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January 10, 2007


An environment still more subject to control, such as water-tank or iron lung, is even more effective

Why the hell didn't we think of this before? Why are we messing around with a whole detention camp?

Just put these SOBs in iron lungs and be done with it.

So I can understand why, at the time, people might not have seen that there was a serious conceptual problem with trying to combine the two; and a conceptual problem that could have horrific results.

Hilzoy, as always, you are exceptionally generous.

Can you think of anything -- any single thing -- that has been done or said, at any time between then or now, that would lead you to believe that there was any interest, at all, on the part of any person in the executive branch, in mitigating any of the manifest horrific results following on our new and improved interrogation policies?

I can't think of a single one. IMVHO, they do not give a flying f*#k.

As my uncle used to say in diagnosing mechanical problems, "There's your problem right there".

Thanks -

russell: when I wrote that, I wasn't thinking that, say, Addington might have been generous. I was thinking more of people in the FBI and CIA -- high enough to be deciding the nuts and bolts of some policy questions, not so high that they'd be political appointees. I haven't seen any reason to think that they were not trying to do right by the country.

Again: you have no evidence that Padilla was tortured.

What are your reasons for pretending that this is known?

Again: you have no evidence that Padilla was tortured.

Again, you make this accusation. Where's YOUR evidence?

You made the accusation. You're the one that has to back it up.

An affidavit by a psychiatrist who examined Jose Padilla.


"He denied being sexually assaulted or humiliated. He denied being water-boarded with uncharacteristic intensity and insistence."

"Mr. Padilla has not been able to assist his attorneys in reviewing the evidence provided by the government in discovery. When asked for further information, beyond what has already been given he insists on some occasions that the issues in question "have been established" and no further information is required. On other occasions he insists he has already answered the questions. He is unable to watch video recordings of his interrogation. He is unable to view transcripts of tape phone conversations to be used against him at trial. When approached by his attorneys, he begs them "Please, please, please," not to have to discuss his case. Efforts to desensitive to the distress of confronting what happened to him - talking about the tasks at hand in a gradual way without threatening exposure, over time - have utterly failed. Even after sixteen hours with undersigned during which he revealed some details of what had happened to him, he was still unable to even consider watching the tapes or reveiwing the evidence against him."

"Mr. Padilla tends to identify with the interests of the government more than with his own."

"Mr. Padilla periodically concludes that no matter what, win or loose, he will be going back to the brig, where he will die"

An affidavit from an attorney who visited Padilla at the military brig after years of isolation.

Note especially paragraphs 23-26.

It is all hype. The "intelligence" services didn't have the faintest idea how to infiltrate and understand people who would die for a (stupid, vicious) cause, so they mixed and matched "methodologies" meaninglessly and subjected some randomly selected subjects to the result -- all of whose real purpose was the reassure the "intelligence" services they were doing something worthwhile. And give them something to report to demanding, but ignorant and arrogant, civilian bosses.

I assume readers are familiar with the legal concept of dismissal of criminal prosecutions for outrageous government conduct. Best example of its application was the Daniel Ellsberg case; there was another recent example here in Los Angeles involving (surprise!) one of the Starr prosecutors (who was accused of bad behavior in that investigation).

Padilla's attorneys have made such a motion in his case. Even without knowning the full truth (yet) about his torture, it would seem that his motion must be granted.

I love the counter-argment that since Padilla is now allegedly mentally incompetent to assist in his defense, then there is no reason to believe what he has said about how he was treated. Or the government argument that allegedly nothing in the case against him is derived from his mistreatment for years, so it does not matter how he was treated. It reminds me of the bogus alternative presented as an alternative to the exclusionary rule; don't bar the evidence obtained illegally -- just let the prisoner sue for violation of his civil rights while he rots in jail convicted based on illegally obtained evidence.

I can't imagine having to make such arguments in court. I wonder about CharleyCarp's surreal experiences sitting across the table from the government lawyers in such situations. They are, after all, just normal people, who also happen to be the vehicles of evil in this situation.

I know nothing of the judge overseeing this case (other than the dismissals to date of a lot of the Padilla case, and that the judge has indicated scepticism as to the case). But I would appoint a special master to fully investigate every aspect of Padila's treatment. Require his captors to testify under oath to his treatment. Force the medical records and interrogation records to be produced. Then an intelligent decision can be made about this proceeding. Anything less is judicial complicity in this illegal conduct.

I wonder what the Bushies would do in response --- drop the criminal case for now, send Padilla back to military detention, and take their chances with the US Supreme Court? That possiblity must be hovering over the case.

I was thinking more of people in the FBI and CIA -- high enough to be deciding the nuts and bolts of some policy questions, not so high that they'd be political appointees. I haven't seen any reason to think that they were not trying to do right by the country.

Actually, I agree with this. My post upthread was, I think, a rant.

Not the best use of ObWi bandwidth. My apologies.

Thanks -

Reading this I'm reminded of the B5 episode in Season 4, "Intersections in Real Time" where Sheridan was tortured for the entire episode.

One of the more moving episodes.

Unfortunately, moving in drama is tragedy in life.

Indeed, particularly as it's highly unlikely that anyone is going to break Mr. Padilla out before he suffers permanent damage (which, from the reports, may already have happened, sad to say).

Padilla lived this way for years.

While the government fought tooth and nail to keep him that way, all the way to the Supreme Court.

[remainder of comment withheld for fear of said gov't]

Today is the U.S. prison at Guantanamo's 5th birthday, by the way.

I hope you don't mind if I don't head out for a cake Katherine. Urrgh... five years.

Nihil novi.

Someone quoted it to me, so it is a hearsay, but old hearsay:

"From the manual for interrogation of witnesses by Peter the Great: >>It is also worthwhile to hit the witness's head with a stour cudgel the moment he enters the room, which often confuses him a lot<<".

Actually, I got impression that insanity is an occupational hazard for organizers of torture. Sending the inmate to regression can be effectively achieved, but he or she may become delusional in the process. The whole point is that in the regressed state the inmate cannot tell false from true, but how reliable does it make him?

Our government chases contradictory goals. Make inmates delusional so they would provide reliable testimony. Then organize secret show trials. Then promote democracy and "our values". (Not necessarily in that order.)

War is Peace, Love is Hate, Slavery is Freedom

War is Peace, Love is Hate, Slavery is Freedom

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