If you listened to NPR Tuesday morning you might be surprised to know that in the US there are such things as laws on torture and that those who flagrantly violate them are subject to prosecution. In Tuesday morning's coverage of the torture memo release there was no suggestion that law has anything to do with it, or that we actually have a Constitution that requires that treaties and laws be enforced.
What we do get is Mary Louise Kelly issuing a vigorous defense of the CIA's right to torture detainees. She begins her defense with some rather bold disinformation as she covers President Obama's reception by members of the CIA, a reception which was according to Montagne "a surprisingly warm welcome." After hearing the CIA employees whooping and cheering for Obama (keep in mind that he just released the torture memos) Kelly concludes
"clearly the silent warriors of the CIA needed to blow off some steam."That's odd, because the last time I looked, blowing off steam is what people do when they're really angry at someone. In case you still don't buy Kelly's dishonest fabrication she declares - apropos of nothing -
"the roaring reception for President Obama belied the deep concern CIA officials feel for his decision to declassify the memos. On FOX News this past weekend..."Did I say apropos of nothing? Oops, I stand corrected - Kelly picked up her facts from FOX News! Kelly's not done, either. Anyone who gives a crap about our country's Constitutional values and about the rule of law might be a tad appalled at the sickening details of torture in the released memos and might even be wondering when investigations and prosecutions will begin. But not Mary Louise
"the big question hanging over all this is what happens now if the US government finds itself holding a terrorist with knowledge of an upcoming attack on the US who won't talk."What more can you say to this? Well, Kelly has plenty. She asserts that
"there seems to be general consensus on this point that whatever legal guidelines the task force eventually agrees on, the President must still be able to grant the CIA emergency authorization for more aggressive tactics."To prove her point she turns to a former general counsel to the CIA and a former Deputy Director of the CIA, who - surprise - agree wholeheartedly with Kelly.
And then there was Juan.
After Kelly's assault, why not just go right to the FOX himself, Juan Williams? Montagne and Williams spend four minutes rehashing all the authoritarian protorture critiques of Obama's release of the memos.
There is never a mention of law, treaties, or the Constitution. Instead Williams cites Cheney several times, noting that Cheney "says they got critical information out of these detainees" and this whopper:
"that there's no benefit to the US in confirming these reports and Vice President Cheney's point is that those reports and the memos contain only the detainees' side of the story because they don't reveal what further terrorist acts were prevented by getting this information at that point, arguably a critical point."
According to Montagne and Williams its not about the rule of law, or the threat to all of us that torture represents - it's about attitude. And what is that attitude? Let's let Montagne sum it up in her inimitable way:
"...how much is this about extreme techniques preventing another 9-11 as many critics have claimed?"
Fortunately in the real world we still have some semblance of laws and citizens can act to pressure officials and representatives to enforce these laws. You can visit the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights or Amnesty International among others to take action now.