is transitory and does not result in long term mental harm - call it the "Psych!" defense

Doesn't the military have a PsyOps unit? Or is that just in the movies? If we do, what is its purpose if not to Psych! out our enemies?

Cecil Turner

The tiny-box routine was the worst part of SERE for me because I'm claustrophobic . . .

And I found it nice and restful. It would've been really nice, except there was a ventilation fan going, and I was paranoid they were going to blow some obnoxious substance in there . . . but then I fell asleep waiting for it. When they finally opened the lid, I was wondering "what's the point of that?" In fact, I chased down one of the instructors afterward and asked him what that was all about. He said: only about 10% (claustrophobes) react at all; but for them, it's the main event.

Reading the first part of this memo, I was struck at how they basically listed all the SERE school techniques. And then it wasn't all that surprising, because that's where they got 'em all. Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a real hard time seeing stuff we use on our own folks in "training" suddenly becoming "torture" just because we use it on an unlawful combatant.

Ranger

The last time I checked it was a bad idea to define a term by using the same term.

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—

(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

So, if someone could define sever in the term severe physical or mental pain or suffering we might be able to get somewhere.

MarkJ

I've always thought if we were that concerned about "torture" we should have just created a special fraternity for terrorists (maybe "I BOMMA GI"?) and then called waterboarding "an initiation ritual."

Problem solved.

clarice

ChaCo--they'll be here any minute so I've no time to respond on the little stuff.On the big stuff:
Homemade deli rye bread, Wolfgang Puck's braised beef short ribs; homemade spaetzle with herbs, mesclun salad with sherry vinaigrette , a nice bottle of Rhone. (One of the guests is bringing dessert and all I know is that it's "Italian".)
Don't pole your eye out while I'm gone.

Ranger

Well, I never went through SERE training, but sleep deprivation is a key part of Ranger School, and it's also an internationally recognized form of torture. But only when used to interigate an EPW, but not when used to interigate a suspect under arrest or simply train a US Army Ranger School student.

Charlie (Colorado)

sleep deprivation is a key part of Ranger School,

And medical school.

and it's also an internationally recognized form of torture.

Like I said.

matt

what about the tear gas torture in boot camp? That's just lovely. Or running up and down the parade ground at port arms for a couple of hours with a DI yelling at you? Sooner or later some kid is going to sue because he was irreparably damaged.....but I think now it's a kinder, gentler Corps.

The job of the interrogator is to get inside the head of the subject as best he can within the UCMJ, and sometimes bending it. Whether it's nails across a blackboard or preying on a fear of bugs or telling the subject ex post facto he just had a wonderful pulled pork sammich, whatever floats the boat is the game. Just remember, ve haff ways off making you talk.....

 Ann

I just heard on the way home that the captured teenage pirate will be tried in New York.

How great is that!

matt

Jan Schakopwsky, one of the most leftist members of Congress, just condemned the tea parties, calling them despicable right wing Republican events. These leftists are really becoming quite fascist very quickly. Maybe someone should send her an Accounting 101 textbook so she can figure out the math.

MayBee

Don't pole your eye out while I'm gone.

A frequent accident when teabagging.

matt

Maybee;

a very bad visual.....

Rick Ballard

Ann,

I'll bet Auntie Onyango would take the poor misunderstood lad on under foster care, once he's released on bail. She'd make sure he got to midnight basketball on time.

PD

But of course our wise lefty leaders in the West don't really think these guys actually believe anything they say do they?

Probably not. They make up so much crap themselves, they likely don't even believe their own words.

Fresh Air

The whole "torture" discussion is an ideal playground for leftwing radicals. As Jeff Goldstein frequently goes on about with much erudition, language has been the weapon of choice for the left for 40 years. Think about the hot buttons. They want to talk about "climate change," definition unknown. They want to have gay "marriage," definition subverted. They term conservatives "right wing fanatics," definition: tautological. They invoke a "right of privacy," definition "emanations of a penumbra." They talk about "authentic" blacks, definition "black people who aren't Republicans, or half-black people who sit in racist churches for 20 years and marry black women with bisonesque foreheads."

