CIA & Friendly Hacks Pro-Torture Propaganda

The thing is a journo is meant to be a cynical sceptical mofo but in the corporate mode they are yes men climbing the greasy pole, hence their journalism becomes the antithesis of the role we expect, yet for many people they have not twigged this dynamic. Just as they covered up their role in war pimping they happily believed what Bush regime and CIA officials fed them, to call them saps would be extremely charitable, shills is nearer the mark. And at base we have to conclude it reflected their personal beliefs and politics, they too believe in Empire Americana and the war crimes it commits to instil fear and maintain dominance. Anyway Glenn Greenwald has it all, excerpt-

In The New York Times this morning, Brian Stelter documents how a widely-cited 2007 report by ABC News’ Brian Ross — amplifying the claim by former CIA agent John Kiriakou that Abu Zubaydah lasted only 30-35 seconds on the waterboard before confessing numerous Terrorist plots to the CIA — permeated media discussions and was uncritically repeated over and over, even though we know now the claim was absolutely false, as Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times. Below I document (a) just how pervasive that “Zubayduh-confessed-after-30-seconds” myth became and — more importantly — (b) how obvious it was to real journalists that Kiriakou’s claim required serious sketpicism and doubt.

But two years before Ross disseminated that Zubaydah falsehood, he was responsible for injecting into our discourse a separate claim that was equally false and at least equally damaging: namely, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed impressed his CIA interrogators by lasting an astonishingly long two-and-a-half minutes before “begging to confess.” Citing nothing but anonymous CIA sources without a molecule of critical thought, this is what Ross “reported” on November 18, 2005:

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.On March 15, 2007, this is what Ross said on World News Tonight about Mohammed and waterboarding:

It’s a technique used by the CIA with the President’s approval where the person is put upside down, water is poured on their head. They have a sense they’re drowning and it creates a gag-like reflex. He lasted the longest under waterboarding, we’re told, before he broke, between two and two and a half minutes, and then he caved and told all.We now know that this claim, too, was patently false, as Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month alone. Yet two years before the Zubayduh falsehood examined this morning by Stelter, this false “fact” — that waterboarding works almost immediately in saving Americans lives as demonstrated by how quickly it broke Mohammed — was repeated over and over to argue that waterboarding is both highly effective and, given how quickly it works, cannot possibly constitute torture.

This might partially explain (although wider cultural issues of an entitled imperial populace are relevant too) why America remains by a majority pro-torture-Gallup US torture4/09And the comparative poll [PDF or hosted onblog wpo_torture_jun08_packet] shows the land of the free home of the brave is less civilised than Mexico, Spain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Palestine, Azerbaijan, Egypt, China, Indonesia for example. As for the UK well we do well except today Craig Murray gave evidence and so far, 1 google news result and that is a pre report from a UN source. So as usual the poodle looks to its guides in Washington perhaps.

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