Monday, May 03, 2021

We Tortured The Shit Out Of Some Folks

Must read from Spencer
Once Abu Zubaydah was said to be one of the most important al Qaeda captives of all. An infamous August 2002 memo from the Justice Department, instrumental to authorizing the CIA to torture him—and after him, at least 118 others—called him the “third or fourth man in al Qaeda.” But there were doubts inside the CIA at the outset. According to the landmark Senate torture report, on Aug. 16, 2006 the agency formally concluded that Abu Zubaydah “was not a member of al Qaeda.”

Instead of freeing him, the U.S. brought Abu Zubaydah to Guantanamo Bay the following month, where he became the forgotten man he currently is. Some politicians, like Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, have recently declared that the 9/11 era is “over.” But Abu Zubaydah’s ongoing and entirely uncontroversial confinement proves the opposite. He is one of 40 men, few of them charged with any crime even before a dysfunctional military tribunal, who languish at Guantanamo Bay. Abu Zubaydah’s captivity has influenced every one of them.

I hold grudges because that period showed me how many of our elites are just fucking monsters. Still mad.
A good two paragraph distillation of the monstrous madness of the time.
Couldn't we at least subject them to psychological torture, like tapes of dying rabbits or high-decibel rap? (The military has done that in Panama and elsewhere.) How about truth serum, administered with a mandatory IV? Or deportation to Saudi Arabia, land of beheadings? (As the frustrated FBI has been threatening.) Some people still argue that we needn't rethink any of our old assumptions about law enforcement, but they're hopelessly "Sept. 10"--living in a country that no longer exists.

One sign of how much things have changed is the reaction to the antiterrorism bill, which cleared the Senate last week by a vote of 98-1. While the ACLU felt obliged to quibble with a provision or two, the opposition was tepid, even from staunch civil libertarians. That great quote from the late Chief Justice Robert Jackson--"The Constitution is not a suicide pact"--is getting a good workout lately. "This was incomparably more sober and sensible than what some of our revered presidents did," says Floyd Abrams, the First Amendment lawyer, referring to the severe restrictions on liberty imposed during the Civil War and World War I.