Wednesday, September 07, 2011

NPR Covers(up) Torture...Again

When hard evidence of the criminality of US officials in torturing, disappearing, and torturing to death human beings falls into the hands of the so-called journalists at NPR, you can be certain that every effort will be made to obscure (or completely ignore) the laws that were broken, the horrors that were committed, and the guilt of US officials.

Two recent stories highlight NPR's longstanding commitment to the enabling of US torture policy. In the first, a civil lawsuit in New York State exposes details of the CIA's longstanding rendition/torture program.   The second story - which is creating headlines and investigations in the UK - involves the discovery of documents in Libya's Intelligence and Foreign Ministry offices which clearly show that the CIA was sending kidnapped suspects to Libya to be tortured.

The first story is dispensed with on ATC on September 1, and features NPR's intellectual heavyweight, Robert Siegel interviewing WaPo reporter, Peter Finn about the "details."  There is a lot of discussion about the millions spent on the CIA's rendition (kidnapping) flights and the focus of the story is Siegel's amazement that the US government even allowed this case to come to light: 
(Siegel) "Now, the mystery in all this is the absence of mystery. You quote the saying that he kept on waiting for the government to step into this case. Don't they usually do that, and why didn't they do it in this case?"
What is completely absent is any indication that kidnapping people and flying them around the world to be tortured and disappeared is completely illegal (and morally reprehensible). 

The second, more recent story - coming out of Libya - reveals documented evidence that the CIA flagrantly violated the US Convention Against Torture.  On Weekend Edition Sunday, September 4, NPR runs cover for the US/CIA.  There is no gray area in the law - unless one supports the the US being able to torture suspects: 
"It shall be the policy of the United States not to expel, extradite, or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States."
NPR is well aware of  Libya's systemic use of torture: 
(Melissa Block on September 1) "Under Moammar Gadhafi's rule, tens of thousands of people disappeared into prisons. According to human rights groups, the Libyan state security apparatus tortured detainees and held them without due process."
If it's common knowledge that Libya, under Gadhafi, tortured prisoners, that means there are "substantial grounds" for believing anyone handed over to Libya then would be tortured, and therefore makes the US and CIA officials guilty of violating both US and international law, right?  Not on NPR.  It's worth reprinting Sunday's interchange between Cornish and coup-cozy Beaubien:  
Cornish: "And, of course, we're seeing reports about files uncovered in the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry." 
Beaubien: "Yes, that's right. And actually Human Rights Watch got a hold of an entire batch of documents....And these documents show that clearly, you know, from what was in these documents, apparently the CIA was using Libya as a place of rendition; to move the suspects in, have them interrogated in Libya." 
Cornish: "And, of course, at this point these documents have not been authenticated. But the idea that the - that even the idea that the U.S. might be having suspects moved to this country with the traditional - with a tradition of brutal questioning is something that's raising a lot of eyebrows
Beaubien: "Yeah. And I should add that in these documents it does explicitly say - these communications between the CIA and the Gadhafi regime, it does say that Libya, you must respect the human rights of these people. So I should add that. But it certainly does raise questions about who the U.S. and the British intelligence services were using to interrogate terror suspects in (t)his global war on terror."
How's that for hedging, qualifying, minimizing, and excusing? If torture weren't such a perverted, disgusting, pornographic, and pathological practice, then Beaubien's straight-faced assertions that the CIA-linked document "does explicitly does say...'you must respect the human rights of these people'" would be laughable naivete, instead of what it is: an intentional and ethically bankrupt attempt to obscure the fact that the US and CIA willingly participate in the torture of human beings. 


Anonymous said...

Cornish could not help herself because she's new on the gig but she said it was ""a tradition of brutal questioning" instead of harsh interrogation.

I asked the Ombot when NPR would cover this as well as the connection to well-known terrorist groupos operating as part of the "Libyan opposition". Maybe I'll get something other than the standard auto-reply of we got your e-mail and we threw it directly into the virtual wastebasket.


Anonymous said...

I guess this might be "off topic" but . . . I was listening to Terry gross last night with her guest dana priest of WePo who has co-authored new book about security state and secret state within a state (did ObL talk about that just sayin). Any way she mentioned two entities by name JSOC and Booze, Hamilton, Allen.

BHA has advertised on NPR (probably JSOC has also) but I found a different connection to them. Remember Impact of War series couple of years back? Pure propaganda. California Community Foundation gave NPR 4.1m to produce the crap. Guess who a major player in CCF is? If you guessed JSOC you would be wrong. BHA is the correct answer.

NPR claimed during the money from Muslim terror group that it vetted people/organizations to make sure there were not any "ringers" allowed to contribute and try to influence some debate or policy.

It is all pretty pointless in the long run but it gives me some personal satisfaction to know I was right about that dreck from jump.


gDog said...

Perhaps we can compensate the victims of US torture in a solemn ceremony - each victim receiving their own Beaubien Coupe Cozy?

bpfb said...

^ Awww, that's cwute. Kin I git a matching one in Templerastin'? (for bookends, ya know.) Hopefully both shall be equipped with a pull-my-string randomizer for their blatantly affected "goo-goo scary Muslin (heh) scary" voiceboxes?

"amethi" (?!)

miranda said...

Not only did I hear His Blobness avoid the obvious moral/legal issues of torture rendition flights, the other day on on the lowest-common-denominator "Tell Me More," special guest ex-Atty. General Alberto "I can't recall" Gonzales's personal recollections of the day of 9/11.

MARTIN: Now, you've been interviewed on this question before, and you've told other people - most recently, for example you had an interview with TPM, the Talking Points Memo, where you said that you were aware that waterboarding was used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but I don't remember your saying whether you agreed with it. Do you mind if I ask you, do you agree with the use of those techniques?

ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, when I say aware, I was certainly aware of the fact that the CIA intended to use enhanced techniques. And in terms of whether or not, do I agree with the use of these kind of techniques, as a general matter I agree with using measures that are deemed lawful by the Department of Justice and are deemed effective by, say, the CIA, if in fact it's the agency using these techniques.

MARTIN: Okay, but that's the question. The lawyers were the ones who decided that it was deemed lawful, lawyers working under your supervision and also at the Justice Department, so that's why it's a relevant question, whether you agree with it or not.

Or do you disagree with my framework, that your lawyers were the ones who deemed it lawful?

ALBERTO GONZALES: Well, I wouldn't say - you know, when I was in the White House, it wouldn't - I wouldn't say it's an accurate description to say, you know, my lawyers. You know, at the Department of Justice, it is the attorney general who's charged by statute, to give the definitive legal advice for the executive branch and that power's been delegated to the Office of Legal Counsel. And when the Office of Legal Counsel gives its advice as something that's lawful, as the White House counsel, I never considered it my job to second guess it.

Anonymous said...

"a tradition of brutal questioning"?

Is that like "kissing under the mistletoe"?

NPR doesn't cover things so much as cover them up.

And the only ey-brow raising that goes on at NPR is when Meeeeeshell Norris' unibrow goes up because somone has dared to make fun of her or one of the other testosterone driven "wo-men" at NPR (Nina Totenbag, Kookey Roberts, Terri Gross [no need to change that one], Andrea Fleabag,etc)

Burkey said...

@anonymous JSOC is joint special operations command or one of those newspeak words the gubt. so loves to use. It's one of those agencies..there are so many now. Just think special ops. Maybe npr thinks it's cool to say the initials, but it's just as easy to say the other. Oy.