Informational Warfare’s Blog

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The NYT’s nice, new euphemism for torture
In today’s New York Times, William Glaberson describes a proposal being circulated by the Obama administration to enable Guantanamo detainees to be put to death upon a mere guilty plea, i.e., without the need for a full-blown trial.  The article describes the purpose of the proposal this way:The proposal would ease what has come to be recognized as the government’s difficult task of prosecuting men who have confessed to terrorism but whose cases present challenges. Much of the evidence against the men accused in the Sept. 11 case, as well as against other detainees, is believed to have come from confessions they gave during intense interrogations at secret C.I.A. prisons. In any proceeding, the reliability of those statements would be challenged, making trials difficult and drawing new political pressure over detainee treatment.The primary reason to avoid trials upon a guilty plea is to prevent public disclosure of the details of the torture we inflicted on these detainees.  Despite that, the word “torture” never once appears in this NYT article.  Instead, according to the NYT, detainees in CIA black sites were merely subjected to “intense interrogations.”  That’s all?  Who opposes “intense interrogations”?
This active media complicity in concealing that our Government created a systematic torture regime — by refusing ever to say so — is one of the principal reasons it was allowed to happen for so long (though see Jake Tapper’s imperfect though still far superior formulation today on his ABC News blog about an Obama DHS appointee who just withdrew his nomination because of his possible “knowledge of and role in approving brutal interrogation techniques — some of which qualify under international law as torture — used by CIA officials against detainees”).
The steadfast, ongoing refusal of our leading media institutions to refer to what the Bush administration did as “torture” — even in the face of more than 100 detainee deaths; the use of that term by a leading Bush official to describe what was done at Guantanamo; and the fact that media outlets frequently use the word “torture” to describe the exact same methods when used by other countries — reveals much about how the modern journalist thinks.


June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Torture and Rendition

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