Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mr. Hadley tells a whopper

When asked about the Washington post revelation of a string of secret dungeons in various countries around the world where the CIA stashes prisoners it does not want to reveal the existence of, much less allow any judicial oversight as to their treatment, National Security advisor Stephen Hadley had this to say:
"While we have to do what is necessary to defend the country against terrorists and to win the war on terror, the president has been very clear that we're going to do that in a way that is consistent with our values and that is why he has been very clear that the United States will not torture," Hadley said.

The United States will not torture. Excuse me?

Given the now universal public knowledge that not only have we tortured prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that indeed we have tortured some of them until they died, this pretended reply to a question about the existence of the secret dungeons seems to combine what would have been in any administration before this an unparalleled dismissive arrogance in not addressing the actual question asked, with a lie so palpable and preposterous that you'd think a reputable newspaper would have added, factually, that Mr. Hadley's claim is in error.

But, sadly, the Washington Post, did not introduce actual fact-checking into its account of Mr. Hadley's statement.

According to Mr. Hadley, we have the assurances of the Bush White House--the very White House where Mr. Gonzales worked so hard to justify torture should we choose to use it--that we will fight terrorism while "respecting the law."

Well now, you'd think at this point a reporter would ask how, exactly, we could be sure of that, given that this is a _secret_ prison network and we don't know who the prisoners are, or where they are, nor do we have any independent verification of the claim that we would never torture them, beyond the assurances of a White House that was telling us not very long ago that we could ignore the Geneva Conventions and treat prisoners any way we pleased.

If a reporter asked such a question, neither the question or an answer got into the news story.

I don't want to be too harsh on the Washington Post. After all, they did dig up the story. But after they printed it, I don't quite understand why they blandly quote government statements that are provably lies without reminding the reader that, yes, we did in actual fact torture some people at Abu Ghraib, for example. Nor do I quite understand why the journalists did not press Mr. Hadley further on the very obvious problem of how we can know the government's claim of good treatment of these prisoners is true, in the absence of any judicial oversight or 3rd party access.

They have already upset the White House by revealing the secret prisons. It can't hurt at this point to follow up on the story. They could ask Scott McClellan if the additional Abu Ghraib photos and videotapes which the White House is refusing to release in the face of a court order, are further examples of the "respect for the law" with which the Bush Administration insists it treats prisoners.

No comments: