Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Link of the Week: Media Giving Torture a Pass

This article says it all and doesn't need much more to say from me.  I just wanted to highlight this because I was angry with this "but what would Jack Bauer do in this situation?" horsecrap in the media back when the subject of torture was taking front stage last decade, and I'm just as angry about it now.  To use a fictional show and extreme examples of worst-case terror threats as a justification to give the authorities a free pass to torture people for information strikes me as an extraordinarily dangerous and misleading narrative to sell the public on.  Here's my take: if there actually is a situation that comes about with an extremely high risk and high urgency threat, the people holding the captive with the supposed information have to decide whether the threat warrants such an extreme action, and if they truly think it does they act as their conscience dictates and accept the consequences for doing so!  Such situations are special case by their very nature; let the judicial system weigh the case and the extraordinary circumstances accordingly in the sentence they carry out.  All the evidence seems to point that torture is not helpful in most cases anyway in getting reliable information, but assuming there was a time where it is the only way to save many lives, I would accept prison time as a likely consequence and so should the authorities.  Anyway, here's the article:

U.S. TV Provides Ample Platform for American Torturers, But None to Their Victims

By Glenn Greenwald

"I’ve written previously about the transformative experience of meeting and hearing directly from the victims of the abuses by your own government. That human interaction converts an injustice from an abstraction into a deeply felt rage and disgust. That’s precisely why the U.S. media doesn’t air those stories directly from the victims themselves: because it would make it impossible to maintain the pleasing fairy tales about “who we really are.”

When I was in Canada in October, I met Maher Arar (pictured above) for the second time, went to his home, had breakfast with his wife (also pictured above) and two children. In 2002, Maher, a Canadian citizen of Syrian descent who worked as an engineer, was traveling back home to Ottawa when he was abducted by the U.S. Government at JFK Airport, held incommunicado and interrogated for weeks, then “rendered” to Syria where the U.S. arranged to have him brutally tortured by Assad’s regime. He was kept in a coffin-like cell for 10 months and savagely tortured until even his Syrian captors were convinced that he was completely innocent. He was then unceremoniously released back to his life in Canada as though nothing had happened.

When he sued the U.S. government, subservient U.S. courts refused even to hear his case, accepting the Obama DOJ’s claim that it was too secret to safely adjudicate.

There are hundreds if not thousands of Maher Arars the U.S. media could easily and powerfully interview. McClatchy this week detailed the story of Khalid al Masri, a German citizen whom the U.S. Government abducted in Macedonia, tortured, and then dumped on a road when they decided he wasn’t guilty of anything (US courts also refused to hear his case on secrecy grounds). The detainees held without charges, tortured, and then unceremoniously released from Guantanamo and Bagram are rarely if ever heard from on U.S. television, even when the U.S. Government is forced to admit that they were guilty of nothing."

Read the rest of the article here.

No comments:

Post a Comment