(And torture, I would submit, cannot include anything done routinely to our own people in training. People die in training, yes. But not intentionally. So that is an excellent bright line for interrogators to use.)

Basically, you can sum the entirety of the left's playbook up in three points;

1. Demonize your opponent.
2. Attack the messenger.
3. Distort the language.

Danube of Thought

Fresh Air kind of stepped on my lines. This whole semantic business is pretty repellent to me, and you see the technique over and over. Take a term--"torture"--that all agree is something bad, and then try to shoehorn into it everything under the sun so you can tag your adversaries with it.

We all agree that "violence" is bad (most of the time), so we should have expected Jesse Jackson to lecture us about the "violence of de facto segregation" and so on.

Ignatz

The analogy to russian roulette with blanks seems flawed.

In the unlikely event anyone is thinking of trying this at home please be advised Russian Roulette with blanks is an excellent way to kill or maim oneself.
The paper or wax wads which are used to seal the case and produce enough back pressure to produce a 'bang' can be lethal several inches beyond the muzzle.

So far two posts on this have diasppeared into the ether. My apologies if all three show up at some point.

Mark_0454

Ingnatz,

you are absolutely right. I think there was an actor a number of years ago who accidently killed himself this way (Hexum?). Just fooling around and didn't realize it could kill him.


 Ann

Rick,

I believe Sharpton recently referred to the lads as the Somali Coast Guard. Besides a free college education he probably has some sort of veterans pay and health care package awaiting him. And if he can't find his birth certificate well...his future is very bright.

(Gawd, I wish I was kidding!)

Strawman Cometh

where the Spanish war crimes trials for Danny Pearl's killers is ?
To say nothing of brothers Raoul and Fidel.

Strawman Cometh

The actor was Brandon Lee, son of the great Bruce. He was fooling around with a prop gun on the set of The Crow in Wilmington, NC

daddy

I was Waterboarded during military training. As a Military Vet, If I had claimed it was torture and sued the Government during the Bush Administration I suspect I would have been a media darling. If I do it now, as a Vet under the Obama Administration, will it be viewed as another DHS example of Right Wing Extremism on the rise? Just asking.

daddy

Cecil,

I remain a fan of Shostakovich's "Seige of Leningrad."

PaulL

Very well put, Fresh Air.

Patrick R. Sullivan

OT, but since some liked an earlier link to Keith Hennessey.com, he has a new post up with even spiffier graphs.


PaulL

Strawman,

That's not how it went down. It was a squib load that was pushed out by a blank. There wasn't any fooling around on Lee's part whatsoever.

Jane

1. Demonize your opponent.
2. Attack the messenger.
3. Distort the language.

I see it EVERYWHERE!

bad

WaPo via Insty:

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

“The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough,” said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Nancy has evolved since then, no doubt...

LUN

Fresh Air

Jane--

I turned Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe onto Nizkor.org, whose fallacies reference is a thing of beauty for a logical-thinking human being. In other words, liberals won't understand a word of it. They should print all these fallacies on the second page of every newspaper in the country and provide hyperlinks in each story to the appropriate logical fallacies. Of course, every sentence would be underlined. But it is shocking how incredibly poor the logical rigor is among "journalists." Or, it would be shocking if I hadn't gotten used to it over the past 10 years or so.

sbw

Drat! Preview is your friend.

Sue

Strawman,

I don't think Brandon Lee shot the gun. He was shot in the stomach. It's been a while, but I think someone else shot the gun during the filming of a scene.

Elliott

But I don't see much of an out on Common Article Three in that.

Here goes...

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.

[snip]

Part I. Scope of this Protocol

Art 1. Material field of application

1. This Protocol, which develops and supplements Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 without modifying its existing conditions of application, shall apply to all armed conflicts which are not covered by Article 1 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) and which take place in the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which, under responsible command, exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations and to implement this Protocol.

2. This Protocol shall not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence and other acts of a similar nature, as not being armed conflicts.

