Speaking of illegal hooks, slashing, and obstruction…

Noted in the Strib:

Jack Blatherwick, the skating guru for generations of hockey players, has been writing columns for the Let’s Play Hockey newspaper for more than a decade.

In the Nov. 10 issue, Blatherwick’s column concerned a renewed interest in smaller, mobile defensemen because of the new NHL rules. Deeper in the publication, Blatherwick had another byline: at the top of a half-page ad decrying the Bush administration’s stand on torture.

“It seems our vice president won’t give up his campaign to allow the CIA to torture prisoners,” read Blatherwick’s opening sentence.

Dave McMahon, the newspaper’s editor, said: “Jack wanted to express this opinion, but he knew it wasn’t something for his hockey column. So he submitted the text as an ad and came in the next day with the check.”

Via a reader.


  1. I’m worried because I’ve heard claims that, among others, the CIA have been torturing people, and not only did Bush say you don’t torture people, but I’m pretty sure that would be illegal under current US laws. But so far, I haven’t heard of anything being done about it. These days, I take anything reported in the press with a bucket of salt. However, there are enough of these accusations floating around that I’m worried some of them are true. I’d like to see something which re-assures me that the US gov’t is serious about (a) preventing US citizens and forces torturing (and I don’t mean panties-on-head, I mean honest-to-god torture) and (b) punishing those who step over the line. Now, I’m not going to get hysterical over this, but clearly there is a line *somewhere* which seperates what is OK and what is not, and I want to know that those who are on the wrong side of it get stopped. Can anyone re-assure me?

  2. Nicholas, You have to take into account what our media and groups like amnesty international consider torture. I don’t consider what our guys (military intelligence and CIA) are doing torture. It’s about the same as the stuff at gitmo. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but hardly what I’d call torture. I don’t consider a 4-8 degree drop in temp, or sleeping on the floor torture. I’ve read the MI manual on what’s common procedure for interrogation (you can google just about anything), and it’s not that bad. These people aren’t being tortured, they’re being inconvenienced. The conditions at Gitmo are better than anywhere else they’ve lived. They just can’t leave. I don’t find that too harsh when you’ve fired at American forces, or helped blow up children.

  3. Chad, well that doesn’t sound too bad, but I heard one guy died from asphyxiation while being interrogated which sounds a bit harsh. It may be that it’s not official policy to do stuff like this but that they basically let the interrogator feel like he could do what he liked and he went too far. If that’s the case, surely something should be done to change it, and maybe he should be charged with negligence at the least? I’ve heard of other cases too but this is the only one I remember well enough to find a link. What do you think about this example?

  4. I read this article, which is surprisingly good for MSM I thought, and somewhat well balanced. I got the link from Volokh Conspiracy. It seems defensible and not terribly immoral to me, with caveats. What worries me are the passages towards the end:

    Two sources also told ABC that the techniques -authorized for use by only a handful of trained CIA officers -have been misapplied in at least one instance.

    The sources said that in that case a young, untrained junior officer caused the death of one detainee at a mud fort dubbed the ‘salt pit’ that is used as a prison. They say the death occurred when the prisoner was left to stand naked throughout the harsh Afghanistan night after being doused with cold water. He died, they say, of hypothermia.

    According to the sources, a second CIA detainee died in Iraq and a third detainee died following harsh interrogation by Department of Defense personnel and contractors in Iraq. CIA sources said that in the DOD case, the interrogation was harsh, but did not involve the CIA.

    It worries me that contractors might be carrying out this sort of activity. I’d say members of the military carrying out sanctioned interrogations is OK, but contractors? Are they responsible if they do something wrong? And the other instances where it seems like the people carrying out the interrogations have not necessarily been trained in the methods… is a bit worrying. Still, so far none of this seems to be widespread or shocking. I am a little concerned, though. Effective interrogation should probably be carried out carefully by experts, and it sounds like that’s not always the case.