Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pakistan's Secret Cells For The CIA

By Cernig

The New York Times has a story today on emerging details of Pakistan's habit of disappearing Musharraf's release of nearly 100 out of some 500 secret detainees who had been disappeared into "an elaborate secret detention system" at "the hands of the Pakistani intelligence agencies cooperating with Washington’s fight against terrorism since 2001." (As well as a few thousand who were detained in secret cells simply for criticising Mushie.)

FireDogLake has an excellent post on just how sordid and shameful America's hand-on-gland with the Pakistan soft-totalitarian leader has been.

But there's one key quote in the NYT piece I want to flag up:
Mr. Mansfield, the C.I.A. spokesman, declined to comment, except to say that the “C.I.A.’s terrorist interrogation effort has always been small, carefully run, lawful, and highly productive.”

“Fewer than 100 hardened terrorists have gone through the program since it began in 2002,” he added, “and, of those, less than a third required any enhanced interrogation measures.”
The part I've emphasised begs several questions, among them:

If there were 100 "hardened terrorists" in the CIA rendition program, how come military tribunal officials say they only expect 80 prosecutions at most (out of over 800 detained at Gitmo in total) to proceed at the present? And what exactly did happen to the rule of law that these 100 can be described as such before their trials? Shouldn't there be a word not unlike "alleged" in there?

How many other people have passed through the CIA's rendition program who were not hardened terrorists? Can we assume the 10%/90% ratio that apparently holds at Gitmo? How many of them were subject to "enhanced interrogation"?

Isn't it the job of the courts to decide if the CIA's rendition program and enhanced interrogations were lawful?

The CIA recently said only three "hardened terrorists" had ever been waterboarded by them. Were they lying? If not, what tortures "enhanced interrogation" techniques were used on the other 30 or so alleged hardened terrorists who it now admits were treated to such techniques?

What about the non-hardened or non-terrorist detainees?

What about the 70 or so alleged hardened terrorists who weren't tortured interrogated using enhanced techniques - did they give better or worse information?

Have all of that 100, and any detainees who might not be alleged hardened terrorists now been moved into Gitmo or other facilities where the International Red Cross can have access - in accordance with the Geneva Conventions - or do some remain in secret detention in contravention of the Conventions and thus of U.S. law?

In Britain, we call such careful parsing of language by officials "being economical with the truth". It isn't exactly lying, but it misleads so much it might as well be.

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