I submit the protocol provides support for the view that Operation Enduring Freedom does not meet Article III's requirement of "armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties."

Sue

I just hope Obama realizes the tactics he is employing with the previous administration can be used against him someday. Unless, of course, he thinks he will become Hugo Chavez.

PeterUK

" Unless, of course, he thinks he will become Hugo Chavez. "

Would that be Hugo Chavez now,or when is living in exile on the Rue De Tyrants?

Charlie (Colorado)

The actor was Brandon Lee, son of the great Bruce. He was fooling around with a prop gun on the set of The Crow in Wilmington, NC

No, that was different. Brandon Lee was killed by a properties screwup -- they ran out of blanks and thought they could make blanks by taking the powder charge out of real cartridges, then replacing the bullets. You can't.

Jon Erik Hexum is the guy who killed himself with blanks.

And Mark_0454 get's the Marvel No Prize for today for remembering obscure facts.

Sue

PUK,

Chavez now.

RichatUF

Sue-

They never do realize.

And sorry for going OT, but I've got a "can you imagine if this happened during the Bush Administration": What's better than having a political appointee without auto experience trying to restructure the biggest car company in the world?


Having that political appointee caught up in the NY pay-to-play investigation regarding state pension funds.

Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's auto task force, was one of the executives involved with payments under scrutiny in a probe of an alleged kickback scheme at New York state's pension fund, according to a person familiar with the matter.

So the Obama Administration decided it would be a good idea to release the legal justifications from the previous administration for enhanced interrogations and coercive detention to allow his allies terrorists disasterists to train in counter-interrogation methods. We aren't even 100 days into this disaster yet.

Ignatz

"And Mark_0454 get's the Marvel No Prize for today for remembering obscure facts."

I think Mark and I should share the No Prize. My first two posts, that the Typepad dog ate, mentioned Hexum. Cross my heart and all that.

PD

Marvel No Prize

Sounds like there's a FOOM-er in the house.

clarice

Hiugh Hewitt (per anduril):
[quote]The OLC interrogation memos have been released, and an avalanche of predictable commentary is rolling downhill. (See, for example, Jeffrey Toobin's "I haven't read them but Jay Bybee is a federal judge!")

As the commentators show their feathers to each other, see if any of them cite a single vote by the Senate or the House to define waterboarding as torture throughout the years when the Congress was fully aware of the practice. The DOJ legal analysis was the best effort of front-line lawyers in the aftermath of a massive attack on the United States. Their Congressional critics of today who did not demand a defining vote on what constituted torture are the worst sort of hypocrites. They are the lawmakers, and chose --even when House and Senate were controlled by Democrats from January 2007 to the present-- to avoid passing a law bringing clarity to the very gray areas of the law of interrogation[/quote]


Good enough to be needlepointed and hung over the door frame.

 Ann

Wait til Osama Bin Laden hears that President Obama promises not to put him in a box filled with butterflies.

I bet he surrenders!

If only those poor juvy somali pirates had known they had a choice.

DOG

It seems to me as though the CIA simply used the methods that the show Fear Factor subject to willing contestants. This is a big waste of time.

verner

Great piece in the WSJ LUN

SAYS IT ALL

Our appeaser in chief has screwed the pooch as far as intelligence gathering goes.

AND FOR WHAT?

Nothing but politics and making nice to left wing loons who write for the New York Review of Books.

Way to go! Pat yourselves in the back when your lofty principles get peoples kids killed.

JM Hanes

"However, another contender for the "It Would Take A Lawyer To Think Of This" prize is the argument that waterboarding does not constitute a threat of imminent death because, even though the prisoner thinks they are drowning, they are not,..."

Now, IANAL, which is probably why I'd say you don't have to be a lawyer to dispute the proposition that waterboarding constitutes a de facto threat of imminent death. I'm not really sure why people dismiss the relevance of waterboarding exercises in SERE training on the premise that trainees know they won't actually be drowned. It's apparently never occurred to such folks that the detainees from whom we would most likely want to elicit information probably know waterboarding won't do you in as well, and that it won't disable you either. If someone really intends to kill you, there have to be a lot more efficient ways to git 'r done.

It's my impression (which I hope someone knowledgeable will correct if I'm wrong), that SERE training is as much about demonstrating why you (and/or your comrades) will talk if you're waterboarded, as it is about preparing you to resist. I also don't have to be a lawyer to come up with a long list of perfectly legal ways to cause long term psychic distress, so in this case, I'd be inclined to call it it the "As If!" defense. The whole point is that your body, not your brain, kicks in as if you are, in fact, drowning at that moment in time. I'd be curious to know how durable the psychological effects of those physical sensations has proven to be in terms of ex post facto interrogation.

Some might call it parsing, but it seems to me that waterboarding is not a threat based technique. People can hurt you in ways that defy imagination. I'd wager that those are the threats that make people tell you anything you want to hear, and that the lasting physical and psychological damage when such brutalities are carried out makes waterboarding look positively humane, as well as quicker and more productive.

Very few people are willing to assert that they would let the apocryphal ticking bomb go off, but that's a comfy, meaningless little thought exercise with which people avoid having to weigh the threat of potentially imminent devastation posed by a detainee and his collaborators in the balance, not vice versa. Whether or not the lawyers examining these issues were reasoning backwards, at least they embarked on an unsparing look at legalities which are clearly critically important -- and not just for officials at the top of the executive ladder -- only to be tarred by folks all over the map who seem intent on obscuring the issues for political purposes at virtually every juncture. If there's one thing politicians recognize, it's a perfect damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't storm.

Strawman Cometh

iirc is not my friend, apologies to family. Chaco is right, it was a properties screwup, especially in that the set weapons master was not consulted. I had looked on IMDB but now that I see this on wikipedia, was anybody charged?:

Because the movie's second unit team was running behind schedule, it was decided that dummy cartridges (cartridges that outwardly appear to be functional but contain no gunpowder or primer) would be made from real cartridges by pulling out the bullet, dumping out the gunpowder and reinserting the bullet. However, the team neglected to consider that the primer was still live and, if fired, could still produce enough force to push the bullet off the end of the cartridge. At some point prior to the fatal scene, the live primer on one of the constructed dummy rounds was discharged by persons unknown while in the pistol's chamber. It caused a squib load, in which the primer provided just enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel of the revolver, where it became stuck.

The malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was used again later to shoot the death scene, having been re-loaded with low-power black powder blanks. However, the squib load was still lodged in the barrel, and was propelled by the blank cartridge's explosion out of the barrel and into Lee's body. Although the bullet was traveling much slower than a normally fired bullet would be, the bullet's large size and the point-blank firing distance made it powerful enough to fatally wound Lee.

When the blank was fired, the bullet shot out and hit Lee in the abdomen and lodged in his spine. He fell down instantly and the director shouted, "Cut!" When Lee did not respond, the cast and crew rushed to him and found that he was wounded. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. Lee’s heart stopped once on the set and once in the ambulance. Following a six hour operation to remove the bullet, and despite being given 60 pints of blood, Lee was pronounced dead at 1:03 pm on March 31, 1993. He was 28 years old.

Strawman Cometh

total nonsequitor, but nick brings out the heavy oars:
"And btw, the one non-negotiable in a pet or a mistress for the Duke of Chappaquidick is swimmability; who says we can't learn from our past mistakes?

Strawman Cometh

From Verner's link:
"Proponents of the release have argued that the techniques have been abandoned and thus there is no point in keeping them secret any longer; that they were in any event ineffective; that their disclosure was somehow legally compelled; and that they cost us more in the coin of world opinion than they were worth. None of these claims survives scrutiny.'

A pithier paragraph has not yet been penned.

"Soon after he was sworn in, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that suspended use of these techniques and confined not only the military but all U.S. agencies -- including the CIA -- to the interrogation limits set in the Army Field Manual. This suspension was accompanied by a commitment to further study the interrogation program, and government personnel were cautioned that they could no longer rely on earlier opinions of the OLC."
We all feel better now.

