November 19, 2010

Another Reason Why Torture Is A Bad Idea

Take a look at the Ghailani Verdict:
Fierce criticism erupted Thursday over the split verdict on terrorism charges against the first Guantánamo detainee to be tried in civilian court, casting new doubts on the Obama administration’s goal of trying cases against other prisoners in the civilian criminal justice system.

The defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was convicted Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan of conspiring in the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, and he faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. But Republican critics roundly denounced the fact that a jury acquitted him on all but one of more than 280 charges — including every murder count — as a sign that such terrorism detainees should be prosecuted only before a military commission.

That portrayal of the verdict as a disaster was hotly contested by the administration and other supporters of civilian trials. They argued that the system had shown that a terrorist could be convicted and sentenced to a stiff prison term even after a judge excluded evidence tainted by coercive interrogations during the Bush administration.
See that? They euphemized "torture" to "coercive interrogations." When they do it it's torture; when we do it it's "coercive interrogations." Damned lib-rul media!

So what's the problem?
Many observers attributed any weakness in the prosecution’s case to the fact that the Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court in Manhattan, who presided over the trial, refused to allow prosecutors to introduce testimony from an important witness, who was discovered after interrogators used coercive techniques on Mr. Ghailani.
So evidence based on torture was deemed inadmissible. That, of course enraged the law and order types on the right. Military tribunals wouldn't have this problem, they said.

Not so:
But proponents of civilian trials noted that in a footnote of his order rejecting the witness, Judge Kaplan pointed to restrictions against evidence obtained by torture in military trials and strongly suggested that a military judge would have excluded the testimony, too.
So, apart from the immorality of Bush's torture, apart from the illegality of Bush's torture, there's another reason why torture is bad. Bad, bad, bad.

From Andrew Sullivan:
The only thing to say about the remarkable acquittals on almost all counts for a tortured prisoner of war is that torture renders convictions all but impossible. By throwing aside all norms for prisoner treatment and setting up an apparatus of systemic torture, Bush and Cheney destroyed critical evidence that could have been used by the prosecution to convict. [emphases added.]
In their zeal to "git 'em!" Bush and Cheney made things much much more complicated. They could have just followed the law but they didn't. They broke it. And now the only alternative is detaining the accused terrorists indefinitely without trial. Another insult to our Constitutional system.

This is the Bush/Cheney legacy: torture followed by indefinite detention. So much for the rule of law.


High Lord Inquisitor and Factchecker of 2PJ. said...

Odd, more outrage on the left over "coercive interrogations" used on non-citizen war criminals then US Citizens.
The F.B.I., in documents defending its policy, argued that taping was not always possible, particularly when agents were on the road, and that it was not always appropriate. Psychological tricks like misleading or lying to a suspect in questioning or pretending to show the suspect sympathy might also offend a jury, the agency said.

“Perfectly lawful and acceptable interviewing techniques do not always come across in recorded fashion to lay persons as proper means of obtaining information from defendants,” said one of the once-secret internal Justice Department communications made public as part of the investigation into the dismissals of the United States attorneys.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

No. It's not torture is a bad idea. It's that the Messiah and his AG thought using the US criminal justice system was better than military tribunals.

We're dealing with terrorists here, just in case you panty-waist liberals failed to notice.

Let's try something else then. Why don't a few of you liberals go to the ME and ask to meet with al Queda leaders and then ask them (a( why do you di this?, (b) if they would turn themselves in, or (c) could you please stop?

The terrorists don't give a rats behind whether you're liberal or not, whether you think certain interrogation techniques are torture or not.. they will kill you because you're an infidel.

I have absolute no doubt there are certain techniques that would make most anyone blow their cookies.

The terrorists have no problem killing innocent people and, sometimes, themselves. Any way we can stop that is OK in my book.

Now, let me get back to my latest Vince Flynn book and Mitch Rapp (CIA).

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Better yet.. just shoot the mf's on the battle field. It's a win/win. No torture. No flight costs to Gitmo. No meal costs. Only the cost of a bullet.

Dayvoe said...

Of course, none of this changes the fact that torture is illegal and that Bush authorized it.

Anything else is just a deflection.

EdHeath said...

HTTT, is there a dfference between a) lying to a suspect who has not availed his or herself of the advice and protection of a lawyer ... and b) waterboarding?

Cm, we get it. You don't give a shit about due process or rule of law. You want to have the military simply execute suspected terrorists where-ever they might be found (supected because they have not judged in a trial or even a tribunal).

You really do want to establish that not only are conservatives incompetant with numbers (as you have been in the past) bt are also morally bankrupt.

Why don't you go to the Middle East and volunteer to hunt down terrorists, or don't you have the courage of your convictions?

Conservative Mountaineer said...

@Ed.. You're right.. I do not give a shit about raghead Muzzies that would kill anyone for any reason. Does my disdain for their mindset and my unabashed non-concern for their well-being and long life cross into being ammoral? So? I'm not PC.. nor will I be.

Oh, nice to bring up something way in the past re:numbers when you damn well know there's no edit capability concerning typos. Nice try. I'm waaaaay ahead of you and most others when it comes to numbers.. sorta comes to me as a CPA with an MBA in Finance from a *major* University (not PA located, btw).

EdHeath said...

Hey CM, maybe you are well ahead of me and many others in numbers, but when you had the chance to demonstrate it, you screwed it up. A person who was actually interested in making a persuasive case might have exercised some caution, might have reviewed their work.

Or they might just insult people.

As for your description of the people who live in the Middle East, it reminds me of something that Southerners might have said about their slaves (or the English might have said about Africans in the English imperial era), or the Nazis might say about the Jews (or about the communists). As for the comment about how Muslims would kill anyone for no reason, do you think that we have killed as many Iraqi and Afghani civilians as the number of Americans who died in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11? Maybe twice as many Iraqi and Afghan civilians have died at our hands, or maybe ten times as many? I know, you think that’s a win. I am sure you think that all Iraqi and Afghan civilians should renounce their country and their religion, and walk to the ocean and drown themselves. You would give them directions.

It is so funny that Tea Party types can scream that the views of the founding fathers on gun ownership are sacrosanct (even as they dispense with the founding fathers’ views on government making no law respecting the establishment of religion), yet conservatives like you are willing to jettison our judicial procedures whenever it suits you. Does patriotism make you angry?