Ten years later, the New York Times will call torture by its name. But does the paper's reasoning make any sense?
The Obama administration has pursued an unprecedented campaign to prosecute whistleblowers. The fact that John Kirikaou is facing such punishment reinforces the sense that he should be viewed as such a whistleblower, someone who was trying to expose the CIA's torture practices. But was that really his motivation?
Reporting on the news that President Barack Obama plans to nominate his terrorism adviser John Brennan to be head of the CIA, the New York Times writes that critics had been "claiming that…Brennan had supported, or at least had failed to stop, the use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding."
That Brennan was a torture supporter is not a claim, though–it's a matter of public record.
Documents discovered in Libya suggest a close relationship between the Libyan government and the CIA. The New York Times described it this way on September 3: TRIPOLI, Libya — Documents found at the abandoned office of Libya's former spymaster appear to provide new details of the close relations the Central Intelligence Agency shared with the Libyan intelligence service — most notably suggesting that the Americans sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country's reputation for torture. And then today (9/6/11) the Times put it this way: The cooperation appeared to be far greater with […]
The answer might depend on which media outlet you rely on. I read the headline at Democracy Now! on Friday: "Justice Dept Drops 99 of 101 Cases Against CIA for Abuse and Torture" The New York Times, on the other hand, offered a different sort of emphasis: "U.S. Widens Inquiries Into 2 Jail Deaths"
If you feel like there hasn't been enough attention paid to the fact that the democratic movements in the Arab world are undermining the power of U.S. elites to have troublemakers tortured and/or killed, rest assured that Newsweek's Christopher Dickey has you covered this week (6/12/11): Among American spies there's more than a little nostalgia for the bad old days. You know, back before dictators started toppling in the Middle East; back when suspected bad guys could be snatched off a street somewhere and delivered to the not-so-tender mercies of interrogators in their home countries; back when thuggish tyrants, however […]
USA Today weighs in today (5/10/11) on the argument that U.S. torture of detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was instrumental to tracking down Osama bin Laden. Like other outlets, the newspaper does a pretty lousy job of summarizing the evidence. Under the headline "Raid Renews Debate on Interrogations," reporter Oren Dorell suggests this starting point: But the revelation that tips prodded from captured Al-Qaeda members subjected to "enhanced interrogations" led to the capture of Osama bin Laden has ignited a debate over whether Obama should revisit the policies he cast aside. There is no strong evidence that torture "led" to […]