Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Torture : Twas brillig, saith the slithy Toews

"Twas brillig," saith the slithy Toews
"To waterboard outside our nabe."
All mimsy went the newsy slaves
To hear the mome rath outgabe :

"Tis Ethical Torture now, my son! -
The wires that shock for me and you.
I'm the mustache of John Bolton
And John Yoo is my new guru."

 Public Safety Minister Vic Toews explained his not particularly new torture directive for CSIS in the House :
 "Mr. Speaker, information obtained by torture is always discounted.  However the problem is whether one can safely ignore the information if Canadian lives and property are at stake."
~Dad, what does the minister mean by "torture is always discounted."
~Well, my son, probably around 15%. But once you advertise you're open for business in torture intel, the whole damned market explodes and then no one gets a decent discount.

CP via Pogge  : 
"The latest directive says in "exceptional circumstances" where there is a threat to human life or public safety, urgency may require CSIS to "share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities, including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment."
Here's the UN Convention Against Torture, to which we have been a signatory since 1984, on those "exceptional circumstances" :
“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
One of the best wrap-ups on the actual harm torture-derived info has done to western intelligence and their agencies, quite apart from the evil or legalities, comes from David Rose at Vanity Fair : Tortured Reasoning. 
It ends with an interview with Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI since one week before 9/11 :
I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”? 
“I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”


Toe said...

They have 'classified data' that won't be shared with us. I'm betting a lot of that data separates what is 'reliable' what is 'tained'. Canada aids the enemy now and has sold us out.

fern hill said...

Brilliant, Alison!

Boris said...


Dr.Dawg said...

Well done, as usual.

Very weird. In most "civilized" countries, black ops are kept out of the ken of the politicians, who are complicit in their own ignorance--"plausible deniability" and all.

This is complete fricking amateur hour. Not only does Toews send a directive authorizing what should not (even from a cynical perspective) be officially authorized--he leaves it in a file vulnerable to an ATIP request!

The hard men in MOSSAD and the CIA must be shaking their heads and trying not to laugh.

And here at home, the Conservative front-benchers are placed in the position of having to defend this crap.

Amateur hour as I said, all around. Nuts. Plain weird.

Alison said...

Dawg : It could be as simple as giving CSIS cover to reinstate poor old Abu Zubaydah's testimony back into various Canadian security certificates cases and/or the litigation arising from them, could it not?
Perhaps AZ inadvertently named someone while having a cup of tea in between his 82 and 83 waterboarding sessions and so it would then be admissible perhaps.

Beijing York said...

Excellent as always, Alison!

So many interviewed brought up the "ticking bomb" scenario that I think Dershowitz argued and Ignatieff supported for justifying torture under certain conditions. As one expert who thought it stupid said, it's not like they're ever dealing with Jack Bauer/24 situations.

I find it interesting the Toews revealed his inner sadist:

"However the problem is whether one can safely ignore the information if Canadian lives and property are at stake."

He wants to use torture to protect property? Protect corporate "property" from radical environmentalists, perhaps? Even Jack Bauer never resorted to torture to protect property.

sunsin said...

I think you're missing the point. These defectives aren't into torture because it produces information, flawed or otherwise. They just in love with the idea of making their enemies scream and whimper. To that mindset, it's better than Viagra.

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