Tomgram: Greg Grandin, On the Torturable and the Untorturable

Via: Tom Dispatch

Posted by Greg Grandin at 6:10am, December 11, 2007.

In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, reporter Siobhan Gorman offered a striking little portrait of Jose A. Rodriguez, who, in 2005, as chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, ordered the destruction of those “hundreds of hours” of CIA videotapes of the…

Now, what do we want to call it? Gorman refers to “extreme techniques” of interrogation (putting the two words in quotes), then repeats the phrase a second time later in the piece without the quotes: ” [Rodriguez] took a careful approach to controversial practices such as renditions — sending detainees to countries that use more extreme interrogation methods”). In this mini-portrait of Rodriguez, as painted by his colleagues, and of the disappeared videos, the word “torture” is never used, but don’t blame Gorman. As Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher pointed out recently, she’s hardly alone.

“One Associated Press article referred simply to ‘interrogation’ on the tapes, at one point putting ‘enhanced interrogation’ in quotes. Another AP article called it ‘harsh interrogation.’ Mark Mazzeti in The New York Times used ‘severe interrogation methods.’ Eric Lichtblau in the same paper chose the same phrase. David Johnston, in a Saturday article for [the] paper’s Web site, referred to ‘aggressive interrogations’ and ‘coercive techniques.’ Reuters, in its lead, relied on ‘severe interrogation techniques.’ Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick in The Washington Post on Saturday opted for ‘harsh interrogation tactics.'”

Whatever is on those tapes, we’ve come a long way, baby, since, in Medieval Times in Europe, waterboarding was crudely known as “the water torture.”

Read more: here

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