Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

26 December, 2012

Geese With Bombs in Their Butts?

Terry McDermott, co-author of The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed recently had a piece in the LA Times about the whole controversy surrounding the use of torture in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (I always heard the antelucan hours referred to as "zero dark early".) called "'Zero Dark Thirty': Why the fabrication?".

The argument about the role of torture in the film aside, I found the following to be well, horrifying. After we tortured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

The result? KSM, as he is known within the intelligence community, revealed nothing about the most valuable thing he knew — Bin Laden's whereabouts. He did not, for example, divulge the name of the Kuwaiti courier who served Bin Laden.

This is not coincidentally the piece of information that sets "Zero Dark Thirty" in motion. Mohammed had trained the courier and knew of his connection to Bin Laden. Instead, he sent agents on hundreds of futile chases, hindering the hunt for Bin Laden rather than aiding it.

The simple fact is you can't reliably separate the gold from the dross that torture yields. "He had us chasing the goddamn geese in Central Park because he said some of them had explosives stuffed up their ass," one FBI counter-terrorism agent said in frustration.

Is this serious? It's bad enough that my tax money was used to torture someone and it's even worse to think that we paid people to examine geese assholes because someone thought that such a claim borne out of torture was legitimate.

But wait - it gets worse. The article ends on a disturbingly Kafka-esque note.

We have so contorted ourselves that earlier this month a military judge ruled that the man whose real-life torture is described in the movie, Mohammed's nephew Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, will not be allowed to describe his torture at trial. The methods used to extract information from captives is a state secret, the judge said, as are the victim's recollections of it.

Apparently, those methods can be celebrated in a movie but not acknowledged in a court of law.

If this kind of stuff keeps up, it won't be long before these things start happening to Americans generally.
|| Palmer, 3:08 PM

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