Geoff Berg’s News Wrap With Judge Ken Wise and Me

Talking about waterboarding and other torture.

I’m allergic to listening to or watching myself.

Would one of you please listen and tell me who it was that Judge Wise claims verified that “enhanced interrogation” led to an attack being foiled?


0 responses to “Geoff Berg’s News Wrap With Judge Ken Wise and Me”

  1. WASHINGTON — The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any “specific imminent attacks,” according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

    That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks. …

    Even some of those in the military who developed the techniques warned that the information they produced was “less reliable” than that gained by traditional psychological measures, and that using them would produce an “intolerable public and political backlash when discovered,” according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report released on Tuesday.

    President Bush told a September 2006 news conference that one plot, to attack a Los Angeles office tower, was “derailed” in early 2002 — before the harsh CIA interrogation measures were approved, contrary to those who claim that waterboarding revealed it.

    Last December, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair magazine that he didn’t believe that intelligence gleaned from abusive interrogation techniques had disrupted any attacks on America. …

    The Bradbury memos that cite the inspector general’s report reveal that officials at CIA headquarters insisted on the repeated waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, the first prisoner to undergo the technique, even after the interrogators on the scene sought to discontinue the technique. …

    The memos, however, also suggest that interrogators went beyond what the Justice Department initially authorized in an Aug. 1, 2002, memo by then-Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee.

    Quoting IG Helgerson’s report, then-deputy assistant attorney general Bradbury noted that in addition to waterboarding Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times, some prisoners had been subjected to walling “20 to 30 times consecutively.”

    “We previously concluded that the use of the waterboard did not constitute torture,” Bradbury wrote in a May 10, 2005 memo. “We must reexamine the issue, however, because the technique, as it would be used, could involve more applications in longer sessions (and possibly using different methods) than we earlier considered.”

    As for walling, Bradbury wrote in the same May 10 memo that the Justice Department’s initial 2002 authorization of walling “did not describe the walling technique as involving the number of repetitions that we understand may be applied.”

    Despite the information from the IG’s report, Bradbury subsequently concluded that the techniques weren’t torture.

    Of course, the effectiveness of torture is irrelevant to its legality. Murder is quite effective at solving problems, but it’s never been a defense. In a democracy, if the laws prohibit you from doing something you think is useful to do, the proper course of action is to have a public debate and ask the legislature to allow you to so act, in this case, to legalize torture. They chose to break the law instead.

    Although irrelevant, it is nevertheless worthwhile to point out that Cheney is lying about the alleged effectiveness of torture. It is not effective and it thwarted nothing. Show me a man who doesn’t believe torture is out of bounds, and I’ll show you one you can’t trust to tell the truth. He, along with the entire Bush Administration and those Democrats on the Intelligence Committees who knew about this, should be criminally prosecuted.

    • Breaking the law is sometimes justified to prevent a greater harm. But Bennett’s Law of Rules dictates that if it’s not worth proudly facing the legal consequences, then breaking the rules is not justified.

      Ignoring the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments would be an effective way of reducing crime.

      Here’s the CIA IG’s report.

  2. I actually played the whole 8 minutes, but I drifted off during the start of the “I bet Saddam Hussein didn’t write any memos at all while he tortured people” straw man argument, and I missed the part where he may have claimed that there was “verified” proof of the efficacy of a real life Jack Bauer.

    You sounded fine, but I don’t think I can stomach listening to his part again, sorry.

    I say drifted off, but part of that was me googling “ken wise houston lawyer” and guess what? This post came up ahead of his (former?) judicial website stuff, and I was having a good laugh about that as he was droning on.

  3. Wow!!! Philosopher/Lawyer!!! I like it. As for the audiocast, I agree with Jamie up above and seemed to have “drifted off” (without surfing the web) at the Saddam thing…


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