Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Morning Propaganda - Courtesy of Morning Joe

Joe Scarborough and Rudy Guilliani tried their best on yesterday's Morning Joe show to advance a "new" argument to defend torture. For this argument they reached back in time to the 1980s to tell the viewers that the same people who wanted to "coddle" criminals in the 1980s and 1990s are the very same people who are now obsessed with the rights of terrorists and not the rights of Americans. But evidently Scarborough and Guilliani didn't tell Carlos Watson that this was the theme for the segment because Watson jumps into the conversation and disagrees with them. He points out that their argument is overly simplistic and he also commits the cardinal sin of challenging the effectiveness of torture. Now anyone who has watched Morning Joe knows that you don't challenge the view of the grand PooBah, Joe Scarborough, on the effectiveness of torture or you suffer the consequences. In this case the consequence was immediate. Watson was treated to a vicious attack by Joe Scarborough because Watson had the temerity to challenge Joe's view that torture works.

I've got to stop you right there. How do you dare come on this set and say it's not effective. That's just not the truth and if you have any evidence that it is not effective let me know right now.
This bullying technique that is so often used by Scarborough  when anyone disagrees with him causes the insecure and easily malleable Watson to back down a bit and he ends up partially agreeing with Scarborough that torture may be effective.  Watson then tries to stand up again by saying that we don't know the answer to the question about whether waterboarding is effective to which Scarborough snarls:

Actually I do know the answer and America will know the answer when the documents are declassified. I DO know the answer to that question.

Now how is Scarborough so cock sure of himself about whether torture works? He gives us a clue about a possible source for his information about the effectiveness of torture in another comment in the video:

I've talked with some past CIA directors who agree that the ticking time bomb scenario is actually easier to handle than what the CIA handled on Sept. 12.

I see, the very people who have dirty hands over torture are the ones who are using the eager Scarborough as their mouthpiece to disseminate the view that torture works. 

Because Carlos Watson injected some truth into the discussion he ruined the planned narrative of the day so Scarborough and Guilliani were forced to revert to Plan B to defend torture.

Joe Scarborough, like most of our torture apologists in the media, won't talk directly about Ali Soufan's testimony but it's obvious from watching the discussion on Morning Joe from yesterday that he realizes that Soufan's testimony put a BIG hole in the "torture works" narrative that he and other like him have been shoveling out to viewers. Listen to the ridiculous conversation between Scarborough and Guilliani where they both try to get around Soufan's devastating testimony without mentioning the actual testimony.  They try to pretend that the actionable intelligence that Soufan and others in the FBI obtained without torturing was somehow inferior to what the CIA got through torture. Of course they present no evidence for their statements just bombast and delusional theories that are totally illogical. 

Guilliani: Frankly waterboarding or extreme measures of interrogation are more effective for future oriented information than they are for past (Mika says "right") oriented info because you can more easily lie about what happened in the past. 

Scarborough: ...terrorists love talking about what they did (Mika chimes in "exactly"), they take great pride in it that's why FBI briefers can find out what happened in the past. 

Guilliani: It's easier to lie about the past. ..it's much more ambiguous than the future. It's easier to lie about the past.  The future is going to happen. There are two terrorists -  one knows about the past the other one knows about the future. The one that knows about the past will tell me what he thinks I want to hear. The one that knows about the future can't tell me what he thinks I want to hear because if he tells it to me wrong the next day or day after I have immediate verification of that and I'm gonna go back at him with those same techniques. It is much more reliable because it much more verifiable when you're dealing with future information. My contention about waterboarding is not that it should be a method that we use generally or regularly I just don't like taking the method away completely from the arsenal of the CIA and  all the rest of the agencies.

We've known for decades that information obtained through torture is notoriously unreliable. 


Experienced military and intelligence professionals know that torture, in addition to being illegal and immoral, is an unreliable means of extracting information from prisoners...

...There are always those who, whether out of fear or inexperience, rush to push the panic button instead of relying on what we know works best and most reliably in these situations. 
We've known this and yet Guilliani actually advocates that regular techniques are fine for things that happen in the past but you have to use torture for things that may happen in the future because it's easier to lie about what happens in the past. Say what? He then makes the illogical argument that a prisoner will tell you what you want to hear about past events but if he lies about a future event while being tortured you can get immediate verification the next day or the day after and repeat the torture. Immediate verification? Nonsense.  He says that using torture, which gives notoriously unreliable information, makes it easier to verify statements.  

Quite frankly what Guilliani says in this video has to be one of the silliest things I've heard yet from torture supporters.

Guilliani even resorts to misleading viewers about torture being used for recruiting. He tells viewers that he's been involved with terrorist investigations since the 1960s and he's never heard a terrorist say he was recruited because of torture. What he doesn't tell viewers is that he was not involved in any terrorist investigations after it was revealed to the world that we tortured. So of course he didn't hear from any terrorist that they joined up because of torture. 

Unlike Guilliani, Matthew Alexander was involved in interrogating prisoners after the world found out we tortured our prisoners. Here's what he says about using torture as a recruiting tool:

Former VP Dick Cheney has requested the release of additional memos showing that torture and abuse saved American lives by preventing terrorist attacks. If the Obama administration decides to release these memos, then I suggest they also release statistics from Iraq showing the number of foreign fighters that were recruited because of our policy of torture and abuse. It was tracked. I know because I saw the slides and because I heard captured foreign fighters state this day in and day out. The government can also release the statistics that show that 90% of suicide bombers in Iraq were these same foreign fighters. These foreign fighters killed hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers.

This is Alexander's bio:

Matthew Alexander spent fourteen years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves. An “investigator turned interrogator”, he deployed to Iraq in 2006, where he led the interrogations team that located Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the former leader of Al Qaida in Iraq, who was killed by Coalition Forces. Alexander was awarded the Bronze Star for his achievements. He is the author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq.

No comments:

Post a Comment

* If you post using the "anonymous" profile you can still include whatever name you wish to use at the end of your comment.