Thursday, November 01, 2007

Anne Garrels, Parrot

So, the Anne Garrels' story involving torture seems to have gotten a lot of attention at NPR; today they devoted their entire letters section to it. For those who did not hear it, let me synopsize:
Steve Inskeep "elicited" this chilling statement from Garrels:

"The three Detainees had clearly been tortured, Er, There was blood all over their clothes, they were in such bad shape they couldn't walk, they had to be dragged on to the chairs, and one of them was just sobbing"

Then Inskeep quotes an astute listener:

"Let me get this straight, Anne Garrels is reporting information obtained from a torture victim, speaking in the presence of his torturers, as if it is credible; has NPR sunk that low?"

But before Garrels can respond to that pithy question, Inskeep throws out the red herring that "a lot of listeners" had a "A more specific Question...were you there for the torture?" Garrels, of course, responded in the negative. In an aside, Inskeep says "...this is how reporting has to be done in this most dangerous situation."

Another veracious comment from a listener is read:

"Torture victims will say anything their torturers tell them to, especially when they're still being held by their captors."

What bothered me about this whole exchange, and was already mentioned in Mytwords' post (down the page) and Porter Melmoth's comments (Open Thread, just below) was that Garrels (with Inskeep's shrewd enabling) spent too much time insisting that she did not witness the torture, did not know she was going to see torture victims, and generally proclaiming her opposition to torture, instead of answering the pertinent charge, that she had reported information she knew to be obtained from torture as if it had any credence.

When she finally did get around to it, Her explanation was, as PM said, lame."The details that were given seemed to gel with other things I had heard from people who had not been tortured", and "They described posing as Sunnis, going into a Shi'ite neighborhood, raping a Shi'ite girl. That incident did occur, we were able to confirm that, that was not made up."

Inskeep then fawns " So, you were working almost like a police officer..."(I'll pass on this).

As I understand it, Torture has historically been most often used to get information about "crimes" the interrogators already know about and so, detailed information about the crime is easily taught to the suspect through "interrogation", so he can then convincingly confess to it.

So the fact that actual crimes were confessed to in detail by the victims in no way increases the legitimacy of the information, or excuses Garrels for parroting it... but it's hard for a parrot to do anything else.


braamer said...

Comment sent to NPR

Instead of realizing that by advertising the use of torture as “justice” NPR was facilitating its use, Inskeep and Garrels teamed up to rationalize, not merely Garrels’ report on the Shiite militia’s use of the bestial practice, but also to collaborate the information obtained through torture.
Obviously the torturers gave Garrels an eyeful so as to say, “See, we are doing what Bush is doing: torturing.” “See we agree with Bush that Iran is the enemy”. That is not news. That is propaganda. But NPR says “that’s the way reporting must get done”. It seems instead that is the way NPR must report to satisfy this government.
Worst yet, NPR, to excuse it’s own complicity in repeating the Bush lies, excuses torture, even saying that the victims were ”bad people” To justify torture Inskeep prods Garrels to repeat the confessions of the people tortured. Of course they confessed to the rape, and all the “credible” “details”. Inskeep and Garrels would have too. And it would have all seemed so “credible” to the fool, or to the monster.
Inskeep and Garrels are not fit to be on the public airwaves. When their judgment was questioned they sought to save themselves by renouncing people they don’t even know, turning them in to be tortured.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, They (Garrels and Inskeep) conspired in the commision of torture. Their reporting gave credence to a "confession" so by definition they furthered the commision of a crime by airing the confession ; this committing conspiracy. SHAME

Life As I Know It Now said...

I second what anon says, they are complicit and therefore quilty of crimes against humanity in trying to justify torture and report statements obtained by torture as facts. The worst part, they knew full well of the torture and still reported this story as if it were credible. They should have reported the torture and condemned it instead.