Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What They Want

From Howard Bashman over at How Appealing:

"For example, the 'attention grasp,' described as 'grasping the individual with both hands, one hand on either side of the collar,' is one of the 13 techniques employed in the past by the CIA and is listed in the Justice Department's May 10, 2005, memo. It is barred under the Field Manual. Unlike harsher techniques on the list, such as nudity, dietary control, sleep deprivation and waterboarding, CIA officials say they want the authority to use the attention grasp without going back to Washington for approval."

Here is another description of the "attention grasp," in official SERE language, describing its purpose, via Tom Burghardt:
"10. ATTENTION GRASP: Typical conditions for application: to startle, to instill fear, apprehension, and humiliation or cause insult."
Ok.  So the CIA apparently didn't get the memo that even new military commissions will, in Obama's own words,
"ensure that: First, statements that have been obtained from detainees using cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation methods will no longer be admitted as evidence at trial."
So the very source of the "attention grasp," SERE, describes the point of the "attention grasp" as to insult and humiliate.  Obviously the opposite of what is permissible in federal courts, and even in military commissions, Obama style.

Doesn't anyone in the CIA see the problem here?

I suppose you could do some legal gymnastics and try to explain how the "attention grasp" is not cruel and degrading.  But that's a road we've been down - and inching closer and closer to Bybee, Yoo, and Bradbury is not pretty.

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