By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Like the use of the word “chokehold” in connection with the death of Eric Garner, the term “torture” has been applied repeatedly by the media to the CIA’s treatment of suspected terrorists. These are examples of how left-wing forces in the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and the media try to control and manipulate the public debate in ways that demonize those defending our nation.
The purpose is to make the American people lose faith in the police and the intelligence community. But it is those using the loaded terms and language that deserve the scrutiny.
A notable exception in the “chokehold” coverage is Margaret Harding of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who quoted Thomas Aveni, a retired officer and executive director of the Police Policy Studies Council, as saying about the video of Garner’s takedown, “The reason all these people are upset is because they don’t understand what they saw. People don’t understand what they’re looking at.”
She reported that Aveni, a police trainer in deadly and non-deadly force for more than 30 years, said that New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo did not use a chokehold on Garner, but rather a “lateral vascular neck restraint” or LVNR. The difference? “People can’t talk when they are being choked,” Aveni said.
The alleged use of “torture” against suspected terrorists is another example of how the media adopt a term that doesn’t apply to what is actually being described.
Jose Rodriguez, the author of Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, says the term “torture” is inaccurate and that the CIA received guidance from the Department of Justice as to what procedures could be used to avoid “lasting pain or harm” to the detainees. Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, defends the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Rodriguez writes in his book about how Obama’s CIA director Leon Panetta had declared to the Senate that the program had used “torture,” though he had not even been briefed on it.
The media campaigns against the police “chokehold” and the CIA’s “torture” techniques remind me of the communist “Ban the Neutron Bomb” campaign of the early 1970s. The “neutron bomb” was an enhanced radiation weapon designed to counter a Soviet tank build-up in Europe.
Despite the name, the “neutron bomb” was more humane than conventional arms. Appearing at an Accuracy in Media conference at the time, Sam T. Cohen, the inventor of the weapon, noted that it killed people painlessly through radiation rather than a blast with catastrophic consequences. But the Soviets thought it gave the U.S. an unfair advantage and successfully waged an “active measures” campaign, using the U.S. media, against it. Distorted coverage of the weapon led President Jimmy Carter to ban it from the U.S. arsenal.
In the same way, banning a “chokehold,” when it is actually something else, puts American police forces at a disadvantage with the criminal element. Outlawing “torture,” when the techniques were not torture, deprives our intelligence community of procedures that can actually save lives.
When we examined Panetta’s fitness for public office, we found that he was an opponent of the “neutron bomb” when he was a liberal Congressman from California. Perhaps this explains why he was picked for the important posts of CIA director and then Secretary of Defense. He was susceptible to disinformation then and was judged as somebody who could “go with the program” of Obama to ban interrogation techniques that gave the U.S. an edge in the war on terror.
The “torture” controversy also proves to be a diversion from discussing Obama’s alternative—the use of drones to shoot air-to-surface Hellfire missiles and literally obliterate suspected terrorists.
When terrorists die in drone strikes, they yield no intelligence data because they do not end up alive in U.S. custody. Plus, women and children die alongside them.
This is supposed to be more “humane” than alleged “torture” of the individual terrorists, who survive the “torture” and then get fat at Gitmo.
Obama gets away with this because the media, once again, are feeding out of his hands, eager to take his line on foreign affairs when it is nonsensical and counter to U.S. interests.
In his 2013 remarks to the National Defense University, Obama acknowledged that “…it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Obama declared, “…America’s actions are legal.” Case closed. That’s good enough for the media.
At the same time, he said, “I believe we compromised our basic values—by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”
Obama’s flimsy justification for drone strikes is a self-serving memo generated by his own administration. It purports to explain why killing Americans does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution for U.S. citizens accused of crimes. The memo refers to U.S. drone aircraft as “contemplated lethal operations.”
Apparently, however, wiping out terrorists and their families, friends, and relatives, is not something that compromises our basic values.
The fact that Obama gets away with this deception says something about the gullibility of the American media.
It was appropriate that the Democratic Senate report on “torture” was released on the same day that Jonathan Gruber was testifying about lying to the American people regarding the benefits of Obamacare. The Senate report was another form of deception, designed to confuse and mislead about what Obama has used in place of interrogation techniques of terrorists. Obama doesn’t interrogate terrorists, he kills them.
Yet, we are led to believe Obama believes in American values and practices them.
The American people would see through the lies if only they could depend on a media that would lead them out of all the deliberate obfuscation.