Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Defending the Indefensible

I'm posting this to the Scholars for 911 forum tonight, so I thought I might as well publish it here as well. It's a free country, after all. For the time being...

BBC's Newsnight has just aired a devastating exclusive preview of a Human Rights First report being published at 11.00 am EST tomorrow (22 Feb)

I know, of course, that this is not obviously 9-11 Research related but I believe it matters to us for this reason:

Conceivably the most difficult aspect of our task (once we've agreed whatever that is) is convincing those who do not share our obsession that what we are revealing is remotely credible. Despite the almost universal low esteem in which politicians are held, only a tiny minority of the population is prepared to think the unthinkable - that any Americans might have been directly implicated in either the planning or exploitation of the events of 9-11. That high level members of the Government may be directly involved is on a credibility par with holocaust denial in most peoples' minds.

What items like this one do is begin to chip away at that credibility barrier. Once people can see that Donald Rumsfeld can be (even remotely) involved in mandating the torture of prisoners, it's just a little less of a stretch to imagine that he might have given the plausibly deniable nod to the controlled demolition of the towers.

You can see the Newsnight "exclusive" preview on the website (look for the "Latest programme available for 24 hours after broadcast" link on the right hand side) but only until 22.30 GMT tomorrow. However, I have taped it and will make it available as an mpg on request or upload it to one of the freestorage sites in the next day or so. It is a "must see". (It's the first 20 minutes or so of tonight's programme) (Update: sorry. Screwed up. mpg not available)

I will comment on what I consider the main issues raised in a later posting. My priority now is to bring it to your attention in time for you to visit the Newsnight webcast before they take it down tomorrow night.

The gist is that a very well researched case, mostly based on official documents now in the public domain, shows that at least 98 deaths have taken place amongst the prisoners held by the US since 2001. Deaths which are directly attributable to their treatment in custody by their jailers. Of these, at least 34 appear to be homicide and at least 12 were tortured to death. A handful of the cases have resulted in disciplinary or criminal charges. The most serious penalty to date being a 5 month prison sentence. The evidence appears to show that the regime wasn't merely tolerated but encouraged as a matter of policy formulated at the highest level.

I believe this has the weight to become a major scandal. But, as you will see for yourself, we can already see the attack dogs line of defence. In an amazing interview with David Rivkin (former White House legal advisor) we get to see the tactics they've already planned for this stage of the Big Lie. His defence is to accuse critics of "terrible historical amnesia" in forgetting how bad previous wars have been. We've only tortured 10 or 12 out of 100,000. Peanuts. There's always some bad apples etc (Not direct quotes, just the flavour). He pointedly avoids the issue that the bad apples aren't, in this case, at the bottom of the barrel.

Anyway, go watch. Form your own conclusions.


DaveT said...

The problem with blogs is that when people don't comment, you have no idea that they are reading.

Rnisson said...

Do you have a link to an archived version?

Harry Stottle said...

Rnisson: I believe I have a copy back home. I'll check. I'll let you know one way or t'other. If you don't hear back within the next day or two, nag me again.

Harry Stottle said...

Bollocks. My copy of that Newsnight edition has been minced. I have a dvd recorder which occasionally records and then refuses to "finalise" the disk and, thereafter, renders it unreadable. This is actually becoming somewhat more common so if anyone has a suggested fix, I'm all ears. Meanwhile that was the fate of that edition so I'm afraid it is no longer available. Sorry