Foo Bar

Their Congressional critics of today who did not demand a defining vote on what constituted torture are the worst sort of hypocrites. They are the lawmakers, and chose --even when House and Senate were controlled by Democrats from January 2007 to the present-- to avoid passing a law bringing clarity to the very gray areas of the law of interrogation

?????

Congress passed a law banning waterboarding by the CIA, and Bush vetoed it.

Strawman Cometh

foo bar
Yes, profiles in courage, Congress in March, 2008.

Strawman Cometh

gack - Time Magazine's 25 people to blame for the financial crisis - Dodd and Frank don't make the list, Phil Gramm does - at number two! Edwards was right, there are 2 Americas.

daddy

An OT Sarah Palin update

Saw Greta tonight and she gave Sarah good press for her Indiana speech. At home however, it was a very bad day for Sarah. Our Alaskan Legislature is predominantly Republican, (32-R's/26-D's). Today Sarah's nominee for ">http://www.adn.com/news/politics/story/762037.html"> Attorney General was voted down by 35 No's to 23 Yea's. All the Dem's voted against him, which at least in partisan terms is understandable, but the 9 'No' voting Republican's included both The Senate President and the Speaker of The House. This same day her nominee to the State Fish Board was defeated 42 to 16.

I don't know the reasons for this in-state Republican disaffection, but it is significant and troubling. It may be partially an old boy network getting even, or a case of her nominating a Harriet Meyer's type candidate for Attorney General, or a general pettiness or jealously at her not adequately consulting with Legislators prior to traveling to Indiana to again emerge on a National stage. I don't have a decent, simple answer, but I thought it worth putting this out there because from what I can see, there is a huge disconnect in support between how she is viewed on a National scene, and how she is currently viewed in Alaska, and I wanted you guys to be aware of the stark difference. I think, if she runs for re-election as Governor in 2010, she is going to have a heck of a hard time getting re-elected.

And for what its worth, I saw not a single Palin sign among the 1,200 or so poster waving folks at our Tea Party Rally yesterday in downtown Anchorage. There were plenty of anti-Congress and anti-Obama/Stimulus signs, but the only "pro" any particular politician were a handful for Dan Sullivan, a fiscally conservative candidate for the Mayoral run-off.

Cecil Turner

Congress passed a law banning waterboarding by the CIA, and Bush vetoed it.

Well, yes, among other things. The actual verbiage of the relevant statute is as follows:

No individual in the custody or under the effective control of an element of the intelligence community or instrumentality thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. [emphasis added]
It's worth noting that particular manual is designed to cope with lawful combatants, and complies with the protections provided in the Geneva Convention (III, art17):
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. [emphasis added]
There is a definition of "enemy combatant" tacked on at the end of the categories of personnel section (p. vii), but apparently the authors didn't notice the overlap between "enemy prisoner of war (EPW)" and "lawful combatant" which are essentially the same [good thing, huh?]. More to the point, the only "technique" authorized specifically for "unlawful enemy combatants" is "Separation":
The purpose of separation is to deny the detainee the opportunity to communicate with other detainees in order to keep him from learning counter-resistance techniques or gathering new information to support a cover story; decreasing the detainee's resistance to interrogation. Separation, further described in paragraphs M-2 and M-28, is the only restricted interrogation technique that may be authorized for use.
Ignoring the obvious (i.e., how effective is "separation" going to be in keeping the detainee from learning basic stuff after you've posted it online?), it's not at all clear to me that should be the proper limit for dealing with unlawful enemy combatants. Nor is it clear why enemy combatants would want to comply with the laws of war if it were obvious the only downside to flouting them is the possibility of short stints in solitary in the event of capture.

I'm also trying to imagine future episodes of 24 featuring Jack Bauer declaring "take him to the separation facility . . ." Seems to me it lacks a certain something.

Soylent Red

Nor is it clear why enemy combatants would want to comply with the laws of war...

This is the nub of the illogic behind this whole mess.


