You say confessions, I say…

Posted by at 4:28PM

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(Photo from www.cnn.com)
In the past week, I’ve noticed two major news stories about terror suspects, currently being held at Guantanamo, confessing to major roles in 9/11 and the bombing of the USS Cole, respectively.
It struck me as odd that these two confessions should happen within the span of less than a week and 4-5 years after their respective events, especially since both confessions are quite weighty and come from supposedly high-up suspects. They are currently trying 14 “high-value” prisoners at Guantanamo, these two men included, but should we rationally expect this much candor from those on trial, after all these years? Honestly? Then, I remembered reading this little gem.


Is it a coincidence that these confessions (from edited transcripts of terror hearings at Guantanamo, see the first paragraph of the first cnn.com article above) follow on the heels of a new manual allowing hearsay and coerced testimony as evidence? I’m not sure, but it’s a bit too much for my liking and makes me question the full validity of these confessions. Are these men really responsible for the attacks to which they’re attributed? It’s very well possible. But if we’re so bent on spreading democracy, we should start with a little bit of it at home and renounce torture-induced confessions and coerced testimony.
We don’t believe scientists when they manipulate their data to suit the conclusions they seek to prove (and, in fact, those scientists are harshly denounced by their community), so why should we believe our government when they manipulate terror suspects to suit the conclusions they seek to prove?
Why most news outlets refuse to connect these dots is beyond me.
Well, at least the cartoonists didn’t miss it:
sack.jpg

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2 Responses to “You say confessions, I say…”

  1. Galen says:

    Yeah, it bothered me to read about the confessions, too, without any bit of analysis from the journalists. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to quite a bit…. and we’ve already admitted to giving him “rough treatment.” How reliable are these confessions? McCain once said that people will confess to anything just to get the pain of torture to stop. Is anyone asking that question?

  2. christian says:

    The coercion is more than a little forceful. Look at this guy’s account of what happened to him: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/20/rendition/ — electrodes attached to genitals, beatings…this stuff sounds more like stereotypical Soviet-era spy stuff than what I hoped would be US policy and action.

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