Friday, December 30, 2005

Torturers R Us

Another of Dana Priest's investigative reports on El Presidente's secret war on the Constitution, in this a.m.'s WashPost:

When the heat was on about illegal torture earlier this year, the administration dropped authorization for certain "interrogation techniques," then quietly reinstated them. The authorized techniques include "waterboarding" and "water dousing," both meant to make prisoners think they are drowning; hard slapping; isolation; sleep deprivation; liquid diets; and stress positions.

Through executive order, El Presidente has ordered the CIA to capture al Qaeda "suspects" (often with help from foreign intelligence services), to maintain secret prisons abroad, to use the interrogation techniques outlined above, and to maintain a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe (including carriers and operatives with North Carolina connections).

A. John Radsan, assistant general counsel at the CIA from 2002 to 2004, spoke on the record to Priest: "In the past, presidents set up buffers to distance themselves from covert action. But this president, who is breaking down the boundaries between covert action and conventional war, seems to relish the secret findings and the dirty details of operations."

"Everything is done in the name of self-defense, so they can do anything because nothing is forbidden in the war powers act," said one anonymous official who was briefed on the CIA's original cover program and who is skeptical of its legal underpinnings. "It's an amazing legal justification that allows them to do anything."

Do ANYTHING and talk dirty to me!

Our favorite feature: the CIA is developing "procedures" in the event a prisoner dies in custody (from a mite too much "stress"). "One proposal circulating among mid-level officers calls for rushing in a CIA pathologist to perform an autopsy and then quickly burning the body."

No comments: