Re: It's like a Manchurian Candidate joke gone horribly wrong

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I find your formatting beguiling. Did you write that? Or is it all, as I suspect, from the article to which you've linked?

Either way, pretty grim stuff. Thanks, Debbie Downer.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:22 PM
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It's a sad, sad day in America when even our vital military torture techniques are stamped "Made in China".


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:25 PM
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It's hard to know whether to make an outsourcing joke or a lead contamination joke.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:32 PM
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when even our vital military torture techniques are stamped "Made in China"

And they're fakes, too!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:32 PM
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It's good that this is in the New York Times, but this isn't exactly news, is it?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:36 PM
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Maybe everyone else had heard about this, but the Chinese thing was new to me.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:38 PM
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The fact that they took a chart verbatim from a 1957 article on Chinese torture techniques is new.

The fact that the entire design of Guantanamo is based on the SERE work on how our prisoners have been treated in the fact is not new. It has been extensively reported in the Rolling Stone. The NYT has ignored this part of the story until now. I take this as a sign that Obama will win the election.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:44 PM
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You're right, that particular detail is probably new; last time this came up it was Germans. Still, my comment wasn't meant dismissively towards you. I'm just peeved that it's just now making the news.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:45 PM
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Seriously, the Times out of nowhere decides to give attention to established war crimes committed by the administration? Based only on a cute anecdote about a chart?

They would only do this is the felt that the current administration no longer counted as The Establishment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:46 PM
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5: Yes, I think the SERE stuff had come out earlier and the fact that the techniques were really designed for quickly eliciting fake confessions, but not sure on the direct link to China. ... it's almost like we were talking about some mad regime ...

But I do think the government is being given too much benefit of the doubt. The fuck if they ever wanted truth from those guys. This is just the typical "evil wrapped in incompetence wrapped in evil" trope that Bushco does so well. Start with the core evil of torture, then the "incompetence" of adopting techniques that produce bullshit, but then, Surprise! some of the bullshit is politically convenient bullshit, serendipitous evil rules the day.

Some pwnage on preview, but ain't changing nuthin'.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:47 PM
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Fuck it. I've decided to be happy about this story. It is at the top of the Times webpage. This isn't journalism by the people who gave you Hunter S Thompson anymore. This is the same fact, but now from The Old Grey Lady.

Obama by a landslide, followed by at least some criminal prosecutions.

This is fucking excellent. I'm getting another drink.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:51 PM
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10: me again, and Dick Durbin should be allowed to give Mayor Daley a public enema during the 7th inning stretch of the next Cubs game.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:51 PM
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The key "news development" here is that the NYT is inching gingerly toward calling torture "torture."

But still - even now - they can't quite manage it.

There are three uses of the word "torture" in the story, two of them directly attributed to individuals, and one of them indirectly attributed to past U.S. statements.

But are these practices torture ? Not according to the NYT. They are "coercive" methods and "Communist interrogation methods" and whatnot.

Here's another demonstration of how deeply corrupt journalism has become:

In 2002, the training program, known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, became a source of interrogation methods both for the C.I.A. and the military. In what critics describe as a remarkable case of historical amnesia, officials who drew on the SERE program appear to have been unaware that it had been created as a result of concern about false confessions by American prisoners.

Mind you, as mrh points out, this isn't news. We knew the Chinese used these techniques, which the U.S. contemporaneously called torture. We knew the U.S. now uses these techniques. But now it's a scandal, because the NYT has discovered that the U.S. has actually been recycling reference material related to those old Chinese torture practices.

It's a scandal not because of what criminal Americans did, but because criminal Americans made the connections to the word "torture" so obvious that it was hard for the NYT to ignore.

And yet the NYT still managed to downplay the torture connection. Fuck 'em. Somehow I can't even work up my normal gratitude that they are finally, in some minimal sense, on the case.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:52 PM
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All the new posts have an "expand" thingy on the bottom. THIS MUST END.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 9:52 PM
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Start with the core evil of torture, then the "incompetence" of adopting techniques that produce bullshit, but then, Surprise! some of the bullshit is politically convenient

No. Start with the picking up of "enemy combatants", some based on bounties, shipping them to Gitmo, and trying to justify that.

Or just start with George Bush wanting to torture people. Start with firecrackers in frogs. Or Republicans voting for such a man.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:05 PM
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16 was me


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:06 PM
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Mr. Football, you are undermining my optimistic sense that this represents progress. I will not have it, as I am determined to be cheerful tonight.

Other good news: I watched a fan produced episode of Star Trek tonight, and the only thing that really placed it below network TV in quality was the writing. Basically, this means that all of the technical aspects of TV are now available to The People. Since Hollywood treats writers like shit, soon they will all be producing independently. Then the whole Hollywood edifice will fall.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:07 PM
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The NYT has ignored this part of the story until now.

I'm pretty sure there have been earlier SERE stories in the NYT. I thought the New Yorker (Jane Meyer?) was the first to make the connection.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:36 PM
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Here.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:37 PM
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||
Somewhat off topic - but holy fuckshit, I will not make it through this fucking campaign. I knew the Clark stuff had gotten some bullshit attention, but this montage at TPM just took 5 years off my life expectancy due to increased blood pressure and possible brain aneurysms. Motherfucking fucking mother asshole motherfuckers need to have a motherfucking actual Swiftboat rammed up their motherfucking intellectually dishonest lying assholes with a fuckstick. This is these people's jobs! I know ... shock, shock.

Come and get us too, Chino! Come on Chino, get us too...There's nobody here but us...We're waitin' for ya!
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:44 PM
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It appears to have taken almost two years after the New Yoker article for the NYT to print something about SERE and interrogation outside of the opinion page.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:49 PM
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yorker


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:50 PM
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Or maybe not. This concludes my 20 minutes of research.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 10:55 PM
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20: I watched a minute or so of that and then, as my eyeballs began bleeding, remembered why I forswore television news during the summer of 2004. I only tuned back in for the returns from Iowa and haven't had a relapse since.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 11:06 PM
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20: Gah. I took a break from reading The Authoritarians to watch that, and it made it so much more interesting.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-08 11:34 PM
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re: 20

I'm kind of amazed the guy at 2:40'ish doesn't just tell her to fuck off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 3:08 AM
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Also relevant 'Stump the Yoo' an amusing party game by Gary Farber.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 4:44 AM
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24: Yes, I avoid it as well, which is why I was (stupidly) so shocked at how utterly fatuous these clipswere (and yes of course TPM has compiled the worst). In particular the throwing around of the term "swift boat" in the midst of the faux outrage was beyond vomitaceous. (My eldest wandered in while I was playing it and kept asking, "Weren't any of these people around 4 years ago?", ah callow youth.)

It's ironic* that this episode of the freak show rolled out immediately after this article, concerning the efforts of actual Swift boat veterans to reclaim their legacy, appeared in the Times.

*Or it would be if irony were still with us.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 4:48 AM
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And the gem of the day is from Michael Gerson:

But it is hard to avoid the feeling that Obama has gained the nomination without fully earning it. Unlike Clinton or Bush, his intellectual contributions have been slight.

(that's Bill and George W.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 5:01 AM
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20: Sigh. Business as usual.

On the plus side, I happened to be watching/overhearing a bit of CNN yesterday, an interview with some US representative from New Mexico who was stumping for McCain's foreign policy experience. It was the usual blather, and then the interviewer asked her: "Is there going to be an 'October Surprise' this year?" The look on the congressperson's face was priceless. Obviously, the esprit de l'escalier for that one would be "If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise." But then the interviewer rephrased the question three or four times. Damndest thing I've seen on TV in quite awhile.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 5:07 AM
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The fact that the entire design of Guantanamo is based on the SERE work on how our prisoners have been treated in the fact is not new.

So not new that this fact figures as a plot point in William Gibson's latest novel, Spook Country. Still, at this point I'll take what I can get with a shot and a beer.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 6:55 AM
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Gerson seems to be the new David Brooks, equally slick but more Christian.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 7:13 AM
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Speaking of Manchurian Candidates...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 7:41 AM
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20 highlights Obama's dilemma in dealing with stuff like this. One might reasonably argue that Obama has to take on bogus media narratives in order to change them. Obama seems to think that his best move was to sidestep the bogus controversy and let Clark take the heat.

