Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Oceania was Always at War with Eurasia" of the Day

According to the New York Times:
Leon E. Panetta, the White House pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, on Thursday left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules issued last month.

Under insistent questioning from a Senate panel, Mr. Panetta said that in extreme cases, if interrogators were unable to extract critical information from a terrorism suspect, he would seek White House approval for the C.I.A. to use methods that would go beyond those permitted under the new rules.
And it was widely reported that the Obama Administration will preserve at least part of the "rendition" program. Liberals previously vocally objected to both when accomplished by the Bush Administration. Compare:
  • Human Rights Watch, April 7, 2008: The US government should:
    Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA's rendition program;

    Disclose the identities, fate, and current whereabouts of all persons detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody by the CIA since 2001, including detainees who were rendered to Jordan;

    Repudiate the use of "diplomatic assurances" against torture and ill-treatment as a justification for the transfer of a suspect to a place where he or she is at risk of such abuse;

    Make public any audio recordings or videotapes that the CIA possesses of interrogations of detainees rendered by the CIA to foreign custody;

    Provide appropriate compensation to all persons arbitrarily detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody.
  • Human Rights Watch, quoted in the February 1, 2009, LA Times:
    "Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president's order was that they want to design a system that doesn't result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured -- but that designing that system is going to take some time."

    Malinowski said he had urged the Obama administration to stipulate that prisoners could be transferred only to countries where they would be guaranteed a public hearing in an official court. "Producing a prisoner before a real court is a key safeguard against torture, abuse and disappearance," Malinowski said.
I note again that the focus on judicial oversight ignores the fact that the terrorists were detained for interrogation and to prevent their participation in future terrorism, not for criminal prosecution which--in any event--has never applied to aliens captured on foreign battlefields.

And, of course, there were only muted complaints when Bill Clinton rendered terrorists to third countries known to use torture. In his defense, Clinton had to be egged on by that well-known tough guy, Vice President Al Gore, who said:
That’s a no-brainer. Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.
(via Volokh Conspiracy, Dissenting Justice, twice, Villanious Company)

5 comments:

bobn said...

Leon E. Panetta, the White House pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, on Thursday left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules issued last month.

And to think, the right wing said he wasn't fit to be CIA chief! ;-)

OBloodyHell said...

So Human Rights Watch joins NOW as an openly corrupt bunch of unprincipled leftist whores.

Why am I not surprised?

OBloodyHell said...

BTW -- Great piece, Carl.

I've clipped out the HRW quotes and, with suitable "snip" markings, sent it around with a link to the whole.

I was generally unpleased with this stuff when I heard Clinton was doing it (along with Project Echelon, another lefty "not when Bush does it" activity), but I softened my stance, not because Bush was in power, but because of 9/11.

And my position on it hasn't changed just because Obama is in charge.

But then, I have principles...

Tom Carter said...

Nice post. This highlights not only the double standards of the left, which means they have no principled positions, but also the complete lack of understanding of reality in national security matters.

It's going to be interesting to watch as Obama struggles with issues like what to do with captured terrorists, how to authorize coercive interrogations when they're obviously needed, and how to close Guantanamo without simply re-creating it somewhere else. I think he's practical enough to deal with these issues, but the far left is going to go crazy. Should be fun.

Carl said...

Thanks OBH & TC.