Pssst...terrorists and Islamic radicals already don't care about our laws. They will do what they do, how they do it, without regard for how we do what we do. That's kind of the point of their existence.

daddy

Cecil,

My previous musical reference to Shostakovich">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l_kig4J9WI&feature=PlayList&p=0DB0F3CCD09D4B29&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=2">Shostakovich was specifically to this. Thought you might have heard it before.

Cecil Turner

My previous musical reference to Shostakovich was specifically to this.

Thought that was what you meant. But all I really remember was the very distorted rendition of "Boots". It left an impression, but not a good one.

Cecil Turner

Congress passed a law banning waterboarding by the CIA, and Bush vetoed it.

Well, yes, among other things. The actual verbiage of the relevant statute is as follows:

No individual in the custody or under the effective control of an element of the intelligence community or instrumentality thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. [emphasis added]
It's worth noting that particular manual is designed to cope with lawful combatants, and complies with the protections provided in the Geneva Convention (III, art17):
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. [emphasis added]
There is a definition of "enemy combatant" tacked on at the end of the categories of personnel section (p. vii), but apparently the authors didn't notice the overlap between "enemy prisoner of war (EPW)" and "lawful combatant" which are essentially the same [good thing, huh?]. More to the point, the only "technique" authorized specifically for "unlawful enemy combatants" is "Separation":
The purpose of separation is to deny the detainee the opportunity to communicate with other detainees in order to keep him from learning counter-resistance techniques or gathering new information to support a cover story; decreasing the detainee's resistance to interrogation. Separation, further described in paragraphs M-2 and M-28, is the only restricted interrogation technique that may be authorized for use.
Ignoring the obvious (i.e., how effective is "separation" going to be in keeping the detainee from learning basic stuff after you've posted it online?), it's not at all clear to me that should be the proper limit for dealing with unlawful enemy combatants. Nor is it clear why enemy combatants would want to comply with the laws of war if it were obvious the only downside to flouting them is the possibility of short stints in solitary in the event of capture.

(trying this one more time to recapture the formatting)

Jane

Daddy,

Your report on Sarah is troubling at best.

No one decent or talented will ever be encouraged to run for office again. The only people who can withstand it, are rich crooks.

clarice

Cecil, From now on we'll just shoot them.

Jim Miller

Tom - I'm not sure the threat from Spain is over. Their attorney general is opposed to prosecutions, but I don't know whether he can tell Baltasar Garzon not to prosecute.

(My knowledge of the Spanish legal system is approximately zero.)

If Garzon does indict American officials, I plan to indict him for being a public nuisance.

PeterUK

"Nothing but politics and making nice to left wing loons who write for the New York Review of Books.

Way to go! Pat yourselves in the back when your lofty principles get peoples kids killed."

That is the "liberal" mindset in a nutshell,liberal principles trump all.The beliefs and lives of others are as of nothing to liberals.Think of all the social engineering that has trampled on the beliefs in the name of liberalism.
Liberal principle are,of course,subject to change without prior notice,

clarice

I love this tidbit about Garzon who does seem to have a terribly inflated sense of himself and the scope of his jurisdiction:
"On November 17, 2008, Garzón said that he was dropping the case against Franco and his allies after state prosecutors questioned his jurisdiction over crimes committed 70 years ago by people who are now dead and whose crimes were covered by an amnesty passed in 1977. In a 152-page statement, he passed responsibility to regional courts for opening 19 mass graves believed to hold the remains of hundreds of victims.[8]"

************

I have never seen an administration do sso much harm in so short a period. If my fellow countrymen re-elect this cipher I do not know how this country will survive.

Charlie (Colorado)

I have never seen an administration do sso much harm in so short a period.

Sort of a faster failure theory?

By the way, Tom, I think your "cheap grace" graf nailed it.

Cecil Turner

Is this new? Typepad has twice now reformatted my long comment above, removing the links and html tags. (Once after having it correct for an hour or so.) Very odd.

Pofarmer

Daddy, it's hard to tell what politicians are thinking. My State Rep, Hulshoff, was one who was instrumental in taking down Delay. The whole works needs a good bug bombing and start over. In those deep recesses way in the back of my mind that I don't let bubble up too often, I think flight 93 not going down in Pennsylvania might have done us some good.