Who knows what the right answer is? But my guess is that Obama did the right thing this time.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 8:16 AM
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32: Gerson, Brooks and Noonan, the Axis of Soft Evil.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 8:53 AM
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34: But my guess is that Obama did the right thing this time.

I' am still somewhat conflicted, but you are probably right that there is no profit in Obama trying to go head on into that hurricane of idiocy. I just get boiled that the negative information voters who get soundbites from TV (give me straight out "low" information voters any day) assume that there is some fire behind the smoke. The real tell on this whole episode was evident right there Bob Schieffer's "shocked" reaction*.

Sometime this summer there will surely be a similar firestorm that will involve Obama directly, see how it goes down then (and he has been better on this one after the initial reaction).

*This is the kind of thing that if Broder really was the Dean of the Press Corps and Kurtz really was a media critic and the NYTimes really was a functioning paper of record, they would all be all over pointing out inanity, hypocrisy and partisanship inherent the press response. These are people who work in words, they know exactly what Clark did or did not say.

Bazzfazz!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 9:10 AM
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Has the Daily Show been on this? I'm refusing to look at any of the primary sources on this, but a little Jon Stewart with my montage wouldn't feel like a waste of time.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 9:21 AM
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Daily Show has been off for a couple of weeks, hasn't it?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 9:32 AM
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My guess is that Obama is being careful to pick and choose his fights; the problem is is that he's getting too conservative (not in the ideological sense) in the same way that Kerry did during the summer of '04. That's okish, in the sense that he's trying to regroup for the main campaign, but it's really getting to be time to go over to the assault against these assholes. The WaPo/NeoCon/Georgetown crowd is going to do whatever they can to get McCain elected, and right now they're 'crumblin'' (in Montgomery's phrase). That stuff accumulates after awhile.

Complacency is bad here; everybody needs to be running scared, not assuming a Democractic victory.

Obviously, the esprit de l'escalier for that one would be "If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise."

They're doing everything they can to sustain the economy until November; in addition, I think it's fairly obvious that they intend to open the spigots to the oil reserve in September and see if they can't drive gas prices down a dollar or so. Then they can claim that speculators did it. (Of course, prices will go back up next year. But then next year, the usual suspects will be saying we need to cut taxes and spending and get the deficit spending back down and therefore no new programs, etc.)

They're cracking down fairly hard on immigrants and the like; that isn't because they want to solve immigration issues (one way or another), or because they've suddenly taken a dislike to cheap offbook labor - it's because they want to look like they're to the base. They'll drop the whole thing come 2009 (win or lose).

That's aside from Iran: Gates is opposed tho, and I don't think that's the main thrust in real terms. It's about propaganda, not about actually attacking Iran. The main thrust is all this economic bushwa they're trying to pull.

Keep the lid on the economy, talk endlessly about the Iranians and Obama being inexperienced, and the rest of the campaign (the bulk of it) is wall to wall ratfucking. Just like '88.

Need to keep kicking the SOB. Kick him to fucking death, lest he do the same to you/us/Obama.

The fact that they took a chart verbatim from a 1957 article on Chinese torture techniques is new.

But it could be deduced that they had adopted Soviet-style techniques, since I deduced it. (And said so.) All the 'new ideas' they adopted since 'everything changed' have been promugulated by fucking Trotskites. Of course they're gonna rip off Mao & Stalin.

In two or three years, the story is gonna be about all the gay S&M/psuedo-snuff flicks that somebody apparently studied. ('Trainers may not have known that many scripts were taken verbatim from Dick of Death.') Which is not too different from adopting a policy of raping 'enemy' women like they've been doing in Africa.

Somewhere, not sure where exactly, there's somebody or several somebodies who has spent the last six or seven years collecting pictures from Gitmo and the like for 'research purposes' and whacking off to it. And writing policy to make even better films! And then he (or they) go to those dinner parties and deplore gay marriage and trash culture.

max
['Spiders in the web.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 9:39 AM
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Did we also pass along these nefarious Chinese techniques to the Latin Americans, or were those our own home-grown techniques?

