Watchdog Blog

Archive for the 'Torture' Category

Barry Sussman: Orwell Got It Backwards. But then, Who Could Envision Hackers?

A world-wide thriller is taking place right now. We are all in the middle of it. These are the elements, more or less: Julian Assange began Wikileaks a few years ago and released important, secret documents, getting some attention but not a great deal, and attracting some followers. One of them was a young American [...]

Barry Sussman: Justice Department Shows Its Mettle, Indicts Clemens

I got this note from a friend and colleague a little while after Roger Clemens was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 19th: “And meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, CIA officials and others who lied to Congress in sworn testimony about Iraq go free. If we can ‘look forward, not backward’ on torture, [...]

Barry Sussman: The torture coverage

We planned our Nieman Watchdog series on torture before President Obama released four secret memos that spelled out what techniques interrogators could use, thereby unleashing furious public reaction and an enormous wave of news and editorial page coverage. Now it seems that what we had in mind—keeping Bush administration torture and other abuses of power [...]

Barry Sussman: A Nieman Watchdog Project—the Torture Record and the Press

The book is not yet closed on torture and other possible crimes ordered by American leaders in recent years. A lot is known but a lot isn’t. Exactly what happened in Bagram, in Guantanamo, in Abu Ghraib and in dark rendition prisons? How many people were whisked off and put away for no good reason? [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: When the Press Averted Its Eyes from Torture

Where was the outrage over the brutalizing of Mohammed al Qahtani? Time reported the abusive treatment of the reputed “twentieth hijacker” in its June 12, 2005 issue. The magazine somehow had obtained the classified logs of the Guantanamo detainee’s 50-day interrogation ordeal, and it described the log’s contents in detail — the protracted questioning of [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Torture, and the Ends-Justify-the-Means Exception

Jane Mayer, an experienced and reliable journalist, has written “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” a book that reports how the International Committee of the Red Cross found that the Central Intelligence Agency tortured people. How can that be? After all, President [...]

Mary C. Curtis: The Republican Candidates and Jack Bauer

Was it wishful thinking, naivete or utter cluelessness? There’s no denying that during last week’s debate of Republican candidates in Columbia the needle on the applause-o-meter went wild at the mention of Jack Bauer. Bauer was U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s go-to guy when confronted by debate moderators with a hypothetical terrorist attack on the country. [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The New American Philosophy: Whatever It Takes

Growing up, my contemporaries and I had dinned into us the belief that ends do not justify the means. The principle seemed to us as ingrained and natural as breathing. Not so nowadays, where the precept seems to have been turned on its head. Does a law stand in the way of achieving an objective? [...]

Mary C. Curtis: What Would Jesus Do?

Is it fair to ask the president who named Jesus as his favorite philosopher, “What would Jesus do when interrogating terrorist suspects?” I think so. It’s not a trick question or a frivolous one. It’s an attempt to figure out how compassionate conservatism applies in the real world of foreign policy, congressional corruption and displaced [...]