Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Abominations of the Mass Media

Something on par with the Bush Administration's clear use of torture and subsequent cover-up and denial of such use, is the failure of the mass media to adequately reveal that fact.

'Tis the story of our SCLM to only give us as policy positive a spin for the Administration as possible under the circumstances.

Here's the latest example:

The CIA is refusing to disclose any information about abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, invoking a legal precedent that involved a secret project by billionaire Howard Hughes to recover a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine in the 1970s.

The CIA allegedly oversaw interrogations of top-level detainees, and some investigators think the agency's tactics are at the heart of the question of whether the Bush administration has authorized torture. But nearly all the disclosures concerning abuses have come from other agencies, including the Pentagon and the FBI.

The CIA traditionally has invoked special protections aimed at shielding its intelligence-gathering operations, but the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing to obtain the records, and some independent observers think the agency's insistence on secrecy is inappropriate in this instance.

Megan Lewis, a lawyer for the ACLU, said she would file an objection in early January to the CIA's efforts to avoid scrutiny.


The agency's response stands in stark contrast to the FBI, which issued a series of e-mails describing agents' outrage at witnessing physical and mental harm inflicted on detainees at Guantanamo and in Iraq, often during interrogation sessions. Among the items sought from the CIA:

An alleged memorandum issued in late 2001 from the Justice Department to the CIA setting boundaries for interrogations in the light of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

From December 2001, alleged photographs, documents, and materials said to depict mistreatment of Lindh while in the custody of the Defense Department or the CIA.

An alleged memo from the Justice Department from August 2002 specifying interrogation methods that the CIA may use against top Al Qaeda members.

An alleged study from September 2002 by the CIA raising questions on the significance of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Alleged communications from 2002 and 2003 among CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency officials about the questioning of the most important detainees and the use of new tactics such as "physical roughing up; sensory, food, and sleep deprivation"; and a water pit in which detainees must stand on tiptoe to keep from drowning, according to a June 2004 article in Newsweek.

A directive allegedly signed by President Bush that grants the CIA authority to set up detention facilities outside the United States.

Lewis said the ACLU is certain to challenge the CIA's use of the Glomar case to shield the alleged documents. She singled out the legal memos about the torture convention as particularly egregious.

The memos "look like particularly inappropriate uses of the Glomar response because they are basically legal analyses of laws against torture and the use of certain harsher interrogation techniques, which on its face does not look like it would compromise national security," Lewis said.

"They're just using [Glomar] to withhold these documents and to protect themselves. And it's very hard for anyone on the outside to pierce that veil. They just said, 'We can't confirm or deny it exists.' "

We, for three, refused to bow down to our corporate media overlords and enablers.

That's why we have those all powerful 1,000 hits a day. Aren't we the shit?

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