Sunday, August 30, 2009

Torquemada updated

                                            

        This memo  on extraordinary rendition,  provided to then Office of Legal Counsel head Dan Levin and released last Monday (see here), gives a barely euphemistic description of the cruelties involved in extraordinary rendition before the “HVD” (high value detainee) arrived in Morocco (where Binyam Mohammed was cut all over his body, including his penis and acid poured into the cuts) or Uzbekistan (where prisoners were sometimes melted).  Mohammed Jawad, we have now learned, was 12 years old (and very likely of the “high value” of working for the Americans near Bagram in order for him and his family to eat).  In ordinary Pentagon custody, 100 people were murdered (Pentagon statistics).  Perhaps these scrupulously monitored procedures, complete with “doctors” and “psychologists,” prolonged the agony. 

      Are there such meticulous documents from the KGB, the Gestapo, Latin American clients counseled by the CIA (the classified CIA files are perhaps must hopeful)?  Even the Inquisition probably did not exhibit such precaution, such detail, such refinement. The inquisitor refers to the “quiet” and “clinical” nature of the process.  If you are empathic, probably do not try more than a few paragraphs of this.   Scott Horton provides further background on the recent abduction and detention of Raymond Azar, a Lebanese businessman, accused of petty fraud here and David Cole answers questions about his book on the Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable as a whole just out here.

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