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View Diary: Army Psychologist Pleads 'Fifth' in Case of Prisoner 900 (250 comments)

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  •  why is this claim "counterintuitive"? (0+ / 0-)

    We know that torture has gone on for years at Gitmo. We know that various forms of that torture involve prolonged abuse, such as prolonged sleep deprivation. We know that there are medical and psychological professionals at Gitmo overseeing these processes and examining the prisoners.

    So...what is it about this situation that makes you think it's "counterintuitive" to say that one of these personnel on one occasion permitted this prolonged abuse to be prolonged further even after it was having its intended effect, to degrade the psychological state of the prisoner?

    If the medical and psychological staff at Gitmo wanted to put a stop to this abuse, don't you believe they had it in their power to say "enough"? If so, then the fact that prolonged abuse became the norm at Gitmo is prima facie evidence that the medical and psychological staff were complicit in it.

    •  Maybe "Counterintuitive" is the Wrong Word (0+ / 0-)

      Sure, it might fit into "intuition". But that's all that supports it. It's a dramatic claim, of a different caliber than what we've heard before. We expect that people higher up, probably all the way through Bush and Cheney, gave specific orders. But we don't even have intuitive basis for speculating that Zierhoffer is the one who gave such an order. Such a specific charge is an outrageous charge,even if we've grown accustomed to them. It's an extraordinary claim: it needs extraordinary evidence. You have not responded to that simple principle of how to know things, because that is how it is.

      So yes, this story about Zierhoffer feels right. But that's just truthiness without something more solid than an anonymous source. Believing truthiness instead of insisting on truth is what got us into this mess in the first place. I'm not joining those who abandoned their requirements for evidence just because they were ready to believe the worst of a president they hated and the team that worked for him, just because we're about to elect a president who will "change the tone". That way madness lies, and we need all the sane people we can get to se us through.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 09:21:33 PM PDT

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      •  to believe nothing attributed to anonymous (0+ / 0-)

        sources makes internal sense. I don't dispute that. It's just not a productive principal for understanding the world...any more than it's useful to refuse to believe in anything one hasn't seen for oneself. Large numbers of important news stories depend upon anonymous sources.

      •  Another tidbit ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...from the NYT Friday:

        According to the documents, the psychologist, whose name has not been released, completed an assessment of Mr. Jawad after he was seen talking to a poster on his cell wall. Shortly thereafter, in September 2003, he was isolated from other detainees, and many of his requests to see an interrogator were ignored. He later attempted suicide, according to the filing, which asks that the case be dismissed on the ground of abusive treatment.

        The Guantánamo court is reviewing the case. Military lawyers have denied that Mr. Jawad suffered any mental health problems from his interrogation. On Thursday, the psychologist in the case invoked Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military’s equivalent of the Fifth Amendment.

        I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land. -- Mark Twain

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Aug 15, 2008 at 11:26:24 PM PDT

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        •  Starting to Sound Like Corroboration (0+ / 0-)

          Well, there's some evidence that your report is a classic case of reporting before a source can be identified or corroborated, in order to get the scoop early. I don't think that publishing a day earlier was worth the lowered credibility of a single anonymous source for the essential fact of Zierhoffer's order.

          But where do those two corroborating facts come from? I'd assumed that the reporting on Zierhoffer "pleading the Fifth" ("the 31st", really) came from a reporter attending a public hearing, or some kind of reliable public record (still dubious given the military secrecy and coverup that defines Guantanamo). From where indeed does the NYT get the fact that "the psychologist in the case invoked Article 31"? And from where indeed do you get the fact that "Zierhoffer refused to testify under Article 31"? Is that public record? Was there a witness to the invocation of Article 31 who can also say that there was only one psychologist in this case invoking Article 31? If so, that confirmation would prove that the psychologist in question was Zierhoffer.

          But only depending on the credibility of that single source.

          Now, it's very unlikely that the disinfo would be that narrow and conclusive, so it's probably not disinfo. So the nature of the info tends to reinforce its own credibility. If the source is otherwise credible, like an official government record of those facts (I'm  not entirely paranoid ;), then this matter is no longer controvertible.

          So who/what is the source for those two facts?

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 07:33:48 AM PDT

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          •  Doc, as I said previously, if reporters depended (0+ / 0-)

            ...solely on sources who could be named, we'd have never heard about My Lai, Nixon would have served out his second term, Iran-contra would have never been nickname, atomic veterans would never have made the news dozens of stories about toxic emissions and a whole lot more would never have been revealed.

            Ron Suskind couldn't have written either The One Percent Solution or The Way of the World without using anonymous sources.

            Is anonymous sourcing abused? Absolutely. Do bad ones take advantage of this practice to fabricate stories? They do. Do good reporters sometimes get manipulated or burned by such sources? Certainly. Just as they do by sources they name. Is anonymous sourcing sometimes essential to good reporting? It is. Most whistleblowers would simply not blow the whistle if their identities could not remain secret. Is that what you want?

            The hearings in the Jawad case weren't public. And revealing the source of the information could mean, alternatively, lack of future information, job loss, or something more severe.

            As I said before, as a reader you either trust YOUR source, the reporter/writer, after reading other stuff s/he has written, or you maintain skepticism or outright disbelief based on previous encounters with her or him.

            I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land. -- Mark Twain

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 12:55:23 PM PDT

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