I find it hard to believe that the nation that brought us modern slavery, Jim Crow, etc., needed the Chinese to teach us about torture -- maybe some cool new techniques, sure, but not torture tout court. The whole thing reads like there was this insidious Eastern torture element that we partly took in so that we could resist it, but then it got out of control. Westerners don't torture! We caught it from the Chinese!

Rather than assuming that they "plumb forgot" that these techniques were used to get false confessions, we have to assume that they knew it and wanted false confessions.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 9:42 AM
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Rather than assuming that they "plumb forgot" that these techniques were used to get false confessions, we have to assume that they knew it and wanted false confessions.

Of course. Torture is well understood, and very effective at generating certain outcomes. The fact that these outcomes are quite different from, and in some cases opposed to, the outcomes current admin claims for them is pretty standard disinformation.

I really don't understand how anyone is honesty confused about this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 9:45 AM
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I just get boiled that the negative information voters who get soundbites from TV (give me straight out "low" information voters any day) assume that there is some fire behind the smoke.

"Negative information voters": I love that expression.

As I told my father when he was spouting off some "global warming is a myth" nonsense he heard on Fox, "It's better to be uninformed than to be misinformed."


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 10:17 AM
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Somewhere, not sure where exactly

Oval office. Symbolic revenge for prep school treatment at the hands of the Saudi princes, captured on film for future insurance, as he was held down by Dad & Babs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 11:03 AM
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it's really getting to be time to go over to the assault against these assholes.

max, the problem is that "these assholes" is a group that is not merely composed of the Republicans or the wingnuts, or even Fox News. There's an entire media infrastructure that needs to be discredited and destroyed.

People who insist that Kerry should have struck back against the Swift Boaters tend to softpedal the media's overt complicity in propogating the Swift Boat smears in the first place.

These issues have to be resolved by citizens and consumers, not politicians. God bless Greenwald and Josh Marshall and Media Matters and the netroots, because they are addressing these issues in a productive fashion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 11:55 AM
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I don't even have cable, for which I am profoundly grateful most of the time, but never more so than during elections.

But are these practices torture ? Not according to the NYT. They are "coercive" methods and "Communist interrogation methods" and whatnot.

That's what the Times thinks passes for objectivity. If the Administration says one thing while 98% of the world and/or the empirical facts say something different, the Times believes that objectivity is found by not asserting the facts as true.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 11:56 AM
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I find it hard to believe that the nation that brought us modern slavery, Jim Crow, etc., needed the Chinese to teach us about torture -- maybe some cool new techniques, sure, but not torture tout court. The whole thing reads like there was this insidious Eastern torture element that we partly took in so that we could resist it, but then it got out of control. Westerners don't torture! We caught it from the Chinese!

I find it quite believable. There was of course a lot of freelance cruelty. But prior to 1960 or so there don't seem to have been any U.S. institutions that tried to use torture systematically as a tool of official policy to achieve compliance. There was freelance torture, but it was against official U.S. government policy and was not done in POW camps.

But after seeing the success the Chinese had using a systematic and organized approach to torture with U.S. prisoners in Korea, the CIA and others funded a lot of research into it. The CIA really was searching for "brainwashing" methods, the Army was perhaps looking for a way to avoid the same thing happening to its soldiers again. This was always the way I understood the history, and I think it's pretty well known, although someone should write a history of torture to really get at all the details.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 12:04 PM
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The small intersexed one is right in 27. Everyone here should play "Stump the Yoo"

My contribution: If the president deems it necessary for the war on terror, can he order his enemies to be crushed and driven before him so he may hear the lamentations of their women?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 12:08 PM
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Can one of our bay area contributors go to Yoo's constitutional law class and ask him these questions in person?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 12:10 PM
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47: A stupid game. What part of unitary executive don't you people understand?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 1:30 PM
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20: that shit is outrageous, even on its own terms, then when you think about 2004...Jesus.

Everything Clark said was perfectly sensible. The sad thing about this is that it will interfere with his chances to get a job in the Obama administration.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07- 2-08 2:33 PM
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