A friend mentioned this item on Steve Clemons’ blog citing The Guardian’s correction of President Obama’s claim last night that the Brits didn’t torture. Next we will learn that Mother Theresa coached Bernie Madoff.
Still an interesting historical footnote The Guardian explores.
The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. The brutality did not end with the war, moreover: a number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948 . . .The Cage had space for 60 prisoners at any time, and five interrogation rooms. [Lt. Col.] Scotland had around 10 officers serving under him, plus a dozen NCOs who served as interrogators and interpreters. Security was provided by soldiers from the Guards regiments, selected, one archived document asserts, “for their height rather than their brains”.
A journalist alleging it was easier in a Gestapo prison that under British custody does seem self serving. But then again, if anyone had heard of the Boer War it shouldn’t be surprising that some SS captives had a hard time of it in The Cage.
None of this affects the validity of President Obama’s decision to stop American torture. A Movement friend of ours predicted recently that the President’s decision would backfire. America, according to this view, is in the same frame of mind as post 1975. And Americans will rise up in resistance to unpatriotic attacks on CIA, assorted Neocons, hack attorneys and institutional fluffers like Tenet.
We have a hard time seeing it play out that way. A factual inquiry by DoJ with the Administration indemnification of CIA officers and contractors is hardly akin to the Fall of Saigon. The Left will want more visceral action taken without a doubt. Last night’s 100 Day presser makes it clear that the President isn’t going to go there. In fact, we see the Movement doubly screwed: Bush (Movement/Republicans) tarred with torture *and* no faux innocent officers/contractors/victims/patriots as a wedge issue. Politically, if the Movement wants to embrace discredited Neocons once more that is, as Axlerod might say, more cheese on the pizza.