Obviously, your politicians think there's something to be gained by attacking Palin. What that is, is particularly hard to say. The backroom dealmaking and pocket padding is kinda hard to quantify. Why didn't anybody speak up publicly to help Stevens? Too many Why's. Too many R's with no commitments or courage. As another poster stated, why would anyone with an ounce of integrity really want to run for higher public office? We are probably really and truly screwed, tea parties or no tea parties.

Rick Ballard

"I don't know the reasons for this in-state Republican disaffection, but it is significant and troubling."

Come now. She interfered with the big boys in oil. Her recalcitrance cost them money and her removal will allow them to recoup and increase their take. "Playing fair" is not in the lexicon of any oil company and they are quite expert in the rental and/or purchase of politicians.

These are the very same folks who hold reserve information so closely that an idiocy such as Peak Oil can play out to the detriment of the entire nation. Same folks who clap their hands with glee when Hansen refers to coal trains as "death trains" with the President clapping his hands and barking like the trained seal that he is. Same folks who applaud "alternative energy" in the very sure and very certain knowledge that the requisite "backup" generation, which is going to be absolutely necessary, will be gas or oil fired - and running 80% of the time.

It ain't that complicated.

boris

"Typepad has twice now reformatted my long comment"

TypePad formatting comes and goes in apparently arbitrary fashion.

narciso

Flynn, that is dissapointing, to say the least, she gave one heck of a speech last night, better than the Convention Speech, maybe it was out of frustration with the self destructive nature of the legislature,
yet she has 60% at least approval. When her name was referred at the San Antonio Tea Party, on the Glenn Beck Show, she got a rousing round of applause and there were Palin signs at the Atlanta One. I'll LUN it when I have a chance,

TexasIsHeaven

I have been tortured - and I am being tortured every single day I have to see or hear Nancy Pelosi's whining ratface invade my space - I'm tortured anytime I see or hear Harry Reid doing anything at all - I am tortured everytime I see Chris Dodd and Barney Frank walking around free in this country instead of being locked away in prison with the rest of the dregs of society.

Only God in His infinite wisdom knows if I will ever recover or not.

narciso

I sometimes wonder, WTH is wrong with this country. Getting rid of Delay, that really
helped right, he's not always my cup of tea,
but he's a fighter, like Lincoln's line about why he kept Grant. In her own way, she's a fighter too, as just this first clip shows in the LUN: Tell me that Newt
will be able to pull off anything like this two months from now. I know I'm still carrying the torch, nearly two months after the trip to D.C, it's a consequence with ny dissapointment with too much of today's politics

verner

Rick, proof that THEY don't even believe that global warming is real--the drive towards "alternative energy".

If the earth was truly in danger of turning into a boiling cauldron because of carbon emissions, we'd be building nuclear power plants by the dozen to save ourselves. They're safe, and they've been producing clean energy for decades.

They will never be able to meet the energy needs of this country with windmills and solar panels and they know it. We will still be dependent on "carbon" and they will have a nice new way to tax the snot out of us yet again.

Nope, this is about social engineering, controlling lifestyle a la getting people to use bicycles and live in Le Corbusier type 12x12 cells. Movin capital (or what's left of it) into the hands of the po folks in the third world. Equality baby! Too much consumin goin on.

clarice

I can't bear to look--what's Sully saying about it. Bet he's disappointed at heart because the stuff is so tame compared to what you find in your ordinary, off the rack s/m mag.

verner

I can't bear to look--what's Sully saying about it. Bet he's disappointed at heart because the stuff is so tame compared to what you find in your ordinary, off the rack s/m mag.

Actually Clarice, I did peek, and he's making Aunt Pitty Pat look like a cloistered monk.

I think he's still having fantasies about that big black limo pulling up to his place in the dead of night and the secret service stand guard while....

And you are so right. The stuff in the report wouldn't even rate as foreplay for pervs in Andy's set.

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