:: Friday, 28 January 2005 ::
Ya gotta pass it through the Wog Translator
Mr Habib's return came as an inside account has emerged of interrogation techniques used by guards at Guantanamo Bay, with a former US Army sergeant soon to publish a book detailing what he witnessed there. The account appears to support Mr Hopper's claims of interrogation techniques allegedly used against his client.
The guard, Erik Saar, 29, who served at the detention camp for six months until June 2003, said he witnessed about 20 interrogations and three months after his arrival at the base he started noticing "disturbing" practices.
According to Mr Saar, female contractors used red ink to flick at a Saudi detainee, pretending it was menstrual blood. Guards allegedly turned off water to the man's cell to prevent him from washing.
WT: Nearby to the captive was a female. How bad is that? Pretty bad. And plus, the female was doing something. I mean. What is that about? And plus even, to make matters worse, she did not have a blanket on her head! When she was doing the something!! Torture. Pure an' simple.
Swear. To. Go'.
A former US army sergeant, Erik Saar, who worked as an Arabic translator at Guantanamo Bay from December 2002 to June 2003, has corroborated such claims of torture. In a draft manuscript of a planned book, obtained by Associated Press, he gives details of female interrogators trying to break Muslim detainees by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood.
And this horror:
In another case, Saar describes a female military interrogator questioning a 21-year-old Saudi detainee who had allegedly taken flying lessons in Arizona before the September 11 terror attacks.
The interrogator wanted to "break him", Saar writes, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection. The detainee looked up and spat in her face, Saar recalls.
Why am I being so flippant?
Cos I am a bit stunned by all the hysteria and sloppy thinking about this torture issue.
Have a read of this lengthy piece from Greg Djerejian:
Ultimately, I lean towards agreeing with McCain and Lieberman, that the standard for treatment of alien detainees should be that: "No prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States."
Can you believe it?
And have a read of this from Marty Lederman:
Please indulge me a modest attempt to "surmount the considerable hurdles" by proposing that Congress enact the following law: "It shall be unlawful for any U.S. employee, officer, or agent, anywhere in the world, to engage in conduct that would, if it occurred in the United States, 'shock the conscience' and thereby violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution."
Now, cast your mind back to the US Election in 2000 and Florida legislation that read:
"Every vote shall be counted".
And notice the same formulation.
You do not say 'every vote will be counted' without going on to explain what a dud vote is i.e one that is so flawed it cannot be counted. Hence the hanging chad debarcle.
You do not say 'engage in conduct that would shock the conscience and thereby violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth..'. What if it 'shocks' some idiot's conscience, like the ACLU's conscience, but does not quite violate the Due Process thing? Ya reckon the ACLU would not try that on?
Swear. To. Go'.
And what if there is no 'conduct'? Eh, are omissions or non-conducts included?
Urgh. I know they are not drafting real laws here, but still. If they were lawyers working for me I think I would sack them.
But the best is from Djerejian. Good wog name. Smart bloke and boy, talented writer. But how could you write 'No prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States' and think that clears matters up?
Nice try at a constitutional edge of drafting - very weighty and harrumph - but it freakin' muddies the waters.
And didn't some of his readers let him have it too. Check the comments, they show a real robust exchange.
I mean, puhlease.
He even mentioned David Boies, the big lawyer loser from Election 2000. P'ah.
I got a philosophy for ya that works:
Too many lawyers, not enough discipline. (adapted from High Anxiety).
Torture is serious business.
And you know what is missing from these poor attempts at legal definition?
It is all about the 'torturer'.
And nothing about about who the 'torturer'is coming up against.
It is all about what is prohibited and nothing about what is permitted.
If you have a religious fanatic in your control, and you want him (and it will nearly always be a him 'cos they are religious fanatic misogynist, chauvinist poof hating racists who cannot tolerate the presence of non-conforming others in their line of sight) to spill some info, chances are you will have to pile on the pressure to get him to spill.
Maybe not. He might be a sensible sort who, having got caught, knows it is best to take the Galileo line and give 'em what they want to hear. Let the torturer then see if it good info or useless or wrong.
If he is not screaming that freakin' Allahu Akbar rubbish (yetcht, your God little man, not mine) he is probably arrogantly silent, catatonic or filled with bitey rage or a mix of all.
Here is a definition that might work:
Persons detained may be interrogated. Interrogation may only be undertaken for the purpose of obtaining information. 'Interrogation' means activities undertaken to pressure, cajole, encourage and/or reward the detainee into divulging accurate information in response to the questions put to him or her by the interrogator(s). Interrogation methods and techniques shall be prescribed in regulations.
Then, youse go off to the regulations and that is where you find your 16 methods of interrogation or whatever. I cannot be asked to look for that link right now - Heather MacDonald had it I think.
There - in the regs - you write it down. It is a countable vote only if the chad is punched all the way through, no excuses. It is an authorised interrogation only if the detainee does not end up raped, killed, or beaten to such an extent they are permanently physically injured, no excuses.
What is in the regulations is the hard part.
But the overall philosophy is not some grand lofty one. It is simple - go in hard after folks you detain for interrogation cos in the modern world there is no time to waste if they have some knowledge that can prevent terrorism and crime.
Intimidation is fine. Humiliation is fine. But only for the purpose of getting info during interrogation - ie not for hijinks and photops.
Personally, I would like the regulations to read:
If the detainee is an Islamic fanatic, interrogation shall include widespread use of Rhodesian Ridgeback, Doberman, German Shepherd and Rottweiler dogs, and chubby cheesy, cheerful sluts preferably, but not mandatorily, on the rag.
But that's just little me.
Anyhoo, this whole torture thing is super tough stuff to deal with. It would be nice if folks could take it down a notch.
Sullivan is taking as gospel any allegation of torture and tarring folks with the 'pro-torture' brush.
Na-ah. I am not pro-torture.
But I sure am anti-soft. And I do not believe a word those Islamic fascist jackass detainees have to say about anything.
Because as we have already seen, the presence of a woman is torture to them.
Found this thorough exchange all about torture and interrogationg terrorists via terrific Iraq based blog 'Cigars in the Sand'.
It is between:
John D. Hutson is Dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center and retired from the Navy in 2000 as the Judge Advocate General. Heather Mac Donald is a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of "How to Interrogate Terrorists." .
I am with MacDonald. And truly no disrespect intended to Hutson, rooly, I think you can see a too-great focus on intentions and feelings in his arguments instead of a focus on realistically getting info out of jackasses who hate our guts and who have been captured for a reason.
:: WB 6:41 pm [link+] ::