Monday, April 30, 2012

60 Minutes: Torture enemy detainees (Bush Administration) or kill them with Predator Drones (Obama Administration)?

Public domain: Abu Ghraib.

I came close to physical illness Sunday evening from watching Lesley Stahl’s interview of former CIA spy Jose Rodriguez on 60 Minutes. Rodriguez strenuously attempted to justify torture of enemy detainees. The details of the techniques practiced during the Bush Administration to extract information from suspected terrorists were the stuff of the worst nightmares. But as Kevin Gosztola points out in his post at FireDogLake, the interview reminded viewers that instead of capturing and torturing the suspects, the Obama Administration, simply kills them (along with any unfortunate innocents who get in the way) with Predator Drone attacks.

Gosztola writes:

Former head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Counterterrorism Center and its former Deputy Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to flaunt his new book Hard Measures, which details how he came to be in charge of CIA torture against terror suspects at “black site” prisons, why he believes torture was effective and why it should not be vilified.

The segment with Lesley Stahl has the same title as Rodriguez’s book. The title sounds like the name of a film starring an action movie star like Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal, which makes it appropriate because each answer from Rodriguez is dripping with bravado. From Rodriguez’s first answer to the last, one cannot help but realize he believes it is somehow unmanly to be concerned that torture of terror suspects violates the rule of law. He appears in his sleek white Camaro rolling down the highway to the CIA. And he says at one point, “We needed to get everyone in government to put their big boy pants on and give us the authorities we needed.”

Of course, like most establishment media interviews, the torture is not called torture. It is called “harsh techniques.” Or the official term Cheney coined for it—“enhanced interrogation techniques.”

*Here are both parts of the interview: Part 1 / Part 2
The first words in the segment are, “After the attacks of 9/11…” That phrase is all one needs to hear to know that this is going to be a tireless exercise in explaining away acts that historically have been considered war crimes when carried out.

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